It’s Time to Show Obama the Door
The Democratic party has made clear: There are times when a party member has so damaged the Democratic brand, that the most prudent step is to take our loss, and remove that member from office.
The party leaders demonstrated this principle with Rod Blagojevich. And they demonstrated this principle with Anthony Weiner. It is now time for us to Demonstrate this principle with the party leadership.
Yes, we all know how scary it is to even think about Republicans gaining the White House next year. Some people seem to live for nothing but reminding us of this daily. For the record, I lived through Nixon, Reagan, Bush I, and the Bush II presidency, and I was never as scared for my family or my country as I am right now.
But I will concede, there is a risk in not voting for Obama next year. The Supreme Court comes to mind.
But let me ask you a very important question you may not have considered: What is the bigger risk, another four years of a Republican in the White House? Or one more day in an America where we, the people, have no power over our party or our government?
Because that’s what we have now. No power.
Political power is nothing more than leverage. Whether you’re a lobbyist, interest group, or individual, your leverage is nothing more or less than your ability to cause a politician to win or lose the next election.
But the moment we said, “No matter what the Democrats do, they will have my vote, because the Republicans are worse” we forfeited our political power in the Democratic party. We gave up our leverage.
Many of us understood this and did it anyway. After George Bush, we recognized that having a Republican in the White House is a life or death affair.
But we also knew what we were giving up. Essentially, we were waiving our ability to influence our party. Yes, we can always primary a candidate. But the party machine is usually too well organized, too well financed to beat. And even when we do get a candidate who seems to be on our side, once in office, they sell us out.
This leaves the Kamikaze option. If you can’t beat them in the primary, you let them lose in the general election, count your losses, and run someone better next time. In the days of old, this was a viable strategy and often used by both sides to maintain party discipline. But as the Republicans have become more radical, some would say even insane, the thought of losing even one seat to these psychopaths seemed unthinkable.
So we bit our lips, held our noses, and voted for the lesser evils. But eventually, we began to see patterns emerging. We saw Democrats caving when they didn’t have to. Democrats failing to articulate Democratic principles, much less fight for them. And we saw that no matter who held the majority, the right wing always seemed to be in control. WTF? Eventually, however, we figured it out. We are being played.
Like the Sword of Damocles, the threat of Republican victory has been used as a weapon against us. As our party moves more and more to the right, and sells us out over and over again, the radicalism of the Right becomes more absurd and sensationalistic. As does the media coverage of it. And in turn, the shrill cries demanding fealty to the Democratic party become more dramatic and surreal. Until one day, it becomes clear, this is all a con. It’s a trick. Good cop, bad cop. And both parties are really playing for the same team – the Wall Street team.
It’s like waking up from a dream into a nightmare. After working our hearts out, year after year, election after election, to keep Republicans out of power, we wake up one day and discover that our own party, the Democratic party, has become the Republican party. Actually, funneling over $16 trillion dollars to Wall Street, and then turning around and cutting programs for the old and the poor, we’re worse than Republicans. This was simply monstrous.
How could we have come to this? How could our party have gotten so far to the right that they actually voted on one hand to bail out criminals and on the other to punish old people?
It happened because we, for the sake of short term political expedience, sacrificed our power. It happened because we made defeating Republicans in the short term more important than keeping our own party true to its purpose for the long term.
It happened because we, the people, the ones who really matter in this country, have been shut out of the process. It happened because we said No Matter What.
Has it really gotten so bad that letting Obama lose and a Republican win is actually better for the country and the party than once again going out and voting for the “lesser evil”?
To answer this question, just look around. What you see is the opposite of progress. On every front of our national experience, we are regressing and the forces of greed and corruption are advancing. Has the election of Obama slowed or impeded this advance in any way? Look around.
We are using more, not less fossil fuels, as though climate change is not happening. Concentrations of wealth and power are becoming even more wealthy and concentrated. The media is still becoming even more consolidated. The MIC is getting even more of our tax money. Our schools are being privatized, corporatized. The utterly insane plan to inject trillions of gallons of toxic water mix into the earth below our soil is moving forward without any serious resistance. The too big to fail banks are becoming even bigger and more consolidated. Our jobs are continuing to pay less and less and get harder to find. Everything we buy is becoming cheaper quality and more expensive. Our food is becoming less nutritious, less safe, and more expensive.
On every single front, the environment, energy, economic, we are going backwards from the progress we made over the 20th Century.
How is this happening? It’s happening because we voted for labels instead of convictions. It’s happening because we gave away what little leverage we have to swear loyalty to the Democratic party without demanding loyalty in return.
We said we would vote for Democrats No Matter What, and the party leadership took us up on our offer.
So now they don’t have to listen to us anymore. Not just progressives either. They don’t have to listen to the people. The Party of the People, without the people.
