Monday, October 12, 2009

To My Idiot Democratic Party: A Rant

From a blogger I occasionally read who goes by the name of "Digby" (no relation to frequent Vox Nova commenter Digby Dolben) - in the context of a review of Michael Moore's new film:
It's extremely disheartening to see the administration and so many Democrats in congress completely ignore the political and policy ramifications of failing to engage in fundamental financial reform and fiery populist rhetoric at a time like this. This [tea party] movement is happening in a vacuum created by a lack of interest in this topic by liberals who are so enamored of being members of the new "creative class" and the like that they aren't paying attention to the cynicism and anger that's reaching critical mass among average working stiffs out there. It's easy to dismiss it, but very, very foolish. The issues Moore raises in this film will be answered on the right with authoritarianism, militarism, immigrant bashing and violence. It's a recipe for disaster unless the left takes this on in direct, political terms.

I'm getting more and more peeved at people who think of themselves as "liberals" because they drive Priuses, are pro-choice, eat organic food and treat the nanny like a member of the family: sorry to be the one to break it to them, but that's horse dung.

Being a liberal used to mean protecting ordinary working stiffs from the excesses of their boss's boss's boss. It meant standing up for unions by supporting the Employee Free Choice Act, refusing to shop at Walmart, Whole Foods and other union-busting stores.

Being a liberal means recognizing that the government has an important role in helping balance society by equalizing the distribution of society's goods through: 1. A (way more than now) progressive tax system, and 2. redistribution of wealth through both direct payments, and indirectly through support for public education (K through college) that is heavily subsidized and of excellent quality, and other public services.

The top marginal tax rate during the administration of that fiery Leninist, Ike, was between 91 and 94 percent. The meant that 94 percent of the top portion of your income (translated into today's dollars, that portion above about $2 million) went straight from your bank account to the government. This had a chilling effect on executives awarding themselves obscene bonuses, because taxes would just eat up the majority of it before you could purchase a congressman with it. The structure encouraged a flattening of income distribution, and that's exactly what happened.

(This is amazing: Republican president Dwight Eisenhower was more (genuinely) liberal than virtually any Democrat of national significance today? I think I see the real problem many Americans have with the Democratic Party: they refuse to be real, actual Democrats.)

Harry Truman is not just spinning in his grave: he's going to pop out of the ground, stalk up to Capitol Hill and start kicking people's tails at this rate.

We STILL don't have health care? What the hell?? You know how to fix this: either single payer, or a hybrid system like in some European countries. The fix isn't about "give dump trucks full of money to insurance companies," I can assure you. Get. It. Done.

Look, Dems: the job of the Democratic Party is to protect Joe and Jane average from the rapacious greed and exploitative power of capitalism's captains - the folks Roosevelt called "the Money Power." Do your jobs, okay?

The thing is, if you do, you'll have power for the next few decades, I promise you. You'll be heroes to millions, just like the New Dealers were.

Or, you can sell your souls to support what this nation has become: a plutocracy, and plutocracies tend to be either reformed (see 1930s New Deal) or end in considerably more grief (see various armed revolutions in Latin America, Africa and Asia.) I much prefer (and could only endorse) the "reform" route of the two choices, but the choice is in your hands, Dems.

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