Divided Democrats on the Run

Isn't it nice that our rulers tell us everything --  eventually? First thing out of the gate after the midterm was Harry Reid's chief of staff briefing the media on how the defeat was all the White House's fault. The president promised support but he never delivered.

I now understand something that had just puzzled me for the last two years. Why was Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) shutting down the Senate by keeping bills passed by the House off the Senate floor and denying anyone a chance to offer amendments? Was the White House calling the shots?

The conventional view is that Reid was a wrecker, cynically shutting down the Senate to help the White House.

But now we learn from Philip Rucker and Robert Costa at the Washington Post that Reid and the White House simply don't get along, and that the relation between the White House and Nancy Pelosi is not to be spoken of.

Reid was not being intransigent and trying to shut down the Republicans. He was just battening down the hatches. Knowing that the White House couldn't lead, and wasn't interested in building coalitions and consensus on proposed big issues, Cap'n Harry just shortened sail down to storm canvas, battened down the hatches, and broke out the rum: Yo ho ho, and a bottle of Koch.

Pity it didn't work, and didn't save the Senate last week. When you are on a lee shore, you need to work the ship up to windward, whatever the cost. Cap'n Harry spent the whole time in the captain's cabin, waiting for the wind to moderate.

Now think of the issues that split the Democrats and unify the Republicans: Keystone XL, private sector growth, Obamacare's war on full-time jobs, mom-and-pop savers fleeced by the Fed, jobs jobs jobs.

Do you see again why it made sense for Majority Leader Reid to shut down the Senate? And why the Democrats had to gin up the war on women and “Hands Up, Don't Shoot!” All the big issues are issues dividing the Democrats, and President Obama is too busy playing golf and raising funds to waste elbow grease on twisting arms in Congress so he could get enough consensus to pass legislation.

Harry Reid did the only thing that made sense to him. He shut down the Senate.

So what does Minority Leader Harry Reid do now? What does any Democrat in the Senate do now? He starts to think about Life After Obama. He considers that Obama is now a lame duck that no longer swings the political weight he possessed just a few months ago. He starts to edge away from a failed project. He sends his chief of staff out to blame the White House for the debacle.

Where there is no vision, the people perish.

And here's why the Democrats have no vision. It's the lefty world view, courtesy of Danusha V Goska, recovering lefty.

[The left rushes] to cast everyone in one of three roles: victim, victimizer, or champion of the oppressed.

In this world, says the left, there are three kinds of people: the oppressors, the oppressed, and the champions of the oppressed. Whose side are you on?

That's what drives President Obama; that's why the only thing he knows is to stigmatize his opponents. That's why Harry Reid gave up on him. That's why Democrats are divided and demoralized.

That's what makes the earnest new Republican members of Congress so startling: Joni Ernst, who went to Iraq. Elise Stefanik, youngest woman ever elected to Congress, who's pro-life. Mia Love and Tim Scott, classic American strivers who preach the gospel of responsible individualism. In the age of social justice warriors, how do we still make individual Americans with qualities like that?

I've been reading the German sociologist Georg Simmel, and he has something to say about all this. When individuals are formed into a collective mass, he writes, their excellent qualities tend to reduce “to lower and primitively more sensuous levels.” He quotes the German poet Schiller: “Seen singly, everybody is passably intelligent and reasonable; but united into a body, they are blockheads.” And Simmel died in 1918, 15 years before Adolf Hitler reduced the most advanced country in Europe into a nation of blockheads.

Now we can understand the problem that is corroding away the guts of the Democratic Party. Its philosophy of collectivism turns its supporters into blockheads. And now its politics is turning its leaders into blockheads as well.

That would be a shame for the oldest political party in America.

“Lead, follow, or get out of the way.” It was Thomas Paine's line before it was Lee Iacocca's.

America's big problem is that today's divided Democrats won't lead, they won't follow, and they won't get out of the way.

Christopher Chantrill @chrischantrill runs the go-to site on US government finances, usgovernmentspending.com. Also see his American Manifesto and get his Road to the Middle Class.

