Political Irony Provides Comic Relief

Irony, a state of affairs or an event that seems deliberately contrary to what one expects and is often amusing as a result.

Dramatic Ironya literary technique, originally used in Greek tragedy, by which the full significance of a character’s words or actions are clear to the audience or reader although unknown to the character.

Those who claim to despise politics deprive themselves not only of valuable insight into the state of human affairs but also of the comic relief that can come from the political mistakes often made by some of the most self-confident of political actors.

Hillary Clinton’s foibles, missteps and transparent lies are legion and have given hilarious enjoyment to those of us who cringe at the thought of her ascendency to high office.

The Republican establishment which includes the old bulls of Congressional Republicanism such as Mitch McConnell, John Boehner, former Congressman Eric Cantor, John McCain, and the rest of the crew that regularly lines up behind them to step across isle to vote with Democrats, have squandered their political power in an attempt to attract a new mix of voters to the Republican party. The colossal failure of this strategy has weakened them greatly in every presidential election since 1988.  The irony is that they refuse to get it and continue to blunder along losing popularity by the minute.

The dramatic gains by Republicans and withering losses suffered by Democrats in the off-year elections of 2010 and 2014 were not anomalies in this trend.  Fewer minorities vote in off-year elections which hurts Democrats, but more importantly, these two elections cycles brought out voters who were disgusted with what Obama and the Democrats were doing to the country. The explanation for the Republican gains in these cycles is not that voters favored Republicans but that they were voting their distrust of Democrats. It was a repeat of a well-established rule of American politics that says Republicans win mostly when Democrats screw up.

Dramatic irony was the theme of these elections because while most of the country knew what was going on, the Republican establishment completely misread the tea leaves.  They thought the public suddenly loved them. The Republican establishment not only failed to understand their voters, they failed to heed a prescient warning that occurred on June 10, 2014 when an unknown conservative came out of nowhere and defeated Eric Cantor in Virginia’s primary election.

Even before the Cantor meltdown the GOP was busy missing a golden opportunity by eschewing an alliance with the growing success of the Tea Party movement. This was especially dumb on their part because the Tea Party was and is NOT mostly just conservatives. The Tea Party movement has also attracted a demographic mix of Hispanics, African Americans and others who were once called Reagan Democrats. These are the very ones the GOP establishment has been wooing. Here was an opportunity to make hay with these groups but the old bulls, for some weird reason, instantly took a visceral dislike to the Tea Party.

Now we’ve been given the grand, most delicious irony of it all in the form of Donald Trump.  The establishment hates him.  They were going to achieve success with Jeb Bush and show themselves to be the true heart of the Republican party. Instead they and their donors have spent $100 million getting poor old Jeb to 3% in the polls. All while Donald Trump is capturing the demographic groups of voters the GOP yearns for.

This is grand irony and comic relief for all who don’t hate politics, and simply enjoy watching it.

UPDATE: There is much more irony and comic relief possible to come in this election cycle. Ted Crus is leading in Iowa. Cruz is against the ethanol mandate. Trump supports the ethanol mandate. The corn kings are in panic mode. They have less than a month to turn things around and hang on to their corporate welfare subsidies. We’ll see. Can’t wait. I’m giving money to Ted Cruz. Not much, but I hope it’ll help. Remember the words of Alan Dershowitz, one of my favorite liberals: “Never underestimate Ted Cruz; he’s off the charts intelligent.”

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