DEMOCRATS: BEWARE THE MIDDLE OF THE ROAD
Cat was practically screaming, his voice shaking with an uncharacteristic warble.
“What do you mean?” I said.
“You were in the middle of the road!” Cat yowled. “You could have been run over, squashed, instant road-kill. What were you thinking, you fool!”
I looked to see what he was up to, and Cat was staring into the screen of our laptop, reviewing the set of photos I had assembled for use in our next blog posting.
“They are just pictures, Cat,” I said. “But I’m glad to see you got the point.”
“The point?” he yowled.
“That middle of the road is a dangerous place to be,” I said.
“So why just wander out into the middle of the street, like you are waiting for the next 18-wheeler to turn you into something even more disgusting than you are already?” he said.
“Precisely the point I’m suggesting to all the pundits, know-it-alls, chin strokers, columnists, panelists and analysts, who have been singing the same song, pretty much in unison, running down the Democratic candidates who took part in the TV debates last Wednesday and Thursday.”
“And that song is what?” Cat asked.
“Their reasoning?” Cat asked.
“That the Democrats are so left-leaning, so impractical, so fringe, that they are going to frighten away all the ‘moderate’ voters who aren’t thrilled with Trump, but will be turned off by elitist, crazy, impractical and selfish socialists.”
“Like who?” Cat said.
“I think you mean ‘Like WHOM?’ “I said.
“Don’t play Goody Grammar Cop with this voter,” Cat hissed at me. “That’s exactly the kind of coastal, snotty-face attitude that will turn this common sense pussy into a crazed, unpredictable tiger when he hits the voting booth. Who, whom are you hooting about?”
"LIKE THE ALWAYS INSUFFERABLE David Brooks, who plays the Nice & Friendly & Smiling & Reasonable Conservative on pubic TV’s ‘NewsHour,” and is presumed to have magical powers of insight and reason because he writes columns for the New York Times, which are just as vapid.”
“Really?” Cat asked. “What was he saying about the debates?”
“Here’s the headline,” I said.
Dems, Please Don’t Drive Me Away
“Well, you can’t judge a columnist by a headline,” Cat said
At this point, I knew Cat was toying with me like one of the mice in our house that he never catches.
I explained that Brooks starts off the column this way:
I could never in a million years vote for Donald Trump. So my question to Democrats is: Will there be a candidate I can vote for?”
And then, to convince the reader that he’s done original research, Brooks cites a recent poll that shows that liberals are only 26 percent of all American, whereas 35 percent are conservatives, and moderates are also 35 percent.
“That doesn’t add up,” Cat said.
“Never does,” I said. “Maybe the pollsters reached an amazing 4 percent of American who have no opinion, even in The Troubled Times of Trump. Brooks babbles on:
The party seems to think it can win without any of the 35 percent of us in the moderate camp, the ones who actually delivered the 2018 midterm win. (Emphasis added).
And ends with this self-pitying complaint:
The debates illustrate the dilemma for moderate Democrats. If they take on progressives they get squashed by the passionate intensity of the left. If they don’t, the party moves so far left that it can’t win in the fall. Right now we’ve got two parties trying to make moderates homeless.
“Pathetic,” Cat agreed. “But you don’t like Brooks in the first place, so why get worked up over him?”
“Because he’s not alone,” I said. And I read Cat some more headlines (Brooks isn’t the only one who does his homework):
A Wretched Start for Democrats (that’s another Times’ guy, Bret Stephens).
Unhappy With Their 2016 Coronation,
The Democrats Start a 2020 Circus (Tim Alberta, Politico)
The world needs Trump out –
But are the Democrats up to the task? (Robert Reich, one-time labor secretary, writing in The Guardian)
"I COULD GIVE you more...,” I said.
“Please, don’t,” Cat said. “But what’s with the middle of the road pictures?”
“Because the middle of anything – a road, a policy, a slogan, a campaign – is exactly where you don’t want to be. Do you remember a book written in the last century by a Texas liberal, Jim Hightower?”
“I may have missed that one,” Cat said.
“Well, the title was There's Nothing in the Middle of the Road but Yellow Stripes and Dead Armadillos,” I said, “and I think that pretty well sums up the problems of alleged 'moderates: 'hang out in the middle of the road, and you’ll be killed by what’s coming at you from both sides.”
“But all of these people, Brooks included, mean well,” Cat said. “They don’t want Trump to win any more than we do, so it’s important for a Democrat to be able to get lots of voters. Some of the candidates said they wanted healthcare-for-all by replacing people’s current insurance; they all seemed very welcoming to undocumented and other immigrants; they wanted an economy that narrows the gap between the few that are rich and the many who/whom aren’t.”
I looked at Cat with a frown.
“I’m just saying, maybe the critics are right to be scared,” Cat said.
“Look, Furbrain, when was the last time you ran into anybody who began the conversation ‘I love my health insurance company?’ ” I asked Cat. “And it was refreshing to hear candidates speaking with compassion and welcome for immigrants fleeing their countries in fear of their lives. And climate change is frightening.”
“We aren’t going to lose the election by being neutral,” I said. “The election will be a referendum on Donald Trump, the cruelest, meanest, most dangerous president in history. So you don’t want a middle-of-the-road candidate with a slogan like:
Vote for me. You can sleep nights knowing that I won’t change anything. I won't do anything. I won't go forward. Or backward. And, what's more: I don't really care; do you?’”
"What's more, Cat, issues count," I said..
“You can’t go half-way to stop climate change in the 10 years that we have left. You can’t have health care for some us, but ask the rest, who also have cancer, broken hearts and misfiring brains, to be patient, but not patients. You can’t go halfway in keeping the Russians out of our elections.”
Cat yawned: “Sermon’s running a bit long, My Girl, and it’s not even Sunday. Besides, we agree on at least one thing.”
“What’s that?” I said.
“The middle of the road isn’t a safe place to be, especially this year. Not safe for Middling Moderates, Far Left Lefties, Yellow Dog Democrats, Blue Dog Democrats, Red State Hounds; and it’s certainly not safe for Preacher Dogs, who/whom lack the common sense NOT to pose for pictures on the yellow lines."
“That’s quite sweet of you, Cat,” I said. “I’m touched, after all these years.”
“Don’t let it go to your head,” he said. “I may be old, but I’ve still got claws on my Right-side paws, and the ones on the Left.”