Thursday Thirteen Ed. #66

by Steve, November 9th, 2006

politicsMany Thursday Thirteen regulars may have the impression of me that I’m just one of those Demon-cratic, Bush-hating Lie-berals, just waiting for my party to come back so we can push our agenda of gay marriage, gun control and high taxes. Well, it may come as a surprise, then, to discover that I can be as critical of the Democrats as I am of Republicans. So in the spirit of fairness, here are Thirteen Things the Democrats Should Remember (But Will Probably Forget):

1. It’s the economy, stupid. Thirty years of neoliberal rule has skewed the distribution of wealth dramatically to the richest 2% in this country. The middle class is shrinking, the working class is now the working poor, everybody’s in debt up to their eyeballs or beyond, and everybody’s working longer hours for less pay (when adjusted for inflation) than three decades ago. We’re at a point now, for the first time in American history, where we can’t realistically expect our children to be more prosperous than us. Raising the minimum wage is a nice gesture, but it doesn’t address the fundamentals of neoliberal fiscal policy championed by every president since Carter and “free trade” championed by every president since Bush I. Being in hock to China is more a threat to our fundamental security than “terrorists”.

2. We won’t solve our health care crisis without a single payer system. But don’t expect Democrats to push for single payer. It’s anathema to the insurance lobby. (Remember Hillary’s debacle? She took single payer off the table before she even got started.)

3. We can’t have a stable Middle East without a solution to the Palestinian crisis. Bush’s refusal to deal with the Palestinian Authority has been shameful, but can we expect the Democrats to defy the Israel lobby? History says “NO!”

4. War is not an energy policy. Don’t look now, but history tells us the Democrats were bombing the fuck out of Iraq before the Republican’s invaded (with the explicit support of the Democrats).

5. War is not an anti-terror strategy. See #4. Which Democrats opposed bombing Afghanistan? That’s right, none. And boy, that policy sure has helped reduce terrorism (not!). A country reduced to rubble. Osama bin Laden still at large. Mullah Omar still at large. The Taliban resurgent. Women still oppressed. Apostates sentenced to death. Hey, I’ve got an idea, why don’t we go bomb Somalia next?

6. There is no war on terror. Quit repeating Republican talking points and dumping money down the military-industrial rathole. Shine a light on the real security issue: the economy.

7. Ceding issues to the opposition is not a winning strategy in the long term. Sure, you took the house by running a bunch of conservatives in Democratic clothing. But when the party becomes (became?) nothing but a weak echo of the Republican party, or even the “true” conservative party (vs. the neoconservative Bush Republicans), where does that leave liberals and progressives? Isn’t this akin to destroying a village in order to save it?

8. Hillary can’t win the presidency. Neither can Obama. Get over it.

9. At some point, you won’t have George W. Bush handing you elections. You better come up with a winning strategy, and fast. See #7.

10. You voted for war in Iraq. You knew as well as me that the intelligence was bunk. You voted for it anyway. You can’t pretend now that you had nothing to do with that mess. Own it.

11. We won’t have real democracy until we take corporate money out of our elections. Put that in your K Street pipe and smoke it.

12. One midterm victory does not spell the end of the Rovian one-party state. Don’t think for a minute that the Karl Rove and his gang have given up on their vision of total control. Those traditionally Republican house seats you just won? They will just as likely tip back the other way in two years.

13. You can’t turn your back on progressives. Remember us? The ones who believe in health care as a right, living wages and civil rights? We’re not going away. In fact, the economic policy of the last three decades is swelling our ranks. Your shift to the center-right makes us more likely to vote for third-party spoilers. Don’t blame Ralph Nader when he’s the only one talking about the issues we care about. Look in the mirror. Steal his thunder and you’ll get our attention back.