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What Left?

2010 May 22
by Ian Welsh

David Sirota nails it:

Behold, for instance, major environmental groups’ attitude toward the Gulf oil spill.

We know that before the disaster, President Obama recklessly pushed to expand offshore drilling. We also know that his Interior Department gave British Petroleum’s rig a “categorical exclusion” from environmental scrutiny and, according to the New York Times, “gave permission to BP and dozens of other oil companies to drill in the Gulf without first getting required [environmental] permits.” Worse, we know that after the spill, the same Interior Department kept issuing “categorical exclusions” for new Gulf oil operations, and Interior Secretary Ken Salazar still refuses “to rule out continued use of categorical exclusions,” as the Denver Post reported (heckuva job, Kenny!).

Undoubtedly, had this been the behavior of a Republican administration, “the left’s” big environmental organizations would be scheduling D.C. protests and calling for firings, if not criminal charges. Yet, somehow, there are no protests. Somehow, there have been almost no calls for the resignation of Salazar, who oversaw this disaster and who, before that, took $323,000 in campaign contributions from energy interests and backed more offshore drilling as a U.S. senator. Somehow, facing environmental apocalypse, there has been mostly silence from “the left.”

So true.  On virtually everything.  Principles which change depending on who is in power are not principles.

But don’t think this gets donors and readers off the hook.  I can’t tell you the number of times I have been told “we can’t run with that, our readers won’t tolerate it.  They /want/ to believe in Obama.  They need to believe in Obama.”  (Well, actually, who knows if it gets them off the hook or not. I never believed it.  I believe you can tell people the goddamn truth and still get traffic.)

That has waned somewhat, but in early 2009 the number of things I wanted to say that I couldn’t either get published or front paged was rather extraordinary.  What happens in such situations is that writers, even when not explicitly edited, start self editing.  “Everyone knows” certain things, but hardly anyone says them, which is why you get the weird sight of people saying “everyone knew”, but then you look into the person’s archives and find they never said what “everyone knew”.

Of course, everyone didn’t know, but even before Obama took office, and especially in the month after, those of us whose jobs it was to watch closely say who he was appointing, and with a few exceptions, his appointments (or lack of appointments, as when he left Bush USA’s in office, something no other President had done) told the tale.  At that point anyone whose need to believe wasn’t Hindenburg sized, knew that liberals were about to get royally screwed up by Obama.

Oh well.

52 Responses
  1. May 22, 2010

    Why I have little respect for the people who were a-okay with the democratic party as long as hillary clinton was the nominee … who was as establishment democrat as one could be and whose positions in her campaign did not differ much from obama’s … but mustered up some “principles” when their hero didn’t win:

    Principles which change depending on who is in power, are not principles.

    Z

  2. Lori permalink
    May 22, 2010

    Z – Clinton’s voting record is clearly to the left of Obama’s. When you include the work she has done on behalf of ordinary people when she wasn’t in office, she’s way to the left of Obama. She has long history of getting stuff done on behalf of ordinary people. Obama has no history whatsoever of getting stuff done on behalf of anyone besides wealthy corporations and himself. Not as a civil rights attorney, not as a part time state representative and not as a senator.

    Someone needs to say it – the blogosphere backed the wrong candidate. Had Clinton won the nomination (as she should have), we would be living in a different world right now. Not a perfect one, but one with a far more effective and liberal leader.

    Obama is to Bush’s right time and time again. Claiming that Clinton would be that far right, when she is clearly to her husband’s left, is just idiotic, misogynistic bullshit. There’s a whole lotta cowards out there that don’t want to give up the illusion that they made the best choice under the circumstances. No, you didn’t – you backed the right wing moron who couldn’t win primaries knowing he was a lazy, right wing dilettante who didn’t ass from a rat hole as opposed to a clearly liberal candidate who won primary after primary.

    Someone needs to say it.

  3. Pepe permalink
    May 22, 2010

    Obama, the trojan horse.

    I wanted Obama over Hillary in the primary because I didn’t want all the Clintonistas back in the White House. Oops.

    Now I think Hillary would have been the wiser choice because there’s no way in hell that she would have gotten away with some of the policies that Obama has pushed.

    The political climate requires a leftward tack from Obama, no? So is he feckless or callous?

  4. anonymous permalink
    May 22, 2010

    What happens in such situations is that writers, even when not explicitly edited, start self editing. “Everyone knows” certain things, but hardly anyone says them, which is why you get the weird sight of people saying “everyone knew”, but then you look into the person’s archives and find they never said what “everyone knew”.

    This also leads to the convenient (that is, self-serving) phenomenon of group-think. When people avoid the truth and truth eventually comes out, people are able to say, “Well, who could have known? Everyone thought…” or “No one imagined…” (Does C. Rice have a trademark on that one?)

    This also helps to keep the Overton Window where the status quo wants it. “Keynes? Why, everyone knows that Keynes has been discredited…”

    Two anecdotes:

    1. During the 2008 primary debates, Hillary Clinton was overheard (yes, it was an open microphone) saying to John Edwards something to the effect of “we have to get these people who are not Serious out of the debates”, and Edwards agreed. Clinton did not like having to hear D. Kucinich make his points. Clinton believes that her class should rule. What’s good for her class is good for America.

    2. Bruce Dixon of blackagendareport.com was interviewed some months ago about what he thought about Obama. One of his comments was that Obama&Co had been successful in seeing to it that no view to the left of his views were heard on the corporate media, that is, as far as listeners were concerned the spectrum of possibilities ranges from the far right over to Obama. No other possibility exists in the country, at least not among reasonable, Serious people (the Overton Window has been shifted).

    Finally, here are Ron Jacobs’s objections to anyone referring to Liberals as “the Left”:


    Misrepresenting the Left

  5. Pepe permalink
    May 22, 2010

    @Lori – Hillary Clinton is no liberal.

    If Hillary Clinton had been elected president …

    If I had wheels, I’d be a trolley.

  6. Jim permalink
    May 22, 2010

    “What Left?” Good question?

    There is a left because there is a right and vice versa. So the right and left belong to the same body. The capitalists contain both a right and left. The working class movement, the trade union movement, or the environmental movement is not the left. They,too, contain a right and left.

