FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

The Democrats Have Become Merely a Vestigial Opposition Party

by DAVE LINDORFF

 

This focus by Democrats in Congress on judicial appointments and on the appointment of John Bolton as U.N. ambassador is just a pathetic sideshow. In the end all that sound and fury signifies nothing.

The Democratic leadership struts around boasting that it “saved” the filibuster and the right to challenge a likely reactionary appointment to the Supreme Court. That same leadership works mightily to delay the almost certain appointment of Bolton to the UN post. But where were these noble guardians of Democratic values when the White House and its Republican backers in Congress pushed the new bankruptcy bill, which makes it harder for people overcome by debt after losing a job or being hit by a family medical disaster to start over?

Where were they when the oil lobbyists and their White House cronies came in with a plan to open up the ANWR area on the North Slop of Alaska to oil exploration?

Where were they when the latest $83 billion Iraq occupation supplemental funding bill came up for a vote, and with the long-dreaded national “Real ID” bill attached?

All these reactionary measures passed with wide margins, meaning they received broad Democratic support in both houses of Congress.

Increasingly, what we have in Congress is a vestigial opposition party. It’s sort of like the appendix attached to our intestines: most of the time, we don’t even know it’s there–just when it gets inflamed–and in fact, we’re better off without it.

Outside of Congress there is a majority of the American public that now realizes that the Iraq war is a disaster and that wants the troops home NOW.

Outside of Congress, there is a majority of Americans who believe that healthcare should be a right, and that national healthcare for all is a great idea.

Outside Congress, there is a campaign underway to help Marines and GIs who were tricked into fighting an illegal war to get out of the services that betrayed them and now force them to kill or be killed.

Outside Congress, there are local campaigns to help immigrants caught up in the government’s cruel net and forced into exile for a traffic stop, leaving behind American-born children or spouses.

Outside of Congress a huge swath of the country–Red and Blue states included–has voted for ordinances or resolutions that make their jurisdictions “PATRIOT Act -free zones” and that even instruct state and local law enforcement authorities not to cooperate with federal requests for information which they believe to be out of line with the Bill of Rights.

You would”t know any of this to watch what passes for an opposition in Congress these days.

Apparently it’s politically safe to stand up and say you don’t like John Bolton or Priscilla Owen, but not to stand up and say that the banks and credit card agencies are rapacious usurers–modern loan sharks–that a national ID is big step towards totalitarianism, or that funding for a criminal war is in itself a criminal act–or even that it’s time to bring the troops home.

We’re seeing compromise where there should be none–on the filibuster issue, on the PATRIOT Act, and no doubt on Social Security “reform.”

But there is such bold intransigence on John Bolton.

If this is the best we can get from the Democrats we elect and send to Congress, it’s time to turn to a third party and let the Democratic Party go the way of the Whigs…or of a burst appendix.

DAVE LINDORFF is the author of Killing Time: an Investigation into the Death Row Case of Mumia Abu-Jamal. His new book of CounterPunch columns titled “This Can’t be Happening!” is published by Common Courage Press. Information about both books and other work by Lindorff can be found at www.thiscantbehappening.net.

He can be reached at: dlindorff@yahoo.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Dave Lindorff is a founding member of ThisCantBeHappening!, an online newspaper collective, and is a contributor to Hopeless: Barack Obama and the Politics of Illusion (AK Press).

Weekend Edition
May 06, 2016
Friday - Sunday
Dave Wagner
When Liberals Run Out of Patience: the Impolite Exile of Seymour Hersh
John Stauber
Strange Bedfellows: the Bizarre Coalition of Kochs, Neocons and Democrats Allied Against Trump and His #FUvoters
Joshua Frank
Afghanistan: Bombing the Land of the Snow Leopard
Bill Martin
Fear of Trump: Annals of Parliamentary Cretinism
Carol Miller
Pretending the Democratic Party Platform Matters
Paul Street
Hey, Bernie, Leave Them Kids Alone
Tamara Pearson
Mexico Already Has a Giant Wall, and a Mining Company Helped to Build It
Dave Lindorff
Bringing the Sanders ‘Revolution’ to Philly’s Streets
Margaret Kimberley
Obama’s Last Gasp Imperialism
Carmelo Ruiz
The New Wave of Repression in Puerto Rico
Jack Denton
Prison Labor Strike in Alabama: “We Will No Longer Contribute to Our Own Oppression”
Jeffrey St. Clair
David Bowie’s 100 Favorite Books, the CounterPunch Connection
David Rosen
Poverty in America: the Deepening Crisis
Pepe Escobar
NATO on Trade, in Europe and Asia, is Doomed
Pete Dolack
Another Goodbye to Democracy if Transatlantic Partnership is Passed
Carla Blank
Prince: Pain and Dance
Josh Hoxie
American Tax Havens: Elites Don’t Have to go to Panama to Hide Their Money–They’ve Got Delaware
Gabriel Rockhill
Media Blackout on Nuit Debout
Barry Lando
Welcome to the Machine World: the Perfect Technological Storm
Hilary Goodfriend
The Wall Street Journal is Playing Dirty in El Salvador, Again
Frank Stricker
Ready for the Coming Assault on Social Security? Five Things Paul Ryan and Friends Don’t Want You to Think About
Robert Gordon
Beyond the Wall: an In-Depth Look at U.S. Immigration Policy
Roger Annis
City at the Heart of the Alberta Tar Sands Burning to the Ground
Simon Jones
RISE: New Politics for a Tired Scotland
Rob Hager
After Indiana: Sanders Wins another Purple State, But Remains Lost in a Haze of Bad Strategy and Rigged Delegate Math
Howard Lisnoff
Father Daniel Berrigan, Anti-war Hero With a Huge Blindspot
Adam Bartley
Australia-China Relations and the Politics of Canberra’s Submarine Deal
Nyla Ali Khan
The Complexity of the Kashmir Issue: “Conflict Can and Should be Handled Constructively
Ramzy Baroud
The Spirit of Nelson Mandela in Palestine: Is His Real Legacy Being Upheld?
Mel Gurtov
North Korea’s New Weapons: Full Speed Ahead?
Alli McCracken - Raed Jarrar
#IsraelSaudi: A Match Made in Hell
George Wuerthner
Working Wilderness and Other Code Words
Robert Koehler
Cowardice and Exoneration in Kunduz
Ron Jacobs
Psychedelic Rangers Extraordinaire
Missy Comley Beattie
It’s a Shit Show!
Kevin Martin
President Obama Should Meet A-Bomb Survivors
David Macaray
Our Best Weapon Is Being Systematically Eliminated
Colin Todhunter
Future Options: From Militarism and Monsanto to Gandhi and Bhaskar Save
Binoy Kampmark
The Trump Train Chugs Along
Thomas Knapp
The End of the Bill of Rights is at Our Fingertips
Cesar Chelala
A Lesson of Auschwitz
John Laforge
Dan Berrigan, 1921 – 2016: “We Haven’t Lost, Because We Haven’t Given Up.”
Norman Trabulsy Jr
John Denver and My 40th High School Reunion
Charles R. Larson
Being Gay in China, Circa 1987
David Yearsley
Skepticism, Irony, and Doubt: Williams on Bach
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail