OK, Liz Warren, you win.
I think I’ve finally been ground down.
It’s not really the special election losses. We came damn close here in Georgia with Jon Ossoff, even though I knew he wouldn’t win. The only reason that Ossoff had any juice (well, besides the allegations that the election was a referendum on Trump and it became a national campaign as a result) is that he almost cracked 50% and nearly won in the first election against a fractured Republican field.
It’s not the daily thinkpieces about Democratic dithering when it comes to picking hills to put troops on.
It certainly isn’t Greens or Bernie hangers-on that are starting to make sense to me.
There was so much intrigue that caused Hillary Clinton’s loss in 2016. Voter suppression, hacking of machines, Russian skulduggery, the Comey Bomb and good old fashioned American sexism were proximate causes. So hold your horses with the corruption nonsense and the DNC plots etc., ad infinitum.
Since we are a party in the woods, I say it’s time to get the hard left swing out of our system and find out once and for all if Democrats are truly losing elections because they fail to inspire. It’s an experiment whose time is come, since we truly have nothing to lose cause we ain’t got nothin’ at the moment. Perhaps I will be vindicated in recommending a slow hand and creeping gradualism. Or, and I hope this is the case, perhaps I will learn something new about the character of this country. But we will not know the answer unless we try.
Parties are generally heavily change-resistant. There is a hierarchy and a career path to obey, and you don’t usually get your shot by not putting in your time. Let’s think about Sanders for a second. Firstly, Bernie Sanders is not a Democrat. Secondly, he has done nothing significant within the party machine. And after a brutal slugfest with Barack Obama in 2008 and dutifully serving as Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton deserved that nomination more than anyone. Now I was no Clintonite that season-I thought her followers were off their rockers, and I had to write off several capable bloggers like Taylor Marsh and the folks at Corrente because I couldn’t brook the resentment and the conspiracy, not dissimilar at all to the way I reacted to the Bernie brigades.
But there’s a contemporary hole in this rule about the conservative nature of parties, or so it would seem. Donald Trump showed you could come out of nowhere, go full retard and win. Now of course, the same forces that caused Hillary’s defeat that I outlined above were in play for his victory. Yet, perhaps in his unorthodox win there’s a message to us on the left-that there’s room to move, that people are hungry for rarer species (or, this could simply mean that Republican voters are stone cold stupid-maybe both things are true). There’s certainly no better time than now, when people are having more trouble than ever making ends meet, to tell them that the government is coming to the damn rescue using all available trucks to meet the emergency. That dynamic may be a major factor in Trump’s win-the straightwhitechristianmale supremacist axis is getting out-birthed and out-educated and the people who support that system were looking for a savior, not a politician-and Donald…and it makes me grit my teeth to say this…played the part with aplomb and people bought it.
People are generally panicky in America right now, no matter who they are. A level of responsiveness, immediacy and throwing off of caution could benefit anyone willing to say the right things-and with any luck, carry enough people with them to do the right things. I’m willing to stop the fretting that I have been doing to see if the idealists are actually onto something, and should that gambit fail, I’m gonna riot.
Cornel West is a brilliant thinker. He is a man of and for the people. I’m in agreement with just about everything he stands for.
So why am I about to tell one of our most erudite scholars on the American…nay, human condition to shut the fuck up?
People who think for a living are idealists, by and large. And in a vacuum, all of their ideas are practical and their aims acheiveable. When overlaid upon objective reality, ideas often break down and become unworkable, and sometimes they even become the enemy of the original idea.
A new born Bolshevik Russia comes to mind. Marx would have been horrified by the way his communism was twisted as Lenin eventually killed his way to absolute power. And we all know that his successor was even worse. Marx’s proletarians would have rejected the brutality of the Communist Party. They would have known what it was like to be brutalized and would not wish that on any man even if he were from the most odious heights of the bourgeoisie. Any good Marxist rejects crude violence upon men to achieve Marxist aims. Because when you look into the abyss, it looks into you. You become what you despise-the oppressor. Marx wanted violence against the idea of classes and other social divisions, not people per se. Of course, sometimes when you get hit, you should hit back. Some would say that capitalism has thrown plenty of punches due to its inherent exploitative nature and therefore there is nothing wrong with a little “revolutionary terror” in return. But we must first and most importantly unite as the laboring class before we even decide upon the means of destroying capitalism, which I consider to be modern feudalism. And if the ruling class will not bend, we will break them-but I don’t necessarily think that requires cruelty and base evil to be in service to us. Much as I despise a petty tyrant like Donald Trump, I would much rather exile him before I put his head on a pike. I’ll pick up a gun again when one is aimed at me, and not a minute before. Of course, as a white lower-middle class male American, I’m not subjected to force on a regular basis so I will not speak for those who already need the gun.
There’s nothing inherently wrong with anarchic communism. I’m a bit of a statist and prefer creeping democratic socialism, myself. Anarchy could be just as inefficient as capitalism. But these are minor intellectual quibbles, debates which I am willing to have. I’m just saying that we are given a situation, and we must see it for what it is and prescribe remedies for improving it short of tearing it all down, thus ruining the good that was already there. Revolutions of all kinds have betrayed their intrinsic ideals all across the globe.
Bernie Sanders and his followers are also a first-class example of how a good movement turned everything into shit. He, perhaps inadvertently, helped the Democratic Party turn on itself. He caused open warfare between his idealists and Clinton’s pragmatists. And without even being a member of the party, he opened the door to the latest iteration of Clinton character assassination. That may not be his fault either. He was respectful and did not go into the mud during the race, except maybe for that time when he implied she wasn’t qualified to be President because of her putative ties to the business community. But his supporters had an appetite for destruction and wanted the whole system to go down. Lefties threw away votes on the Green Party in protest of the two choices (whose differences could not have been starker) that were viable. Those who did not know their right from their left chose Gary Johnson, whose claim to popularity hinged largely on the fact that he was out about smoking weed.
Oh, the system is going down. You who either did nothing or worked to fight Hillary Clinton will get your wish. I can only hope you are one of the people that Trump hurts with his bumptious policies and then perhaps you will learn something. But you probably won’t, since you are invariably white and young. Your privilege will protect you by and large from the Trump administration’s worst killer instincts. You are almost as much of a Me Generation as the boomers.
But anyway, Bernie poisoned the minds of a new generation of activist voters who wanted a “revolution”. Many said if Bernie doesn’t get the nod, then neither does Clinton. We have a zero-sum electoral system. That pretty much means a vote for anyone but Clinton was a vote for Trump. And some Bernie supporters were good with that. They hoped that once elected, Trump would mess up things up so badly that people will be dying for a game-changing choice like democratic socialism.
Not even Bernie Sanders believed this. When he lost, he told you to vote Clinton in the general because the alternative was bedlam. But you even stopped hearing him, and chose to play with your boogers instead.
It is and was a calculation based on a fantasy. Oh, Trump will mess up badly. But his voters don’t know that because anything that criticizes Duh Fuhrer is fake news. We still have to get out and vote as one movement. Peeling back the layers of corruption may take a long time, because Republicans are either complicit in it or don’t want to ruin the brand by having people find out that the party helped a Russian stooge come to power.
The Democratic Party is the only party with the means and the ideas needed to unfuck the country. They are already in the system resisting Donald Trump and his threats to tear the country apart. If you all get your head out of your asses, we can take this Congress back, or at least make the margins by which Republicans control the House slimmer, slim enough to make Paul Ryan and the Freedom Caucus a little nervous. Democrats evolve. Republicans stay the same. That’s why one is called conservative and the other progressive (or liberal if you must quibble).
So you’ll excuse me if I tell you to fuck yourself if you think that starting a new left-wing party is going to work. We already cleaved the left during the 2016 primary and it is in no small part because of Bernie Sanders and his devotees. Now you want to split the left even further?
That’s called A Great Way To Re-Elect Donald Trump.
Like, I totally understand where he’s coming from. But he’s tall on sociology and short on political science. Furthermore, he makes assertions without explaining them. What to do with this?
As the first 100 days of the plutocratic and militaristic Trump administration draw to a close, one truth has been crystal clear: the Democratic party lacks the vision, discipline and leadership to guide progressives in these turbulent times.
And he just leaves that there. No exhaustive list or list of any kind cataloguing Democratic failure. To me, Democrats have been rather busy doing what they can as the minority party. There is literally only so much they can do. They do not chair a single committee in Congress. They can’t. The ranking member does not have the authority to override chairpersons, but they’ve been raising as much Cain as they can. Adam Schiff comes to mind, as does Elijah Cummings. Were it not for those gentlemen, Devin Nunes and Jason Chaffetz would have had a much easier time playing stupid about Trump and Russia. Kirsten Gillibrand is consistently resisting. Jeff Merkeley held a talking filibuster of Neil Gorsuch, and the party almost unanimously stood together to deny Republicans a supermajority on his nomination, forcing Mitch McConnell to change Senate rules to complete his betrayal of the process of advice and consent. Chuck Schumer called Trump’s bluff of threatening Obamacare dollars if they did not help fund his stupid and increasingly pointless border wall.
A goddamned Muslim is the vice chair of the national committee.
Those are just a few things off the top of my head that have made me proud to be a Democrat. Yet West sees it differently, writing things like
The time has come to bid farewell to a moribund party that lacks imagination, courage and gusto. …
Cornel, I’m sorry you don’t see fireworks every time the Democrats act. Sometimes this politics shit is boring as all get out. But the Democrats have not shown any interest in abetting Trumpward Babyhands at all, far from it-they seem to be in active resistance from where I’m sitting. Surely something short of burn motherfucker burn will do the trick.
In the not so recent past, the party has failed. There’s no denying that. Bill Clinton’s presidency was something of a failure in terms of what should be expected of a true party of the people. If you really want to be a stickler, Barack Obama’s drone warfare and his allowance of the the health insurance scam to continue to survive could be construed as negatives. I won’t argue too much if you put these in the L column. But, much as it bothers me to admit, Donald Trump has galvanized the party. It’s already the party we want it to be if we would just tell them how we feel, the way so many of us have told Republicans lately- and they don’t listen.
So let’s put a cork in this kind of talk:
The corporate wing has made it clear that the populist wing has little power or place in its future. The discipline of the party is strong on self-preservation and weak on embracing new voices. And party leaders too often revel in self-righteousness and self-pity rather than self-criticism and self-enhancement.
That all sounds good if I was in a rap battle, not in a fight for the soul of my country. Besides, it just isn’t true. The “corporate” wing is not mutually excluded from the “populist” wing anyway. David Lowery of the fantastic band Camper Van Beethoven said it quite well in a song from their 2014 album “Berkeley To Bakersfield”: It’s not that we don’t like the rich, it’s simply that we think this kind is boring. It is not a crime to be rich. It’s the way you do it that makes you shitty. Then this:
And if a class-conscious multi-racial party attuned to anti-sexist, anti-homophobic and anti-militaristic issues and grounded in ecological commitments can reconfigure our citizenship, maybe our decaying democracy has a chance.
If you didn’t get a degree in sociology, that there above probably won’t make a whole lot of sense to you. Then again, I could be selling you short. Let’s take that piece by piece. I will concede to Cornel a point that sticks in my craw too: we fucking suck at class consciousness. That’s because we as Americans all think we are in the middle class. Every politician left and right always goes on and and on about the middle class. No one seems to give a rat’s patoot about the working class because we consistently improperly identify ourselves class-wise regardless of our income. Being poor in a capitalist society is the ultimate sin, and we have internalized this prejudice well. It’s still our own damn fault when we wind up in dire straits and that’s unfair to so many people who have found themselves in places that lack hope. So yes, we don’t talk enough about this struggle. Even Bernie Sanders failed to do so.
But Cornel seems to have a blind spot when he talks about the need for a party that understands multi-racialism and anti-sexism. Does he not know who was just president? Who the Democratic nominee was? Yeah, I get that it doesn’t mean that racism and sexism is over. But I’m trying to say that Democrats are moving in the right direction.
And it was our Democratic president who did this after the Supreme Court said love is love:
Obama did the best that could have been expected of him so far as the “militaristic” jab goes. It’s a militarized world. We are in a crazy competition for finite resources and that is the reason why we protect some really awful regimes from Saudi Arabia to Israel. We did our level best to make Iraq Iraq’s problem, even though as someone who went there to ostensibly liberate it I feel we still owe them for shredding and putting giant holes in what they still had. We have a very adventurous Russia back on the Risk board. This is no time to be a shrinking violet or to sickeningly veer into paranoid nationalism a la Trump. I would not characterize myself as an imperialist, but perhaps I am too conceited to admit otherwise. All I can say is without us running the show in large part, without us playing the great game, it all goes to shit in insane ways that make even less sense than today’s current chaos. There has got to be a way to ratchet down tension. There’s a magic word called diplomacy, and I think we really gave it a go during Obama. The Iran agreement will be talked about in the history books, provided retards like Tom Cotton of Arabia don’t get to willy-nilly tear shit up.
And I think he did right by ratifying Paris. I ain’t good on the specifics, but it looks like we were ready to stop committing quick suicide by poisoning the planet with the way we keep carrying on.
We can do better on all of this. And I think we will. I think it’s what we all want.
