FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

Virtual Citizens; Virtual Government; Virtual Opposition

by DAVE LINDORFF

 

There was a remarkable article in the New York Times on June 27. It had a remarkable headline too: “Some in G.O.P. Call on Bush to Focus on Governing.”

The piece went on to quote Republicans, both named (Newt Gingrich) and unnamed, as saying that the Bush administration has been in a “permanent campaign” mode, aimed at energizing right-wingers, instead of governing and trying to pass legislation-which of course requires working out compromises in Congress.

This is really quite an admission.

Isn’t “governing” what people elect a president to do?

After all, during the campaign, candidates spend most of their time telling voters how they would govern, and what they would do to run the country if elected. Bush certainly did that.

Now it turns out that even his own backers in Congress don’t think he has been doing much governing; that rather, he is just running a permanent campaign aimed at attacking critics and winning the hearts of his “base.”

Of course we knew this. The war in Iraq is not governing; it has been a gigantic, unprecedentedly costly campaign stunt from the get go. The Social Security wrecking campaign is not governing; it’s a campaign theme. Ditto “No Child Left Behind,” which has been all talk and rules, and no money or program.

What we have in the Bush White House is in fact virtual government-all image and showmanship, but no action.

That’s not to say nothing is going on. What Bush and his gang are doing is systematically bankrupting and looting the country and handing the ripped off proceeds to corporations and the wealth in a way David Stockman could only dream of.

Of course, the White House has been able to get away with this deadly charade in part thanks to the fact that the Democratic Party has been pretty much a virtual opposition. Its leading lights for the most part agree with much of the Republican agenda-free trade, endless war in Iraq, US imperial power in general, throwing money at the Pentagon, cutting taxes for corporations, etc., etc.

What it all boils down to, I guess, is that we are living in a virtual democracy. In the end, the blame has to lie with America’s virtual citizens, who are content to get their news and information from a virtual newsmedia, and who are happy-that minority who still bother to cast votes-to accept and act on the shallow and manipulative campaign tactics of the two major parties’ candidates.

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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).

Weekend Edition
January 19, 2018
Friday - Sunday
Paul Street
Dr. King’s Long Assassination
David Roediger
A House is Not a Hole: (Not) Caring about What Trump Says
George Burchett
How the CIA Tried to Bribe Wilfred Burchett
Mike Whitney
Trump’s Plan B for Syria: Occupation and Intimidation
Michael Hudson – Charles Goodhart
Could/Should Jubilee Debt Cancellations be Reintroduced Today?
Marshall Auerback – Franklin C. Spinney
Boss Tweet’s Generals Already Run the Show
Andrew Levine
Remember, Democrats are Awful Too
James Bovard
Why Ruby Ridge Still Matters
Wilfred Burchett
The Bug Offensive
Brian Cloughley
Now Trump Menaces Pakistan
Ron Jacobs
Whiteness and Working Folks
Jeffrey St. Clair
The Keeper of Crazy Beats: Charlie Haden and Music as a Force of Liberation
Robert Fantina
Palestine and Israeli Recognition
Jan Oberg
The New US Syria “Strategy”, a Recipe For Continued Disaster
ADRIAN KUZMINSKI
The Return of the Repressed
Mel Gurtov
Dubious Partnership: The US and Saudi Arabia
Robert Fisk
The Next Kurdish War Looms on the Horizon
Lawrence Davidson
Contextualizing Sexual Harassment
Jeff Berg
Approaching Day Zero
Karl Grossman
Disaster Island
Thomas S. Harrington
What Nerve! In Catalonia They are Once Again Trying to Swear in the Coalition that Won the Most Votes
Pepe Escobar
Rome: A Eulogy
Robert Hunziker
Will Aliens Save Humanity?
Jonah Raskin
“Can’t Put the Pot Genie Back in the Bottle”: An Interview with CAL NORML’s Dale Gieringer
Stepan Hobza
Beckett, Ionesco, and Trump
Joseph Natoli
The ‘Worlding’ of the Party-less
Julia Stein
The Myths of Housing Policy
George Ochenski
Zinke’s Purge at Interior
Christopher Brauchli
How Trump Killed the Asterisk
Rosemary Mason - Colin Todhunter
Corporate Monopolies Will Accelerate the Globalisation of Bad Food, Poor Health and Environmental Catastrophe
Michael J. Sainato
U.S Prisons Are Ending In-Person Visits, Cutting Down On Reading Books
Michael Barker
Blame Game: Carillion or Capitalism?
Binoy Kampmark
The War on Plastic
Cindy Sheehan – Rick Sterling
Peace Should Be Integral to the Women’s March
Kevin Zeese - Margaret Flowers
No Foreign Bases!
Matthew Stevenson
Into Africa: Across the Boer Heartland to Pretoria
Joe Emersberger
What’s Going On in Ecuador? An Interview With Wladimir Iza
Clark T. Scott
1918, 1968, 2018: From Debs to Trump
Cesar Chelala
Women Pay a Grievous Price in Congo’s Conflict
Michael Welton
Secondly
Robert Koehler
The Wisdom of Mass Salvation
Seth Sandronsky
Misreading Edu-Reform 
Ann Garrison
Full-Spectrum Arrogance: US Bases Span the Globe
Louis Proyect
Morality Tales on the American Malaise: the Films of Rick Alverson
David Yearsley
Winston and Paddington: Marianelli’s Musical Bears
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail