Monday, November 29, 2004

2004: An Epic Year of Betrayal

2004: An Epic Year of Betrayal
posted by Reverend Chuck0 on Saturday November 27 2004 @ 10:37AM PST

2004: An Epic Year of Betrayal

The amount of insult and betrayal those on the center-right-to-left-liberal spectrum will take seems to have few limits. Below, the Federation surveys one year's worth of pre- and post-election betrayal from the Democratic Party. By its end, we hope the Federation rank-and-file and sympathizers agree that the time has arrived for all those on this spectrum to abandon this Party.

The year began with phony "anti-war" center-rightist Howard Dean leading in the Democratic Party primaries. The conservative, rabidly pro-business Democratic Leadership Council (DLC) panicked in response. Their two picks, war criminals and "heroes" (the latter their term, not ours), Wesley Clark and John Kerry, lagged pathetically behind in the polls. Both Clark and Kerry had difficulty articulating firm stances on the Iraq war. Clark's criticisms of the war jibed poorly with prior effusive fall statements supporting not only the war effort, and not only members of the Bush cabinet, but also his registration as a Republican throughout the 1980s and 1990s. Kerry, meanwhile, took to baiting Dean's "anti-war" stance, a variant of which he would later adopt, and which the Republican Party (accurately) used to characterize him as a "flip-flopper."

By summer, Dean had earned undeservedly the "anti-war" label, despite never being "anti-war" in principle. Rather, he simply disliked the "unilateral" way in which the Bush Administration carried out the war -- bypassing the United Nations and NATO. The invasion having finished by Summer 2003, however, Dean remained as hawkish as most of his fellow candidates. The occupation, they argued, had to continue, in spight of journalistic and official reports on the impending difficulties and long-term hostilities to military occupation, permanent establishment of military bases, and private US contracting of Iraqi industry.

Still, Dean played the "anti-war" role marvelously, and his public persona admittedly contained more magnetism than the cardboard Kerry, Clarke, Gephardt, and Joe "Joe-Mentum!!!" Lieberman combined. Scared, the DLC began a concerted campaign to take Dean down.

DLC machinations from many corrupt characters within the organization lasted right up to the disastrous Iowa caucus, in which Dean placed third, and pretty much derailed his chances of winning the nominations. As Dean recounts in his recently released campaign memoir, "You Have the Power," DLC co-founding member, star, and former President Bill Clinton placed a wave of influential phone calls to Dean supporters during the months prior to the Iowa caucus, urging them to throw their support to Wesley Clark. Clinton's rationale? A homophobic one. Dean, declared Clinton, had "forfeited his right to run for President" because he had signed a bill in Vermont as governor permitting civil unions. This homophobic position would repeat itself during the Kerry 2004 campaign, when Clinton urged, albeit unsuccessfully, Kerry to embrace the proposed federal gay marriage ban.

Other DLC elements, however, also worked actively to portray Dean as an unstable radical. The DLC's flagship publication labeled him "misguided," "an aberration," and an "activist" who was "defined principally by weakness abroad and elitist, interest-group liberalism at home." Other DLC bankrollers, meanwhile, founded ad hoc groups that aired negative ads in Iowa that attacked Dean from the faux-left, noting his NRA endorsements and support for NAFTA, among other positions that betrayed the "progressive" persona he attempted to present. The torrent of attack ads and underhanded DLC background activity from the likes of Clinton and his ilk effectively doomed Dean's candidacies (as did the fact that most of his supporters were activists of the credit card sort, unable to realize that political mobilization extends beyond the world of inane political blogs and button clicking).

With Dean neutralized, however, one anti-war candidacy soldiered on -- that of Dennis Kucinich, who opposed the war in principle throughout and called for an end to occupation within 6 months. As Democratic candidate after Democratic candidate dropped out of the race, and as the Yale war criminal ascended and locked up the required electoral votes for the nomination, Kucinich nonetheless declared that he would stay in the race until the Democratic National Convention (DNC), so as to influence the Democratic Party's platform and to allow principled anti-war voters an outlet and voice.

But as the DNC date approached, Kucinich's independence appeared to wane. In a public speech that evoked reflexive pity from so many who watched it, Kucinich endorsed his party's pro-war candidate, John Kerry, in the weeks before the DNC, despite having throughout his campaign declared the Iraq war *the* central issue. "Unless we have a firm and unshakeable resolve for John Kerry, we will have no opportunity to take America in a new direction," he declared. "Unity is essential." Kucinich repeated this later in the fall of 2004 with a video on his website that implored supporters to "close ranks." "Do we have differences of opinion? Yes. But the time is over to continue talking about those," he remarked elsewhere at "breakfast in my backyard."

Meanwhile, Kucinich delegates at the convention predictably felt dejected. Initially, the man for whom the had devoted much time and energy intimated that he would "release" them, paving the way for their robotic votes for John Kerry. Later, after impassioned (and tearful) testimonies from his delegates, Kucinich changed his mind, and told his delegates to "vote their conscience." Good enough. Most ended up voting for Kerry anyway. What did they receive in return for their candidate and most of their delgates' support for Kerry? Little. Despite the generally symbolic role of the platform in modern politics (G.W. Bush in 2000 famously bragged that he had never read the GOP platform), seventeen Kucinich platform demands were dropped in exchange for a borderline nonsensical statement with no resemblance to exit strategy or impending pullout. It pledged to remove troops "when appropriate so that the military support needed by a sovereign Iraqi government will no longer be seen as the direct continuation of an American military presence." Missing from the platform was support for Palestinian rights, LGBT rights, and a repudiation of the pre-emptive war doctrine in principle and as executed in Iraq.

"I ask you, are millions of anti-war/anti-occupation Americans welcome in the Democratic Party? If such voters are indeed welcome, I urge you to demonstrate this by permitting debate within the Party on the war and occupation issue, both in Miami and in Boston," wrote Jessie Jackson, before months of campaigning for a candidate who said nary a word about the exponential proliferation of the racist prison-industrial complex, increasing poverty as a result of Bill Clinton's welfare reform, or black male unemployment, now over 50% in New York City.

The Federation appreciates Congressman's Kucinich's past efforts with the exception of his abominable anti-choice positions (which he has since reversed and to which he shows no signs of returning). But still, Dennis, fuck you. How spineless.

The Convention itself was a nervous affair for many attending. As Nation corresondent John Nichols reported, 80-90% of the attending delegates declared themselves anti-war. Those trying to express such a view quickly recieved a muzzling. Charles Underwood, the only Minnesota Kucinich delegate to vote for Kucinich ultimately, told Amy Goodman on Democracy Now!: " I am just very disappointed that had there is no ability to express any hope for peace on the floor of this convention. We’ve had our signs confiscated, we’ve had our scarves for peace – you know – Delegate For Peace, confiscated. We’ve had people that tell us to sit down and be quiet."

Meanwhile, that 80-90% heard zero speeches from the candidates matching their point of view, and in fact, two gung-ho militaristic ones. Said Vice Presidential candidate John Edwards to the anti-war delegates: "We will always use our military might to keep the American people safe. And we, John and I, will have one clear unmistakable message for al Qaeda and these terrorists. You cannot run. You cannot hide. And we will destroy you." Ooooh.


Having neutralized Dean and Kucinich, the two major voices of dissent in the Party (one superficial, one genuine), Kerry embraced the pre-emptive war doctrine on live national television during the Presidential debate, all while declaring alternately that the Iraq war was a "mistake," and all while expressing support for continued occupation. Classification as flip-flopper worked beautifully for the GOP.

Meanwhile, Kerry allowed a growing number of war criminals to assist his crafting of foreign policy advice. Richard Holbrooke, secretary of state to Jimmy Carter and green-stamper of additional arms shipments to Indonesia during the Suharto regime, wrote many rapid-response memos on Kerry's web site. Holbrooke's actions during the Carter administration occurred as Indonesian repression of East Timor reached genocidal levels. Kerry's other foreign policy appointee, Rand Beers, crafted the notorious Plan Colombia, which Kerry took the lead in boosting through the legislature towards the tail-end of the Clinton Administration. Plan Colombia allocates billions of dollars in military aid (monetary and supply) to the country's right-wing government. Though Plan Colombia is ostensibly for defoliation of coca crops (which have devastated the peasant economy), investigative reporting has linked it to violent repression of trade unionists. Colombia is now the top site for trade unionist murders in the entire world. Kerry supporters threw fits when informed of these facts. A particularly obnoxious twit and self-described "political junkie," one Karl Tobias Steel, denied Holbrooke's relationship to Kerry, claiming he could not find the link through his Google searching, and therefore it couldn't be true. He might have tried or You're not very politically up-to-date, Karl. But you are junkie. And lame.