All of this is a long fucking way of saying that the wheel has been invented. I am not even a fraction of the thinker that Cornel West is, but I threw a few more words at my polemic in favor of the Democratic party than he did against it. That’s not to say that word count determines what is good and what isn’t…far from it. But I expect more from him as an intellectual. I expect more than something as facile as throw the baby out with the bathwater. And I certainly expect that he knows better than to continue the Republican darkness by rending the fragile left/center solidarity that the Democratic party works its ass off to cultivate.
Cornel West would have you believe we have learned nothing from the election of a fucking nincompoop malcontent who might be stupid enough to blow up the world if it plays well in the press.
Sorry, but I ain’t buying it. This was not an easy post to write because I would much rather use the invective I have to fight the wrong-wing. But we need to tighten our shit up and realize we already have the vehicle, and we just need to learn how to steer it to get the best mileage we fucking can out of it.
In a number of ways.
I was wrong about Herr Trump-I thought we’d have dispatched him by December of last year. Most if not all of his contenders parroted a familiar Republican orthodoxy. But they were all swept away by a particularly virulent strain of populism. Donald Trump dug deep into America’s amygdala and spoke like some people’s idea of a regular guy. Which meant that he trafficked in bigotry, misogyny, gossip, anti-intellectualism, petty insults and Chicken Little-style patriotism. A regular joe but with millions-then again, we will not know what Trump is really worth since he’s scared to release his tax returns.
Populism, I have learned, is not always good. The People can be fairly fuckin’ stupid. At least 40% of potential voters will choose this life support system for a disheveled, orange angora rabbit no matter what he says. That alone is driving me to distraction.
Something else is happening, though.
Yesterday, Donald Trump suggested that gun nuts might shoot Hillary Clinton and/or her Supreme Court justices if she becomes president. I was flummoxed. It seems that this is some of Donald Trump’s vaunted humor; the problem is that he’s not funny at all. He knows damn well that the “Second Amendment people” are his people and some of their “remedies” are lethal in nature. That comment went straight to the bones of some really sick ass folk. And I’ve never seen the Trump machine go into damage control that fast. They knew he had screwed the pooch but good this time.
Every damn day, Trump sinks lower as his poll numbers do the same. Each utterance is worse than the next. And I think we’re all collectively beat down by it. I know I’m feeling it-all I can really think about is how fucked up Donald Trump is. I’m upset about this because I can’t remember details about why I support Hillary Clinton, whom I chose over Bernie Sanders as the pragmatist that I am. All I know now is Not That Guy. All my pragmatist scruples are working overtime to make sure this shitbird never gets close to holding office. In the meantime, my arguments for Clinton are foundering-perhaps they were not all that well rooted in the first place. But I know Hillary Clinton is essentially a good person. She’s a liberal with a voting record to prove it. She learns and evolves and clearly loves details. She knows that issues are complex and don’t lend themselves to bromides well. She’s calm under the gun. Tax reform. Childcare. Healthcare. Education. Infrastructure. Minimum wage….
There, I did it. I found some of my Clinton love underneath this miasma that Trump has created. But I spend a lot of my time just amazed at him. He’s a cancer that must be removed, and I’d hire lesser lights than Hillary Clinton to stop him.
I’d even take Jim Webb. That’s how far in the weeds I’d go.
I don’t have much to say today, everything else has been covered and I have nothing to add. Maybe later after my second beer. Why don’t you go over to The Rude Pundit and check out his answer to the non-existent Clinton “e-mail scandal” that keeps floating around even though she didn’t break the law and how these snipe hunters, in the guise of looking for classified correspondence, just want to comb through Hillary’s belongings like bums in a dumpster in an effort to keep this “scandal” on the front page.
Whatever your flavor of Democrat is, you can find something to like in their policies. They are leagues ahead of Republican initiatives in their sophistication. You can say with confidence that there will be a Democratic president in 2016. You know it, I know it, they know it.
The GOP, though, may have the last laugh because we are horribly outnumbered in Congress. If we don’t sweep the creeps from the seats, nothing any Democrat wants to do will pass. We will have a repeat of the Obama presidency where Republicans say a collective NO to every proposal. Unless by some miracle we regain the majority in both houses, we are basically fucked. So it’s more important than ever to vote our asses off to get a proactive government again that does monumental things like Obamacare.
Will the silent majority finally take the side of the angels?
If you are paying attention, and I know you are, you know that capitalism is nothing more than a modern day feudal system. The only difference is that the rich don’t rule by force today-they rule by the dollar. And everybody has to chase those dollars for their basic survival-these bastards make sure that just enough of them go around to stop the peasantry from burning their stately living complexes down. They want to enrich themselves as much as possible without risking their position in society. They are abetted by paid for politicians who exonerate them from their crimes against the lower classes, crimes which do not have a statute yet.
