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Marion On November - 5 - 2010

Two years ago, the American people delivered their mandate. They chose an intelligent, intellectual, well-spoken and inspirational African American man to lead their country as President of the United States. Not only did they merely elect him and his party, they did so resoundingly, and in such a way that the most hardened and experienced of political advisors reckoned that the Republican Party was dead in the water.

All it had taken to kill them off was 8 years of the most ineffectual, incompetent and corrupt President in the history of the United States: George W Bush.

But the American people have a problem, and this problem has developed over the past 30 years.

The American people are stupid.

The American people are childlike.

The American people are spoiled.

Thirty-four years ago, we elected another inspirational, intelligent and articulate man from the Deep South to lead our nation. He spoke to us as adults and told us the problems we faced as a nation and what we needed to do, together, to solve those problems. He tried to wean us off oil, and in the four years in which he held office, our daily oil consumption was halved.  He installed solar panels in the White House.  His name was Jimmy Carter, and his quest for re-election to a second term was sabotaged and doomed to failure when an American political legend, the last surviving son of a political dynasty, challenged the serving President to a primary and fought him for the nomination right up to the party convention.

When Carter secured the nomination at that convention, Ted Kennedy got drunk. No surprise, that – Kennedy and his estranged wife, Joan, were pretty much raving alcoholics during that time. Kennedy was still drunk when he appeared with Carter, in a staged show of unity, later in the evening on the podium. He barely acknowledged the man.

To the American people, the Democrats of 1980 appeared shallow, vapid, petty, divided and unfit to rule. And so a legion of them decamped to vote for the happy Gipper, who promised them a shining city on a hill and morning in America. He then proceeded to deregulate the finance and credit industries, allowing Americans, through their plastic, to learn that it was no shame to live in debt, because sometimes you just needed a brighter and shinier object than the one your neighbour had to make you feel better .. or richer.

He also repealed the Fairness Doctrine, which had, heretofore, established responsible guidelines pertaining to the reporting of news and opinion. With that repeal, he indirectly bestowed upon the American people the wisdom of Rush Limbaugh.

In response, after he had shuffled away from the Oval Office to live out the twilight of his life, eating jelly beans and dozing off in the opaque haze of Alzheimer’s, the grateful American people named an airport after him, and the Republican party idolized both the man and his tenure in office.

OK, we lost on Tuesday. Two years after a resounding triumph, which really should have sounded a death knell on the Republican Party, they’re pumped up and calling the shots, while we’re … well, we’re in vapid, shallow, divided and unfit to rule mode again – you know, acting like Democrats.

Well, I say we channel a great, fighting Democrat from the past, Harry Truman, and paraphrase a favourite saying of his:

The FUCK stops here.

You got that, Democrats? Stop it. Right now. Fall out from the circular firing squad, pointing fingers and blaming this one and that one, but mostly, the President. To quote a well-known sage from the Dark Side, we now have to regroup and reload.

Let’s take a leaf from the Republicans’ book. When everyone else was counting them down and out, they stuck together like glue. They determined a policy of  no cooperation and stuck with it lock-step. They won the house on lies and platitudes, but no promises and no concrete plans. Ask them how they’re going to solve the jobs’ problem, and they change the subject. Ask them what their plans are for revitalising the economy, and they just say, “Wait and see.”

They got a message to the people without getting a message to the people. Most refused to debate their Democratic opponents. The ones who could have done so – and, maybe, brilliantly – ignored the prospect. Eric Cantor must have enormous self-esteem problems. He was reduced to being doggedly followed from county fair to book signings, by his Democratic opponent, Rick Waugh, asking, pleading, begging, demanding that he face him in a debate. Cantor refused to even recognise him. Perhaps Eric is practicing effeteness, waiting longingly for the day when his big, rich, Protestant Christian corporate financers invite him into the sacred portals of their exclusive country clubs for a round of golf and a four-course dinner.

Forget it, Eric. You’re nothing more than their pet Jew, their own personal little Semitic Step’n Fetchit.

