Sunday, June 19, 2011

The Continuing Obsession with Republicans

You've got to hand it to the Republican Party Powers That Be: they have fielded such a troupe of energetic clowns and mountebanks that almost the whole Democratic/Progressive political class is utterly mesmerized.

dKos has been All Rs All the Time for weeks now, and it looks like the diversion from anything "Democrat" over there might be permanent. As you scour the so-called Lefty blogosphere you will find constant discussion of Republicans, Rightists, and their Fellow Travelers, almost nothing about their ostensible political opposition -- except note taken of the fact that the Dems have caved once again, and the White House is making nice with the Rs -- though the Rs continue to hurl epithets and curses no matter.

As the motto says, "All publicity is Good Publicity," so even when the Rs are being mocked and denounced in the so-called "Lefty" blogosphere, the fact is they are the constant -- permanent? -- center of attention, and as long as that's the case, there is no real opposition to them. They Rule, completely.

It reminds me of what happened with the recent AARP flap. Rupert Murdoch's Wall Street Journal published a front page article implying that AARP had "changed its position" and would now "accept cuts" to Social Security benefits. All hell broke loose on the so-called "left." Now there are plenty of reasons to be less than enthusiastic about AARP, but this story was just phony from the word go. It was -- you might almost imagine -- a deliberate provocation by Murdoch and his tools at the WSJ to see what could be stirred up. The so-called "left" went into hyperdrive denouncing AARP and all it stood for, which must have pleased Murdoch no end, as he had been busy stirring up the same sort of denunciations of AARP from the Right for years. The only problem was that the story was... not true. You can argue with AARP's positions on a lot of things, but they haven't changed their position on Social Security, and the implication that they had was false, deliberately false in my view.

But the story became the center of an absolute firestorm on the "left" for days. Just so, almost any one of the R presidential candidates can set off days of howling denunciations or distracted criticism on the "left." Practically any R office holder can do the same (Scott Walker, anyone? Rick Scott? The Devil Himself, John Kasich?) Or how about Newt?

The Problem here is that all this obsessing on the Rs leaves essentially no room for anything else, like coming up with something better and strategies to get there. What it means is what I posted over at Digby's Place: "Murdoch pwned the left. Again."

What passes for the "left" is now a wholly owned subsidiary of the Republican Party and its media tools -- because the so-called "left" can focus on nothing at all except what the Rs are doing and what the corporatist media says is important.



UPDATE: Apparently others have noticed the total spectrum dominance of the Republicans at dKos among other supposedly "lefty" sites on the Intertubes, and behold, dKos comes up with a break in Constant Republican Promotion on the Front Page to actually suggest there might be an alternative.

Their "Think Big" front page series finally starts (on the Internet, everything always "starts," nothing ever finishes, though) to consider the idea that there might could be an alternative to the Rightist Future of Decline and Despair that's been pounded into us for decades.

Think Big: Labor Law

Think Big: Small Business Administration

Think Big: Higher Education

Think Big: Pick Your Fights

Caveat: none of these Big Thinks are all that Huge when you get down to it. In fact, they are more like Internet-favored "Baby Steps". They "go back" to the way thing either used to be or are supposed to be, reflecting a very strong Restoration ethic that you'll find among so-called progressives just as much as you'll find it among the most reactionary Rightists. Everyone, it seems, yearns to return to a Better Time.

Yes. Well.


  1. "Everyone, it seems, yearns to return to the Better Time."

    Yes, indeedy. Which means, everyone is basically a conservative now.

    Good analysis. Rather than looking back at the 20th century and saying what we didn't do, what was left to be done, how much more should have been done, we are left with hoping against hope that 20th century social programs aren't destroyed in the 21st century.

    Instead of envisioning real utopias, and working toward them in the 21st century, we're scared to death that the Republicans will take us back to the 19th century.

    Which, of course, all too many on the right really do want. Though most don't realize what that would entail.

    "Think big."

    That would mean far more than a return to the New Deal. It would mean ending the dominance of the business class once and for all, and going beyond any sort of replacement with another ruling class.

    It would mean no more ruling classes, period. It would mean the creation of a huge public sector, run by the public, all of it, in a truly democratic manner, for the public.

    True participatory democracy, something no nation has ever tried. It would include the economy. It would include everything.

    For me, I'd make it a hybrid of sorts. Cuz I think owning one's own home is a good thing. That kind of private property can be a buttress against private and governmental encroachment. But our commons must extend to most everything else, and include businesses as well. Transition to that. Transition to public ownership of the means of production.

    (I think this needs to go beyond just "workers." It needs to include all citizens, children, the unemployed, the incarcerated, etc. Everyone.)

    No more money, or profit. Just digits awarded for a day's work, and all surplus created for the community, and redistributed to the community. We each have our own space and place. But we share our environment with one another and work toward the betterment of that environment -- which means we work ultimately for ourselves.

    That's true freedom. We aint free working for a corporation.

    It should be like one big Native American nation, IMO. That would be "thinking big." Dumping capitalism altogether, while retaining the most basic forms of commerce -- fair trade commerce, always.

    Hope all is well --

  2. Your ideas are really -- I think -- the track we have to get on somehow. We can't "go back" -- there's no reverse on the course of events, there is only a selection of Forwards.

    Some want to stand still, some want to head into the Darkness, others are more inclined to the Light but have no idea how to go forth in that direction. Others, perhaps the majority, confuse the Darkness with the Light.

    I became really concerned with the complete focus on Republicans and their antics that was practically everywhere among the "left" commentariat. Wait, I kept thinking, why are so many so focused on them? Is nothing else in their Universe? It was really striking at dKos, because of course, their Big Thing at that moment was supposed to be NetRoots Nation which was practically overwhelmed by one front page story after another about Republicans. In an endless succession. Whoa.

    But the same sort of thing was going on elsewhere in the "lefty" blogosphere. Story after story, page after page, of nothing but Republicans and what they were doing.

    As if there was no alternative at all.

    I realize the "lefty" blogosphere has an A-List back channel where the topics and people to be featured and discussed are determined -- often apparently by Ezra Klein. But this is ridiculous.

    And it doesn't have to be this way.

    It would be nice if the Big Thinks over at dKos served as catalysts for some really big thinking on a much broader scale, but I don't see that happening. It's almost as if the Big Thinks are a Last Gasp.

    I hope I'm wrong.

    And I hope you're doing well, too.