    Is left or right an an ideological position or a political one? Politics expresses economics – clears the way for the economy or a section of the economy to develop. Thus the Democratic Party was the political expression of the agrarian bourgeoisie and the rising industrial class had to create a new party, the Republican Party, to represent its interests. Or, in later times, the Roosevelt Coalition, which dominated the Party, was the political expression of international finance capital, and it stood against the Republicans, which were the expression of national finance capital. The point is the political right and left expressed definite sections of the capitalist class.

    It is interesting to note that President Franklin Roosevelt once told one of his top aides that the Italian fascist dictator Benito Mussolini had a right wing fascist government where the corporations dominated the government, and added, “We need a left wing fascist government where the government dominates the corporations.” Because no one is suggesting that the government can ever disengage from the corporations. Both the right and the left are fascist.

    The Obama supporters are the “left” wing supporters of capitalism. When he supports capitalism; i.e. British Petroleum, then it is OK. When Bush supported capitalism; i.e. the Iraq war, it was all bad. So the left is right there supporting their class interests.

    I guess what I am asking is, “Are there two economic centers of gravity in capitalism today?” If by “Left” you mean a counter balance within capitalism then I think it is clear what your answer is: the “left” and “right” within capitalism are both there to protect their own basic interests–are to protect capitalism–and that is what they are both doing.

    So, “What Left?” They are right here doing what they are supposed to do: protecting capitalism.

  7. May 22, 2010

    Lori,

    I’m not defending obama … I didn’t vote for obama. And as far as misogyny is concerned, I’d like to have a woman president … just not an establishment democrat and a dlcer.

    She voted for the Iraq War Resolution … obama was not in the senate at the time, but spoke out against it, which admittedly means ZERO as far as how he would have voted if he was a senator at the time. obama did vote AGAINST the bankruptcy bill, while hillary clinton didn’t vote that day … for whatever reason. I know that she also voted for the patriot act in 2002 … along with 97 other senators. She worked to try to help pass nafta, although she denied it during her campaign. obama was supposedly against parts of it, but hasn’t done a damn thing about it while in office.

    Those are just three of hillary’s votes and three votes don’t necessarily make a senator, so what votes do you feel that she distinguished herself as “clearly to the left of Obama” on? What was hillary to the left of obama on during the campaign? Also, please provide some examples “of her long history of getting stuff done on behalf of ordinary people”. I sure didn’t see it during her time in the senate.

    Z

  8. anonymous permalink
    May 22, 2010

    Someone needs to say it – the blogosphere backed the wrong candidate. Had Clinton won the nomination (as she should have), we would be living in a different world right now. Not a perfect one, but one with a far more effective and liberal leader.

    Obama or Clinton — I don’t think it makes much difference when it
    comes to addressing the problems that the country and the planet
    faces. I suppose that Clinton would have done things differently,
    although I am not so sure. In taking the State Dept. position she has
    1) been effectively muzzled as a critic (although we’ve seen that
    there are no significant critics of Obama in the Democratic party),
    and 2) placed her “career” ahead of the country once again. She
    believes in her class (with or without realizing it) and what is best
    for it is best for the country. There are plenty of people who
    believe that Colin Powell is a better man than his Sec. of State
    service would indicate, but that is of no use and no solace to the
    people who have been affected by his choice to serve there and not
    speak out.

    Democratic primary voters gave a sign of what was to come with Obama
    when they themselves “pre-compromised” by not voting for the
    candidates that they most closely agreed with (hint: not Obama and not
    Clinton), but instead they (once again) decided to vote
    “strategically,” based on who they judged was “electable.”

    This is dis-functional — people need to vote their self-interest and
    what they believe in, not “let’s try to read other people’s minds and
    guess how they’ll vote so that we can back a winner.” Because primary
    voters continue to do that, they get candidates who do not
    govern in their (the voters’) interests. Instead, the voters play right
    into the hands of large donors: the “most electable” candidate is the
    one who raises the most money. After all, “everyone (on TV) says so.”

  9. anonymous permalink
    May 22, 2010

    Grammar note (please delete after reading)


    Principles which change depending on who is in power are not principles.

    Actually, the point I was making was about your use of ‘which’ instead of ‘that’. I was going to write about how ‘that’ is appropriate here because it is reserved for restrictive clauses, while ‘which’ is for unrestrictive clauses, which are set off by a comma or commas. But then I found this in the Chicago Style manual:

    “Some people use “which” restrictively, which is more or less okay (and popular among writers of British English) as long as no commas are involved…”

    I’m guessing that Canadian practice is more similar to British practice than it is to American practice.

  10. Lori permalink
    May 22, 2010

    Z

    Your interpretation of Clinton as anything other than an aggressive liberal is rooted in misogyny. Clinton was not judged on her actions but on the caricature that her opponents drew of her and that’s what you haven’t moved beyond.

    On the Iraq War Resolution – read her floor speech. If you’re a part of the reality based community (maybe you are, maybe you aren’t), then you’re capable of considering the timing of the vote – two weeks before an election in which the Democrats were going to lose control of the Senate. Clinton had two choices – vote against a bill which contained UN language which she believed was the only chance of preventing the war and see the Republicans pass a bill in January with no such language, or vote for a bill which at least contained the possibility of stopping the war. That’s it – one or the other. It’s clever politically to deny that but non-productive in the end because it rewards cowardice.

    Obama faked campaign footage of his objection to the war and did far less than Clinton to stop it once in the Senate. He was to Clinton’s right repeatedly.

    The Bankruptcy Bill – Clinton voted against cloture when the bill was being filibustered. She was at the hospital with Bill who was having open heart surgery the day of the vote. She made a public statement that it was a bad bill and that if she could be in DC that day, she would vote against it. Her vote against cloture makes that a credible statement.

    She did not work to pass NAFTA. That’s a lie.

    As for her long history of getting stuff done, maybe you need to read up on what she has done. When I talk about the caricature Obama’s idiotic supporters embraced, that’s what I’m addressing. The fact that you don’t know what Clinton’s done doesn’t mean Clinton hasn’t done stuff – but the egomaniacs who opposed her conflated their ignorance with her history.