The last time the pigs almost got got was back during the Roosevelt years; the money grubbers nearly destroyed the whole system by exploiting it too much. This article alarms me, because it’s how you might suss that there is a huge problem about to happen:
…fear is proliferating, according to a New York Times Op-Ed this weekend by former marketing conglomerate CEO Peter Georgescu. Joined by his friend Ken Langone, founder of Home Depot, Georgescu warns his fellow 1 percenters that “[w]e are creating a caste system from which it’s almost impossible to escape.” The column raises the specter of “major social unrest” if inequality is not addressed.
‘”I’m scared. The billionaire hedge funder Paul Tudor Jones is scared. My friend Ken Langone, a founder of the Home Depot, is scared. So are many other chief executives. Not of Al Qaeda, or the vicious Islamic State or some other evolving radical group from the Middle East, Africa or Asia. We are afraid where income inequality will lead.”
It’s sort of enheartening too.
Well, if you are really nervous about a new revolution or mass unrest, perhaps you should stop funding Republicans. Your motherfucking friends in high places are ready to take what little the people have left in your name by cutting your taxes and social spending. They’ve got a huge zombie army of sad sack capitalist wannabes that will keep them in power. Start by stunting their initiatives. I am glad you all went to the media to expiate your sins. Because it shows you are smart-and you didn’t get where you are by not being a clever motherfucker.
Perhaps, as the article states, these Richie Riches are watching the Sanders machine gain steam and this is part of why they’re publicly pooping their pants. I am not convinced that it will go anywhere-I still maintain Clinton will ultimately absorb the fed-up vote and win 2016 decisively. That’s the only option that makes sense because Bernie, for all his merit, might not survive the generals. We’ll get some of what we want, and that is good enough for now. There is no magic bullet, because that’s not how shit works in this piss-poor excuse for a society. The fix is still in, and we may as well admit that. Short of wilding in the streets, there’s very little we can do-we can still speak truth to power, for what that is worth. This article shows that the powers that be are willing to widen the scope of the debate and that is nothing but good.
I wish I didn’t sound like such a Debbie Downer. But I like to think I am a realist and a pragmatist. Make no mistake, Bernie is good for us. I really hope the polls start showing some victories against the likely retards who represent the opposition. But without these creepy rich fucks bankrolling him, he will only go so far, I’m afraid. If you don’t believe me, take it from Chomsky:
I’m glad that Sanders is running. A good way to bring important ideas and facts to people. His candidacy might also press the Dems a little in a progressive direction. In our system of bought elections he has scarcely a chance of getting beyond the primaries, and even if by some miracle he were elected he wouldn’t be able to do anything, lacking any congressional representatives, governors, etc.
Aha! Steve M. says what I’ve been thinking for a long time now. For whatever reason, it’s a right-wing line of attack to associate someone with Saul Alinsky. Dumbass Ben Carson tried it against Hillary Clinton recently. But who really are today’s Alinskyites?
Those same right wingers. I’ll step off and leave you with Steve up there.
I was gonna get all worked up about this, because it looks like a pathetic pander to the religious voting bloc:
Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton announced during a New York Times interview that the Holy Bible is the book that made her who she is today.
“If you had to name one book that made you who you are today, what would it be?” asked The New York Times, in a book review questionnaire.
“At the risk of appearing predictable, the Bible was and remains the biggest influence on my thinking,” Clinton said. “I was raised reading it, memorizing passages from it and being guided by it.”
“I still find it a source of wisdom, comfort and encouragement,” she added.
Super annoying, right? Does she really need the piety vote? Will she get it anyway? No way, Jose.
But really, the story didn’t end there. Clinton was asked about other books she reads, and gave very, very impressive answers. Most importantly, she didn’t get caught flat-footed with the questions. She did not say “all of them, any of them“. She didn’t pick any racist authors.
Now, I like to read. But ever since I got a smartphone, my book time has dropped precipitously. It has taken me months to get through half of “A People’s History Of The United States”, a book I have wanted to read ever since I’d heard of it. And I have nowhere near familiar with most of the stuff she likes. I am glad we have such a curious nominee who makes me feel bad about my own intellectual pursuits.
Hillary Clinton is a Christian. I understand and accept that. Most of you are, and in general, I accept you for that. You would do the same for me, wouldn’t you? Despite the fact that I continually shame Christians on this blog, I actually respect your right to believe whatever the fuck you want. I just don’t like it when you rub my nose in it and puke it all over the society that I must take part in.
I hope she picks the best of the Bible to be influenced by. God bless her in that pursuit.