The coroner’s report is in: the Democratic Party was murdered by deliberate application of ideological poison. The Party was clearly ill after the electoral debacle of 1984, and none of the established remedies–mobilization of the unions and workers, appeals to the better angels of our nature, people standing up for the good of the common weal, a determination to see the majority of the people’s children have a chance for better lives than those of their parents, a distaste for ostentatious wealth–were working.
The Democratic Party in desperation turned to a new team of doctors, the Democratic Leadership Council. They prescribed ideological laudanum for the patient; instead of a mixture of mercury and opium, the remedy was less regulated capitalism, free trade, and individual responsibility. A few traditional medicines–a woman’s freedom of choice, the acknowledgment that non-white males and females should have equal rights in theory, a promise of a good education for all, and a somewhat progressive message during election years only–were left alone.
The new remedy was applied with vigor, and seemed to triumph in 1992 with the landslide electoral college election of Bill Clinton, who ran promising fair trade not just free trade and then immediately showed his true colors by implementing NAFTA. The emasculation of welfare in the name of individual responsiblility followed soon thereafter with strong Republican support. The DLC doctors poured it on, dismantling Glass-Steagall to let Wall Street run unfettered, more MIIC spending, more tax breaks for corporate “investment,” malign neglect for the unions and the working people of America.
The DLC medical team accepted instructions from the corporate elite of America and followed most of their “suggestions” in the form of campaign contributions to remake the Democratic Party of FDR, Truman, JFK and LBJ into a kinder, gentler, populist party when it came to corporate issues. And they succeeded beyond their wildest dreams. The DLC misunderestimated Clinton fatigue stemming from a blow job and an impeachment and lost the electoral college vote to a simpleton from an old Connecticut family who had moved to Texas, but hey! The simpleton screwed up so badly they were guaranteed success after two disastrous terms.
So in 2008 they trotted out a New and Improved Candidate who spoke progressivese with ease and whose eloquent speeches brought back fond memories of the New Deal and the Great Society among the masses. It worked, too.
But, by 2009, the election was over. Back to the business of America, which, after all, is Big Business. Obama broke or ignored every progressive promise he made, and the Democratic congressional leadership allowed and encouraged him to do this by their failure to actually fight the relatively small minority of Republicans on the House and Senate floors, or in the cloakrooms or in committee meetings. No truly progressive measure was even given the chance of a fair fight, not by Republican obstructionism, but by Democratic complicity and quiescence.
You see, Obama and the Democratic leadership, now totally dominated by the DLC, never had any intention of allowing anything that might possibly damage the profits of the ruling corporate class to even have a chance of succeeding.
We thought we were electing an FDR but all we were really doing was reanimating the spirit of Herbert Hoover in a more attractive, dark-skinned body. The latest reports of the murder of the Democratic Party surfaced with the choice of pastor for the Inaugural invocation, continued with the exorcism of the public option in health insurance “reform,” the continuation of Imperial disregard of the Bill of Rights and imperial wars for oil and gas, and the kowtowing to Big Oil even in the face of the worst environmental disaster in American history.
The coroner announced there was no brain activity left in the Democratic Party when the Democratic leadership announced that it would not even consider trying to allow the Bush tax cuts for the top 2%(of which all of them are a part) to expire while continuing said tax cuts for everyone else.
Again, they will not allow a truly progressive measure even the chance of success. They killed it by neglect and inaction. Just like they killed the Democratic Party.
A lot of voters noticed the smell just last week. 30 million people who turned out in 2008 to vote for Obama in the hopes of electing and FDR or LBJ or maybe even an Andrew Jackson or Abraham Lincoln were overcome by the reek of Democratic Party decay and fled gagging away from the polls.
It is time for progressives to apply triage. Don’t try to reanimate the corpse. The Democratic Party is dead and putrifying. It is time to bury or cremate the remains. We can do this by not voting, voting Green, Socialist, or write-in, refusing to contribute money, and by screaming “Bloody murder!” at the murderers of FDR’s Democratic dream, the DLC.
The Democratic Party that had earned our loyalty no longer exists, and it is not coming back. The only potentially peaceful way left open to save our country from the corporate fascists is by starting a new popular movement that fights for the old Democratic principles, a movement that recognizes what calls itself the Democratic Party as the enemy. The enemy every bit as much as the Republican Party is.
Or, we can sit back and wait for the corporate house of cards to collapse and hope for the best from whatever drastic social upheaval and real revolution that is sure to come. That is also a valid option. The fact that we have hit peak oil may make this inevitable, anyway.
But hoping to save the Democratic Party from itself is now a fool’s errand. It’s dead. Time to face facts and admit it.
End of eulogy. Go in peace. Mourn your loss. Resolve to fight, to perservere, and to restore the best of what FDR and LBJ fought for.