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Tuesday, March 01, 2011

Dems Won't Get A Do Over

Why are so many Democrats crowing over polling suggesting that many would no longer vote for the Republicans they elected in November (or apathically enabled to get elected through opting out of the election)? Why all this breathless ecstasy about Republican over-reach? Are people day dreaming that they can picket their way to a do-over of November any time soon?

The real question to my mind is whether folks presently disgusted with Republicans will still feel disgusted when the next election actually arrives. And I don't think it at all implausible to imagine that when this opportunistic "over-reach" is long past much of this outrage will likewise fade away unless we are more disciplined than usual about the politics at hand. I don’t think it all implausible to imagine that progressives will have become disgruntled by still more ugly compromises demanded by stakeholder governance with greedheads and loons, that GOP policies to constrain the recovery will have exacerbated discontent that few will actually know to attribute to those GOP policies, that so-called independents will go with their "guts" and fall as usual for dumb dumb slogans and cartoons, and the teapartiers will continue barking like dogs at the Moon.

You'll forgive me if I fail to feel triumphant about our prospects, however inspired I am by the righteous and gorgeous protests in the people's house in Madison.

You know, the beginning of a term is precisely when Walker's brand of gangster over-reach makes the most sense, and Republicans know all about this game. Because Republicans can't get elected describing the actually likely policy outcomes of their schemes, er, "ideas," they usually talk around them when they don't outright lie about them, and buyer's remorse in an electorate confronted by the usual policy aftermath follows like the night the day. This is nothing new.

There is some possibility that we can parlay all this outrage into hearings that have an off-chance of enabling an impeachment or recall or a better chance of scaring some Republicans into co-operating with enough Democrats to hold back the anti-democratizing tide and create a better electoral environment for Democrats when the next actual election happens. Sorry, no do-over, just the usual hard work of do-something.


Martin said...

The real question to my mind is whether folks presently disgusted with Republicans will still feel disgusted when the next election actually arrives

Would it be any better if there were more Democrats in power? Would the tax breaks have expired? I doubt it.

The new boss is always the same as the old boss. Change is just a mantra. Anybody who thinks that Republicans have a monopoly on propaganda isn't paying attention. Quite frankly, I'm disgusted... by Obama.

Dale Carrico said...

The level of indifference to differences that make a difference implied by such statements borders on a kind of madness at worst, at best a principled stance that yields unprincipled conduct.

I don't believe you really mean it, actually.

It's one thing to point out how inadequate and compromised Obama and other Democrats are -- and don't try to out-litany me with a laundry list of all the crap he and they are pulling, especially as an executive augmenting the executive in awful ways that would be checked by the other branches if they weren't thronged with batshit crazies now, I daresay you don't know much more than I do on that score or decry it from an anti-authoritarian pro-democracy advocacy more principled than mine -- but, nonetheless, it's quite another thing to pretend Republicans are not presently captured by anti-science anti-government anti-democracy crazies worse in every possible way than the majority of Democrats and indeed worse in ways that are compelling many of the very inadequacies and compromises which you are attributing equally to all as if you don't know better.

One doesn't forgive Obama what he is doing wrong in recognizing the manifold ways in which he is better than any actually existing alternatives on offer in ways that actually matter in the world.

Too many to the left of Obama who declare him so bad as to be equivalent to Republicans either need to join a literal revolutionary cell else be recognized as indulging in full-on bullshit artistry (since differences of belief that do not yield differences in conduct are not differences that make a difference), while almost anybody who proposes such a thing from Obama's right can scarcely be better than a Nazi.

If your (one's, I'm not picking on *you* you) disgust takes you out of action rather than into action you can be sure it is not righteous, and if change appears to you a mirage then be the change you want to see in the world.

By the way, if Dems had kept the House and maintained a comparable majority in the Senate, then, yes, I do believe the Bush tax cuts for the wealthy would have expired. I also believe that in the real world Republican majorities will never achieve that result and only Democratic ones can -- even if you are right that even with Democratic majorities one cannot be sure of that result unless the majorities are of a sufficiently progressive character. I don't consider that a controversial statement, and I think it makes mincemeat of phony equivalency theses.

Martin said...

I didn't say they were equivalent, although on some of the biggest issues we are facing, they are practically indistinguishable. Two years ago we scoffed at the idea that the war and Gitmo might continue indefinitely, but now we know that McCain might as well have been elected.

It's particularly disgusting that Obama has decided to restart our single biggest source of human rights violations.

But what are we supposed to do? Vote for "more and better" Democrats? Another impotent mantra. Who is more progressive then Obama (was) that actually stands a chance of winning?

Gitmo shredded any last hope I had of Obama being a "change" candidate.

Dale Carrico said...

on some of the biggest issues we are facing, they are practically indistinguishable

It is precisely at the practical level that they are palpable distinguishable, even where they both suck. When Democrats are not elected Republicans are, and at the moment Republicans getting elected means union-smashing infrastructure-looting woman hating queer bashing white-racist climate-change denialist greedhead Christianist gun-nuts have more power. Get a grip!

I think Obama is wrong on indefinite detention, I think he is wrong on wikileaks, I think he is wrong on executive privilege, I think he is wrong on wiretaps, I think he is wrong on not prosecuting Bush Administration officials for war crimes. Pointing these things out is crucial. Who in their right mind isn't disgusted by this? My point isn't to denigrate these issues vis-a-vis others: the simple fact is that if you really care about these issues you have more allies among Democrats even if not all Democrats are your allies on this. And quite apart from that ugly reality it remains true that re-electing Obama, ideally in a landslide, is probably among the few things that can happen in this historical moment to ensure his coattails turn back the House and retain the Senate and scramble the political terrain in ways that make it more susceptible to fighting Obama at the level of policy where we disapprove of him.

"more and better" Democrats? Another impotent mantra.

On what actual reality-reference are the concepts of power (the potency mobilized in the ascription of impotence here) and substance (the reference to "mantra" presumably indicated vacuity) being offered up? Really, can you answer that? Do you really think electing Republicans or acquiescing to their election through passivity is empowering to your issues in some sense? Is that a program I am to presume is not a mantra, then? More, and better, Democrats, hell yes that's substantial. Better Democrats care about collective bargaining and making the rich contribute their fair share to the maintenance of the society from which they so benefit and protecting woman's health and stepping back from the cliff of petrochemical suicide and educating future generations in science and critical thinking and so much more. More Democrats believe that and act on it than Republican, and that makes them better. The more of them the better. The more of them the more even the timid ones are encouraged to act more like the better ones themselves. That's the kind of thinking politics demands -- which makes it difference from the way we think ethics (which are universalistic) or aesthetics (which are subjective) and idealistic in ways politics just doesn't get to be.

Gitmo shredded any last hope I had of Obama being a "change" candidate.

You mean, change in respect to this issue on which I agree Obama sucks? There are many issues. In none of them is he managing to be my dream lover -- but as a democratic socialist feminist queer I can't say that I expect American Presidents to be my dream lovers, especially when they don't campaign as such. Still, the Presidency is the Presidency, it is a vector of change within a political terrain that actual is what it is -- you can disdain it for something else, but you need to be pretty clear about just what that something else is before I am going to take that sort of thing as more than tantrum throwing.

Martin, I mean, buck up. You're one of the bright ones. I can't take this from people with both brains and hearts at their disposal. This position you are taking is perfectly ridiculous, I am going to chalk it up to a bad day, we all have those.