Friday, October 15, 2010

The 'Teach-the-Dems-a-Lesson' Myth

By Robert Parry
October 15, 2010

If my e-mail inbox is any indication, many American progressives plan to use the Nov. 2 election as an opportunity to “teach the Democrats a lesson” by either not voting or casting ballots for third parties, even if this contributes to the expected Republican (and Tea Party) landslide.

Read on.

40 comments:

-a.f. said...

What exactly is your strategy then for countering this trend? To keep electing the same foolish Democrats who continue to move further to the right? It might be painful in the short term, but establishing a viable third party is the only foreseeable way to stop this trend. Of course if voters continue to only abandon the Dems for one election cycle and then run back in their embrace the next one, there is no reason for the Democratic Party to move further to the left.

As for the "Republicans are so crazy scary" canard, you act as if the increasing rightward shift of the Republicans has nothing to do with the increasing rightward shift of the Democrats who you urge we support. As the Dems have continually abdicated on key issues over the years, the Republicans continue to move the line further to the right.

But the fatal flaw in your column is that you have NO solution. So we just keep voting these same idiots into office, will anything change? No!

Q said...

Dear Mr. Parry,

As -a.f. points out, an alternative strategy is wholly lacking from your column. Even if we grant many of your points--there are some quite good ones--it isn't clear how "always vote for the Democrats" forms a winning strategy, either. You even seem to conclude that failing to support Democrats if they renege on their promises, once they are elected, undermines their very ability to fulfill their promises. Yet, this puts us in a catch-22--if we must always support the Democrats, no matter how far they stray from progressive principles, what possible motive is there for Democrats to fulfill said principles?

That is to say, if it is known that we will vote for a Democrat no matter what they do (or said more charitably, they have unwavering support from the Left), then politically what do they have to gain by tackling progressive causes? That is, if nothing they do disqualifies them from progressive support, what reason have they to be progressive rather than tacking center to pick up even more votes?

You very consistently talk of the importance of supporting progressive media institutions--something I agree with you on without reservation. However, when one pairs this with your often-critique that the Left is insufficiently realistic about the necessity of supporting the Democrats, I get confused as to the strategy. If one refuses to draw a line, then a politician will always tack farther away from your position, drawing you with them. If you *do* draw a line, then the question becomes where such a line may reasonably be drawn. I've yet to see you draw such a line--is there anything a Democrat can do (short of being worse than the Republican challenger) that should make us consider not voting for them? And if there is no such line, then what is the point of supporting them? We cannot dig our way out of a hole; you cannot win a war of attrition; we cannot reach sustainability by choosing the least-unsustainable candidate each time. In what possible scenario will the Democrats return Left or support Progressive values because we vote for and support their Centrist and Rightwards flirtations? Please, in the spirit of dispelling myths, show me where that has been the case.

It seems to me the only consistent tool we have in changing politics or politicians is the legitimate threat of electoral loss, and the legitimate promise of full-throated support when they do the right thing. You've agitated a number of times for the latter; is the former simply unnecessary? I think not.

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me said...

It's true, trying to teach the Democrats a lesson does not work, and will lead to an even more right-wing government.

But even more true is that NOTHING works. The history of the last 60 years shows that whether we vote republican, democrat, or third party, or stay home and don't vote at all, the same thing happens: The government moves closer and closer to outright fascism.

We might as well get used to the idea. The future belongs to the Koches and the Murdochs, the Palins and the O'Donnells, the Robertsons and the Falwells, and there isn't a damned thing we can do about it.

Maybe things will change in twenty years when China forecloses on us. Or maybe republican bastards will have taken over China too by then. Either way, ordinary people in the US are totally fucked. The only consolation is that the majority of them deserve it.

Anonymous said...

It seems as though those on the left can seem every bit as irrational as we have come to expect from the right.

This article documents what should be obvious, that when the left withholds support from the Democrats it will only strengthen the right. That is how it has worked in the past and it is how it will work now.

Still, I think that is not the point. People take this position not because they are concerned with real-world consequences. They are much more concerned with feeling good about making a statement.

Even if their statement is taken by others as saying the exact opposite of what they themselves know they are saying, it still makes them feel good and feeling good is the real point.

Anonymous said...