    For example, when she got out of law school and moved to Arkansas, one of her first actions was to set up a legal aid clinic to help low income families with legal issues. That led to her being appointed to the board of Legal Services where she quickly became Chair. When Reagan was elected, he proposed millions in cuts to the service, and Clinton went to DC and not only talked him out of the cuts, she actually got him to expand the budget. When she discovered that rural Arkansans didn’t have access to healthcare because it wasn’t cost efficient for private entities to build medical facilities in sparsely populated areas, she went back to DC and got federal funds to build health care clinics around the state. Head Start didn’t have enough spots open for all the kids in Arkansas that needed them, so she developed a home schooling program for families to teach their pre-schoolers to read at home. When she learned about the micro-loan programs in Asia, she had dinner with the founder of those programs, and introduced a similar program in Arkansas for rural and small town entrepreneurs. And it goes on and on. As senator, she was incredibly involved in helping small businesses in New York find new markets for their wares. I don’t have that stuff handy at the moment, but she was deeply involved in practical solutions to people’s lives.

    She was to the left of Obama on every single issue in the campaign – Iraq, health care, immigration. Health care – she supported mandates and the creation of a Medicare-like entity that would provide health care at cost to anyone who wanted to purchase from a public insurer. Obama opposed mandates and eventually wound up supporting the proposal that the Heritage Foundation created in the early 90s to oppose Clinton’s first health care proposal.

    What you need to leave behind is the political rhetoric that was foisted on this nation by the misogynistic bigots running Obama’s campaign. He’s a wingnut – you shouldn’t believe anything that came out of any of them.

    Just look at the Randi Rhodes incident – a broadcaster with a national audience, speaking at an event arranged by Obama supporters for Obama supporters and advertised only on Obama’s site, repeatedly called Clinton a “fucking whore” and Obama didn’t feel any need to distance himself from that. Imagine, had Limbaugh appeared at an event for McCain, put together by McCain supporters and advertised on McCain’s site and called Obama, in front of a camera, a
    fucking nigger” over and over again. Think about how fast McCain would have moved away from that. But not Obama. Not Obama. Calling one of the most esteemed women in the Democratic party a “fucking whore” at an event in his honor, on camera, was acceptable to Obama.

    The campaign was as disgraceful as Reagan’s against Carter in every way. Look at how the states were docked delegates because of bills that were written and passed by Republicans. Would a real Democrat be willing to win by not counting all the Democratic votes? In the end, Obama was handed the nomination by James Roosevelt, the CEO of Tufts Healthcare, and in return, the Obama administration backed the exact health care plan that Roosevelt lobbied for publicly. I mean, don’t you think it’s a bit odd that four of the delegates Clinton legitimately won were just given to Obama just because?

    He’s a crook, a misogynist and he’s not very bright to boot. I doubt he’s ever read a single text on economics.

  11. anonymous permalink
    May 22, 2010

    She voted for the Iraq War Resolution…obama was not in the senate at the time

    Where were Clinton and Obama when Feingold was the sole senator to stand up for the senate resolution to reprimand Bush after it had been published that Bush had been ordering and said he would continue to order illegal, unconstitutional spying on Americans without a court warrant? Both were in the Senate, both said nothing. I remember thinking at the time “When is Obama going to join in this?” and then “Why hasn’t he?”

    Impeachment must be started in the House of Representatives. The Senate cannot hold a trial until it has been presented with articles of impeachment. Feingold did the only thing he could do within the Senate.

    And recall that in the summer of 2008, Kucinich presented resolutions (more than once) for having Bush impeached (he was ignored). Of course, he shredded his credibility with his vote for the InsuranceCare bill when his vote could have mattered.

  12. Bernard permalink
    May 22, 2010

    gosh this is so deadening. to hear the fight over Clinton and Obama. they are both Villagers, both playing us to advance the Corporate agenda. I am so tired hearing about this us vs them with these two as the protagonists.

    i hate both of them. while i think this will go on forever, i don’t care who is the better candidate. they both have had the opportunity to do what is right right now. not yesterday. Clinton is playing politics, so is Obama. so Obama is just a black Republican corporatist and Clinton is a white female with her own agenda. i don’t care about either’s agenda cause it isn’t about upsetting the status quo, the Villagers/Banksters, whatever you call the corporate structure.

    Clinton was so pro Iraq war, Obama voted for the spying. so they both have ups and downs. minuses and pluses.

    the one thing they both dont have is the capacity to lead us out of the financial, political morass we are in because they are both members of that class. the status quo is who they are members of.
    they are using their position to help themselves only.

    they don’t give a damn about us. the rest of America. could they dare to speak the truth about the sorry state that this or that party got us into now. they could but they WONT!!!!

    they are part and parcel of the problem, not the solution.

    they both are as crooked as the day is long. get over it. they are the PROBLEM with America.

    as David Sirota said, there is no one who stands up for principles anymore on the left. the left is just as corrupt as the right, just the right is more adept at controlling the Overton Window.

    gosh i wish you people who fight for your candidates would fight for us, the American working class. once the working class could move up the economic ladder, now very few can.

    if your candidate is not interested in helping us, or is more interested in being part of the Kabuki play called Washington DC, please realize the rest of us don’t care who is more this or voted for that. the whole ball of wax is what matter. the principles of integrity accountability and the rule of law

    we are now a country where the rule of men is more important than the rule of law. We are sunk baby.

    Gosh how many times will it take for “your side” to get “it.” there is more to this country than your own point of view, if only you cared about principles instead of your OWN TAKE.

    this is why the American republic has turned into a fascist state, where the corporations run it, just like Mussolini.
    and it appears the Weimar republic is being replicated as well. so the good times are just beginning.

    i hope your “side” gets out there and gets its’ share. ME, ME, ME it’s all about ME!!!

  13. May 22, 2010

    Yeah, sorry, Lori, but while Clinton probably would have been better than Obama she would not have been enough better to make a difference.

    I think it’s disingenuous of you to claim that any criticism of her is rooted in misogyny because there are a lot of valid criticisms which then cannot be voiced. Landmine ban vote? Cluster munitions ban vote? (And she was in favor of NAFTA before she was against it.)

