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The Awe-Inspiring Savvy of Moderate, Centrist Democrats, the Adults in the Room

The Democrats—or, rather, the neoliberal Clintonista wing that's run it for thirty years—have a negotiating strategy unique in political history. Here it is:

(1) Start by accepting your opposition's framing before negotiations even begin in order to be "bipartisan."

(2) Unilaterally give up 90% of what you claim you want in order to "reach across the aisle."

(3) Triangulate with your opponent such that you lose 8% of your remaining position even if you "win."

(4) Bash anyone against this historically unique negotiating strategy as "fucking retarded professional leftists"—or, better yet, racists and sexists—out to undermine any realistic progressive gains and the negotiating position of the Democratic Party.

Result? All the well-educated latte-sipping types who worship NPR and the New York Times when they're not watching their 401(k)s skyrocket, who think themselves "liberals" or "progressives," will nod enthusiastically.  

"This, and only this, strategy is how you defeat the opposition! How n-dimensional-chess-masterish of my Dear Leader, with whom I've identified like a nine-year-old playing on a jungle gym pretending to be Tom Cruise in Mission Impossible, as any Fully Adult person should."

Note, too, that the well-educated latte-sipping types literally think themselves immune to propaganda, massively astute ("I mean, look at the suits I wear! How could I not be massively astute?"), and Fully Adult, unlike the utopian fools who question this historically unique negotiating strategy. They're also just at a complete loss as to how things just keep going further and further to the right—as they argue for "civility" toward and "bipartisan consensus" with neofascists—über alles. "My god, how could anyone yell at some neofascist trying to eat his dinner in peace? The savages! [Clutches pearls.]"

["The fact that Doug used 'pearl-clutching' here is proof he hates all women!"]

"The problem must be Whiteness," they continue, "or a lack of the kind of civility I see on the boards I sit on, or that the Great Deplorable Unwashed lack the kind of education and social training I have. Or maybe it's just human nature, which these untermenschen, unlike me, have yet to transcend? 

"I don't know what the analysis isor, frankly, how to analyzebut I do know one thing so for-sure that it's literally unquestionablenay, so unthinkable that it could never even rise to the level of my needing to recognize that it's unquestionable: Whatever the answer is, my past and present actions and beliefs will not in any way be deemed mistaken. I mean, I went to an Ivy-League school, and I'm in upper-middle management. How could I possibly be wrong?"

They're also confused as to why everyone outside that class (which includes me, by the way; it's just that I'm an apostate) thinks the Democrats are pathetically weak and live in a safe-spaced, narcissistic, self-justifying, class-based bubble. They just can't figure it out. (Yes, 95% of the non-Democrats, anywhere on the spectrum, who make that charge against Democrats are being 95% hypocritical, but I'm not bashing them right now. Rest assured, though, that I'd denounce all of you, and myself, too, more or less equally.)

If anyone actually read this blog, I would be insta-labeled as a rightwing, Putin-loving troll by such people in a time-interval that makes the Big Bang seem as long as an episode of The Gilmore Girls. I mean, the only other option is to consider looking in the mirror. And we can't have that! (I'm referring here to the beginning of the universe, mind you, not the television show, but if you ever want to make time, which started at the Big Bang—the physical event, not the television showstop, view an episode of The Gilmore Girls. You'll never fear the march of time or even death ever again. You will, in fact, beg for death. Frankly, I wouldn't be at all surprised if physicists formally replace "The Big Crunch" with "The Gilmore Girls."

And of course when the numbers come out in public you'll see that I gave $1250 to the Dems this past cycle. And, no, I'm not bragging; it wasn't nearly enough, but Doug Tarnopol is my real name and I really did that. The Democrats had to take back at least the House in 2018. No, I don't want or deserve a cookie. 

Likewise, Hillary was clearly the least-worst candidate in 2016, and I would have voted for her in a swing state, and I was all-in for Bernie. In fact, I'm to the left of him: a libertarian socialist, for lack both of a better term and option. And I've been called by my ilk a Clintonista-Democrat-loving sell-out for voting Democrat at all, for supporting Sanders, and even for voting, period. 

Of course. See, all sides are guilty, to some extent, of what each side sees only in all the other sides. 

