With Adam Schiff and Jerrold Nadler cast as Laurel and Hardy, the Democratic Party entered the slapstick phase of its self-destruction, moving from one botched scheme to the next amidst a chaos of falling pianos, splintered two-by-fours, and crashed bi-planes. The old 1930s screen comedies usually also featured a “grand dame” character making herself ridiculous, like Margaret Dumont in Duck Soup, and congressional central casting has fashioned just such a late-career role for Nancy Pelosi, all fluster and spleen, and well-supplied with comic props like the carefully pre-torn State of the Union address she ceremoniously sundered on Tuesday night. Can someone drop an anvil on her, please?
You also had to love the costuming for the great occasion: the congressional Democratic ladies all decked out in white robes, like an angel choir from The Green Pastures, exuding virtue and chastity while they mugged for the cameras — as if they never turned a campaign contribution into a Cadillac Escalade or a vacation in Taormina. Next year, perhaps, they’ll get rigged with wires and downy wings and fly around the chamber singing “Didn’t Ol’ Pharoah Get Lost” while the president splutters at the podium.
That spectacle was immediately followed by the Keystone Kops Iowa caucus, which has not really been resolved three days later as I write, though 100 percent of the vote is supposedly counted (cue, laughter). Many of the reporting counties have fewer voters than the average Methodist college student body, and somehow it was hard to tally the numbers for days on end? Party chairman Tom Perez called for a do-over. That’ll sure have a ton of cred. By the time it’s done, the action will have moved on from New Hampshire to Nevada, and Gawd knows what pratfalls await there (in a state founded literally on bilking the credulous).
Considering they are now the official party of chaos, all of this colorful comic disorder may have a purpose behind it: to demonstrate that the United States is now too incompetent to hold an election, and therefore whatever happens on November 3 will have to be disputed.
Cue Lawfare, the Dem’s designated sedition generator. They’ll step in and gum up the system with so much litigation that the ghost of Samuel J. Tilden will be heard screaming for mercy somewhere high above the capitol’s grand dome.
Unless, of course, the party manages to complete its drawn-out suicide at the Milwaukee convention. The Iowa fiasco was universally seen as an effort to trip-up Bernie Sanders, the elderly Leninist who, ironically, seeks to turn the entire federal bureaucracy into a colossal version of the very Iowa caucus that was engineered to thwart him. It’s looking at this point like nobody will go into the convention with a chance to clinch the nomination and a dire battle will ensue. Bernie has not forgotten the dirty that was done to him last time by Mrs. Clinton’s corps of flying monkey super-delegates. Some of the young Bernie Broz in charge of this-and-that on the campaign have been recorded threatening violence and mayhem in the event of such a dirty replay. At best, the party may split up into two or more rump parties, a la the 1860 contest, and that will be the end of them.
Meanwhile, in case you have forgotten, scores of public officials from the Obama administration stand to be indicted as we enter the heart of the spring primary season. On top of three failed seditious attempts to overthrow Mr. Trump since 2016, a cavalcade of perp walks for all that may finally force the recognition among the battered true believers in the Holy Church of Maddow that a genuine coup d’état has been running for three solid years, whether or not you like Donald Trump. They came close to turning the USA into a banana republic.
The news media is saying that President Trump had “his best week ever.” My sense of him hasn’t changed: he remains the Golden Golem of Greatness, a kind of mystical and mystifying comic figure himself, but not of the 1930s slapstick sort, more like a character drawn from the neo-gothic Joker phase of American history — and, hey, he really did spring full-blown on the scene from our real-life Gotham City. I was impressed, during his Thursday post-acquittal White House gala, at the stunning incoherence of his remarks, his facility for leaving absolutely every thought hanging unfinished in mid-sentence as he turned to the next uncompleted thought. I can’t say for sure that this makes him an ineffective manager of the nation’s affairs, but it does leave you kind of wondering.
The fact remains, though, that his antagonists have behaved much worse, and now they are going to be punished.