It must die, so it can be reborn and transformed.
1931 – The Democratic Party retakes control of the House, ushering in social programs such as Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, school lunch programs, and shortening the Great Depression of 1929. They lose control in 1995 to Newt Gingrich and Tom DeLay.
2004 – The Democratic Party has 72,000,000 registered and self-identified members, by far the largest party in America.
COINCIDENCE? I think NOT!
“I am not a member of any organized political party. I am a Democrat.”
— Wil Rogers
“You know, to listen to Senator Lieberman, Senator Kerry, Representative Gephardt, I’m anti-Israel, I’m anti-trade, I’m anti-Medicare and I’m anti-Social Security. I wonder how I ended up in the Democratic Party. I’m not a new entrant to the Democratic Party. I’ve been here a long time.”
— Howard Dean
FROM THE CHURCH OF INEFFABLE STUPIDITY:
1860 was a strange year. Southern states were aching for war and separation, in order to maintain the profits earned from a slave labor force of almost 4,000,000 blacks, men and women who were made slaves solely on the basis of their skin color. Northern states sought compromise, peace and free growth to the west. With the passage of the the Fugitive Slave Law and the Kansas-Nebraska Act, antislavery Democrats found themselves effectively pushed out of the South. Many of them supported the election of some Illinois upstart named Abraham Lincoln. The Pro-Slavery Democrats (mainly in the South) increased their push for independence and continued slavery.
The South’s thirst for war won out, and by 1865 hundreds of thousands of Americans lay dead or maimed. As with every other war, too many soldiers died, and not enough of the politicians who led them to war in the first place.
After that most uncivil war, Democrats again found themselves split in two, this time with a pro business faction (Grover Cleveland) vs. the farmer branch (William Jennings Bryant). This schism continued in one form or another for decades to come.
By the time that civil rights became reality, and not just a cute theory, many conservative southern Democrats had switched parties, while african-americans left the GOP in droves. While most Democrats still supported social programs, all was not well in the party.
By 1990, the modern GOP had become more conservative, more militaristic, and almost all white. The Democrats, taking careful aim with a 12 gauge shotgun at their own feet, found a new way to lose, and learned to become even more disorganized. The Democratic Leadership Council, created in 1985 by Governors Chuck Robb, Bruce Babbitt and Lawton Chiles, along with Senator Sam Nunn and Representative Dick Gephardt, was the Democrats’ answer to Nixon, Reagan, and most of all, Walter Mondale and Hubert Humphrey. America was a center right country, the theory went, and by golly, the Democrats were going to grab some of that center.
To be sure, the election of Bill Clinton was in part due to the DLC, and a more centrist message, but along the way, people began to be disenchanted by the swing to the right. Even though they had far smaller numbers across the country, in 1995, Newt’s army marched in and wrestled control of the House for the first time since 1931. They proceeded to attack the president in every way possible, eventually seeking his impeachment. (Note for November: Congresscritter Issa has promised a repeat performance aimed at Obama should the GOP take control of the house).
Whether it was losing the house, a growingly corporate controlled MSM, the relentless attacks by the GOP, or the growth of the DLC, something strange happened to the Democratic Party. While it is impossible to pin down its roots or the reasons, the Party lost its soul. Too many Democrats remained quiet, even timid, while the GOP performed its dance of a thousand cuts upon President Clinton. Whatever the cause, that new-found spinelessness within its elected leaders became contagious, even as the party membership grew ever larger outside of the Bloatway. Whatever the reasons, with the growth of the DLC, the Party began actively courting corporations, the military industrial complex, and Wall Street. Grover Cleveland would have been proud. Money flowed in, and morals, ethics, empathym and support for social justice evaporated.
Then came the election (?) of George W. Bush, and with it, the first true portrait of what the Democrats had become. Clear evidence of voter fraud, voter suppression, and worse became too obvious to ignore. That new face of the Democrats was best portrayed by the glum, expressionless face of Al Gore, as Congressman after congressman begged and pleaded for just one Democratic Senator to stand up and demand that something be done. All it would have taken was one Democratic senator. Just one. But it was not to be, and with that craven, bold, strong display of hiding behind one’s skirts, the Democrats ushered in 8 years of neocon rule.
Ask any sitting Democratic senator why they refused to support a peak into voter suppression, voter fraud, and more, and if you ever get a responsive answer, please call me. Collect.
And with the coronation of George the Wth, the neocon war plans were put into gear, even before 9/11. Despite our war preparations, we suffered yet another attack on our soil. Without diving into conspiracy theory land, suffice it to say that the warnings about an upcoming attack were many, warnings were numerous and specific, and the numbers of dead utterly unnecessary. Rather than taking names and firing people for incompetence, W PROMOTED the person most responsible to deal with national security threats to the nation. The follow up investigation by the 9/11 commission was a farce, the depths of which we have yet to discover.