So Robert, Apparently you feel that because the Dems are either too stupid or too afraid to vote the way we expect them to, we should continue to vote for them because they are the lesser of two evils.
Well, up until 2004, I had quit voting for the lesser of two evils because I couldn't see much of a difference.
I had planned to vote third party again when Obama was up, but then the GOP chose Palin. Knew there were a number of other women who would vote for her simply because she was a woman, so I decided I had to again vote for the lesser of two evils.
The Dems continue to Denigrate Progressives and then expect that we will dutifully vote for them.
I don't happen to be a Dem, I am a Independent, and I can tell you that I do not plan to vote for anyone who treats me as if I am stupid and that is what the Dems are doing. Except for Feingold, who I happen to have the opportunity to vote for and plan to do so.

me said...

New headline from today:

Obama to Prosecute Marijuana Possession in California Despite Legalization

So, Obama sends dope smokers to prison and gives WAR CRIMINALS a pass. And you want me to vote for that, because the alternative is worse? Are you nuts?? What could be worse than supporting war criminals?

Claudia said...

Quite obviously neither party ever learns anything. Neither do we.

me said...

I think you're wrong, Claudia. Both parties have learned that they do better when they gang up against the American people. It's the actual citizens who have learned nothing.

It's a symbiotic relationship. The purpose of the republicans' existence is to make the democrats look reasonable in comparison.

Uncle Ernie said...

I'm sorry but exactly what is the difference between the Demoncrats and the Rethuglicans again? Seems to me Barry is even farther to the right than Bush. As Gore Vidal said, "It makes no difference who you vote for - the two parties are really one party
representing four percent of the people." We're screwed either way!

Michael E. said...

While Robert Parry chooses to attack true progressives and the left for the Democratic Party's failures in elections, he ignores the much larger disenchanted mainstream population that the Democrats also spit upon. The only so called "failure of the left" has been its inability to reach more people that progressives that have their best interests at heart and not corporate owned Democrats and Republicans. This is not a failure out of lack of effort but more from the fact that Corporations own the media, the election system, and most politicians. When you add to that extreme disadvantage, that Unions like the AFL-CIO and otherwise progressive writers such as Parry and the likes of Norman Soloman keep fronting and making excuses for the Corporate Democrats, the mission to enlighten Americans to their reality and what is in their best interests becomes all the more difficult.

Anonymous said...

The problem is we have been in the
capitalist/fascist pot since it was warm and cozy. Now the heat is on and our goose is about to be cooked just like the victims of our Amerikan dream/nightmare. Time to jump! It's not "Power" we need to teach. They have money to cushion their fall and networks of cronies to "employ" them. There is no solution other than the SOCIALIST revolution method. The rest of the world knows this from Europe to South America and all points in between. The people are
getting desperate and angry enough. Even the misguided Teabags on medicare and social security will join in the struggle when they find they've been used to destroy their own security.
Socialism has been so demonized by the capitalists that the mere mention of it has Dems and Reps goose stepping to Wagner. Why do you cling to the Amerikan dream, it's all over people! You ain't gonna be a millionaire Martha. Unless you get into office and kiss the proper corporate hindquarters. It's a revolution we need, but until then, by all means be a frustrated progressive while nations burn and babies are crushed beneath bloody treads. The Leftist aren't to blame, we get bloody, cause it's down to that, even here in the good ole USofA. So, see you on the picket line future comrades.

Peter Avanti said...

For many it simply comes down to Obama and the democrats have failed them after they gave it all and supported Obama's candidacy. They did their bit, that was all it should have taken in politics to change the world, there was supposed to be a payoff (the end of global warming, healthcare for all, a fair and equal society, end of wars, or what have you). The payoff has not arrived, Obama did not save the world even if he had all of 20 months to do it during a depression euphemistically called the great recession, or worse the payoff has arrived in the classic systemic way: partial, poorly implemented, watered down or on hold (remember how social security when it was first passed did not extend to most women and many black workers as it excluded 'certain' types of work from coverage?).

This is cynical narcissism (can we call it TV mind civic responsibility), and it ends in the continuation of the past 40 years of reactionary politics, and the ongoing erosion of the possibility of real progressive change in America. As Howard Zinn liked to say about the process of history and the prospect of who we are or can be in that process, "You cannot be neutral on a moving train", you have to participate in the ways that it is possible to do so.

In the next 3 weeks, a small shift in the choice to vote (as there is reason to believe that current polling practices tend to bias toward regressive voters) by those very voters who want to punish the democrats could stop the projected Corporate-Republican Coup as there are so many close races.

