FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

Al Gore’s Judas Kiss

by DAVID LINDORFF

Pity Howard Dean.

Just when it looked like he was getting somewhere, with the polls showing him moving decisively ahead in New Hampshire and Iowa, and starting to climb out of the cellar in South Carolina, in steps Al Gore with his endorsement.

The Judas-like electoral kiss of death.

What on earth does Howard Dean, the self-styled opponent of the Democratic Party powerbrokers, want with this sell-out has been?

The New York Times opines that Gore would somehow bring blacks into Dean’s camp.

Excuse me, but wasn’t Gore the guy who, when running for the Democratic nomination, chose to trash black voters in the New York primary in 1988, with the help of Mayor Ed Koch? This guy, who couldn’t stand up and demand a Florida recount based upon the blatant disenfranchisement last election of hundreds of thousands of black voters, is the African American’s friend?

Others suggested that as a southerner (while he was raised mostly in Washington, D.C. by his senator father, he was born in Tennessee and resides there sometimes) he would help Yankee Dean there, forgetting that Gore in fact lost every single state in the Old South, unless you count the stolen state of Florida (though Florida, with its right-wing Cubans and its relatively liberal population of northern retirees, hardly fits the Old South demographic).

Still others suggest that Gore’s endorsement will suck union votes away from Dick Gephardt? But whoa! Isn’t this the same Al Gore who so ardently backed and continues to back President Clinton’s crooked NAAFTA job destruction treaty?

So far, nobody’s been so silly as to suggest that Gore–whose spouse Tipper has made a career of trying to promote censorship of rock and roll–will help lure young people back into the Democratic fold. He had no success in that area in 2000, and is unlikely to be much help this time either. And we won’t even talk about environmentalists, since Gore sold out on that issue so long ago it’s an old story.

So what does this ardent militarist bring to the anti-Iraq war Dean campaign?

Arguably what Gore brings to the table is the one thing that Dean doesn’t need: a link to the Democratic Leadership Council–that group of Republicans in Democratic clothing who brought us the Clinton presidency, welfare “reform,” the Effective Death Penalty Act, NAAFTA, deregulation of the power industry, the concept of pre-emptive strikes (remember the illegal bombings of Sudan and Afghanistan?), etc., etc.

The proof of what is really going on is the widespread observation among the punditry that the Gore endorsement primarily hurts the candidacy of Joe Liberman, Gore’s 2000 running mate. Why this concensus? Because the lackluster Lieberman has been the favored candidate of the DLC. By endorsing Dean, Gore is taking that mantel off of Lieberman, and draping it on Dean. Dean has plenty of problems–a record, as Vermont’s governor, of backing cuts in Medicare, and supporting the death penalty for example–but up to now he has shown one characteristic that made him stand out from the rest of the so-called Democratic “front-runners” — John Kerry, Wesley Clark, Dick Gephardt and Joe Lieberman, Put simply, he has not been the candidate of big corporate interests. There was even the hope that, by sticking with a populist campaign and relying on his burgeoning network of small contributors, Dean could battle his way to the nomination and then on to the White House without becoming beholden to those interests.

Gore’s endorsement betrays, and probably ultimately dashes those hopes.

A corporate whore of the first order, Gore’s 2000 presidential campaign took money from pretty much all of the same powerful groups that bankrolled the Bush campaign–oil companies, pharmaceutical companies, physicians, hospital companies, the insurance industry, the communications and power industries. Indeed, the difference between the two campaign contributor lists of Bush and Gore was really a matter of emphasis, not substance. Bush got the big oil bucks, Gore got the big medical bucks. They both got big defense industry bucks. More generally, they both got big contributions from big business, which is the main point. Dean can still refuse this Judas kiss and the purse of silver coins that will follow, but he hasn’t done so yet (and indeed as Josh Frank noted in this space yesterday, he has already started collecting some of those tarnished coins, from the likes of corporate outsourcing providers IBM and Hewlett-Packard and recently-SEC-sanctioned Wall Street investment banks Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley. Indeed, the Gore endorsement, more than anything else, has to be seen as a coded message to the big corporate interests, which have no doubt been watching the Dean bandwagon in some dismay, that it’s okay to back the former governor of Vermont; that despite his occasionally anti-corporate rhetoric, he’s “one of us.”