Even though most informed experts knew that Iraq had nothing to do the 9/11 attacks, Iraq suddenly became everyone’s talking point. Afghanistan, the country that permitted to be used as a safe haven by Al Qaida, was invaded by a minimal force, with minimal support, and minimal effort. Our troops were stretched so thin, that we risked suffering massacres of our troops the likes of which no American has witnessed since WWII in the early Pacific theater. When we had bin Laden pinned down, rather than redoubling our efforts and increasing our support for our troops, the Bush team simply let him escape. Rumors abound that Cheney/Bush correctly thought that Americans would be very supportive of a country’s current leadership if we remained at war. Well, they got two terms, and we have a constant state of war, without any end in sight.
And again, we must ask. WHERE WERE THE DEMOCRATS? Where were the hard questions on Afghanistan, logistics, support, fraud, and the lack of a plan with a clear start and clearer finishing line? Silent. Spineless. Reprehensible. Embarrassing. That is the only way to describe the behavior of our Party in 2002-2005.
Contrary to how the MSM repeatedly portrayed the impact of 9/11, those attacks actually changed nothing. Rather, our 4000 deaths served only to highlight just how far the Democratic Party had fallen from grace and from a position of responsibility. If that minority party thought that putting its tail between its legs worked out well . . . . Sigh.
The Quagmire known as IraqNam
In the smoky aftermath of the attack, the CIA used its vast resources to create an NIE on Iraq. A National Intelligence Estimate is no mere term paper. It uses all the resources available to it to provide as accurate a picture as possible about the nation, tribe, region that is the subject of the study. The NIE is then given to house and senate leaders, the White House, even some military, so informed debate can take place.
By all knowledgable accounts, the original Iraq NIE was thorough, accurate and far reaching. It dealt with issues like Yellowcake, alleged Al Qaida meetings, the reality of air power and its threat to the US, nuclear weapons programs, economic issues, social issues (including the Kurdish situation), and much more. There was one problem with this NIE: NOT ONE DEMOCRATIC LEADER BOTHERED TO READ IT. Had the Democrats done so, some experts posit that the Iraqi invasion and resulting Trillion dollar occupation would have never happened. Laziness? Willful ignorance? Lack of responsibility? How about illiteracy? Perhaps the CIA used too many big words, words that were beyond the Democratic senators and congresscritters to comprehend. Seeing how Congress actually spent time on the renaming of a fried potato side dish to “Freedom Fries,” perhaps the illiteracy concept begs for more research.
By the time that Dick the Cheney managed to kowtow and bludgeon the CIA intosubmission, starting with stovepiping bad data, to ordering the CIA to lie to congress,the USS America was ready to sail off to a war of choice, with the fool support of most sitting Democrats. Any sign of weakness was immediately labeled “weak on terror,” or “unpatriotic,” or my personal favorite, “unAmerican.” Eventually, the Democrats did move in unison, if you call hiding in the shadows, avoiding hard questions, and shirking their constitutional duty moving in unison.
Ours was supposed to be a nation of checks and balances. That was no longer the case in 2002. The GOP marched in lockstep with a neocon, blood-thirsty White House, while the minority party became famous by collectively removing their pants, squatting and asking, “What color?” No hard questions were asked, either about IraqNam, or even Afghanistan. Rumsfeld’s odd behavior and misuse of resources was ignored, and worst of all, there was no adult supervision of the messes we were about to get into.
Solely due to the Democrats’ absence, we wasted a Trillion dollars, the lives of 4,000 brave troops, and irreparably damaged the minds and bodies of over 150,000 other troops. The damage done to the people of Afghanistan and Iraq won’t be mentioned by America’s brave journalists. They will leave that to foreign correspondents, so that information can safely and comfortably be ignored by America. Today’s Republicans are little more than bloodthirsty, immoral, corporate toadies, who still support our occupation of Iraq and Afghanistan, so America could never expect a realistic policy move from them. But the Democrats! Where the HELL were they when we needed them to stand up to this incredible march to war?
In other foreign policy, every Bush misstep was consciously ignored by the Democrats. It was though as someone had sewn their lips and eyes shut. If they tried to speak up, they would be accused of treason by the GOP. Case in point? Think back Dick Durbin’s brave effort to raise the issue of torture.
Chew on that for a second. America tortures its prisoners. What the HELL happened to our country where such a statement could be made without complaint? What the HELL happened to us, where Durbin’s complaint about torture eventually resulted in a forced apology? BY DURBIN! Where the HELL were the Democrats at that time? It turns out that some of them were calling Durbin, demanding that he apologize.
