Sunday, June 08, 2008

Right-wing crap

Dave Neiwert nails it: How right-wing crap polluted Democrats' political waters:
That's how right-wing crap works. It's not meant to advance or even partake of discourse; it's meant to end it. One can argue the worth of Hillary's policies or her voting record or her position on the war till the cows come home; but when she's reduced to being a bitch, that pretty much ends the discussion. And when it's as pervasive as it's become in the past decade, its effects are paralyzingly toxic.

And it's important to remember that the same holds true regarding right-wing attitudes about a black man like Obama winning the White House. The most polite versions of right-wing cant hold that Obama's not experienced enough to be president, but the underlying drumbeat of this meme has been all about his foreign-sounding name or his supposed Muslim ties or his "weakness" on national security ... about his being a black man. ...

Let's all acknowledge some realities here that fly in the face of right-wing bullshit. Hillary is a superb politician and a fighter, a master of policy whose competence and qualifications are unquestionable -- and she is far from the cold, ugly human being the right and now her left-wing critics wish to paint her as. Obama, likewise, is a supremely gifted politician and a natural leader capable of convention-shattering feats, whose qualities in those regards progressives should never underestimate -- though of course, it's our hope that the right will.

The sooner both sides -- not just the leaders at the top, but the rank and file troops -- acknowledge these realities, and reject the right's pervasive and toxic crap, the better off we will all be.
I'm no longer a registered Democrat not because Clinton will not be nominated. The number one reason, rather, is precisely this: Democrats — leaders and rank-and-file — fall for right-wing crap time and again. We've stopped discussing liberal or progressive politics; the discourse is at best sports reporting and at worst just a regurgitation of Rush Limbaugh talking points.

Unlike Dave, I'm not an optimist: I don't think there's a snowball's chance in hell that the Democratic party or ordinary liberals and progressives will reject right-wing propaganda. It's not going to do any good whatsoever — none, zero, zilch — to elect a non-batshit-crazy conservative such as Obama if he will serve only as a scapegoat for the conservative catastrophe of the last eight years. It doesn't even buy liberals, progressives and Americans time; it buys the batshit crazy conservatives time to regroup and re-focus their message. They will come back in 2012 (or 2016 only if Obama proves as phenomenally capable as Bill Clinton) with a regime that makes the Cheney Bush administration look sensible, reasonable, tolerant and compassionate.

It may be impossible for the Democratic party to become effective. The mainstream, national media is bought and paid for by conservatives. A national democracy such as the United States stands or falls on its national media. The active hostility of the national media is probably impossible to overcome within the system. Because the media is owned by people who are batshit-crazy, it may be impossible to stave off collapse, despite the best efforts of sensible, intelligent people.

I no longer have any confidence that working within the system in the Democratic party is at all an effective use of my time and energy.


  1. My dad, who is a conservative (and an atheist, but a largely apathetic one about religion) and a history student, says that Barack caters to the "ultra libs", yet I've heard from you and others that he is conservative (or at least moreso than Democratic candidates used to be) and that the party is moving more in the conservative direction. I don't have the personal experience or knowledge of history to put either person's claims in context, so I was wondering if you could explain why you find Obama to be conservative.

  2. Mark: I really can't give you a host of links off the top of my head; staying on top of the political scene is not my strong point.

    I'm kind of busy with work and family right now, but I'll see what I can do when time permits.


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