Friday, July 25, 2008
Citing Bill Clinton's presidency and his sponsorship of the anti-worker North American Free Trade Agreement, a correspondent at my favorite political discussion group asks whether the Democratic Paty "core" has changed.
The problem isn't that the base of support for the Democrats has changed. The bulk of Democratic voters always has been, and remains, a bit clueless. They only think they're being led by liberals, and they think wrong.
The problem is that Democratic politicians are hypocrites, and always have been. See Dennis Perrin's new book, "Savage Mules: The Democrats and Endless War."
You can't accuse the Republicans of hypocrisy. They never pretend to be anything except bloodthirsty warmongers and capitalist greedheads who actually believe that the United States is ruled by a "commander in chief." And believing has made it so.
The Democrats have always -- and I do mean always -- pretended to be the compassionate, humanitarian side of the political spectrum, and they're so good at pretending that besides believing their own bullshit, they periodically fool even the most experienced and sophisticated among us, including people like myself who should know better. I was fooled completely by their empty promises in 2006 to end the Iraq War. Fooled again!
This masquerade, and its accompanying history of Democratic crimes against humanity is very long indeed, and it runs from the Trail of Tears (Andrew Jackson) to Japanese Internment (FD Roosevelt) to the Gulf of Tonkin (Lyndon Johnson) to NAFTA (Clinton) to the proposed endlessness of the war in Afghanistan (Obama).
See also Dennis Perrin's blog post from yesterday and reflect on the fact that you probably have a portrait of a mass murderer who was also a Democrat in your pocket right now.
I'll vote for Obama this year of course. The reason is that the Democrats, unlike the Republicans, occasionally have enough sense to avoid behavior that's self-destructive. But as for real liberalism, humanitarianism, compassion, and economic democracy -- sorry, we don't stock those items here in Wal-Mart Nation.
The problem is not that the "core" has changed; the problem is that it hasn't. The other facet of this problem that we rarely allude to, perhaps because it's so depressing, is that there is no possible viable political position to the left of the Democratic Party. Voters are so thoroughly hypnotized by the smoke and heat of the political process that they're unable to imagine a party that would actually serve them. But our current economic troubles might change that, as briefly, but very temporarily, occurred in the early '30's.