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10 Questions: How Many Democrats Does It Take to...

by Dave Lindorff
Originally published in This Can't Be Happening yesterday, 7 September 2009

Question: How many Democrats does it take to change a light bulb?

Answer: At least 60. One to find a bulb, one to unscrew the old one, one to find the recycling bin, one to buy a new one, one to borrow the money to pay for it, and 56 more to try and fight off the 40 Republicans who say there’s nothing wrong with the old one.

Question: How may Democrats does it take to kill a good idea?

Answer: One. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who by herself kept resolutions to initiate impeachment hearings against President Bush and Vice President Cheney “off the table,” and who by herself prevented any hearing in the House on Rep. John Conyers’ excellent bill HR 676 (which would have solved the nation’s health care crisis by simply expanding Medicare to cover everyone) from getting a hearing.

Question: How many generals does it take to dig a tunnel?

Answer: Two. One, General Stanley McCrystal, to go to Afghanistan and dig it, and a second, Gen. David Petreaus, to stand up, salute it, promise there will be a light at the other end somewhere, and to tell the President to send more troops to march through it. But it also takes several hundred members of the Democrat-controlled House and Senate to unquestioningly pay for the digging.

Question: How many unemployed people does it take to get the economy moving again?

Answer: Nobody really knows. So far, government planners and business leaders have managed to push 9.5 million Americans out of jobs, and another six million from full-time into part time jobs, but the economy is still tanking, so they’ll have to keep pushing more out of work until they can claim that the recession has “hit bottom.” But even then, nobody knows if the economy will pick up after that, or just stay bottomed out.

Question: How many news organizations does it take to intimidate a Democratic President?

Answer: On the available evidence, one is sufficient to do the trick.

Question: How many Taliban fighters armed with only AK rifles, RPGs and home-made landmines does it take to stalemate or defeat a US-led, airpower-supported, 165,000-man force in Afghanistan?

Answer: According to the New York Times, about 10,000, of whom only about 1000 are “full-time” fighters.

Question: How many workers does it take to form a union at a company?

Answer: By law, one more than half of the members of a workplace, but in practice, after the employer hires a labor-busting law firm, uses all manner of frivolous technicalities to delay an election for years, illegally fires organizers, illegally takes individual workers aside and privately threatens to sack them if they support the union, and illegally questions new hires about their views regarding unions, passing on those who say they support them, probably at least 100% of the workforce.

Question: How many Democrats does it take to pass the Employee Free Choice Act, a labor law reform bill that would make it easier for workers to form a union?

Answer: Twice as many as the number who promised to pass the measure during the 2008 campaign, since half of those Democrats who promise to support labor routinely “change their minds” after winning election.

Question: How many election cycles will labor unions, environmentalists and peace activists keep voting for Democratic politicians only to find their issues betrayed by those they help elect?

Answer: God only knows.

Question: How many Congressional Republicans does it take to change a light bulb?

Answer: No one knows. When a bulb blows, they just move to a different room and leave it for someone else to fix.

Dave Lindorff in Washington

About the author: Philadelphia journalist Dave Lindorff is a 34-year veteran, an award-winning journalist, a former New York Times contributor, a graduate of the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism, a two-time Journalism Fulbright Scholar, and the co-author, with Barbara Olshansky, of a well-regarded book on impeachment, The Case for Impeachment. His work is available at

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This story was published on September 7, 2009.