All that needs to be done is that each motivated democratic voter pledges to bring 2 or more progressive voters, who would otherwise not vote, with her to the polls, it would change the logistics of dozens of close races for the house, and probably Colorado, Nevada, Illinois, Wisconsin, West Virginia, and Pennsylvania in the Senate - all of which will turn on no more than 2 or 3% of the vote. So much opportunity for so little effort, all that is needed is a sense our history as a living reality in our midst.

Spread it around.

Mark M said...

From the article:

"With the Republicans moving almost in lockstep against..."

The Democrats never do that.

All that Bush bad happened over the live bodies of Democrats, rather proving Nader's point.

And one cannot blame Nader for, for instance, taking impeachment off the table.

So, people on the left get wholly disgusted.

I've always voted left 3rd party.

Anonymous said...

It is safe to say the dems are quite the mixture of naive to stupid to weak with a few good eggs in the basket.

Riddle me this: Why on earth is Harry Reid the leader of the Senate? The man has had approvals in Nevada of what? 20%? for a few years? We start every debate in the Senate with a wounded leader looking over his shoulder - and I like Reid fro the most part but not as my leader.

It's the Supreme Court...

The dems do one thing. They try to name people to the Supreme Court that are not raving theofascists and that is why I vote.

With a repub majority can we expect any sane people to be allowed on the court?

The court is ultimately the sealer of our nation's fate, don't you think? It's how the court will deal with these conditioned-into-a-false-reality lawyers Falwell and Pat Robertson are training and the cases they bring that will tell the tale. Even HCR may be dead with the courts we now have.

My concern is that with a loss this Nov, Obama may go right with his picks if he gets anymore.

Scalia/Roberts/Alito/Thomas are theofascists and they are not going anywhere for a long time.

Breyer and Ginsburg should have quit a year ago and let Obama name some younger folks.

Barring surprise deaths, it's the fifth vote that will be the end game. Whoever has the presidency when Kennedy quits takes the prize.

If the repubs have it when either Ginsgurg or Breyer quit, reality will never lost forever.

S.W. Anderson said...

This is a powerful article with food for thought to give many a progressive indigestion for having played it too cute by half. Those who voted for Nader in 2000, that applies to you most especially.

The one weakness in the article is that it fails to take into account the well-intentioned but largely counterproductive drafting of a bunch of conservative Democrats (or maybe Republicans-lite is a more apt description) candidates in 2006 and 2008, mostly in red and purple states. Howard Dean was right to put all states in play, but the effort required convincing voters in those states and districts to elect Democrats from the Democratic wing of the Democratic Party. Instead, Democrats seem to have recruited way too many who, in another year, might well have run as Republicans, and would've been just as happy to do so.

The result has been division and weakness in Democratic ranks in Congress. This is made acutely and painfully evident by the outrages of Sens. Lieberman and Ben Nelson.

The upshot is that Democrats have come off looking and acting irresolute and impotent, too often being just that, in the face of determined, monolithic opposition on the right. This weakness leads independents and know-nothings to wonder why, if Democrats are so ambivalent and weak-kneed about their own goals and efforts, should they be supported with money and votes?

S.W. Anderson said...

P.S.: The reference in my comment above to Lieberman and Ben Nelson was awkward and unclear.

What I meant to convey was not that those subversives were part of Dean's recruiting efforts (which they certainly weren't) but rather that their high-profile antics drew really unhelpful attention to just how divided and seemingly impotent Democrats are, even with nominal majorities. All the more contrast with lockstep-marching Republicans in both the House and Senate.

Mark M said...

This Democrat "for the good of the country" stuff has to end. It hardly is for the good of the country in the LONG run and since actions speak louder than words, it shows how alike Dems are to Republicans than to those on the left.

Here is the dynamic:

"Under the pressure of bureaucratic-statified capitalism, liberalism and
conservatism converge. That does not mean they are identical, or are
becoming identical. They merely increasingly tend to act in the same way
in essential respects, where fundamental needs of the system are
concerned. And just as the conservatives are forced to conserve and
expand the statified elements of the system, so the liberals are forced
to make use of the repressive measures which the conservatives advocate [think of the recent FBI raids on activists under Obama's watch]:
because the maintenance of the system demands it."

http://isreview.org/issues/34/draper.shtml

I wrote: "I've always voted left 3rd party."

