A weekly column by Roger A. Baylor.
You can’t blame Dan Coffey for understanding simple math.
Coffey might well be one of the nastiest politicians to mar this or any other underachieving settlement, at least since records were first scrawled on the wall at the Caves of Altamira, but say this for the man: He doesn’t need an abacus to smell raw fear – and take advantage of it.
When Coffey bolted from the Democratic Party in January of 2016 in preparation for becoming the most obvious Donald Trump supporter in New Albany, you can be sure he’d already run the power poll numbers.
After city elections in 2015, there were two more Republicans on the city council than before, totaling three. Scott Blair already had declared himself an Independent, and Coffey correctly surmised that Blair would eventually tire of desperate efforts to please Mayor Jeff Gahan when Gahan had no intention of responding to Blair’s overtures.
Coffey saw Blair joining the GOP bloc more often than not, leaving four Democrats – and one pivotal seat for the Dan Coffey Party.
That pesky math again: Three Republicans plus one independent equals four Democrats in need of a fifth vote, placing Coffey in the catbird’s seat.
All Coffey needed to do was wait until his swing vote passed from possibility to reality, and this magic moment arrived in spades on November 9, 2016, as the full extent of the Democratic Party’s latest precipitous collapse in Floyd County elections became evident, and Team Gahan began mainlining Bud Light Lime.
With party chairman Adam Dickey fundamentally lacking the cojones to resign, which is what should occur immediately after catastrophes, and with Dickey’s “leadership” quotient at rock bottom, what remained of the ramshackle political entity was inherited by Papa Gahan, by default the highest ranked Democratic official left wobbling, and bunker-bound inheritor of Dickey’s vast nothingness.
In a delightful reprise from the 1960s sitcom Green Acres, this turn of events freed Coffey to play the wheeler-dealer Mr. Haney to Gahan’s hapless Oliver Douglas.
In January, it came time to select city council “leaders,” and Gahan went into his customarily paranoid, reactive Alamo mode. The four remaining council Democrats were handed defective slingshots and instructed to fight to the death, but first, it was necessary to obtain a ringing affirmation of Pat McLaughlin (president) and Greg Phipps (vice-president) as pliable, unquestioning council rubber stamps.
Blair and Coffey were one step ahead of Gahan’s small-pond theatrics, and both duly visited the mayor to collect their available winnings in return for supporting McLaughlin and Phipps against Republican trial balloon candidacies. Order was restored, and the council’s ruling twosome remained tenuously toothsome, as yet in place to field 3:00 a.m. phone calls from the city’s reigning agoraphobic.
Blair’s favors aren’t known, but Coffey’s became manifest at January’s second meeting, when it was made perfectly clear that the price of Coffey’s loving cooperation would be council attorney Matt Lorch’s head.
Council Republicans quickly objected to the impromptu lynch mob, and Bob “I So Desperately Want to Be Mayor” Caesar was conveniently absent, so L’affaire Lorch was tabled. It isn’t clear what will happen next.
However, quite enough already has happened to provide final, damning proof that the Floyd County Democratic Party is utterly without a moral compass.
The Challenger Deep in the Mariana Trench is the deepest known point in Earth's oceans. In 2010 the United States Center for Coastal & Ocean Mapping measured the depth of the Challenger Deep at 10,994 meters (36,070 feet) below sea level with an estimated vertical accuracy of ± 40 meters.
That’s right; the Challenger Deep in the Mariana Trench.
It’s where Gahan’s and Dickey’s creation, the Good Ship Democratic Lollipop, currently rests, and taken together, these two narcissistic beached whales in a child’s overmatched wading pool are managing against all imaginable odds to make the buffoonish serial liar Donald Trump look precisely like George Washington.
A means can be justified only by its end. But the end in its turn needs to be justified.
-- Leon Trotsky
Younger readers may not be familiar with the workings of the organization known as the Comintern.
The Communist International, abbreviated as Comintern and also known as the Third International (1919–1943), was an international communist organization that advocated world communism.
At the risk of oversimplifying, once the Soviet Union came into existence following World War I, the international Communist movement finally possessed real-world dirt acreage to serve as refuge and fulcrum.
Moscow was to Communism what the Vatican was (and is) to Catholicism. The Kremlin coordinated and directed the planet’s Communist parties, and generally did not take “no” for an answer when work orders were disseminated.
For almost 30 years after Vladimir Ilyich Lenin died in 1924, Joseph Stalin was anointed the Communist equivalent of the Pope. Stalin’s decrees required utter loyalty; after all, he was the infallible mastermind, and the goal was the revolution’s ultimate triumph everywhere, not just Russia,
If Stalin zigged, so did a diehard Communist in Argentina. As he zagged, another dyed-in-the-wool Communist in Scotland followed suit. There was almost no room for discussion or dissent, but at least for a while, Communists outside the USSR were able to blithely ignore the brutality of Stalin’s paranoid totalitarianism.
