Let's just junk those "Dumbocrats" and their bleeding-heart "smellfare" program...

This is an interesting little piece on the overall worthlessness of the Democratic Party. An excerpt:

The Democratic leadership has sold itself to the highest corporate and military bidders, offering its furtive political support to facilitate the looting of any assets, American or otherwise, that can be had for the taking. It is Democrats who make possible the retailing of "globalization" which is nothing so much as a blank check for corporate capital to arbitrage one country against another in its relentless pursuit of the cheapest labor and the weakest environmental laws. It was the Democrats who championed and pushed through NAFTA and the WTO.

It is the Democrats who similarly caved on Medicare, Roberts, Alito, bankruptcy, torture gulags, wiretapping, the immigration wall, tax cuts, and so much more. It is the Democratic leadership that speaks exultantly, rapturously, of "the magic of the market," and of "liberating the competitive spirit," all the while knowing that it means abandoning the American worker to the ravages of a bottomless spiral of downward mobility and inevitable immiserization. But rather than cast their traitorous acts as the regrettable betrayal they are, they spin their perfidy into yarns of opportunity, bolts of inspiration. Far from a broken nation, a bankrupt people, a lurking Stalinist regime, theirs is the more effective empire, the more efficient global economy, the kinder, gentler police state.

They are Potempkin "leaders", hired and sired from the same bank accounts as their Republican "adversaries," empty suits propped up by their corporate masters for the sole purpose of sustaining the illusion of opposition, but without any real intent to actually exercise it. They are political entrepreneurs, hawking their ability to round up the constituents and deliver the votes that will cheerily sell their own people down the drain. Their function in the political food chain is to occlude the fact of corporate takeover of government, to pacify a restive public into quiescence that their democracy remains vital, that their interests are being looked out for, that their country remains their own.

These are important things to remember. The utter horribleness of Bush makes us look to the Democratic Party as some kind of savior. Talk has begun in progressive circles about how we're going to end up turning to "electability" again to pick a candidate for 2008. We on the left must reconcile ourselves to this, because that's just how things are in US politics.

That's utter bullshit. If Al Gore and John Kerry had not been so obsessed with seeming electable and actually took a fucking stand on something, we wouldn't be in quite so bad a situation as we are now.

I can understand voting for the candidate you like the most, or the one most likely to satisfy your selfish interests, or the one who you feel sympathizes with your situation the most, or--heaven forfend!--the one most likely to serve the common good. But voting for the guy who you think is least offensive, who most other people would probably vote for, is just idiotic and a surefire way to lose elections.

Let me reiterate: I will not vote for Hillary Clinton. I will not vote for Joseph Biden. I will not vote for unprincipled DINOs selling themselves out to appear "moderate".

Give me Al Gore, Russ Feingold, Howard Dean (if he hadn't agreed not to run in taking the DNC chairmanship). Hell, give me Gore/Feingold '08. I'd even consider Edwards (I like his Two Americas story; he's not afraid to talk about class differences) or that Paul Hackett guy who's already been dicked over by the leadership.

Otherwise, I'm done. I will not accept the "political reality." This is nothing but a lame talking point that leads to forfeited hope and unproductive cynicism. The Democratic Party is not by any means entitled to my vote--their attempts to blame Nader for 2000 are just bullshit, and I stand by anyone who made that choice, even if they lived in Florida.

There is a whole community of progressive minded people who have had enough. We've been unhappy w/ Bush from day 1, and even though our rage has sort of plateaued (I mean, after a while it's just impossible to maintain that level of anger, and you almost get used to it), we're still mad enough to do something about it. At least I am.


anotherpanacea said...

Do what? Write subversive poems about Molotov cocktails? Vote Socialist? You'd seriously consider another eight years of a Republican-run executive?

I'm all for pushing your agenda, and for feeling dissatisfied by the status-quo. But when 50 million people need to agree on the one talking head, I find it extraordinary to believe that they'll arrive at anyone other than a moderate.

