Saturday, January 23, 2010

US Democracy's End of the Road

By Robert Parry
January 23, 2010

This past week had the feel of “game, set, match,” the end to a long string of miscalculations by the American Left and a crowning victory for the cynical American Right – a triple whammy of the U.S. Supreme Court ruling to unleash corporate campaign spending, Air America’s dissolution, and the Massachusetts Senate election.

Read on.


bull1234 said...

The United States was orginally a Constitutional Republic.
Somehow when the Federal Reserve took over our country in 1913 with a silent revoloution they changed it into a democracy which is a form of communism, which the Greeks had no use for and our greatest statesmen regarded as rule by the mobs.
A majority is always wrong, look at our country today and tell me how great democracy worked for us.

Nat Parry said...

I'm not sure how the SCOTUS decision could be attributed to a "miscalculation on the American Left," unless you consider Senate Democrats "the American Left". It was the Senate, disregarding warnings from the Left and pleas for a filibuster, who confirmed Roberts and Alito with barely a whisper of protest. Establishment Left groups such as People for the American Way poured all the resources into defeating these nominees, but there's nothing they can do without the support of Democrats in the Senate.

It's the Democratic Party that has miscalculated over and over, and allowed the Reactionary Right to destroy every last vestige of progressivism from the 20th century. You can't blame this on the Left.

FreeGaza said...

The narcissist Bill Clinton felt it was so important to hold on to power after his oval office blow job that he dragged the country through two YEARS of impeachment hell rather than save the Presidency for his party by allowing Mr. Gore to take over and run as the Incumbent. But of course now the standard Dem talking point is that arrogant narcissist Ralph is to blame for the 8 years of Bush's reign.

The real problem with this canard, along with all the talk of puppies and unicorns is that it inspires Nader progressives to vote with their asses, even if they would never pull a lever for a Republican. It's probably not possible to win us over with threats and insults.

J said...

While I agree with the repeated and strident calls by Parry to better fund left-radio, I, like Nat Parry and FreeGaza, think it's a bit rich to keep heaping blame on progressives and Naderites. "Refuse to accept any responsibility" indeed. As Nat Parry pointed out, the Senate Dems rolled over for Roberts and Alito -- hell, they hardly could have been more excited about Roberts! -- just as they did in the end for Clarence Thomas, a nominee who surely deserved to be filibustered and blocked for numerous reasons, ideological and practical. And the fact that Gore did win, were the votes properly counted Florida-wide--which he didn't even demand, too timid or brow-beaten he--apparently doesn't change the fact that "demands for purity" makes Naderites responsible.

It's all the more rich because Nader is one of the few people who has consistently built numerous Left organizations, not media orgs per se, but certainly part of the liberal infrastructure Parry says we need. Far from simply running every four years, he has founded and supported a large number of organizations.

All this is beside the point that I don't understand what Parry wants "progressives" to do when we've finished heeding his (correct) call to better fund Left media. Sitting out the Scott Brown vote was idiotic (and not something I would've called for), but the other extreme, always voting for Democrats no matter what their position, simply allows them to continue marching Right. Part of what keeps Republicans in line is knowing that their constituency will OUST them if they don't do as their told. How is it that taking the opposite strategy--voting for Dems no matter WHAT they do--is going to be more "practical"? We've seen, as Jon Stewart pointed out, that even with an 18 vote majority, something the Republicans never had under Bush, the Dems can't accomplish their agenda. Are we to believe that this is purely the fault of a lack of left media and "purity"? Or is it a lack of will among our leaders, and the knowledge that they can be as ineffective or centrist as they want, and the Left will still have no choice but to vote for them?

l gillooly said...

The only hope now is to call out the cowards like Rush, Beck, Hannity and savage. Expose their manipulation of their audiences to vote against themselves. Dittoheads need to know what these masters of propaganda have done to them over the last 24 yrs.
Shame them into having opposing opinions on. Call out the facxt that republican politicians are afraid of them. We saw what happened when a few spoke up against Rush. They were begging for forgiveness like cowardly reptiles. Surely we can scrape up enough $$ to expose these students of Joseph Goebels for what they are. If not, we are hesded to a corporatocracy/ theocracy with a possible Palin/Brown administration.

Morton Kurzweil said...

