Hello Jell-O

In 1988, Mike Tyson and Michael Spinks fought for the undisputed heavyweight title in what was billed as one of the greatest fights in history. Ironically, the event was held in the now-defunct Tr-mp Plaza Hotel and Casino in New Jersey. Tr-mp called the fight a “monster.”

It lasted 91 seconds.

According to Wikipedia, Image result for mike tyson vs. michael spinksSpinks, the loser, conceded that “fear was knocking at my door big time.” Tyson (who today is a Tr-mper) reportedly said, “The first punch I threw, he wobbled a bit. I knew right there I had him.”

Sound familiar?

I don’t know what could have been more predictable than the outcome of the Senate Democrats’ efforts to get a deal on DACA and the DREAMers in exchange for the necessary votes to keep the government running. And I don’t know what could have been more predictable than how the press would cover the whole thing—as a fight with a clear winner and a clear loser.

CNN’s Jake Tapper is about as mainstream as journalists come. He is conventional in his view of politics and how to cover it. He began his Sunday news show with words straight from a fight promoter’s lexicon: “Shutdown showdown.” Senate Democrats, not being idiots, knew how the press would cover this story. It wasn’t hard to figure out: Who would blink first? Who would be able to take the tough punches? Who would stand and fight until they won? Now, after we have witnessed the political equivalent of a 91-second fight, we know the answers: Senate Democrats blinked first. They were unable to take a punch. And Republicans stood and fought until they won.

And you know why the Republicans won this political fight? Because they’re ruthless assholes. And in order to beat them, you have to either fight like ruthless assholes or you have to outsmart them. Democrats did neither one. They were Michael Spinks and found fear knocking at their door bigtime. Republicans were Mike Tyson—who once got pissed off during a fight and gnawed both of Evander Holyfield’s ears—who saw Democrats wobble a bit after the first punch was thrown and they knew they had Democrats then and there.

The wobble came when Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer met with Tr-mp last Friday. Schumer, who by now ought to know he can’t trust Tr-mp, admitted he offered to pay some amount of money for Tr-mp’s colossally stupid border wall. That was it. Fear had knocked on Schumer’s door and he answered it. Talk about Jell-O. Republicans then, sensing a sure victory, ratcheted up the rhetoric, including an unforgivable racist advertisement paid for by the Tr-mp campaign, an ad that Democrats answered by caving in to Mitch McConnell, allowing Tr-mp and his ugly apologists to claim victory for him.

The truth is that Democrats, the party of government, should never have, without a clear strategy and commitment to win, jumped into the shut-down-the-government ring with ruthless assholes who don’t much like government in the first place. Democrats are the good guys when it comes to the value of government and the services it provides, and using a shutdown as leverage runs contrary to their nature. They aren’t vicious cutthroats who use our troops as props in a sick game of chicken. They aren’t callous schmucks who use anti-immigrant racism to appeal to the worst instincts of some Americans and stoke resentment in others. That’s why Senate Democrats had to use their smarts, not their ruthlessness, to help the DREAMers.

And it just wasn’t very smart for them to get into a fight unless they were prepared to take some hard punches and still keep fighting. Clearly they weren’t. And the only thing that was accomplished by their well-meaning efforts, was that they look weaker than they really are. Senate Democrats can, with the filibuster, keep some bad things from happening to the country and help get a few good things done, like, possibly, a decent DACA-DREAMer bill. But behind that filibuster strategy has to be a willingness to, when it matters, stand in the ring and slug it out with Mitch McConnell, who is as ruthless as they come and as big an asshole as exists in Washington.

Speaking of assholes, one of Jake Tapper’s guests on his Sunday program was Mike Mulvaney, Tr-mp’s budget director and a former congressman who was one of the most zealous right-wingers imaginable. Tapper played a clip of Mulvaney—who supported the supposedly infamous shutdown in 2013 when Obama was in office—being asked if “the fight” in 2013 was worth it. Mulvaney said at the time:

MULVANEY: It was. Any time you fight for something you really believe in, and something you think is important, then the fight is — the fight is going to be worth it. If you stand up for what you believe in, I think you’ll always end up on the right side of things.

Apparently, Mulvaney was right. There he was on CNN and elsewhere on Sunday, four years and four months after that disgraceful shutdown in 2013, riding high as a proud member of the Tr-mp administration, enjoying his party’s complete control of every branch of the federal government. Neither he nor his party paid a price for their attempt to hold the country hostage for 17 days just because Republicans like Mulvaney and Ted Cruz did not like Obamacare. It didn’t hurt them a bit, as we are reminded every day when Tr-mp and Paul Ryan and Mitch McConnell torment us with their presence. Democrats, when the next fight comes up, need to remember that. If DREAMers are worth fighting for, and if Republicans insist again on getting in a ring and having it out, then that’s what needs to be done—without political fear.

