BEATING SOMETHING AWFUL WTH NOTHING WONDERFUL
Beyond the obvious correspondence of one party taking power from another while the losing party holds the White House, the analogy breaks down in two critical ways. First, the Republicans rode to congressional power on the basis of a very distinct and specific agenda driven by a firm moral and ideological vision written up in noxious Newt Gingrichâ€™s vicious â€œContract With [On]
The congressional Democrats this week won while offering no clear agenda or vision. Theyâ€™ve been content to ride the wave of popular discontent with the hideously corrupt and criminal war party in power, knowing that the Narrow Spectrum American Winner Take All System of Permanent Electoral Revolution Prevention means that voters had nowhere else to go. The Democrats just let the â€œother sideâ€ shoot itself in the foot and â€“ as Chicago Tribune reporter Michael Tacket put it on Tuesday night â€“ â€œessentially beat something with nothingâ€ (M. Tacket, â€œAngry Electorarte Says â€˜Noâ€™ to Bush,â€ Chicago Tribune, 8 November 2006, p.1).
The Democratsâ€™ victorious platform this fall? That â€œwe are not the corrupt, arrogant and blundering Republicans. We know you hate that smirking and incompetent tyrant Dubya so register your protest here by voting for us. We do not happen to have been the business party in power that invaded
Tuesdayâ€™s elections showed that (in Tacketâ€™s words) â€œDemocrats didnâ€™t need vision to winâ€
A second problem with the 1994/2006 analogy is that the proudly ideological Republicans of the mid-1990s came in determined to punish an ideologically and politically flexible president who was willing to accommodate and indeed incorporate key parts of their agenda. They were so full of partisan cojones and related constitutional chutzpah that they ended up impeaching their bete noir (whose principal sin was stealing key parts of their viciously regressive agenda)
Beyond its current â€œcharm offensiveâ€ and its related sacrifice of War Criminal Rumsfeld, we should not expect the White House to listen all that seriously to the so-called (see below) opposition party. Certainly Bush has less to fear than he ought to with Pelosi and other top Democrats announcing in advance their lack of interest in acting on their elementary duty to impeach the president for high crimes and misdemeanors. For added good measure, the centrist Democratic presidential sensation BaRockstar Obama (see below) has been saying that the Democrats may be â€œpunished in â€˜08â€ if they â€œdonâ€™t show a willingness to work with the presidentâ€ (Jeff Zeleny, â€œDemocrats Fight to Say, â€˜Youâ€™re Welcome,’â€ New York Times, 5 November 2006, sec.4, p. 4).
Now thereâ€™s an interesting and revealing take on what the outraged, Bush-loathing voters had to say Tuesday: yes, by all means, please do â€œwork with this president.â€
LUNCHING WITH THE ROYAL BRUTE
As I edit these lines, Madam Speaker Elect Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) â€“ so long, Denny â€“ is heading over to the White House for lunch with a president she has recently described as â€œincompetentâ€ and as (imagine) out of touch with reality.
But it neednâ€™t be testy meeting. Bush and Pelosi can trade pleasant recollections on what it was like to be born into privileged, politically connected families (Pelosiâ€™s father was a congressman and the Mayor of Baltimore) and attend elite private schools from K through college. To alleviate the royal bruteâ€™s fears, Pelosi can reiterate her aprioristic decision not to meet her moral and constitutional obligation to initiate legal and political mechanisms leading to his overdue removal. She can pass on the New York Timesâ€™ comforting observation today that â€œabout half the incoming Democratic freshmen are already planning on joining the New Democrat Coalition â€“ a generally centrist group that emphasizes economic competitiveness and national security issuesâ€ (Carl Hulse, â€œNew Democrats Pose Challenge,â€ New York Times, 9 November, A1, P3) [the â€œNew Democratsâ€ are committed, in other words to the combined and interrelated imperatives of domestic inequality, business-class superemacy, and imperial militarism, P.S].
She can remind Bush of the Democratic Partyâ€™s commitment to joining him in opposing the Iraqi and American peoples’ shared, repeatedly expressed desires to see
She can remind of him of vital Democratic collaboration in the murderous invasions of
She can remind Bush of Democratic congressional participation in the dismantling of Habeus Corpus in last Octoberâ€™s proto-fascistic Military Commissions Act and of the Democratsâ€™ support in backing his and
Maybe Bush and Pelosi can put their heads together on how to help the business lobby act on its plan to get rid all those aggravating new laws and regulations that were enacted after the scandalous Enron and WorldCom meltdowns. They can take a shot or two at peace and justice â€œgadfliesâ€ (centrist Obamaâ€™s disdainful description of the late progressive Senator Paul Wellstone) like congressional representatives Dennis Kucinich, John Conyers (the new head of the House Judiciary Committee, who has suggested that Bush has engaged in impeachable offenses). They can share a chuckle at the welcome rhetoric of Bernie Sanders, the newly minted socialist Senator from
THE LUNCH WE NEED
Now, here is how the lunch would go if the kind of American political rebellion this nation (and the world) needs had occurred. The next Speaker would arrive with at least four sharp steel knives â€“ one for Bush, one for Dick Cheney, one for Darth Rove, and one for Rumsfeld (resignation is no reprieve).
She would ask the bubble presidentâ€™s staff to provide live television footage of millions in American streets, including hundreds of thousands converging on the White House.
She would present Bush with a CD containing a petition containing 650,000 names calling for: his immediate resignation and that of Cheney; the installment of Pelosi as interim executive and the calling of an extraordinary new presidential election within three months; the immediate removal of U.S. military forces from Iraq and the setting up of an international peacekeeping force there; the development of a long-term plan for the payment of large-scale U.S. reparations to Iraq; and the rapid holding of a Constitutional Convention to pass a Democracy Amendment to institute the democratic restructuring of the U.S. electoral process.
It would be helpful if Pelosi could present Bush with a note of concurrence from top military officials and a mass petition from illegally deployed soldiers stationed in
Bush, Cheney, Rumbo, and Rove would be told to choose between three options: (1) accept all of these conditions and voluntarily surrender to specially appointed federal authorities for corruption and war-crime trials conducted in cooperation with relevant international agencies; (2) immediate deportation of all of them and (if they wish) their loved ones (except Lynn Cheney, who will be kept for observation in a psychiatric clinic in an undisclosed location near the Mexican border) to Bushâ€™s newly purchased estate in Paraguay (a nation accustomed to hosting war criminals), where they will be placed under internationally monitored house arrest supervised by the Organization of American States; (3) death by suicide, in the respectable Japanese tradition whereby failed tyrants admit and act on their shame through appropriate self-elimination.
Whichever option they choose, each of the deposed criminals will be required to make internationally televised apologies to the survivors of all people (American GIs and Iraqis alike) killed by â€œOperation Iraqi Freedom.â€
BAROCKSTAR WATCH: â€œOUR GREATEST ASSET HAS BEEN OUR SYSTEM OF SOCIAL ORGANIZATIONâ€
Obamaâ€™s descent into moral and spiritual Hell continues to accelerate in nearly precise accord with his national political ascent. The â€œwork with war criminal Bushâ€ comment is a typical gem, consistent with his growing record of collaboration with evil.