But not when none were on the ballot. There were none this time, so I voted [absentee] all Dem which included the exceptional Feingold.

--Mark M of Racine, WI
(just south of Milw which had 3 socialist mayors last century)

Anonymous said...

Part 1

While I'm sure that there are Democratic voters who want to "teach the Dems a lesson", I think that they are few, and merely the youngest or latest to have become disillusioned and feeling betrayed by the DLC-controlled Democratic Party.

I think most aren't looking to "teach the Dems a lesson"; I think they've come to realize that the old saying is true ("You can't teach an old dog new tricks") and are just finished with the Democratic Party. At least until the DLC (DINOs who have hijacked the Democratic Party, ideologically the moderate Republicans of the 1950s & 1960s, i.e., pro-corporate, anti-populist, pro-war, pro-police state, anti-civil rights, anti-privacy rights, etc.) is no longer controlling the Democratic Party.

I think most on the left have come to see Democrats & Republicans as no different from each other, and that they're working on the same side, like tag relay teams. Or 'good cop/bad cop'. Or like siblings competing for the praise and attention of a parent. On the same team, the same side, for the same boss, in the same family, but against the rival team, We The People.

The Republicans make brazen frontal assaults on the People, and when the People have had enough, they put Democrats into power because of Democrats' populist rhetoric. However, once in power, Democrats consolidate Republicans' gains from previous years, and continue on with Republican policies but renamed, with new advertising campaigns. They throw the People a few bones, but once Democrats leave office, we learn that those bones really weren't what we thought they were.

Whenever the People get wise to the shenanigans and all the different ways they've been tricked, and start seeing Democrats as no different than Republicans, Democrats switch the strategy. They invent new reasons for failing to achieve the People's objectives. "It's Republican obstructionism". Or the latest, most current one, because "Democrats are nicer, not as ruthless, not criminal" etc., custom-tailored to Obama's 'bipartisan cooperation' demeanor. It's smirk-worthy when you realize they're trying to sell that they're inept, unable to achieve what they were put into office to do, and that's somehow a good thing, something to reward them for by putting them back into office.

Anonymous said...

Part 2

Robert Parry might be right if Obama and DLC-Democrats were actually working to get more progressive Democrats into office, but the opposite is true. Obama, Rahm Emanuel, David Axelrod, David Plouffe, all have worked their asses off to prevent real progressives getting into office.

One example right off the bat is Blanche Lincoln. The White House put its full weight and support behind Blanche Lincoln during the primary over the true progressive (and union-backed) candidate in the race, Arkansas Lt. Governor Bill Halter.

During the primary, where there's a longstanding practice and tradition for presidents to butt out. Presidents do not get involved in the one time in the process of our democratic republic where the People can get their preferences for governance met.

That's the deal in this democratic republic: We the People consent to be governed, we agree to abide by the rule of law, IF we get to choose who will be making those rules that bind us.

Obama broke the covenant.

But he'd actually done it months earlier, with his deal with Arlen Specter to put the full weight and support of the Democratic machine behind Specter during the 2010 primary in Pennsylvania if Specter would switch parties. Not only did Obama make this unorthodox deal, he then tried to buy off at least one of the alternative candidates that Democratic voters in Pennsylvania might have wanted to vote to have representing them, Joe Sestak. Obama actively went about trying to prevent Democratic voters from choosing their preferred candidate for the US Senate so that a DINO, Republican Arlen Specter, could retain the seat.

Now, two weeks before the November 2nd election, and Blanche Lincoln's 18 points down behind the GOP candidate John Boozman. The collective conventional wisdom among Arkansas political pundits is that Arkansas' Lt. Governor Bill Halter could have beaten Republican John Boozman because Arkansans (overwhelmingly Democratic registered state) would prefer an authentic, trustworthy and likable person representing their interests in government, even if that person is a progressive.

But more progressives in Congress means real populist legislation getting passed into law. Real reform bills, that re-regulate banks & big business. Real stimulus bills, with jobs creation, green clean energy development, and more. But that's not who or what Obama and the DLC-controlled Democrats are about.

Whichever of us is right (me on the left, with much evidence of Obama's not being any more ethical than Bush-Cheney, beginning with his assertion that the president has the right to kill American citizens with absolutely no due process, no oversight, to his two Supreme Court justices that are continuing the Court's move to the right, and Parry with the DLC), how is Obama's government's ineffectiveness working for any of us?

