There have been easier times to be a Democrat. Think way way back to the halcyon days of two years ago. Summer of '08. Basking like a lazy cat napping in a sun drenched window box. Now, not so much. Nancy Pelosi must be thinking someone on her team swallowed a bad news electromagnet the size of a Buick.
Obama's poll numbers are falling faster than barometric pressure in the eye of a hurricane. The wars rage on. Scariest of all may be the haunting cries from the swelling ranks of unemployed in the streets; like beckoning zombies: "Join Us. Join Us." And if the polls don't turn around, many incumbents will.
What the Dems definitely don't need is an ugly self-inflicted election-year corruption scandal twining up their legs like an anaconda in the primary stages of a goat swallow. They call it conflict of interest, a polite way of saying crookeder than a dump truck full of bicycle spokes mangled by a tugboat turbine.
In normal circumstances, nobody bribes a Democrat because Dems can't get anything done. Like handing an eggplant the keys to a Ferrari. Besides, you do give them money, they don't know what to do with it; they put it in the freezer for crum's sake. But these aren't normal circumstances and Charlie Rangel and Maxine Waters aren't normal Democrats. Like lions with a wounded zebra, they know what to do with it. Bones and all.
After 12 years of wandering in the wilderness, taking over Congress in 2006, the Speaker pronounced her intent to "drain the swamp." The problem is, do that, then you got to deal with all the creepies crawling around the bottom and those big old alligators got nowhere to hide. Drained or not, they still know where the sharpest marsh grasses are and how to blind adversaries with a face full of swamp gas.
Waters is a 10 term Congressman while Rangel is completing his 20th and both seem perfectly content to take their entire party down rather than walk away from the cash cows they affectionately call public service. When they say this is not about the money, this is about their dignity, you can pretty much bet... this is about the money.
They were investigated by the House Committee on Standards of Official Conduct, one of the great oxymorons of all time. Like 'rotary cell phone' or 'George W. Bush Think Tank' or 'Martha Coakley Campaign Strategy Handbook'. The two members could have escaped with a slap on the wrist but are demanding public trials. And they'll get their day in court, in September, right before the general election, which the Democrats need the same way a musk ox needs day glo- targets painted on its sides in the shape of a rifle's crosshairs.
Republicans -- like their mascot the elephant, loxodonata africanus -- are herd animals and understand protecting the tribe is their number one priority. Donkeys, however -- equus asinus- where we get the word asinine -- are principally known for stubbornness, a demonstration of which is now in session. You got to love them. They're like carnivorous snails, who will eat their own, only when they get around to it. Democrats may not have invented the circular firing squad, but you got to admit, they sure have perfected it.
Will Durst is a San Francisco based political comedian who writes sometimes. This being a smoking example.
Catch him as part of Comedy Talks on August 15th at the San Francisco Presentation Theater with Robert Morse and Shelley Berman. For tickets: comedytalks.com or 800.838.3006.
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