The Oligarchs Need a Fake People’s Party
Understand, the Oligarchs need two parties. They have to maintain the illusion of choice and conflict. They play each party off the other. That’s how the game works.
This Kabuki Theater was on full display in this debt ceiling charade, with Obama playing the victim of his own making to convince the Left of the necessity of the deal.
John McCain couldn’t have gotten Social Security cuts through. It took a Democrat to do that. So when you vote for the lesser evil Democrat, you’re not hurting the right. You’re helping it by making the Democratic party just a puppet in their stage show.
There was a time when the Oligarchs tried to defeat the Democrats. It failed. So, they got smart. They figured out it was much wiser to instead co-opt the Democrats, infiltrate them, use them.
This began in the late-Seventies, early-Eighties with groups like the Democratic Leadership Council and its Orwellianly named affiliate, the Progressive Policy Institute. And year after year, election after election, the Democrats began to resemble the Republicans more and more. Sure, the marketing was different – they always know how to say the right things. And they were pretty liberal on social issues. But on economic issues, trade, outsourcing, wages – the issues Wall Street cares about – the two parties were becoming indistinguishable.
And frankly, liberals didn’t know what hit them. While we were fighting the good fight in the culture wars, Wall Street was re-engineering American society to the right in a much more fundamental way than we could even conceive of.
And they were doing it with so-called liberal Democrats. But that didn’t matter. Passing NAFTA didn’t matter. Ending “welfare as we knew it” didn’t matter. Allowing the consolidation of the big media corporations with Clinton’s 1996 Telecom bill didn’t matter. Deregulating the financial sector with Clinton’s 2000 Finance Modernization Act didn’t matter. Passing the “Bush” tax cuts, which were actually passed by Tom Daschcle in a Democratic controlled Senate, didn’t matter. Passing the Patriot Act didn’t matter.
All these things were done by so-called Democrats, and that didn’t matter. All that mattered was defeating Republicans.
Do you see the irony here? In our unwavering commitment to defeat Republicans at all cost, we’ve inadvertently turned the Democratic party into another Republican party.
In order to take our country back, and defeat the oligarchical attack on our way of life, we must first take our party back. And that means using the only leverage available to us, our vote or, as the case may be, our withholding of it, to purge the infiltrators from our party.
Does that sound harsh? Think how harsh it sounds to a 75 year old woman who is already having to choose between food and medication to hear that her Social Security and Medicare has just been cut.
The Democratic party has been infiltrated, and the infiltrators have got to go. Why do you think the Koch brothers supported the Democratic Leadership Council? Because the Democratic Leadership Council is an infiltration operation. That’s what it does. It promotes and supports right wingers in the Democratic party.
In the past, it’s been somewhat difficult to identify infiltrators, with some setting the bar lower than others. But now we have a clear and convenient metric: If you voted to bail Wall Street out of its gambling debts, and also voted to cut our safety net for old people and poor children, you are a fucking infiltrator.
Listen to me now: Supporting candidates who cut SS, Medicare and Medicaid, and also supported bailing out billionaire banksters, is entirely in violation of the FAQ. Because, I assure you, this will bury the Democratic party for a generation. These assholes are a bigger liability to the long term prospects of the Democratic party than Rod Blagojevich ever could be.
I have never seen a greater case of sabotage than what this deal does to the Democratic party, for perhaps generations and maybe even permanently.
So when the defenders of the indefensible troll around telling you you have to vote for Obama in 2012, they are effectively telling you to destroy your party.
Anything that removes the power of the American people over our government is harmful to our party and to this country. And that’s what “No Matter What” does. It steals you of your power to hold your party to account.
I am far less scared of another Republican in the White House than I am of an America where the people who are the smartest, least corruptible, most patriotic, and have been proven right on issue after issue decade after decade, in other words, the progressives, can be ignored and disempowered without consequence.
Can anyone stand up and say, yes, let’s have another four years of being kicked to the curb, talked down to, and treated like the enemy when we are the ones who continue to get it right on pretty much issue.
I’ve even seen people get away with trying to portray progressives as the problem. They troll around screaming “True Progressive”, apparently trying to make the word progressive a pejorative. Geniuses.
Do you have any idea what this country would be like if True Fucking Progressives hadn’t fought for decades for workers, wages, the environment, and pretty much everything that is right and just in this country?
It would be a lot like post-Soviet Russia meets Mexico.
No, I will not vote for Barack Obama. And anyone who claims that we have to continue supporting right wing traitors to our party just to defeat the Republicans, is a fool, working for the other side.
Lastly, I see any political strategy that seeks to take away the power of ordinary people to demand policies that actually serve the people instead of Wall Street as being unacceptable. I will not forfeit my leverage over my party’s leaders by giving them my unconditional support.
I know that this may hurt in the short term and Republicans may gain seats. But in the long term, the Democratic party is going to know, if you cross us again, we will fucking bury you.
That is people power. And that is what this country needs more than anything.