Rid­ing the tiger

Rage and wrath are un­re­li­able mounts for des­per­ate Democrats

The Washington Times Daily - - EDITORIAL -

“He who rides a tiger is afraid to dis­mount,” a Chi­nese proverb cau­tions the un­wary. That’s where the Democrats, flail­ing in a search for a way out of the wilder­ness, find them­selves in their warm em­brace of Trump De­range­ment Syn­drome.

Ahead of the 2018 midterms, the Democrats in Washington and the state cap­i­tals were at first giddy at the prospect of har­ness­ing the hard left’s bound­less out­rage and its im­pres­sive skills at lit­ter­ing the streets with marches and other protests.

They thought they could chan­nel the fer­vor of the an­tiTrump pout — with un­ruly mobs of ac­tivists heck­ling and shout­ing down Repub­li­can con­gress­men at town hall meet­ings — and win back the House of Rep­re­sen­ta­tives next year.

But rid­ing a tiger, as Tom Perez, the new chair­man of the Demo­cratic Na­tional Com­mit­tee, is dis­cov­er­ing the hard way, in­vari­ably puts you in dan­ger of merely be­com­ing the tiger’s din­ner. Mr. Perez has been heck­led, booed and shouted down at tour stops in Maine, Florida and Utah on his “Demo­cratic Unity Tour.” He has had to bring in Sen. Bernie San­ders, the sep­tu­a­ge­nar­ian so­cial­ist from Ver­mont and dar­ling of the left, to mol­lify the party’s dom­i­nant fringe.

The slo­gan of the tour is an in­vi­ta­tion to “come to­gether and fight back,” but Mr. San­ders is not even a Demo­crat, which he takes care to point out on many oc­ca­sions. He told MSNBC last week that “No, I’m an in­de­pen­dent.” This is a dis­tinc­tion with­out much dif­fer­ence, since Mr. San­ders cau­cuses with Se­nate Democrats and his votes sel­dom stray from the party line. Politico, the Web mag­a­zine, ob­served dur­ing last year’s po­lit­i­cal sea­son that Mr. San­ders voted with the Democrats 95 per­cent to 99 per­cent of the time from 2001 to 2010.

Whether be­cause of, or in spite of, Mr. San­ders’ arm’slength em­brace of the Demo­cratic Party, he has drawn cheers and ap­plause on the unity tour. This un­der­lines the fes­ter­ing re­sent­ment of the San­ders crowd that the party estab­lish­ment rigged the nom­i­nat­ing process last year in fa­vor of Hil­lary Clin­ton. Mr. Perez, in fact, was the pre­ferred can­di­date of Hil­lary and most of the big mules of the party in choos­ing the party chief.

The re­cep­tion of Messrs. San­ders and Perez un­der­scores the party’s swift drift to the deep­est, dark­est nether re­gions of the swamp of the left. Other party lead­ers, un­der di­rec­tion of or­ga­niz­ers of the swamp com­mu­nity, have been heck­led for be­ing in­suf­fi­ciently “pro­gres­sive.”

At a town hall meet­ing last week in San Fran­cisco, the epi­cen­ter of left-wing Demo­cratic politics, Sen. Dianne Fe­in­stein was heck­led for op­pos­ing sin­gle-payer health care, which she rightly called a “to­tal takeover” of the health care sys­tem. Sev­eral posters and plac­ards popped up with de­mands to “Re­tire Fe­in­stein.” Though 83, Mrs. Fe­in­stein has not ruled out run­ning for a fifth Se­nate term next year.

The Democrats are dis­cov­er­ing, to their con­sid­er­able dis­may, that the left-wing fa­nat­ics ag­i­tat­ing against Pres­i­dent Trump and the Repub­li­can Congress, make en­cour­ag­ing noises but are nev­er­the­less a mixed bless­ing, be­cause they can’t be ef­fec­tively chan­neled. Dis­mount­ing a tiger is so dan­ger­ous that a rider is tempted to ride it to the end, what­ever and wher­ever that may be. It’s not likely to be a happy end.

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