I always hated math in high school, mostly because I disliked the teacher; but I need to qualify that and say it was actually “higher maths” I hated – the second year of algebra and trigonometry. Prior to that, I was really rather good, especially in geometry.
If I remember nothing more from my geometry course, I remember this: that the base of a triangle is its broadest part. “Base” means that bit of a triangle or a building that supports the structure at its lowest level. It grounds or anchors said structure, so it must be that the base of a movement grounds or anchors said movement.
Now this is what I don’t understand: Poll after poll after poll has been taken throughouth the US, and consistently, the findings conclude that a full 20% of people polled identify themselves as either liberal or progressive, whilst 40% consider themselves moderate. We also know that roughly 40% polled call themselves conservative, and whilst the Tea Party element is truly proving itself to be more or less a fringe element, it’s pretty safe to say that the base of the Republican party consists of socially conservative religious people. So how can the media claim that the Democratic party’s base consists of a minority of voters. That’s really like turning a triangle upside down, but then, in a converse sort of way – considering the current Democratic kindergarten – wibbling, wobbling and falling is pretty much normal behaviour for its base.
Actually, I think the so-called progressive base of the Democratic party is something created in the mind of the media and promoted by them to feed the progressive addiction of not thinking critically. Many of these people seem to have forgotten the way our country was structured, by the Constitution, to govern – that each branch of government has certain obligations and duties and each branch keeps a rein on the other two. It’s why the President can’t legislate and has to keep himself above the petty squabbling of the politicos on the Hill. It’s also why those same politicos can effectively nullify an executive order.
But then, in our simplistic, time-saving, convenience-laden world, it’s all too easy to blame the President, especially this one.
Take the Gitmo kerfuffle, which is being blatantly presented in the press and media as the President reneging on a campaign promise, first to close the facility, and then to try all its inhabitants in the civil courts. Well, that’s another part of the Big Lie propaganda which seems au courant throughout our media-driven lives these days.
All of us remember that seminal moment when the President signed the executive order effecting the closure of Guantanamo Bay within a year’s time, back in 2009, as his first act as President. In fact, throughout the 2008 campaign, that was one campaign promise both Obama and McCain pushed. The problem ensuing was basically logistical: Where would all these prisoners be housed until they were either tried or released? In fact, George Bush, the man who created the monster, had actually released some Gitmo prisoners, several of whom had rejoined their old Al Qaeda buddies.
Maybe some, if not all, of us remember the debate which raged throughout the spring of 2009 regarding the fates of these prisoners and where they should be housed post-Gitmo. Basically, the public, fuelled by the media, adopted a NIMBY approach – “not in my backyard.” When a disused maximum security prison in Illinois was put forward as the best and most logical place to contain these men, no less than Dick Durbin, DEMOCRAT, from the President’s home state, led the charge against that action. Apparently a maximum security facility in the United States isn’t enough to withstand the incomparable might of Al Qaeda – certainly not in the country where prisons are a big and effective business.
And maybe some, if not all, of us remember the following autumn, when Attorney General Eric Holder announced that Khaled Sheikh Mohammed, arguably the most important prisoner held at Guantanamo Bay and the mastermind of 9/11, would be tried in a civil trial in New York City, where his most devastating atrocity occurred. Almost immediately, some – if not all – of us remember Mayor Bloomberg lauding this decision. Who can forget Holder’s forceful rendering of this announcement, when he repeated the name of New York City twice, for obvious emphasis?
To say the all-controlling media were impressed with this decision would be an understatement, but almost immediately the backdraft began – led by Senators Chuck Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand, DEMOCRATS, of New York. Their chief concern would be that the cost would be far more than the city would be able to support; there was also the concern regarding businesses and private residences in the area where the trial would take place – access issues and losses of revenue. There would be congestion problems with traffic, coupled with a veritable circus caused by the convergence of the world’s media; then add to that the security risks, with the threat of, possibly, another Al Qaeda attack.
The list went on, whilst the DOJ searched for alternative venues for the trial and the Republicans pressed the argument about how these men should be tried by military tribunals. Pennsylvania was mooted, and Virginia, but both echoed the chorusof fright, uncertainty and doubt led by Schumer and Gilibrand.
The gist of the whole Gitmo saga was simply that it was railroaded and the President blind-sided by what was possibly the only genuine act of bi-partisanship ever engendered by this Congress of cowards and fools.
