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Don't play it again, Sam

By Michael J. Smith on Saturday December 29, 2007 09:59 AM

Mike Flugennock writes in:
SAM SMITH wrote:


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> If Edwards wins the Iowa caucuses, it will be the most significant 
> progressive primary win since Eugene McCarthy got 41% of the vote in New 
> Hampshire in 1968.

Sam, dude. I love ya, bro', but I'm begging you. Knock it off with the Senator Goodhair hype. The guy makes a big deal out of being some kind of progressive populist, but ... How long was he a nobody in the Senate before he got picked to co-pilot the 2004 Swift Boat To Hell? Senator Breck Boy was a runner-up in the same Political American Idol contest that plucked Senator Magic Negro from out of nowhere.

... with all due respect, man, for the love of all that's good and decent, why are you so nuts about John Edwards? He was gung-ho for the war when he thought that knowingly believing the lies would keep his ass in power, and when he got caught out believing the lies, he spewed the same old "oh, I was so terribly deceived" line of crap that all the other Democrats were spewing when public opinion shifted against the war -- and then, went right back to believing the lies being told about Iran, for _another_ big Bush war drive.

> While those who prefer the personal, albeit single digit, purity of 
> supporting a Kucinich may scoff...

While I think Kucinich is a totally useless energy- and resource-sucking vortex designed by the Democrats to waste the US Left's time, still -- I think whatever movement you're in is fucked without "purity" of thought and vision. No revolution was won without it. We're in the trouble we're in now because the US Left insists on shackling itself to a dead institution that's made a business out of compromising principles for political expediency until it's got no principles left to compromise. Don't forget the Pogo quote that you, yourself, proudly brandish on the PR blog site.

> ...even Ralph Nader agrees that an Edwards 
> nomination would be a historic shift in the political landscape...

And that, friends, is pretty goddamn' sad. Sad that the Democratic Party nomination of a rich, white, gated-suburb-dwelling, ambulance-chaser whose idea of universal health care is to force everybody to become customers of for-profit health-insurance corporations -- the "Nixon Plan" for corporate-dominated healthcare -- would be considered a "historic shift in the political landscape". I knew things were sucking in this country lately, but I never realized that they were sucking so deeply and profoundly that the DP running Senator Goodhair for El Presidente would be a "historic shift".

Now, on the other hand, a rock-bottom turnout next year -- a turnout so small that no party or pundit could claim a "mandate" or to claim that "the People have spoken" or that "non-voters are apathetic" -- followed by a widespread general strike, followed by a very large, spontaneous, belligerent, possibly a bit violent, mass mobilization to Capitol Hill (a la the 1970 post-Kent State convergence on DC) to demand the immediate resignation and exile of _all_ incumbent political leadership and a brand-new election -- now, _that'd_ be a historic shift in the goddamn' political landscape.

> Edwards' election would signal the end of another era, namely that of 
> Reagan, the Bushes and Clinton - one that has wrecked social democracy, 
> returned the economy to robber baron standards and caused us to be hated 
> around the world...

Oh f'cripesake, Sam. The guy's a goddamn' _Democrat_... you know, the party which has been aiding and abetting this misery as far back as I can remember. "Meet the new boss, same as the old boss..." --the Who.

> Finally we can begin again. This would not be a reflection of Edwards' 
> virtues so much as of the strength of a constituency for change that 
> this country has not seen for a long time. And it would be a victory for 
> all of us.

No, it'd be a victory for the Democratic party and corporate-cash-strung-out politics.

If you ask me, electing a Democratic Administration would just put off the inevitable. I'd just as soon see the final collapse of the DP and the immediate prospect of four years of "Giuliani Time" shocking people off of their couches and into the streets. Look how well President Chimp did at unifying the US Left -- until, of course, the 2004 "election", in which sizeable numbers of them suddenly fell into a deep psychosis in which they believed that electing a party that was enabling the current Iraq horror would end it. Many of them continue to shuffle around in this debilitated state to this day.

I still remember how hard it was trying to organize the US Left against the _last_ Democratic Administration...basically, like trying to push a truck uphill with a rope.

All I can say is that I'm glad I've finally realized what a useless freak show this all is, and that I've quit caring. I can't begin to tell you how liberating it is to not give a rat's ass who "wins" the "election" -- and how especially liberating it is not to care about the goddamn' _Democrats_ -- because I know none of that class of people will bring us any change, nor will trudging off and validating a corrupt, collapsing institution with my "vote".

Comments (10)

Smith says something weird that undercuts his argument for Edwards without realizing it:

Presidents don't make change as much as they reflect it, profit from it and manipulate it. Those seeking our, or their own, salvation from a president come to the wrong altar. What politicians do extremely well, however, is to reinforce whatever is already happening. Lyndon Johnson, for example, was about as far as a saint as one could imagine, yet the 1960s could not have happened without him. Put Barry Goldwater in his place and the story would have been totally rewritten.

If that's so (and I think it is), what's the direction in which we're headed? It looks like we're becoming a cheap labor, second-world nation, with long-term, permanent social and economic inequities. The über wealth and largest corporations already are the most significant political constituents; labor (which includes the mythical middle class) counts for nothing.