And when these people did debate Democratic opponents, they showed their ignorance – like Christine O’Donnell, smugly telling Chris Coons, a constitutional lawyer, that he didn’t know the Constitution, asking pertly where exactly “separation of Church and State” was in the Constitution she professed to love so much she carried a copy with her wherever she went.

Well, Eric the Avoider is back in the Nation’s Capital and on course to be the next House Majority Leader, whilst Gidget Goes to Washington didn’t make Washington. (Never mind the fact that she’ll probably be picked up by Fox News for a seven-figure salary along with Sean Hannity in her pocket, but there you go.)

I’m not saying we Democrats should do all that – act like assholes and – well, act like ignorant assholes. But we should learn the language of lockstep for our own survival.

Look, I know we’re a big tent. You look at a Democratic convention, and you see America. You look at a Republican convention, and you see apartheid. Not only are we Democrats diverse ethnically and demographically, we’re also diverse philosophically  -Blue Dogs, centrist Third Way proponents, liberals, progressives, whatever: At the end of the day, we’re still Democrats.

Listen, if you scratch a Republican, you’ll find they’re pretty diverse philosophically too. A Jim DeMint is no way like a Richard Lugar; Rand Paul is no Olympia Snowe.  But they know how to close ranks when the going gets tough.

Three days ago, I stumbled upon something pretty disturbing – various writers and commenters amongst the Democratic base are now referring to our President as “the Affirmative Action President.”

That’s disgusting, but it proves a point I’ve been making for months and for which I’ve been roundly criticized by some of the so-called open minds which make up a part of that base. The Right treat the President like an uppity n-word, and some elements of the Progressive Left treat him like the lovechild of an Affirmative Action appointee and Prissy from Gone With the Wind.

Another thing I read this week, which was pretty alarming, was the fact that only 9% of young people voted this time. The New York Times published an article wherein the reporter asked various young voters why they weren’t bothering to go to the polls on Tuesday. One kid replied that he couldn’t be bothered with Obama because Obama didn’t go on The Daily Show enough.

Seriously.

That’s pretty stupid.

But then, we’re pretty stupid. In fact, we’re so stupid, that we expect this President to undo shoddy practices that started in earnest 30 years ago and were exacerbated during the first 8 years of this decade – in other words, right the wrongs of 30 years in 2.

People are hurting, that’s true. People have lost jobs, education’s gone downhill, and the dollar in your pocket is leaner; but we have to look in the mirror sometime and acknowledge that we were encouraged to embrace greed and pleasure as an antidote to actually paying attention to what was really happening in our country during those years.

Wasn’t it a wise, Republican sage who advised us to go shopping in the wake of 9/11? Then he set about reminding us of what mortal danger we were in, so that we remained in a state of perpetual fear. Hey, it’s always easy to control frightened children.

The Left has spent so much time bickering and backbiting during the past two years, that we’ve actually come to the point where most of us refuse to listen to the President. Why listen to him anyway, when you’ve got the pundits on television to do that for you? Anyway, the President’s lost his campaign gift of eloquence and is no longer capable of communication. Listen to another pundit, and you’re told that the President just “isn’t into” the Middle Class problems – never mind the fact that he only awarded them their biggest tax cut in history.

The President and we the people of the Left have been ill-served by our self-appointed media outlet, MSNBC. They purport to be the polar opposite of Fox. Well, Fox always had George Bush’s back. Bush could have barbecued puppies on the South Lawn of the White House and served them up on a bed of babies’ heads, and Fox would have convinced its audience that that was the most normal thing in the world.

I’m not saying that the President shouldn’t be criticized. He should. He expects it, but MSNBC has gratuitous criticism down to an art form. The President’s party got smacked in the mid-terms. We lost the House and have a slim majority in the Senate. That’s a fact of life. Politics, at least for the next two years, are going to resemble kabuki theatre. The first thing the President did – which was the first thing Bill Clinton did in 1994 and Ronald Reagan in 1982 and LBJ in 1966 and Harry Truman in 1946 – is shoulder the blame and extend the olive branch, saying that now, more than ever, the two parties have to find some common ground and work together. I’m sorry, but that’s a fact of life.

