Friday, November 17, 2017

In Case You Thought There Was Anything New Under The Sun

Many of my old comrades from The News Blog days have long since departed for Purity Angel Elysium.  Over the years (shit, I mean decades) I have heard from a few of them, them every now and again, mostly during the administration of Barack "Worse Than Boosh!" Obama, and almost exclusively to chastise me for being a bad and unworthy Libtard.

Ah well.  I've been thrown out of better places.  I've been called worse things.  They seem happy up there in paradise, secure in their own self-regard, surrounded by the like-minded and removed from this grimy, elbows-deep-in-the-imperfect world.  And what more should one want for old friends than they find a little happiness in this old universe?

And speaking of old friends long gone, I thought it might be time to trot out this ancient colloquy between the late Steve Gilliard and the retired-from-the-field Billmon.  This is done by way of a reminder that today's differences, which seem so manifest and present, actually long predate President Stupid.  And the Bernie Sanders campaign.  And Donna Brazille.  And the seemingly centuries-ago days of the Barack "Worse Than Boosh!" Obama Administration when the Purity Angels could luxuriate in their contempt and sneer at ol' Droneglass secure in the knowledge that, worst-case, they'd have President Hillary to gleefully beat like a pinata for four or eight years' worth of bitter candy and delicious self-righteousness.

But it didn't work out that way.  Instead, well, the K'rupt Duopoly was overthrown.  By a Man From Outside The System -- a man who is moving swiftly to smash every yucky, stale, old tradition and standard of behavior to bits.

It's Mission Accomplished, kids, so why the long faces?

From the late Steve Gilliard in August of 2006.  Take a close look at Billmon's language from 11 years ago.  See if you notice anything familiar.

It matters to some people

Billmon posted this up and it bugs the shit out of me.

A "Bad" Sign............................ 
I used to argue that progressives in this country had no choice but to support the Democrats -- even pathetic frauds like Howard Dean and inept Thurston Howell III clones like John Kerry. I used to quote Frederick Douglas's despairing comment about what the Republican Party of his day represented for African Americans: the rock; all else is the sea.

Maybe that was true, once. But I've finally come to realize that in modern-day America there is no rock -- just a vast, featureless expanse of reactionary ocean, like something from the set of Waterworld, except without a gilled Kevin Costner.

So here's my confession: At this point I really don't give a flying fuck whether the Democrats take the House or the Senate back. No, wait, that's not true. The truth is I hope they don't. It wouldn't save us from what's coming down the road, in the Middle East and elsewhere. It wouldn't force President Psychopath to change course or seek therapy. But it would make sure that the "left" (ha ha ha) gets more than its fair share of blame for the approaching debacle.

That may well be the natural role of the Democratic Party in our one-and-a-half party system, but I don't want any part of it any more. Which means that when I say it's a bad sign (consensus opinion always being wrong) that Charlie Cook now thinks the Republicans are likely to lose their House and/or Senate majorities in November, I just mean that it's a bad sign for the Democratic Party and its professional hangers on.

For the rest of us, and for whatever is left of this country's soul, it doesn't really matter. We've already lost.

You know, if you have a good job and a nice house, you can think this way.

If you're making minimum wage, you need a Democratic Congress, if you want to be treated with stem cells, if you want to get an abortion.

It's easy to sit back and say nothing will happen to Bush, because nothing will happen to you. But if you're fighting with the VA, it fucking matters. If your kid is in Iraq, it fucking matters. Fuck the shit which comes with Bush, there are people who need the help, even minimal help, a Democratic Congress can provide.

A lot of nice, middle class progressives forget that the fight isn't for them. You think for one second I believe Ned Lamont knows what it's like to be working class, much less working class and black, living in a New Haven housing project?

What I know is that Joe Lieberman turned his back on those people and put his foot on their necks in so many ways I've lost count. It's their kids dying in Iraq, coming home to a fucked up VA, not getting their benefits.

At least Lamont wants to listen and Lieberman stopped long ago.

You better remember that if you see a vast sea, there are some folks drowning and the question is whether you save them or leave them to their fate.

When those Coast Guard pilots and rescue swimmers flew over New Orleans, they could have said, shit, too many wires, too many unknowns, let's get some boats for them. Instead, they jumped in the water and started saving people.