The point is, somehow I was able to suck it up, hold my proverbial nose, and do the right (i.e., least-worst, tactically obvious, political-triage) thing. What worries me most is that it’s hard for me to get Democrats (or Non-Trumpers) to agree on the following, which is so obvious and immune to objection—as it should be, given it's a near-truism—that, well, that’s what worries me:

(1) There will be both unavoidably and properly a war in the party through the primaries. There already is a war. There’s always a war, of whatever intensity, in any political party.

(2) Fight like hell for your candidate, whoever that is, right up until it’s clear who won the primaries.

(3) The second there’s a winner, drop all your pouty shit, pull up your pants, and fight like hell for whoever is the nominee. No. Matter. What.

Try that out on people. See how many agree, really agree. Test it: with Hillary types, ask if they’d go to the mat for Sanders if he is the candidate. Ask Sanders types if they’d do the same if it’s Biden. Etc. Don’t keep it vague and general; test it out with actual names. Run the simulation. See what you find. If it's anything like my anecdata, it won't be pretty.

That’s what scares me. The insanely self-indulgent, voting-is-an-expression-of-my-wonderful-inner-self crap is really the main thing that will allow a second Trump term. Insofar as the Trumpers bash the liberal-left’s addiction to identity politics (while ignoring their own, of course), they’re right. Totally spot-on right.

We saw it in 2008 with Obama vs Hillary—hilariously, as they were about as close to Xerox copies of each other as was possible without literally being the same person. Yes, more than twins, who differ despite genetic identicalness because of developmental noise. But at the time, the narcissism of angstrom-length differences sufficed to threaten a Thirty Years' War in the party. And there were significant pro-Hillary defections (or abstentions) in the general election. Yes, Hillary-hatred is a real thing, and it's sometimes unjustified, too.

Can we actually grow up? I doubt it, and not just on this score. But we have zero excuse.

See, really-existing politics is just a tad more complex than "expressing your innermost, precious little self" or the mutually-exclusive, nuance-free binary-world that the PR whores who run campaigns (and candidates) would have you believe.

"WaitI work in PR! I'm an influencer, not an influenced! So, I'm immune to PR; we use it to bamboozle the Great Unwashed, which ain't me: look how clean I am! Hey, by the way, where's my pink pussy hat? Boy, didn't you cry at Obama's first inaugural? He's still so dreamy! The dimples...his smile...his all just makes me tingle."

["Ah-HA! See, I caught Doug again! Why must the satiric foil always be female? Hater!"

[Half-mischievously.] "Why are you assuming that the foil must be female? Are you effacing gay men?"

[Looks around in terror.] Oh, my god! Please don't tell anyone I said that! I misspoke! I misspoke! Your rank hatred threw me! I, uh...oh my god!]

People, this PR garbage simply wouldn't work if you didn't fall for it. Come on, New Democrats: personal responsibility! Right? Take some. 

I know; you won't. Social-climbing, status-seeking, money-driven "liberals" who are circling the castle of power hoping to be let in know very well the real rule: actual responsibility is for the peasants living outside the castle—"Dennis, there's some lovely filth over here!"

Rich people or aspirants thereunto? As long as they gain entry to the castle by remaining sufficiently mindful of feeling extra-positive about really leaning in order to fully embrace the fact that, as Shaun Achor has scientifically proven, ninety percent of the pursuit of happiness is due entirely to one's individual, internal, attitudinal choice, they will achieve the benchmark of truly owning how empowering their diverse Stories are when shared in team-building exercises in their white-collar sweatshops. After all, as Hillary said of Anne-Marie Slaughter, who likes whiners? And once these white-collar proletarians have fully internalized that there's no need to change anything about society, then, and only then, will their corporate Rapture occur, and then, and only then, will their personal responsibility to society be fully taken. After all, there is no alternative. 

So, when the crops fail after the pollinator population collapses, just look on the bright side! Having food is only a fraction of the ten percent of external reality that, as Shaun Achor has scientifically proven, contributes to your happiness. Starve with a smile! It's your choice! Don't whine!

In any event, negative Nellys: you must realize the true lesson of 2016: the success that came from prematurely anointing and then running a deeply unpopular, Establishment candidate who leg-humped Wall Street and whose message was, "Look at my resume: I deserve this, and if you don't vote for me, you're a fucking moron at best and sexist at worst," is why there must be no primary fight in 2020—in fact, no discussion at allin order to win. When the Dark Lord Sanders burst back into Middle Earth, having escaped the chains of Vermont, Hillary-Galadriel, after a mighty struggle, banished him back to the Senate, and she was then too depleted to handle Trump, a candidate my cat could have defeated.

"Finally, something I can agree with: yes, Sanders ruined everything, in conjunction with Ralph Nader, Vladimir Putin, Julian Assange, Jill Stein, and I'm pretty sure negative-thinking chemtrails were involved in some way, too." 

Additional proof of the wisdom of this never-primary position is the example of the GOP primary in 2016: there was no vicious primary fight, which wasn't followed by uniting around the winner, which led to the GOP losing. So let's all to unite behind Biden, who just said, literally, that he's the best qualified person to be president. 

I mean, these corporate types know that when you sit down for a job interview, you simply say, "I'm the best qualified person for this job: hire me." You never talk about what value you can bring to the company, how you can make things better for the company. That would bring in pointless reference to people other than you. You just say, "As any simple fool could plainly see, I'm obviously the best candidate," and then lean back, fold your arms with a self-satisfied smile on your face, and await the coronation you fully expect, and it had damn well better come fast, too. 

Anyway, a guy who is force-of-gravity-like-destined to fuck up any campaign lasting longer than an afternoon because he has a tongue as ungovernable as Trump's Twitter account, who is a Siamese twin of Delaware-"located" corporations, and who is so entirely Establishment-centrist he could actually be a Senate office building is the clear and unquestionable front-runner. Not the most popular politician in the country, Sanders, who, from out of nowhere, nearly toppled the Clinton machine. That's utopian: Sanders "can't win," we're told, usually meaning the general election. That this same crowd said that Hillary was a shoe-in to beat Trump to the point that only a political flat-earther could deny it has no bearing on anything: Sanders "can't win." Plus, I hear he's cranky.

"And Biden's so nice, Doug! Didn't you see him talking to that homeless person in the DC subway? When have you seen a member of the imperial family deign to lower himself to actually speak to a slave, which is clearly above and beyond the call of duty for any politician in a supposedly democratic society? Why are you so mean, you fucking retarded professional leftist? [Cries.]"

[Knowing my audience while not actually dismissing the following:] "But remember Anita Hill and the crime bill!"

"Oh, my god, you're right, Dougsomething I literally never thought could possibly happen, since you're a foolish, utopian, fucking retarded professional leftist. That's not very MeToo of Biden and it's dripping with Whiteness, and that, and that alone, is why I might go for Cory Booker or someone else, but never Sanders or Warren. Dammit, I guess we might have to hold our nose and have some apparent democracy in the Democratic Partyproviding it's properly stage-managed and fully Potemkinized. And even that turns my stomach."

American liberals (among many others, partly including myself, if for differing reasons) love to wallow in zero-effort-justifying learned helplessness. Which is exactly where the really-existing corporate Democrats, salivating over corporate donations and a revolving door greased to the point of perpetual motion, want them to be, which is why they spend billions to keep people there. God help the gravy train and personal career planning and CVs of Democratic hack-professionals if actually privileged Democratic voters, who have skills, money, time, experience, and smarts, ever caught on and gained the courage of their supposedly progressive beliefs. 

That is why members of that cohort of actually not totally powerless people must be psychologically arc-welded to technocratic, incremental, bipartisan, corporate centrism. Break that bond, and all bets are off.

[We must always be incremental, especially when dealing with climate disaster, which those flyover morons deny, and about which we have till later tonight to start dealing with in earnest or it's all over, which is why we have to go slowly and incrementally, you fucking retardedwell, you know the tag.]

How resilient is that bond? Well, Saint Hillary of Out-of-the-Woods can triangulate with xenophobic near-fascism and be lauded to the skies—with the one exception noted by the…wait for it!…New York Times, who lightly criticized Saint Hillary for not being up-to-date. You see, the laudable triangulation with xenophobic near-fascism already happened, and more power to it!

Hillary's comments, as reported by the Guardian:

"I think Europe needs to get a handle on migration because that is what lit the flame," Clinton said, speaking as part of a series of interviews with senior centrist political figures about the rise of populists, particularly on the right, in Europe and the Americas.

