Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Surrender at Home, War Abroad

Here's Tariq Ali on Obama, the Democrats and the Midterms. I found it to be spot-on.

Albert Einstein once said that the definition of madness is "doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results". Is there a better definition of the always-vote-for-the-democrats-no-matter-what strategy?

Or, think of it this way. Even the most obstinate, pro-democrat liberal will concede that the last two years of democrat hegemony didn't turn out the way they'd hoped. So what, then, is the strategy for getting what the liberals hoped for? What's their strategy for getting the progressive results they want?

They think, as far as I can tell, that the best thing to do now is to hold our noses and bail out the democrats. But, of course, this lesser-evil argument is given just about every single election cycle. And it has yet to produce the progressive results liberals seem to think it will. This is a myopic perspective.

Imagine a democrat politician who, despite the odds, manages to hold onto their seat this election cycle. Suppose that this politician was a large part of all the disappointing, conservative things the democrats did during the two years during which they had the largest majorities in a generation. What lesson will this person have learned if we just vote them back into office? Will they suddenly worry more than they did before the election that they might lose support should they drift further right? Of course not. The lesson they'll have learned is simple: it doesn't matter if I'm a conservative jerkoff or not- the dumb progressives will still vote for me.

There was a time when I thought lesser-evilism was plausible in this country. In retrospect it was understandable naiveté. But after seeing the Democrats make serious gains in that election (2006 midterms), ostensibly capitalizing on widespread anti-war sentiment among the public, only to continue fully funding and supporting the war (their excuse then was that they only needed bigger majorities and a Democratic president)... I began to feel that the Democrat's game was a trap for progressives. This was only further confirmed by the 2008 election cycle and its aftermath.

If you're raised as a Democrat-supporter, you're taught that the be-all-end-all of politics is to have a popular democrat president, super-majorities in the Senate, and massive advantages in the House. That's the silver tuna. When under the spell of electoral politics, that's what you always wish for. That's what it's all supposed to be about.

Well, we've seen what the democrats do when that happens. And it isn't very different from what the Republicans did with similar amounts of power in the recent past. We can do much better than this.

So you decide whether or not it makes sense to keep doing the same thing over and over, expecting different results. I'm inclined to say enough is enough.

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