One has to wonder why else the Dean campaign would have turned to Al Gore. If the Dean campaign to date has stood for the “real” Democratic party (a highly questionable assertion in the first place, since Dennis Kucinich already had that spot pretty well occupied), Al Gore, throughout his political career, has willingly stood among the usurpers, the fake Democrats, the posers who toss off a few populist lines during campaigns and then do the bidding of corporate interests while in office.

It will be interesting to see how Dean’s enthusiastic minions, the youthful activists and 30-somethings who see in their candidate someone who is outside the corruption of the Democratic Party apparatus, react to seeing him slowly sucked into its greasy clutches.

 

 

More articles by:

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).

CounterPunch Magazine


bernie-the-sandernistas-cover-344x550

zen economics

Weekend Edition
September 22, 2017
Friday - Sunday
John Pilger
The Killing of History
Anthony DiMaggio
Who Are the “Alt-Right”? On the Rise of Reactionary Hatred and How to Fight it
Paul Street
Ken Burns and Lynn Novick’s “Vietnam War”: Some Predictions
Douglas Valentine – Lars Schall
The CIA: 70 Years of Organized Crime
Paul Atwood
Korea? It’s Always Really Been About China!
Jeffrey St. Clair
Imperial Ruins: Frank Lloyd Wright in Hollywood
Mike Whitney
Uncle Sam vs. Russia in Eastern Syria: the Nightmare Scenario   
Andrew Levine
Trump Flux
Paul Michael Johnson
Lessons on Colonial Monuments From an Unlikely Place
Benjamin Dangl
Masters of War: Senate Defense Budget Set to Exceed One Third of Global Military Spending
Brian Cloughley
NATO’s Decomposing Corpse
Linda Pentz Gunter
Stanislav Petrov: the Ignominious End of the Man Who Saved the World
Margaret Kimberley
Is Trump a White Supremacist? Yes, But So is America
Stephen Cooper
When Racism Lurks in the Heart of a Death Penalty Juror
Robert Fantina
Bombast Unchained: Trump at the United Nations
Ralph Nader
The Censorious Vortex of the “Flash News” Barons
Sheldon Richman
Trump’s Americanized Fascism
Don Fitz
Any White Cop Can Kill a Black Man at Any Time
Louis Proyect
The Cancer in Blue: Cop Documentaries
Mike Miller
A Small “d” Democratic Reflection on Hurricane Irma
John Feffer
It’s Time to Make a Deal With North Korea
John Eskow
MSNBC Goes Full Dr. Strangelove
Pepe Escobar
Unmasked: Trump Doctrine Vows Carnage for New Axis of Evil
Kenneth Surin
London Taxi Driver Chat
Georgina Downs
Poison in the Fields: Agriculture as Chemical Warfare
Basav Sen
The Brutal Racial Politics of Climate Change and Pollution
Jill Richardson
Finding a Common Language on Climate
Foday Darboe
Climate Change and Conflict
Brad Evans
An Open Letter to a Mexican Female Student
Andrew Stewart
A Few Things About Nonviolence: A Response to Yoav Litvin
Uri Avnery
Thank You, Smotrich the Fascist
Camilo Gómez
DACA and the Future of Conservatism
Myles Hoenig
Whose Streets? Their Streets
Caitlin Munchick
Busting Power, Not Shutting It Off
George Wuerthner
Megafires, Climate Change and Industrial Logging
Bob Lord
Trump’s Tax Plan: a Billion or Three for Guys Like Him
Dan Bacher
Westlands Water District: California WaterFix Is ‘Not Financially Viable’
Cesar Chelala
Breaking Up Barriers to Peace in the Middle East
Emily Norton
Can Anti-Racist Businesses Put Their Money Where Their Mouth Is?
Jimmy Centeno
Along the Border: the Artwork of Malaquias Montoya
Binoy Kampmark
Brexiting Hard: Boris Johnson Goes to War
Robert Koehler
Reclaiming the Truth About Vietnam
Martin Billheimer
Kzradock: the Imperialism of the Soul
Charles R. Larson
Review: Paul Yoon’s “The Mountain”
David Yearsley
Furore in Eugene!