Illegal renditions by the CIA became the norm, not the exception. Torture at Abu Grhaib, Gitmo, and secret black ops centers in Poland and elsewhere suddenly became acceptable. Sending prisoners to other nations for them to torture became policy. And throughout this all, the Democrats remained silent.
The first CIA NIE was not the only thing ignored by the Democrats. In the aftermath of 9/11, the rallying cry was to do something, anything, in the name of protecting our nation. Our so-called independent MSM, pushed, prodded, bribed, and bullied by an out of control White House, became cheerleaders in this process. The result? A concoction of unAmerican rules and regulations we know as the Patriot Act. Somehow, General John Ashcroft managed to put together a reprehensible attack on the Constitution in an unbelievable amount of time, especially by Washington standards. Some of the provisions made it illegal for you to even tell your lawyers that you were under investigation. Others forced librarians to spy on book readers. (That’s not surprising, given the GOP’s apparent hatred of the educated and literate.)
What was surprising, or perhaps not, was that NO DEMOCRAT BOTHERED TO READ THE ACT BEFORE VOTING FOR ITS PASSAGE. Those few that did read it tried to raise the alarm. They were greeted with insults and attacks. By other democrats.
Let’s not even talk about how the Democrats behaved when the Act came up for renewal and extension.
It gets worse.
If there was any issue that most Americans used to agree on, it was the right of privacy. We did not want Big Brother spying on our calls, our e-mails, or our intertube searched. At the forefront of this right to privacy was the Democratic Party of old, the one that stood up for the little guy.
Unfortunately, that flavor of Democratic Party no longer exists, except in the celluloid world of Frank Capra. To see how the new and improved Democrats act, just look to how Jane Harmon reacted to warrantless surveillance. Instead of supporting our constitutional rights, elected Democrats fell over themselves in their rush to support these illegal actions.
– – – –
Despite the Democrats studiously ignoring these heinous actions, the real America found the misbehavior of the GOP not to its liking. By 2006, Americans unceremoniously tossed out the GOP majorities in both houses, and installed new and improved Democrats. Or so we thought.
New and improved? Can you spell DINO?
From 2006 through 2008, was there any investigation into the tens, even hundreds of billions in fraud committed by GOP cronies in Iraq? Nope. What of the political prosecutions by US Attorneys against Democratic leaders? Nowhere to be seen. The return of missing constitutional rights? Left out. And the utter erosion of the separation of Church and State? Not in this lifetime.
To sum up the behavior of Democrats, with large majorities in both branches of congress, only one word suffices: SPINELESS.
It was as though the Democrats forgot how to lead, how to run congress, how to legislate and how to investigate. For two years, Democratic leaders would have nothing to do with any of those duties or responsibilities. Perhaps that is why America was still so ready for Change in the 2008 election. A doddering, ancient, fumbling GOPer, along with his shrill Baby, shrill running mate, vs. a one term african american senator from Illinois. America, or most of it, threw away the innate racism that continues to plague our country, and elected a man of color to the highest office in the nation. Change indeed.
You would think that the strong majorities in both houses would rejoice, celebrate, and get to work, reversing two decades of damage done by Republican rule. And you would be wrong. If there is one word that would best describe the behavior of Democrats within the Bloatway since the election of Barack Obama,again only one word fits: SPINELESS.
Sure, there are exceptions, with great effort by the Speaker, a few select senators, and a handful of congresscritters, but over all, the Democrats continued to act as though it was they who were the minority party in congress. While the President has worked hard to push his agenda through, all too often Congress seems to be looking the other way.
Take Health Care. Take Ben Nelson. Please, take Ben Nelson. And send Senator Landrieu along with him. It was not Republicans who stopped true health care reform. It was Democrats.
Take Iraq. Gitmo. Afghanistan. Banking Reform. Energy programs. Cap and trade. Jobless benefits. Reinvestment in America. Stimulus packages. Banking reform. Medicare for all. Banking reform.
Did I mention Banking Reform?
All too often our elected Democrats still appear to do the GOP’s bidding. A core group of people continue to vote against the best interests of their constituents, while they go out of their way to protect corporations, banks, and worse.
To sum up, November’s election is ours to lose. Unless and until more Democrats start doing the right thing, Americans will vote them out. It is not that they favor the GOP. To the contrary, the GOP rates even lower than congressional democrats. But, when the Democrats in office do nothing to fix our many problems, they clearly have earned the right to lose. And lose they will. Perhaps then, we can shake up the party and bring it back to its roots. Social justice, civil and constitutional rights, and fair economic and taxing policies – this is what made America great. This is what will make America great once again.
So, given a 15% unemployment figure across the country, corruption and fraud in both theaters of war, wasting a trillion in the middle east, what are our Democrats talking about? DEFICIT REDUCTION.
I am not holding my breath.