Wednesday, May 23, 2018

Punditry for Idiots: The Six Hottest Takes on the Democratic Party

Editors' Note:  Summer is here and the living is easy.  But what if you have to grind out one column a week for The New York Times or The Washington Post or appear twice a week on a cable-news gas attack?  Have no fear, the Spy is here with six ready-to-serve hot takes that should get you through the summer.  Hell, given the success that Maureen Dowd has had for 20 years recycling the same crap about Hillary Clinton (see below), that might be five too many!

By A.J. Liebling
Meta-Content Generator

Staring at your computer in despair?  Facing a panel of smarter and better informed women tonight at 8:18 PM (or worse 7:06 AM) on cable news?  Don't despair, bucko – all you need are these six hot takes on the Democratic Party to take you all the way to Election Day 2018.  Or, if you're a truly indolent hack, for an entire career.

The best thing about these hot takes is you can use them over and over again and no one will mind.  Or even notice.

1.  Dems in Disarray.  This is perfect for primary season, because in primaries candidates from the same party run against each other.  That is what a primary is.  That is why we have them.  But it's possible that the Democratic contenders don't necessarily agree with each other, although upon inspection the differences turn out to be reasonably minute.

For example, some Democrats believe that Medicare should be expanded to include everyone.  Others believe that if Obamacare were returned to its pre-vandalized state, it would work fine.  The end is the same (universal health coverage); the difference is the way you get there.  That would seem to be a minor point of contention when compared to the canyon between core Democratic principles and the Republican position on health care, which is that everyone should get it as long as they are a Koch Brother or one of their sock puppets.

2.  Dems Have No Message.  Did you know that the United States is a very large country and that in 2018 no candidate is running nationwide?  It's true!  They are running either in (often gerrymandered) House districts or in one state.  And in different states and districts voters, even Democratic ones, have differing views.  As a result, Democratic candidates are tailoring their messages to the interests of their electorates.  Hard to believe, we know. This means that the message of a Democratic candidate in West Texas will differ from that of a candidate in Brooklyn.

They're in disarray! They have no message!
They must move to the middle!
You as a lazy gasbag can use this fact to generate 750 words or 12 minutes whining that Democrats have no message, or different messages, or even in some cases inconsistent messages.  That this is equally true of every midterm election doesn't diminish the evergreen appeal of this hot take.  In fact, you can use this tidbit to generate a Sunday Review piece on point one (no message), and that same day appear on a Sunday gabfest and make point two (different ones)!  And you didn't have to do any work at all!

3.  Dems Must Appeal to U Bum Supporters.  As recently as today, real Times reporters have confirmed what we all knew: that U Bum supporters were motivated by bigotry, or, as the Times headline writers delicately put it, “white unease.”  So how should a party dependent on enthusiasm from its base of people of color respond?  You guessed it: appeal to white, um, unease, presumably by tormenting immigrants, giving police a green light to harass and shoot black folks, ignoring efforts to suppress minority turnout, and generally forgetting about the real and terrible history of racism and bigotry in America.  That should get black women to the polls in droves!

And sure if Democrats turn their backs on the strongest supporters, white racists who've voted Republican every chance they've gotten since 1970 will flock back, because some bloviator says so!

4.  Dems Must Move to the Middle.  This eternal hot take has done wonders for the Democrats ever since Hubert Humphrey rode it all the way to defeat in 1968.  At various times, Democrats have succeeded and failed with both moderate and progressive candidates.  Can you discern a pattern here?  You don't have to be Mark “Lumpy” Penn to conclude that the right course is always to go to the right, but it sure helps!

The apostate Republican gasbags, all 37 of them, never tire of this one (see below).  If only the Democrats would forget their commitments to civil rights, the social safety net, gun control, LGBTQ rights, protecting the planet, upholding basic human rights like freedom from torture and arbitrary detention, or otherwise agree with Republicans last seen pumping out lies to justify invading Iraq and violently shutting down the Florida recount, well, then, the electorate would just swoon over the Democrats.

By the way, does anyone remember how moving to the center helped the Democrats in the 2002 midterms?  Neither do we.

5.  Dems Must Stand for Something Other Than Opposition to the Grifter-in-Chief. 

Really?  Why?

What did Republicans run on in 2016?  And what is the focus of their increasingly deranged 2018 campaign?  If you had tax cuts for the rich, you lost!  It's the dreaded specter of – Nancy Pelosi!

And why must Democrats throw away one of their strongest arguments: that Congress must check the thus far unchecked corruption, abuse of power, and mendacity of the U Bum Sh** Show?  Is it a practical concern, e.g., that voters will not be motivated to save the Republic in its darkest hour since 1974?  Or is it some classic bloviator bulls*** about how elections should be about the important policy decisions this country is facing, by which said bloviator usually means let's cut Social Security while I enjoy the millions my daddy left me? 

6.  It's all Hillary's Fault.  Why won't the candidate who won the popular vote just dry up and blow away?  And why won't that candidate aggressively campaign for Democratic candidates in 2018?

Which is it?

If you're a true hack, you know the answer: it's both!

It's always fun to f*** over Hillary because – well, why, exactly?  Because she's not a perfect candidate, unlike Wilfred M. Romney or John McCain, two losers who don't get the same treatment?   Because she wouldn't divorce her horndog husband?  Because she's married and you're not?  Because she turned you down for an interview in 1996?

It really makes no difference what your motives are – it's always a steaming hot take, because on any given day she's either doing something (why won't she step aside in favor of a new generation of Democrats? why did she endorse candidate A and not B?) or she isn't (why won't she help Democrats before the Democratic primary?).

Remember these six easy hot takes and you'll never be sweating under the hot lights on a cable panel with nothing to say.  Because there's nothing worse for a white newsman than to be caught with his pants down.  If you don't believe us, ask Matt Lauer.

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