“Fortune favors the bold” is a well known phrase passed down from the Romans. Some version of it often turns up as the motto of military groups, clans, social clubs and so forth. A variation coined by Louis Pasteur is “Chance favors a prepared mind.” I used to hear that one in physics class from my prep school instructor. It was never a good sign.
My variation is “the stupid are always unlucky.” The people who find a way to pick the worst option among the many good ones are always the ones complaining about their bad luck. The classic example is the salesman that is not good at his job and never has a deal just fall in his lap, like the guys who are closing deals every day. The bad salesman swears he is just unlucky.
The Stupid Party makes this point regularly and we now have a great example of why the stupid are unlucky. For decades they have been hosing their voters, mostly because they can’t run a competent political party. Some portion of what they do is just a grift. They tell the voters one thing and then take a bribe to do the opposite. That’s just corruption.
Most of the GOP’s problems, however, are the result of incompetence. When presented with three options, all good, they find a fourth that is self-defeating. The political ineptitude is so breathtaking that many of their voters have concluded it must be deliberate. No one can be this dumb this often by accident. It’s why they have a revolt brewing in their primary.
Here’s where the bad luck comes in. Justice Scalia died last night and now the GOP is faced with an impossible dilemma. Their voters, fed up up with the shenanigans, are ready to bolt the party. If the GOP signs off on Obama appointing another justice, the party is finished. There would simply be no reason for anyone to bother voting Republican again.
On the other hand, the timing of Scalia’s death makes it hard for the pussies of the GOP to punt on this. If this had happened in the summer, they could just drag their feet for a few months and not have to face the wrath of the national media. Now, Mitch McConnell is going to have to stand up and tell the Washington Post to go pound sand.
This would not be an issue if the Republicans had been running a responsible shop, making sure they had competent and effective leaders in place. That’s not to imply Scalia would still be alive today if Boehner was never made speaker. It’s that the party would have more options and more trust from their voters. Instead, they have no good will and no good options.
The Tories in the mother country have a similar problem. They find themselves, like the Republicans, in a majority mostly by accident. The Scottish Nationalist Party eviscerated the Lib-Dems and Labour, which led English voters to back the party most identified with England. The result is a Conservative government that is not doing much to pass conservative polices.
Cameron, however, is an idiot and everyone seems to know it, except the party MP’s who insist he and the other idiots remain in power. It’s why they have no wiggle room in their dealings with the EU. Because they have been so duplicitous in the past, no one trusts them. That means they have no ability to finesses a weak deal with the EU. As a result, Cameron’s popularity has collapsed.
As we see with the GOP over Scalia’s replacement, the Tories are finding themselves in an impossible dilemma. They promised to hold a referendum on EU membership, but their own perfidy has made it unlikely they can win the referendum. The alternative is to break their promise to hold the referendum, which means the end of the party. There would simply be no reason to vote for them anymore.
You can be sure that the Tory leaders, like the GOP leaders, are privately moaning about their bad fortune. If only they could catch a break! That is always the lament of the stupid and reckless. Rather than face up to their own ineptitude, they blame magic. That may be excusable for Cameron or McConnell. After all, it’s hard for anyone to admit their own incompetence. Their parties, however, have no excuse.
In the end, the public gets what it wants. It may take a while and it may be a bloody mess in the process, but the mathematics of human society are immutable. In a mass media democracy, someone comes along willing to do the bidding of the majority. Whether it is the “conservatives” in the Anglosphere is really not all that important.