Meh Culpa

My letter to “Organizing America” the former Obama campaign site

(Written while unsubscribing, as a protest.)

I am not a Democrat.

I was a Democrat for a little over 30 years–until Diane Feinstein started acting and voting like a Republican. I told her I would never vote for her again and I won’t.  My point? Barack the president seems to have forgotten the promises he made as Barack the candidate. I have never seen such timid leadership in my life. No, wait:  the Democrats have behaved in such a manner all the way through the Bush administration. They kowtowed to the Republicans (who played serious hardball) while there was a big, wistful to-do in the MSM over “bipartisanship” that never happened because the Republicans were nasty and excluded the Democrats from almost every opportunity to make a difference. Perhaps the Democrats and Barack the president believe they should take the alleged high road and refuse to behave as the Republicans did.

With all solemnity, I adjure you… Now is not the time to abandon progressive ideals because a minority of crazy, hard right, radical Republicans–who don’t have much of a party left, mind you–are playing up the rhetoric and the lies and inflaming the wingnut populace against the president’s erstwhile agenda, inciting the crazies to riot and possibly to assassination.

Elegance and grace will not give us single payer and/or a public option or even decent health care. Besides, it would appear Barack the president and the rest of the Democrats have given up on both. If events unfold as I see they might, the insurance companies will realize even more profits if health insurance is mandated. How middle class and lower class Americans will pay, I don’t know. Tax deductions will not help. They are actually rather worthless. Americans need real help, upfront.

I cannot tell you how sickened I am with the current state of affairs. Single payer (with an option to retain private health insurance as is possible in the UK) is the right thing to do. Allowing Blue Dogs to mark this territory and bark orders to the rest of us is absolutely the wrong thing to do, and slightly insane into the bargain. While Teddy Kennedy was alive, you had a majority and you could have passed a good bill that contained both. Now all you have is mush.

What we Americans needed was an FDR on the economy and an LBJ on civil rights and health care. This administration hasn’t come close to giving us either one. What I see is a money-grubbing party that’s still beholden to big business, a party without backbone.  It’s appalling, truly.

And it’s not just health care. Barack the candidate was worrisome when he voted on FISA. But Barack the president has abandoned all principle on warrantless wiretapping as well as in legal cases concerning Guantanamo detainees, doing precisely what the Bush administration did before him, or worse. Barack the president did not seek to repeal the Defense of Marriage Act or Don’t Ask Don’t Tell. He has left it to Congress, whose members will do nothing, ever. Barack the president has set up another Guantanamo in Bagram, and created an environment where anything will go by alleging that because Bagram is not on American soil (WTF?! It’s a US air base! Does that mean McCain isn’t really a US citizen? Hmph.), people detained there will have no right to habeas corpus let alone any Constitutional right to due process within the US legal system.  Barack the president still allows extraordinary rendition.  Barack the president has allowed the same people who destroyed the economy (think Wall Street investment bankers, Goldman Sachs, the New York Reserve, and the Fed) to retain control over the economy. Nothing has changed in that respect. Barack the president doesn’t want to do anything about the Bush administration higher-ups who approved torture and created an ethos where it could thrive and become even more twisted than Gen. Miller and John Yoo originally planned. Barack the candidate wanted to remove us from theaters of war while Barack the president is digging in in Afghanistan.

Barbara Boxer might give me hope, but it’s not yet clear she won’t do what she’s told by the White House, by the so-called Democratic leadership, or by the insurance and drug companies. But Barack the president and the rest of his administration? No, I have no hope at all.

I’m writing in the hortatory subjunctive now:  Look to your principles once more, recall the promises you made and work to fulfill them. Think of the people who voted for you, Barack & Company. Think about why they voted for you. It wasn’t simply your “soaring rhetoric,” you made promises that voters wanted kept. I urge you to reconsider your path, which thus far is filled with so many broken promises (after only nine months!). Remember that we who voted you and other Democrats into office can just as easily vote you out of office. Or, as in my case, simply not vote at all. There is no one worth voting for anymore.

Ignore me at your political peril. You will fail otherwise. A pity, but it’s true.

Sincerely yours–

September 8, 2009 Posted by | 2008 presidential race, Abu Ghraib, Afghan War, Afghanistan, Bagram, banks, Bush administration, civil liberties, Congress, corruption, Defense, Democrats, Due process, Economy, far right, Federal Reserve, Foreign policy, gay rights, Geneva Conventions, Guantanamo, habeas corpus, human rights, Iraq War, Obama, Obama administration, politics, Republicans, torture, Treasury, US Constitution, war crimes | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

New McCain Campaign ad

There’s a new McCain campaign ad in Northern California now. I’ve seen it twice. Makes me want to throw a shoe at the TV. I’m not going to give it more air time, but I will provide the link to the analysis on FactCheck.org.

I agree with most of what FactCheck says, but I will quibble about the characterization of the Democrats as the party that can’t balance a budget: the budget hasn’t come even close to being balanced in eons; the last time a Democrat was in office, during the Clinton years, the United States had a budget surplus. Can’t say that about Republicans in recent memory. In fact, no matter what they’ve said or promised, Republicans since Ronald Reagan have been fond of deficit spending.


National Debt as % of GDP

And the tax thing just chapped my hide. As if the Republicans never thought of increasing taxes. Check this out: an excerpt from The 1960 Presidential campaign, 2nd joint radio broadcast between the two candidates:

MR. NIXON. Well I think we should be under no illusions whatever about what the responsibilities of the American people will be in the sixties. Our expenditures for defense, our expenditures for mutual security, our expenditures for economic assistance and technical assistance are not going to get less. In my opinion, they’re going to be be greater. I think it may be necessary that we have more taxes. I hope not. I hope we can economize elsewhere so that we don’t have to. But I would have no hesitation to ask the American people to pay the taxes even in l961, if necessary, to maintain a sound economy and also to maintain a sound dollar. Because when you do not tax and tax enough to pay for your outgo, you pay it many times over in higher prices in inflation and I simply will not do that.

Nixon also said:

We’re the best fed; we’re the best clothed, with a better distribution of this world’s goods to all of our people than any people in history.

Now, in pointing out the things that are wrong, I think we ought to emphasize America’s strengths. It isn’t necessary to run America down in order to build it up.

Stop the presses: Nixon is talking about raising taxes.

Here’s Kennedy’s reply:

MR. KENNEDY. Well, Mr. Nixon, I’ll just give you the testimony of Mr. George Aiken, Senator George Aiken, the ranking minority member–Republican member, and former chairman of the Senate Agricultural Committee, testifying in 1959 said there were 26 million Americans who did not have the income to afford a decent diet. Mr. Benson, testifying on the food stamp plan in 1957, said there were 25 million Americans who could not afford a elementary low-cost diet, and he defined that as someone who uses beans in place of meat.

Now, I’ve seen a good many hundreds of thousands of people who are not adequately fed. You can’t tell me that a surplus food distribution of five cents per person, and that nearly 6 million Americans receiving that, is adequate. You can’t tell me that any one who uses beans instead of meat in the United States, and there are 25 million of them according to Mr. Benson, is well fed or adequately fed. I believe that we should not compare what our figures may be to India or some other country that has serious problems, but to remember that we are the most prosperous country in the world and that these people are not getting adequate food, and they’re not getting in many cases adequate shelter, and we ought to try to meet the problem.

Secondly, Mr. Nixon has continued to state, and he stated it last week, these fantastic figures of what the Democratic budget–platform would cost. They’re wholly inaccurate. I said last week I believed in a balanced budget. And unless there was a severe recession and after all the worst unbalanced budget in history was in 1958, $12 billion dollars larger than in any administration in the history of the United States. So that I believe that on this subject we can balance the budget unless we have a national emergency or unless we have a severe recession.

Darn J.F. Kennedy and his wanting a balanced budget.

Another Democrat who balanced the budget? Surprisingly, Lyndon Baines Johnson. Apparently you can have a Great Society and a strong economy at the same time.

* During his presidency, Nixon didn’t care about balancing the budget. He just happened to have a surplus. Not the same thing as actual balancing. (Stein, Herbert. Presidential economics: The making of economic policy from Roosevelt to Clinton American Enterprise Institute, 1994. p. 169)

September 5, 2008 Posted by | 2008 presidential race, Economy, politics | , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment