More Crap from the Democrats

You’d think an article titled “Democrats launch scorched-earth strategy against Trump” would have some good news in it, but it turns out to be more useless, cowardly nonsense from the Democratic Party. Go read it, then come back here for the fisking.

There’s so much wrong in this story that it boggles the mind. Here are just a few things that jumped out at me:

Some party leaders are wary of the implications of teeth-baring, no-holds-barred opposition. They worry about the difficult position in which it puts vulnerable Democratic senators — 10 of them will be up for reelection in 2018 in states that Trump carried.

Translation: If we’re mean to Trump, his supporters won’t vote for us! Guess what, geniuses? They’re never going to vote for you! Your game here is to show undecideds and pissed-off lefties that they can trust you to stand up to President Tic-Tac, not coddle him in hopes of turning his acolytes. Voters respond to strong, confident action, not soothing words.

There are also concerns about the dangers of appearing overly obstructionist, and the possible blowback it could create for party officeholders up and down the ballot in 2018.

Yep, appearing “overly obstructionist” absolutely devastated the Republican Party, didn’t it?

An explicitly aggressive approach also stands to shape the 2020 presidential field, incentivizing potential candidates to compete in expressing their level of anti-Trump vitriol.

You say that like it’s a bad thing.

“We need to remember that one of the reasons young voters, especially, were uninspired is you can’t have a message of, “I’m not him,’” cautioned DNC vice chairman R.T. Rybak, the former Minneapolis mayor.

Are you kidding me? Someone kick this guy out. Voters weren’t uninspired — Hillary got more votes than President Pussy-Grabber! Voters were unevenly distributed. And given Trump’s first week, I think a hell of a lot of people would vote for “Not him.”

Democratic lawmakers have still found ways to embarrass Trump…

You can’t embarrass this guy. He has zero shame. Stop thinking embarrassing him is a victory!

…less objectionable picks through without a fight, like Housing and Urban Development Secretary nominee Ben Carson…

Oh, so “less objectionable” = “clueless, inexperienced, and with no idea how to handle the issues he’s been given.” Gotcha. I await my appointment to the Joint Chiefs.

…senators believe they can inoculate themselves from the criticism of obstructionism often leveled at McConnell during Obama’s presidency.

See above. McConnell is still standing, jackasses, and he’s stronger than ever!

By delivering a massive slight to the president on the first day of the Trump era — roughly a third of the House Democratic Caucus refused to attend his inauguration — Democrats sent a strong signal about their intentions both to the White House and to the American public.

Oh, God. This is the point at which I’m ready to put a gun to my head. If you think anyone in America noticed or cared about this, you need to resign right now. Symbolic gestures are absolutely meaningless in this case. If you’re really going to go scorched earth, you have to actually, y’know, set the ground on fire. You can’t just talk about getting the can of gasoline.

Like this:

I’ve said before that the Democratic Party needs to toughen up. This article is worrisome because it shows that it thinks it has, when it clearly hasn’t.


A few days ago, I published my open letter to Nancy Pelosi, in which I said, in part:

In my decades of following the political conversation, I’ve never seen a headline that contained the phrase “Democrats fight.”

My brother recently sent me this screenshot, which contains those words, but with a niggling detail between:

Democrats wuss out

This isn’t a dilemma, Democrats. You fight all the way. Otherwise, you fall into the trap of compromising too far. If you’re at B and the Republicans are at H, it’s OK to compromise at D or so. But if you’re at B and Trump’s at Z, you’ll end up compromising somewhere around M. Not cool.

The late Ron Silver, playing Bruno Gianelli and speaking words written by the inimitable Aaron Sorkin, said it best years ago:

“No more” should be the Democratic rallying cry. Instead, it seems to be “Please don’t hurt me.”

(P.S. Please buy my short story “The Ghosts at 95” before 1/31/17 — all proceeds go to the ACLU.)

An Open Letter to Nancy Pelosi

Dear Ms. Pelosi,

We don’t know each other, but apparently you have my email address and feel comfortable using it to ask me for money. I have some thoughts on your most recent request. But first, let’s take a look at it:

I am not — nor have I ever been — a registered Democrat. Nor am I a registered Republican. I suppose I’m one of those sought-after “independent voters” we hear so much about quadrennially.1 However, for the past several cycles, I’ve been pretty reliably in the Democratic corner, mostly because the alternatives are — I won’t mince words — typically insane.

But let’s talk, shall we? [Read more…]

  1. My reasons for being so are steeped in history — 1990, to be exact. Let’s just skip it for now.

Lawyers, Guns, and Money

Man, old Warren knew how to turn a phrase, didn’t he?

I’ve written about guns and gun control before, many more times than I remembered. When I did a search for “guns” on the BLog, I ended up with the six pieces linked in the previous sentence. I hadn’t realized I’d said so much.

Looking back over those pieces, I shake my head at my past self. I think they’re generally well-written,1 but often too conciliatory.

As I mention in at least one of them, I grew up in what it is now fashionable to call “gun culture.”2 Guns in the house, hunting on the weekends, whatever. So I get guns. I understand why people like them and want them and have them. As a result, I’ve always striven to be as even-handed as possible, balancing society’s need for safety with the Second Amendment rights of gun owners.

