Back from the Brink?

In this world of sin and sorrow there is always something to be thankful for. As for me, I rejoice that I am not a Republican….” H.L. Mencken

He's no Teddy Cruz

He’s no Teddy Cruz Image of H.L. Mencken via Wikimedia Commons

These words, penned in 1949 by the peerless ‘Sage of Baltimore’ have additional piquancy in the aftermath of the latest American political comedy series masquerading as effective governance. That the world’s most important economy should be pushed (or led, depending on one’s perspective) to the very brink of fiscal doom by a fractious, poisonous righty rump is so obvious no further comment is required. Straight from the Italian parliamentary playbook, this one – and a debt ceiling ‘solution’ that is anything but, the dreary sequel set to open February 2014 to a public that deserves so much better.

It must be a happy day for President Obama, the stupidity of the past few weeks aside. The House GOP leadership (an oxymoron that rivals ‘Tea Party principles’) – vanquished. Boehner, so stern, proud, the very picture of a resolute chieftain when this great battle first raged… now a beaten sad sack, utterly undone by his twit faction seeking its Holy Grail by strangling newborn Obamacare …‘Run away! Run away!’ Even happier times are ahead for the Dems as their best and brightest line up for a 2016 nomination run. With the Republican Party fractured beyond any prospect of repair, the next presidential election will be won at the Democratic Convention. The Tea Party will either coalesce around a leader of their own, or contrive to steer the GOP nomination to one of their many unelectables – imagine Michelle Bachmann or some other brain cramper matched against Hilary Clinton, Chelsea Clinton, a parakeet named Clinton, or a stray dog. The mind boggles…

There is this concern. While your scribe stands second to no one in his contempt for the light thinking Tea Party and its searingly vapid approach to fix what ails America, truly vibrant democracy depends on informed debate on the issues that matter – and corresponding electoral choice. As the Republicans devour themselves, the fear persists that the Democrats will care less about remedying the cracked, increasingly unstable American body politic, content to simply win, and not renew or refresh.

The great Mencken offered this second gem – his old school libertarian ethos a present day cautionary tale:

“Under democracy one party always devotes its chief energies to trying to prove that the other party is unfit to rule–and both commonly succeed, and are right… The United States has never developed an aristocracy really disinterested or an intelligentsia really intelligent. Its history is simply a record of vacillations between two gangs of frauds”

Here’s hoping that President Obama will raise his game and prove Mencken wrong as the second term  lurches forward once more.