Kerry's loss did not surprise the Federation, which continued to maintain that the lack of any positive economic and social program would result in marginal attraction to a pro-war candidate that appeared to most people as nothing more than Bush-lite. When all the hype about the "youth vote," "e-activism," "buses to Ohio," and "house DVD parties" cleared so tragically and so pathetically on election day, the pious Kerry-Edwards supporters in tears, the Federation,, Dissident Voice, Press Action, Counterpunch, Ralph Nader, and a handful of other sources emerged vindicated.


But those on the center-right-to-left-liberal spectrum still aren't learning. Nicholas Kristof, just days after the November disaster, urged additional incorporation of religion. Bill Clinton homophobically decried Kerry for not being even more homophobic, for the latter had not taken his advice and openly supported the state-level gay marriage ban propositions. Chat room and bulletin board rumbling suggested a drive for a Hillary Clinton Presidential DLC run in 2008.

Meanwhile, the Democrats continue their self-destruction. Recently, they nominated pro-war, anti-choice, anti-gay marriage Nevada bigot Harry Reid for Senate Minority leader. Reid received slightly under a 30% rating from NARAL, the largest abortion rights group in the country. Reid's nomination came after months of cheap Nader-baiting, in which Democrats and liberals accused Nader's run of threatening abortion rights. Comparable bile directed against the anti-choice Reid's nomination for Senate Minority leader, however, does not appear to exist, even though Reid's elevation to one of the most influential Senate positions will determine the strength or the weakness of Democratic oppostion to federal judicial appointments.

The most morally reprehensible action, however, comes with the nomination of Alberto Gonzales for Attorney General. Much of the mainstream press describes him as "moderate." Gonzales, however, wrote the infamous memos essentially authorizing the Bush Administration to flout international humanitarian law as expressed in the Geneva Convention. So what have the liberals done? The ACLU "won't take an official position." Pro-war Democrat Charles Schumer opined: " "It's encouraging that the president has chosen someone less polarizing." And Patrick Leahy, ranking Democrat on the Senate Judiciary Committee, chimed in, pithily and tellingly, as follows: "I like him."


Some might recommend "reforming the Democratic Party from within." Many Nader bashers adopted this line, claiming that if Nader would only run as a Democratic candidate for the party's Presidential nomination, he could do oh-so-much to influence the party. Yet the examples of Dean and Kucinich have shown us what happens when one makes such attempts -- relentless attacks, backstabbing, and silencing. Reformism within the Democratic Party, at this point, seems a hopeless endeavor.

The Federation calls for a clean break from the Democratic Party and a new third-party politics that caters to those 80-90% of DNC delegates, so rudely betrayed by their Convention, and to the 40% of eligible voters who didn't bother to vote. It is time for an end to a bankrupt fusion politics that continues to sell us out election after election. Future pamphlets with expound on these new solutions and alternatives in far greater detail.

Source: Infoshop News


Blogger boob said...

Just googled my name.

This is the "lame junkie" KTS. Thanks for misrepresenting what I said and compounding this sin with an ad hominem attack that does nothing to advance your argument.

Newsflash: the Democratic Party is in hock to the Corporations. Newsflash: hierarchical systems invariably result in unequal distribution of resources.

But your fantasy of a breakaway third party is just that: a fantasy, one that insults the concerns of those people who are currently being made well aware of the differences between the Democrats and Republicans. Look at the voting records of the 'liberal' Republicans, people like Olympia Snowe, and compare it even to the records of conservative or reactionary Dems like Ben Nelson or Joe Lieberman. I think you'll be educated.

I care about women's right to choose. I care about defending this country. Yes, Kerry would have sold out large portions of this country, but unfortunately, we were presented with no other choice that could win. Vote for whoever you want in your dreams, but in real life, you have to go with the choices you're offered.

I hope you're working your ass off right now to create a system of proportional representation in this country, since such a system is the only way a third party could ever get any traction. As your plan stands now, it's just a reassertion of the two party system and thus inherently corrupt.

July 11, 2005 at 9:30 AM  
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