"I admire the very generous and compassionate approaches that were taken particularly by leaders like Angela Merkel, but I think it is fair to say Europe has done its part, and must send a very clear message – 'we are not going to be able to continue provide refuge and support' – because if we don't deal with the migration issue it will continue to roil the body politic."

Sound moderate and reasonable to you? Adult? Savvy? Try this light rewrite on for size:

"I think Europe needs to get a handle on the Jewish Question because that is what lit the flame," Clinton said, speaking as part of a series of interviews with senior centrist political figures about the rise of Nazis in Europe and America-First in the US.

"I admire the very generous and compassionate approaches that were taken particularly by leaders of the Weimar Republic, but I think it is fair to say Europe has done its part, and must send a very clear message – 'we are not going to be able to continue provide refuge and support' – because if we don't deal with the Jewish Question it will continue to roil the body politic."

How do you like it now? Boy, that Hillary is just a model Resistor, huh? And many Clintonistas will  follow her down the road of Responsible Xenophobia-lite. But Sanders is the racist, you see.

Read the whole Guardian piece. Hillary's just so confused how this all came to pass. Trumpism, Brexit, et al must be "psychological." What a compete and utter idiot—or, since she's clearly not that (by all accounts, she's stone-cold brilliant), what a disgusting, craven sell-out. Or if she's not that, how utterly (and, by some massive coincidence, entirely self-servingly) blind. 

Back to the woods with her, yes. She, herself, is increasingly passé, thank god. The problem is, she's hardly the only corporate Democrat out there, and they still run the party. 
Chuck Schumer might as well just officially switch parties at this point, as he hands out encouragement, water, and snacks to the legion of far-right judges marathoning into the judicial branch. But, passé or not, Hillary just laundered idiotic, anti-migrant, xenophobic racism in her (and the corporate Democrats') always-triangulate fashion.  

Fixing the rigged economy? Nah. Admitting that there's a rigged economy? Nah. Cede that entirely to Trump, who will do nothing about it but lie loudly about how he's doing more about it than any president including George Washington to his desperate and definitely deluded base while Steven Pinker tells us how wonderful the present and future prospects are. Which is the kind of deep, rational insight you can only get from a Harvard professor. 

No, we must end the true problem, the root cause, Savvy, Experienced, Analytical Hillary says: brown people from the region I voted to destroy in 2002 coming into Europe. And, by obvious implication, preventing the brown people coming from the ruined country for which I orchestrated or at least green-lit a coup in 2009 trying to come into the US. I mean, what's good for Europe's goose must be good for America's gander, right? #AmericaToo! #American Borders Matter!

Bottom line: faced with taking responsibility for the Democrats' embracing of neoliberalism or blaming the brown people, she went with the latter. But Bernie Sanders is the racist. I see. Well, maybe he is: does he carry hot sauce around with him all the time? I think not. Do I have do the math for you?

Get why she lost? Get why even if she'd won, as Macron did, it wouldn't have much mattered in the not-so-long run (though any sane person should have taken that breathing space, any breathing space, given the alternative) as it's currently looking like in France, as predicted, with Le Pen drooling in the wings, happily humming a tune somewhere between "Don't Cry for Me, Argentina" and the "Horst Wessel Song."

"But, I don't understand, Doug. Hillary's so like the people I know and see every day! And I'm un-bamboozleable. Ergo, you're wrong. I can't quite say how, but you're wrong. 

WaitI know: your use of satire proves you're a hater! (Yes, that'll work!) 'Satire' is etymologically tied to 'satyr,' isn't it? [It isn't.] And we all know what that means! Plus, wasn't Swift into, like, poop, and stuff? All satirists are sick in the head! 

Plus, you're a white male. I mean, need I say more? The only allowable satire or humor is that which punches up, not down, as you're doing. Your white-male privilege (but not your Jewishness) is why you word-rape poor, defenseless Hillary, who's too full of sugar and spice and everything nice to defend herself and whom you've tied to your rhetorical railroad tracks in order to run her over with your domineering, phallus-shaped word-train as you smile through your handlebar mustache

How dare you attack poor, wittle Hiwawy! She is merely one of the fifty most powerful people on the planet, if female, and you're a completely unknown Schmucky the Clown, though male. How can you possibly take advantage of the innate power differential between you two like that? Don't you respect her Story? You probably think Sheryl Sandberg's deserves criticism for hiring antisemites to go after George Soros to cover for her company. That's exactly what I'd expect from a self-hating Jew like you who thinks Palestinians deserve human rights. What does a woman have to do in this world to be left alone by misogynists like you? How do you sleep at night? Why are you so mean? [Cries.]"