Isn't it nice that our rulers tell us everything --  eventually? First thing out of the gate after the midterm was Harry Reid's chief of staff briefing the media on how the defeat was all the White House's fault. The president promised support but he never delivered.

I now understand something that had just puzzled me for the last two years. Why was Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) shutting down the Senate by keeping bills passed by the House off the Senate floor and denying anyone a chance to offer amendments? Was the White House calling the shots?

The conventional view is that Reid was a wrecker, cynically shutting down the Senate to help the White House.

But now we learn from Philip Rucker and Robert Costa at the Washington Post that Reid and the White House simply don't get along, and that the relation between the White House and Nancy Pelosi is not to be spoken of.

Reid was not being intransigent and trying to shut down the Republicans. He was just battening down the hatches. Knowing that the White House couldn't lead, and wasn't interested in building coalitions and consensus on proposed big issues, Cap'n Harry just shortened sail down to storm canvas, battened down the hatches, and broke out the rum: Yo ho ho, and a bottle of Koch.

Pity it didn't work, and didn't save the Senate last week. When you are on a lee shore, you need to work the ship up to windward, whatever the cost. Cap'n Harry spent the whole time in the captain's cabin, waiting for the wind to moderate.

Now think of the issues that split the Democrats and unify the Republicans: Keystone XL, private sector growth, Obamacare's war on full-time jobs, mom-and-pop savers fleeced by the Fed, jobs jobs jobs.

Do you see again why it made sense for Majority Leader Reid to shut down the Senate? And why the Democrats had to gin up the war on women and “Hands Up, Don't Shoot!” All the big issues are issues dividing the Democrats, and President Obama is too busy playing golf and raising funds to waste elbow grease on twisting arms in Congress so he could get enough consensus to pass legislation.

Harry Reid did the only thing that made sense to him. He shut down the Senate.

So what does Minority Leader Harry Reid do now? What does any Democrat in the Senate do now? He starts to think about Life After Obama. He considers that Obama is now a lame duck that no longer swings the political weight he possessed just a few months ago. He starts to edge away from a failed project. He sends his chief of staff out to blame the White House for the debacle.

Where there is no vision, the people perish.

And here's why the Democrats have no vision. It's the lefty world view, courtesy of Danusha V Goska, recovering lefty.

[The left rushes] to cast everyone in one of three roles: victim, victimizer, or champion of the oppressed.

In this world, says the left, there are three kinds of people: the oppressors, the oppressed, and the champions of the oppressed. Whose side are you on?

That's what drives President Obama; that's why the only thing he knows is to stigmatize his opponents. That's why Harry Reid gave up on him. That's why Democrats are divided and demoralized.

That's what makes the earnest new Republican members of Congress so startling: Joni Ernst, who went to Iraq. Elise Stefanik, youngest woman ever elected to Congress, who's pro-life. Mia Love and Tim Scott, classic American strivers who preach the gospel of responsible individualism. In the age of social justice warriors, how do we still make individual Americans with qualities like that?

I've been reading the German sociologist Georg Simmel, and he has something to say about all this. When individuals are formed into a collective mass, he writes, their excellent qualities tend to reduce “to lower and primitively more sensuous levels.” He quotes the German poet Schiller: “Seen singly, everybody is passably intelligent and reasonable; but united into a body, they are blockheads.” And Simmel died in 1918, 15 years before Adolf Hitler reduced the most advanced country in Europe into a nation of blockheads.

Now we can understand the problem that is corroding away the guts of the Democratic Party. Its philosophy of collectivism turns its supporters into blockheads. And now its politics is turning its leaders into blockheads as well.

That would be a shame for the oldest political party in America.

“Lead, follow, or get out of the way.” It was Thomas Paine's line before it was Lee Iacocca's.

America's big problem is that today's divided Democrats won't lead, they won't follow, and they won't get out of the way.

Christopher Chantrill @chrischantrill runs the go-to site on US government finances, usgovernmentspending.com. Also see his American Manifesto and get his Road to the Middle Class.