I'm one-hundred percent behind the argument that politics isn't just about elections: politics is about culture, and hearts and minds, and the better argument, etc. But -elections- are definitely all about elections. You've got to allow the logic of the election game to rule when you're playing, and that means establishing and mobilizing a base and then zeroing in on the undecideds.

Are those two tasks in conflict? Yes. The undecideds are, by definition, not fervant partisans. I'm increasingly convinced that undecideds (as opposed to the non-voters) are generally the least thoughtful people of the electorate. They don't care enough to do the research and make a decision, they have no strongly held views that hit up against the political realm, and they like the attention from pollsters and pundits. But that's the game: get 268 electoral votes. There's only a few different ways to play. I hope that Feingold's censure move turns out to be a good one, and I certainly support it, because it's the right thing to do even if it -doesn't- win the election. But I have my suspicions (cynical Marxist ones) that it's not going to play well come November, which is going to scew him in the primaries. We'll see.

specter_of_spinoza said...

Look, because I'm still going to be living in Tennessee in '08, and it's not one of the states that matters, then what's so bad about a protest vote?

As for Feingold, I'm not so sure about this "playing well in November" business. President Bush is despised by anyone with half a brain. Even if pressing the censure issue caused the GOP congress to "rally around him" it'd just be like chaining their feet to an anchor while they're barely able to tread water.

The one thing that would help it play better, would be if the spineless Dems would support Russ, so that the censure thing seems reasonable. The Republicans know that reasonable = repeated enough times by enough people.

Now, the undecideds are thoughtless, yes, but at least they vote. What about the other half of the population who doesn't even care enough to do that?

I wonder about these people--are they just disaffected? or are they too comfortable? or what? I think this huge untapped segment of the population might actually offer a hope of someday challenging the current duopoly.

But, I don't expect things to change while we continue to live in times of relative prosperity. Bush has accelerated America's decline from the top, so I'm hopeful that more people will become politically interested again when the stakes are high enough.

And all that would require would be something like exceptionally high gas prices--and that's just a matter of time.

Jeff said...

You're right on this one--particularly here: "I can understand voting for the candidate you like the most, or the one most likely to satisfy your selfish interests, or the one who you feel sympathizes with your situation the most, or--heaven forfend!--the one most likely to serve the common good. But voting for the guy who you think is least offensive, who most other people would probably vote for, is just idiotic and a surefire way to lose elections." Democrats and liberal intellectuals spend so much time worrying about appealing to people they don't agree with that they end up being unappealing to the people who would agree with them. Like me. And they make people like me suspicious that the reason they won't stand up is because they are beholden to the same people (read: money) as the republicans.

anotherpanacea said...

Don't give up on Tennessee just yet! Al Gore got his start here, after all, and there's no reason that local politics couldn't again be ruled by the Democrats. That said, I get the sense that the local Democratic establishment has a bit of a corruption problem: in fact, I believe large numbers of dead people have been taking time out of their busy graveyard schedules to vote in some recent Memphis elections. Still, the larger problem is that those non-voters couldn't get to the polls if they wanted to: as we saw in Ohio, most places can't handle the full-capacity vote, because there simply aren't enough machines, polling places, and staff to handle the whole population!

Those silly lever machines play a much larger role in determining the political landscape than the parties themselves, and it'll just get worse with Diebold touchscreens. I'm not going to harangue you about your protest vote anymore, but I do think it's a part of the culture that is justly censured by thoughtful people. While it may not matter in TN, the desires of twenty-something white men have a tendency to reach far beyond state-borders. Besides, we're really talking about the Demcratic primaries, where everything depends on the way the national mood strikes those states whose primaries are early enough to make a difference. Good old Pennsylvania had nothing to say about the '03-'04 primary season, but I still did my modest part to support the candidates I believed were best. (Dean, Bradley) As for Jeff's concerns about money in politics: I agree that it's evil and wrong, but probably inevitable in so large a country with such a long election cycle. Just another unfortunate rule of the election game.

If I could overhall two things about US democracy (well, procedurally) I wouldn't institute Deliberation Day: I'd make voting mandatory and force New Hampshire to give up the first primary slot to Ohio.

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