Given that, we desparately need someone who could hold back rather than facilitate these trends. But that ain't what Edwards is all about. Far as I can tell, from health care to foreign policy, Edwards is all about marketing the status quo policies with class war rhetoric. For example, he says he has a universal health care plan. Read the PDF and discover it's another variation on mandatory health insurance.

I wish I could share your optimism that Giuliani time would bring on a general strike. Instead, I think it would bring on recriminations about how the evil left/social-democrat tendencies in the party must be purged (substitute "Thanks, Dennis!" for "Thanks, Ralph!"), how the Dems must have a broader (i.e., more right-wing) appeal, and how, therefore, we must elect more DEMS!!!


That ProgRev editorial did make a semi-plausible claim. An Edwards victory in Iowa could be construed as proof that populist brand management can still sink a hook into a lot of voters. It's not proof of support for the left, however, nor is it proof of support for any left wing policies. It's proof that people can be tricked, repeatedly, by good looking charlatans. That's great for people who take the view that voters are irredeemable idiots. Now all that's needed is a good looking charlatan who won't kill too many people; one who will push through some decent social welfare policies. I'm not holding my breath.

The proof that enforced gullibility and dishonesty still works is not so great for people who take the view that plugging away will eventually help people find some healthy skepticism. A big payday for ghouls is nothing to cheer.


st hill
johnny apple jury
the banjo kennedy

chooose choooose chooose

gives a shit ...really ???


Hey, some good ol' fashioned nihilism, the kind I'v been champeening for all my blessed born life.
The supersystem is damn near impermeable, too huge for any one thing to alter its fearsome course, and yes there are laptop bombardiers all around the globe, but -
Edwards says some damn good things. Whatever the chasm between talk and action, at least he says some essential TRUTHS about economic inequality. All our heroes are severely compromised by their corrupt affiliation with the corporate-religious order (Nader is a terrible ascetic model and stock market hypocrite, Kucinich lets us be seen as priestly wing-nuts), or are autistic self-idolators (the academic Left), yet the man was a trial lawyer, which is about a thousand times more "honorable" than anything you or I do, and if elected, it is far more plausible that a few good things will start than your fantasy of a mobilization march (boy, the surveillance state will really quake at that one - the police will have tremendous tactical fun with that), the quaint notion that any elected official depends on a "mandate" (all they need is the badge, never mind how they got it), and the fake who cares? attitude that enriches nobody. Obviously, I am not rushing out of my house to join anything or anybody yet, but I can still see a silver lining or two amidst the madness, can't I?


My eyesight is shot from looking for silver linings all these years, but hey, it's your mind.

Edwards says some damn good things. Whatever the chasm between talk and action, at least he says some essential TRUTHS about economic inequality.

Talk is cheap. Besides, the question isn't what he'll say but what he'll do. A piece in Commondreams pre-2004 on the use and abuse of prog/Green/left rhetoric noted that if all you had to go on was his campaign literature, one could reasonably assume that then NY Rethug Governor George Pataki was a European-style left green, which (of course) he was not.

...the fake who cares? attitude that enriches nobody.

An understandable misreading, but a misreading nonetheless. I care, but acknowledge that there is little or nothing I can do as an individual, and that there are no candidates or organizations that are even close to what I'd like to see.

It used to be that believing one's agency to be boundless was a sign of adolescence, and understanding and comfort with the limits thereof was a hallmark of maturity. The current USian ideology that participation in an electoral system designed from the ground up to distort the popular sentiment is the height of personal power means most USians are an immature, grandiose sense of politics activity. On realizing that the game is rigged and that the house (pardon the pun) always wins, the responsible thing to do is to cut one's losses and walk away from the table. But like a drunken frat boy on his first trip to Vegas, the USian vote plunges again and again and again.


Wrt Edwards, and for that matter, Gore: I've always thought that the best indication of what a guy will do in office is to see what he has done in office.

Edwards and Gore are no longer in office, so they can say anything they like; in Edwards' case, he can say anything that might get him enough Dem loyalists to grap the Veep nod, or if Hill is found in bed with a Doberman, possibly even the big kahuna itself.

Maybe the guy has had a Road To Damascus experience. Maybe he's a changed man since he voted for war. Maybe I'm too cynical.



ah, I don't know if this enriches the debate here, but I fully agree with et alia. I know that Edwards coming on like FDR II is about as believable as a scratch ticket, and yes, I too am fully aware as an adult of my cosmic, political, and cultural insignificance, and I may have used the stupid cliche "silver linings" in a hackneyed way to bond with the real folks, but hey, it's still good to hear about economic inequality when the building has been looted IN BROAD DAYLIGHT BY RICH FOLKS.


the mission of clio's zillion agents
make change .....happen

discover what is to be done and how

talk ???? promises ????
sermons ????

detours to the circular firing grounds ????

feel good slowganeering
uplift sprackles
truth spit back at power ....
words of daddy warbucks:
"when i hear enough of that shit...
i reach for my tranquilizer gun "


mjosef writes:

it's still good to hear about economic inequality when the building has been looted IN BROAD DAYLIGHT BY RICH FOLKS.
Indeed it is good to hear it, if only because it suggests that the pulse-takers of the public are concluding that the public wants to hear it. What's less agreeable is the conclusion -- to me, unavoidable -- that the Democratic primaries provide a harmless way to talk about it -- a pep rally without any consequences on the field.

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