    A neoliberal who believes that more crumbs should be distributed to the underclasses is still a neoliberal. And she’s clearly every bit the warmonger that Obama is. Also, the argument you make for her vote on Iraq is, frankly, crap. If she was against doing it then she should have made that clear; her speech before her vote clearly expresses that she was not fundamentally opposed to invading Iraq.

    Finally, she’s a career Democrat. That should be enough to shatter whatever illusions might be left. The problem isn’t the people (though they don’t help); the problem is in the system and in the Party.

  14. Lori permalink
    May 22, 2010

    Bernard,

    Yet, year after year, Clinton creates programs and introduces legislation that makes life better for ordinary people. The fact that you don’t know she does that simply means that you aren’t paying attention. Pro-corporate? Not a conclusion you can come to based on her actions. But don’t let reality mess with your sanctimony.

    No, Clinton was never pro-war. She didn’t support the war. She didn’t endorse it. She opposed it and she supported the only legislation that had the possibility of stopping it. That bill was going to pass in January without the UN language if it didn’t pass in October. It was a Hail Mary vote that didn’t work out. That’s all.

  15. Lori permalink
    May 23, 2010

    Oh, and Bernard, you clearly haven’t read her speech.

    Some people favor attacking Saddam Hussein now, with any allies we can muster, in the belief that one more round of weapons inspections would not produce the required disarmament, and that deposing Saddam would be a positive good for the Iraqi people and would create the possibility of a secular democratic state in the Middle East, one which could perhaps move the entire region toward democratic reform.

    This view has appeal to some, because it would assure disarmament; because it would right old wrongs after our abandonment of the Shiites and Kurds in 1991, and our support for Saddam Hussein in the 1980′s when he was using chemical weapons and terrorizing his people; and because it would give the Iraqi people a chance to build a future in freedom.

    However, this course is fraught with danger. We and our NATO allies did not depose Mr. Milosevic, who was responsible for more than a quarter of a million people being killed in the 1990s. Instead, by stopping his aggression in Bosnia and Kosovo, and keeping on the tough sanctions, we created the conditions in which his own people threw him out and led to his being in the dock being tried for war crimes as we speak.

    If we were to attack Iraq now, alone or with few allies, it would set a precedent that could come back to haunt us. In recent days, Russia has talked of an invasion of Georgia to attack Chechen rebels. India has mentioned the possibility of a pre-emptive strike on Pakistan. And what if China were to perceive a threat from Taiwan?

    So Mr. President, for all its appeal, a unilateral attack, while it cannot be ruled out, on the present facts is not a good option.

    And let’s remember, Hans Blix wanted the authorization. He thought it was the only way he was going to finally and definitely disarm Hussein.

    So, it’s a strategic vote delivered at a time when history when Democrats had few choices. Voting against the bill only created a situation where there was no possibility of continuing the disarmament process. Some liberals would have preferred that, no doubt – I guess that’s whose company you’re in. But that doesn’t make you anti-war. That only makes you a coward that doesn’t really have what it takes to stop anything.

    Here we have the candidate that’s the closest thing to FDR in 50 years and the left has gone right off the deep end buying the rhetoric of a candidate who is to the right of George Bush over and over again.

  16. anonymous permalink
    May 23, 2010

    More votes:

    02/12/2008 FISA Amendments Act of 2007, passed 68-29
    Clinton – no vote
    Obama – no vote

    07/09/2008 Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act Amendments, passed 69-28
    Clinton – No
    Obama – Yes

    07/09/2008 Striking Telecom Immunity from the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Bill,
    amendment rejected 32-66
    Clinton – Yes
    Obama – Yes

    10/01/2008 Financial Asset Purchase Authority and Tax Law Amendments, passed 74-25
    Clinton – Yes
    Obama – Yes

    01/15/2009 Releasing Funds for Economic Stabilization Act, failed 42-52
    Clinton – No
    Obama – resigned so he could be “bipartisan”

    12/16/2005 PATRIOT Act Reauthorization, passed 52-47
    Clinton – No
    Obama – No

    03/02/2006 PATRIOT Act Reauthorization, passed 89-10
    Clinton – Yes
    Obama – Yes

  17. Lori permalink
    May 23, 2010

    Lex,

    it’s the caricature of her as a pro-corporate Dem that is rooted in misogyny. Look at these all these yahoos who have no idea what it is she’s actually done for ordinary people in her life. The gullible dimwits who supported Obama (who was always clearly to her right when one considered what the two of them had actually done in their life).

    Obama is to Bush’s right time and time again. Clinton’s voting record is closer to Boxer’s than to Feinstein’s and way to the left of Lieberman. Don’t pretend that we wouldn’t have a dramatically more liberal, if imperfect, president had Obama not been handed the nomination by disenfranchising Democratic voters.

    And no, Hillary never supported NAFTA in anyway. That’s simply a lie.

  18. Lori permalink
    May 23, 2010

    Anonymous,

    Here is eRiposte’s excellent series on Clinton that doesn’t cherry pick votes:
    http://www.theleftcoaster.com/archives/011131.php

    Read all three parts.

  19. Ian Welsh permalink*
    May 23, 2010

    I think Clinton would have been slightly better on domestic issues. However, the main thing I am sure of is this: no way in hell would Clinton have left Republican USA’s in office. One thing about Clinton, she believed in the “vast right wing conspiracy” and I think she would have gone after them hard. Some things might be brushed over, but a lot of it wouldn’t have been, not due to great moral principles but because Clinton understood that when you have a chance to stick a shiv in your enemies, you do.

    However, the point of the article wasn’t really about Clinton. Everyone didn’t know Clinton was better than Obama, trust me on that, a lot of people who believed in Obama during the primaries really believed. Others felt that there really wasn’t that much difference. The main gutlessness was an unwillingness to buck the trend, but it wasn’t bloggers like Kos who decided on Obama, their audience dragged them there, and they followed.

    However, by about a month after inauguration everyone knew what Obama was. Those of us following economics and markets knew after TARP. That mess wouldn’t have passed without Obama, and even if he thought something was needed, he had the muscle then to make something better pass.

  20. anonymous permalink
    May 23, 2010

    Here we have the candidate that’s the closest thing to FDR in 50 years…

    Fifth closest, after

    – Robert Kennedy
    – Hubert Humphrey
    – George McGovern
    – Walter Mondale

    The blogosphere was wrong about them, too.

