Dragging our asses through an overcast and rainy Sunday, wallowing in the winnowing down to the Final Four teams in the NCAA men’s basketball tournament although we have no stake in it anymore, having long since been blown out of the pool. Who knew Wofford wouldn’t be making it through to Indianapolis? We have decided to redirect, let’s call it, rather than create anew.
On Friday’s New Rules segment of Real Time with Bill Maher, the host closed out his show with a blistering attack on the idea of any retreat back to passivity on the part of Democrats after their victory in the U.S. health care reform battle. While it was directed specifically at the American political scene, I think the point should be expanded to a wider arena. All progressives should take to heart Maher’s point and set aside the notion of accommodation and cooperation when no hand is being extended from the other side.
Let’s stop allowing the right to frame the debate, from economic and foreign policy to getting tough on crime. Do not react to bully boy bluster with meekness, acceptance and a turning of the other cheek. Pound our points like a power forward does the paint (had to use at least one basketball analogy), fearlessly and with elbows poised. As Maher said in his diatribe, The Democrats need to push the rest of their agenda while their boot is on the neck of the greedy, poisonous old reptile. Ditto those on the left side of the spectrum here. We need to stop counterpunching and acquiescing and take the fight directly to the forces of regressive ideology that are threatening our city, province and country.
Here is a full transcript of Bill Maher’s segment. A link to the video follows. And now back to Tennessee and Michigan State.
New Rule: You can’t use the statement “there will be no cooperation for the rest of the year” as a threat if there was no cooperation in the first half of the year. Here’s a word the president should take out of his teleprompter: bipartisanship. People only care about that in theory, not in practice. The best thing that’s happened this year is when President Obama finally realized this and said, “Kiss my black ass, we’re going it alone, George W. Bush style.”
Two months ago, conservative Fred Barnes wrote, “The health care bill is dead with not the slightest prospect of resurrection.” Well, if it’s dead, you just got your ass kicked by a zombie named Nancy Pelosi. Seriously, the last time a Democrat showed balls like that John Edwards’ girlfriend was filming it. Make all the botox jokes and she-shops-too-much jokes you want, but this is the biggest political victory a woman has ever achieved in America. Yes, Nancy Pelosi likes nice clothes. So does Sarah Palin. The difference is Nancy Pelosi pays for hers.
But even before the Democrats got to take a single victory lap they were already being warned not to get used to the feeling, and not to get drunk with power. I disagree. All you Democrats: do a shot, and then do another. Get drunk on this feeling of not backing down and doing what you came to Washington to do.
Democrats should not listen to the people who are now saying they shouldn’t attempt anything else big for a while because health care was such a bruising battle. Wrong — because I learned something watching the lying bullies of the Right lose this one: when they’re losing, they squeal like a pig. They kept saying things like, the bill was being “shoved down our throats” or the Democrats were “ramming it through.” The bill was so big they couldn’t take it all at once!
And I realized listening to this rhetoric that it reminded me of something: Tiger Woods’ text messages to his mistress that were made public last week, where he said, and I quote, “I want to treat you rough, throw you around, spank and slap you and make you sore. I want to hold you down and choke you while I fuck that ass that I own. Then I’m going to tell you to shut the fuck up while I slap your face and pull your hair for making noise.” Unquote.
And this, I believe, perfectly represents the attitude Democrats should now have in their dealings with the Republican Party: “Shut the fuck up while I slap your face for making noise — now pass a cap-and-trade law, you stupid bitch, and repeat after me: ‘global warming is real!'”
The Democrats need to push the rest of their agenda while their boot is on the neck of the greedy, poisonous old reptile. Who cares if a cap-and-trade bill isn’t popular, neither was health care. Your poll numbers may have descended a bit, but so did your testicles.
So don’t stop: we need to regulate the banks, we need to overhaul immigration, we need to end corporate welfare including at the Pentagon, we need to bring troops home from… everywhere, we need to end the drug war, and we need to put terrorists and other human rights violators on trial in civilian courts, starting with Dick Cheney.
Democrats in America were put on earth to do one thing: drag the ignorant hillbilly half of this country into the next century, which in their case is the 19th — and by passing health care, the Democrats saved their brand. A few months ago, Sarah Palin mockingly asked them, “How’s that hopey-changey thing working out for ya?” Great, actually. Thanks for asking. And how’s that whole Hooked on Phonics thing working out for you?