Which is what we are tasked to do. We don't have time to worry about Bush, there are people who need a government not at their throats. They don't need it in theory, they don't need it in some undefined future, they need it today, and if not today, tomorrow. Those Wal Mart workers need real health insurance, and the GOP isn't going to give it to them.

There are real people who need what a Democratic Congress can provide and who need it as soon as they can get it.

For the record, a lot of those Wal Mart workers eventually got real health insurance.  So did tens of millions of other Americans who desperately needed it.

It was messy and complicated and most of the Red States opted for lying, sabotage and sadistic fuckery instead of Medicaid expansion, and Ted Kennedy died, and Scott Brown was elected, and it took longer for them to recount, certify and seat Al Franken than it takes Michael Apted to bring out an Up film and the Majyk Single Payer Fairy was too busy on some other plane of existence to put a horse-head in Joe Lieberman's bed, and a bunch of other maddening shit happened too.

And tens of millions of Americans who desperately needed health insurance got health insurance.  And they got it specifically because one of our two major political parties -- the Democrats -- managed to get something passed -- just barely -- over the unified, berserker opposition of the other one of our two major political parties.  The Republicans.

And for the last eight years, the central organizing principle of the Republicans has been undoing every single thing the Black President did, starting with stripping health insurance from tens of millions of Americans, so they they can give their donors trillions of dollars in tax cuts.

Right now, at this moment in history, there are two sides to this very ugly fight.

Pick one.

Behold, a Tip Jar!


steeve said...

In a democratic primary, there is often also two sides. Pick the liberal, for electability if nothing else. We need democrats to win. Corporatist milquetoasts have a long track record of sucking at winning.

And if democratic leadership makes it clear that they plan to continue to suck at winning, get pissed at them. When people need help, you campaign on actual specific help, not "opportunity" and "values".

MedicineMan55 said...

I'll confess, I regard this as one of the most frustrating political divides on the Left. Like the Right, we have a good chunk of people who regard politics as an existential moral struggle. They do so with some reason, as politics frequently involve issues of life and death, but unfortunately show little tolerance for incremental gains or horsetrading, in spite of the consequences of surrender.

These days about all I can do is to try to never become the sell out I've been accused of being, while reserving a deep loathing for people who've demonstrated through their actions that they care more about feeling superior or being proven right than securing victory for their causes.

kultist said...

I don't understand what you and your fellow liberals are hoping for any more. You've all got a bee in your bonnet about being pragmatic realists who can actually effect meaningful political change, but when liberals talk about what they want to achieve and how they're going to get it, it's just... sad.

The most optimistic stuff I see is liberals hoping that Trump will successfully heighten the contradictions enough that the voters will flock to their arms - I'm not a big fan of this strategy and I recall that several years ago, liberals also thought it was a batshit-insane idea. The less optimistic liberals are just... listless. They want the republicans to stop wrecking the status quo, but that's about all, because anything more is purity trolling that will lose elections and make the beatings worse.

I've gone from being a liberal in 2015 to being a full-blown communist now, and Barack Obama was the person who radicalized me. Not because he's bad or evil or stupid, but because he's the opposite of all those things. He's a once-in-a-generation political talent, better at speeches and on the stump than anyone we'll likely see in our lifetimes, driven, calm, iron-willed, a literal scholar, curious and cautious, an avid reader and learner, the closest to the ideal of a philosopher king as any president has been in a century. He came in along with a democratic party wave, spurred on by the bush administration having ruined fucking everything. Save for the entire elected republican party spontaneously combusting, I cannot think of a better set of circumstances for the Democratic party.

Eight years later, healthcare is slightly less fucked, but there are fascists murdering people in the street, ICE is off its leash, my generation is living hand-to-mouth and yours isn't doing much better, the police can just openly murder people now, 'reasonable discourse' now includes neo-nazis, and probably most importantly climate change is now visibly obvious and going to kill a whole bunch of people. And, y'know, Biff Tannen has the nuclear football now.

Either the Obama administration (and the Democratic Party in general) could have done something and didn't, which means their policy ideas suck and desperately need changing, or there was nothing they could have done. If it's the latter, well, that means that the very best that the democratic party can aspire to is being completely ineffectual. Who in their right mind would support democrats apart from the bare minimum of pulling the lever for (D) every few years if that's the most they can do in the best of circumstances? Why would any millenial leftist donate $150 to a dem politician when we need money for bail funds, mutual aid, and mosin nagants?

