Democrats having nervous breakdown

Mark Halperin in Time

Is it hyperbolic to say the Democratic Party is in the midst of a nervous breakdown? I have been covering national politics since 1988, and I don’t remember a situation quite like this. The signs of a crack-up are everywhere.

Democrats are understandably — and largely justified in being — frustrated that they lost an election based on Republicans defending tax cuts for the wealthy that are only expiring because of a budget gimmick championed by George Bush — and based on criticism of their apparent lack of concern over the deficit, by a party that has shown no past or current seriousness about deficit reduction and the hard choices involved. Losing those political fights was as inexplicable as it was hard for the Democrats. Maybe that’s why Thursday seemed to have donkeys melting down all over the place.

It’s not inexplicable at all. Establishment Democrats and in particular Obama don’t fight back. They don’t throw punches or make it clear that if they are screwed with there will be consequences. So the opposition has no respect for them and certainly doesn’t fear them.

Had the Republicans tried similar tactics with LBJ, they would have been smoking rubble. “You’ll kiss my ass in Macy’s window and smile when you’re doing it.”

The only real question is, are the Democrats gutless poodles or are they basically in agreement with the Republicans but don’t want to admit it?

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