If you’re a pretty steady reader here maybe you’ve noticed that I don’t really write about politics in a direct way anymore. I generally don’t talk about what’s going on in Congress or the White House, or get into the details of who’s making what claim against whom, or take great care to unpack the daily dramas and behind-the-scenes machinations that make Washington DC tick and ostensibly make the government function. I don’t do any of this for the very obvious reason that the government doesn’t function anymore and I’ve simply given up caring one way or the other.
It used to be that I could passionately expound on the reasons for continuing to have faith in us — faith that regardless of how dark it may sometimes seem, the system itself is a miraculous thing and the grand experiment that is America is an institution still worth fighting for and holding in high regard. I used to be able to do that. I can’t anymore. And for the life of me I don’t have the slightest fucking clue how anyone with a brain could argue with me at this point. What happened tonight, while it can certainly be seen as an inevitable setback on the road to a lasting sea change in U.S. politics — with our demographic shift all but assuring it — is just impossible to get your head around. Let me clarify: it’s impossible to get your head around if you don’t have the IQ of a donut.
It’s one thing for the Republicans as an abstract proposition — the Republican “brand name” that’s existed for decades — to retake the Senate and be granted control of two-thirds of our government. That’s happened plenty of times before in many, many elections; it’s how our system is set up. But many of the actual people who make up the Republican party in the year 2014 — not only shouldn’t they be winning elections, they’re barely qualified to be out walking the streets without someone armed with a tranq rifle following close behind them.
Joni Ernst won tonight. The woman whose campaign ads had her pointing guns at the camera and promising to “unload on Obamacare.” She talked about castrating pigs in her ads. And she’s now one of the 100 supposedly exemplary Americans who can call themselves United States Senators. Rick Scott was reelected governor of Florida. Rick Scott was found guilty of 14 felonies for running a healthcare company as a criminal enterprise. He had to pay the government back $600 million he bilked from it — and he’s now been elected to run Florida, twice. Mitch McConnell has spent the past four years doing literally nothing but, well, nothing. He’s basically just sat around with his arms crossed in the hope that it will in some way lead to the President of the United States being punished for his obstinance and incompetence.
And you know what? It worked. For years now the GOP has deliberately sabotaged the government to the point of near collapse (literally, a couple of times), and it was all done with the idea that the crazier they behaved the more the public they’re supposed to serve would be likely to blame it on the guy in the White House. And motherfuck if that gambit didn’t pay off in spades tonight. The Republicans have been rewarded by the people of this country for refusing to do their jobs, for turning every little thing into an Impeachment Level Event — and you already know that’s what’s coming now that they have both houses, right? — and for setting out from the very beginning to purposely thwart the perfectly reasonable centrist in the White House at every turn and cast him as an illegitimate Kenyan terrorist anti-Christ.
“We the People” gave them back the keys to the car they’ve not only spent the past six years slow-motion crashing but the one they drove into a nuclear reactor over and over again for the eight years before that. And this is why I just don’t care anymore. I can’t. Joseph de Maistre famously said that every nation gets the government that it deserves — and it sure as hell looks like this the government we deserve. If we’re this clueless, this easily swayed by the narrative whiplash of social media meme culture and this easily willing to forgive such corruption and stupidity, then we’ve earned this largely inept, hopelessly gridlocked government. It feels as if we were taken hostage by the inmates of an asylum and rather than refusing to bargain, we just handed the whole facility over because we were tired of the noise. Believe it or not, that’s the only at least somewhat understandable excuse I can think of for what happened tonight: people just gave them what they wanted in the hope of ending their insanity.
Because the only other option is that we are, now, officially an Idiocracy.
Chez Pazienza was the beating heart of The Daily Banter, sadly passing away on February 25, 2017. His voice remains ever present at the Banter, and his influence as powerful as ever.