Michael Spinks, who lasted 91 seconds against Mike Tyson in 1988, retired and never fought another fight. Senate Democrats don’t have that option. They are elected officials who were put in office by their voters to do the right thing and fight the good fight. If they aren’t willing to do that when it matters, then Democratic primary voters should send them into retirement.

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22 Comments

  1. Ben Field

     /  January 22, 2018

    Duane,

    In all fairness, there were 18 Democratic Senators that voted against ending the shutdown. THOSE are my Senators, not Claire, who despite my family calling her to stick firm until DACA was settled. What kind of idiot thinks the GOP will keep their word later, if they won’t do it now. My disgust today is not from Republicans, but from Democratic Senators that cowered.

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  2. Yes, there were 18, but some of them have an eye on the 2020 Democratic presidential primary.

    Strangely, Jon Tester was one of the 18. That’s strange because I thought Democrats like him were supposed to be scared of the issue. He actually turned the issue away from immigration to community health centers in his state. That was the way he thought he should handle it for his own political interests in his upcoming election.

    Which leads us to Claire. I think you’re being a little hard on her. I don’t think for a minute that she believes this will turn out well because McConnell made a nuanced “promise.” I think she felt vulnerable on the military funding issue, since she has been so pro-military in her career and didn’t want to give her future opponent any leverage. I don’t agree with what she did (because she’ll get tarred anyway), but she’s our only chance of retaining that Senate seat this year. My hope is that she is looking at the long-term, hoping Democrats can take over the House and some semblance of sanity will return, so that senators won’t have to legislate according to the lowest denominator in the Tea Party-controlled House.

    I’m just trying to put a good face on it, I suppose.

    Duane

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    • Ben Field

       /  January 22, 2018

      Duane,

      Claire introduced the proposal to keep the military paid, which McConnell wouldn’t even bring to the floor, which gave her all the cover she needed as the GOP would be culpable for the non-payment. So, I don’t think I am being to hard on her. It is as your post says, you fight fire with fire, if you’re not prepared, get out of the ring. You cannot put a good face on the aptly titled jello wrestling you described. Color me highly disappointed.

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      • I saw her on television this morning. Essentially, she is saying and doing what she has always said and done as a Senator in this state. She’s saying and doing what she thinks she has to do to win (and, of course, not abandoning core principles). I disagree with her on many of her tactics, but she has won twice. If we lose her seat, there is zero chance of taking over the Senate (it is already close to zero).

        I, too, was disappointed but not surprised. Claire is a fighter, that is undeniable (I’ve posted some of her better moments over the years; she’s no Joe Manchin). She is just not an ear-biter in the ring. She tries to fight smart, given the state we live in. We can all question whether she should have done this or that. Nothing wrong with that (I think she should have taken the Tester approach and made the fight a local one, focusing on Missourians).

        But when it comes down to it, she is not going to lose a primary race, not in this state (Jason Kander is the only Missouri Dem of any stature who could take her down, and he’s not gonna do that; the bench is not very deep in this state and that is a problem). And we are left with the reality that it is her or another Blunt type in the Senate. If we as Democrats constructively criticize her, that’s acceptable. But if we destructively criticize her, that is not. I think what we are doing on here is the former and not the latter. And I appreciate that.

        Duane

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  3. RDG,

    I’ve heard the spin put on this by local Claire supporters, who rationalize her vote as being both moderate and pragmatic. The rationale appears to be that the CHIP program is no longer a hostage for Republicans to hold over a DACA vote. This overly optimistic reasoning assumes McConnell is going to magically morph into a bipartisan, good faith negotiator, and Ryan will convince the hard-right, immigrant bashing Freedom Caucus to do the right thing, and allow the Dreamers a path to citizenship.

    If snatching defeat from the jaws of victory is seen as something to be defended as pragmatic, maybe someone will decide to primary Claire, and run as a Democrat.

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    • Ben Field

       /  January 22, 2018

      Juan Don,

      You would have my vote today in a primary against Claire. It seems we need fighters to deal with the racist liars on the other side. Luckily, the GOP doesn’t fight like the Trump supporting, rapist Tyson, they’re more of the draft-dodging Donny type. Physical prowess is not necessary, just the strong will and nerve to stand up for American values.

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    • Juan,

      I ain’t buying any of the spin. I’ve seen it all by now and I just ain’t buying it (even Claire tried it this morning on TV). It was a dumb play by the Dems because they had no second step. They had plenty of time to think this thing through and should have either decided to take the deal early and claim a victory over CHIP, or have a plan that dealt with Republican recalcitrance and the horrible demagoguery they should have expected from Tr-mp/Pence. But they didn’t. Maybe next time they will.

      As it is, right now I don’t see a DACA deal getting through the House without all kinds of bullshit attached to it that will piss off base voters on our side. So, my opinion is to fight like hell for the real thing and force the bastards to either accept a relatively clean DACA bill (there is some wiggle room on border security) or not. Then if they refuse, advertise the hell out of what they have done, with ICE men knocking on doors and throwing fathers and mothers and doctors out of the fucking country in the middle of the night. I don’t think another shutdown strategy is worth a damn now. It is clear there is no stomach for it and it will just backfire again. So, put DACA up in some acceptable form and dare the assholes to can it. In the end, if Americans want this to be a shithole country, they can have the whole goddamned place, as far as I’m concerned.

      As for a primary against McCaskill, as I said, there is no Democrat in this state, besides Jason Kander, who has the stature to compete against her and he’s not going to do that. We need to win more state-wide races in more places, if we want nice things in this fucking state.

      Duane

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      • RDG,

        I understand the political posturing involved in McCaskill’s decision to vote against the shutdown, and Schumer’s decision allowing her to go on-camera and force McConnell’s objection to her proposal for a clean resolution funding the military. She was in trouble last election until Todd Akin revealed himself to be such a spook brain that not even the Holy Ghost itself could erase the concept of “legitimate rape” from the minds of voters who do not bring poisonous snakes to church. That said, once again liberals — like myself — are compelled to chose between the least objectionable candidate. But your right about there being no viable replacement in the near future. We’ll have to cross our fingers and hope she votes to impeach Lumpy should the fates give us a Democratic-controlled Senate, assuming all her maneuvers for self-protection are not in vain.

        As it stands now, unless the Republicans cave on protecting Dreamers for some money for Lumpy’s damned wall, the Democrats have no choice but to force another shutdown. Let the chips fall where they may. The stakes are too high for capitulation.

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        • Juan,

          I like to remind people that if it weren’t for Todd Akin, there would be no Senator Claire McCaskill right now. I am confident she would have lost to a “normal” Republican, whatever the hell that is these days. Oddly, I think she’s in a stronger position now because of the energy on our side among the stronger sex: the women.

          As far as what the Dems should do, I just don’t see enough of them with the stomach for a shutdown or debt-ceiling fight. It would only take about a dozen of them (or less, depending on how Paul and Lee vote) to defect and make the whole thing moot. I see, though, a fairly simple strategy available to them. Announce to the country that they will not play games with shutting down the government, as they believe government is vital to a healthy country. Simultaneously, announce that they will not accept anything short of a clean deal to protect the DREAMers. No wall, no bullshit. Clean. Write up the legislation and dare the GOP to say no. As it stands, countless Republicans are on record as saying they support the DREAMers and will not leave them hanging. Democrats should call their bluff. I would guess all 48 Democrats will stand strong on that one, with no defections.

          As it is though, it appears we are once again on the road to nowhere, or perhaps worse, on the road to a ridiculous compromise involving all kinds of issues extraneous to the plight of the DREAMers. So, here we go again.

          RDG

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          • RDG,

            Paul Ryan is the prohibitive favorite should there be an Emptiest Suit in Congress contest. I watched the clip of Ayn Rand’s bastard child assuage a Dreamer with assurances that he’s on board with protecting her from two-faced politicians like himself. So, yes, let the Democratic Party in both chambers call for a clean bill that protects Dreamers, without any rotten attachments-as-baggage.

            Assuming Schumer is serious about no cash for Trump’s fascination with stone and barbed wire Cold War relics, standing firm will throw it back to Ryan/McConnell to debate the political consequences of deporting nearly a million people born in the United States, some of whom either served or are currently serving in the military: Support the troops by kicking them out of the country.,

            Besides, it’s as likely Mexico will pay for a wall as it is Lumpy will resign, and help Jimmy Carter build houses for Habitat for Humanity. If manual labor is too taxing for the “healthiest President ever”, Lumpy could opt for devoting his remaining time and money sharing the Good Book with blond porn stars.