It's all there in Revelations. Pat Robertson is right.
We are being punished with the plagues of an activist conservative Supreme Court, the replacement of The People with Corporations, religious freedom with religion in government, the rise of mediocrity in place of equality of opportunity.
It has to be caused by our evil ways. Why else would there be climate change, why the leadership by theocrats, why the vindication of divine justice by morons?
There was a time when the law served the people. Now we are expected to serve the law. There was a time when we served to defend our liberties. Now we serve to defend the liberties of corporations.

Mark E. Smith said...

The "long road back" to what? The "end of the road" for what democracy?

It is time that wealthy progressives, and particularly the progressive media, learned how to use a dictionary and looked up the meaning of two words, "democracy" and "supreme."

A democracy is a form of government in which the supreme power is vested in the hands of the people.

The word "supreme" means dominant, highest, and ultimate.

Our Constitution gave us an oligarchy or plutocracy, not a democracy or even a republic, by vesting the dominant, highest, and ultimate power in something the framers brazenly called a supreme court, an unelected body of nine people with the Divine Right of Kings because their decisions could not be appealed. They also have the power to strike down any attempts to legislate against their decisions, and to "interpret" the Constitution and any amendments to the Constitution to mean the opposite of what they clearly say.

You can't vest supreme power in an unelected body and still call it a democracy. And unless the people can directly hold their representatives accountable during their terms of office, which our Constitution does not allow, you can't call it a republic or a representative democracy either, because the people have no way to effectively exercise their will through their representatives.

You can continue to blame Nader and left purists for the Supreme Court decisions in Bush v. Gore 2000 and this recent decision allowing corporations unlimited influence over elections, but neither Nader nor those left purists are on the Supreme Court.

You can either have a democracy, in which supreme power is vested in the hands of the people, or you can have an oligarchy in which supreme power is vested in the hands of an unelected court that the people cannot hold accountable. Calling an oligarchy a democracy doesn't make it so, it just shows an ignorance of what the words "democracy" and "supreme" mean.

big em said...

Bob Parry - I like your website and it's a regular stop in my daily readings and receives my modest $ donations. However, I too have to disagree with your prescription to blindly vote Democratic in hopes they'll change (note: I DID vote for Gore in 2000, just to watch him quickly fold that night when Florida was still close), but I think that subject has been pretty well covered by previous posters.

The other comment I have is with your idea that if some rich benefactors invested heavily in liberal/left media that it would somehow have a positive effect on the body politic over time (which ironically is very similar to Ralph Nader's latest book's subject matter). I'm doubtful about that working, since first of all there ARE already plenty of such media on the Internet (ie; besides this site, there's Common Dreams, Huffington Post, Znet, etc, plus state & local ones, as well as numerous blogs) and they are mainly preaching to the choir. Yes, the mainstream print media and TV/Cable are massively center to right, but the print media is drastically declining and the electronic media is shortening & commercializing it's 'news', so how would a left media ever gain a foothold/presence there to capture an audience? Especially when a large proportion of the potential audience wants (nay, DEMANDS) to remain INTENTIONALLY ignorant - - they virtually revel in it and pretend to be 'undecideds' or worse (Tea Baggers, Birthers, etc). They are not beating a path to PBS, which does/did offer a few liberal/left programs on TV. These people are immune to facts and relatively rational discourse, and prefer the juvenile playground theatrics of right-wing/conservative radio & TV. I suspect the only thing that will change their political views is a traumatic event, like a prolonged Depression, or another prolonged/moderate casualty war like Vietnam (though with only poor people fighting/dying in our military services, that won't bother middle-upper class America much), and then it's not clear which political direction they would head to for solutions.

Severina said...

Awesome article, proving yet again that Democrats assume that when they step aside to avoid confrontation their motivation is patriotism and not getting mired in bipartisan disputes (though this gives rise instead to internal division). They assume the people will appreciate this gesture and rally behind them, but they don't. No one cares or remembers that Al Gore stepped aside and did not appeal the Dec. 12 Supreme Court decision or raise further controversy, motivated by a concern for the state of limbo that followed the November 2000 elections.
As far as Bush winning Florida by 537 votes in 2000, please consult MCM or any number of other election protection advocates for what really happened.
As awed as I am by the Republicans' combination of unscrupulous strategizing and manipulation of the people, they are leading us to a far worse destiny that will ultimately eliminate them from their throne of gold, too. While they jockey for power and pledge allegiance to the corporate "citizenry" that will now become the deciders, continuing to dumb down the U.S. population, our position as the world's lone superpower is already crumbling. The 21st century will be taken over by others: Brazil, Russia, China, and India, it is predicted by mid-century (BRIC), and our own country will have a Latino majority. 2100 will dawn upon a very different world. Where will the Neocons be positioned? as sycophants to the new world powers,
some rich, some ruined, their WASP elitism a thing of the past, along with their white, Judeo-Christian domination.
Money will be the winner, as I predicted in a recent blog, in 2010 and 2012. The Obama election was a protest vote by an extremely hybrid coalition that hasn't held together.
Cry, the beloved country, the male-chauvinist culture that elevated whites to the pinnacle of world civilization, and so on.
The Republicans can't see the forest for the money trees. They won't realize how much they benefited from being Americans and lost by losing patriotism, until they're there and the new third world becomes white.

themancommon said...