Every single aspect of Hillary's "analysis" is totally wrong and totally self-serving. She thinks people decided, for psychological reasons—not economic, not political, and just out of the blue—to just not want the "burden of freedom." 

Like, on some Thursday in 2015, people all over the US and EU just went, "Fucking hell: I just can't handle the burden of all this freedom I have: this utterly precarious existence, my three jobs, my reasonable lack of hope that any of it will improve or that my children will have things as good as the struggle I've endured has been. I mean, I have so much freedom in my life—so much control over my destiny—I just can't handle the crushing responsibility of it all. I'm not adult enough to hack it, whiner that I am, so I think I'll go fascist."

It's that, it's brown migrants, it's the bad media—it's probably genes, too, or something to do with neurons or molecules, or it's negative thinking, or maybe Jupiter was in the House of Mars or we didn't properly analyze the birdsign or put out enough oats in the sacrifice dish. Something like that must be it: nothing to do with her (or Blair's) actual record. Nothing to do with the policies of the New Democrats (or New Labor), lo, these past decades. Nope. It's some hazy, mystical-spiritual escape from freedom that were Erich Fromm alive today to see the cynical misuse of his concept would have spurred even that gentle soul on to a level of human destructiveness that would have won him a chapter in his own book.

And—bet on it—the pink pussy hat brigade, the knee-jerk, all-too-often-wolf-crying, label-anyone-racist-or-sexist brigade, the safe-space-loving, platform-denying, zero-tolerance brigade—will at least in part be happy to import this xenophobic-lite garbage into the liturgy of its Hillary-cum-self-worship. 

Hey, they didn't give a shit when President Peace Prize deported 2.5m "illegals." Why should they care now, especially since its Saint Hillary that has become Xenophobia: Warrior Princess?

"Obama never separated mothers and children. So he's not as bad as Trump, and that's the only ethical bar he need o'erleap, unless, of course, you're a racist. Which I'm sure you are: didn't you just refer to a 'Dark Lord'? QED. Anyway, as long as my avatar-candidate is sufficiently me-like, my due diligence is done. Why are you so mean, Doug? [Cries.]" 

Note that Hillary, the Most Experienced and Savvy Politician in World History, a modern-day mash-up of Tallyrand and Metternich, is pretending that debates have ever been about detailed policy positions. Like, when? I mean, since the days of the Lincoln-Douglas debates: when? When in living memory? That's conscious bullshit, even though, of course, I agree that they should be. They're not. I also don't recall her sitting down for deep policy debates with Sanders in 2016, when he begged for it, as has been his wont ever since he began his political career in the then New York Provincial Congress in the mid-1770s.

Note that Hillary at least admits she has no idea why Trumpism happened, nor what to do about it, other than triangulating toward it. Correct: you have no clue, and your sole response makes things worse. Step aside, go back to the woods, write another book, teach a course at Columbia, go on another $100k-a-speech tour of every financial services firm on earth. Go parasailing with Obama and Branson; enjoy yourself. Whatever: just please stop trying to "help."

In conclusion, I swear, if the GOP set up death camps, the corporate Dems would respond with: 

"Look, we don't need to gas these subhumans with Zyklon B and then throw them in ovens. Think of how expensive that will be, how much it will add to the deficit! And how typical of the Republicans not to consider how much carbon we'd be adding to the atmosphere, needlessly. 

Plus, it's going too far. We have moral standards, after all, unlike our friends across the aisle. Let's just keep them slave-labor camps. Let children work alongside their mothers instead of being separated from them, and the illegals will just die sooner or later on their own, with no extra investment, while ultimately earning through the cost of their own corpses' burialand, if properly run in a private-public partnership, all while yielding a profit that will help to pay down the national debt. 

As usual, we're the adults in the room.

Putin delenda est."

Love, The Resistance (TM)