But in the wake of this, we get the likes of Ed Schultz pussifying the President and Michael Moore adamantly stating that “the President just doesn’t get it” and advocating fist-banging and dictating.

How patronising.

And then come the rumours already of a possible primary challenge in 2012 from either Russ Feingold or Howard Dean, and sll the dittoes on the Huffington Post gleefully hope for this, refusing to believe that this would result in the truly frightening prospect of President Palin and the Party of Winkin’. Or maybe they just subscribe to the Meghan McCain school of history: “I wasn’t born then so I just don’t know (and don’t care).”

Michele Bachmann is interviewed, first by Chris Matthews and then by Anderson Cooper, and totally ignores the questions asked her – with Cooper, going on a totally unjustified and untrue rant about the President’s upcoming state visit to India costing the taxpayer $200 billion dollars – a fact she nabbed totally from Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity and Glenn Beck, who actually went on to fantasize about the President being assassinated whilst on this tour.

And MSNBC doesn’t answer this crap at all, save for Rachel, whom I’m convinced is the only journalist in that entity with any integrity. Instead Schultz gets his time in castigating the President for complying with the Republicans, while Moore adds to the already incessant Huffington meme that the President doesn’t get America, Americans or his party.

Michael, I think he does.

The man isn’t stupid. He knows, without having to hear it from Mitch McConnell or John BONER, that these guys want him vacating the premises in 2012. They would do anything, including foisting an unqualified, ignorant and vindictive person on the nation, convincing the soccer and Walmart moms that she’s just like us. They would stomp on heads and promote vicious lies. They would sell their collective souls to ensure that the only black man in the White House is serving coffee to them, instead of sitting behind the desk in the Oval Office. He knows what he can do. He knows what he can’t do.

And he needs our support now more than ever. The Democrats in the Senate and those remaining in the House have got to learn to act en bloc. No voting against the party and no posturing. And we, their constituents, have not only got to make sure that our elected officials do that – after all, our taxes pay their salaries – we have to ensure that we remain en bloc too.

Anyone wanting to primary this President needs to get out of the way. There’s another party waiting to embrace you. They’re called the GOP.  Anybody believing the Huffington meme that the President doesn’t care about the middle class needs to read a bit of her pedigree too. Treehugging Newt Gingrich on holiday in August isn’t my idea of what the self-appointed Voice of Progressives should be doing.

And Ed Schultz’s rant in response to Robert Gibbs’s Professional Left criticism in August, when Schultz demanded that Progressives stay home instead of voting, would put him in pole position to be considered Press Secretary for the new Republican Majority Leader and fellow Virginian – just imagine, Reckless Eric and Big Ed Do Washington.

The first thing we on the Left have to do is man up, as Sharron Angle, the Gladys Kravits of the Republican Party advised Harry Reid. (I guess he was more “man up” than she imagined, considering that he’s bound for Washington and another six-year term and she’s left in Nevada bleaching her sheets in anticipation of having to confront all those brown-skinned Asians creeping across the non-existent Canadian boundary fence in order to terrorise Americans). Manning up means learning to recognise that a lot of  what we’re dished up by the so-called progressive media (be it 24/7 cable or internet) is a load of hoke, that they have an agenda (which is usually their ego, their wallet size, their ratings/clicks and the corporate entity that’s funding them), and that we’re perfectly capable of formulating our own opinions, thank you very much.

We the people are entitled to be responsibly informed by a responsible media. When MSNBC parses the President’s every word, second-guesses his every action, and promotes on a daily basis the possibility of Sarah Palin mounting a Presidential campaign , they’re not serving us very well at all and are no friend either to us, the Democratic Party or the President.

We’ve got a rough two years ahead of us, and we have to start acting cohesively by turning OFF irresponsible pundits and tuning into our own critical thought processes.

Otherwise, we’re in for an indefinite period of mourning in America.

