Friday, November 14, 2014

TFP Column: Dumb and Dumber-er in politics

As proof that there is not only a quirky, but perhaps even benignly evil bit of timing between real life and cinema, it’s hard not to notice next week’s release of a movie that would have probably have been better served by being left alone to die long ago: “Dumb and Dumber.” While it’s perhaps unfair to disparage “Dumb and Dumber To,” film that has yet to be released (although judging by the trailers already out there, not releasing it would be doing it, its producers, and the viewing public a favor).

I’m talking of course, about the occurrence and results of this week’s mid-term election, where the Republican party attempted to exhibit the real-life version of the “Dumb …” franchise by attempting to get away from the stigma of being the ‘Party of No’ by having no national concept of what it was they stood for. Dumber of course, being portrayed by the concept of Democrats attempting to show that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery by running candidates with the same predilection for ‘hoof in mouth disease’ that the Republicans did during the previous election cycle.

Proving that it’s often better to be lucky than good however, Republicans somehow managed to get re-elected a Senator who established his Kansas residency by claiming to rent a recliner from one of the constituents in his district. Democrats countered with lunacy straight out of “Mad Men” that their constituency could fight the ‘War Against Women’ by telling those of the fairer gender not to worry their pretty little heads about such complicated things as the economy, unemployment or foreign policy as long as someone in government would guarantee them a federal health subsidy for their uterus.
Republicans promoted change by running the same tired faces that they’d been showing up with since Clinton, while Democrats attempted to prove that that the American voter, while blind, misinformed and generally disinterested, seldom turns out to vote for a slate of candidates that the national party has already acknowledged as likely to lose.

Pundits on both sides may debate which candidates committed the greatest faux pas on this year’s campaign trail, and they’ll have a surprisingly large and bipartisan list to choose from. One that you won’t see, however, is the Democratic Party announcement to focus its money and effort on governors’ races to the detriment of their efforts in the Senate.  (How did that work out for you, by the way?)

The Senate Minority Leader (soon to be Majority Leader) and the President each held their press conferences Wednesday to discuss the meeting that they’re going to have later this week about the agenda of the upcoming lame duck Congressional sessions coming soon. (Only politicians consider the meetings about their meetings about their meetings of any real import.)
Both of these public statements continued to fulfill the promises of “Dumb and Dumber” by wasting the electorates’ time recapping what we already knew. Mitch McConnell said that he knew who the President is and vice versa  (thank you Captain Obvious). The President, meanwhile, reminded us of his continued promises to do something about the nation’s problems if Congress didn’t (difficult when both were on break to run for office). Both mentioned their willingness to compromise in such a way as to make it abundantly clear that neither really was.

Little mention was made about the money involved in this year’s election, since Democrats spent more than Republicans and (according to Fox News) that the $4 billion total was a fraction of what the nation spent on Halloween costumes and candy. The only entertainment left out of today’s session was the one never heard that: “Elections have consequences.”

Never fear however, the next sequel is just around the corner. By the end of 2015, the next election cycle will be in full swing again and most of Congress will return to becoming too busy running for their jobs again to actually do them. I hear that they’ve even got a working title for it: “Dumb and Dumber – Bush vs Clinton Again?”