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Monday, November 29, 2010

Why Readers Should Not Be Pleased By the Renewed Militancy of My Blog These Days

Upgraded and adapted from my response to a comment in the Moot, from someone who often derided my qualified defenses of Democratic efforts over the last two years and sees in my current complaints (and it is not as if I didn't complain plenty before, it's just that I wasn't willing to declare pre-emptive surrender in an effort to engage in what amounts to political radicalism as a kind of online performance art unconnected to legislative reform) an apparent vindication of his own view that Democrats and Republicans are equivalent.

It seems to me that the two mistakes you are making [Reader], are:

[one] thinking that Obama being as bad as you say means he can't still be the "Most Progressive Evah" as you snicker (Obama is the most progressive president since FDR was always my claim, and it remains exactly as true as ever, in large part because the US Executive has never been particularly progressive, natch) and

[two] your insinuation (and do correct me if I am wrong in discerning this insinuation in your views) that we are in the same situation now as we would be were the Dems under Pelosi to have kept the House.

It's no doubt true that you'll probably enjoy the militancy of my blog better now than you did over the last two years, but where you seem to taste sweet vindication I myself experience heartbreak and hopelessness.

I would far prefer to be defending ugly scarcely effectual idiotically corrupt piecemeal reforms creating conditions which could be opportunistically pushed from the left into more progressive reforms still while you and your ilk whine that Republicans and Democrats are exactly the same because neither are socialists (even when those who come closest to embracing your views on equity, diversity, sustainability all caucus with the Democrats while Republicans are all fulminating anti-tax anti-government climate-change denialists in thrall to bigots and theocrats).

I am retreating back into education, agitating, organizing from the vantage of my radical green radical queer radical democrat radical socialist positions because there is so little hope for change under the present conditions of GOP obstructionism. Believe me, I would far prefer to focus on the inadequate and real, as before, over the ideal, as now. I never stopped being guided by the ideal even when the measure between the real and the ideal was vast -- so long as the direction and the push was in the direction of the ideal.

It's far easier to be right (however few manage even that) than to do right. I don't expect much right to be done for the next two years, at least not in the country in which I am a citizen and so have a say in what is done. I didn't expect much right to be done in the last two either, but you can be sure the next two will be incomparably worse. That actually matters to me more than the fact that dumb rich Democrats aren't as green or socialist as I am.

I hope Obama will manage to stave off at the Executive level the worst damage the Movement Republicans will try to inflict, while I hope my State California and others like it will press forward with more progressive initiatives that might have wholesome national ramifications. Otherwise, I hope the rest of the world will shrug off the neoliberal looters and austerity peddlers and will organize to fight catastrophic climate change without us. My hopes for these things are not high, but that is where they reside for now. Things are bad and getting worse. To be smug at a time like this seems to me particularly cheap and inappropriate.


Thanatz said...

Executive advocacy of a particular economic ideology [if not the actual passage of mirroring legislation] is an activity almost entirely insulated from the makeup of Congress. In respect to advocating economic policies that are actually effective and not openly piratical it simply does not matter whether or not Ds have the majority in the House. Indeed in the minority it becomes all the more vital for the Executive not to abandon the sole intellectually consistent economic model as part of a craven political ploy. That one could write that they "hope Obama will manage to stave off at the Executive level the worst damage the Movement Republicans will try to inflict" only an hour after he characterized today's kabuki as a "capitulation to economically illiterate austerity rhetoric" demonstrates more than a hint of cognitive dissonance. True, this isn't "the worst damage," but as I tried to point out in the previous comment the very fact that Obama finds himself boxed into the austerity discussion is inarguably derivative of his administration's own political missteps [his Catfood Commission and the Half-Measure stimulus].

Here and in other areas where he even today is capable of exercising an effectively unilateral prerogative [civil liberties, state secrets, general DOJ priorities, HAMP to name a few] Barack Obama is plainly is not the bulwark staving off the Republican flood; rather he is the vector through which they gain access to America's Precious Bodily Fluids. I say this not as a peddler of blanket Democrat/Republican equivalence but rather as someone willing to recognize the transformative potential of rhetoric [especially when employed by an actor as skilled as Barack Obama], and as someone who would like for Social Security to still be there when his mother retires.

Dale Carrico said...

Obama is falling into Republican traps and for Republican frames, it seems to me (and I doubt he or his advisors see it that way), but that doesn't make him a Republican. As I said, I disapprove of this government pay freeze on economic, political, rhetorical, and policy grounds, as I disapprove plenty of other things Obama and other Democrats say and do on a regular basis -- but I haven't lost the capacity to distinguish Democrats from Republicans or the capacity to grasp the real world differences that make a difference that turn on that distinction between (most/many) Democrats and (apparently all remaining) Republicans.

You experience "cognitive dissonance" when I condemn Obama's facilitation in my view of some Republican ends while at once hoping he will frustrate other Republican ends, only because your vision of "politics" seems to require categories and distinctions rather more like those of deductive logic in their purity and consistency.

That doesn't make your political viewpoint smarter or more radical than mine, it simply makes you an infant. The cartoonish conspiracism of your final paragraph seems proof positive. To declare Obama nothing but a Republican vector is so stupid it frankly makes me doubt your sincerity, else I might have to doubt your sanity.

jollyspaniard said...

The hard right blogs are all screaming for the torture and assasination of the Wikileaks editors. In contrast you don't seem overly strident.

I still rate Obama highly. Too many people have written him off for not delivering a Hollywood ending to all the world's problems. He's done a lot in some pretty challenging circumstances and he still has 6 years to go. And if nothing else he's an effective check on the hard right.

A lot of progressives in Europe envy America it's leader. I'm not sure if that's been true in living memory.

Dale Carrico said...

you don't seem overly strident

Well, sure, but, you see, the thing is, you're sane.

jimf said...

Staying calm in the face of the apocalypse:

Dale, I think it's time for you to kick back with
some J. G. Ballard:

_The Drowned World_

_The Crystal World_

Dale Carrico said...

If I want to read Ballard I need only turn to the well-worn volumes on my shelves, my friend. These days I am finding my solace, as always, in Arendt and in philosophy. As it happens, our household is fairly calm, lots of gallows humor, as you can well imagine.