But goddamnit, something broke inside me after Orlando.

The other night, my wife said to me, “Really? Not after Newtown?” And I laid awake for hours, trying to figure out what was so wrong with my soul that I hadn’t been radicalized by the deaths of fucking children.

Don’t get me wrong: It’s not that I’ve ever been gung-ho about owning guns. As I said above — I’ve just always tried to be even-handed. This country is riven with discord and egged on by zealots of all stripes, and I guess I always thought someone should stand in the middle.

Fuck it, though. Just fuck it. I’m so sick and tired of this. I’m sick and tired of being fair to both sides, especially when one side just absolutely does not give a flying fuck.

I’m sick and tired of saying, “Hey, guys, can we just talk about some sensible, minor gun control?” and being hit with the equivalent of a two-by-four by the gun lobby.

I’m sick and tired of a gun lobby that witnesses the wholesale slaughter of American citizens and never once thinks, “Hey, we could give maybe just an inch on this. Just a single inch.”

I’m sick and tired of lawyers, guns, and money seeing to it that innocent people in this country can be mowed down anywhere, any time, for any reason, with precisely nothing to be done about it.

So fuck it. Take away the guns. Take them all. Is it unconstitutional? I truly believe it is and I just don’t fucking care any more. And it’s not because the left has gotten to me and radicalized me. It’s because the obdurate assholes on the right refuse to even come to the table in anything remotely resembling good faith. Because they refuse to admit that there’s a problem that they could help mitigate. Because at this point in our history, if you are not at least interested in the mere act of discussing gun control, you are absolutely, 100-percent objectively pro-death.

I’m sick and tired of trying to be rational with people who have zero interest in rational discussion.

The gun lobby likes to protest that tragedies like Orlando are a mental health issue. And they’re right. The issue is that someone with that kind of mental health should not be able to get a gun so fucking easily!

Someone interviewed twice by the FBI should not be able to get a gun so fucking easily!

Someone with a history of beating the shit out his wife should not be able to get a gun so fucking easily!

The problem isn’t crazy people. It’s crazy people in a system that is just as crazy. And if the NRA and the rest of the gun lobby won’t concede, “Well, yeah, that’s a problem. Let’s take some common sense steps to resolve it,” then fuck them. They don’t get anything, then. If you can’t compromise with someone holding a gun on you, then you just take the gun away.

To my friends who love their guns, rest assured I still love you. But I just can’t take this any more. When you’re ready to shrug off the NRA orthodoxy, great. Maybe then there’s room for reasonable discussion and negotiation. Until then, don’t even try to talk to me about it.

Let’s do this.

  1. As well-written as I allow myself to imagine my own work to be — I easily loathe my writing.
  2. Which just sounds ridiculous. I’m sorry, but it does.

Thoughts on Refugees and Terror

I’m barely qualified to speak on something as enormous and grotesque as the interlinked ISIS terror attacks and Syrian refugee crisis, but that’s never stopped me from shooting off my mouth before.

First, so that you know where I stand: We should let the refugees in.

With that out of the way, let me say a little more…

To me, winning an argument is great, but I truly believe that the way you win an argument is just as important as winning it in the first place. If you win by appealing to people’s baser instincts — like fear — or by lying, then it’s not much of a victory. It’s hollow, like the cheap kind of chocolate Easter bunnies, and it’ll crumble as easily. Not today, maybe not tomorrow, but someday. Such a victory will inevitably fall away because it isn’t grounded in anything real. It’s built on smoke and whispers.

I mention this not to excoriate the right — which is currently running the fear offensive at top speed — but also to caution the left. The left isn’t above using fear, even in the case of the Syrian refugees. President Obama and others have warned that turning away the refugees is playing into ISIS’s hands: “I cannot think of a more potent recruitment tool for [the Islamic State] than some of the rhetoric thats [sic] been coming out of here during the course of this debate.”

This sounds nicer and it’s not as blatant as those on the right (and it’s not racist or xenophobic, which is a mark in its favor), but it’s still a fear play. Be afraid, America! If you don’t accept the refugees, you’re letting the terrorists win! And when the terrorists win, someday the bad, swarthy men will come for you!

In short: Don’t think about this. Just be afraid of the outcome I tell you is likely.

But the refugee crisis isn’t about winning or losing. It’s not about fear. It’s about human lives and human decency.

And it’s about facts, not suppositions and speculations and abstractions.

The reality is this: The United States has resettled 784,000 refugees since September 11, 2001. In those 14 years, exactly three resettled refugees have been arrested for planning terrorist activities—and it is worth noting two were not planning an attack in the United States and the plans of the third were barely credible.

That’s the Migration Policy Institute. I don’t know jack about this stuff, but they do — it’s right there in their name.

Facts. Not fears. Three out of three-quarters of a million.

We are in no danger from the refugees. There are systems in place to vet each individual who settles in this country. And for the past decade and a half, those systems have worked very well.

Don’t be afraid. Don’t act out of fear or panic or worry.

Act out of compassion and reason.

People need help. They are not going to hurt you.

Two facts. Forget everything else.

What do you do next?