Democrats stoop a little lower

Danny Katch wonders if the Democrats are trying to out-stupid the Republicans.

Barack Obama before a White House press conference in September (Pete Souza)

LAST WEEK, the White House unveiled its two-pronged October Surprise for the midterm elections. First, reject the growing call for a moratorium on foreclosures. Second, accuse the Republicans of receiving "secret foreign money" from the Chamber of Commerce.

Rather than give us hope by actually doing something to limit the power of American financial institutions, the Democrats' plan is to make us frightened and angry about fictional non-American financial institutions. In other words, we now have a choice between Tea-Party-Dee and Tea-Party-Dumb.

"This is a threat to our democracy," Obama warned last week about the supposed foreign donantions to the Republicans. "The American people deserve to know who's trying to sway their elections."

Do you know what's actually a threat to our democracy? The fact that no matter who we vote for, we end up with the same stupid shit.

Before you get too frustrated, though, a word of warning: If you're reading this Web site, chances are the White House is already very disappointed in you. Facing an impending disaster at the polls, Democratic leaders have figured out that you're the culprit.

Joe Biden thinks you're spending too much time "whining" about bank bailouts and Afghanistan, and not enough time being scared about the Tea Party. In fact, you probably are nervous about some of these right-wing cranks who may take over Congress next year. But you can't get it out of your head that right now, with huge Democratic majorities, that same Congress has been unable even to end unpopular policies like tax cuts for millionaires and "don't ask, don't tell."

Your reckless live-in-the-moment attitude isn't entirely your fault, according to White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs. You've been misled by the "professional left," a shadowy network that ranges from Jon Stewart to revolutionary socialists, and includes all those in between who rigidly cling to their values, even when they come into conflict with the political strategies of a Democratic administration.

Gibbs throws up his hands at the impossibility of dealing with crazies who will only "be satisfied when we have Canadian health care, and we've eliminated the Pentagon."

Gibbs may be right that you actually like the sound of his dystopian nightmare of world peace and free medicine. But you may be wondering why the White House spokesperson sounds so much like Glenn Beck when he describes anybody who just wants his boss to fulfill his campaign promises.

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SINCE POLLS show that you haven't been getting the hint, President Obama himself felt the need to set you straight in a recent interview with Rolling Stone:

[T]here's a turn of mind among Democrats and progressives where a lot of times we see the glass as half-empty...[W]e made a series of decisions that were focused on governance, and sometimes there was a conflict between governance and politics. So there were some areas where we could have picked a fight with Republicans that might have gotten our base feeling good, but would have resulted in us not getting legislation done.

Ouch. The guy who once seemed like the only politician who respected your intelligence now views you as a simple-minded zealot who would rather scream at Republicans than pass any laws.

It's funny, but you don't remember that being the reason for your excitement when Obama was elected, do you? Come to think of it, one reason you were so happy was that you thought with the Democrats having a majority of 18 seats in the Senate and 75 seats in the House, you'd barely even have to know the Republicans existed.

And you're pretty sure that there was all sorts of legislation you expected to be passed. Not just ending "don't ask, don't tell" and ending millionaire tax cuts, but laws protecting homeowners, the environment, abortion rights--the list goes on and on. Of course, back then, you were naïve enough to think that with super-majorities in both houses of Congress, Obama and his party could pass those laws just by, you know, voting for them.

You were still dealing with your disappointment in Team Obama's performance over the past two years when they started semi-mocking you for believing all of their talk about "change" to begin with. And now, to top it all off, the folks telling you to shut up and vote have embarked on what may be the dumbest political strategy in recent history.

Barack Hussein Obama: Nativist.

"Where has the Chamber been getting some of their money lately?" asks an ad from MoveOn.org. "From foreign corporations in countries like China, Russia and India--the same companies that threaten American jobs." "It's incredible," says another ad from the Democratic National Committee. "Republicans benefiting from secret foreign money."

First of all, there must be some bitter laughter coming from Venezuala, Iran and all the other countries with opposition parties funded by the U.S.-based National Endowment for Democracy.

Closer to home, the real money influencing our elections is coming from the very American bankers that Obama is afraid of pissing off with a moratorium on foreclosures--precisely because their money influences our elections.

One other hole in the "secret foreign money" argument: It's probably not true. Campaign finance watchdog groups say there's no evidence behind the accusation. When Obama's aide David Axelrod was asked on Face the Nation for proof that the Chamber was funneling foreign money to Republican candidates, he cleverly responded, "Well, do you have any proof that it's not?"

Not only are the Democrats trying to out-xenophobe the Tea Party--they're trying to out-stupid them as well.