Using Technology to Deepen Democracy, Using Democracy to Ensure Technology Benefits Us All

Saturday, September 05, 2009

Still Worried

I'm feeling a little less angry than yesterday about the stupidity of the health care debate in its present state. But I'm still worried and still pushing as hard as I can from Obama's left in the rather limited ways that seem open to the likes of me. My partner Eric is worried that the Republicans will run David Petraeus against Obama in 2012, a figure who would almost certainly siphon off many of the "independents" Obama counts on ("independents" as a cohort seem to be moved less by particular policies than by a kind of animal attraction to "decisiveness" "resolve" "conviction" -- qualities not much in evidence from Obama these days) and would energize the wingnut Base just because they love a man in a uniform even if he's less nutty than they are. Meanwhile the left, which Obama seems to take for granted in the usual outrageous manner of Dem pols the second they get in office, demoralized by serial capitulations on their promises by the Obama Administration and unhappy at the prospects of a Petraeus Presidency but hardly panic-stricken about it the way they were when they were still in a full-froth of (fully justified) Bush hate, likely would not re-enact the energetic activism of 2008, indeed, might not even show up at the polls. Unless corporate criminals and war-criminals are made to pay a real price for their crimes, and unless new policies and programs to relieve the burdens of vulnerable American majorities are put in place it is very difficult to see how Democrats can seize this moment and take the lead in the urgent struggle for sustainable consensual equitable diverse literate secular democratic civilization, peer to peer. And if Democrats don't seize this moment and take up that work, honestly, what's the damn point of all this exertion and heartbreak?


jimf said...

> "independents" as a cohort seem to be moved less by particular
> policies than by a kind of animal attraction to "decisiveness"
> "resolve" "conviction" -- qualities not much in evidence from
> Obama these days. . .

Hm, yes.

An erstwhile friend of mine, commenting on the upcoming election
last year, hovered on the brink of "independence". He was
resolved not to vote for Hillary Clinton if she had been
nominated. Presumably, he voted for Obama (we weren't
speaking by that time. :-/ ).

Anyway, he was bitterly opposed to the war in Iraq.
He had been a campaign worker for Dennis Kucinich a
few years ago. And who else did he like? Oh yes,
Mike Gravel. He was also favorably impressed by
Ron Paul.

He claims to be a sort of reformed conservative -- no
longer willing to be a "sheeple" (as he called it) willing
to swallow whatever propaganda is churned out by the
government in the name of "national security" and so on.

Nevertheless, I can't help thinking that he's the sort
of "Democrat" that Republicans (Republican strategists,
anyway) **love** -- the sort who is capable of being
distracted by the right independent (read: unelectable)
candidate in the name of ideological purity
and "honesty".

jimf said...

Here's what Dan Savage has to say about that:

Daily Pennsylvanian: "So you're anti-Santorum, you're
not pro-Casey."

Savage: "I'm anti-Santorum **and** pro-Casey. I'm
pro-Casey because electing Casey will be good for the
Democrats and good for the country. Electing Casey doesn't
mean -- I mean pro-Casey doesn't mean that I agree
with everything that comes out of Casey's mouth. I don't
agree with everything that comes out of **my** mouth.
But, you have to be a pragmatist about these things.
Lefties do idiotic things like vote for Nader 'cause it
feels good. And in the short run it may feel good and
be gratifying but in the long run it's been a disaster.
And not voting for Casey 'cause you're gonna pout 'cause
he's not good on your issues means returning Santorum to
the Senate and he's **worse** on your issues. And if
returning Santorum to the Senate means that the Republicans
maintain control of the Senate, that's gonna be **terrible**
for your issues. So you have to be rational about
these choices."

D.P.: "Are you familiar with Carl Romanelli at all?"

Savage: "The idiot Green?"

D.P.: "Yes."

Savage: "Yes."

D.P.: "Can you talk about your opinions of Carl Romanelli?"

Savage: "Carl Romanelli should be dragged behind a pickup
truck until there's nothing left but the rope.

D.P.: "How come?"

Savage" "Carl Romanelli is a. . . The Green. . . Green Party
and its supporters are tools and fools for the Republicans
and the Radical Right. Santorum entirely funded Romanelli's
effort to get on the ballot to drain votes from Casey.
The Green Party in Pennsylvania is a wholly-owned subsidiary
of the Republican Party. Any progressive who votes for a Green
**any** more after a Nader and now after Romanelli is a
fucking **idiot** and should be beaten with sticks. And Romanelli
is scum."

D.P.: "And, um, so what. . . even though Romanelli's the
only pro-Gay-rights person. . ."

Savage: "I don't give a shit. I don't give a shit. Romanelli
may be the only. . . Romanelli may wanna like rim my ass
three times a week. That doesn't make him better for me.
And it doesn't make his presence on the ballot better for
me than a Casey victory. Casey. . . Romanelli has no fucking
chance. Romanelli's only chance is draining votes from Casey.
A pro-Gay-rights candidate is not gonna take votes from
Santorum, and Santorum knows it, which is why Santorum tried
to get Romanelli on the ballot."

D.P.: "So, uh, what advice do you have for Mr. Romanelli?"

Savage: "Mr. Romanelli can go fuck himself, that's my
advice for Mr. Romanelli."

D.P.: "And, should he try to wage a write-in campaign?"

Savage: "No. Mr. Romanelli should go fuck himself, which
means he'll be too busy fucking himself to wage a write-in
campaign or do anything else."

D.P.: "And so, do you see no hope for third parties in

Savage: "We don't have the luxury of a third-party movement
in America right now. The stakes are too high, and the situation
is too dire with the country and where the Republicans are
taking it, and if Democrats have no power in D.C. 'cause
a bunch of idiot lefties are voting their hearts on idiots
like Romanelli and idiots like Ralph Nader, then we deserve
the end of our democracy, we deserve everything we're getting
right now from the Bush administration and its enablers in
the Congress."

D.P." "That was fantastic. . ."