The entry of Deval Patrick — who needed three, count ‘em, three, attempts to pass the Massachusetts bar despite graduating from Harvard law—as yet another Democratic presidential contender underscores the rather extraordinary mediocrity of that party’s candidates. What was California Congressman Eric Swallwell ever doing running for president?
The Dems plummeting frontrunner— if you follow the Real Clear Politics averages — Joe Biden is embroiled in a corruption scandal the likes of which we have rarely seen. It has engulfed not only his own son but the son and family of John Kerry as well. That’s Obama’s vice-president and secretary of state!
This scandal appears to be metastasizing. Just now, the Latvian secret service is reporting stratospheric numbers being transferred by Ukrainian klepto-corporation Burisma into Biden/Kerry related accounts in the United States, including at Morgan Stanley. (Do we trust the Latvians? Well, as much as anybody else, I suppose, and they’ve produced a large cache of documents.)
The runners-up as of now, Elizabeth Warren and Pete Buttigieg, are making economic proposals that threaten to bankrupt half a dozen government programs, simultaneously tanking the stock market and sending unemployment numbers skyrocketing while taxes go through the roof. Last election cycle’s favorite Bernie Sanders has long ago gone full-Venezuela. It’s surprising Bernie has yet to embrace the new San Francisco district attorney Chesa Boudin who was a translator for Cesar Chavez.
No wonder Michael Bloomberg has entered the fray. At least he is a verifiable business success. And it’s no surprise Hillary Clinton—one of history’s most prominent sore losers—is clearly contemplating joining him. Give her another week.
But what accounts for this literal Bonfire of the Mediocrities on offer from America’s oldest party? (They’re also a “Bonfire of the Vanities”—pace Tom Wolfe—because the two, in essence, flow back and forth.)
The obvious fakery of the impeachment “inquiry” and the equally obvious fear of the inspector general’s and John Durham’s reports on the possible criminality behind the Russia probe—bad as they indeed are—are symptoms, not the cause. They are manifestations of panic.
The cause is far more basic and goes beyond temporary malfeasances. What we have learned (Actually re-learned) from the policies of the Trump administration is that free markets really do work. Supply-side economics works. You can even use the pejorative “trickle-down economics” and it still works. De-regulation also works and lower taxes work, as JFK knew and economist Arthur Laffer formalized in the “Laffer curve.” And all of this works just as much for the poor and minorities as it does for the rich. In fact, in recent times, more so.
Socialism, on the other hand, is a failure in every way. And leaning toward socialism isn’t much better.
So what exactly do the Democrats have to offer at this point?
Identity politics? Intersectionality? In other words, tribalism and group hate.
And, oh yes, healthcare for all. But how many ways are there to achieve that while preserving, even encouraging, the free market, the only proven way to lower costs for healthcare and virtually everything else.
So without coherent policies on the Democratic side, we are left with a Bonfire of the Mediocrities. What else could they be? Let’s hope they are soon electorally, not physically, extinguished.
Academy Award-nominated screenwriter Roger L. Simon’s new novel “The GOAT” is available on Amazon in multiple formats, including, most recently, audio.