Whenever I behold the antics of the once great Democratic Party as its members cavort across the political stage I think of the final line of the song "Send in the Clowns" that concludes "Don't bother, they're here."
Almost from the moment the Democrats assumed control of Congress and Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid took charge of their respective chambers it was evident that the Marx Brothers were loose on the Hill.
Solemn campaign pledges to shake up the existing order of things, repeated by Madam Pelosi in the earliest days of her speakership, seemed quickly forgotten as such goals as ending the scandal of earmarks slowly vanished in the mists and its champions such as John Murtha leapt into a powerful subcommittee chairmanship and gobbled up the pork.
Was it Harpo or was it Groucho who scripted Mrs. Pelosi's attempt to install her pal Murtha as the new House majority leader that was frustrated when Maryland's Steny Hoyer beat Murtha for the job thus publicly embarrassing the speaker. As the Washington Post noted ominously, the episode exposed "a deep political divide even before the party takes control."
From that point forward it has been all downhill.
The outnumbered Republicans with only 202 members in the House to the Democrat's 233 members continued to run circles around Mrs. Pelosi's and her Democratic majority, ravaging the much ballyhooed Democratic legislative agenda.
It had to be the zany Marx brothers who convinced House and Senate Democrats that it would be good politics to pledge to increase everybody's taxes by promising to allow the Bush tax cuts which had revived the economy to expire.
One by one, the items in Mrs.' Pelosi's agenda fell by the wayside. The media wouldn't think of reporting it as such, but the story of this Democratic-controlled House is a farce. The wayward Republican adults the voters drove out of office have been replaced by a host of juvenile delinquents led by a leader spectacularly unfit to lead the lower chamber.
In the Senate, where the Marx Brothers have once again prevailed Harry Reid has been repeatedly outmaneuvered by the Republicans, who have driven a stake through the heart of his agenda.
Ignoring the fact that the administration always had a host of options available to them as far as events in Iraq were concerned, Mrs. Pelosi embarked on a seemingly endless campaign to end the war and bring the troops home. And time after time, she failed despite her superior numbers.
Moreover, once the administration used one of their options and put the surge in place, Mrs. Pelosi and Sen. Reid read the scripts that must have been written by the Marx Brothers and declared the surge a certain failure even before it got underway.
And when it began to show dramatic progress both refused to recognize it. With Groucho obviously whispering in his ear, Reid declared the war — it was obvious the U.S. was now beginning to win — already lost.
And who but Harpo Marx could have convinced Nancy Pelosi to charge that Gen. Petraeus would paint an unreasonably rosy picture of the progress on the ground in Iraq when he came back to report on its progress?
“I’m very concerned that they will kick the can further down the road or talk about a few anecdotal successes that they’ll try to pass off as the situation in Iraq,” Pelosi told reporters. She was outdone by Hillary Clinton who avowed that it required the “willing suspension of disbelief,” to accept the word of this widely esteemed general officer.
The widespread belief that the GOP was doomed do go crashing down to defeat in the 2008 elections ignored the well-known capacity of the Democrats to snatch defeat from the jaws of near-certain victory.
Watching the present Democratic campaign for their party's presidential nomination is nothing less than watching a replay of some classic Marx Brothers movie such as "Animal Crackers," "Monkey Business" or "At The Circus." Only the characters are different. Instead of Groucho, Harpo and Chico you have Hillary and Bill and Barack.
You can almost imagine you're hearing such dialogues from Monkey Business as:
MAN: "What's the idea putting your hand in my pocket?"
CHICO: "Just a little mistake. I had a suit once just looked like that, and for a moment I thought those were my pants."
MAN: "How could they be your pants when I've got them on?"
CHICO: "Well, this suit had two pair of pants."
When you hear Barack Obama insist that he never heard those notorious hate lines from his former pastor Rev. Wright, or Hillary duck questions about failing to release tax returns or other possibly incriminating documents about her days in the White House with Bill, it sounds exactly like someone claiming to have two pairs of pants.
It's Loony Tunes all the way. Wiser heads among the Democrats are wringing their hands (if heads can wring their hands, that is) over the spectacle of a major political party in the process of committing suicide.
Watching the Clinton forces in a no-holds battle to destroy Barack Obama, and Obama's attempt to return the compliment brings joy to Republican hearts who rejoice over seeing their potential opponents being utterly destroyed by members of their own party before they can get their hands on him or her in the fall campaign.
In the "Big Store" were hear these lines:
WOLF [Groucho]: "Martha, dear, there are many bonds that will hold us together through eternity."
MARTHA: "Really, Wolf? What are they?"
WOLF: "Your government bonds, your savings bonds, your liberty bonds."
With the Democrats, substitute “our tax dollars.”
Don't bother sending in the clowns. They're already here.
Phil Brennan is a veteran journalist and World War II Marine who writes for NewsMax.com. He is editor and publisher of Wednesday on the Web (http://www.pvbr.com) and was Washington columnist (Cato) for National Review magazine in the 1960s.
He also served as a staff aide for the House Republican Policy Committee and helped handle the Washington public relations operation for the Alaska Statehood Committee which won statehood for Alaska. He is also a trustee of the Lincoln Heritage Institute and a member of the Association For Intelligence Officers.
He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
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