EDITOR’S NOTE: This piece appears in the April 25, 2005, issue of National Review, in Mark Steyn’s regular “Happy Warrior” slot.
During the impeachment trial of blessed memory, I had a brief conversation with Sen. Barbara Boxer. “My duty is to the Constitution,” she said gravely. “My duty is to preserve our two-party democratic system. It’s up to the Democrats to save the Republican party from itself.” Warming to her theme, the petite brunette liberal extremist noted the latest Republican poll numbers–down somewhere between Robert Mugabe and the Ebola virus–and explained, “That’s not good for our democracy. This is a tragedy for the Republicans. The GOP has become the Get Our President party. That’s not the Republican party the people want. We have to reach out to them.”
”Oh, come off it,” I said. Well, okay, I didn’t. Instead I nodded thoughtfully in a nonpartisan sort of way and marveled at the senator’s ability to reel off her bit with a straight face. Eventually, sensing a massive uncontainable guffaw rising in her gullet, Ms. Boxer wrapped it up and stepped into the Senate elevator. As the doors slid closed, muffled howls of laughter began to shake the Capitol, glass rattled in the windows, plaster fell from the ceiling . . . Politics affords few greater pleasures than offering one’s opponents some friendly but hopefully lethal piece of advice.
We’re in one of those phases now–hence, the vogue for columns on the “Conservative Crackup,” a fearsome beast that, like the Loch Ness Monster, more and more folks claim to have spotted looming in the distance. In reality, the unrelieved gloom is on the Dem side of the ledger: The Republicans are all but certain to increase their majority in 2006. Whereas, if you want the state of the Democratic party in a single image, cut out the photograph from the New York Times the other day: a pumped Robert C. Byrd giving a clenched-fist salute at a MoveOn.org rally. That’s the Rainbow Coalition 2005 model: a dwindling band of ancient vindictive legislators yoked to a cash-flush unrepresentative fringe. It would actually be to the Democrats’ advantage if the Byrd-Kos union were to crack up, but instead their union seems merely cracked, like a miscast double-act thrown together by a desperate burlesque agent.
There is, however, one exception to the Dems’ dance of death: President-presumptive Rodham Clinton. The chances of a Rodham restoration in the White House are better than even. . .