  21. Lori permalink
    May 23, 2010

    Ian,

    The problem is that until the left and the blogosphere admits that they were duped and that they engaged in a tremendous amount of anti-Clinton dishonesty, then Obama will never be held accountable for this crap.

    Look at this BP mess – it’s not reasonable to claim that Clinton wouldn’t have been light years better on this issue. But because people have invested themselves in this notion of Clinton as a conservative, pro-corporate Dem, which is almost completely at odds with her actual history of accomplishment and her voting record, they wind up giving Obama a pass on it all because the only real option would have been as bad.

    Saying that you believe someone is a liberal when, at 48, they have no history of actual liberal accomplishment that benefits ordinary people is just bullshit – hysterical, self-indulgent, egotistical, ignorant bullshit. It was clear to anyone willing to actually look at Obama’s astonishing lack of accomplishment that he was not a liberal in any way, shape or form.

    Had Clinton taken the nomination, the stimulus package would have been dramatically different and targeted at creating real jobs for ordinary people. She would have created a HOLC program that would have gone a long way towards resolving the housing crisis for individual families. This BP situation would have been handled in a dramatically different fashion. And gay marriage would not have been compared to incest and pedophilia. She wasn’t going to tackle health care reform until her second term, as I recall, but she sure as hell wouldn’t have thrown women’s reproductive rights under the bus as thoroughly as Obama did.

    Someone has to say it – the blogosphere got it wrong. They engaged in the same level of truthiness, and were as gullible to marketing as the right was when they elected Bush, and it got us a president that is largely to Bush’s right.

  22. anonymous permalink
    May 23, 2010


    Here is eRiposte’s excellent series on Clinton that doesn’t cherry pick votes:

    Thank you for the link. I can’t promise that I will read all of it, because your point about Clinton is somewhat moot. She is not president and so even if she would have been a “traitor to her class” as FDR was, she doesn’t have the opportunity now. Also, I disagree on the “cherry picking” but I’m not going to argue that now.

    Now that “it had to be said” and it has been said that the blogosphere was wrong, what are the next steps to the program?

    – Get the blogosphere to admit its error
    – Start a Dump Obama / Draft Clinton campaign

    If we’re going to draft a mainstream politician, then it might as well be Gore. He has his flaws, but he has 1) shown that he can win elections (by over 500,000 votes) and 2) has foresight (“the vision thing”), which is more than you can say for pretty much everyone else in the mainstream. Most importantly, he has long ago recognized the most important problem we face. All of the rest that is on the agenda is just rearranging the deck chairs.

  23. anonymous permalink
    May 23, 2010

    Obama will never be held accountable for this crap.

    Obama can get in line (in docket?) behind Bush&Cheney.

    Johnson was clearly responsible for a huge crime when he lied about the Gulf of Tonkin incident and bears the primary responsibility for the crime that was the Vietnam War. But Nixon&Kissinger managed to commit some war crimes of their own.

    I wonder if Clinton will say anything about this, or will she just keep her position, biding her time. She has a “career” to think about. Colin Powell covered himself in honor by his resigning and speaking out. No, wait. He didn’t.

  24. anonymous permalink
    May 23, 2010

    Had Clinton taken the nomination, the stimulus package would have been dramatically different and targeted at creating real jobs for ordinary people. She would have created a HOLC program that would have gone a long way towards resolving the housing crisis for individual families. This BP situation would have been handled in a dramatically different fashion. And gay marriage would not have been compared to incest and pedophilia.

    It would have been nice if anyone had mentioned prosecuting the war criminals that attacked a country that had not threatened the U.S. and had no means to threaten the U.S. and, oh yeah, killed hundreds of thousands of civilians. You know, no biggie.
    I guess the Sec. of State can live with that. Not in her bailiwick. Water under the bridge.

  25. Lori permalink
    May 23, 2010

    Sure, we should dump Obama. He’s the worst Democratic president since Buchanan. And then we have a primary where the CEO of a healthcare corporation isn’t put in the position of deciding which votes count and which votes don’t.

    Gore is more conservative than Clinton and I’m a liberal so I’m less interested in him than I am in Hillary. But I have no problem with the two of them duking it out and moving the entire discourse of our nation to the left. I want a president who is good on women’s issues, and Gore’s legislative history and rhetoric was substandard. Not as bad as Obama’s actions on women’s issues, but not up to the Democratic platform too many times.

    I will remind you that in October of 08, long after Obama had been handed the nomination, Clinton was still running better against McCain than Obama was. I’m quite confident she can win.

  26. anonymous permalink
    May 23, 2010

    Sure, we should dump Obama.

    No argument from me. I’ve been arguing with people since July 2008 that he should be dumped. At the time, it was “dump him at the convention and draft someone. The man just voted for a law that plainly violates the Fourth Amendment to the Constitution and provides retroactive immunity (when do they teach that concept in Constitutional law?) for companies that violated FISA, after saying that he would filibuster any such law just six months earlier, before he had the nomination.”

    Just so we’re clear on the plan:

    – Step one: Tell the blogosphere what huge idiots and dupes they’ve been
    – Step two: Get blogosphere to admit it and promise to do better
    – Step three: Initiate Dump Obama drive
    – Step four: Fight over who to draft

  27. Lori permalink
    May 23, 2010

    Hopefully, he’ll be so thrilled at the billions of dollars he’s going to make sitting on the boards of oil companies, defense contractors and health insurance organizations that his greed will content him to one term and we can have an open primary. Getting the blogosphere to leave behind their misogyny is going to be the real trick. Obama has single handedly moved our cultural dialogue back to the 19th century when it comes to women.

  28. May 23, 2010

    Unlike Obama, Hillary Clinton doesn’t despise liberals and liberalism. That made her, to me, an upgrade worth fighting for. There are things about her I admire and things I find shameful. In Obama, I find nothing to admire beyond the color-bar-breaking symbolism of his ascent.

    It’s impossible and IMHO of little worth to divine what she’d have done differently or the same.

    Overall, faith in the Democrats has proven a reliable sucker bet. So, in a way I should thank Obama and his supporters for helping me wise up to that fact.

