To answer my own question: once they were purchased by the money powers, it was all pretty much over for the Common Man. Republicans: "Yeah, we'll fuck you. Hard." Democrats: "So will we, but we'll feel real bad about it, and besides, we'll use Vaseline."
I am sick to fucking death of political parties that stand up for oligarchs and plutocrats, while letting working people die from a thousand cuts. I mean, fuck these people.
It's time to look at other options in terms of political strategies, folks.
Given the Supreme Court's more or less formal establishment of a plutocracy, they (the plutocrats) have too much money to be opposed through conventional, "inside the box" methods. They will attempt to bury Obama in a tsunami of slick, expensive propaganda that will get the (slickly re-branded between now and 2012) Republicans into power.
Well, fuck that.
A strong progressive movement will lead Obama and the Democrats where we need him and them to be.
It has become clear to me that progressives need to build a movement, a strong one, that is populist in character. A strong enough movement will not be ignorable by Obama and the chickenshit, kowtowing-to-plutocrats Democratic leadership in the House and Senate.
"We want the Wall Street Fatcats to pay a price for messing up our country; we want the greedy rich to start paying their fair share again; we want our government to work for us again, rather than for a few rich puppeteers who currently pull the strings. WE WANT OUR COUNTRY BACK."
...like that. Not conciliatory, but scrappy. Not Bill Clinton, but Harry S Truman.
Not covered in plutocrat pocket lint, but making it clear that their only "owners" are the concerns and interests of ordinary working people - the heroes who built this country, and whose labor and virtue keeps it strong. The people whose sons and daughters do the actual fighting in our nation's wars, while plutocrats profiteer and plunder and won't send their kids off to defend this country.
The Democrat's fundamental problem is not so much what they stand for or how they explain it or not being clear enough about their "values" - No. It is that they have become foggy about who they stand with: working people. The working and middle classes. The Republicans have been able to present themselves as populists(!) because the Democrats forgot their role in society; It is the job of Democrats to use the government to help balance society by (through progressive taxation and income re-distribution) reining in the tendency of capitalism to concentrate incomes and wealth at the top and thus provide stability. See how simple that is? We defend working people from the worst tendencies of greedy plutocrats. THAT is our core mission. THAT's who we stand with.
Successful Politics is way more about "Who" than it is about "What".