Those on the Left that are still in the Any Body But Bush Church yesterday received two more wake up calls that maybe it’s high time to stop feeding the illusions about the Democratic Party. I refer to the big bru ha ha over the fact that the good guys forced Cheney to stop the vote count of the electors “to discuss” for two hours the Ohio election procedure and count and also the event in the Senate Judiciary Committee on the nomination of Alberto Gonzalez for attorney general.
Without exception all of those representatives that made an electoral challenge, including John Conyers, Dennis Kucinich, Stephanie Tubbs Jones and yes Senator Boxer were quick to remind folks that they are not contesting the election outcome, that they accept the validity of the “recount” in Ohio but are unhappy about the glitches that took place on election day; Provisional ballots, long waiting lines, flawed machines and no paper trail. Legitimate objections for a not too fair election where every vote counts.
The call was for “election reform” and to get rid of the bad procedure, but never questioning the validity of the 2004 results. Liberals and the “soft Left” are nowhere calling for systemic change so that even if there were very fair elections, the masses of voters would have a real choice of candidates. If they were interested we wouldn’t get the nonsense about a` “dual approach to the Democratic Party”; that is working inside and out of it. They continue the illusion that it can be reformed (like calling it the Working Families Party) and become a voice for the People.
Meanwhile back at the Senate Judiciary Committee hearings on the nomination of the torture advocate, Alberto Gonzalez what do the Liberal Democrats Kennedy, Leahy and Biden say? Do they nail him on his memos and other pronouncements to get rid of the Geneva Convention and “quaint” laws and restrictions on methods of interrogation? No rather they posed questions many of which the nominee replied that he couldn’t specifically recall, or it was privileged info of attorney-client privacy (G.W.) The good Democratic Senators quietly accepted Gonzales’ reassurance that he would follow all legal obligations of the Constitution and International law and besides the President is four square against any torture. Another shining example of Liberalism feeling much more comfortable with the Right than the Left.
It is the illusion about the Democratic Party, in my view, that is the main obstacle in the way of building an independent, anti-corporate movement/Party which is the only vehicle for forging a political fist capable of making significant change in policies and politicians. However, a broad spectrum of Liberals and the Left continue to feed the Illusion.
For instance political science Prof. Melissa Lacewell at the University of Chicago concludes “It’s one tentative step toward fairer elections.” Or Brad Levinson says in the student organ of Drexel University, “The Triangle,” that the “Democratic Party lost its luster in the past, but now is gradually gaining momentum and power.” Or take the liberal icon Bill Moyers after being honored by Harvard with a Global Environmental Citizen’s Award comparing and lamenting the disparity of the exit polls and the final results in 3 different elections; in Georgia (formerly part of the Soviet Union), Ukraine and the U.S. For Moyers it was sufficient that the folks in Kiev were shouting “democracy” and we are the “opposition” to an unfair system. Did he and many further to the Left ever question why Bush wanted to overturn the initial results? Did a red light go off over the fact that the CIA through fronts like National Endowment for Democracy financed the Opposition and the demos in Kiev? Of course not.
Working on single issues, as important as they may be (affordable housing for instance) in order to be effective requires a unified political vehicle to confront the ruling clique of Transnationals and banks if we expect to impact other urgent issues such as systemic racism, minimum wage, and health care.
DAVE SILVER can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org