I am a regular reader and fan but I have a problem with your two party stance.

The two party system we have in place is the source of all problems affecting this country and to claim allegiance to a broken system and rage against alternatives as you've done with Nader in this article makes you part of the problem.

We won't see any real change until the corporate hacks in both parties start losing their seats to alternative parties that are pushing change in the legislature.

Steve Krulick said...

Strange... you acknowledge that Gore actually DID win the 2000 election, and rightly point to Katherine Harris and the SCotUS Five as doing the most to make it happen, but still can't let go of blaming Nader for this and that, absent any actual evidence.

I worked for Nader in NY state (and challenge you to show how my vote for Ralph in NY "gave Bush the White House"!), and so had copies of most of the audio and video coverage, what little there was, and copies of most articles.

Care to show when and where he did what you claim: "Ralph Nader, who claimed to detect "not a dime's worth of difference" between Democrat Al Gore and Republican George W. Bush."


"At the time, some leading progressives told me they were determined to "teach the Democrats a lesson" by supporting Green Party candidate.

Hmmm, what lesson do you think the 300,000 Dems in Florida who actually voted for BUSH were trying to teach to whom?

Which "Nader backers"'s opinions are you citing? They don't match up with MY experience, and I was surrounded by them.

Given ALL the reasons why Bush was able to steal the White House (How many Greens in Congress let that happen? Oh, right, there weren't any! The Dems blew that one!), and all the failures of the Gore camp in what should have been a blowout, the many banana peels Nader referred to (like Gore's Everglades debacle, or pissing off Clinton so he didn't campaign), to single out Nader is absurd. DLC head Al From said Nader wasn't to blame, and polls showed that had Nader NOT been in the race, Bush would have actually done better, and might have actually won outright.

Steve Krulick said...

Part II

Nader was polling at 7% in Florida the week before the election, but fell to 3% on election day. It seems tens of thousands of Florida Nader supporters held their nose at the last minute and voted for Gore, assuring he WON Florida, something that wouldn't have happened if they hadn't. You're welcome!

Hence, I see no reason to accept any blame for exercising our right to vote for OUR candidate. Gore didn't own my vote or anyone's. I wasn't going to vote for him OR Bush anyway; had Nader not run, I might have selected another third party choice, or stayed home. But 300,000 Dems in Florida voted for BUSH, a double whammy! I don't see you blaming THEM, and that's three times the Nader vote, which votes gave ZERO to Bush's tally, and took no votes off Gore's!

So YOU make excuses for Gore's many failings! Yes, HAD he won Tennessee, Florida would have been moot! Or Arkansas. And he tried to be too clever with his recount strategy, when a total recount would have concluded in his favor. But Gore WON and only GORE blew it!

Oh, and then there's: "President Joe Lieberman"! How many votes did THAT cost? What if Lieberman became prez before or after 2008? In a parallel universe, Gore or Joe might have gotten us into WWIII!

Bush turned out just like THIS Naderite predicted! But Gore's mostly right-centrist positions wouldn't have been much different (don't know about a DIME'S WORTH, but they had far more in common than what they didn't!), same as Obomber is picking up right where Bush left off in so many ways. As I also predicted. Gee, maybe you should have checked with ME instead of your un-named sources!

"The Naderite view from 2000 - that it didn't matter whether Gore or Bush was President" doesn't compute! NO Nader supporter I knew, including myself, felt that! Best summarized as Gore bad, Bush very very bad. Bad's not as bad as very very bad!

"Ironically, Ralph Nader, whose candidacy helped make the Roberts and Alito appointments possible," Uh, NO! So you STILL blame Nader for not only Bush, but for the Dems surrender in Congress! Again, Gore and Al From are on record: Nader is not to blame for Bush! AND the polls that show that had Nader NOT run, Bush would have done better and might have actually won outright!

You are a scapegoater, sir! Grow up and stop blaming the victims!