The Democrats are a party in search of a base and have been so since their the departure of their Hollywood glam leader, former President Barack Obama. Witness their tortuous and bizarre response to Tuesday night’s State of the Union address. They had no less than five responses prepared to criticize whatever President Donald Trump might have provided them. Did we miss anyone? Can we find a constituency in here somewhere?
But it is the whining rebuttal of one Rep. Joe Kennedy III that deserves special mention. People whose names are identified by Roman numerals are often from that rarified strata of society known as the super-rich, the stuffed shirts personified by the Gilligan’s Island character of Thurston Howell III for generations of kids watching after-school television.
The always-entertaining Donna Brazile made a brief appearance on Fox News to chat with host Tucker Carlson prior to discuss the weird Democratic strategy. The former DNC chairwoman — who can’t seem to decide whether Hillary Clinton stole the nomination or not — was effusive in her praise of Kennedy, whom she described as an emerging political star. Carlson could barely contain his mirth as he described the another appeal to the Kennedy mystique as the Dems playing their “greatest hits.”
Never mind the suggestions of make-up gone mad, or the strange appearance of drooling; it was the constant harping about that bully Trump without ever actually naming him that defined Kennedy’s performance. Can there have been a more effete and elite personification of the effete and elite Democratic Party?
Of course John Kennedy was wealthy and privileged but he was also a war hero and had to rub shoulders with Boston’s working class to get elected as a congressman. Bobby Kennedy came from the same clan but he was a feisty and a fighter and you could never imagine him obsessing over the bully in the room.
But this latest incarnation of the Kennedy legacy is just the right Kennedy for this hour of a Democratic Party that has so lost its way. It has become a tired cliche to describe the party’s base as a host of unhurried Starbucks sippers, privileged college protesters, Hollywood hypocrites or self-appointed busybodies but Joe III truly exemplified them all as he managed to work up some sense of outrage over a SOTU speech that was probably one of Trump’s most eloquent, charming and inoffensive verbal efforts.
But what can you say about a party that has apparently forgotten that it is permissible to applaud for president — even if he is a Repubican — when he addresses issues of mutual interest that should inspire a shared sense of joy and triumph? Black unemployment is not merely lower than it ever was under the African-American Obama, it is lower than it was under the Great Society Lyndon Johnson. Should that not prompt something more than a tabula rasa glare from the Congressional Black Caucus?
The Democrats held their applause throughout Trump’s speech, with its members often furitively searching the room to confirm that all of their colleagues had not lost their nerve and were staying true to their obduracy.
With his addiction to Twitter, Trump may well be the Great Over-Communicator but he hit his marks Monday night and delivered the speech that he and the Republicans needed. The Democrats, led by Kennedy’s pusillanimous after-dinner remarks, could never seem to remember that they should be speaking to America and not just this pitiful phenomenon known as the “resistance.” The stark contrast between the two parities could not have been more obvious to any neutral observer — and apparently it was to the American people, who had a rare opportunity to see Trump without the invasive interpretation of the liberal mainstream media.
With 75 percent of viewers approving of his speech, Trump could not have hoped for better results.