Monday, June 23, 2008

"Bush Democrats"

Democrats of the Pelosi era hardly count as an opposition party, but there are several oppositional wings within the POP (the Party of Pusillanimity): chief among them is These groupuscules are dedicated to fighting the rot from within. To this end, just yesterday, came out against what they call “Bush Democrats”: the eighty Democrats who voted to give Bush and Cheney another $163 billion to continue the occupation of Iraq; and the one hundred five Democrats who voted for telecom immunity – legal immunity from lawsuits for illegally wiretapping American citizens – and for otherwise continuing Cheney’s and Bush’s assaults on privacy and civil liberties on the pretext of fighting terrorism. Two of the three House leaders, Steny Hoyer and Rahm Emanuel, were among the Bush Democrats on Iraq. Nancy Pelosi was not, though in her never-ending effort to provide textbook cases of what Pelosiism is, she, more than anyone else, let it happen. On aiding and abetting Bush’s war on Americans’ freedoms, Pelosi dropped even the pretense of talking the talk, joining Hoyer and Emanuel and the other miscreants. is to be praised for publicizing and criticizing the extent to which their party collaborates with the Cheney/Bush government. But their term “Bush Democrats” is superficial and misleading. Yes, Democrats still aid and abet the simpleton in the Oval Office, even now that he has no “political capital” left. [Remember how full of himself he was when Condi Rice taught him that expression after the 2004 election! He couldn’t say it often enough.] The problem is not just that Democrats tremble at the thought of seeming like they don’t “support the troops” or seeming “soft on terrorism.” The pathology exhibited by so-called Bush Democrats, and most other Democrats too, runs deeper.

The problem is that what Cheney and Bush want, most Democrats also want: they want to make the world safe for their paymasters in the military-industrial complex, giving them pretty much everything they want or think they need – militarily, diplomatically and domestically. The only difference: the Democrats would do it more competently, and with a little bit more concern for the sensibilities of their core constituencies. The word I’ve been using to describe their political orientation from the day I started this blog is “Clintonism.” As I’ve argued from Day One, the designation is apt. What calls “Bush Democrats” are Clinton Democrats.

Freud used the word “illusion” to designate beliefs that are expressions of (unconscious) desires. As such, illusions can be true, though they usually are not. Many liberals harbor illusions (in Freud’s sense) about Barack Obama. Perhaps, after he becomes President, they won’t be too disappointed. As of now, however, the evidence suggests that they will feel sorely deceived; it supports the hypothesis that Obama is a Clinton Democrat too. As I’ve explained in my two most recent entries, by incorporating old Clinton hands into his campaign apparatus, Obama is currently moving even more unmistakably in a Clintonite direction. Now, it seems, that Hillary herself will be campaigning with Obama later this week. Can Bill be far behind? One can only hope that these developments will bring Obamamaniacs, the ones who weren’t born yesterday, to their senses. Don’t count on it, however.

Not seeing Obama’s Clintonism for what it is makes it ever more likely that yet another opportunity will be missed. [The biggest missed opportunity for the Democratic Party was not selecting a more progressive nominee. John Edwards would have been a far better choice than Barack Obama; so would Bill Richardson or Chris Dodd. If we add in the “unelectables,” Dennis Kucinich and (my favorite) Mike Gravel, it is plain just how awry the nomination process went.] Anyway, the time to start working on Obama is now. He must be pulled away from the Clintonites, towards the hundred fifty-one Democrats who’ve finally seen the light on Iraq and the hundred twenty-eight who’ve seen the light on “the war on terror.” It will be too late to wait for the defeat in November of the greater evil, the doddering war-mongering, “maverick” Bushman Obama will run against. To be sure, a Clintonite Restoration, especially one without a Clinton in the lead, is an improvement over another four years of the Republican version of Reagan-Bush-Clinton-Bush politics. But, at this juncture, we can do better than that; we can have a much less evil lesser evil. However, to that end, it will be necessary to push hard; Obama and the forces pulling him Clintonward must be fought diligently every step of the way.

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