  29. Lori permalink
    May 23, 2010

    Vast Left,

    It’s about the truthiness that colored the primary rhetoric – no one can tackle Obama’s shortfalls until they process what they did wrong. What value is Sirota’s commentary on Obama when he engaged in such self-deception during the campaign? He played a role in defeating the obviously superior candidate. Now, he’s unhappy with what he’s got. What is that?

  30. anonymous permalink
    May 23, 2010

    Overall, faith in the Democrats has proven a reliable sucker bet. So, in a way I should thank Obama and his supporters for helping me wise up to that fact.

    And it has been a wake-up call to the fact that the Democratic establishment will follow its Leader just as much as the Republicans followed their Leader.

    (Personally, I’m still waiting for the Democrats to reverse all legislation passed since Bush v. Gore and to impeach Scalia, Thomas, and Kennedy for their actions. And the appointments of Roberts & Alito are nullified. President Andrew Jackson would accept no less.)

    Imagine if Clinton had been the candidate and was holding office now. No amount of words would have ever convinced Obama’s supporters that they hadn’t lost a once-in-a-lifetime candidate. He was The One. Even now, with abundant evidence of how they were mistaken and duped, many do not see that he is not the president that they thought that candidate would be.

  31. jo6pac permalink
    May 23, 2010

    I’d rather had Howard Dean.

  32. anonymous permalink
    May 23, 2010

    But don’t think this gets donors and readers off the hook.

    And what about the voters from Ms “Impeachment is Off the Table” Pelosi’s district? These are reputedly some of the most liberal voters in the country, and yet they vote for her time and again. Where are their principles?

  33. anonymous permalink
    May 23, 2010

    I’d rather had Howard Dean.

    While we’re talking about choices we don’t have, I would rather have third (left-wing) and fourth (right-wing) parties. The current system of “vote them out in the primaries” is not enough of solution to expressing the will of the governed. What is needed are people who, once elected, have a clear mandate from their supporters.

    The current binary-choice system is allowing people to hide behind the excuse that “I defeated my (only) opponent, so this indicates that the voters support my views.” When Democrats lose, the refrain is “the district/state/country is showing its true centrist-right colors.” When Republicans lose, the refrain is “the voters are turning away from the right-wing extremists.”

  34. Lori permalink
    May 23, 2010

    Anonymous,

    I’m not voting. I’m a 50+ yo woman who has worked on over 40 Democratic campaigns in my life and I’m not voting. I’ve called my local reps up and told them why.

    With enough people not participating, some genius will decide to represent us. Voting for Democrats and 3rd party candidates doesn’t seem to move anything left, so I’m going to drop out for a while. I’m hearing anecdotally that lots of county boards are losing their female members because of dissatisfaction over Obama’s policies when it comes to women and their issues. If that movement gets big enough, it will impact campaigns and elections. There are a lot of campaigns that are almost entirely staffed by middle aged women. If we walk, it’s going to hurt.

  35. anonymous permalink
    May 23, 2010

    I’m not voting. I’m a 50+ yo woman who has worked on over 40 Democratic campaigns in my life and I’m not voting. I’ve called my local reps up and told them why.

    You’re not alone. This has happened already in the races in Virginia, where the entire Democratic slate lost all executive positions after their candidate for governor came out with a statement a few weeks before the election that he would “opt out” of any “public option” for insurance. The voters there had a choice between him and the reactionary guy, who supports commemorating the state’s pre-Civil War “heritage.” It wasn’t that the voters who would have voted for Democrats instead “chose” the right-wing — they stayed home. Similarly, Brown won Kennedy’s former seat because the public option had been withheld from the Democrats bill. People said, “Screw them.”

    For years, it used to be possible to argue that the poor and middle class who voted for Republicans were suckers because the Republicans would take their votes and then proceed to screw them over, economically (Thomas Frank, twenty years late, wrote that whole book on it). Now, the Democrats have been flushed out, (and they have been frantically trying to find a way to hide again). There is no good choice for people making below the median income in the U.S.

    As has been said, our not voting will be taken as a right-wing backlash against Obama’s “left-wing agenda.” The Tea Party has spoken!

  36. beowulf permalink
    May 23, 2010

    “Obama is to Bush’s right time and time again.”

    Now that is the interesting point. Obama has been so conservative and, more importantly, liberals have been such sheep that on a lot of issues a President McCain (having to work with a Democratic Congress) would have come out with policies to the left of where Obama did.

  37. anonymous permalink
    May 23, 2010

    …a President McCain (having to work with a Democratic Congress) would have come out with policies to the left of where Obama did.

    Which is why so many people are concerned about the commission that Obama set up, and which is meeting in secret (“because only in secret can people tell the unpleasant truths that must be told”). They expect the commission to come up with proposals to gut Medicare and “privatize” Social Security. Obama will then push for legislation that enacts the recommendations, all of while feeding the media lots of adjectives and adverbs about how he is being “Fiscally Responsible”, “Bipartisan”, and “Fighting for the People.” (“let him be perfectly clear”, “make no mistake”, blah, blah)

  38. Lori permalink
    May 23, 2010

    Anonymous,

    50+ year old women who have dedicated their lives to the Democratic party are not seriously perceived as joining up with the Tea Party – no one believes that. You don’t spend your lifetime fighting for FDR’s 2nd bill of rights and then join the Tea Party. Anyone who is telling you that think they that’s what’s happening is either lying or too stupid to be of any value to the party. They know what’s going on. They’re doing the polls. We’re staying home because Obama is betraying women and their issues over and over again. The Dems may not want to admit that they know this, but they do. What their polling is turning up is that Obama is to far to the right for women who understand economic issues, among other things. There is sort of a condescending male viewpoint (of which I am not accusing you) that women in the Democratic party don’t understand basic economics. But, of course, we do.

    Voting Republican as a protest, as some PUMAs did in the last election, will be taken as a move to the right and I spoke out against supporting McCain for that reason. Staying home, when both parties move right, will be seen as the failure to give us a reason to vote.

  39. anonymous permalink
    May 23, 2010

    50+ year old women who have dedicated their lives to the Democratic party are not seriously perceived as joining up with the Tea Party – no one believes that

    Of course not. I was referring to how the electoral results will be described/explained by the corporate media, not the reality.

    Staying home, when both parties move right, will be seen as the failure to give us a reason to vote.