That’s because the doctrinal faith and the propagandistic Kool-Aid were strong, and the utopian Commie chic alluring, seemingly promising a peaceful, prosperous future. After all, it wasn’t about the USSR’s needs, it was about the proletariat as a whole – except it really was about Stalin, and not a lathe operator in Italy, and there came a time when theory and practice were poles apart.
And yet the Comintern still demanded obedience, even after Stalin’s death, and many Communists outside the USSR chose to deny facts rather than face cognitive dissonance. Few seemed able to do what the famous writer George Orwell did: Abandon the Soviet Union, but retain his socialist beliefs.
For Stalin, Marxism was of the Groucho variety: Who are you going to believe, me or your own two eyes? The overarching point for those obedient Stalinists in the West is that once Stalinism was discredited and tossed into the “dustbin of history” (Trotsky’s words again), so were they, those who hadn’t believed their own two eyes. The damage to their credibility was irreparable.
Stalin certainly didn’t invent the rigorous suppression of individual conscience. He wasn’t the first to deny the necessity of justifying the end, or to proclaim the imperative of absolute obedience on the part of expendable foot soldiers, whose only job – whether from a sense of duty or inchoate terror – is to move to their assigned places on the chessboard when directed, come what may.
Just the same, Stalin may have perfected these conditions. They’re not the sort of behaviors we should emulate, are they?
I repeat: Are they?
If you’ve spent any amount of time in New Gahania, it’s plainly evident that Matt Lorch is everything Dan Coffey isn’t.
Lorch is jovial, reliable and ethical.
Lorch is trustworthy and doesn’t play games of the sort that can hurt people.
Lorch’s position as the latest in a long, successful family line of lawyers has not come without personal challenges, as with his hearing impairment, which if anything impels him to work harder and more efficiently.
What’s more, unlike Coffey, Lorch has been an absolutely dependable member of the Democratic Party, resolutely toiling for the greater good of the organization.
I can’t help thinking back to Coffey’s ill-fated race for county commissioner, which he lost in a landslide. Lorch attended Coffey’s biggest fundraiser, and offered Coffey his full support as a fellow Democrat. He probably donated, too.
Ultimately, this points to the unkindest and most disgusting cut of all – and it has nothing whatever to do with Coffey, a man incapable of trustworthiness. While Matt Lorch is everything Dan Coffey isn’t, and cannot ever be, for Coffey to spit in Lorch’s face comes as no surprise, precisely because as a loathsome, grandstanding, bullying, homophobic sociopath, it’s what Coffey does.
It’s like your dog licking his balls, just because he can.
Yes, but it’s Gahan and Dickey who are leeringly throwing Matt Lorch under the bus, and it’s the steadily shrinking handful of elected Democrats, like Pat McLaughlin and Greg Phipps, who are being asked by Gahan and Dickey to lend their stamp of approval to the shameful sacrifice of Lorch for no other reason than the way it encourages Coffey’s variable tumescence, and rather than objecting as a dignified human being to the sheer insanity of this, they’re the ones who are shrugging and asking timidly, “Yes, dear leaders -- which axle?”
Perhaps the Floyd County Democratic Party recent electoral disintegration has rendered its adherents confused and stunned, like Abe Lincoln’s duck hit on the head, and I’ll try mightily to phrase these questions in simple language, so even the central committee can understand them.
How are Gahan and Dickey to extinguish the smoldering dumpster fire of a Floyd County Democratic Party if they’re so eager to toss solid, loyal Democrats to the self-centered whims of an anti-democratic Copperhead?
How can Gahan and Dickey even pretend to “lead” the political opposition to the GOP’s escalating hegemony – here, there and everywhere – when they’ve failed to reveal a single coherent resistance tactic since November 9, but found ample time to plunge a rusty dagger in Matt Lorch’s back?
How can these people be trusted, ever again?
If you’re a Democratic Party voter, it matters far less whether Gahan and Dickey can sleep at night; after all, they’re proving themselves to be just as dangerously sociopathic as Coffey himself.
Rather, how can YOU as a Democrat sleep at night if you allow them to get away with it?
Jeff Gahan and Adam Dickey are asking Democrats precisely the same question as Stalin did Communists: Who are you going to believe, us or your own two eyes?
The fact is that your own two eyes are revealing sordid and uncomfortable truths, and I believe you should honor your conscience and refuse to countenance their madness. Gahan’s and Dickey’s ends do not justify their means, and this isn’t the time to mimic the lemming’s logic and follow them into the abyss.
They’re conniving and ethically destitute. They’re utterly lacking a moral compass. If you support Gahan and Dickey in this metaphorical beheading to curry favor with Coffey, then your own moral compass has gone missing, too.
It isn’t too late to rediscover it, and to do the right thing.
Isn't it time to take back your party?
Isn't it time for a change?
January 19: ON THE AVENUES: Mezcal for what ails you.
January 12: ON THE AVENUES: I can only handle one resistance at a time, please.
January 5: ON THE AVENUES: Gahan's stadium arcadium kicks off a new year with hilarity, pathos and own goals.
December 29: ON THE AVENUES: The