Hope flailing

Desperate times calling for desperate measures still smell desperate, and that’s where we find the Democratic Party as it hurtles toward an uncertain future dictated by the 2010 midterm elections. In their desire to win by fighting fire with fire, Dems are more likely to end up getting burned – because half-truths are still part lies. And you can’t capture any moral high ground if your pants are on fire, or at least singed by flame.
The latest hoo-ha about the U.S. Chamber of Commerce accepting what Dems and some union heads have charged to be unregulated, scurrilous amounts of campaign cash from foreign business interests kept the news cycle spinning on silly last week.
That the president joined the fray on this issue is troubling, because it is built on the kind of twisted facts that can be too easily vetted and dismissed, seeming to serve more as distractions than actual alarm. Sort of like “death panels for Grandma” or other trumped up trivialities slung by GOPers as of late.
Instead of pounding their accomplishments, and they are considerable, Democrats have given in to the basest common denominator most effectively exploited by the Republican Party: fear. Vehicle: Big Business.
Big Business is accepting money from foreign outfits without disclosing how much or what that money is used for. And that ill-gotten Big Business money is helping to subsidize ads against progressive candidates. Big Business, after all, supports the Republican Party. And the Republican Party supports (fill in the blank here) that will wreck our progress, the change that so many voted for in 2008. And so goes the Dem drumbeat, in the mind of some strategist somewhere, toward victory.
Problem is, these charges are mostly based more on speculation than evidence. That’s probably why that aforementioned drumbeat also sounds oddly like stampeding Independents and purpl-ish Dems that swung elections in the last two national cycles.
Hope appeals. Intellectual honesty sells. But it’s hard to protest mud-slinging with goop dripping from your hands.
Yes, it could be said that this is just an effort to “fire up the base,” get those still-exhausted millions who organized, canvassed and voted for Obama back to the polls. Good intentions don’t equate passes when character had been a trump card. By selling this schlock for short-term game, the Dems are not just sinking, but diving, to the level of their loyal opposition. And thinking people are noticing. 
Still, that Dems are getting called out on this attempt at chicanery is not the most surprising part. Even if these allegations were proven true – and there’s been no proof to date – few recriminations have addressed the imperial superiority subtext of this “scandal.” Amid it all is the notion of America denouncing foreign financial meddling in its sovereign political affairs.
Pot, meet Kettle.
With near-sinister cynicism from left-sided spinmeisters, what has been tapped is the uncomfortable concept that American politics can be manipulated in the same centuries-old way as those in “emerging” nations. Since the 1800s, continent by continent, an American presence has been felt wherever underdeveloped resources existed, natural or otherwise. Urging on “favorable” outcomes often took the form of greenbacks, which then shifted into kickbacks. The possibility that the tables could be turning, that America is no longer an imperial power but possibly imperial prey subject to the whims of moneyed masters abroad incenses adherents of the American exceptionalism doctrine.
For many, the sobering spectre of this nation tumbling toward a nearly identical playing field as the likes of Kenya, Pakistan or even Iran is deeper than anything Sarah Palin has ever stoked – and scarier than anything even Wes Craven could concoct.