Frank Bruni published an opinion piece in the New York Times last week entitled: “The Democrats have a Politeness Problem.”
In this article, Bruni argued that the Democratic candidates are too polite with each other, afraid to point out each other’s weaknesses when Donald Trump will certainly not do likewise.
The article is a frustrating but illustrative example of how the corporate press, unable to think of anything constructive to do, pursues a “damned if you do, dammed if you don’t” argument when discussing the Democratic Party.
Bruni criticizes the Democratic candidates for not calling each other out over accepting corporate donations (Warren) or a less than progressive career as a prosecutor (Harris) but then points out that Julian Castro’s comment in the debates about Biden’s memory (which I did not take as an “obvious insinuation…that Biden was in serious cognitive decline”) “…went too far.” Jesus.
Similarly, when Democratic candidates just talked about Medicare-for-All, the corporate media spent days accusing the Democrats of attacking themselves. Advocacy for Medicare-for-all was treated in the corporate press as if it were a direct attack on Obama and everything he stood for.
A similar schizoid worry/condemn theme runs through other coverage. Is the Democratic candidate too left wing? Are the Democrats going too far in the impeachment inquiry? Are they going too fast? Are they going to slow? Are they being overly broad or overly narrow in the scope of the impeachment inquiry?
All of this reminds me of what it’s like to be a woman. Is the dress too long, too short, too dowdy, too sexy, to provocative?
I’m sick of it. The corporate media is full of this sort of coverage. And, the Democrats are so afraid of provoking this condemnation, they can’t move. They are like proverbial deer in the headlights.
The Democrats as a Party do indeed have a politeness problem, but it does not involve their competition with each other or their advocacy of policy. The politeness problem involves calling out the Trump Administration and its Republican enablers.
On Friday, Rep. Steve Israel was asked by a reporter if the Democrat should get tougher on members of the administration who were openly flouting the law and defying subpoenas. Should, the reporter asked, Democrats move to strategies like garnishing wages which the Congress can do for people who defy subpoenas. Oh, not now, Israel responded. We don’t want to do that, not when they have just started cooperating.
Israel is probably playing a scenario in his mind where Frank Bruni comes out with an opinion piece accusing the Democrats of “going too far” or being savage, or too aggressive, or something.
Where is courage? Where is righteous indignation? Where is moral certainty? Where are the people who aren’t afraid of speaking the truth no matter what the goddamn New York Times might think?