Wielding the People

By Al Schumann on Sunday August 19, 2012 08:32 AM

As though the people in question were a stick.

I've seen some seriously nasty efforts to bully people into voting for the Blue Plate Special, but this year's Democratic hystrionics are way off the scale. The surface problem is obvious. As Bill Fletcher, Jr. observed, advocacy based on the Democratic record collapses under the weight of its own stench. There's no positive record to work with. The "nice" brand of advocacy has to take the form of pleas to participate in deranged comparison shopping. This is not just any lemon, ladies and gentlemen, this is a genuine proletarian lemon, certified by veterans of Students for a Democratic Society. It's far superior to the bourgeois wingnut lemon. It enhances your unique sense of self. The neighbors will feel like fools when you drive off the cliff in style.

Does it matter how you look when you drive off a cliff?!

Comments (15)

Al Schumann:

Assuming good intentions on the part of the Democratic "critical support" cadres, the whole thing still seems terribly misguided. The electoral system is useless unless you can approach it from a position of strength. The strength needs to be overwhelming. Numbers matter, but those numbers need to have a credible, painful penalty on hand.


6000 words of Identity Politics Kool-Aid fueled harangue from Bill Fletcher Jr. I wonder if he'd be quite so impassioned about fall of Western Civilization hinging on 2012 election had Obama been, say, Latino or Asian. Reminds me of why Robert Caro has been studying that old horse trader from Texas for the last 35 years--and he hasn't even got to the presidency yet--who instinctively knew the spell a notion such as "black faces in high places" could exercise on the mind of someone like Mr. Fletcher. A terrible thing he has wasted.

That empty sleeve

From an August 29, 1968, phone conversation between President Lyndon B. Johnson and Vice President Hubert H. Humphrey. Then the Democratic nominee for president, Humphrey was in the process of choosing a running mate. Three days earlier, Senator Daniel K. Inouye of Hawaii, a Japanese American who lost his right arm while serving in World War II, delivered the keynote address at the Democratic National Convention. The recording was released last December by the Lyndon Baines Johnson Presidential Library.

Lyndon B. Johnson: If you're not going to the South, I would really look over the West awfully good, because I'm telling you the people got fed up with the East. And you can do New York and Pennsylvania with what we gonna do with the Jews and what we gonna do with the Italians by being friendly. Now this would be a natural if it would work, and nobody ever mentioned it to me, but I never heard as many compliments on anybody as I did on Inouye. He answers Vietnam with that empty sleeve. He answers your problems with Nixon with that empty sleeve. He has that brown face. He answers everything in civil rights, and he draws a contrast without ever even opening his mouth. I've never known him to make a mistake. He's got cold, clear courage. He's as loyal as a dog, as you must have observed. He'd never undercut you. He ought to appeal to the West. He ought to appeal to the world. It would be fresh and different. He's young and new. And I think your secretary could call him and say, Would you please go to Utah, South Carolina, San Francisco? And I believe he could go to all of them and never lay an egg. Lady Bird said, watching him on television, This is the best man I know of except Hubert. He's asked nothing, he's done nothing, but he wouldn't be miserable in the place. Now another fellow will be, and be lazy and other things. The Southern boys--I wouldn't irritate 'em more than I had to--they all love Inouye. I don't know why. I think one thing is that they just look at him and they can't fuss at him and say he doesn't love peace. In other words, the South can't get mad at him because he's colored, and he would appeal to every other minority because he is one. I think you have to be satisfied, and I don't want you to think you have to satisfy me. Inouye doesn't appeal to you?


This post is " a thing of beauty and a joy forever "
Or at least it oughta be i
That is if forever had less crowding out effects



I read this real Lyndon talk and every time
I come off it admiring him
The pwogs with their pedantic scruples lack the scalpel for a line like
Answers Nixon with that sleeve

The whole rap is word work worthy of mephisto

Al Schumann:

Quite a contrast between LBJ and the bloodless apparatchiks that followed. Thanks as always, sk. It taps things into place perfectly.

I have a sneaking admiration for him too, Owen, from a nice safe distance.


Here's Caro on the 32 year old Texan Congressman's "fundraising" capabilities.

Al Schumann:

Caro has a deceptively easygoing way of telling a story. That was a performance.

LBJ's four column papers have their successor in the anal compulsive memos sent out to aspiring ladder climbers and committee chairman. The rungs and chairs have their prices which, in keeping with best New Democratic practices, are clearly spelled out and non-negotiable. All very tidy, in a way that makes tidiness a curse to be spat out.

You threw me for a loop. I was expecting an appearance by Todd "Have I mentioned lately that I was the president of the SDS" Gitlin.


Wow, what a blathering monstrosity. I want my life back from these holier than thou creeps. I'm glad I'm not a "progressive" so I don't have to really consider bullshit teachings like this. Also, if one acknowledges the Imperial "duopoly" as it is, why legitimize it in any way whatever? OR, why not vote strategically to accelerate its implosion since working within the system is not real in any sense?


*- ugh, "thou"

Al Schumann:

Nonny, fixed and agreed. The entreaties are so weird and absurd that I've concluded the nominal audience is incidental. No one cares what rejectionists get up to. There aren't enough of us to make any difference and our song only makes real sense to people who are already fed up with the bullshit.

Happy Jack, Gitlin seems to have been very quiet lately. The last I heard of him, he was puffed up and sputtering over being called a "useful idiot" by the late Tony Judt.


A less reverential take on the late Judt.

Al Schumann:

Judt was no friend to the left, but I still got a kick out of the sputtering he provoked. It ultimately served a valuable end too. The signature list on the attempted rebuttal is a Who's Who of useful idiocy.


yes, a useful list. A few surprises there for me too but it's good to know to have the wheat auto-separated, as it were, from the chaff.

Al Schumann:

I was dismayed a few times too. I take refuge in the possibility of the brighter signatories drifting away from untenable stances.

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