Dear Barack

Dear Barack,

Yep. It was a tough night. I, too, wonder if Alison Lundergan Grimes, who lost to Mitch McConnell by a whopping 15 points, is sorry she didn’t admit she voted for you. Or, maybe, she didn’t vote for you! That would explain a lot.

I’m writing to tell you not to dwell on the defeats last night, even though you said your policies were on the ballot. Everyone makes mistakes and saying such a thing turned out to be a dumb one, but at least it had the benefit of being true. Obviously, some of your policies were on the ballot; it’s just that too many Democrats didn’t bother to defend them. It probably wouldn’t have made much difference, though. The fact is that Americans are in no mood to hear the truth, as the Ebola mess and the vastly improved economy have made clear. As I heard Alexandra Pelosi say last night, “One of the curses of being a Democrat is that the people don’t vote to say ‘thank you.'” She’s right you know. The people Democrats are trying to help often don’t bother to show up to help the Democrats. So don’t take it too personally.

Here’s what you should do now: nothing. Oh, you should publicly make a show of saying you want to work with Congress, with John Boehner and Mitch McConnell. Tell all the folks you are ready to do the “80% of things we agree on” and all that stuff. But, really, it should be all talk. There’s nothing in it for you and, more important, there’s nothing in it for the country. Why? Because anything of consequence that can get passed in the reactionary-controlled House of Representatives—yes, Tea Party types will still run things, no matter what Tom Brokaw says about how “the GOP showed the Tea Party the door”—is not likely going to be anything worth signing and not likely anything that will help the country.

Just keep acting like you want to work with the obstructionists and, when they inevitably refuse to offer you anything of value, be sure to loudly blame it on them. Like they have done to you for years now. What’s the worst that can happen? Gridlock? That turned out to be a winning strategy for Republicans. It’s our turn now. Besides that, they shouldn’t be rewarded for such creepy cynicism that has brought them control of Congress. It will never stop if they are. You owe it to the country to let them, now that they have governing power and therefore responsibility, squirm in dysfunction.

In the Senate, Republicans won’t have Harry Reid to kick around anymore. Ol’ Mitch is in charge now, as hard as that is to stomach. And, God, I hope that story about you being “liberated from deferring to Harry Reid” is all bullshit. Surely you know better than that. But here’s the thing: McConnell has his own problems in the Senate. He’s got more than a few nuts there to crack, and some new ones now to go along with them. Ted Cruz has already been running his zealous mouth and he will put the pressure on Mitch to be much more radical than he wants to be. Cruz will use the Senate floor and committee hearings to trash-talk you and gum up the works, which means Mitch will eventually have to make a decision: feed the radicals or marginalize them. Let him swing in the wind as long as you can. Don’t give him any quick and generous deals. After all, Mitch knows 2016 is just a stone’s throw away. He knows that his fortunes today can be gone faster than you can say, “Don’t boo, vote!”—by the way, why didn’t more Democratic folks do that yesterday?

In any case, Republicans may tempt you by attaching crappy amendments to necessary appropriation bills that keep the guv’mint running. They may try to chip away at the Affordable Care Act by making devastating changes and attaching them to legislation you otherwise like. They’re certainly going to dare you to use your veto pen. Well, ink it up, buddy. You’re probably going to need it, after Mitch gets things in order in the Senate. I mean, if he gets things in order. Among other things, he’ll have to get that ball-clipper Joni Ernst—a radical extremist whose extremism the media largely ignored in favor of her folksy castration fixation—to be more pig-friendly, as well as keep her from droning on about that Agenda 21 conspiracy and how zygotes are people too.

Oh, before I forget: don’t worry about that impeachment stuff. Unless you go really crazy on your executive orders on immigration and climate change, they won’t dare to risk their majorities in 2016 trying to impeach you. You can thank Bill Clinton for that—and, by the way, the Clintons sure had a bad night, eh? A lot of folks they campaigned for got, as you said in 2010, shellacked! I remember when pundits were saying how Bubba could so much better relate to those rednecks, I mean, Southern Gentlemen. Didn’t work out that way. Ask Mark Pryor, an Arkansan like Bill, and Ms. Grimes, who sort of considered Bill her political papa. And neither Clinton was all that effective in Iowa, as Senator-elect Ernst will tell ya. Rand Paul has already been rubbing their noses in it, as he makes plans for what he thinks will be his epic battle with Hillary. That’s another problem Mitch will face: keeping presidential aspirants Paul and Cruz and Marco Rubio from stooge-slapping each other in front of the cameras.

But, hey, back to impeachment. In case you’re in a fightin’ mood, go ahead and go balls-to-the-wall on the immigration thing. Free as many of those folks as you want to and sit back and enjoy the three-ring circus in Congress that ensues. I, for one, would pay to see that show. Dammit, the more I think about it the more I want you to do it. Come on, Barack. Let loose a little bit and have some fun! The worst that could happen is that Joe Biden would have to light the White House Christmas tree. In the mean time millions of undocumented immigrants will have a Merry Christmas!