    That has not happened yet in the elections that have taken place since November, 2009.

    As the Blanche Lincoln election in Arkansas has shown, when there is a challenge to Democrats from their supporters, they know enough to attempt to appear to support the positions of the Left. But that is done only so long as necessary. Their primary effort (how they will vote, what legislation they will propose) will then go back to supporting their class and the status quo.

  40. May 23, 2010

    I think that people should make sure their votes are “undervotes.” It’s important, IMNSHO, to vote, and to have your vote counted, and yet to vote for neither of the two legacy parties.

    http://www.correntewire.com/why_dont_i_care_anymore#comment-172057

  41. anonymous permalink
    May 24, 2010

    I think that people should make sure their votes are “undervotes.” It’s important, IMNSHO, to vote, and to have your vote counted, and yet to vote for neither of the two legacy parties.

    OK, will do.

    It would be useful, I think, if more people knew the process for submitting a write-in ballot.

    I would like for everyone who considers themselves to be “of the Left” to write-in Noam Chomsky’s name. If he were to get, say, 10% of the vote, it would be impossible for the corporate media to claim that it was a backlash against “Obama’s socialist agenda” and a vote for the Tea Party.

  42. May 24, 2010

    Bernard,

    “they (obama and hillary) are both Villagers, both playing us to advance the Corporate agenda.”

    Exactly, and so is the party. And they’ve been doing it for damn near 20 years now.

    Z

  43. May 24, 2010

    Lori,

    Thanks for the reply. I don’t have the time right now to thoroughly respond to your post, but I will say this: you have objectivity issues when it comes to hillary clinton. You have an unhealthy amount of faith in her … it’s cds, just not your definition of it. It is so extreme that you are extremely sure that she’d do a super-duper better job at handling the oil spill situation … and, according to you, everyone who doesn’t believe that is unreasonable … even though there is no way for you, or anyone else, to know how your saint hillary would have handled it. And she has no history … as far as I know … of handling anything of that scale or type successfully, or otherwise. But you “know”, and every one who doesn’t is bonkers. Yeah, you know all right; that’s the problem: you “know” too much.

    Just a quick sift through some more of your nonsense:

    Your portrayal of hillary clinton … ms. dlc herself who hired mark penn as her chief campaign strategist! … as some sort of antagonist of corporate amerika made me laugh so hard I vomited.

    hillary clinton voted for the iraq resolution … a politically expedient vote, which was not uncharacteristic for her at all. She didn’t have to vote that way even if she agreed with it becoz it had way more votes than needed to pass it, but she did what almost every other gutless senator did that day. And I have no memory of her pushing to prevent the war after she voted for that resolution either … ZERO. Speeches don’t mean shit … it makes it even more disgusting to me that she understood and articulated the reasons why we shouldn’t go into Iraq and she was still cowardly and corrupt enough to vote for it. That’s the arlen specter special.

    She also could have voted for a bill shortly afterward that could have been a more effective bill to rein in bush’s lust for war. But she didn’t. And it is very hard to believe that she, a very smart person who has a law degree from yale, misunderstood the fundamentals of such an important bill, as she later contended. (http://www.nytimes.com/2008/02/02/us/politics/02check.html).

    SHE DID WORK TO HELP PASS NAFTA!

    And as the AP reports today, the recently released 11,000-plus pages of her First Lady “schedules show her holding at least five meetings in 1993 aimed at helping to win congressional approval of the deal.”

    http://blogs.abcnews.com/politicalpunch/2008/03/hillary-clint-1.html

    Robert Reich, a pretty honest man for a dcer, even said that she wasn’t against nafta, just the timing of bringing it to congress.

    I have little faith in the robustness of principles of those that are so nonobjective that they only came to the realization that the democratic party is a corrupt, corporate-run cesspool when hillary lost the nomination race. They’re not that much different than the obama-bots or the bush backers …. if at all … they just happen to be looking in the right direction presently becoz they are pissed off that they lost and they resent those that they feel wronged their blessed candidate. Their “principles” IMO are entirely dependent upon whether their hero is in charge. And if their saint hillary was in power and doing some of the same stuff that the deplorable obama is … and he is deplorable … many of them would be throwing around their child-like rebuttals of cds or misogynist at those that had valid criticisms of their hero. Just like they do now.

    Z

  44. BDBlue permalink
    May 24, 2010
    Obama will never be held accountable for this crap.

    Obama can get in line (in docket?) behind Bush&Cheney.

    I have a bipartisan solution, let’s throw all four of them (Obama/Biden, Bush/Cheney) in the dock. Post-partisanship everyone can get behind!

    Obama was the worst possible choice as the Democratic Party nominee (although he probably wasn’t the worst candidate, that would’ve been his running mate, IMO, who chaired not only the “let’s invade Iraq” committee hearings, but also the Clarence Thomas hearings). The reason Obama was the worst is because it was pretty clear he had a way of co-opting the entire “left” in terms of activist groups that none of the other candidates had. So not only did he run to everyone’s right, particularly on domestic issues, he’s pretty much untouchable. As the BP disaster is showing. Can you imagine what the environmental groups would be saying if Bush were president?

  45. DancingOpossum permalink
    May 24, 2010

    While I supported Hillary in the primaries and know she would have been better than the increasingly horrific Obama, who is well on track to steal the coveted Worst President Ever trophy from Dubya, I am thoroughly done with both parties and would not support her if she ran again, particularly in light of her role as Sec of State and her warmongering rhetoric. I still admire her but supporting another Democrat (or Republican) at the national level is just not in the cards for me. And I can’t get worked up about Reps vs. Dems anymore, I don’t care what the tea partiers are doing or saying or what any of the lunatics on the right or appeasers on the left are fighting about. None of it matters, it’s all part of the same charade.

    And Ian, it simply isn’t true that the readers dragged Kos and other pwog-bloggers into the lurid Obama camp. Kos, HuffPo, DU, TPM, Aravosis and all the other established proggers pitched themselves wholeheartedly into the Obama idolatry (and the accompanied smearing of Clinton, Edwards, and Kucinich, and their supporters). They did it with glee and with a vicious abandon that would normally be reserved only for Republicans. Many readers were appalled and left, to be replaced by young Obamabot stormtroopers who swamped the sites and made them untenable, not to mention unreadable–especially at Kos. Places like the Nation did the same thing, only couching it in far more genteel language, until there seemed like no place for a lefty Obama skeptic to go. Thank God for the PUMAs, who got the ball rolling and ferreted out other skeptical sites like this one, Joe Cannon’s (RIP), etc.

