Fred LaSor: Tammany Hall revisited

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This weekend is the first anniversary of Trump’s inauguration, and also of the pink-hatted women’s march. That demonstration attempted to build opposition to our new president, with various organizers and participants grasping at the notion they could nullify the electoral college vote and either have the president step aside or bring about an impeachment vote that he would lose.

An elaborate theory suggested when President Trump stepped aside his two constitutional successors (Vice President Pence and House Speaker Ryan) would then make the noble gesture of declining the presidency, which would be handed by some political legerdemain to Hillary Clinton. If this sounds like a fantasy, it was. But then the whole idea a million marchers could displace the ballots of some 63 million voters was fantasy, too.

And in fact it soon became evident the effort wasn’t what it purported to be. The women’s march was quickly hijacked by political operatives who were trying to continue the losing campaign they had been conducting for the previous two years — the campaign that believed in using any means at hand to put their candidate in the White House, even if it meant breaking the law, subverting the will of their party faithful, and destroying the candidacy of the most popular Democrat, Bernie Sanders. They abused the power of the White House, the FBI, the IRS, and their own party apparatus in a display of political savagery from which we have still not recovered.

Not that I regret Sanders’ loss. He’s an unreconstructed socialist whose vision for America would have turned us into a latter-day Venezuela, with all that country’s failures. For readers who have forgotten just how bad Venezuela is, it was once an economic giant with huge petroleum reserves, many beauty queens, and some good baseball players who made it into the major leagues in the USA. Now they ration food, pharmaceuticals, and toilet paper. And they haven’t held a beauty pageant, or an honest election, in nearly a decade. That, Bernie, could have been your legacy!

There are certain themes the opposition has emphasized in their ongoing fight against Trump this past year. One of the earliest was fear, a word that kept appearing in the drumbeat of opposition to the president. Fear he wasn’t stable enough to have his finger on the nuclear trigger, his apparent lack of experience would depress the economy, and his social predispositions would lead to a flowering of bigotry and racism. A lesbian friend posted a farewell on Facebook just before the inauguration, saying she was sure under Trump she would be sent to a prison camp in the coming year. It was all a fictional narrative.

The opposition has now put all its eggs in the Mueller investigation basket, yet the more we learn about that investigation, the more it appears the Clinton campaign was more involved in deception than Trump could even dream about. Dianne Feinstein’s recent release of Glenn Simpson’s testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee is a case in point: the so-called Steele Dossier is a worthless bit of character assassination funded by Hillary Clinton’s campaign, and even Feinstein admits she only released the transcript because her mental faculties were diminished by a bad cold.

At first, pink-hatted demonstrators were a somewhat quirky picture of democracy taking to the streets. In the ensuing 12 months the whole effort has become a frightening display of the excesses of American politics, worse than Boss Tweed’s Tammany Hall. We will be a better nation when a new generation of politicians replaces the old, especially the previous Democratic candidate.

Fred LaSor was assigned to Venezuela during his diplomatic career and is saddened by developments there over the past decade.


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