I’ve been arguing with some otherwise like-minded people in the Twitterverse lately and find myself defending talkers like Ed Schultz and Norman Goldman who are, in my opinion, rightly critical of the White House and most Democrats in the Congress. These members of the so-called “Professional Left” are blamed by some for the shellacking endured by Democrats last November.
But I ask you. Who’s the blame for a box office bomb? The producers, director, writer and actors who created “Ishtar” or the reviewers who panned it?
I blame the demoralization of the base on the demoralizers, not the people – including me on twitter – who are the demoralized and who pointed it out. The responsibible parties are the White House which has taken the base for granted and the majority of weenie Democrats in the Congress who haven’t stood up to the Republicans. Democrats took a huge advantage and squandered it with bad moves that got a lot of notice and with good moves that they didn’t publicize.
And I have to contrast that with the sociopaths on the right who called being appointed by the radical right wingers on the Supreme Court “a mandate” and then just plowed ahead despite its lack. It’s beyond frustrating to have larger numbers and yet not having our good ideas and policies implemented while the Republicans shoved through their horrors with smaller majorities. How is that possible?
Polls told the Democrats that support was there for single-payer but it wasn’t even on the table! And the fall-back, the public option, was wildly popular but the Democrats stabbed it in the back. Still we’re expected to be as enthusiastic as we were in 2008? And if we are not, the fault is ours, not the people in power?
It’s not enough to be “better than Bush.” That’s such a low standard and not sufficient to inspire the kind of turnout we saw in 2008. I blame the Democrats in power for spending all their capital on a very flawed health care reform bill which the Right Wing was able to demonize with their oversized megaphone. It’s no wonder the weenies on the Left ran away from it.
But it’s really stupid. If you’re going to be called a “Socialist” or even “Communist” anyway, why not go for the most you can get and the hell with the bozos on the Right? They just make up crap anyway!
So who is to blame? The Democrats with their flawed laws or those who are publicly rooting for them to do better?
Look beyond the finger pointing (just a lot of navel gazing, and water over the damn, if you ask me). There’s an enormous silver lining to the shellacking. Look at the energy in the streets! It’s more than a galvanized base.
If November hadn’t happened as it did I don’t think the Republicans would have become emboldened to grab for power in such a naked and startling way. It’s perverse, but their overreach has done something remarkable and positive: it woke us up, in the way that the slow erosion of our democracy did not. The sudden, obvious, cynical handover of power to the corporations by the venal GOP was like a bucket of cold water in our passive faces.
And when I say “our” I shouldn’t really include myself. I was emailing, phoning, tweeting my tiny little heart out for months. No, when I say “our” I mean the American public. A group even larger and wider than the Democratic base.
What we saw in Egypt inspired the brave people in Wisconsin to stand up to their anti-democratic governor. And Madison has in turn inspired people in other states to stand up to their fascist dictator Republican governors.
I was out on the streets in Manhattan starting in February, one of a hundred at first, then a thousand, then many thousands. But I was also out there in 2009 in the fruitless campaign to get the Democrats to get us the public option at the very least. So the presence of a political junky like me is unremarkable. But the crowds these days contain those who are among the unlikely--- formerly apathetic and lots of converts from the right. A growing number who see that the corporate takeover of the GOP is a fact and the Tea Party a mere Astroturf fig leaf. They also see it partially true of the Democratic party, and that these Fascists are now consolidating their power for a complete overthrow of democracy. Government of the corporations, by the corporations and for the corporations. Corporations which are “persons” thanks to a clerical error and the Supreme Court which has lost all credibility and legitimacy thanks to Bush v. Gore and “Citizens United” (which has to be the most ironically named legal case ever. But that’s what the Right Wing has always been great at, like gutting environmental protection and calling it “The Clean Air Act” for just one example.)
At long, long last, the wider public may finally be clued in. These monsters on the right don’t give a shit about the country. They care only for themselves and profit and if they have to step on their grandmother to pick up a nickel, get the hell out of their way!
The only question’s is it too late? On their side, they have unlimited money to achieve their goal of totally unfettered corporate power.
All we have is an aroused populace motivated to save our democracy from a threat as great as any we have ever faced, including the Soviet empire and the Axis powers of Germany, Italy and Japan.
We can do it. We’ve done it before. But the irony is, had there been no November and no consequent Republican overrreach, the American public would still be quietly dozing.