Look, your biggest worry is that the God Of Mercy will call some Supreme Court justice home, or to that big courtroom in the sky, in the next two years. Man, what if Clarence Thomas drowns in Rush Limbaugh’s hot tub? Have you thought about that? That would be a real problem. It would be hard for you to sneak a nominee by that wily farmer-not-a-lawyer from Iowa, Chuck Grassley, who will be the chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee. That guy can smell a liberal a corn field away. You’d be lucky to get Sam Alito confirmed. But, hell, try it anyway. Dare the bastards to deny you your choice. And if they do, send them an even more liberal nominee. And if they deny that one, send them Bill Maher. That would be a trip. Point is, don’t give in and nominate someone you, and history, will regret. Be bold. Ronald Reagan got Antonin Scalia on the Court for God’s sake. Try to one-up him. Do it for the Gipper!

Finally, you have to look on the bright side. Even though a lot of dopes won last night, dope did too. Recreational pot won handily in Oregon and Alaska and, uh, in Washington, D.C. You and the fellas ought to light up a blunt and rest easy for awhile.

The burden now is all on the Republicans. And 2016, where we will have all the advantages, is only 25 full-moons away.

Your faithful friend,
Duane

7 Comments

  1. King Beauregard

     /  November 5, 2014

    I had cause to post this over on Salon (if you can find the post you’ll learn my secret identity over there plus make a guess at what sort of movies I like to watch):

    According to exit polls, 23% of 2014 voters considered themselves liberal; that’s consistent with the 23% of Americans overall who consider themselves liberal:

    http://www.politico.com/story/2014/11/exit-polls-2014-republican-democrat-turnout-112505.html?hp=l4

    http://politicalticker.blogs.cnn.com/2014/01/10/poll-percentage-of-liberals-on-the-rise-but-still-trails-conservatives/

    In other words, liberals voted in no greater proportion than any other random group you want to identify: “Glee” fans, go-cart mechanics, Elvis impersonators. And the question I have is: why the hell didn’t liberals vote in numbers? If you are the smartest, wisest, most advanced demographic with the ideas that could save this nation, then isn’t it incumbent upon you to vote in numbers?

    And especially this year, with what appears to be a historically low turnout rate: this would be the perfect year to make your numbers heard. In a year when everyone else is sitting at home, a dedicated 23% can conceivably amount to a majority of voters.

    This is why I call you The Worst Demographic: you’re the most demanding, yet least willing to get off your asses. And you get outmaneuvered by the Teabaggers — the god damn Teabaggers — because for all their faults, at least they grasp the connection between voting and pushing an agenda. Hell, the Teabaggers make a point of primarying candidates to their liking; they’ve taken the go-to excuse for liberal inaction — “none of the candidates meet my high standards” — and found a way to solve the problem. The Teabaggers may have garbage ideas, but god damn if you couldn’t learn from them.

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  2. I agree with your letter to Barry, Duane, and my favorite part was

    Man, what if Clarence Thomas drowns in Rush Limbaugh’s hot tub? Have you thought about that? That would be a real problem.

    Yes, judicial appointments are the greatest likely consequence of the 2014 mid-term election, and ironically, they are responsible for a lot of what happened. I’m talking about Citizens United. Robert Reich wrote a fabulous (pun intended) tongue-in-cheek about it in this morning’s paper.

    Short-term craziness will always be with us because social media, the tabloids, and Faux news now have a permanent place in our culture, thus insuring that public fear will trump thoughtful planning every time. The unnecessary ebola fiasco proved that to me. The tail has become bigger than the dog. But it’s the judicial branch that will most mold the future. That’s scary as hell.

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  3. By the way and P.S., I understand convicted felon Rick Scott won reelection in Florida, and for an apparent peek at the future in the sunshine state under GOP governance, check out this clip.

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  4. Oops, my bad. Apparently Rick Scott is not a convicted felon. I apologize for not checking my facts and relying on memory. The truth is only this:

    Scott was a Republican millionaire businessman in Naples who built his career around the health care industry. Scott was forced out of the company he formed, Columbia/HCA, in 1997 amid lawsuits over Medicare billing practices that ultimately led to a $1.7 billion federal fine.

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    • He should have been a convicted felon, it appears. If his name had been Jamal and he had merely done something like possess any form of cocaine in Florida, he would most certainly have been a “convicted felon” and may have gone to the slammer for up to five years. But his name was Rick and his company was screwing the government so, heck, let’s make him governor!

      You’ll probably be happy to know, though, that Republican Michael Grimm, who is under a federal indictment for tax fraud and other highfalutin’ crimes, handily won reelection last night on Staten Island. He smashed his crime-less Democratic opponent 55-42. Grimm, you may remember, threatened to toss a reporter off a balcony in the Capitol because the reporter had the nerve to ask him about the federal investigation.

      You have to love democracy, if nothing else for the comedy.

      Duane

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      • You have to love democracy, if nothing else for the comedy.

        Indeed, and now that the GOP will soon own the whole legislative branch it will be interesting to see how they plan to butcher-up ObamaCare. It seems to me that calls for simple repeal over the next two years would be real meat for SNL, et. al., so I hope they’ll have to get specific. I hope they try – something is needed to wake up Democratic voters.

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