[Note: We’re on holiday until about January 3 so are republishing some stories we have already run, like this one. I’ve included here a link to managing editor Andrew Stewart’s reply. I love Andrew but he’s sort of the Skunk in Babylon in this case, though he makes some great points. And thanks again to Rob Sussman for the great art of Jeff Bezos on a leash headed for the guillotine.
If you have any spare money to support independent journalism, we’d be very grateful if you click on this link and make a donation. Thanks and see you again with new and improved content next year.]
“Democrats can spin it however they want, they lost,” I wrote on November 7, the day after the election. “The party that controls the White House traditionally loses big in midterms. Democrats lost 3 seats in the Senate and picked up very modest number, 26 at moment, in the House. Yes, the system is totally broken and voter suppression played a role, but those results are pathetic given that they were running against Trump and the rest of the GOP Loony Tunes. This is what defeat tastes like, savor the ashes.”
Well, it looks like I fucked that up. It wasn’t just the quantity that I got wrong — the Democrats in the end picked up 39 and possibly 40 seats in the House, and I’m pretty sure they only lost two in the Senate, but I can’t be certain of that without further research — but also the quality. There are some excellent freshmen among the new Democrats, led by the irrepressible and wonderful Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, who defeated corrupt Democratic mob boss Joe “Goomba” Crowley.
More on AOC below. Also, I love all things Italian, so don’t even go there. Also, Crowley might be Irish-American anyway. Furthermore, when I say “Goomba” I am referring to the sentient mushroom, not Luca Brasi or other fictional Italian-American killers.
I did get some things right. The Democrats could have perhaps done better given the golden political opportunity handed to them by the buffoonish Trump. Furthermore, their House and Senate leaders, the grotesque duo of Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer, should be buried alive for their career crimes, especially helping turn the Democratic Party into GOP Lite. (Along with Bill and Hillary Clinton, never, ever forget.)
But even given the reelection of some truly repellent Republicans — let’s just stop with Steve King of Iowa, to prevent a crippling bout of nausea and requiring me to use Google to find more names of defeated right-wing loons — let’s look at the bright side. Before doing so let’s also put aside for the moment that the Democratic Party’s House leadership consists of Pelosi and the equally horrible Steny Hoyer and Jim Clyburn. At least they have a combined average age of 78.5, so the whole trio could be dead soon. That’s the bright side, for example.
Let’s also brush past the fact that a number of former CIA officers won office as Democrats. Furthermore, let’s forget for now that the Democratic Party is hopelessly corrupt and has been largely owned by corporate donors for half a century, and probably can never be a vehicle for fundamental progressive reform.
There’s something encouraging happening in this country, and it was expressed in the election with the victories of some good, left-leaning Democrats, and the defeat of King and some other spectacularly vile Republicans. (That’s a triple redundancy, I know.)
For example, consider the loss of the anti-union Republican (that’s redundant, I know) and now former governor of Wisconsin, Scott Walker — and in the most painful possible way if you are the evil soul inhabiting the polluted body of Scott Walker. Hahaha, by 1.2 percent.
If the dipshit had lost by 0.2 percent less he could have asked for a recount, but thanks to a law put in place by sad sack Scott Walker you can only get a recount if you lose by less than 1 percent. Hey Scott, you tried to destroy public education during your two terms in office but it looks like Wisconsinites aren’t as dumb as you tried to make them.
Also, Missouri elected a vulgar cretin named Josh Hawley to replace Claire McCaskill, but it’s good to see her on the ash heap of history. I’m not one of those starry eyed idealists who believes Democrats can always win by running to the left — good luck trying that in Indiana, for example, as noted by Washington Babylon’s Senior Political Writer Sydney Leathers — but who can mourn McCaskill’s loss? If you’re going to suck up to Fox News on the eve of the vote by distancing yourself from “crazy Democrats” and play along with Trump’s demented Wag the Dog war on the caravan from Central America, you don’t deserve to win.
But let’s go full positive here. Among victorious House Democrats is Colorado’s 34-year-old newly elected congressman, Joe Neguse, the state’s first African-American House member and one of numerous freshman who attacked corporate interests and called for increasing the minimum wage and Medicare for All.
Will some of them repudiate their campaign pledges? Of course, that goes without saying. Arizona’s new senator Kyrsten Sinema has been selling out from the moment she sensed, a decade ago or so, that she might have a career in national politics. She’s a lost cause, abandon hope all ye who believe a word she says.
But a few new House Democrats are off to great starts, and no star shines brighter than Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. Ms. Ocasio-Cortez, if you think my endorsement will help your political career, you’ve got it, just say the word.
Yeah, I know she supports Pelosi’s bid for House Speaker, but she staged a sit-in at her office. She’s also turned Amazon and Washington Post owner Jeff Bezos into a political punching bag. Sure, that is a popular bipartisan approach — you’d be surprised at how universally reviled Bezos is, all you have to do is ask the checkout person at Safeway or CVS or strangers on the street, as I do all the time — but it’s been great fun to watch.
Unlike Trump — whose love of evil corporations and criminally-minded CEOs prevented him from going after Bezos except rhetorically — Ocasio-Cortez seems to mean it.
And maybe Bernie Sanders did it first and paved the way, but let’s be frank about Bernie: he’s an old lefty Jewish guy whose ideas I admire, but having him at your Thanksgiving dinner is about as appealing as Uncle Nudnik showing up at the last minute with a cheap bottle of wine and Aunt Rose in tow.
Bernie, you’re great, thanks for everything, but you are not going to rebrand socialism and revive American politics by bringing in a flood of non-white, young lefties. Ocasio-Cortez just might. She is the path of history and you’re not.
There are already some criticizing Ocasio-Cortez — they have been since the campaign — for not being sufficiently left-wing. Spare me. Would I like to see Ocasio-Cortez more strongly denounce Israel and support Palestinians? Of course, I would, but let’s not make the perfect be the enemy of the good.
I’d also like to see Ocasio-Cortez call for a shut down of all U.S. military bases, collapse NATO and renounce U.S. imperialism. On the domestic front, I’d join her in supporting the seizure of all of Amazon’s assets, declaring a revolutionary tribunal, and leading Bezos around on a leash before a packed stadium and dispatching him to the guillotine. I’ll gladly hold the basket. (See artist’s rendition above.)
Again, is Ocasio-Cortez perfect? Obviously not, but let’s turn now to reality, not fantasy and Jeff Bezos’s headless body twitching on the ground as the crowd roars its approval. She’s got to win re-election and she’s dealing with powerful enemies, who she makes squirm more than Bernie ever could.
Fox News is utterly aghast at her $7,000 in savings and great fashion sense. Dear me. Even better, the pitiful New York Times is attacking her — coyly the newspaper thinks, which is truly sad — for her “noisy Washington debut, and her uncanny knack for grabbing the spotlight.” Yeah, that’s just awful, don’t cause a stir by giving your voters what they asked for, Ms. Ocasio-Cortez, listen to the Times as it swirls down the toilet bowl.
So here’s my holiday message to all of you. Just be grateful this Thanksgiving that Ocasio-Cortez has given us hope and broken up the political monotony and stagnation that has plagued the country for decades. Support her, push her to the left, and follow her wonderful Twitter account.