Life support

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Note: Another piece decrying the Democratic Party leadership for its lackluster, treasonous behavior, forgetting that to behave otherwise, as the author suggests, would require the Democrats to be a non-corporatist party with allegiances to the working people and not plutocrats. Read it anyway, as the enumerations and descriptions of the problems may eventually get the people to see the light that “it’s the system, stupid!” Most urgently we need to demystify Obama and decouple him from authentic progressives in and outside the Democratic party.
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By Laurence Lewis
[print_link] It was just about a year ago that we were hearing stories about President Obama’s intention to escalate the war in Afghanistan. Again. The president’s most ardent defenders insisted that we shouldn’t listen to unnamed and anonymous sources, and should instead wait and see what happened. And then when he escalated, pretty much as had been reported, we were told that it was the right move, and we should support it. The same dynamic played out with the public option. For months, while it became increasingly apparent that the president wouldn’t fight for a public option, we were told that he kept saying he supported one, and we didn’t know what was going on behind the scenes. When the public option was punted, we were told that it never had been all that important, anyway, and the health insurance bill that was passed was all kinds of wonderful, so we should just be appreciative and grateful.
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The same dynamic is playing out with the Catfood Commission. We are being told not to worry, and that Social Security won’t be gutted, and it’s just an advisory committee, and on and on. And it seems likely that there is an element of truth in the defense, but only an element. It doesn’t seem likely that Social Security will be gutted, but don’t be surprised if it is incrementally stripped down. An older retirement age. Less benefits. Things that can be defended by those reflexively inclined to defend. We’ll hear that it wasn’t as bad as we’d feared, so we should accept it and support it. But as with the incremental rollback of reproductive rights that was folded into the health insurance bill, it’s the momentum that will matter most. Democrats buying into Republican framings. Democrats leading a movement backwards. Democrats refusing to stand on principle, on issues that should be core Democratic principles.
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As she so often does, digby gets to the heart of the problem, starting with the refusal to fire Alan Simpson.
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It’s fairly clear they will keep Simpson on the panel. The question is why. I think it’s a pretty good guess that he’s a guy they can “do business” with. And if you pay attention to what he’s saying that’s fairly alarming.
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Of course, he’s only a professional conservative, and not a professional liberal, so it’s all cool. And more to the point, she has advice for younger people:
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I just want to say to all the young people who read this blog that I’m really sorry about all this. I’m old and I’ll probably get most of my social security. You, on the other hand, are going to face a vastly more insecure old age if this happens. Right now you don’t think much about it. You figure you’ll make a lot of money someday or you’ll at least be well compensated enough to be self-sufficient. And it all seems so far away that you can’t even relate it to yourself at all.
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But she remembers when she herself was young, how the future seemed so far away, and it was easy to believe something good would happen in the interim, so she wouldn’t have to worry about Social Security. But now, she does.
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Social Security is one of those things you don’t think about until you get to be about my age and you’re staring into the abyss, a decade or two away and you suddenly wake up knowing that you aren’t likely to be wealthy in your old age no matter how hard you work between now and then.
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The bottom line?
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If the Democrats fail this time to protect the safety net and the Teabaggers take over the government you’re going to need them. They’re just getting started. And I’m sorry about that. You can’t expect young people to understand how important this is for all the reasons I just stated. It’s our job to leave the next generation at least as well off as we were and I’m not at all confident that we’re going to do it.
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Some may wonder why there is such a gaping enthusiasm gap, with the Republicans, in all their insanity, looking to make large gains, most likely in the House. It’s not very complicated: the Democrats [leadership] are abandoning core Democratic principles. Another issue on which we were told to trust that the president knew what he was doing was the economy. Krugman and Stiglitz and Roubini were saying the stimulus wasn’t nearly large enough, but every slight apparent improvement in economic data was sold as evidence of the grand turnaround. (See our related piece on this topic: KRUGMAN FRUSTRATED]
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Even as the same people who had predicted the economic collapse kept telling us that the recovery wasn’t what it seemed. For which even many former supporters on the left criticized them. We now know they were right. But at the beginning of this year, rather than making the case that Republican economic models had proved complete failures, while a Keynesian approach was the only answer, we instead were handed the Republican rhetoric of deficit reduction, right in the middle of the worst recession since the Great Depression. And we were handed it by Democrats.
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Some now say the enthusiasm gap is partially or wholly attributable to liberal criticism of the president’s policies. As if people who are unemployed or under-employed or losing their mortgages wouldn’t realize it if we didn’t keep talking about it. In other words, it’s not the policies and the lack of policies that are driving down Democratic enthusiasm, it’s the discussions of the policies and the lack of policies. In another post,digby gets to the heart of the real reason:
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I don’t know about you, but it seems to me that if you want to get people enthusiastic you might want to pick a big old fight right about now instead of trying desperately to avoid controversy (also known as “kerfuffles”.) In case the Democrats don’t realize it, Republicans and right leaning Independents aren’t going to vote for them no matter what they do. Even if they open up those FEMA camps and start rounding up every Muslim and Mexican looking person they see, it won’t work. Neither will rolling over and playing dead.
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We need Democrats to stand for core Democratic values, and to fight for them as if all our lives depend upon them. Because many lives do. And many Democrats’ careers do. For many, it already may be too late. Because in January 2009, the Republican Party seemed on the verge of extinction. The Republicans lacked the issues and the skills to resuscitate themselves. They still lack the issues and the skills; but by ignoring their liberal base, while buying into Republican framings on key issues, the Democrats have revivified a political opposition that should have been left for dead.
One comment on “Life support
  1. ahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha delusions of grandeur hahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahaahh they win corpo-fascim is here to stay so stop embarassing yourself with this non-sensical pie in the sky BS hahahahahahahahahahahahahahah what hoot demo whores returning to values hahahahahahahahahahahahahaahahahahah exactly which values wuld those be DLC? third way? corporate socialism? pphhhhhaa!

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