Archive for August 2007
In a comment to the last post, Laura asks that and it’s a fair question.
What do you think WE can do? I realize optimism isn’t your strong suit, but since you write, I’ll assume you hope. Any strategies you might recommend…?
Of course. I’ve been sort of making tactical suggestions all along, piecemeal as it were, but maybe it’s time to put it all together and fill in the gaps.
First, I need to stress that there’s nothing magical about what needs to be done. It’s all obvious, fundamental shit, and it’s called “being a citizen”. Second, “hope” has nothing to do with it. I’m an analyst, basically. That’s how I think. As a reasonably capable analyst, I can assure you these tactics/strategies will almost certainly work – barring a military response that turns the US from a virtual dictatorship into an overt dictatorship, which is unfortunately possible but fortunately unlikely for a variety of reasons.
“Hope” has to do with a single question: Will enough people get off their asses to make a difference? My cynicism tells me they won’t, but I hope they will. eRobin, an activist and expert optimist thinks different.
The thing that gets me about us is that we as a nation do respond when challenged by our leaders. FDR did it. Kennedy did it. Even History’s Greatest Monster, Carter, did it and we set peak oil back a decade.
With the right leader, (our greatest sin is that we are dependent upon being led) we would rise to the challenge of universal single payer health care, global warming and the need to remake our economy and go green instead of turning into a nation of service workers.
Well, we don’t have real political leaders any more. We have, in both parties, corporate employees who are beholden to the corporatocracy that buys them with campaign money because of the way we insist on funding elections with private bucks, so the leaders are going to have to come from the bottom. From us. As I’ve said time and again lately, we’re going to have to do it ourselves. We’re on our own.
In the days since Rahm Emanuel’s phone orgy, Democratic support for Bush/neocon policies in Iraq has strengthened and at least one Rep, Jerry McNerney from California, has already reversed his position. Now comes news via Think Progress of a second: Washington’s Brian Baird.
Baird was one of the few Dem Reps who voted against the invasion originally but has been relatively quiet about his opposition to the occupation since. Now that he is supporting the surge, though, as TP put it, “there doesn’t appear to be a camera or microphone that Baird will refuse to speak to.” And most of them are right-wing outlets – Tucker Carlson and the National Review, for instance.
Baird, nationally an unknown, is suddenly in the limelight, his turnaround trumpeted all over the media, after several years of all-but-invisible opposition. And all it took was a single phone call from Rahm.
Tell me again that the Democratic support of Bush, from economic policy to trade policy to foreign policy to illegal surveillance is the result of individual consciences or the Fear Factor.
One more slightly related observation:
It may be fitting in a peculiar way that the first columnist to tell the truth about the presidential race is a tv critic.
Heather Havrilesky writes about television for Salon magazine, and her latest column starts this way:
America has been feeling pretty impotent lately. The march of freedom screeched to a halt a long time ago, and we’ve got a feeble grip on our national identity. After decades of fancying ourselves sexy and invincible, we’re suddenly scrutinizing our teeth in the mirror and second-guessing the Ultrasuede loafers we once thought were so cool.
Thankfully, a new presidential race is heating up, and it couldn’t have come at a better time. Who better to put the spring back in our step, than a brand-new lover, one who loves absolutely everything about us, from our stubborn independence to our somewhat delusional egocentrism? With pulpit-pounding conviction and an openly flirtatious grin, our new suitors say they see past the bald spot and the ill-fitting pants, they remember when we were young and brash, when we grabbed the world by the throat and had our way with it.
Hillary flatters us endlessly, Obama gives us long, moony, “Endless Love” gazes, and John charms our socks off. But which of these courtly callers will make us feel like our old virile, bossy selves again? The candidate who can soothe our egos, woo us out of this self-hating stupor and make us feel strong and special again will win the big prize!
She’s absolutely right. The ’08 election isn’t going to be about the Second Gulf War and occupation of Iraq or the economy stupid or the destruction of the Constitution or the general mess the Bush presidency has made of America and its wholesale violation of American values for the sake of enriching the already rich. It isn’t going to be about who has the best plan to clean up the mess or is the most likely to restore our rights or has the stones to put the corporatocracy in its place.
I should have known this was coming. Really.
Given that so far VP Cheney has gotten away with claiming he doesn’t have to obey Congress because he isn’t a member of the Executive Branch, we should have realized that it was only a matter of time before the Administration started arguing that other govt agencies don’t have to obey the law because they’re not technically govt agencies.
Somebody claiming to be Glenn Greenwald (a stretch) left a comment to yesterday’s post on our imperial Democrats that consisted of a series of questions.
How did the Imperialist, Carl Levin. vote on the war in the first place?
How did he vote on the FISA bill?
How did he vote on the Military Commissions Act?
How did Republicans vote on those matters?
The person claiming to be Greenwald didn’t explain the purpose of the questions or even why s/he thought they were relevant but my assumption of what the questions were meant to suggest – that how Levin voted on FISA, the MCA, and the war is somehow related to my characterization of his comments – leads nicely into a post I’d planned to write anyway, if a little later on. Might as well do it now, eh?
I doubt that the real Mr Greenwald is a political junkie of the kind who counts votes and tracks precincts but much of the policy wonkism and commentary from the left blogosphere emanates from such people because they believe – in most cases accurately – that the way politicians vote defines their beliefs and identifies the issues they support, or don’t. Unfortunately, it often isn’t that easy, especially with Democrats. In fact, political junkies immersed in the minutiae of day-to-day legislating can – and do – miss the Big Picture, effectively unable to see the forest for the trees.
I like Glenn Greenwald and consider his Salon blog a Must-Read most days but his insistent refusal to accept the deliberate nature of right-wing pundit fantasizing has become annoying and his benefit-of-the-doubt criticisms of the MSM and Democratic inactivity may be downright dangerous. Fortunately, his readers aren’t as backward as he is.