As the revelations of political manipulation and malfeasance in the FBI and the intelligence agencies under the Obama administration and the early Trump days oozes out of the slowly accelerating investigation of those events, and from the self-serving books of people who are prime targets for indictments, the character of the Democratic opposition is evolving in unusual and even exotic ways. The Clinton party, founded as “new Democrats” who favored the original Gulf War and whose standard bearer declared “the end of the era of big government,” has been renounced as abusive of women and generally insufficiently progressive. After 25 years as the Napoleon and Josephine of the Democracy, the Clintons have been banished to the broom closet, an embarrassment from another day.
The successor royal political couple, the Obamas, isn’t faring much better. He presided over the deluge of slime that his Justice Department, FBI, and intelligence agencies poured over the 2016 election and its aftermath, and that is now finally being exposed. The extent to which the former president was involved in the Clinton-email whitewash and the false applications for surveillance of the Trump campaign will become a matter of high public interest. Practically the entire Obama legacy was Obamacare, Green Empowerment and the Paris Climate Accord, and the Iran Nuclear Treaty. All were disasters and all have been dismembered or repudiated. Mr. Obama was cranking up to being a long-term, high-prestige ex-president. There have not been such since Mr. Truman and General Eisenhower. President Johnson and President Nixon and George W, Bush left office in too much controversy; President Ford and President Carter were not successful enough to have great impact, President Reagan was elderly and in declining health, President Bush Senior enjoyed a bit of it, but not the great eminence of Truman and Eisenhower, two-term victorious war-time leaders identified with great enterprises such as the Marshall Plan and the founding of NATO.
The Democrats placed all their bets on Hillary Clinton, and kept raising the ante in the misplaced belief that President Trump could be driven from office as a traitor, a crook, and an incompetent. They bet everything and will lose everything, and some of their prominent personalities will be doing the tap dance before the grand jury in the run-up to the next election. Their vast media claque will suffer a severe lapse of credibility and ratings, given how heavily invested they are in peddling hatred and contempt of the president, which has vastly exceeded fair comment and any acceptable standard of journalistic professionalism.
It is as these facts impend that this astonishing public marathon of Democratic presidential candidates has swarmed out of the undergrowth. Even highly informed Americans can scarcely have heard of at least half of those who are tossing their headgear into the ring. It seems that the wrong lesson has been drawn from the first election in history of a U.S. president who has never before sought or held elected or unelected public office or a high military command. This has been translated into the theory that anyone can be elected, but it misses the point. Donald Trump had been one of the most famous people in America for 25 years. He had pulled over 25 million people to his television program every week for 15 years, and had gone to great and calculated lengths to be well-known to relatively remote echelons of the voting public, such as the followers of professional wrestling. And he had polled carefully for 20 years and was aware of an immense build-up of voter discontent on bread-and-butter and social issues, and on the defeatism and vacillation of foreign-policy direction. He identified a possible majority of voters and placed himself carefully to be able to pitch to them.
This desultory parade of chipper, chirpy, wildly implausible, and unknown people putting themselves forward as the 44th successor to General George Washington at the head of the American people, as the sun sets on the impossible dream of reeling back and overturning the 2016 election, has proved a teeming breeding ground of completely unfeasible policy advocacy. An absurd ritual has developed, as unknown people pop up on our television screens, apologize for something in their obscure pasts as inadequately politically correct, and then stake out uncharted political waters. Spurred on by the ubiquitous and demiurgically verbose Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, an inexhaustible storehouse of naïve political opinions, these candidates outdo each other in policy fatuities. She proposed 70 percent tax rates on the highest personal incomes, and the venerable Bernie Sanders, two generations ahead of her, chimed in at 77 per cent. He and Ocasio-Cortez still fit the comparison I made recently of them with the old Marxist guru Herbert Marcuse and the Spanish Communist La Pasionaria.
California senator Kamala Harris took the plunge and confessed to smoking marijuana and being insensitive to some women’s causes when she was attorney general of California, and surged to the front of the heave to the left by calling for the nationalization of all health insurance. Though he had no apparent interest in running for president, the governor of Virginia, Ralph Northam, before his university-yearbook appearance in blackface or as a Klansman, preempted it — proposed the extinguishment of fully born babies, infanticide, if unspecified factors compromised their prospects. This got the more perfervid abortionists to their feet, eyes glowing and mouths ululating. Beto O’Rourke, defeated Senate candidate in Texas, the classic militant Irish-American choirboy, the bony, toothy, Bobby Kennedy look — frothing with self-righteousness like the parish boys’ boxing champion — not only opposes President Trump’s border, he wants such obstacles as there are removed. Y’all come to America.
Ms. Ocasio-Cortez surged back into the lead, (not that she is a presidential candidate at this point, but why not?), with a fascistic green plan that declared war on all non-renewable energy, called for the retrofitting of every building in the country and the end of air and automotive travel, and incited visions of vast brigades (doubtless from what would be the innumerable masses of the unemployed), diapering the nation’s cows to save the eco-system from their flatulence. The other candidates embraced “the aspiration” although the authors of the report only deviated out of environmental matters to give a fully livable minimum income to everyone, regardless of whether they had any ambition to work or not. The congresswoman was also among those New Yorkers who opposed a $3 billion tax concession to Amazon for building a technical center in Long Island City that would employ 25,000 people earning an average of $125,000 a year. She should go to night school to brush up her arithmetic. Even the socialist mayor, Bill de Blasio, took his place with the reactionaries and sided with Jeff Bezos (Amazon owner and America’s wealthiest person), who may wonder if he doesn’t have more in common with his fellow billionaire Donald Trump than with the gang of loopies he has been promoting among the Democrats through his ownership of the once respected Washington Post.
Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, who has no qualifications whatever to be president, announced the establishment of her “committee” while holding hands with the moronic late-night motormouth Stephen Colbert. Sherrod Brown and Amy Klobuchar have been less inane than their rivals, though Klobuchar had some trouble explaining on Fox News how Minnesota had to do better than it was under Trump because of its labor shortage, i.e. the absence of unemployment (2.8 percent), not normally a sign of distressed times. New Jersey senator Cory Booker seemed to spend a whole week wearing the same t-shirt in the same classroom in Iowa talking at the same seven people and comparing climate change to Nazism. Mercifully, Pocahontas is talking to herself.
Michael Bloomberg, almost the only one of them who has had a serious career, has periodically referred to the dangers of political insanity that can arise on Election Day. The third of the septuagenarian section of the Democratic marathon, with Bloomberg and Sanders, the inevitable Joe Biden, well described by my colleague on this site Jonah Goldberg as having “a hot-air balloon for a brain,” announced at the Munich Security Conference that he was “embarrassed” by President Trump. The same person at the same place said nine years ago that the new Obama administration would “reset” relations with the Russia. That idea took some strange turns, but Biden knows that American political candidates don’t attack their opponents when in foreign countries. It is one of those things that aren’t done.
If whoever limps through the Democratic nomination process looks and sounds anything like this group and is weighed down by the hare-brained nostrums the party worthies have been spouting in the last few months, they will provide an entertaining variation on what will then be the lengthy and numerous legal trials of some of the stars of the Clinton and Obama administrations.
Never in American history has a political figure been so underestimated as Donald Trump, as will be very clear on Election Night next year.