FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

Presidential Debates? I Call It Bunk

by JOSHUA FRANK

 

Who are we kidding? America pretends that Thursday’s official Presidential foreign policy debate is the apex of US democracy in action (more like democracy inaction). Few expect to gather new information from the scripted theatrics. No real alternative will be offered to counter the Bush agenda. God forbid. Kerry will simply scoff at Bush,s mismanaging of the war in Iraq, and Dubya will respond by pointing out Kerry’s flip-flopping of the issue. Show over.

It won’t be much fun. Ralph Nader, of course, will not be allowed to participate in the evening’s events. Not only have the two-parties done their part in muting Nader’s candidacy, the Democrats have also done a bang-up job of keeping Ralph off the ballot in many states. Nice going guys. High-fives all around. Indeed, this is what democracy looks like in the US: two Skull and Bones blood brothers from Yale battling it out for the right to run the American Empire. There is no room for choice, that,s how they want it. Pass the pretzels; it’s gag time.

There may be some inadvertent benefits to Nader being refused ballot access, however: Democrats, unlike 2000, won,t be able to wrongly accuse anyone else of spoiling Kerry’s wasted bid. They will have done it all by themselves. How many loses does it take for the Dems to learn that the DLC’s conduit is the wrong one traverse? You can bet Howard Dean, waiting in the wing, is secretly licking his chops in hopes Kerry loses by a large electoral margin. He wants to take back the Party from the thieves that stole it, and the only way to do so is by having Kerry go down in flames. Burn baby burn.

Meanwhile, the Green Party is hobbling along quite nicely. David Cobb, the stealth Green candidate from Texas, is accomplishing exactly what he set out to do. Which is absolutely nothing. Oh wait, he’s building the Green Party. I forgot. What a force they will be! You see, you make an impact by debating the other no-name third party candidates on CSPAN, racking up your .005% vote total, and calling it a huge win for your team. It’s like the peasants fighting amongst themselves while the royalists continue to exploit the common good: you invariably grow in size, but make no impact on your own lot in life, let alone elections. Call it compliant rebellion.

So do the debates between Bush and Kerry really mean anything? This is the biggest election of our lifetimes, or so they say. Is it? Sure there are differences between the two candidates, but it only matters on how one weighs the similarities. Abortion? Sure there is a disparity, although the threat is inflated by the Democrats in order to steer pro-choice voters away from Naderland. Death penalty? Not a big difference. Heath-care? Well, they want us to believe there is, but it is subtle. Trade? Not a difference worth mentioning. Israel? Kerry may be more hard-lined then Bush on that. Environment? Only rhetorically. The Democrats have done their fair share of contributing to the Bush rampage. War? Nope. Civil liberties? Not that either. The list goes on.

Sadly, this is what American politics has become: debating minute variations between two corporate candidates on network TV. They call it primetime. I call it bunk. Pass the remote.

JOSHUA FRANK, a contributor to CounterPunch’s forthcoming book, A Dime’s Worth of Difference: Beyond the Lesser of Two Evils, is putting the finishing touches on Left Out: How Liberals did Bush’s Work for Him, to be published by Common Courage Press. He welcomes comments at frank_joshua@hotmail.com.

 

JOSHUA FRANK is managing editor of CounterPunch. His most recent book is Hopeless: Barack Obama and the Politics of Illusion, co-edited with Jeffrey St. Clair and published by AK Press. He can be reached at joshua@counterpunch.org. You can troll him on Twitter @joshua__frank

More articles by:

CounterPunch Magazine

minimag-edit

bernie-the-sandernistas-cover-344x550

zen economics

Weekend Edition
April 28, 2017
Friday - Sunday
Paul Street
Slandering Populism: a Chilling Media Habit
Andrew Levine
Why I Fear and Loathe Trump Even More Now Than On Election Day
Jeffrey St. Clair
Mountain of Tears: the Vanishing Glaciers of the Pacific Northwest
Philippe Marlière
The Neoliberal or the Fascist? What Should French Progressives Do?
Conn Hallinan
America’s New Nuclear Missile Endangers the World
Peter Linebaugh
Omnia Sunt Communia: May Day 2017
Vijay Prashad
Reckless in the White House
Brian Cloughley
Who Benefits From Prolonged Warfare?
Kathy Kelly
The Shame of Killing Innocent People
Ron Jacobs
Hate Speech as Free Speech: How Does That Work, Exactly?
Andre Vltchek
Middle Eastern Surgeon Speaks About “Ecology of War”
Matt Rubenstein
Which Witch Hunt? Liberal Disanalogies
Sami Awad - Yoav Litvin - Rabbi Lynn Gottlieb
Never Give Up: Nonviolent Civilian Resistance, Healing and Active Hope in the Holyland
Pete Dolack
Tribunal Finds Monsanto an Abuser of Human Rights and Environment
Christopher Ketcham
The Coyote Hunt
Mike Whitney
Putin’s New World Order
Ramzy Baroud
Palestinian, Jewish Voices Must Jointly Challenge Israel’s Past
Ralph Nader
Trump’s 100 Days of Rage and Rapacity
Harvey Wasserman
Marine Le Pen Is a Fascist—Not a ‘Right-Wing Populist,’ Which Is a Contradiction in Terms
William Hawes
World War Whatever
John Stanton
War With North Korea: No Joke
Jim Goodman
NAFTA Needs to be Replaced, Not Renegotiated
Murray Dobbin
What is the Antidote to Trumpism?
Louis Proyect
Left Power in an Age of Capitalist Decay
Medea Benjamin
Women Beware: Saudi Arabia Charged with Shaping Global Standards for Women’s Equality
Rev. William Alberts
Selling Spiritual Care
Peter Lee
Invasion of the Pretty People, Kamala Harris Edition
Cal Winslow
A Special Obscenity: “Guernica” Today
Binoy Kampmark
Turkey’s Kurdish Agenda
Guillermo R. Gil
The Senator Visits Río Piedras
Jeff Mackler
Mumia Abu-Jamal Fights for a New Trial and Freedom 
Cesar Chelala
The Responsibility of Rich Countries in Yemen’s Crisis
Leslie Watson Malachi
Women’s Health is on the Chopping Block, Again
Basav Sen
The Coal Industry is a Job Killer
Judith Bello
Rojava, a Popular Imperial Project
Robert Koehler
A Public Plan for Peace
Sam Pizzigati
The Insider Who Blew the Whistle on Corporate Greed
Jesse Jackson
Jeff Sessions is Rolling Back Basic Rights
Nyla Ali Khan
There Has to be a Way Out of the Labyrinth
Rivera Sun
Blind Slogans and Shallow Greatness
Michael J. Sainato
Trump Scales Back Antiquities Act, Which Helped to Create National Parks
Stu Harrison
Under Duterte, Filipino Youth Struggle for Real Change
Martin Billheimer
Balm for Goat’s Milk
Stephen Martin
Spooky Cookies and Algorithmic Steps Dystopian
Michael Doliner
Thank You Note
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail