Thursday, December 18, 2008

Short Thought on the Rick Warren Matter

There's no point in my ranting or raving endlessly. I'll just get to the point. The Democratic Party takes its liberal/progressive wing for granted because it doesn't pay any price for betrayal. They know perfectly damn well that you are not about to sit the next election out to teach 'em a lesson.

The 2000 election remains the watershed moment in this little saga. The corporate, rightward tilt of the Dems led to a sizeable exodus from the left to Ralph Nader. This had the effect of bringing that election to a tie. It quickly became the established narrative that Nadar was the one responsible for getting George W. Bush elected - not the Supreme Court, not the media, certainly not Gore and the Dems - and this led to liberals becoming fierce defenders of what I'd call the Waylon Smithers Party.

And, yet, when you look at their record from a progressive point of view, the Democrats have been miserable failures throughout the Bush years. Heck, as nothing more than an opposition party, they've failed miserably. And, yet, the left continued to beat itself up in 2004 and 2006 and 2008, reminding one another of that damned Ralph Nader and his insistence that the Party of FDR actually be held into account. We couldn't do that. We couldn't risk another Republican term.

And so we find ourselves, once again, feeling helpless and slightly used. The Dems will continue to be the whipping boys of the GOP and the village, and will continue to play the role of Waylon Smithers. Nobody should be surprised that Obama would openly court fundamentalists like Rick Warren. Hillary Clinton would have done the same. Why shouldn't they? What price will they pay for defying you, dear liberal friends?

That's how this game works. The politicians need to respect you. You need to earn that respect, and that means making them pay for their poor performance. If that results in more Republican rule, so be it. I can't imagine the last two years being very different had the GOP retained the Congress. Bush got everything he wanted either way. So this bogeyman fear of "the lesser of two evils" is a sham.

Stand up for your damn selves. Take your licks if you must. But stand up for your principles. Politics is the roughest contact sport ever devised. It's high time you got used to that.

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