Stuff to Read

Here are two opinion pieces to read together; they are saying about the same thing.

One, and IMO the better of the two, is Andrew O’Hehir, Democratic moderates fear the “socialist left” will wreck the party: They want to keep that gig.

Just a taste:

Hubert Humphrey, the leading Democratic moderate of Hillary Clinton’s youth, would find little to object to in Ocasio-Cortez’s platform, beyond the labeling on the package. (Once the Happy Warrior figured out what ICE and super PACs were, and what they had done to America, he’d go out and ring doorbells in her district.) Then again, Humphrey had no fear of open and often heated ideological conflict, which was a staple of Democratic discourse for decades and is exactly what the “democratic socialist” insurrection has reintroduced since 2016.

Those who shut down such internal conflict and purged the activist left from the Democratic Party, on the premise that it was the only possible way to win elections in a “centrist,” anti-ideological nation, have never faced the consequences of their historic blunder. They have lost repeatedly and on a grand scale, insisting every time that they really should have won — or in some other, better world, did win — and that whatever went wrong was somebody else’s fault. They are the ones who appear committed to an inflexible, dogmatic ideology that is out of step with political reality. They are surprised and outraged to learn that if they want to continue their losing streak, they will have to fight for it.

Two, Thomas Frank, Can liberals please work out how to win back the working class?

For all their cunning, Republicans are a known quantity. Their motives are simple: they will do anything, say anything, profess faith in anything to get tax cuts, deregulation and a little help keeping workers in line. Nothing else is sacred to them. Rules, norms, traditions, deficits, the Bible, the constitution, whatever. They don’t care, and in this they have proven utterly predictable.

The Democrats, however, remain a mystery. We watch them hesitate at crucial moments, betray the movements that support them, and even try to suppress the leaders and ideas that generate any kind of populist electricity. Not only do they seem uninterested in doing their duty toward the middle class, but sometimes we suspect they don’t even want to win.

Do read them both. Frank is perhaps a degree more “shrill” than I am, but I am not going to say he’s wrong.

Just this morning I saw a paid ad on social media with Nancy Pelosi asking for donations to help the Democrats “protect Obama’s legacy.” I wanted to throw rocks at her.  Not that I wouldn’t give a lot to just put everything back to where it was before Trump took office, but I always saw “Obama’s legacy” — which was mostly Obamacare — as just provisional, just a foot in the door that might be built into something better. But the establishment Dems want to sell it as the whole pie and not just a taste.

For your daily dose of Why Trump is a Pile of Crap, do read ‘Deleted’ families: What went wrong with Trump’s family-separation effort.

4 thoughts on “Stuff to Read

  1. An energized base and a message sounds appealing to me, as do writings from this soon to be published book author.  Here is a tease:

    “Meanwhile, leaders in the Democratic party from the House minority leader, Nancy Pelosi, to former senator Joe Lieberman have been critical of this excitement, saying it won’t play in middle America or that moving left harms the party.

    “If a centrist model is what works [in Kansas] then why has that centrist model not won the past 20 years, and in fact lost by 20-30 points in every election since [1992]?” Thompson asked me. “The idea that we need to be more like Republicans so we can beat Republicans is asinine. We need to have a clear choice. Something to vote for instead of against.”

  2. The mostly unreported story of the decade is the twin fault lines in both parties. For the GOP the line is between establishment Republicans, sold out to Wall Street and full-blown fascists. (I can respect political conservatives, even if I disagree, but they've mostly been driven from the party.) If Trump is driven from power and into prison, that fault line may become as deep and wide as the Grand Canyon.

    The Democrats are only slightly better off. The establishment wing wants to serve Wall Street and advance social issues. Selling voters out to big banks is OK if transgender people don't have to show their birth certificate to use a public rest room. Young people support alternate lifestyles and minority rights, but they aren't buying the servitude to big business. The fight is on among Democrats for control of the party and the party message.

    Regarding the subject of "moderating" the platform of Democrats, there's establishment incumbents being challenged, and there's former Republicans who can't stomach Trump, but want conservatism to be delivered without the overt racism and culture hatred. They hope Democrats will become palatable conservatives.

  3. I see your point Doug, but the devil is in the details.  A balance between the wings of the parties is at times a political necessity.  With the Dems, the interests of business (I would rather use the word capital) and the interests of the workers (now more and more wage slaves) are both represented.  Both groups have issues which tend to be a bit selfish.  For the wage slave group, times are really tough, as most social systems are bent if not broken.  Education, health care, housing, nutritious food and clean water supply, social services (including religion) are twisted, expensive, faulty, and sometimes non-existent.  Unbridled capitalism tells them they can buy their way to self actualization (the ads are ubiquitous) but they generally buy only more debt. The justice system brings them no justice, just class repression.  

    Once upon a time the Rs. could be counted on to keep systems working, to make the trains run on time so to speak.  The only part of America they are making great today is hucksterism and illusion.  That the Dems need to point this out and set some social improvement goals is much needed.  The center of the Dems may have moved too far to appeasement of capital and their interests.  The elevation of capitalism to deity status (see the gospel of greed) is a huge economic error.  Unbridled capitalism, racism, bastardized Christianity, and gross inequality are not the values of a world leading country. As such, they are not in the interest capital either.  Not in the long run.  Many companies, owners, stock holders, and just generally good Americans can see this too, and see where the Rs are headed. The Dems need to balance what  the country needs, and the values a leading nation needs to have, and move that way. Lets define the center as a workable balance and give an ear to the new voices  who can get us there.  

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