WaPo pundlette Paul Waldman wants to make an article out of this: “Republicans fear their activist base. Democrats don‘t.” Like there’s something going on here. Well, there’s a couple things going on here, alright – a mistake and the Dem elite who control the party these days.
Mistake: “The Tea Party started just as much as a movement of self-styled outsiders, but unlike activists on the left, they pursued an inside strategy from the outset, one focused clearly on elections.”
Because they were NOT outsiders. The Tea Party was started by Dick Armey with Koch Bros money and aimed at the political disruption of establishment Dems from the very beginning. Neither Armey nor the GOP establishment expected that they would use what they were taught by them on their GOP Masters. BlackLivesMatter are NOT a trained arm of Dem operatives. They have arisen from a need and are clearly not politically sophisticated yet. No comparison.
The Dem elite: The simplest way to explain why the Third Way/BD/NewDem party leaders don’t give a shit about the base is to repeat Axelrod’s comment from 2012.
“We don’t have to care. Where else are they going to go?”
Even the brightest of left-wing commentators can’t seem to see the forest for the trees even while they’re explaining what a forest is. Apparently our vaunted “reality-based community” just can’t get its head around the reality of the Dem sell-out to Wall Street.
Take Glenn Greenwald, a very smart guy who’s come closer than most to admitting the obvious. Here he has little difficulty figuring out the reasons for Republican pro-corporate policies.
There are few more bitter ironies than watching the Republican Party — controlled at its core by the very business interests responsible for the country’s vast and growing inequality; responsible for massive transfers of wealth to the richest; and which presided over and enabled the economic collapse — now become the beneficiaries of middle-class and lower-middle-class economic insecurity.
Yet when it comes to the Dems, he just can’t bring himself to admit what it is so easy to see in the Pubs.
That crisis presented a huge opportunity for Obama and the Democrats to bring about real change in Washington — the central promise of his campaign — by capitalizing on (and becoming the voice of) populist anger and using it to wrestle away control from Wall Street and other financial and corporate elites who control Washington. Had they done so, they would have been champions of populist rage rather than its prime targets. But, as John Judis argues in his excellent New Republic piece, they completely squandered that opportunity. Rather than emphatically stand up to the bankers and other oligarchical thieves, they coddled and served them, and thus became the face of the elite interests oppressing ordinary Americans rather than their foes. How can an administration represented by Tim Geithner and Larry Summers — and which specializes in an endless stream of secret deals with corporate lobbyists and sustains itself with Wall Street funding — possibly maintain any pretense of populist support or changing how Washington works? It can’t.
My dear Glenn, it isn’t supposed to. OK, it “maintained a pretense” for a number of years and still does play the kabuki you see through like glass when Republicans do it, a sort of pretense-dance that doesn’t fool anyone. So why can’t you see through it when the Dems do it and understand that the reason is identical: the New Democrat is owned and controlled by the exact same interests who own and control the GOP. Otherwise, nothing Obama and the New Dems have done makes any sense whatever, as you said yourself.
But the Democratic Party’s failure/refusal/inability to be anything other than the Party of Tim Geithner — continuing America’s endless, draining Wars while plotting to cut Social Security, one of the few remaining guarantors of a humane standard of living — renders them unable to offer answers to angry, anxious, resentful Americans.
“Failure/refusal/inability”? Just can’t bring yourself to say it out loud, eh? That’s too bad because your and other progressives’ failure/refusal/inability to face the Awful Truth about the New Right-wing Dems is simply going to prolong the agony.
Oh, dear. Well, we knew it was going to take a while for people to start recognizing that the transfer of wealth to the top by the political class was neither an accident nor mere incompetence but a deliberate sell-out masquerading as one, the other, or both. A couple of examples provided by Mark at Norwegianity should suffice to make the point.
Poor Pres Obama. As things stand, he is losing on all fronts. Nothing is working and nobody seems to appreciate that his Grand Sell-Outs Compromises on the Recession (bank bail-outs), healthcare (insurance corpo toadying) and deficit-cutting (say bye-bye to Medicare) are THE BEST THAT ANYBODY COULD DO. Rahm told him so. But there is one success he can brag about: he’s got whacko movement conservatives and liberals talking to each other. It’s bi-partisanship at last!
