Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Eating Our Own

I consider myself a Democrat by default.
Well, let me clarify that: I'm a Democrat of forty years standing who has stuck by his party through thick and thin, but if I was brand new to the scene, I would still choose the Democratic party. By default. I find the forces at work shaping the Republicans to be more than odious: I think they ultimately will destroy that party and if the timing is just right, could bring down the nation.
That's a different post, tho. Today, I'm going to credit the Teabaggers and their minions for some good: they've forced the Democrats to stop making deals with the devil.
The anti-incumbency furor that the Teabaggers have aimed at Congress (and to a degree, Obama's re-election, but that's going to gather momentum) has energized Democratic challengers. For example, Arlen Specter, who jumped parties a few years back to avoid just the problem he's facing now, has his hands full with Representative Joe Sestak.
Specter, in exchange for his switch, received the endorsements of nearly every bigwig in Pennsylvania. Sestak came from double-digits down to close within a margin of error.
Similarly, Blanche Lincoln (D-Arkansas & WellPoint Health) is sitting in the middle of a fire fight with a liberal challenger.
All this reveals itself against a backdrop that even FOX News is saying has shifted from a strong GOP bid to unseat Democratic incumbents to a "too close to call" battle to the wire.
Politics in the United States seems to be shaking off the rigid structure it has enjoyed for nearly thirty years of loyal blocs of opposition into more fractious and raucous pools of support, gathered under the banner of a political party that they generally support.
We started to move in this direction just after the Nixon administration: Democrats battled internally between the moderates and the far left, while Republicans battled between the Goldwater/Reagan faction and the more moderate Northeast and West Coast partisans.
This battle is so pervasive, it threatens every incumbent, right up to and including the two Senators from Maine, Olympia Snowe and Susan Collins, who must contend with a new party platform that, frankly, is Van Goghish in its self-destructive insanity.
Democratic incumbents are not quite in that much danger from within. Specter is an odious creature and probably should have simply resigned for his own good, but a tip of the hat for switching parties and helping us get healthcare reform. Alan Mollohan, the fourteen term incumbent Congressman voted out yesterday, had a rap sheet of ethics scandals and dubious pork-barrell projects as long as your arm.
Good riddance, says I. Evolution is survival of the fittest and apparently his strategy ran its course. For me, all this instability means "pass the popcorn!"