How is Obama's healthcare reform legislation, which doesn't satisfy what Obama and Democrats were put into power to get for the People (affordable, quality medicare treatment for everyone) an achievement for anyone but corporations? After employer-provided insurance and insurance companies in particular were identified as the barriers to getting affordable, quality medical treatment for everyone, this legislation has institutionalized insurance companies as gatekeepers to medical treatment, with no cost controls and for a few million more. This legislation is Bush's Medicare Reform Act of 2003-Part 2.

How is Obama's finance reform legislation, that wouldn't have prevented the economic meltdown from happening (nor will it prevent it happening again), any kind of achievement to brag about?

How is putting more Blue Dogs, more DLCers, more DINOs into Congress going to get us real reform, restore the middle class with more progressive policies and legislation, and get this country back on track?

Anonymous said...

Part 2

Robert Parry might be right if Obama and DLC-Democrats were actually working to get more progressive Democrats into office, but the opposite is true. Obama, Rahm Emanuel, David Axelrod, David Plouffe, all have worked their asses off to prevent real progressives getting into office.

One example right off the bat is Blanche Lincoln. The White House put its full weight and support behind Blanche Lincoln during the primary over the true progressive (and union-backed) candidate in the race, Arkansas Lt. Governor Bill Halter.

During the primary, where there's a longstanding practice and tradition for presidents to butt out. Presidents do not get involved in the one time in the process of our democratic republic where the People can get their preferences for governance met.

That's the deal in this democratic republic: We the People consent to be governed, we agree to abide by the rule of law, IF we get to choose who will be making those rules that bind us.

Obama broke the covenant.

But he'd actually done it months earlier, with his deal with Arlen Specter to put the full weight and support of the Democratic machine behind Specter during the 2010 primary in Pennsylvania if Specter would switch parties. Not only did Obama make this unorthodox deal, he then tried to buy off at least one of the alternative candidates that Democratic voters in Pennsylvania might have wanted to vote to have representing them, Joe Sestak. Obama actively went about trying to prevent Democratic voters from choosing their preferred candidate for the US Senate so that a DINO, Republican Arlen Specter, could retain the seat.

Anonymous said...

Part 3

Now, two weeks before the November 2nd election, and Blanche Lincoln's 18 points down behind the GOP candidate John Boozman. The collective conventional wisdom among Arkansas political pundits is that Arkansas' Lt. Governor Bill Halter could have beaten Republican John Boozman because Arkansans (overwhelmingly Democratic registered state) would prefer an authentic, trustworthy and likable person representing their interests in government, even if that person is a progressive.

But more progressives in Congress means real populist legislation getting passed into law. Real reform bills, that re-regulate banks & big business. Real stimulus bills, with jobs creation, green clean energy development, and more. But that's not who or what Obama and the DLC-controlled Democrats are about.

Whichever of us is right (me on the left, with much evidence of Obama's not being any more ethical than Bush-Cheney, beginning with his assertion that the president has the right to kill American citizens with absolutely no due process, no oversight, to his two Supreme Court justices that are continuing the Court's move to the right, and Parry with the DLC), how is Obama's government's ineffectiveness working for any of us?

How is Obama's healthcare reform legislation, which doesn't satisfy what Obama and Democrats were put into power to get for the People (affordable, quality medicare treatment for everyone) an achievement for anyone but corporations? After employer-provided insurance and insurance companies in particular were identified as the barriers to getting affordable, quality medical treatment for everyone, this legislation has institutionalized insurance companies as gatekeepers to medical treatment, with no cost controls and for a few million more. This legislation is Bush's Medicare Reform Act of 2003-Part 2.

How is Obama's finance reform legislation, that wouldn't have prevented the economic meltdown from happening (nor will it prevent it happening again), any kind of achievement to brag about?

How is putting more Blue Dogs, more DLCers, more DINOs into Congress going to get us real reform, restore the middle class with more progressive policies and legislation, and get this country back on track?

me said...

@peter: "bring 2 or more progressive voters, who would otherwise not vote, with her to the polls"

Are you nuts? Progressives already do vote. Where will you find two who don't?

JonnyJames said...

No worries Mr. Parry it does not matter who wins the elections. Policy shifts ever right-ward no matter which faction of the Corporate Party is in power.

