Wednesday, November 03, 2010


Glenn Greenwald's blog:

Half of the Blue Dog incumbents were defeated, and by themselves accounted for close to half of the Democratic losses. Some of us have been arguing for quite some time that the Rahm-engineered dependence on Blue Dog power is one of the many factors that has made the Democratic Party so weak, blurry, indistinguishable from the GOP, and therefore so politically inept, and would thus be stronger and better without them -- here's a 2008 Salon article I wrote making that case. Despite viewing last night's Blue Dog losses with happiness, I wouldn't point to this outcome as vindication for my argument, as there are many complex factors that account for last night's crushing of Congressional Democrats: widespread economic suffering, anxiety over America's obvious decline, the perception that Obama has done little to undermine destructive status quo forces and much to bolster them, etc. etc.

But for slothful pundits who want to derive sweeping meaning from individual races in order to blame the Left and claim that last night was a repudiation of liberalism, the far more rational conclusion -- given the eradication of 50% of the Blue Dog caucus -- is that the worst possible choice Democrats can make is to run as GOP-replicating corporatists devoted above all else to serving corporate interests in order to perpetuate their own power: what Washington calls "centrists" and "conservative Democrats." That is who bore the bulk of the brunt of last night's Democratic bloodbath -- not liberals.


Right, because liberals stand for something and centrists just want to get reelected. People can spot bullshit from a mile away, and the Democrats who were trying to fool everybody into thinking they were Republicans sent the BS meter screaming into the red. Better to lose with your integrity intact rather than to lose looking like a snake--in the long run, people will respect you as being someone with ideas, even if they disagree with you. Unfortunately for the centrists, who are, in reality, conservative, given that what we call "conservative" these days actually means "far right psycho extremist conservative," there is nothing they can do to win votes from the nut fringe. They're crazy, and there's just no reasoning with crazy people.

What the Democrats need to do, which is now more possible than it has been in many years, thanks to the outcome of yesterday's election, is to galvanize around traditional liberal principles, and work their asses off to show America why their ideas are superior to the agenda of self-destruction and impoverishment favored by the GOP. You know, jobs, the middle class, affordable health care, better wages and benefits, that kind of thing. This is really what has had me climbing the walls for years. Democrats have been sideliners since the 70s, allowing the Republicans to define political problems and philosophy, while the so-called "liberal" party dodges and weaves. There has been no counter-argument to neoliberalism. No counter-argument to neoconservativsm. Nobody offered any history lessons about Keynesianism and the New Deal to support the stimulus, or to demand more and bigger stimulus. Nobody calls bullshit on all that racist "welfare queen" rhetoric the conservatives use to bash any and all social programs. Nobody pulled out a copy of The Communist Manifesto to prove, without any doubt at all, that President Obama cannot possibly be called a socialist.

The Democrats are not, and have not been in my lifetime, a party of ideas. They've ceded the entire game to the right wing. When you consider that, it's amazing the Democrats ever win at all. They've been using, after all, a Republican intellectual construction of reality, and in that reality, Democrats are traitors to the American Way. This is beyond shooting yourself in the foot; it's more like shooting yourself in the head.

The real political battle isn't decided at the ballot box. It's decided in the hearts and minds of the American people. And the Democrats surrendered that battle long ago. But who knows? Now that the biggest faction of surviving House Democrats is the Progressive Caucus, maybe we'll get some real arguments going. If that happens, because conservative arguments are mostly bullshit, mostly, we'll win.

That is, if the Party can resist the siren lure of corporate campaign cash, which is like heroin--it feels good right now, but causes chills and vomiting tomorrow. And it's tomorrow already.