(San Francisco, Apr. 14) If you headed south to Hollywood from here and tried to sell this year's Democratic melodrama as a screenplay, you would quickly find yourself bounced out the door by a producer shouting, “Get real, buddy!” Editor: That's the gleeful observation of Backbone columnist Bill Moloney, filing this time from the City by the Bay. His blogs and radio conversations with us seldom originate from Bill's nominal home in Denver, or from the same city twice, for that matter. His latest punditry-cum-travelogue goes this way:
Whenever in San Francisco there are two things I unfailingly do. First, rent a bicycle at “Blazing Saddles” on Fisherman’s Wharf, bike through the Presidio up and over the Golden Gate Bridge -- stopping frequently to gaze at the awesome panorama below -- fly down the hill to Sausalito; throw the bike on the ferry, and wave to the ghost of Al Capone on Alcatraz while returning to Pier 41.
The second is to dine at John’s Grille on Ellis St, one of America’s grand old steakhouses currently celebrating its’ centennial year. Literary aficionados will recall Dashiell Hammett’s famous sleuth Sam Spade dining at John’s while pondering clues in the classic Maltese Falcon.
While recently tucking into a splendid porterhouse at John’s I was blessed with the company of an old friend who is a retired journalist now scribbling away at what I am sure will be the long awaited Great American Novel. His reminiscences of San Francisco figures, famous and infamous, from columnist Herb Caen to Mayor Willie Brown, are themselves worthy of a book.
At the time of our repast the city had just experienced near-riots over the highly controversial visit of the Olympic Torch. Only in San Francisco could you find on the same day public denunciations of Communist Chinese as “evil conservatives” and picketers at the local offices of Speaker Nancy Pelosi denouncing her for “spinelessness” and insufficient zeal in opposing the Iraq War.
The travails of Speaker Pelosi significantly touch on one of the most extraordinary political stories of our time: The slowly unfolding implosion of the Democratic Party as it tries to anoint a Presidential candidate in an atmosphere of growing fratricidal viciousness.
As my friend observed if you headed south to Hollywood and tried to sell this Democratic melodrama as a screenplay you would quickly find yourself bounced out the door by a producer shouting, “Get real, buddy!” In fact the screenplay -- “See, There’s this really good looking articulate African-American guy who’s got a good shot at becoming President, but he keeps getting sandbagged by this strident old feminist, and her shady husband” -- is a perfect validation of the old saw “truth is stranger than fiction."
Republicans watching all this keep pinching themselves thinking they must be dreaming: Are the Democrats really going to commit suicide right before our eyes? When 2008 opened the GOP had realistic prospects of their greatest electoral disaster since 1964. Now – miraculously - retaining the White House is almost conceivable.
Since the Sixties, liberal dreams have revolved around a credible woman or minority candidate for President. Now in a “beware of what you wish for” scenario they have gotten both -- in the same year, same party, seeking the same office, and killing each other in the process.
For two generations race and gender have been the twin obsessions of the Democratic Party’s belief system. For liberals they invoke a quasi-religious intensity. For years I’ve amused myself noting the high incidence of stories on the New York Times front page dealing with these topics(e.g. “Suspicious Decline of African-American Baseball Players” or “New Outrage: Augusta National Golf Club Still Bans Female Members.")
Now the collision of the race and gender issues has exposed for all the country to see the Democrat’s mindless propensity for political correctness as well as their capacity for a political savagery usually aimed at Republicans and utterly unreported in the mainstream media. Now the Democrats’ internecine food fights on MSNBC are more fun than anything on Fox News! John McCain won’t have to waste any money on “opposition research;" the Democrats and their media acolytes are providing it free of charge.
The leftist nature of the Democratic primary electorate has trapped Obama and Clinton in a devastating “race to the bottom” to prove they are “more left wing” than their opponent.
Not since the historic Democratic bloodletting of 1968 ending in the disastrous Chicago convention have the American people gotten such an extended and graphic an answer to the question: “What are liberals really like?"
Dark clouds still abound for Republicans -- Iraq, gasoline at $4 a gallon etc. -- that could yet invoke the nightmare of 1964, but in a supreme and almost providential irony it is the Democrats who have given the GOP “Hope they Can Believe In."
Dr. William Moloney, a featured columnist on BackboneAmerica.net, was Colorado Education Commissioner from 1997-2007. He has done graduate work in world history at Oxford, and admits to being a veteran of all too many political campaigns. Moloney's columns have appeared in the Wall Street Journal, USA Today, Washington Post, Washington Times, Baltimore Sun, Philadelphia Inquirer, Denver Post, Rocky Mountain News, and Pacific News Service.