I think you need to read some Steven Hill, Sheldon Wolin and Chris Hedges, just to name a few and tell us why they are wrong and you are right.

I found this article to be insulting - the underlying assumptions are false and the manner in which it is framed is inaccurate.

In the winner-takes-all, big money, corporate media directed "election campaigns" one only has two choices: Corporate candidate R or Corporate candidate D. The range of demcratic choice is so limited that it is difficult to call this process democracy at all.

No worries, it looks like the Rs will gain some seats in Nov. So what? You have no choice in the matter deal with it.

I believe that we as a nation will have to hit rock-bottom before any substantive change comes about, voting for Ds in a rigged electroal system aint making much difference is it?

Anonymous said...

Isn't the winner of this election going to be, ironically, Barack Obama? He professes a desire for a bipartison form of governance. Apparantly, he's about to get just that - a Republican Congress with a Democratic Administration. If anything is to get accomplished, both parties are going to have to work together. The Rs will have to finally shoulder some responsibility rather than simply be the party of no, and continue to filibuster their way to obstructionism. If they gain a majority in the Srenate, they will have to contend with their own medicine, since the (real)Ds will still have at least 40 votes. Obama will be able to point his finger at a failed congress if the Rs can't come up with something that is agreeable to the remaining real Ds in the Senate. I on't recall what happened in 1996 to the s after their victorious 1994 outing, except that the Ds retained the Presidency. The arrogance of the Rs can be anticiapted, hopefully with the same "reward" that their shutting down of the government brought about in that era. There is no Senate race in my state this year, and the lone R reresentative is a shoe in, unfortunately. Our senior senator, MaxBaucus, was reelected in '08 and is an embarrasment to Democrats. I only wish I had the opportunity to sit out his reelection this year.

me said...

The Rs will have to finally shoulder some responsibility

Surely you jest. That will never happen. Never, never, never.

Anything good that might occur, you can bet they will claim responsibility. But anything bad that happens in the next 20 years will be Obama's fault. (Ironically, they will be right, but not for the reasons they claim.)

Remember, that's the party that hated Franklin Roosevelt for decades after his death, and they are still blaming him.

No, this crop of republican lunatics will never, ever, ever admit that they were wrong about anything. You can bank on that.

Anonymous said...

I think what we are about to get is not a bipartisan government, but what Republicans would call a solid Republican government.

Republicans say they want is a do-nothing government. By splitting the different branches this is exactly what we will get.

This is not the worst possibility. Possibly Obama will conclude, as Clinton did following the GOP victory in 1994, that the people prefer the Republican program and he will actively work with Republicans to actually fulfill their unstated agenda of further strengthening corporate control.

Maybe he will join Republicans in new tax cuts for the very wealthy. We might all witness a completely new Obama.

Jason said...

The only myth here is the "gotta hold your nose" crapola of pure unadulterated extremist centrism that Robert Parry and the pearl clutching DLC Retard Rhamocrats have championed for the last 40 years. It's nothing more than Uncle Tom telling the field slaves to hesh up their uppity activist yap and get back on the plantation or else the white Republican mastah gonna hoss whup us both!

The card-carrying members of the centrist-extremist DLC Retard Rhamocrats have made it abundantly clear over the last 6 months than they ever could over the last 40 years: they don't want the great unwashed; the liberal and progressive welfare-riddled poor and working class. The fugly cousins. They don't want em. They hate them more than they hate and resent the Republicans.

What they wanted all along is a drab, predictable, fin-clappin' leftwing version of Glen Beck's September 12th Good Germanism so they can't spew the same old and tired slogans and buzzphrases of "hope" and "change", and thus stay in power by the mindless distracted voter which in turn they use as vehicle to straddle that fence for another 40 years of utter failsauce whilst getting richer and richer along the way.

Newsflash: that Blue Dog don't hunt anymore, and the faster Robert Parry and the rest of the spineless, gormless, feckless DLC Retard Rhamocrats grow a spine, get a clue, get a conscience, and stop spewing sanctimonious fatwahs against their progressive/liberal base, the faster they'll avert one of those jobless and foreclosed liberal/progressive field slaves turning into a leftwing version of Tim McVeigh.

Bob Perillo said...

