Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Regrets? I'm having some right now.

I, for one, argued early and often that BHO was our best chance to have a Democratic president that might, theoretically break to the left on important issues. I was convinced that Hillary would not do this, given the track record of her husband. That may have been unfair, but it's not like she ran away from her husband's record or said things that made me (or anyone else) think that she would be a liberal president. I also firmly believe that when she decided to run as the racists' Democratic candidate, it was the obligation of all good people in the Democratic party to oppose her.

And yet here we sit today, with a Democratic president that seems determined to be just as center-right as Bill Clinton ever was. To be fair to Barack, he ran as a centrist. Maybe it was too much to hope that a candidate that had achieved little other than getting elected would do anything other than seek to be re-elected. And, unfortunately, a politician gets re-elected by being as timid as possible.

Back in the old days of computing, there was a game that let you be a South American dictator. Your goal was to stay in power until you died. I quickly figured out that the only way to achieve this goal was by caving to whichever pressure group happened to be pressuring you at the time. Teachers on strike? Give 'em a raise. American-backed corporations want a military crackdown on rebels? Crack down. The people want land reform? Nationalize! Landowners want their land back? Denationalize! You get the gist.

After a while it became mindless, but I can see where it might be entertaining to play in real life. How do you stay popular with a populace that simultaneously demands an economic recovery (solution: massive government spending, deficits, tax increases) while demanding less government spending, deficit reduction, and tax cuts? We want health care reform, but not any kind of health care reform that might one day affect what I have right now! Could be fun. Or addictive, anyway.

So here we sit today with a president determined to drive down the middle of the road only dipping to the right every now and again. Here we are, again, with we on the left realizing that it will be another eight years of getting exactly nothing of what we want. We will be told to be grateful it's not worse. That's where we live in American politics, fighting a rear-guard action against things getting worse. We were kings of the world in 1935, it's been mostly downhill since then. Our successes since then - civil rights, women's rights, gay rights - have been hard fought and achieved by the people, with the politics lagging way the hell behind.

Don't mourn, organize!

Yes. Maybe what it will take is for all of us who are looking around for a third party to get out there and get involved. No one hates saying this more than me, as I love my couch and tv, but if I can drag myself out to knock on doors for mainstream, better than the alternative Democratic candidates, then I can certainly do it for someone or some cause that might actually make a fucking difference in this world.

Fuck, looks like I have to actually do something. I'll have to get my pleasure from telling my labor union 'no' when they ask me to go knocking on doors for whatever fuckstick the Democrats nominate.


wobblie said...

Strumming my pain with your fingers, you are, and not in some sexytime kinda way.

lex dexter said...

A week ago I was defending the Senate #hcr bill and calling the netroots unreasonable -- now I'm about ready to crossbow myself from shame.

I'll probably watch tomorrow, but fuck, I feel like a sucker.

EZ said...

I am not surprised at this turn of events. Although I backed Hillary until the end, I voted for bho with open eyes. I knew he would escalate Afghanistan, and would likely be more third way dem than bill was.

The dems should pass a freaking HC bill, blowing up the senate rules on cloture if nec. Although the plan as written (either house) is too much of a welfare program (subsidies for the poor, mandates on the middle) to gain broad support.

The real mistake was giving so much help to "the wrong people" with the recovery act and cash for clunkers, without giving even larger bene's to "the middle". This has led to classic independent white voter backlash, and the obligatory catering to middle class suburban (read:white) voters that has already begun...
Much like the (very successful) War on poverty, the perception is that white males are getting the shaft (even though it isn't true)which leads to failure to gain majority political support for continuing the programs.

EZ said...

what digby said:

"The idea that Democrats will get some political benefit from a lot of sharp talk about deficits and "freezes" is a pipe dream. Obama will be hurt by the bad economy and benefit from its revival. But unlike Reagan, he's tied his own hands on policy leaving him little room to maneuver if the economy stays bad. And when (if) the economy rebounds he will not seen as someone who was courageous for "staying the course" and validating his own liberal beliefs --- he will be seen as having acquiesced to the conservative agenda, which will get all the credit. And conversely, liberalism will be discredited even though it did all the heavy lifting. Awesome."

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