Euripides said it first, and much later, Longfellow, and though they expressed it slightly differently, they were both right in proclaiming that those whom the gods would destroy they first drive mad.
In the film “Fatal Attraction” we see its truth when the character played by Glenn Close descends into sheer madness out of her frustration at being unable to have the man with whom she had a short and passionate weekend adulterous relationship. Wielding a knife against the lover who spurned her becomes her sole remedy. Her madness ends with her death at the hands of his wife.
We are now witnessing a replay of that theme with the Democrat party playing the role of a Glenn Close clone. The party may not be as attractive as Miss Close in the movie, but they are just as crazy and instead of advancing policies and programs to woo the voters, they have instead taken up their political knives. And, like the Glenn Close character, it is leading them inevitably towards their political death.
In their case it’s not a man they lust after, but instead the most seductive mistress of all: power, untrammeled and total.
If there were such a thing as a psychiatrist who treats political parties, that shrink would identify 1994 as the year the Democrat party suffered the trauma that has since driven them bonkers. It was the year when the unalloyed power they had exercised over Capitol Hill for decades was torn from their grasp in the Gingrich revolution. Six years later the White House slipped from their grasp and absolute madness began to set in.
It all begins with the warping of the mind that power long-exercised creates. For 40 long years the Democrats enjoyed almost uninterrupted and total mastery over the Congress, along with eight years of control of the White House from 1992 to 2000. It became an article of faith that their party had somehow been invested with a divine right to rule. They have become so attached to that fantasy that they are unable to cope with the idea that the power to which they are addicted has been torn from their grasp. Because of their inability to retrieve it in election after election, they have lost all touch with reality.
Symptoms of that addiction were the lust for Committee chairmanships, the touch-tones of power and prestige on Capitol Hill, the big offices, the political patronage that accompanies control of the Congress, and the ability to ram through whatever socialist-oriented legislation they believed would prove to be politically advantageous to themselves and their party, if not to their country.
Twelve years have passed since their 1994 Armageddon and try as they may, they have been unable to reclaim the power they believe is rightfully theirs and it has driven them into suicidal looniness. In that state they can no longer appreciate or even understand the multiple causes of their plight. And so in the place of introspection, seeking the cause and the remedy for their pitiful situation, they slip into a near-maniacal state of rage directed at what they view as their tormentors, the Republicans occupying the seats of power they believe are rightfully theirs.
Now, facing the final blow thanks to the certain confirmation of Judge Samuel Alito – the loss of their quasi-control over the Supreme Court where their activist judge appointees have been creating laws no legislature would approve – they have slipped the moorings of sanity.
Deprived of reason, ranting and raging at the unfairness of it all, they avoid advancing policies of their own designed to attract voters and instead use hatred as their sole weapon in the now-forlorn struggle to recapture power. They seem unable to grasp even that most simple of political truths: that they cannot beat something with nothing. And aside from simmering rage, they have nothing to offer. Like the Glenn Close madwoman, they have forsaken persuasion and taken up the knife.
Their fate will echo hers.
©2006 Mike Reagan. If you’re not a paying subscriber to our service, you must contact us to print or web post this column. Mike’s column is distributed exclusively by: Cagle Cartoons, Inc. Cari Dawson Bartley email Cari@cagle.com, (800) 696-7561.