Robert Parry's article is full of misrepresentations of history. Most egregious is his insinuation that Johnson -- JOHNSON! -- was a peacemaker. This is the man under whose watch the U.S. invaded South Vietnam, bombed South and North Vietnam into a moonscape, exterminated whole villages and engaged in other war crimes too numerous to list.

It was the Tet Offensive that started to convince the U.S. establishment that the war had to be wound down. But there's no reason to believe that it would have ended any sooner under a Democrat. To make such an assertion, one had to ignore what really led to the ousting of the U.S. from Southeast Asia: a U.S. deficit without precedent, the run on gold, growing unrest in U.S. cities and universities, draft resistance, the disintegration of the U.S. armed forces (including addiction to heroin and other hard drugs, and fragging: the murder of officers by rebellious soldiers under their command) and, most of all, the heroic refusal of South and North Vietnamese to submit to U.S. dominance. None of these factors is even given passing mention in Parry's tract.

For Parry, progressives didn't vote for Humphrey because they were "furious" with Humphrey for the police violence against protesters at the Chicago convention. In other words, it wasn't that the left was smart enough to figure out that a hack like Humphrey wasn't going to stop killing Southeast Asia civilians any quicker than his boss had earlier, it was that the left succumbed immaturely to its own rage. This is indeed the same narrative that we're hearing consistently of late from the defender's of Obama's pitiful record. Those of us who object to Obama's expansion of the assault on Afghanistan aren't really interested in taking a principled stand against war crimes; we're just angry adolescents who lack Parry and company's "pragmatism."

Parry and other defenders of the Democratic establishment have no answer to objections over the Obama administration's war crimes, so they can only proffer insults against Obama's shrinking progressive base and an embarrassingly silly parody of historical analysis, in this case billed as a "Special Report."

indianabob said...

While I largely agree with much of this analysis (disagree strongly with the Nader section), the author does not provide any idea of how to "teach the democrats a lesson".

There has to be some punishment for ignoring your voters. We would like to think that would happen in the primaries, but when the White House and the Democratic Establishment go all out in support of one of the worst Democrats, what other recourse is there?

jmaria said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
jmaria said...

The then derided as an uncompromising "beautiful loser", too idealistic progressive who'd accomplish nothing,is now being attacked for compromising and getting something done. If the left is serious enough; stop complaining, get practical and help avert a takeover by the far right.

Steve Krulick said...

As a New Yorker who voted for Nader in '96, '00, '04, and '08, I absolutely insist that MY vote in NY never affected the final results of those elections: I voted for the best person in the race with a clean conscience. You get no merit badge for voting for the winner, particularly in a state where the winner is a foregone conclusion! On the other hand, what point was it to vote for Bush in NY, or Gore in Wyoming? Or vice versa? To vote for the guaranteed winner OR loser in blowout states is a "wasted vote"! The winner doesn't need your vote, and the loser is destined to lose. So one might as well vote for who you WANT in any case, since gaming the system is not possible.

Regarding Florida. Parry's opinion that anything is "obvious" ignores actual logic and evidence. To say "IF most of Nader's votes had gone to Gore..." is the logical equivalent of "If pigs could fly, I would be king!" Actually, MOST of Nader's votes DID go to Gore! The week before the election, Nader was polling 7% in FL; on election day, it went down to 3%! It would seem that MOST Nader supporters in FL held their nose at the last minute and DID succumb to the constant Dem fear-mongering drumbeat and voted for Gore. As for the 97K who voted their conscience and stuck by Nader, stats show that maybe a third MIGHT have voted for Gore, but a quarter MIGHT have voted for Bush, and MOST would have stayed home or voted for another third party candidate. Other polls show that, had Nader NOT been in the race, Bush would have won outright by a full percentage point, as Al From of the DLC, and Al Gore, himself, concede.

Yet this is moot, because GORE actually WON the election! Yep, the media consortium review of ALL the contested ballots showed that in any LEGAL method used to count, Gore actually won FL and hence the whole enchilada!

Want to finger the culprits behind Bush's theft? Blame the SCotUS. Blame the Republican operatives who intimidated the vote counters. Then blame the team of Katherine Harris and Jeb Bush for illegally eliminating between 50,000 and 100,000 mostly-black voters from the rolls. Blame nearly 300,000 DEMOCRATS in FL who voted for Bush! Either one of those far outweighs the small margin of difference between Bush and Gore in FL. (10 MILLION Dems voted for Bush nationwide.) Or blame 100 million NON-voters; had Gore convinced a small percentage in EACH state to get off their asses and vote, he could have won EVERY state! But, no, the whiny Dems who can't face their own shortcomings (or Gore losing his own home state -- when has THAT ever happened? -- or Clinton's state) have to blame a guy who simply exercised his right to run on principles, and those who chose to vote for him!

