Stuart Saves America
The Minnesota Supreme Court has spoken and the former head writer of Saturday Night live, the man who invented self-help guru Stuart Smalley, the man who famously called Rush Limbaugh a Big Fat Idiot, is now a US Senator.
Could politics get any more surreal?
I've been a Franken fan since the first season of SNL. I lvoe his books. I also think he will make a very good senator. But he will not, my liberal brethren, save America. Because Franken represents the magic 60th vote in the Senate, giving the Democrats a supposedly filibuster=proof majority, the liberal base of the party now thinks that they will no longer have to compromise, that they will be able to ram-rod through legislation the way the Republicans managed to without a ten vote majority during President Bush's administration (the Republicans didn't need a super-majority because they had terrorists). The rabid base, having been kicked around by the elephants with their big feet during the no compromise, scorched earth Bush years smell blood and want revenge. They are no interested in bi=partisanship any more than Bush was, and they now believe the road is wide open for them to push through truly progressive and far-reaching legislation on Universal Health Care, tough environmental standards, education reform, and a total re-structuring of the American economy into a democratic-socialist state with very high taxes, a huge welfare state, government regulation of industry, gay marriage, euthanasia, atheism, paganism, satanism, and legalized prostitution, drugs, and man-boy love. For forty years the liberals in the United States have been looking wistfully at the Netherlands and saying "why can't that be us?"
Am I sounding to much like Fat Rush? I don't intend to. Not really. But the extreme edge of our party is just as extreme in many ways as the extreme edge of Bush's party, and which governed Bush's policy for most of his tenure as President. I know: I'm one of them (ok, I've mellowed a bit). I am hoping and praying that we get real health care reform, not the watered down version Obama is proposing now; that we get rid of Don't Ask Don't Tell right now; that we have a more progressive tax code; and that we continue to strengthen the social services net. I do. I'm also deathly afraid of what a truly liberal majority could do to gun rights, property rights, and individual liberty in general.
But it's not going to happen.
The last time the democrats had 60 seats in the Senate was during the Carter administration, and look what good that did. They fought constantly amongst themselves, they didn't get anything meaningful done, and they laid the groundwork for the Reagan revolution. The Democratic majority in congress relies heavily on pro-gun, pro-business Senators who are fiercely independent and don't mind bucking the President or the liberal base. And the President, much to the frustration of gays and environmentalists and just about everyone else in the party, is a pragmatist who believes that, even if he's not being bi-partisan with the Republicans, that he has to be bi-partisan with independents if he wants to secure a second term and keep that democratic majority.
Republicans can govern from the right but Democrats must always govern from the center. There is no real left in American politics these days--in spite of what blow hards like O'Reily and Hannity and Fat Rush try to put over on us.
So sorry, my liberal kin, Stuart is not riding in to save America.