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A Fraught Moment

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Published : December 06th, 2019
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Category : Editorials

The last time the Democratic Party blew up in a presidential election year was 1860. It had evolved from Jefferson’s 1800 bloc of yeoman farmers to Andrew Jackson’s rowdy caucus of frontier populists in the 1830s, and settled into a slough of pro-slavery apologists by the 1850s, including two do-nothing Democratic presidents, Pierce and Buchanan. The party held a nominating convention in the spring of 1860 and couldn’t come up with a candidate when a claque of southern “fire-eaters” walked out. They tried again a few months later and cracked up into three separate parties with three nominees — and of course Mr. Lincoln won the election. The result was the bloodiest war in US history.

That’s one way to drain a swamp. Historical obfuscators might say the Civil War was a lofty, legalistic quarrel over “state’s rights,” but of course it was really about the intolerable depravity of slavery. A hundred years later, the mysterious inversions of history converted the old slaver’s party into the Civil Rights party. That had a good fifty-year run. It included a hearty side-dish of anti-war sentiment, and a general disposition against the Big Brother treatment of citizens, including especially the overreach of the CIA and the FBI.

What is the Democratic Party today? Well, it’s the cheerleading squad for “seventeen” government agencies that add up to the craftily-labeled “intel community,” a warm-and-fuzzy coalition of snoops, false witnesses, rogue lawfare cadres, seditionists, and bad-faith artists working sedulously to hide their previous misdeeds with ever-fresh ones. They’re the party against free speech, the party against due process of law, the party determined to provoke war with Russia. They’re the party of sexual confusion, sexual hysteria, and sexual conflict, the party of kangaroo courts, cancel culture, erasing boundaries (including national borders), and of making up rules for all that as they go along — like the Nazis and Soviets used to do. The ideas and policies they advocate are so comprehensively crazy that their old support of slavery looks quaintly straightforward in comparison.

It’s taken a while for the full efflorescence of these political pathologies to present. But now they are finally on display for all to see in what is supposed to be a climactic impeachment melodrama. The impeachment process itself has revealed the party’s genius for inventing new debaucheries of law and government misconduct — the latest being Rep Adam Schiff’s blatantly illegal cadging of his opponents’ phone logs. And now, after three years of unchallenged wickedness, they literally face the moment of truth.

That is, when all the many players in this grand game of Gotcha have to face the consequences of what they have done. The Horowitz report is necessarily limited to the DOJ inspector general’s narrow mission scope: the IG can only interview current employees of the agency and its stepchild, the FBI, which means that key players in the Gotcha game such as former FBI director Comey, former acting director McCabe, fired special agent Peter Strzok and notably ex-CIA director John Brennan were outside of Mr. Horowitz’s sphere of operations. His scope was also supposedly limited to the issues around FISA warrant mischief — though those complex shenanigans may have led the IG to other related dodges, cons, and crimes outright. The IG has no real law enforcement powers. He can only refer or recommend further action. Nevertheless, a great miasma of anxiety oppresses the Democratic Party now as it awaits whatever Mr. Horowitz has to say about these matters.

The party’s propaganda arms at The New York Times, the WashPo, and cable news networks worked up a frenzy of distractions and ruses this past week — for instance the “bombshell” that International-Man-of-Mystery Joseph Mifsud was not a hireling of the FBI. Of course, nobody ever claimed he was. Rather, he is suspected of being an agent of the Italian intel service with links to British intel, both used by the CIA as beards for its nefarious activities around its own election meddling of 2016. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s Democratic caucus has been busy with ersatz impeachment proceedings, which are invidiously scheduled to continue next week as a smokescreen to conceal the Horowitz findings. It’s been a frantic campaign for them at a fraught moment in this long saga — but the odor of desperation is thick and rank.

Of course, behind the Horowitz report loom the specters of Barr & Durham. Whatever they’ve been up to has been hermetically sealed in a globe of silence even more oppressive and nightmarish for the Dems than the IG’s inquiry. Barr & Durham are able to make things stick, most crucially genuine criminal culpability for the entire RussiaGate fiasco and all of its offshoots, including the most recent “Whistleblower” caper — a patently treasonous scheme. Who knows if and when indictments start raining down, but there’s a chance that it will be a very hard rain indeed.

I’m not so sure that the Democratic Party can survive the washing away of its beloved narrative by that hard rain. They are also faced with a field of manifestly lame presidential candidates, especially the current leader of the pack, Joe Biden, fumbling and doddering his way down the campaign trail in an apparent effort to dodge being investigated for the grifts of his Veep years. All this may be enough to put the party down, like a dog that has peed on the carpet one time too many. Somebody else, from some other hastily assembled party, may have to stand against Mr. Trump in 2020.

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James Howard Kunstler has worked as a reporter and feature writer for a number of newspapers, and finally as a staff writer for Rolling Stone Magazine. In 1975, he dropped out to write books on a full-time basis. His nonfiction book, "The Long Emergency," describes the changes that American society faces in the 21st century. Discerning an imminent future of protracted socioeconomic crisis, Kunstler foresees the progressive dilapidation of subdivisions and strip malls, the depopulation of the American Southwest, and, amid a world at war over oil, military invasions of the West Coast; when the convulsion subsides, Americans will live in smaller places and eat locally grown food.
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