Amazing. Simply amazing. In one swell foop, the Democrats and Martha Coakley yesterday ceded Teddy Kennedy’s Senate seat to the Republicans. Cosmo's Scott Brown triumphed in the special election in Massachusetts.
Now the rabble is into full frontal dithering, as one might expect.
The blame game is on, Big Time. Obama’s fault. Martha Coakley’s fault. Obama’s fault. Rahm Emanuel’s fault. DSCC’s fault. Obama’s fault. The Clintons’ fault. Obama’s fault. The liberal bloggers’ fault. The conservative Twitterers' fault. Massachusetts’ voters fault. Teddy Kennedy’s fault. Obama’s fault. Wall Street’s fault. (Its little subset, the corporatists’ fault.) Fox “News’” fault. Obama’s fault. Sarah Palin’s fault. Brangelina's fault. (Okay, I made that up.)
Full disclosure: I am not, nor have I ever pretended to be, a sagacious political analyst. I don’t have the wherewithal, including a sufficiency of smarts, to delve into the bowels of political machinations and make meaning of it. (Now there’s a thoroughly disgusting metaphor.) But like everyone else who blogs, I do have opinions. Sometimes I form opinions after the fact. Kind of retro forward motion (five yards, automatic first down). And btw (in case you haven’t noticed), I am crazy about parenthetical cross-talk. Also, it takes me a while to warm up and get to the point.
My point is this. There is a kind of systemic rot in what used to be called the political party of liberals. Of Franklin Delano Roosevelt. Of Teddy Kennedy.
There’s nothing woo-woo about it. Exorcism is not called for. But it is time to take out the Sorting Hat and reassign the peeps. Read on.
UPDATE: Please catch this Robert Reich piece about the significance of the Scott "Cosmo" Brown victory. (h/t LeftyMN)
The very visible Rahm Emanuel and his less visible acolytes need to go. Now. Harry Reid, out. Nancy Pelosi, out. (Their small victories are insufficient for the task, which is really nothing less than keeping America from being flushed down the loo whilst Grover Norquist salivates and cackles. Okay, maybe exorcism IS called for.) Tim Geithner, out. You name names. There are others, no doubt.
Then Barack Obama needs time in the wilderness. He needs to get back in touch with what was arguably his core beliefs and values, expressed in his stunningly articulate way while campaigning.
He needs to look at himself and be painfully honest about where he falls on the left/right continuum. He needs to listen to others than inner circle sycophants about what it is that the American people truly want and need. Or, at the very least, what the liberals who elected him want.
That’s complicated, of course, because both liberals and moderates stepped up for him in a very big way. But he needs to speak his truth and defend it and make it real. He needs to reclaim his integrity (I believe it was truly there, the political cesspool notwithstanding) and operate all day, every day in light of it. He needs to focus less on pomp and more on circumstance.
He needs to surround himself with a fresh, new cadre of wise women and men whose deep belief in the America that shines brightly will help to inform his decisions. He needs to fully embrace liberal core values, coupled with the Constitution he vowed to uphold, and operate from that place.
Wishful thinking? Perhaps. But wait, there’s more.
The citizens (and particularly the liberals) of this fine nation are complicit in the meltdown as well. Yes, we are. Yes, we did.
We are, by and large, a nation of ambivalents and, at best, armchair activists (guilty!). We entertain ourselves by watching MSNBC (or its evil twin, FOX “News”). Some of us read (and write) the incredibly vast amount of angst-fueled prose that clutters the cosmos. It is so easy to whine, blame, pitch a fit from the keyboard. No one understands that better than I do.
But here's the thing. What do we truly believe, as liberals? What is core for us? What is the bottom, bottom line that ties us together? And yeah, why not? What are we prepared to die for? These are real questions that beg real answers. In the penultimate analysis, that’s what’s missing, I believe. We are all (you, too, PBO) on auto-pilot with respect to our shared values. And I’m not talking here about a recitative of mealy-mouthed talking points. That’s bullshit. (barbara apologizes, albeit not very sincerely, for her potty-mouth).
What is it that is bedrock for us? Can you articulate that? I’m not going to do the work for you (partly because I’m on auto-pilot, too). But I think we need to get off our numb butts and talk about this, in clusters small and large. Oh, and did I say sooner than later?
In spite of all the vilification, some of this falls on us, as noted. Some, not all. I've quoted Anna Quindlen before, but a few months ago, she said, “If we want Barack Obama to be the president we elected, we need to be the people who elected him.” Amen, sister.