Yet, it’s all too easy and disingenuous to blame the President and brand him a coward and a caver.
Well, I suppose he did cave on this one, because he reversed his former stand and authorised military tribunals to be the method of trial for these prisoners, including the star event concerning Khaled Sheikh Mohammed. Some, if not all, of us will remember how when the President announced this, earlier this year, he made a point of remarking that he had grave reservations about this procedure on two points, but Congress in their infinite wisdom and in waking from their slumber and remembering their role in the system of checks and balances, had rendered any thought of a civil trial virtually impossible.
In the meantime, the President’s running for reelection, and various pundits, reincarnations and natural inheritors of the old radical chic are managing to nudge and wink and subtly imply that there should be a primary candidate for the President. They’re worried, you see, about his abandoning his base for the more moderate of the party.
Do these people have a death wish for Democrats? Because by any mathematical calculation, 20% isn’t a very solid base. The people pushing the myth of Obama as the first post-racial President-cum-the Progressive’s singular disappointment are the natural successors and trust fund children of Tom Wolfe’s radical chic, the ueber rich, super-cool cafe society types who adopted Civil Rights seven years after the fact as an enhancement to their cutting edge image by supping with the real Black Panthers, who saw them for the phonies they were. The closest the ladies-who-lunch liberal pundits come to people of colour is when they’re seated at a discussion table on MSNBC with Eugene Robinson. The only Latino they know is Bill Richardson. The poor is only a vague idea, the working poor and working class morphed into the middle class at the end of the 1970s, and any Southerner is always a racist.
And Obama’s such a disappointment, because instead of getting John Shaft in the Oval Office, they seem to think they’ve got the lovechild of Dr Cliff Huxtable and Fred Sanford. So they’ve got this incessant need to tell and tell stridently what the President should do. They have to remind him of the dire consequences, should he abandon his so-called base. And when he doesn’t listen and achieves something far better than they ever imagined he would, they never recognise this; instead, they move onto the next point of criticism, or they sulk until the point that they can only see their talking point within the framework of the larger equation.
It’s always easier to rationalise that the President caved on extending the Bush tax cuts because they, personally, don’t know anyone who’s unemployed or a part of the working poor. It’s easier to ignore the fact that there’s a Republican majority in the House who pretty much stymie any imperceptibly progressive legislation. In fact, they’ve spent the past four months trying to undo everything that’s been accomplished under the previous Democratic majority, which – for the moment - is impossible, because there’s this slender majority of 4 Democratic Senators in the upper house, one of whom is Joe Manchin, which really makes the majority three.
This is why the silly rant issued by Bill Maher at the end of Real Time this past week about the President taking a stand and pushing for the repeal of DOMA, simply because Dick Cheney, Cindy McCain and Jenna Bush had spoken out in favour of gay marriage. Dick Cheney’s always believed in same sex marriage, but only because his daughter is gay. Otherwise, he’d be no different from any rank-and-file conservative. Besides, neither Cheney, nor Mrs McCain nor the Bush baby are in a position to legislate the repeal of this odious law. They are private citizens, with private opinions and little influence. In fact, I doubt Cindy McCain has any influence over the old maverick, himself.
I don’t know what the President’s opinion of same sex marriage is. I would imagine, open-minded individual that he is, he favourably views the repeal of this act; but pushing for this now is a non-starter, as long as such legislation has to be approved, first, by the House of Representatives. That just ain’t gonna happen, as long as the Speaker’s on a buzz from his martini, the birthers and the baggers are getting restless; and while it’s ok for the Republican majority leader to introduce a piece of legislation that’s a slap in the face of the Constitution in abnegating the upper house’s existence, should the President try a dictatorial style (so favoured by many of the Progressive Left), he’d be impeached, which would make the strange bedfellow pairing of Darrell Issa and Dennis Kucinich very happy.
The truth is, the radical chic set of society play-politicos who “reformed” the Democratic party 40 years ago, threw the real base under the political bus, only to have them rescued and nursed back to health by the very party who, formerly, were their rabid enemies: the Republicans. And they coddled and comforted them just enough for Stockholm syndrome to set in.
So let the inverted triangle that’s the Democratic base continue to totter, let them come up with a patsy who’ll primary the President, and let them then be recorded in the history annals as the reason the Democratic party was rent asunder irreparably in the election of 2012.