    Now that the Obama-ites are starting to wake from their hallucination, there is a little more real discussion going on in the blogosphere BUT it is still coming down, in a lot of places, to Dems vs. Reps. There is a still a continuing sense of “Yeah, Obama is horrible and the Democrats are backstabbing betrayers…but…but…but — OMG look over there!! TEA PARTIES!! Rand Paul! Oh NOES!!! See??? the Republicans are worse so we have to keep voting for Democrats!”

    Nope, sorry. It’s no good anymore. Even at Digby’s, which is Grand Central Station for the LOTE argument, commenters are getting pretty fed up with the obfuscating “Scary Republicans! Send more money to Democrats!” strategy. It isn’t working anymore. What comes after this, I don’t know. I hope that lefties will stay strong and ignore the siren call of “Good Progressive Democrats.” There aren’t any. Get used to it.

  46. Bernard permalink
    May 24, 2010

    Lori

    i certainly distrust Hillary. i saw in the paper where she went up to Mellon, who started and financed the Whitewater Kabuki, and asked for his help.

    that alone shows me she is scum beyond belief. the Man responsible for the attack on her and her Husband and she goes supplicating for his support. MY GOD!! this guy tried and successfully destroyed her reputation with the Vast Right Wing Conspiracy which Hillary complained about all along.

    how am I to trust anyone who do this, who behaves this way? God forbid she should have power. DAngerous, by far the most treacherous action i have seen openly. now i don’t know much about Obama covert behavior, which by now is easy to gauge from this BP mess. Obama is bought and paid by Corporate Wall ST et al. and of course the Spy Vote which was all it took for me NOT to believe anything he said/says.

    Clinton’s sucking up to Mellon is so incredible, so despicable, i would and could never trust her either.

    that was the test of Clinton’s character that showed me who and what she was. that was not smart, to do so in such an open and “honest” sunshine way. Stupidity is not one of my favorite traits in political or maybe it was the outright supplication that i couldn’t stomach. wow that is so low.

    who knows what she is otherwise. i suppose being part of the POWER structure we will see her return.

    do i like Obama, lol ask me how i feel about ST. Ronnie!!!!

    Both Parties, D and R, are part of the Corporate Oligarchy that runs America. There is SO LITTLE difference between the two.

    if you can stomach someone like Clinton’s amoral lust for power, you have different values and i will never EVER understand how to “believe” in this kind of ACTIONS. Obama is just as bad, as we are seeing.

    Obama was the Lackey of choice by the POWERS that be. i do agree that there is hatred towards Women.
    i have never doubted such and as long as women let MEN get away with such behavior, well this is women’s choice. cause there are lots of men who long from strong ETHICAL WOMEN, not the supplicants like Hillary, and most of the women in politics today.

  47. Bernard permalink
    May 24, 2010

    men who long for STRONG women, me included.

  48. Bernard permalink
    May 24, 2010

    I live in New Orleans, and have seen what both Bush and Obama haven’t done for my city and state. The charade of what America has become is proof that none of us have any input into the country of my birth. that we have become the Weimar Republic and Fascist Italy/Imperial Rome is sad and bodes well the anarchists we have succumbed to from the Corporate State.

    Trust me, said the spider to the fly!

    Those who think there is a difference in political parties in America need only follow the lobbying/buying of every single politician who gets elected. if i hadn’t read the Rise and Fall of the Third Reich, i couldn’t have expected to see the piece of the puzzle fit together and fall so nicely in conjunction with the Reich that runs America.

    when 10% or less of the people control over half of the income today of the rest of the population, there is something rotten and it aint’ in Denmark. Fascism is what it is called when Corporate structures dictate Government actions

    of course, after seeing the average ignorance of the American populace, via Jay Leno’s on the spot questioning of “average” Americans and most of the people i know and work with, i don’t doubt they have no clue nor care enough about anything much less the reality of the Military Congressional Corporate Industrial Complex. i would bet they don’t even know who Richard Mellon, the Koch Brothers, Pete Peterson, Roger Ailes, and all the other “LEADERS” of America are.

    i spoke with an attorney today who hadn’t heard of Ayn Rand or Atlas Shrugged. my God, i am surrounded by uneducated masses. Thanks to Texas we will keep on keeping on that way.

  49. DancingOpossum permalink
    May 25, 2010

    Well, every politician has an amoral lust for power. It’s just that some of them use that power for some good, at least some of the time. That’s what I would have expected from a Hillary presidency. With Obama, you get the amoral lust with nothing to counter it. Just sheer naked careerist ambition.

  50. Zach permalink
    May 25, 2010

    Bernard says:

    i certainly distrust Hillary. i saw in the paper..

    that alone shows me she is scum

    A flawed politician? O, as someone above has said, noes!

    “Scum” on the other hand is about intense revulsion and vitriol, a word used on someone for which you have an intimately personal beef.

    We are talking about a politician you have never met, will never meet, and clearly have no interest in researching (“I saw in the paper”? Really?). Sure I can see rejecting, disliking or disapproving — why go so far as to loathe?

    Seems like a lot of unecessary hassle. In any case, calling a woman “scum” will always trigger the creepy-o-meter for anyone reading what you say. Thats what misogyny is, most of the time: going for the intense hate when simple rejection would have been plenty enough.

  51. May 25, 2010

    I didn’t vote for either one of them, but knowing what I know now, I’d vote for hillary over obama just becoz he’s been so damn terrible and left a lot of room for improvement so the chances are that hillary would have been better and there isn’t much room to be worse … and I’ve been posting that for a while now. And though I’m not going to meander too far into the what-ifs if she was president, I think that it is very likely that she would have been better at domestic policy. I also think that she’d be more of the same with foreign affairs, defense and economic policy, and continue to sell our interests out to AIPAC and Israel. There is little in her record to suggest otherwise. And that ain’t better enough.

    Z

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