Honestly, what's the plan for serious, sensible liberals at this stage?

Jay Farquharson said...

I still miss Steve.

dinthebeast said...

"Honestly, what's the plan for serious, sensible liberals at this stage?"

Women mostly, and young women at that. They seem to be winning the shit out of a bunch of elections right now. You'd almost think they had something riding on the outcome...

I am disabled from a stroke and went blind from severe cataracts in 2014. Because of the ACA, I now have 20/25 in my right eye and 20/40 in my left.

If you can't understand what to do because the Republican all out attack on us and our country was partially successful, all in plain sight and easy to understand while it was happening, I have to wonder what kind of life you've been living.

Down here where the street is one missed disability check away, we know exactly what the plan for sensible liberals is, at this and every other stage: Try to live one more day, and if that works, try to help our people live one more day. If that works, try to secure our living situation for another month. If that works, try for some transportation. That's where I am now; the insurance on our 25 year old car is paid, but the registration is due and requires a smog certificate.

If my prescriptions all of the sudden start costing $300 instead of $6, that registration won't get paid, and yet another vehicle we have invested effort and resources in will be taken from us by the city. Number five, if I remember correctly.

After that, just try like hell to get the people who made it possible for us to get this far, and might make it possible for us to make it through say, another five years, to get back to where they can do that. If we don't, we're just fucked. I'm too damn old and disabled to live on the goddamn street, and that's the Republican plan for me.

So, yeah, I know what to do.

-Doug in Oakland

blackdaug said...

Isn't it amazing we have been having that same argument for so long. It just seems like some kind of a fever dream at this point.
I can't even remember what is worse. Trying to sway some wingnut back to sanity..which I gave up on years ago. Or trying to convince somebody I sill have some respect for that their stupid "no difference in the two sides" bullshit actually what is killing us all.
Sadly, I am beginning to think none of us will survive to have the fight much longer.
It feels like being trapped in a bad movie that you nailed the plot for two minutes in. The horror keeps revealing itself...but you are powerless to stop it.

Davis Statton said...

My first presidential vote was for Hubert Humphrey, who was hated by so many liberals that he narrowly lost to a man like Nixon. Subversion of the Paris peace talks, Kissinger, secret bombing, Watergate, etc.

trgahan said...

I really hope the "Worse Than Boosh" crowd is aware that the legislative "tax reform" haymaker headed our way is as aimed at them as it is the rest of us. Then again, from a sample of comment sections, most still believe House Democrats voted for it too and when shown the actual voting roles "well, they would of, but..."

Stuff like that reminds me that we keep learning about how much of the funding for Purity Angel Elysium's media and the wealth of its most vaunted citizen's originated from a Moscow bank account.

moeman said...

I look forward to Drift's takes as much as I did Billmon and Steve. Heroes with their words.

I'm not even an American and Steve riled me up to speak out and I did when Bush jr. visited Ottawa. The protest was incredible.

Robt said...

Right now, at this moment in history, there are two sides to this very ugly fight.

Pick one.

To do so would mean I stand with Roy Moore because under their misconception
the only choice in Alabama is supposed to be Luther Strange of Roy Moore
and Luther was stuck down by God's all mighty lightning bolt. Leaving Roy standing. Standing behind his devout and letting them answer questions as if they are the candidate.

If he finds it tough to stand up and be confronted now and does not (hiding behind others speaking for him).

What makes anyone think he is going to hear them if elected?

For me, there are other choices, but then I did not have my brain removed and replaced with Right wing Rush vomit.

Tanbark said...

I defer to no one in my admiration for Steve…and I also defer to no one in my insistence that it's unbridled corporate power that is so perniciously fucking us over.

Let's save some bandwidth: if you're taking a quarter of a million dollars for one hour speeches to Goldman Sachs and their ilk;
if you're taking $400,000 for that same kind of speech to Cantor Fitzgerald;

then, the best you can claim is that your commitment to real change is very, very, much, for sale.

Fran / Blue Gal said...

What Din the Beast said.

Women are going to take over the Congress and get shit done, while boys are playing mine's bigger and Berniewouldawon.

That is all.

Tanbark said...

I think that no matter how much patience we have with DonaldTrump, he will never be anything but a vile, despicable human being, and a wretched president. Furthermore, anyone, of either gender, especially, democrats in power, who says, hints, or whispers anything to the contrary, is full of what the little birds peck at.