Oh, and finally, there's no way to predict what corporatist Gore (who had far more similarities to Bush than differences, which is what Nader ACTUALLY said, NEVER saying there were NO differences!) would have done IF he had actually fought to protect HIS WIN. Hell, we might have gone into WWIII with China over the shot-down plane incident. We'll never know, because, like the universe in which Nader didn't run, THAT universe didn't happen either.

Steve Krulick said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Steve Krulick said...

As a New Yorker who voted for Nader in '96, '00, '04, and '08, I absolutely insist that MY vote in NY never affected the final results of those elections: I voted for the best person in the race with a clean conscience. You get no merit badge for voting for the winner, particularly in a state where the winner is a foregone conclusion! On the other hand, what point was it to vote for Bush in NY, or Gore in Wyoming? Or vice versa? To vote for the guaranteed winner OR loser in blowout states is a "wasted vote"! The winner doesn't need your vote, and the loser is destined to lose. So one might as well vote for who you WANT in any case, since gaming the system is not possible.

Regarding Florida. Parry's opinion that anything is "obvious" ignores actual logic and evidence. To say "IF most of Nader's votes had gone to Gore..." is the logical equivalent of "If pigs could fly, I would be king!" Actually, MOST of Nader's votes DID go to Gore! The week before the election, Nader was polling 7% in FL; on election day, it went down to 3%! It would seem that MOST Nader supporters in FL held their nose at the last minute and DID succumb to the constant Dem fear-mongering drumbeat and voted for Gore. As for the 97K who voted their conscience and stuck by Nader, stats show that maybe a third MIGHT have voted for Gore, but a quarter MIGHT have voted for Bush, and MOST would have stayed home or voted for another third party candidate. Other polls show that, had Nader NOT been in the race, Bush would have won outright by a full percentage point, as Al From of the DLC, and Al Gore, himself, concede.

Yet this is moot, because GORE actually WON the election! Yep, the media consortium review of ALL the contested ballots showed that in any LEGAL method used to count, Gore actually won FL and hence the whole enchilada!

Steve Krulick said...

Want to finger the culprits behind Bush's theft? Blame the SCotUS. Blame the Republican operatives who intimidated the vote counters. Then blame the team of Katherine Harris and Jeb Bush for illegally eliminating between 50,000 and 100,000 mostly-black voters from the rolls. Blame nearly 300,000 DEMOCRATS in FL who voted for Bush! Either one of those far outweighs the small margin of difference between Bush and Gore in FL. (10 MILLION Dems voted for Bush nationwide.) Or blame 100 million NON-voters; had Gore convinced a small percentage in EACH state to get off their asses and vote, he could have won EVERY state! But, no, the whiny Dems who can't face their own shortcomings (or Gore losing his own home state -- when has THAT ever happened? -- or Clinton's state) have to blame a guy who simply exercised his right to run on principles, and those who chose to vote for him!

Oh, and finally, there's no way to predict what corporatist Gore (who had far more similarities to Bush than differences, which is what Nader ACTUALLY said, NEVER saying there were NO differences!) would have done IF he had actually fought to protect HIS WIN. Hell, we might have gone into WWIII with China over the shot-down plane incident. We'll never know, because, like the universe in which Nader didn't run, THAT universe didn't happen either.

Mark M said...

Concerning that President Carter had begun to address the environmental and energy crises...

That is true.

And yet:

''The Carter Doctrine was a policy proclaimed by President of the United States Jimmy Carter in his State of the Union Address on January 23, 1980, which stated that the United States would use military force if necessary to defend its national interests in the Persian Gulf region....[:]

'''Let our position be absolutely clear: An attempt by any outside force to gain control of the Persian Gulf region will be regarded as an assault on the vital interests of the United States of America, and such an assault will be repelled by any means necessary, including military force.'''

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Carter_Doctrine

So Carter fit the Dems as lesser-evils, true to Dem form.

Bush carried out the Carter Doctrine and Obama continues it.

Tweedledum and Tweedledee.