On Win Without Vision Night (last Tuesday), I caught a fleeting Obama sound bite on ABC. The smiling, suspiciously overnight superstar told the Disney-owned network that American voters were expressing a welcome and â€œpragmaticâ€ repudiation of â€œideologyâ€ and a desire for more â€œcompetenceâ€ and less â€œpartisanshipâ€ and â€œangerâ€ in government and politics. Hereâ€™s my long translation of that comment: â€œIf you support majority U.S. (and indeed world) opinion and want to see U.S. troops out of Iraq now… and if you advocate the dismantlement of Empire and the diversion of public resources from militarism and corporate welfare to social justice and health at home and abroad, then you are a silly and unrealistic â€˜ideologue.â€™ Letâ€™s drop all our nasty partisan and ideological story lines and all just get along, with existing social, racial, and imperial hierarchies intact and, perhaps, with me in ostensible charge in about 26 months. Bushâ€™s murderous oil invasion of
Remember that the next time you see somebody robbing, murdering, and/or raping in your neighborhood: the perpetrators are being “incompetent” and are probably driven by â€œideology.â€
I have the distinct impression that Obamaâ€™s Harvard-certified â€œrealistic,â€ â€œpragmatic,â€ and (according to David Brooks) â€œHamiltonianâ€ world view (more fully enunciated in his second book) marks the great civil rights leader Martin Luther King, Jr. â€“ a dedicated left opponent of the (for him) inseparably interrelated evils of militarism, racism, and economic exploitation (capitalism) â€“ as a hopelessly dysfunctional â€œideologue.â€
A future edition of â€œThe Empire and Inequality Reportâ€ will provide a more extensive critique of Obamaâ€™s second book, which carries the ironic title The Audacity of Hope (2006) and includes the following pearls of collaborationist wisdom:
*On poor folksâ€™ responsibility to understand the rich and the benevolence of the rich:
â€œIf we fail to helpâ€¦people who are struggling in this societyâ€¦we diminish ourselves. But that does not mean that those who are struggling â€“ or those of us who claim to speak for those who are struggling â€“ are thereby freedom from trying to understand the perspectives of those who are better off…â€¦Thatâ€™s what empathy does â€“ it calls us to task, the conservative and the liberal, the powerful and the powerless, the oppressed and the oppressor…No one is exempt from the call to find common groundâ€ (Obama, Audacity, p.68).
â€œMost rich people want the poor to succeedâ€ (Obama, p. 51) *On how well â€œour poorâ€ are doing and on â€œourâ€ capitalist â€œbusiness cultureâ€ as the source of
â€œWe need to take a look at how our market system has evolved over time…Our constitution places the ownership of private property at the very heart of our system of libertyâ€¦Rather than vilify the rich, we hold them up as role models…As Ted Turner famously said, in America money is how we keep score. The result of this business culture has been a prosperity thatâ€™s unmatched in human history. It takes a trip overseas to fully appreciate just how good Americans have it; even our poor take for granted goods and services â€“ electricity, clean water, indoor plumbing, telephones, televisions, and household appliances â€“ that are still unattainable for most of the world.
*On why no radical revolution in
â€œ ..and if we have declined to heed
*On the mind-blowing coolness and wisdom of the nationâ€™s wealthy, slave-owning, and â€œrabbleâ€-hating Founders:
â€œIâ€™ve often wonder whether the Founders themselves recognized at the time the scope of their accomplishment. They didnâ€™t simply design the Constitution in the wake of revolution; they wrote the Federalist Papers to support it, shepherded the document through ratification, and amended it with the Bill of Rights â€“ all in the span of a few short years [imagine that!]. As we read these documents, they seem so incredibly right that itâ€™s easy to believe they are result of natural law if not divine inspirationâ€ (p. 90)
No further commentary from me on B.O, at present; Iâ€™ll let his words speak for themselves for now and will return to all this and much more from “TheAudacity of Hope in a future issue.
AN INTERESTING COMMENT AT â€œTHE NATIONâ€
In its November â€œ13thâ€ issue (I do not understand why “The Nation” dates its magazines two weeks in advance), that liberal-left journalâ€™s editors wrote the following: â€œif Democrats fail to recapture at least a working share of Congressional power, they and their party will rightly be cast into disrepute too, and distressed citizens may reasonably begin looking for other options.â€
This was part of “The Nationâ€™s” argument for a Democratic victory.
But what in Godâ€™s name would be so awful with American voters pursuing â€œother options?â€ Doesnâ€™t any left worth its name hope for electoral choices outside the business-dominated two-party duopoly? And does the “The Nation” think that voters donâ€™t still have legitimate reasons to look beyond the Democrats even or especially after this weekâ€™s victory without vision?
THOMAS FRIEDMAN IS A GROSS SUCKING CHEST WOUND
Here, finally, are two paragraphs that actually appeared in the loathsome corporate-globalist Thomas Friedmanâ€™s New York Times column on Wednesday morning:
â€œI had to submit this column before knowing the results of yesterdayâ€™s election, but here is one thing I know already: this needs to be our last election about
If Friedman wants to see a nation with a gross sucking chest wound, he might want to look at the target of our illegal invasion:
For what itâ€™s worth, Friedman is a Democrat.