Saturday, August 04, 2007

Liberals Standing in the Way of Change

By Sam Smith, Progressive Review

Bill O'Reilly may be closer to the truth than usual in describing the DailyKos crowd as a hate group. After all, the mundane middle of the Democratic Party defines itself to an extraordinary degree by what it dislikes far more than what policies it supports. There is a mythology among liberals that if we just get rid of Bush, Cheney, Scooter Libby, and Bill O'Reilly everything will be fine. In fact, when you follow their advice and vote as they suggest, you find yourself stuck with Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi.

If you spend a lot of time talking with liberals, you find their rhetoric full of anger at certain individuals. You won't hear much talk of single payer healthcare or pension return or credit card usury. Putting Scooter Libby in jail is far more important.

Liberals didn't used to be like this. There was a time when - instead of just hating Dewey, Taft and Nixon - they actually accomplished things like these:

- Regulation of banks and stock brokerage firms cheating their customers

- Protection of your bank account

- Social Security

- A minimum wage

- Legal alcohol

- Right of labor to bargain with employers

- Soil Conservation Service and other early environmental programs

- National parks and monuments such as Death Valley, Blue Ridge, Everglades, Boulder Dam, Bull Run, Chesapeake and Ohio Canal, Mount Rushmore, Jackson Hole, Grand Teton, Cape Cod, Fire Island, and San Juan Islands just to name a few.

- Tennessee Valley Authority

- Rural electrification

- College educations for innumerable veterans

- Housing loans for innumerable veterans

- FHA housing loans

- The bulk of hospital beds in the country

- Unemployment insurance

- Small Business Administration

- National Endowment for the Arts

- Medicare

- Peace Corps

Part of the problem is that liberals have become more of a demographic than a movement, and a pretty upscale one at that. Thus the groups that Democrats used to worry about have been left on their own or to be victimized by conservatives who offer them salvation in lieu of a decent job.

It isn't that the non-elite is more religious these days, it's just that liberals used to have something to profide in the here and now to compete with the vagaries of the conservative hereafter.

The DailyKos crowd is having their annual meeting and getting fond attention from a media that clearly likes their willingness not to rock the boat and to treat politics as a semiotic rather than substantive enterprise.

For the record, however, it should be noted that many of those celebrated at this event:

- Voted for the Iraq war

- Supported the egregious No Child Left Behind law

- Have backed to the hilt the cruel and unconstitutional war on drugs, forerunner of the cruel and unconstitutional war on terror.

- Supported the Clintons who dismantled social democracy and turned the Democrats into GOP Lite.

- Backed NAFTA, the WTO and other assaults on the domestic economy.

- Have refused to support single payer healthcare.

- Have been remarkably complacent as Bush dismantled the Constitution.

In short, it's the sorriest bunch of liberals in over 70 years, which is why the corporate media is so tolerant and the conservatives can continue merrily on their way, often with the help of Democratic votes

Opposing Bush and his capos is a necessity but it is not a policy. Until liberals are willing to support something more than a minimum wage that doesn't even bring us back to where we were in 1956, they're really just one more thing standing in the way of change.

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