The New Oxymoron: Progressive Democrats


I can’t write posts with anything like the regularity I used to, so when I do I try to concentrate on the issue with the highest priority. At this point, that issue is the morphing of the Democratic party into a corporate-friendly copy of the GOP, only slightly less lethal than the original. It seems to me that with very few reliable liberals and no reliable progressives anywhere near the centers of power, our voices are being threatened with wholesale political extinction. Virtually no one is representing us even though we are a majority of the population according to the polls.

Last week I wrote such a post at Comments From Left Field, where I used to be one of the contributors. Entitled “Getting Suckered By Our Own Guys”,  it argued that by becoming involved with a phony election, a sham of a meaningless kabuki, progressives are contributing to their own demise.

Our political system has devolved into a cross between a bad Don Rickles joke and a high school fire drill during freshman orientation. Obama is at best a hypocrite and at worst Hillary in drag, only with less heavy eye-liner. Hillary seems to be going for Nixon Redux, and McCain is Fright Nightwith the Kewl Kids at the National Review Dorm, surrounded by an army somebody gave them for Xmas to play Dungeons ‘n’ Dragons with.

***

I’ve given up the idea of getting anybody to pay attention to this because all the so-called “progressives” are all caught up in the Hillary v. Obama farce and will continue to track that ill-begotten game until it’s as stale as last week’s bread, pretending all the while that the primaries are “significant”. That they “matter”. That each candidate is “different” from the other.

Balderdash. We’ve been suckered into caring about this meaningless circus no less than conservatives have been suckered into believing there are radical Islamic terrorists hiding in their hydrangea bushes. I am ashamed of all of us. We have fallen for some of the oldest tricks in the book.

The upshot of writing that post was that self-styled “Executive Editor” Kyle Moore, after writing 3 nasty comments to it, emailed me to tell me I was no longer welcome to write there, apparently because a) he didn’t agree with what I wrote, especially about Obama, him being an Obama devotee, and b) I had the unmitigated gall to respond to his attack, giving him the excuse that “it’s for the best” that I go in order to prevent our exchanges from “escalating”.

Now, Kyle would be the first to tell you he’s not a progressive, per se. This response to my being “fired” from CFLF isn’t so much about the obtuse closed-mindedness of it so much as because it’s an example of what the future holds for anybody who contradicts the Donkey Party Line or suggests that the heir apparent, whoever that turns out to be, is less than they appear to be and/or would like us to believe they are: suppression.

What we have to look forward to, those of us who no longer believe the Democrats are significantly different from the Republicans, is vilification from both sides and a chorus of raised, angry voices telling us to shut up.

Already, this self-censorship is at work. Critics of the Democrats have been excoriated by powerful A-List bloggers like Markos and Duncan Black, and the response has been a gradual but unmistakable falling-into-line. Criticism of Obama is acceptable only to the Billary Camp, and criticism of Billary is acceptable only to Obama stalwarts like Moore (who writes – at the very least – 2 posts a day attacking Hillary). We’re splitting ourselves right down the middle, neither side able to see the justice of the other side’s critiques.

The fact of the matter is simple: everybody is right. Hillary and Obama are both lousy candidates, both moderate right-wing conservatives (especially when it comes to kowtowing to Big Business), both hawks, both anti-labor in practice if not oratory, and both fairly standard examples of 2-faced political hypocrites. It may be an Ugly Truth, but it’s a truth all the same.

The purpose of my pounding away at this is equally simple. We need to start thinking about what happens after election day when a Democrat is president and we find out – as we found out so painfully last year after working for and achieving a Democratic victory in both houses of Congress only to watch that victory turn to ashes as the Democratic Congress gave Bush and the Pubs everything they wanted – that NOTHING IS GOING TO CHANGE.

When it finally dawns on us that we’ve been suckered by our own guys, what do we do then?

I’ll be giving you my answers over the next several weeks and hoping for some feedback. Mr Moore’s answer – suppress the dissent, eliminate the voice – is the same as the GOP answer to the Left for 25 years. I don’t plan to go that easily.

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6 responses to “The New Oxymoron: Progressive Democrats

  1. I saw the first message from K and winced. But I didn’t follow it further and didn’t realize you’d been excommunicated. That was lame and obviously contradictory with having open political discussions online: can’t handle the argument, so you banish the author!? Come on. I’m sorry that happened to you.

    Despite being a more-than-occasional Obamaskeptic (as the author of the ‘Hillary in drag’ link), though, I think this is mainly about two camps and followers who are pulling out all the stops they can think of to try to win, and so they keep escalating past the point of the true differences (and I think there are some, including at least one great big one people seem to be forgetting about) to magnifying ever-smaller and/or illusory differences. A.k.a. loss of perspective.

    To me that big difference — less prone to start another war — outweighs the others and makes Obama a better choice than Clinton, and either a better choice than McCain. I’m comfortable with that, and with not being a starry-eyed Obama supporter, just one guy who’s voted for him and plans to call him on his unity/bipartisanship-above-all shtick when it gets too annoying.

    (Re Obama, Clinton, and labor: their trade pact support/shaky advisors/hypocrisy/whatever notwithstanding, both voted for invoking cloture on the EFCA, i.e., for an easier route to unionization, while McCain did not. That may not be enough, but surely it’s to their credit, and surely it’s a difference with McCain. Moreover, I think Obama has been mentioning it in his speeches; I admit I don’t know what Clinton is doing in that respect. )

    Hope this won’t excommunicate me from the comments section! :)

  2. they keep escalating past the point of the true differences (and I think there are some, including at least one great big one people seem to be forgetting about) to magnifying ever-smaller and/or illusory differences. A.k.a. loss of perspective.

    That’s sort of what I’m talking about but because of the tone and depth of the “magnification” I can’t say I think this will vanish after the election. What I’m seeing in the Democratic party is a potentially long-term schism where the leadership – whether Barackistas or Hillaryites – continues to pursue policies largely opposite to those desired by their own base. If I’m right, that schism will continue to widen as people begin to realize (as I think they already are) that neither party gives a damn what they want.

    Will there be an internal war between the Obama/DLC contingent of center-rightists and the Clinton/DLC contingent of corporate rightists? Almost certainly. Positions will harden and word-wars will be fought. So what? In the end it will be yet another meaningless, self-involved series or arguments about just how far right the Democrats should bend. What’s that got to do with the center-left? Neither group is offering us anything of substance.

    That may not be enough, but surely it’s to their credit, and surely it’s a difference with McCain.

    Given that it’s an election year and the nomination is up for grabs, I suppose it’s the best we’re going to get. But frankly, nothing either of them says at this point will have any meaning the day after that election. Based on their histories, neither is likely to do very much that would piss off Rahm’s corps of corporate donors.

  3. I forgot:

    Hope this won’t excommunicate me from the comments section! :)

    Not a chance.

  4. Starting a little trouble over in the ‘left field’, eh? Glad I was able to find you up and running again. ^_^

  5. I’m innocent, I tell you.

  6. I can’t even begin to descibe my disappointment in the presidential campaign. It began innocently enough with us all hanging on to some pretty core issues. It was actually pretty entertaining. Then it quickly became solely about two people running. What a let-down. Arizona’s governor came out for Obama prior to Super Tuesday and I was so mad! It totally deflated the party here and ruined that sense of belonging to something. The dialog changed and the only issue was who (of the chosen 2) you supported. The party lost a lot of momentum. Like it matters in McCain’s state anyway, but the party buzz was something to hang on to and it just vanished. poof. Maybe that’s just the nature of corporate primaries? I’m still trying to get over the “hope for change” of 2006….

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