I've been grousing a lot lately about the lameness of the Republican Party. While I may complain about Democratic policies, and Democratic politicians, I don't post much about the Democratic Party as an institution, like I do with the Republicans.
That's because the Democratic Party is, by far, the most effective political machine in American history, and quite possibly the world. There is no contest. Arising just after our republic began, they have been the one institution that has survived through thick and thin, war and peace, prosperity and panic. They are truly political masters of mendacity.
You may despise their politics, but you have to admire, in some way, their tenacity in holding onto power. For example, what other group can be so caught up in scandal and corruption, time and time again, yet always run as reformers, running against their own culture of corruption, and keep getting elected? Masters of mendacity, indeed.
They just keep plugging away through the centuries, dominating politics and forcing others to respond to their initiatives. They support, and are part of government, in a way their opponents are not. Over time, nearly all of their broad policy initiatives are enacted.
They are so much a part of the government, and identified as such, that their supporters get genuinely angry when they are shut out for a prolonged period of time. Democrats, when they are out of power, get mad, sullen, furious, outraged. As a contrast, when the Republicans are out of power, what to they do? Accommodate themselves to the situation.
Democrats avoid paying for their mistakes. If you are a Democratic politician who was successful in obtaining or expanding your power, you will be celebrated and remembered. You will not be held to account for wrongdoing. And the Democrats will show no embarrassment.
Thomas Jefferson -- brilliant writer and thinker, but also a conniving, sneaky, cutthroat, political operative, who didn't fight in the Revolution and impregnated his slaves. Don't believe me? Then read John Adams. Expanded executive power. Now his picture is on the currency.
Andrew Jackson -- hero of an unnecessary battle, committed crimes against the Indians as architect of the Trail of Tears. Expanded executive power to the point that he destroyed the political consensus in the young nation, and caused the creation of a political party simply to oppose him. Now his picture is on the currency.
Woodrow Wilson -- the closest this country ever came to a fascist government. Don't believe me? Then read Liberal Fascism. Lauded as a great statesmen.
Huey P. Long -- corrupt politician and dictator of Louisiana. Founded a corrupt political dynasty. Read about him in Huey Long.
John C. Stennis -- longtime Democratic senator. Supported segregation vociferously. Now his name is on an aircraft carrier, and he was lauded as a statesman at this death.
Ted Kennedy -- lauded as the "Lion of the Senate" despite committing crimes and being involved in scandals that would put you or I behind bars.
Bill Clinton -- presidency nearly undone due to his preying on a young intern. Instead of being sent up for sexual harassment, he is lauded by feminist organizations.
Slavery and race relations are a telling example. Democratic politicians supported slavery and its expansion, then supported and enacted Jim Crow laws. For a time, top Democratic officeholders were also officers in the KKK. The party then notes a shift in the public mood, and turns on a dime (in historical terms) and embraces equal rights. And then they even manage to stick the stench of racism on their political opponents! Wow. Any political party that can pull this off, has some major cojones.
The Democrats are the party that endures. Other parties are in reaction to it. Whether you love it or hate it, nothing else comes close to the dominance and longevity of the Democratic Party.