After a solid year of GOP refusal to help him do anything at all (a refusal any monkey with opposable thumbs could have predicted), Barry’s insistence on bipartisanship has finally borne some fruit, though not exactly the way he meant it to. See, the bipartisan committee on deficit-cutting got rejected by the Senate but the rejection was bipartisan. That counts, doesn’t it?
The Senate Tuesday rejected a plan backed by President Barack Obama to create a bipartisan task force to tackle the federal deficit this year despite glaring new figures showing the enormity of the red-ink threat.
The special deficit panel would have attempted to produce a plan combining tax cuts and spending curbs that would have been voted on after the midterm elections. The measure went down because anti-tax Republicans joined with Democrats who were wary of being railroaded into cutting Social Security and Medicare.
Now that’s bipartisanship, right? Working together for a common goal even if you have different reasons for targeting that goal. The Pubs just want to stop everything Obama is doing because he’s not a Republican and they’re against non-Republicans. The liberals want to stop what Obama is doing because it’s essentially Republican.
Wait. Maybe their reasons aren’t as different as I thought….
1) “I’m sorry but your husband died of cancer and that’s not on our Approved Causes List.”
“Approved Causes List? What causes of death do you approve?”
“Strangulation by an enraged artichoke.”
“Um, is that all?”
“Yes. We consider everything else to be uncovered.”
Consumer flips frantically through several hundred pages of Coverage Information. “It doesn’t say anything about artichokes in here.”
“No. You should have asked.”
“It was your responsibility. Don’t look at me. The Congress says so.”
Remember “At least Obama isn’t Bush and you should be grateful”? Danae does. (Click to enlarge)
Back in the bad old days of apartheid in South Africa, the pitch against the policy was less often racism than the scandal of a tiny minority ruling a big majority. It seemed – and was called – a travesty of democracy, the antithesis of representative government, a sort of racist tyranny/slash/oligarchy. The core of democratic governing was embodied in the concept that the majority rules. If it doesn’t, explained John Locke in Of Civil Government, you’ve got chaos.
For if the consent of the majority shall not in reason be received as the act of the whole and conclude every individual, nothing but the consent of every individual can make anything to be the act of the whole which…’tis next to impossible ever to be had.
For over 200 years the United States and every other country with a democratic constitution considered this rule unbreakable. Abraham Lincoln fought the only internal war we’ve ever had to prevent a minority of Southern slaveowners from dictating policy to the majority government at the point of a bayonet. Political parties from the Federalists to the Whigs to the Know-Nothings to today’s GOP, Democrat, and Green parties understood the rules: when a majority of the country has decided on a course, the minority has to change their minds to get its way. In a democracy, minorities may influence policy but they don’t make it.
No one, to my knowledge, ever questioned this fundamental truth. Until the Bush Cult.
The arrogance and desperation of the conservative Democrat leadership has reached such an advanced stage that that leadership is openly disavowing its own members. Yesterday the slavish NYT ran a neat little article about how Obama’s willingness to dump the public option, thereby dumping as well the majority in his own party that want it and the large contingent of liberals and progressives who have said they won’t vote for a healthcare bill that doesn’t have it, thereby splitting the party in two, is actually called “uniting the party”.
President Obama’s speech on health care failed to bridge the gulf with Republicans, but Democrats said on Thursday that the president had largely succeeded in unifying his own party by making a cogent, persuasive pitch to the American public and by casting his plan to overhaul the health care system as a political and moral imperative.
The day after the nationally televised address, in which Mr. Obama signaled that he could accept an alternative to a government-run insurance plan, influential Democrats who previously seemed wedded to the public insurance option hinted that they, too, might be flexible. They included the House speaker, Nancy Pelosi, and Representative Henry A. Waxman, the chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, both from California, and who both, like Mr. Obama, say they still prefer the public option, and view it as crucial to passing a bill in the House.
Pelosi has been amenable for a long time, whatever she said publicly, but Waxman’s willingness to be “flexible” is a big disappointment. It may be that he has just gotten the message Reid/Pelosi have been sending for months: “Fuck the lib/progs and fuck what the country needs & what the voters want. We’re not going to piss off our conservative corporate contributors, especially insurance companies, by passing a bill they don’t want. Period.”