Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Tired of Getting Kicked in the Teeth by Democratic Politicians? What'chu Gonna Do?

This tidbit from the above Rachel Maddow rant on this administrations decision to bring Khalid Sheikh Mohammed before a military tribunal, as opposed to a regular court of law as part of due process, as even he is afforded:
A Democratic President kicks his base in the teeth on something as fundamental as civil liberties -- he puts the nail in the coffin of a civil liberties promise he made on his first full day in office -- and he does it on the first day of his re-election effort. And Beltway reaction to that is. . . huh, good move. That's the difference between Republican politics and Democratic politics. The Republicans may not love their base, but they fear them and play to them. The Democratic Party institutional structures of D.C., and the Beltway press in particular, not only hate the Democratic base -- they think it's good politics for Democratic politicians to kick that base publicly whenever possible.Only the base itself will ever change that.
The irony of this is that we were having the very same discussion recently in an earlier post (read here). We were discussing the conundrum of being an Obama suppoirter heading into the 2012 presidential elections. Or what Glenn Greenwall in his latest piece calls: The Impotence of the Loyal Partisan Voter.

Now a lot of my fellow lefties aren't very fond of the Glenn Greenwalls, and Jane Hamshers of this world, but I am. And in his piece he clearly makes a good case (as have some readers in the earlier post I mentioned) for ignoring the Democratic party and by extension, president Obama in November of 2012. Though this isn't what Greenwall is saying explicitly, he does give what I think to be strong justification. It might sound stupid, but it's worth a thought:
One thing is for certain: right now, the Democratic Party is absolutely correct in its assessment that kicking its base is good politics. Why is that? Because they know that they have inculcated their base with sufficient levels of fear and hatred of the GOP, so that no matter how often the Party kicks its base, no matter how often Party leaders break their promises and betray their ostensible values, the base will loyally and dutifully support the Party and its leaders (at least in presidential elections; there is a good case that the Democrats got crushed in 2010 in large part because their base was so unenthusiastic).

In light of that fact, ask yourself this:  if you were a Democratic Party official, wouldn't you also ignore -- and, when desirable, step on -- the people who you know will support you no matter what you do to them? That's what a rational, calculating, self-interested, unprincipled Democratic politician should do:  accommodate those factions which need accommodating (because their support is in question), while ignoring or scorning the ones whose support is not in question, either because they will never vote for them (the hard-core right) or will dutifully canvass, raise money, and vote for them no matter what (the Democratic base).  Anyone who pledges unconditional, absolute fealty to a politician -- especially 18 months before an election -- is guaranteeing their own irrelevance.

It was often said that Bush/Cheney used fear as their principal political weapon -- and they did -- but that's true of the Democratic Party as well. When it comes to their base, Democratic leaders know they will command undying, unbreakable support no matter how many times they kick their base, because of the fear that has been instilled in the base -- not fear of Terrorists or Immigrants (that's the GOP's tactic), but fear of Sarah Palin, the Kochs and the Tea Party.

[...]It may be that this fear of Republicans is rational (or, given how many GOP-replicating policies and practices the Democrats embrace, maybe it isn't).  But whatever else is true, one thing is for certain: dedicated partisans who pledge their unbreakable, eternally loyal support for any Party or politician are going to be steadfastly ignored (or worse) by that Party or politician, and rightfully so. If you spend two years vehemently objecting that certain acts so profoundly offend your principles but then pledge unequivocal support no matter what almost two years in advance to the politicians who engage in them, why would you expect your objections to be heeded? Any rational person would ignore them, and stomp on your beliefs whenever doing so benefited them.
Now I already know that some of you are gonna say that Greenwall is no different than people on the near and far-right. Some of you are probably of the opinion that he's simply a racist white man who would love nothing more than to see president Obama defeated in 2012 by a primary challenger. Yes, I know; some of you are simple-minded and quick to throw down a race card or two. Some of you are Obama supporters like me, but are quick to defend or seek to justify every unpopular decision he makes with folks like me on the Left.

Oh and especially the Black folks who when addressing the needs of the Black community when it comes to the increasing unemployment rate? You people are quick to hit me with the, "Obama is the president of the United States and not of Black America. He can't do anything just for Black people," line. And while people like you continue doing just what you do, the folks on the Right are winning. Yes they're winning, and some of you are partly to blame for this.

You see, instead of the White House seeking to control the message (as was the case with the Health Care debate), they spent time publicly chastising and picking fights with the "professional left". And what did that do for us in last years Mid-term elections? Yep, it worked out just fine, didn't it? It also worked out just fine by making the "compromise" to extend those unpaid Bush Tax Cuts for the wealthy as well, right? The same wealthy people who possibly through another compromise may be able to keep those tax cuts well beyond 2013 if Rep. Paul Ryan and the Republicans have their way (which I'm sure they would given the weak response of Democrats). But hey, loyalty is a good thing; it's a great quality. However, when nit isn't reciprocated, much like a romantic relationship respect is lost, things fall apart, and you move on.

Am I lying?

Look, I'm not dumping on president Obama; you read this site regularly, you'll know I've done my fair share of that already. And no, I am not suggesting that we sit out the next presidential elections as a sign of protest. Shit, I'm on my second marriage; my first wife cheated on me several times and it didn't make me turn gay (OK, I'm literally cracking the fuck up at that last line as I hope you are). So instead of protesting and going on a personal "all women suck" campaign, I reorganized; I did things differently, and now I'm happy. I could only hope that as voters, in the next eighteen months that we do the same. I hope we do enough of it to effectively communicate the idea that we're nobody's bottom bitch, and we deserve better. After all, isn't that democracy?


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