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Tuesday, January 19, 2010


Massachussetts, and the Final Straw

Massachusetts Attorney General Martha Coakley ...

I'm a bit stunned tonight, in the wake of the devastating loss of the Senate seat in Massachussetts. What can one say, when the sorrow is so overwhelming? Last year, we said Yes We Can. This year, the truth is clear and unmistakable: We Didn't.

Sure, the Coakley loss is an indictment of the Obama Administration (no matter who gets the blame), and a terrifying gut check about the fate of next November's mid-terms. But what really we must mourn in this moment, I think, is the loss of our country. There will never be a 60-vote majority again in my lifetime, I suspect, on either side...and since that number has become the Senate's rule of thumb thanks to Republican obstructionism, there will be no evolution of policy on the serious, tough issues America faces. (And when the Republicans get the Senate back, in 2010 or 2012, you can be sure the Democrats will still hold a grudge, and be just as obstructionist.)

Sigh. Is there any hope? The right-wing has been overtaken by zealots and bigots, the left-wing by naivete and idiocy. The middle, well, they don't care about anything...except their pathological, insane aversion to even a penny of taxes. Where does that leave the practice of governing? Atop the garbage heap of failed economic policy, senseless wars, criminal poverty, and betrayal of the Constitution, especially on the promise of equality.

When the Republicans are in power again -- and they will be soon -- at least Democrats will have something to fight against. Democrats suck at actual governing, but they excel at bitching and whining.

Me, I think I can no longer accept the Democratic Party as a dependable source for progressive policy. It's not just their embrace of war, their failure to protect women, gays, or immigrants, their fellatio on the Wall Street banks, or their negligence of the poor. It's everything. It's all of it, together.

Which means, frankly, that I don't think I can vote for Democrats anymore; I mean, I've probably always been closest in spirit to being a democratic socialist anyway, but like many progressives, I've held my nose and voted for "moderates" because any third-party candidate is certain to lose...they are shut out of the electoral process by the big dogs. (Here in the land of the free, we only get two choices. Does that sound like freedom to you?)

But I will rethink my aversion to third parties. I have to...what other option do we have, really? Next November, I have to look for a new way. Because my vote is the only weapon I have. And if the empire is falling down around us, at least I can go out swinging.
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Blogger Jill said...

The problem is that there is no third party. The Greens? Are they even a party? Is there any organization? Platform? The Greens strike me as still a loose confederation of people still around Ralph Nader, an egoist who comes out every 4 years and does nothing in between. And THAT is what's depressing.

Better Democrats? Like Alan Grayson, Donna Edwards, and the like? Nice thought, but I'm not sure we can put together a nation of them 25 bucks at a time.

I'm sorry that Obama has turned out to be THIS much of a disappointment. I didn't expect much from him, as you know, but I didn't expect him to be THIS feckless. On the other hand, what were our choices? Does anyone honestly believe that Hillary Clinton would have sold us out one iota less?

I'm 100% with you on not voting for "moderates", because these days, moderate = Republican. At this point, we're looking at the end of American Jeffersonian democracy and the beginning of a meaner, more thuggish nation that in 25 years we won't even recognize.

1/20/10, 5:48 AM  
Blogger StinkyLulu said...

I guess I've had two beliefs -- one which had been nagging all through 2008 and 2009, the other just coming into focus over the last days -- confirmed by the MA election.

First, Obama is much more conservative than he might have seemed to many during the campaign. Not a FOX-style ideological conservative, but a more traditional conservative who believes in the rightness -- even greatness -- of the institutions, traditions and ethical values of a (possibly illusory) previous era.

Second, the "upsets" by that northern NY congressional runoff, by the NJ and VA governorships, the Coakley debacle, and even -- I daresay -- Obama's primary victory seem to reflect an irrational contrarian streak within the general electorate. For the last two years, folks have been voting AGAINST machine politics and perceived incumbent arrogance. When a candidate is trumpeted as "unstoppable," the electorate shows up to stop them.

It's a knee-jerk, "dont' tell me what to do" kind of anger. And, unfortunately, the Republicans are much more experienced in capturing irrational anger than the Ds. Obama is too measured, too strategic a leader to capitalize on these shifting rages. But I don't know that the tortoise can beat the hare in this cultural moment, when the "finish line" is adjusted at whim by a voracious commentariat.

I've always felt myself to the left of the Democratic Party, but never more so than in the Obama era.

1/20/10, 8:33 AM  
Blogger xolondon said...

I worry that the pundit white noise is depressing you!

8 years of terrible, destructive leadership cannot be remedied in one year. It cannot. Nor should Obama have attempted such a sweeping agenda. This is all par for the course, though, the ups and downs of politics.

What Obama will learn, I hope, is that he needs to speak simply and clearly, tying together the threads of the economy and healthcare reform.

This election is as much about a weak Congress as it is a referendum on Obama. I'd like to see Reid out, for instance.

When you find a party that can win on your agenda (which I am guessing I agree with), let me know.

PS Re gay issues, I agree that "waiting patiently" is a load of shit when it comes to human rights, but I think I would rather fight within the status quo than rebel and lose.

1/24/10, 11:49 AM  

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