Fifteen-love went the count in the Security Council, and it’s as if the world is calling Richard Perle’s bluff. Meanwhile, here in the homeland, the Democrats are finding out what they pissed away when they ran an unashamed LBJ-styled campaign of intimidation and invective against Ralph Nader in 2000, informing countless millions for the final time that there is very little reason for them to believe in this party of paid off hacks and war-hawk stiffs, willing almost to a man to lend support to any fascistic enterprise dreamed up in the name of national security. Wars, wars galore; terror, drugs, Iraq, and no end in sight to a damned one of them.
The Democratic Party. The party of FDR and his war economy; the party of Harry Truman and the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki; the party of Korea and Vietnam and “Cold War liberalism”; of Dukakis in a tank; of Bill Clinton chuckling his way through memorial services. The party whose main principles bowed down like prison brides for the USA PATRIOT act. This party, whose operatives and mouthpieces begged our votes time and time again because it was “electable”, found the comeuppance for its repeated capitulation embodied in its own national irrelevancy.
And it’s not as if the Dems hadn’t been warned. While those who resisted the bland centrism of the national party found themselves “liquidated”, there were numerous cogent criticisms from the outside of the Democratic Party’s inability to take a stand on any issue with electoral resonance. While driving across South Dakota in May, I had occasion to hear Rush Limbaugh arguing on his radio program that Senator Daschle had failed to establish what the Democratic Party stood for in any tangible sense, and that that failure would be calamitous for the party’s chances this November. Limbaugh made a play of soliciting calls taking issue with what he expected to be a controversial position, but elicited little beyond Dittos from those who passed the muster of call screening.
It’s not surprising that Rush Limbaugh understood the problems faced by the national organization so clearly. One of the few high-profile conservatives to give Buchanan support in 1992, and one of the chief propagandists for the Gingrich insurgency in the House, Limbaugh has a working knowledge of how political thoughts are engendered in depoliticized people. It is unfortunate that the same claim cannot be made for anyone in the Democratic Party with the power to influence its national agenda.
Unfortunate for the Democrats, at least. It amazes this writer how many people seriously expected the Republicans to harshen their rhetoric after the party’s gains on Election Day, in spite of the cable news folks informing us repeatedly that the President was “above gloating.” As he should have been. The smart money currently is on Republicans’ rhetoric sounding distinctly centrist, in an effort to cherry pick “moderate” Democrats more willing to switch parties than to identify with a losing organization. Endemic in the American temperament is the desire to cheer for a winner, and the understanding that there is no great shame in being a frontrunner. Ironic indeed that Rush was right after all
ANTHONY GANCARSKI, a frequent contributor to CounterPunch, recently had his work recognized by Utne Reader’s Web Watch. Contact him at Anthony.Gancarski@Attbi.com.