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          • RDG,

            Last night, I caught a clip of Paul Ryan, prohibitive favorite to win an Emptiest Suit in Congress contest, assuage a Dreamer that he had her back regarding fears over deportation. And then, I watched her react to Ayn Rand’s bastard child’s previous assurance with well-founded concern.

            This evening, I listened to an audio replay of Lumpy telling White House reporters that he could see supporting a bill that provided citizenship for Dreamers if his stone replica of a Cold War relic and other hard-line immigration policies were included. Once again, Dreamers find themselves a bargaining chip in negotiations with people not known for keeping their promises. I can’t see where Schumer can get a clean DACA bill through both chambers without conceding to fully fund Lumpy’s wall. And even then, conditions imposed by Republicans for which Dreamer meets the criteria for staying could leave many at the mercy of ICE deportation squads. A path to nowhere, indeed.

            Faux News is still telling their aging white audience that Mexico will eventually pay for wall, even if taxpayers have to initially fork over a hundred billion dollars. This scenario is as likely as Lumpy resigning and deciding to help Jimmy Carter build houses for Habitat for Humanity, or joining ex-con Jim Bakker in his missionary work targeting busty blond porn stars.

            Perhaps I’m being too caustic. After all, Faux News is all over the story that the FBI is corrupted by a secret society in arrears on their Illuminati dues.

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  4. Ben,

    I appreciate your sentiment, but someone else will have to run that race. Maybe a younger progressive with a resume of service/government experience will decide to toss his or her hat in the ring.

    Like many Missouri Democrats, I’m tired of hearing that a candidate has to moderate their positions in order to try and placate the delicate sensibilities of god-bothering bigots. It would be nice to begin the change locally by firing Billy “Houdini” Long. Replacing him with someone who at least shows up for town hall meetings and doesn’t disappear when invited to debate his challengers is not only the right thing to do, but saves his Dark Money handlers serious coin on dinner/bar tabs…not to mention his frequent flying trips to Las Vegas. They are fiscal conservatives, after all.

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  5. Were there any surprises among the cowards? Bluedogs (depending on how far you want to carry that term beyond the usual suspects) are necessary evils until the core of a true progressive movement takes hold. Many of today’s Dems are just warmed over 70’s Republicans. The slickest thing the GOP and their Moral Majority buddies ever did was turn the term “liberal” into a dirty word.

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    • I don’t know why it is so hard for folks to understand that Joe Manchin, as pissed off as he can make most of us, is the only chance we have in a land where, as you say, “liberal” and “democrat” have been demonized so thoroughly that it is a wonder that he can even win there (especially in an off-year election). There are days I want to hit him over his head with a beer bottle. Then there are days I realize that his replacement could be a effing freak like Ted Cruz. 

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  6. ansonburlingame

     /  January 23, 2018

    OK, a different perspective. 81% of the Senate decided that compromise was needed to keep the government running. 18% said no, it is worth the fight to …… (do what exactly, overthrown Trump maybe) to really shut it down, the whole government.

    EXCEPT of course the government never shutdown, really and any politician that really wants to shut it down and keep it shutdown would be aligning themselves with revolutionaries, like Lenin and Mao. Remember, a real shutdown does not pay the military, but it also does not pay ………….

    I do however see why you all join this cause, this “resistance” which is evolving itself into a virulent revolution to overthrow an elected president. Thankfully, so far, you are only a part of the “the 18%”.

    If this recent Senate vote is any indication of the “will of the people”, I can only hope the Democratic Party will nominate some left wing fire brand, calling himself the “resistance” but seen as a revolutionary by many, and allow an 80% majority to run the country while you scream to shut it down.

    Anson

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    • Ben Field

       /  January 23, 2018

      Anson,

      Is it “resistance” when McConnell refused to hold hearings on Merrick Garland for over a year? Is it “resistance” when the party of no shut down the government in 2013? Was it a virulent revolution to overthrow the government then? If not, then you are as hypocritical as the other parasites in your party. Don’t even say you’re not a member, nobody is buying it.

      DACA citizens have never lived in any other country than the USA, and many have contributed far more to society than you or I. We are an immigrant nation unless you’re Native American, and the Republican immigrant standard bearer wishes to deport over 800,000 decent people whose love for this country’s values far exceed his own.

      Your kind and your party are dying, and the future is inclusive, even as your party attempts it’s nationalist, us against the world folly. Do you really believe this to be an intelligent policy? If so, you are beyond redemption, and no one will mourn you or your party’s passing. If the “Democrat Party” had taken meetings with Russian agents for dirt on a Republican candidate, you would be calling for people to take up arms against the traitors.

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    • I don’t know what you have been reading. Or smoking. 

      “Overthrow an elected president”? Where the fuck did that come from? 

      It sounds like you have had a conversion to Tr-mpism, Anson. 

      My point was that if Dems were going to use the Republican strategy of holding the government hostage, they shouldn’t do it and then fall to the canvas when the first punch was thrown. I don’t happen to think government shutdowns are effective for doing much of anything, but once that was the plan then, by God, stick to it until you get something out of it. 

      In the mean time, apparently you haven’t been paying attention to the elections that have happened since Tr-mp took office. Lots and lots of people in the resistance have won races—in Republican places. They are not revolutionaries in the way you are, for some reason I can’t fathom, trying to suggest. 

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  7. ansonburlingame

     /  January 23, 2018

    Back only to you Duane. I leave comments to other resistance fighters (revolutionaries?) to others to make.

    Since about one day after the election you joined the “resistance”. OK, that is fine with me to resist the outcome of an election. But what has been your goal all along? It has been, as far as I can see, to remove Trump from office by any means (ok, legal but that is a stretch) possible. No compromise allowed, Just get him the hell out of office, no matter what, including now you support those that in fact voted to shutdown the Gov, last Friday and your supporters demean McCaskill for flip flopping from that Fri vote to the one to reopen it 3 days later.

    Where are Mc’s PRINCIPLES to vote one way then 3 days later the opposite? That is nothing more than a slick political trick and you know it.

    The government is nothing more than the promises it makes and those promises are called LAWS and the commitment to pay lots of people lots of money, iaw with LAWS. You may not like those promises, but they are in fact the law. So a vote to shutdown government is a vote for the government to break the promises made to you, me and every other American citizen. In fact the vote to shutdown the government is a vote to abdicate the rule of law. No money no cops, jails, courts, you name it. Ah but of course some unpaid sailor will still man the buttons to shoot down a Korean nuc, right???

    Yep, the GOP did it so why not Dems, right. That is one of the big reasons I support, actually I “resist” both Goddamned “Parties”. I am sick of being told the GOP is “my party”, herein and I have refuted that accusation time and again, herein. But jerks keep telling me that and now you accuse me of reverting to “trumpism”.

    ENOUGH!!!

    Anson

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    • Ben Field

       /  January 23, 2018

      Anson,

      You have not made one damn comment condemning Trump and GOP “nationalism”. You accuse us of being revolutionaries for opposing policies that are antithetical to American ideals. If you are not against Trumpism, by default, you support it with your silence. I don’t remember you complain when Garland was shunned, and for you to say that you don’t identify as a Republican past or present is utter bullshit. You’ll get no static if you want to bemoan what your party has become, but you don’t, you accuse us of being radical jerks. Expect return fire, Captain.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Anson,

      Correction: I was in the resistance long before the election.

      Now, I don’t know where you get the idea that the resistance is about non-legal means, but you keep suggesting it. That’s bullshit. And as far as the legal means of removal, perhaps you could explain why there is a goddamned impeachment procedure woven into the Constitution? Just for laughs? There is a legal process for a reason. And if what Tr-mp has done (begging a foreign adversary for help and then obstructing justice) and is doing (emoluments, continuing to obstruct justice), then I don’t know why we don’t just forget all about impeaching anyone. Fuck “law and order.”

      Further, and again, my only point on the shutdown was for Democrats to pick a tactic and stick with it long enough to find out if it will work. And again, I’m not an advocate of shutting down government. I don’t think that’s a good long-term strategy for Democrats for two reasons. One, it only encourages the other side when they’re in the minority. And, two, how can we argue for the essential role of government if we are so willing to shut it down?

      I don’t have the slightest idea what you’re talking about when you say McCaskill flipped on her votes. She voted against the shutdown and voted in favor of opening up the government. Are you paying attention at all?

      Finally, go read what you wrote that caused me to consider whether you had embraced Tr-mpism. It sounded very much like you are okay with the present situation: a lawless man who is destroying one national institution after another, all the while making us a joke internationally and jeopardizing our kids’ future for nothing but satisfying his insatiable vanity.

      Duane

      Liked by 1 person

      • Ben Field

         /  January 25, 2018

        Duane,

        Perhaps Anson’s nautical history doesn’t favor progressive’s “cut of the jib” or perhaps he is “three sheets to the wind”, but I think this calls for a meeting of “the secret society” to ponder whatever means necessary to overthrow the government. If my texts or comments had been heard the day after the election, one would certainly have thought me an anarchist. It’s no less ridiculous than Trey Gowdy’s assertions.

        Liked by 1 person

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