If that doesn’t scare you, just remember that a drunken friend of corporate lobbyists is two heartbeats away from the Presidency now.

4 Responses so far.

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  1. escribacat says:

    Well said, Marion. Spot on.

  2. choicelady says:

    Marion -- thank you. Thank you!!!! As a putative “leader” of an inclusive progressive organization, I have absolutely reached the end of my rope with my own side. I’m about to attend Netroots CA, the state spin off of Netroots Nation, and I think I’m about to get cranky. Reading the presentation synopses, this is oriented to network building which is fine, but it casts much of its meme in “standing up to the old troglodytes” who don’t “get it”. No one ever thinks that maybe that alone is a problem. We have very weak links, we progressives (aka Dems) because we spend time with our machines, not with our people. But that’s “old thinking”, and anyway, I’m “faith based” which is instantly dismissed as hateful and narrow minded. We in fact are the single largest progressive advocacy organization in CA. Period. We’re vastly larger than labor unions, MoveOn, or any other network, and no one cares. NO ONE. We’re left out of funding for essential work, we’re left out of coalitions, and we’re left out of policy decisions.

    When it gets down to what the Dems need, it’s solidarity. We once built the civil rights and anti-war movements together, and now we have bright shiny things -- tweets and gaming and other flash and dazzle -- but where is the solidarity? I went to grad school some years ago at UC Santa Cruz from which, after four years, I left eagerly because THE political issue was the war between vegans and vegetarians. All that was going on while Carter and Reagan were duking it out, and most of the campus could not have cared less. Too good to vote for Carter (a better ex president than ever he was as president) and indifferent to Reagan. Why should THEY care about Reagan? His policies deeply impacted blue collar work, union survival, poor people, and people of color, none of which they were. Even people of color weren’t allied with urban poverty concerns -- they were headed for some dream job and outta there. So they largely did not vote at all. They did vote for Prop. 13 two years earlier to save on “taxes” they did not even pay. And while I walked out of CA with a BA, two MA degrees, and having taken my orals for my PhD and owed NOTHING, my successors -- those younger students -- have hundreds of thousands of dollars of debt. Welcome to intelligent voting.

    Dems are inclined to parse policy in very narrow terms. How we lost a commitment to the Common Good -- once our hallmark -- and shifted over to the politics of whiny fear is beyond me. If we ever get America back -- a land of opportunity and inclusion -- it probably will happen after I’md dead. So to the young’uns I say what one NAtive American commentator said two years ago to Obama -- don’t fuck it up.

  3. boomer1949 says:

    We are stupid and stupid is a pre-existing condition. We won’t even have that to fall back on if “the good-ole, rich, white boys” have anything to do with it.

    McConnell is an ass, Cantor is an ass, and Boner is a drunk, orange ass. All of them honestly believe they’re going to hold President Obama hostage for the next two years.

    Compromise? Consensus? Civility?

    “Sure we will, but with this caveat.”

    “If he moves OUR way, no problem. If he doesn’t, piss on him, and we’ll let him self-destruct by Vetoing everything we put in front of him.”

    How conveniently they’ve forgotton they have the Tea Potty to deal with. I don’t think they realize how much dissent they’re going to have, and it ain’t going to be pretty.

    As for Rachel, she is one complete Happy Meal (HM). Her peers? Many of them are three fries short of, but the majority of them have none !

    A graduate of Castro Valley High School in Castro Valley, Maddow earned a degree in public policy from Stanford University in 1994.[15] At graduation she was awarded the John Gardner Fellowship. She was also the recipient of a Rhodes Scholarship and began her postgraduate study in 1995 at Lincoln College, Oxford. In 2001, she earned a Doctorate in Philosophy (DPhil) in politics from Oxford University.[16] Her thesis is titled HIV/AIDS and Health Care Reform in British and American Prisons. She is the first openly gay American to win a Rhodes scholarship.[17][18]

    I am surprised the President hasn’t offered her a job.

  4. Khirad says:

    As per usual, you echo what I’m thinking and leave me very little to add.


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