Political Schadenfreude Starts the Year
Here we are in January’s first week and already 2015 is off to a splendid start in the world of spectator politics. The spectators need feel no guilt that the splendor of the start results from schadenfreude — happiness at the misery of others — because the others deserve it.
First, nothing whatsoever has been accomplished, which means that nothing bad has happened yet. Of course, that does not really constitute a splendid start because most weeks in politics feature nothing whatsoever getting accomplished.
Politics might once have resembled football with one group of sociopaths advancing its ideas (the ball) toward the opposing sociopaths’ goal line. Small wins or losses were recorded based on each play but actual points were rarely scored.
Now politics seems more to resemble figure skating in which there is no clear objective other than looking good by measures so arcane that onlookers cannot possibly understand them. One side or the other executes a magnificent triple cloture followed by a Camel Spin filibuster. Has Dick Button considered a gig on Fox News?
Nobody on earth understands any of it, including those who earnestly tug their jowls while writing or talking about it, but understanding what happened misses the point. All that matters is the ability to claim credit for some meaningless activity at the expense of your opponent.
And, for the rest of us, we get to enjoy the delightful schadenfreude of well-crafted public relations bubbles bursting at the touch of the tiniest pins.
Let’s begin our January journey in New York City where Mayor Bill de Blasio has done his level best to forget rule number two about politics and governance. (Okay, I know you now want to know what rule number one is but that only demonstrates your lack of concentration. Rule number one has the word money in it and, after that, it doesn’t much matter.)
Depending upon the erudition of the person you ask, rule number two says that a mayor should never fuck with the police chief. Mayor Dumbellio has violated that by listening to some silly twit political advisor and coming down hard on allegations of police brutality. The silly twit did not expect two officers to be murdered by a lunatic who happened to agree with what the Mayor had said.
All Dumbellio had to do was realize that the truth lay somewhere between the Scylla and Charybdis of Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association President, Patrick Lynch, and Al Sharpton, but he chose to go all in with Sharpton, and thousands of blue clad patrolmen turned their backs on him at highly publicized funerals for the two slain officers.
After volleys of accusations of disrespect, the police officers stopped writing traffic tickets thus depriving the city of much-needed revenue. The silly twit political advisor who got the mayor in trouble in the first place is now setting himself up to be accused of telling the police officers to return to writing fictional tickets that keep money flowing.
Hint to the Mayor and the silly twit: with winter upon us, why not pick on the snow plow drivers?
Continue now northward to Cambridge, Massachusetts where, the Harvard faculty — huge fans of Obamacare (and in some cases, designers) — are enraged by the University’s decision to pass the increased health care costs along to them. Perhaps they thought such a wonderful idea would never apply to those who wore tweed jackets with elbow patches? They have resorted to whimpering about how such a rich university could do such a thing. Even the most pointy-headed PhD must recognize a slight logical flaw in saying a law is great as long as it does not apply to me.
To the south, the United States Congress opened for business today and the primary business of note was the selection of the Speaker of the House of Representatives. The Senate Majority Leader did not have to be selected in open session because he — Mitch McConnell — is the leader only of the Republican majority. The Senate solves that problem behind closed doors.
Not so for John Boehner, whose comfortable Republican majority should have assured him of an easy win over Nancy Pelosi. The math said Boehner could lose 29 votes and still prevail if Pelosi kept all of her Democrats in line. She lost four and he ended up losing 25 so he squeaked through despite vocal opposition from Congressmen Louie Gohmert and Ted Yoho who represented the Moron Wing of the Republican Party. Neither Gohmert nor Yoho even finished second with but three and two votes, respectively. A few of the 435 members of the House of Representatives actually cast their ballots for non-candidates who were not actually members of the House of Representatives. It is not clear they were aware of this.
The 29 lawmakers who voted against their parties’ leaders must presumably have thought McConnell and Pelosi were too stupid to notice. They are now in violation of the third rule of politics, which includes the word revenge.
Madeline Rockwell, January 06, 2015 at 11:11 pm said:
I think you’re being unfair to figure skating. At the top level, those people are really good at what they do. And even someone who is not an insider can tell the difference between really good and really, really good.
High school rhythmic gymnastics ( with the balls and ribbons and stuff) would seem a better analogy. No one is very good and they all make such a variety of mistakes that the judges have to find a winner based on who is least bad, rather than who is best. Local horse shows fall into this category as well.
Haven Pell, January 07, 2015 at 12:03 am said:
excellent comment Madeline. Thank you. I will keep rhythmic gymnastics in mind for future stories but I will never be clever enough to use horse shows. Cheers, Haven