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Wed

21

Nov

2007

The Question of Democratic Complicity
Wednesday, 21 November 2007 14:14
by Andrew Bard Schmookler

For the past several years, the unprecentedly lawless and dishonest conduct of the Bushite regime has been the major American story. But more recently, while from the Bushites we’ve been getting more of the same, the big story of the recent past has been not the Bushite problem but the reluctance of the Democrats to confront that problem.

To me that failure has been big news partly because it was not what I expected.

When things happen differently from my expectation, I always try to pay attention. The unexpected I take as a sign that there’s something going on that I didn’t understand, and therefore a likely opportunity for me to learn something.

That’s been true lately with the failure of the Democrats to confront the Bushite evils more boldly and more consistently than they have. Whereas the first half year or so of the new Congress unfolded more or less as I thought they would, the past several months have greatly surprised –I should say disappointed– me. The cave-ins on FISA and Mukasey exemplify these disappointments.

Since the Democrats have not been acting as I thought they would –this may be shifting, but it’s not yet clear– I’ve had to take a new look at the Democrats to see how I need to revise my understanding of who they are and where they’re coming from. Among the hypotheses I’ve been reconsidering is one that I’ve steadfastly rejected when it’s been advanced by readers of mine who have asserted that the Democrats are really not different from the Bushites in any important way, that they are willingly complicit in the Bushite fascism.

That hypothesis no longer looks so flat-out wrong to me as it did. I used to reject the idea because the people who proposed it often pointed to situations where it was not clear to me that the Democrats had politically viable choices that were clearly superior to the course they took. But more recently –in ways that I have discussed in a variety of articles– the Democrats have seemed willing to give this unpopular, criminal president his way when there seem to me to be obvious courses of action that are both morally superior AND politically more advantageous.

So, faced with the puzzle of why they have continued to enable this president, I’ve found it less obvious that they’re not in some way allied with him.

Less obvious, but I still do not see that this hypothesis fits the evidence. Here’s what doesn’t fit.

Even when the Democrats eventually cave in, they’re still doing a not-trivial part of the job they should be doing. In the case of the confirmation process for Mukasey, for example, a truly complicit covert ally of the administration would not have asked some of those tough questions of the nominee that elicited from him such important reminders about the lawlessness of this administration. Real allies would not expose the unsupportable and unconstitutional claims that the president is above the law, nor would they have focused such extensive public attention on the disgrace of this administration’s policies of torture.

Indeed, throughout this year, the Democrats have helped to expose the evils and defects of this Bushite regime. And this exposure has inflicted genuine political damage on the Bushites. The fact that George W. Bush is now “strongly disapproved” by fully HALF the population is evidence that the job of awakening the American people to the evils of this regime –which is the job that makes all the other important work achievable– is being accomplished.

(By the same token, this public turning against the president is evidence that the media –so disappointing in so many ways– are not wholly complicit with the regime.)

The evidence, therefore, seems mixed in a most puzzling way. On the one hand, the Democrats (and the press) seem to shrink from opportunities they have to press and win the fight against the Bushites’ assault on the American system. On the other hand, they also are continually doing damage to the regime.

The charge of “complicity” does not seem to fit that evidence. But what does?

It has seemed at times that the Democrats might be blind to the evils, or not to recognize the gravity of the stakes in this struggle. But they also regularly make statements that suggest they do see and do know.

It sometimes seems possible that they’re just so deficient in vision that they cannot come up with even reasonably clever political strategies. But it is hard to believe that the intelligence available for such strategizing could be so paltry as that would imply.

And then there is the idea, proposed by some, that the Democrats are just “throwing” the fight out of fear of the regime– fear of meeting the fate met (as some allege) by Wellstone, or the fear that controls victims of blackmail (as reportedly practiced of old by J. Edgar Hoover). But I find this explanation implausible as well.

Thus at the moment, none of the available answers seem satisfactory, and the question remains open for me.
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John said:

0
U.S. Congressman John Olver (D-MA) comes to mind
He told constituents, amazingly, that he "is deeply concerned whether we will actually have an election in Nov. '08, as he believes this administration will likely strike Iran from the air, declare a national emergency, and cancel the '08 elections."
http://www.afterdowningstreet.org/?q=node/24358
 
November 21, 2007
Votes: +0

Gary Kent said:

0
Life is Personal
It's business as usual in Washington. Literally. Remember the Godfather? Nothing personal, it's just business. America has become so immersed in the the corporate consciousness that most Americans believe that what is good for business is good for America. That making a profit is the American way. The standard uniform in America is the business suit. This mindset is almost all pervasive in our culture, our media, our politics, our life style even in our churches where we are preached prosperity consciousness. Is it any wonder then, that our politicians, when asked to make crucial decision, reason like businessmen, instead of like compassionate human beings? Not too long ago, the Soviet Union collapsed and most of the world, especially Americans became convinced that the American way had triumphed. Russia, China everyone began to adopt the capitalist solution. The only difficulty is that the American business model is also about to collapse taking much of our beautiful planet with it. Life is not just about business, it is personal. When insurance companies begin to tell us who will be allowed medical treatment and who will not because it is not cost effective, that is personal. When America invades a sovereign nation to secure oil for insatiable profit and 1,000,000 innocent Iraqi civilians die, that is personal. When our oceans begin to die, our air becomes unbreathable and weather becomes so erratic that it begins to destroy whole cities, that is personal. When the banks begin to take our homes, that is personal. No, it has never been just business, and it never will be. Americans have been living in a delusional world that has become a nightmare for the planet. We face a daunting future. It is way past time for us to wake up and take responsibility for our actions, because life is personal and life is about sharing with compassion and caring for one another. That is the bottom line. We can start by supporting and voting for a compassionate, caring man to be our next President, Dennis Kucinich. He understands very clearly that life is personal and it shows in his words and his actions, in his courage and strength of character, in his compassion and spirit, in his intelligence and insight, and in his straightforward honesty. He is marginalized by our corporate sponsored media because his life has been dedicated to serving the American people, often to the detriment of business as usual. We need men of passion like Dennis to inspire us to greatness once again. Life is about the people, not about business. America too is about the people. The people are what made America great from her inception and it is only the people who can make her great once again. That is something we all need to make personal.
 
November 24, 2007
Votes: +0

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