Thursday, October 2, 2008

Democrats Disgrace Themselves--Again

Only nine Democratic Senators resisted the call from their corporate paymasters and their party leadership in the Senate and in the Obama campaign, and from a gullible and abject media -- to vote against the Wall Street bailout (“economic rescue package,” indeed!). Russ Feingold (WI) voted out of principle, and so did “independent” (quasi-Democrat) Bernie Sanders. For the others, the motives were less clear – Cantwell (WA), Durgan (ND), Johnson (SD), Landrieu (LA), Nelson (FL), Stabenow (MI), Tester (MT), Wyden (OR). What is clear is that, yet again, “liberal” Democrats have done their part to visit miseries upon the people they allegedly represent, and to indemnify the speculators who stuff their pockets at the public’s expense.

The pressure on House Democrats to go along is now overwhelming, but there is still a chance that a sufficient number of progressives there will join Republican dissenters – an odd assortment of libertarian reactionaries and right-wing populists -- to resist the fear mongers and extortionists. Then perhaps saner minds will prevail. The first order of business would then be to ascertain, quickly but also correctly, what the situation really is. Then sensible palliative measures that take popular interests into account will surely become conceivable. [Real solutions would require an assault on fundamental economic structures that, for now and the foreseeable future, lie beyond the purview of any significant, organized political constituencies, and therefore far beyond the purview of legislators in Congress.]

One would think that in a (small-d) democracy, with public opinion overwhelmingly opposed to the bailout (mostly, for the right reasons), resisting this Wall Street driven extortion would be easy. Perhaps it would be if (big-D) Democrats were capable of more than acting like Republicans would, if the GOP hadn’t been turned silly and inept by the “Reagan revolution.” But, of course, that is not the situation. It would be too much to expect Democrats to be part of the solution, but at least they should be able to contrive a way not to exacerbate the problem. Don’t count on it, however.

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