The three way Democratic race that is. Flipping from channel to channel this morning you saw shell shocked Washington insiders wondering "Wha’Happened?" when they were asked about the money raised by the Democratic candidates. Those who didn’t look shocked looked pretty grumpy like my new unfavorite reporter, Susan Dentzler on McLaughlin Report. I say again, "BraaHaaHaaHaa!"
"Meet the Press" was the best for the sheer goofiness usually in evidence on "Whiffleball" with Chris "Man Crush" Matthews.
My favorite was Chuck "Who’s He?" Todd when he said:
This is a genuine three-way race. It’s stunning that there’s no front-runner. It’s stunning that Hillary Clinton is not the front-runner. I mean, I don’t think we’ve stepped back here in Washington and just sort of appreciated this meteoric rise by Obama, this—the steady support that John Edwards has. You know, John Edwards has, for some reason, is not a—very popular inside the Beltway with sort of the Democratic elite. But this guy has lived in Iowa for the last, I’d now say, six years.
Surprise, Surprise, something is happening outside the beltway that has the gang of 500’s panties in a wad. Surprise, surprise, the grassroots, the netroots have made their presence known. And John and Jean Q. Public, civic minded paying attention citizens have made a reappearance.
In the last 25 years or so, the Beltway boys and girls tried to cram Americans into nice and tidy boxes. They were NASCAR dads or soccer moms. They were red staters or blue staters. They were values voters or swing voters. But above all, they were always always condescended to and for all long time they did seem to be frogs in a simmering pot thinking it was a Jacuzzi.
But starting in 2000, a few frogs starting jumping off the stove. And lately it’s been wild in the kitchen with the rush to escape the kettle. Some sort of tipping point has been reached. The innovators made way for the early adaptors followed by the majority. And we aren’t far now from having some of the laggards, the last group to want change, to start hopping around.
Following the herd may just lead to falling off the cliff with the rest of the buffalo if you have your head firmly up the rear of the cow in front of you.
But if you raise your head just a bit, you can see the danger. Of course, the only time you should follow the herd is if it’s a cow in the lead instead of a bull and she yells "There’s a sale at Neiman’s!"
Anyway, enough of animal metaphors and back to Timmy and the rest of the potato heads. Notice how Chuck Todd was stunned by the meteoric rise of Obama and started to actually stutter when talking about Edwards. "This steady support that John Edwards has." Steady? "Steady is like weird man. We have given him absolutely no support here, I swear", the Chuckster seems to be saying.
"Man we’ve been flogging this McCain/Clinton deal for years now. So why is this happening?"
He stammers on and says, You know, John Edwards has, for some reason, is not a⎯(stammer, stutter)⎯very popular outside the Beltway with sort of the Democratic elite."
"For some reason"?? "with sort of the Democratic elite"? Sort of? Some reason? They actually pay this guy? I can see why a lot of Kossacks scratch their heads and wonder how these people have jobs.
Then he gropes towards an answer. "...this guy has lived in Iowa for the last 6 years."
Yup, it’s a combo of bypassing all you rascals and taking his case directly to the people and having something that Americans are yearning for; somebody to
lead them in the direction that they firmly want to go in i.e. away from the cliff and back to an America to be proud of.
John Edwards often uses the phrase "doing the spade work’" which is akin to Lincoln’s phrase "clearing the path." Both tasks are very very hard as anyone knows who has to deal with rock hard land or has to pull out a stump or move rocks to be able to plant your seed or make that path. I live on a ranch where there are piles and piles of stones that were cleared by the people who started this homestead a hundred years ago. It’s a testament to the sheer determination of frontier folk and a reminder of what kind of stock we all come from.
We are a nation of immigrants, of refuse, of refugees. At the end of Greg Palast’s great book "Armed Madhouse", he says that
America is a nation of losers. It’s the best thing about us. We are the dregs, what the rest of the world barfed up and threw on our shores...We are, in fact, a nation of refugees, who despite the bastards in white sheets and the know-nothings in Congress, have held open the Golden Door to a dark planet. We are not imperialists and that’s why Bush lies and Cheney lies and, yes, the Clintons lie.
And this is what the Sunday morning yappers and the gang of 500, the Beltway Boys and all those who love their warm spots in the Washington swamp will never never get. Most of us our here have an abundance of what none of them have anymore, and that is ordinary common sense. We also have a willingness to work hard and take risks. But few people have believed in us especially in the last six years. We have been dismissed as children who prefer to cower in the corner or in the closet or under the bed.
But John Edwards and Elizabeth have called on us to get off our keesters and stop feeling sorry for ourselves. They believe what the great prairie scholar Patricia Limerick does, "In order to bring out the best in the American people, you have to believe that they have the best in them." And the Edwards believe this, that we all have the best in us and the ability to do great things together. But they also know that we aren’t perfect and never will be. Another Limerick phrase that I love is, "I’m not OK. You’re not OK. And that’s OK." We make mistakes, but if we are grown ups we learn from them and pick ourselves up and move forward.
John and Elizabeth are ordinary folks with exceptional skills who have reached out to other Americans and said, "It’s not too late, it is never too late to get out of the hole. We all just have to stop digging. We have to get on each other’s shoulders and lift ourselves out of the pot. Upwards, my brothers and sisters. Shout it from our keyboards like Bill Moyers told us to do. Let us continue to stun the status quo and leave them gaping, their mouths open and those silly expressions on their faces.
We are not sheep. We are citizens and not commodities. We are somebody. And our voices will be heard over the din of the herd of goats on the airwaves.
P.S. John McLaughlin is excepted from the above critcism. I would like to do a whole diary on how I am growing to love the old Skalawag. This morning, even though all his guests disagree, he said that the American people were ready to discuss and implement universal and government run healthcare. Two weeks ago he said that the Americans were ready to take "the radical path of traditional liberalism."