Originally published at http://www.commondreams.org/views/2020/07/03/dont-let-corruption-powerless-bring-down-democrats
The Democrats brought themselves down when they sold out to the corporations thanks to Bill Clinton.
The Democrats have not embraced Bolton?
I will take Mike Gravels words on this over that of Mr Lofgren where in an interview after Bolton was fired claimed it was “An embarrassment for the Democratic leadership” as those same Deomocrats rushed to embrace him.
When Bolton was fired Senator Bob Menendez claimed Bolton was not a yes man and that the only reason he fired.
When Bolton was fired Senator ben Cardin democrat claimed that while he did not agree with Bolton on everything “he was a straight shooter” and that it upset him that the President was “unwilling to take professional advice”.
Nancy Pelosi lamented that his firing was a boon to Americas enemies as it showed the US Government in Chaos and disarray.
This embrace of war criminals by the Democrats is not limited to John Bolton. It includes guys like John Brennan and George W Bush.I would also point out that the Obama Presidency refused to prosecute the war criminals that instigated the war on Iraq. Over a million people died to those wars so how is it that the lives of 130,000 Americans more important?
Mr Lofgren condemns purists yet served in Government as a Republican for decades. Why did he leave that party if not for differences in ideology? If it was OK for him to leave the Republicans based upon his own ideology why is it not OK for people as disgusted with the Democrats to abandon that party as well?
Is Mr Lofgren the only one allowed to exercise his conscience or is Mr Lofgren claiming only he can define what behaviour in government should be acceptable to the voters?
To those Americans who are deemed “purists” by the Political class, I say stay true to your values and do not start trading them in . If you are willing to trade them in for a guy that says “nothing will change if I am president” then what are those values good for?
The peoples that were opposed to slavery down in the USA were deemed purists. Should they have compromised in favor of a kinder and gentler brand of slavery?
If you’ve been asleep like Rip Van Winkle for the last 30 or forty years,then you’d wake up one day and decide the Republicans have engineered the elections (which they did) and the Democrats are merely timid. But the Democrats are more than cowardly, they are content to go along with the Republicans as long as the Democratic establishment keeps their power and access to money.
All the past Democratic presidents promises were forgotten the moment they took office. That’s why we eventually got Trump, who promised the same things, and was elected in desperation. Now we’re desperate to get rid of him and who do the Democrats give us? Biden, a corporate warmonger who has promised that nothing would fundamentally change. If you think there’s unrest now, just wait until next year.
Their promises were likely running into the situation described in this video at 5:55
Lofgren writes this about Republicans, Democrats, and ideology:
For all the manifestly toxic idiocy of their ideas, Republicans took ideology seriously in a way Democrats did not and do not, because the latter generally lack any belief system other than that of posturing as enlightened and on the right side of history. But how have Republicans taken ideology seriously when today they’re for free trade, and tomorrow against it; or they’re yesterday’s cold warriors and today, Vladimir Putin’s or Xi Jinping’s lapdog?
Because they understood, and understand, that ideas—and the simpler the better—are advertising slogans that mobilize people based on patriotism, or fear, or the basest motives of which humans are capable. And the GOP’s ideological flexibility—although they probably make themselves believe what they say in the moment they’re saying it—results from the fact that ideology, however important, is an instrumentality in service of power, and not the other way around. Like it or not, that’s politics.
A few Democrats like Franklin Roosevelt understood the relation between power and ideology. Lyndon Johnson understood it, then forgot it when he became determined not to be the first president to lose a war. He then lost an expanded war and destroyed his party. Ever since, Democrats have only obtained power when incumbent Republicans have engineered a colossal disaster—which has been often enough, but which remains an insufficient basis to establish a secure grip on the levers of power.
It is this 50 year history that has made the Democrats fundamentally reactive to whatever the GOP is doing. And not just reactive: not knowing what to do with power, or, more properly, lacking confidence in themselves in their handling of power, makes Democrats fearful.
Many commentators assert that the Republicans, the right, the conservatives, have just been smarter about marketing their ideology. Well certainly you can critique Democrats, the left, progressives, for failure to effectively sloganize and market ideology. But let me make two important points about this:
One, the right did not just “more effectively market” their toxic ideology. They invested billions and billions of dollars to do so, funding think-tanks like Cato and Heritage, astroturf campaigns like Tea Party or the “mask liberty” protests that Lofgren cites, the evangelical right preachers, media tools like Limbaugh, an entire network in Fox, etc. The left has never had those billions of dollars to invest in ideological marketing, since the Unions sold out and started shrinking many decades ago. Pointing to the right as a model for the left, without pointing at the literally many billions of dollars invested by the right in the ideological infrastructure that the right has built, leads left thinkers down a fruitless path of self-blame for not following the ideological marketing playbook, when they don’t have anywhere near the financial resources to do so.
And second, for Lofgren to point to the ideological failures of the Democratic Party as a “left” or progressive force, without noting the explicit sell-out of the Party to neoliberalism and corporate and wealthy funders by the DLC, the Clintons and their coterie, leaves an analyst floundering to understand why the Party is so stupid.
The Democratic Party is not stupid. It’s just not “left,” not progressive, not the ideological counterpart of the Republican Party. Not only can’t it carry out a similar program, it does not have any interest in effectively marketing ideology to counter the right-wing project.
Anyone who is actually left, or progressive, needs to understand both these points, if we want to strategize effectively going forward.
Democrats and Republicans are working together.
Democrats move right so the Republicans can move further right.
But don’t worry.
The fake news is going to carry Joe over the finish line.
“…this 50 year history that has made the Democrats fundamentally reactive to whatever the GOP is doing.”
And Mike Lofgren, who offers the astute insight above, then goes to assert that this isn’t true:
“Likewise the common view that there is no difference between the parties worth bothering about.”
You were in DC a long time, Mike. Did you notice the part where that astute insight is ENTIRELY THE BASIS for the common view? Here, try this: Name a single d-party accomplishment at the federal level over the last 40 years that wasn’t originally an r-party idea.
Remember that Mr Lofgren is an ex member of the Republican Party. He feels at home defending the Democratic Party because he understands they ARE the Republican Party.
Corruption of the powerful. Not powerless.
This is as reasonable and fair an overview of recent US politics as possible. Mike Lofgren packs plenty of punch in another excellent lengthy commentary.
Mike mentions “philosophical conundrum” and “paradoxical nature” in this essay in accurate contexts; they are entirely apt.
It’s worth adding Bernie’s observations, from his book, Where We Go from Here,"
"Trump’s inaugural speech gave me my clearest sense yet as to the kind of phony and demagogue he was. Other than his racism and xenophobia, it’s not clear that he really has any strong beliefs other than those that are politically expedient. As economist Bruce Bartlett once wrote about Trump, “He’s been on every side of every issue from every point of view as far as I can tell.” (p. 66)
Trump is the strangest political creature who ever was, and he heads up the US Republican party. May the American people teach them a lesson in November.
He’s just a reality TV actor. They all are. Its a reality TV show with no resemblance to reality. Why is that so hard for people to understand?
Everything else is fake!
“The America Show” - that never ends.
Which fake will we see on TV today? Whose lies will we have a hard time digesting.
Which abuser will win?
A couple of nitpicks: ~Quotemaster.org gives the Trotsky quote as “You may not be interested in war, but war is interested in you.” And his name wasn’t Lev Trotsky. It was Leon Davidovich Trotsky; most people called him L.D.