Sincerity! Why Didn’t I Think of That?
There is an old episode of Cheers where Sam Malone, as usual, is trying to seduce another woman. Nothing works. She sees right through him and brushes him off again and again. Finally, one of his friends tries to explain to Sam that this particular woman values sincerity in men, that she isn’t interested in his manipulations. Sam stops what he’s doing and looks puzzled for a second. Then his face brightens and he snaps his fingers. “Sincerity!” he exclaims, “Why didn’t I think of that?”
I am thinking of this now, strangely, watching corporation Democrats trying to come to terms with their spectacular failure in this last election. Many of them are pausing, looking thoughtful, and suddenly snapping their fingers. “The Working Class!” they are shouting. “Of course! That’s what we are all about.”
Poor Senator Schumer, who has spent the long years of his political life running after the ferocious dogs of Wall Street with a giant Pooper-Scooper, now thinks that Bernie Sanders had it right. “Bernie makes a lot of sense in a lot of ways,” Schumer says in a post-election interview. He also says, “What we need now is a sharper, bolder, stronger, more progressive economic message.” Sure. You can almost hear him muttering under his breath, “Why didn’t I think of that?”
One must keep in mind that a major fundraiser for Senator Schumer was John Paulsen, the Wall Street hedge fund manager who gleefully made billions from the fortunate (for him) housing market collapse. As far as I know, Paulsen hasn’t given any of the money back to the people who lost their houses, but he has given some of it to Schumer for his senatorial campaign.
Another late-to-the-party finger-snapper was Hillary Clinton herself. After seeing the huge crowds Sanders was generating, she adopted the idea of raising the minimum wage, especially in light of the fact that people seemed to like it and to like Sanders for espousing it. That whole thing about free college tuition sounded better and better, too, also in light of the crowds Sanders was generating. She warmed to the idea, neglecting to say that she was against it before she was for it. Universal health care? Hey, me too!
Howard Dean, who oddly suffered a broken nose when Hillary Clinton stopped suddenly in front of him, has been silent since the election. Perhaps he has not yet had his finger-snapping moment about faking progressive thought. He declared early-on that he didn’t want to be saddled with a candidate like Sanders, who would surely lose the general election. He ridiculed Sanders and plumped for Clinton instead, who lost the election in the electoral college. Dean divorced from his own political action committee, which was very progressive and which did like Sanders. We wait in suspense for the inevitable moment when the light bulb comes on over Dean’s cartoon-like head. “Sanders! He is the real progressive here! Why didn’t I think of that?”
In that old episode of Cheers, the rest of the show is predictable but very funny. The audience gets to enjoy Sam running around trying to fake sincerity, with a serious expression fixed on his face, asking “sincere” questions and faking interest in the replies. The woman doesn’t fall for it at all, of course.
What gets me is that these corporate Democrats, basically conservatives in sheep’s clothing, never seem to understand that we, the audience, know fakery when we see it. We enjoy it in a television show, maybe, in a comic situation where we get to watch some of our favorite actors goof around and make fools of themselves, but we don’t like it in real life. We especially don’t like it when it comes to our politicians, who are going to make decisions that affect us for years to come. Sam Malone didn’t get the girl. Hillary Clinton didn’t get the presidency. Senator Schumer isn’t convincing us of anything either, sad to say.
By DeWayne Rail
The sources for the facts and details used here are available from several sources on the internet. Michael McAuliff of Huffington Post published an entry on 11/19/16 which gives a great overview on Charles Schumer.
I couldn’t find the old episode of Cheers, though I tried. My memory of it is pretty accurate, in the main, I think.