Wednesday, June 11, 2014
Can the Dem Base Do What the Reepo Base Did to Cantor in VA?
The fear and trepidation in the Beltway is almost palpable this morning after the stunning loss of Eric Cantor in Virginia to a Tea Party favorite, Dave Brat. The fear extends not only to legislation likely now tabled this year for good (e.g. immigration reform) but also migrating to other issues the Teepees felt that Boehner's House got too lax on: e.g. raising the debt ceiling. In other words, Brat's win possibly foretells more gridlock in Washington after the November mid-terms. Make no mistake that as one commentator remarked on 'Morning Joe' this a.m., the Republican establishment is once more trembling as its angry base rears its 'Don't tread on me' head.
The question obviously becomes why can't the Democratic Left base do the same, to punish the Neoliberal Demos who talk left populist out of one side of their mouths and talk Neoliberal (as well as act Neoliberal) on the other? Why, in other words, can't we get the Democratic establishment to fear its base (as well as respect it) like the Reepos do theirs? The fault, I suspect, is not in our "stars" but in our embrace of pathetic 'hope' as opposed to courage, see e.g.
We need, in other words, the courage to support genuine Left populists as opposed to Neoliberal poseurs. To do this we must have the courage to acknowledge 'lesser of two evils' in the proper context. In this, the lesser of two evils can only be the non-Neoliberal. Sadly, as per a recent op-ed in the WaPo, most Democrats remain committed to the Neoliberal model of "free markets über alles". We must find a way to punish them for their fecklessness and embrace of this idiom, while not gutting the party itself. (Which is the only practical counterpoise to the ever more far Right Reepos.)
A recent piece in 'Democratic LEFT', the Democratic Socialists of America Newsletter, described one way in which Demo candidates are sized up in each district in terms of their Neoliberal votes. If they heel too excessively to Neoliberalism, at the expense of their districts, then opposing candidates who are genuinely Left are chosen to primary the bastards. This is the only way we can clean house of the Neoliberal cancer over time.
"But they will outspend us and blow us away!"
Not so! For the record, Tea Party favorite Dave Brat spent an estimated $122,000 while Eric Cantor spent nearly FORTY times more, this according to Frank Luntz - GOP pollster and analyst this morning. So what was the deal on how Brat did it? It is because his supporters never flinched, they ditched the false hope and had the courage to vote their conscience and beliefs - never mind how perverted and skewed they were.
Brat's platform might be called "standard Confederate": gut all federal spending (even for the sickest and neediest), kill Obamacare, chisel out Social Security and Medicare, and no more debt ceiling increases without capitulation on multiple other fronts, and no regulation of automatic or semi-automatic weapons, not to mention a visceral embrace of "free markets" so what we have in Brat is a Confederate Neolib.
This, even as the media mouthpieces kept echoing this morning:
"The lesson from this is: Don't get too far from what your base wants!"
Maybe for the Repukes, but the Dems dismiss their base with impunity. Let us not forget the infamous meeting several years ago in the White House with several Left groups. At one point, Obama Consigliere Rahm Emmanuel grew so frustrated with the demands made, that he unleashed a string of epithets and referred to the gathered base as "morons". Really? Maybe, a lesson needs to be taught Dems like Emmanuel? (Of course, such lessons presume Dem voters arrive to cast ballots in primary elections!)
I got fed up with the Dem Neoliberal poseurs long ago, which is why I left to become an independent and join the Democratic Socialists of America. No, we may never win the White House, but we can raise enough hell to make the Neoliberals pause and not think they've conquered everyone's brains.
I could tick off a long list of where the Demo Neolibs are wrong:
- Going after Edward Snowden as a "traitor" (Chuck Schumer, Dianne Feinstein, John Kerry et al)
- Voting for a misbegotten FISA law that actually retrospectively legalized Bush's illegal wiretapping
- Voting for the Military Commissions Act in 2006, to repeal habeas corpus
- Vigorously pushing natural gas fracking on communities that want no part of it, and fobbing it off as a "blessing" and "safe for the environment" (Gov. John Hickenlooper of Colo.)
- Proposing a chained CPI to cut Social Security - and offering it as a bargaining chip to the Reep rats
- Proposing a means test for Medicare beneficiaries at the ridiculous level of $47,000/ yr.
- Fueling unrest in the Ukraine in order to establish a Neoliberal'/NATO foothold, thereby provoking Russia to respond, and then blaming Russia for protecting its own geopolitical interests
- Continuing to fund military expansion and being bought by defense contractors' lobbyists
- Supporting the TPP (Trans -Pacific Partnership) for trade, as they did NAFTA - which will see American jobs outsourced.
- Cutting food stamps by $9 b in a farm bill, while allowing Reeps more military spending in a bill passed in December last year.
All of these ought to outrage a serious citizen - who is educated enough to grasp that rampant Neoliberalism is at the root of this country's metastasizing inequality. In turn, they all - in concert - ought to spur people of the Left to action, much the same way doing all the opposite has spurred the Teepee crowd as in ousting Cantor.
We need a new vision. We need courageous people - citizens to step forward to enter primaries and unabashedly advocate for an anti-Tea Party platform that fundamentally acknowledges the prime precept in the Constitution to "promote the general welfare".
Beyond all that, we need Democratic Left voters to get up off their asses and VOTE in primaries, not just in general elections. One huge reason the Dem base isn't taken seriously is because of its absence in primaries - not to mention mid-terms. This needs to stop.
If it can, then for every step the Tea Party Reeps make to reduce this general welfare, we take two in the opposite direction to advance it. If that means removing Neolib Democrats - who've grown too comfortable with their lobbyist perks and campaign donations - then so be it.
One thing for sure, the status quo cannot go on if we hope to keep any semblance of a country of the people, by the people and for the people!