A Story Of Two Icemen Cometh

In a famous Eugene O’Neil play, there is a gathering of drunks fantasizing about changing their failed lives for the better while awaiting an “Iceman.” Those inebriates have much in common and motivations as do Democrats pretending that their “Abolish Ice” campaign is the solution to America’s immigration challenges.

A play titled “The Iceman Cometh” opened on Broadway in 1946, and received the “Best American Play” award for 1947 from the New York drama critics.  It successfully re-opened in 1986, 1999, and 2018, winning a Tony award each time.

The cast is comprised of a gaggle of losers who hang-out in a bar and tell each other about their impossible future achievements. The audience quickly learns that all these claims are pipe-dreams and rationalizations (which the barflies themselves suspect), but which enable them to carry on with their otherwise failed lives.  The theme of self-deception is easy to understand, which explains the play’s decades-long popularity.  


Zoom forward to today’s Democrats, who during the Republican booming economy are hard pressed for good news.  They were first shocked and then ecstatic about the surprising June primary victory (over another Democrat who actually raised more money) by the 28 year-old Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, an active member of the Democratic Socialists of America, and of Puerto Rican descent.

They found that she also had a very modest biography.  While a student at Boston University, Cortez “worked on immigration issues” in the office of the now deceased Senator Ted Kennedy.  After graduation, she said that her dream of becoming a Community Organizer, was dashed by the recession, and so she worked at several low pay restaurant jobs while “helping out” on the losing presidential campaign of fellow Democrat Socialist Bernie Sanders. 

The media was also shocked by such a radical candidate, even though it took place only in the hard-left Bronx, New York 14th congressional district (82% minority, 50% Latinos as is she, voted 77% for Clinton in 2016).  And although there would be no change in the number of Democrat congressional representatives in the House if she is elected, the story was too good to pass up.

The media’s attention caused the Democrat party’s leadership to scramble to discover how the Cortez phenomenon in this totally unrepresentative district might guide them elsewhere.  They found no special achievements in the winner’s history; therefore, they focused on her various speeches and campaign promises.

Cortez, a Latino advocate for open borders, had pledged to eliminate the United States Immigration and Customs Enforcement division (ICE) of the United States Homeland Security Department.  Most encouraging was that the Democrat leadership found that she had not had to argue her point of view, and been able to avoid appearing foolish by not having to defend or give details about how eliminating this major agency might impact the large number of real world things it actually does.

A partial of the activities for which ICE is responsible includes:

  • Nation-wide border screening all applicants for immigration
  • International assistance and pre-screening of immigration applicants 
  • Maintaining and updating millions of immigration records 
  • Serving as principal legal advisor on exclusion and deportation
  • Operating the nation-wide system of Immigration Courts
  • Nation-wide worksite enforcement of immigrant employment law
  • Nation-wide arrest and law enforcement of criminal laws involving immigrants
  • Terrorist prevention including cybersecurity
  • Legal services on tort claims involving immigration and customs
  • Smuggling prevention at ports of entry nation-wide 
  • Investigation and prevention of illegal substances entering US 
  • Prevention of counterfeit goods entering the US
  • Prevention of illegal export of technology that could do harm the US
  • Nation-wide United States Citizenship and Naturalization activities


Within days of the start of the media’s clapping about Cortez’s unrepresentative primary victory, the race for attention was on.  Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) – considered by her party as a possible 2020 presidential candidate – announced her support for “Eliminating ICE.”

Not to be outdone, gadfly Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) – also considered a 2020 presidential possibility by her party – attended an “ICE Protest Meeting” in Boston.  After which she wrote in Facebook, “The President’s deeply immoral actions have made it obvious.  We need to replace ICE with something that reflects our values.”  

Twelve hours later, New York Mayor Bill de Blasio, afraid of being left behind, told reporters at a press conference, “ICE’s time has come and gone.”

With Democrat mayors and senators beating the drum, Democrat members of congress jumped in.  Mark Pocan (D-WI), Pramila Jayapol (D-WA), and Adriano Espaillat (D-NY) announced that they shall introduce legislation in the US House of Representatives to “eliminate ICE,” which Pocan also called “Trump’s Police Force.”  

On July 2, CNN Politics reported that “The movement to abolish ICE heats up.”

On July 3, President Trump responded to a question by saying, “How can the Democrats, who are already weak on the Border and weak on Crime, hope to do well in November?”  There was no response to the president’s question.

On July 6, Vice President Pence echoed the president’s amazement at the Democrat’s new anti-ICE strategy, and accused them of “Making opposition to the United States Immigration and Customs Enforcement division the center of their party [strategy].”  The Vice President also reminded all, “President Trump will never abolish ICE.”


Meantime, there’s this announcement for those Americans bored with CNN and MSNBC news coverage of this latest big Democrat idea:

Starting again on August 14, 2018, the Bernard B Jacobs theater at 242 West 45th Street, in New York will offer a three hour and fifty minute, with 2 intermissions, version of the “Iceman Cometh.”  Because of its content it is recommended only for children over age 13.  Children under the age of 4 are not permitted. 

Jim Van Houten