Category Archives: Democrats

America Has NO Political Parties

It’s time to face the fact that politics is dead in America. What Trump proved by winning while breaking every rule of political campaigning except reading the mood of the people, what the Democrats proved by slavishly following those rules while ignoring that mood, is that there is no longer any real political sense in either party. Republicans have focused for so long on trying to manipulate the electorate rather than win them over that they have lost sight (if they ever had it) of their political goals to become a party of orthodox ideology. They try to bend people to their will rather than bend to the people’s. The Democrats, by contrast, have been taken over by functionaries who think they know what people want even though they’ve never asked them and refuse to listen when they’re told.

The failure of Democrats to beat a “vulgar talking yam” has occasioned no real re-thinking, realignment, or even reassessment in the party itself. Democrat operatives have so far seemed, rather, to be obsessed with pointing fingers outside themselves. To read their tweets and articles is to encounter a host of outside responsible forces – Sanders, Putin, a clickbait media, ominous “Third Party voters” (the Nader Effect), Bernie bros, Comey, and so on. It’s a long list that even includes a belated awareness that racism and misogyny may be more prevalent in the electorate than previously believed.

What the list does NOT include is either the candidate or the party itself, which is of course where the real blame lies.

Maybe you’d think that would be too much to expect from human beings – honest criticism of their own obvious failure – if it weren’t for one salient factor. This was politics.

Until recently politics in America has traditionally, historically been an exercise in practicality. A “politician” was someone who reacted to the perceived “will of the people” and adjusted her approach to include as much of it as possible, thus the myth of the Great Center. Perhaps the most glaring (because relevant) example was the Socialist/populist uprising at the beginning of the Great Depression when the success of socialist Eugene Debs, among others, caused FDR to absorb populist ideas into the Democratic party platform and his own campaign.

This past summer, the Democrat party faced a similar challenge. But instead of adjusting to the Sanders success and absorbing that success into their approach, they concentrated on destroying his candidacy. Then, having done that, they completely ignored what made it successful – the opposite of the political decision made by Roosevelt’s Democratic Party which led to 50 years of Democratic hegemony.

Politics is, perhaps more than anything else, the art of listening and then materializing what you’ve heard. This year both parties were so focused on their own agendas that neither could be bothered. Trump and Sanders were the only ones who listened.

Why Clinton’s Pandering Matters

David Dayen’s recent piece, what you might call a primary on primaries, makes some good points on why Clinton’s opposition to the TPP is a Good Thing even if it is “pandering” to a populist/progressive movement.

What’s wrong with pandering? Our system of government, as it has evolved, offers precious few opportunities for ordinary people to get into the national conversation. Big Money has a tight grip on governance through insistent lobbying, and for the most part they fund national elections.

For once, the Democratic nominating fight, and the emergence of Bernie Sanders, has given public interest groups a voice, a rare channel to impact the political system. We shouldn’t roll our eyes at that; we should respect it. National leaders should have to listen to their constituents and earn their support. Primaries are one of the only moments that allow such an opportunity.

Had Mr Dayen written this piece 10 years ago – even 5 – I would be cheering. After all, I’ve been saying for at least a decade, ever since liberal Dems started blaming Nader for Gore’s 2000 defeat, that a push from a third party looked to be the only way to force an increasingly conservative Democratic party back to its root liberalism. The party had been captured by Third Way cons – the so-called neoliberals – and needed a challenge from the left to move them back toward the center. Continue reading

Dem Base Is Not the Tea Party

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?”

Hillary and The Liberals ’16 (Updated)

The year before an election year, it is perhaps appropriate to start talking about Democrat hopefuls, party goals, and what the base of the party – liberals – will do when the Third Way Masters decree yet another Republican-lite candidate. If we’re going to have an impact on the process, we’ve got to figure out how to make an elite that believes in coddling corporations for the sake of donations understand that there’s more to democracy than raising $$$ to get elected with.

This will not be easy. Continue reading

New Democrats = Old Republicans: Corporate Welfare in the Spending Bill

Democrat support for the Keystone pipeline – a favor to our domestic energy corporations and an outright give-away to a foreign energy company for which Americans will assume all the risks, financial and environmental, while reaping zero benefits for themselves – has become a flashpoint for liberal dissension from the party line, and rightfully so. Support for this pipeline as a “keystone” of US energy policy is inexcusable on every level. Even politically, it makes little sense. There is no constituency in America that’s going to benefit from this project.

Except the oil companies.

If you still doubt that the Dems have deliberately made themselves over as “the other corporate party”, you need to look at the spending bill they’re about to vote on, a bill that has active, arm-twisting support from Obama and his admin. In it are massive govt handouts, and not just to the energy industry. Continue reading

The GOP: Having It Both Ways

I haven’t been reading newspapers for several years but when last I did, the GOP was basically getting a pass from “journalists” when they said one thing and then did something else or criticized the Dems for doing something they themselves – Pubs – had advocated. IOW, when they practiced hypocrisy as a political weapon, they got a free pass from the corporate press. Apparently, in the intervening years the Pubs’ hypo has become so outrageous that even the once-fully-tamed WaPo has been forced to notice. Continue reading

Obama Lets Corporate Predators Buy His “Trade Policy”

Barack Obama’s support for corporate trade goals, no matter how unethical and/or borderline illegal, is nothing new. His early and lasting backing of the Panama trade deal – a stellar performance wherein he convinced Democrats to vote for a bill which made it legal for US corporations to violate US law – was a brilliant part of his strategy to move the Democrat party onto Wall Street.

So it was no surprise to anyone familiar with his history that he has been appointing hired Wall Street guns – or goons – to write his TransPacific Trade Policy. Nor is it surprising that he has had nothing to say against their “former” companies paying them for writing and negotiating the deal.

Stefan Selig

Officials tapped by the Obama administration to lead the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade negotiations have received multimillion dollar bonuses from CitiGroup and Bank of America, financial disclosures obtained by Republic Report show.

Stefan Selig, a Bank of America investment banker nominated to become the Under Secretary for International Trade at the Department of Commerce, received more than $9 million in bonus pay as he was nominated to join the administration in November. The bonus pay came in addition to the $5.1 million in incentive pay awarded to Selig last year.

Michael Froman, the current U.S. Trade Representative, received over $4 million as part of multiple exit payments when he left CitiGroup to join the Obama administration. Froman told Senate Finance Committee members last summer that he donated approximately 75 percent of the $2.25 million bonus he received for his work in 2008 to charity. CitiGroup also gave Froman a $2 million payment in connection to his holdings in two investment funds, which was awarded “in recognition of [Froman’s] service to Citi in various capacities since 1999.”

Do I have to explain what this means? How their companies are basically paying these guys in advance to continue promoting their interests even as they pretend to work for the govt? Or that Obama just about had to be working hand-in-glove with these corporations to come up with these guys’ names in the first place? Or that these payments are a measure of how deeply corrupt our system is now?

That’s what I thought.