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View Diary: Can you work against the social safety net and still call yourself a Democrat? (173 comments)

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  •  if there's a democratic brand... (17+ / 0-)

    i believe that it will be indelibly tarnished by this current president and his "democratic" allies in congress that are willing to go after the social safety net with a pruning shears.

    there can be little credibility for a party of the common man after it has made a direct assault on the heart of the contract between the common man and the party.

    i'm part of the 99% - america's largest minority

    by joe shikspack on Tue Jan 08, 2013 at 07:00:14 AM PST

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    •  I think that is where I part ways with others (12+ / 0-)

      here. I don't think this was Obama's doing. Note that I said "as long as I've been able to vote" the party has drifted rightward with the republicans.

      Al Gore is a progressive hero now, but he was also quite moderate when he was a politician. He didn't get all of this progressive love UNTIL he left politics and became.... progressive.

      Clinton certainly wasn't a Democratic saint until just recently. Remember, he did quite a lot of work with Newt Gingrich- including DADT and DOMA, things that are reviled by today's Democrats are things that a Democrat did.

      And if we want to go even further back, I live pretty damn close to Minidoka. Anyone who praises FDR while bashing Obama for drones needs to brush up on their history. Even FDR wasn't an FDR. (If you don't know the signifgance of Minidoka, google it.)

      So, yes, Obama is flawed. But I'm certainly not going to lay the demise of our party at his feet. This has been happening for a few decades now. To pretend it starts and ends with him is pretty short-sighted, IMO.

      P.S. I am not a crackpot.

      by BoiseBlue on Tue Jan 08, 2013 at 07:22:57 AM PST

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      •  oh, i would certainly agree that the corporate... (11+ / 0-)

        takeover of the democratic party has been going on for decades.  on the other hand, there is a tipping point in any serial incremental change and i believe that we are currently there.  i believe that if he is allowed to president obama will perform the coup de grace on the social safety net.  that is not to say that it will all disappear at once, just that he will set the direction and enable further depredations by successive congresses.

        as to your other point, in this diary i intentionally left out the democrat's war record and other awful things that they have done.  frankly, that is also part of the deal.  the democratic party is the party that takes care of the little guy and that is what allows liberals and leftys to look past their warmongering, despicable behavior and pull the lever for democrats.

        so, looking at this, yes it might be short-sighted to blame this all on obama.  but really, it's not about obama.  it's about us.

        i'm part of the 99% - america's largest minority

        by joe shikspack on Tue Jan 08, 2013 at 07:35:32 AM PST

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      •  It has been happening for at least (13+ / 0-)

        two decades now. Clinton did an enormous amount of damage to the party. But we've crossed new lines now with Obama.  He gets no pass for destruction of the party from me.  He doesn't get all the blame.  He had a lot of foundation building done before him. But the party was well on its way back to a more traditional working class support party when Dean was the head of the DNC.  Oh we still had a hell of a long way to go then but at least the ship was turning in the right direction.  Obama, within days of getting the nomination and again withing days of being elected, wiped out those gains and put us right back on the Third Way, DLC, neoliberal and even neocon path.

        What Obama has done to continue and codify Bush/Cheney policies is more damaging to the party than anything I have seen in my lifetime.

        And FDR, for all of this flaws, is in a whole different league.  The FDR bashing and defensiveness that goes on around this site is very fascinating to me. I've seen it since the Obama primary days.  Why is that?  We are all smart enough to know that no D president was perfect, far from it.  So why the concerted attempt to tear down FDR?  That's what the Republicans have been doing for 70 years.  It's really odd to hear so much of it from Obama Democrats now (not aimed at you BoiseBlue, I don't disagree with your points about imperfecton of FDR, I take that as a given.  Just a general observation of what I've seen around here for years and what I think we will see an explosion of in the next couple of months).


        "Justice is a commodity"

        by joanneleon on Tue Jan 08, 2013 at 08:22:19 AM PST

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        •  I am in no way trying to tear down FDR (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          joe shikspack, tardis10

          I realize you understand that, but I just want to make it clear. I want Obama to be like FDR economically, no doubt about it. FDR, despite his flaws, was a great president.

          History will be the ultimate judge of Obama. I don't mean that in the ridiculous way the Bush/Cheney defenders meant it. I just mean that there are some things that I agree with him on and others that infuriate me. But I think people need to keep everything in perspective. Ya know, some of our most liberal congress-critters are all about cap and trade, which was another right wing idea that I never thought our guys would adopt! Especially the good guys.

          This is what he has to work with. I don't like it and you don't like it, but it's the reality. The ENTIRE party has shifted rightward, so even if Obama was a proud, strong progressive, how do we know our "allies" in congress would support him? I'm not so sure that they would.

          P.S. I am not a crackpot.

          by BoiseBlue on Tue Jan 08, 2013 at 08:37:35 AM PST

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      •  It doesn't start with him. But it ends with him. (12+ / 0-)

        He's there to finish off the last of the Democratic party of the working man.

        Clinton started it. I know people say it started with Carter, but I disagree. It all depends, you see, on where you draw the boundaries of terms like "liberal" and "progressive." Clinton is a pretty clear departure from the ideals of either the New Deal or the Great Society. He and his friends created NAFTA, deregulated the financial sector, and took the Democratic party to the right. Now Obama is taking it to the right further with the attack on earned benefits and the abandonment of climate/environmental policy in favor of fossil fuel interests. Also in his amazing, Bush-transcending transformation of our understanding of the rule of law and civil liberties.

        if necessary for years; if necessary, alone

        by SouthernLiberalinMD on Tue Jan 08, 2013 at 08:22:27 AM PST

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      •  I think you're making the case that "liberalism" (7+ / 0-)

        has been redefined.

        Gore is a fiscally conservative Dem, and one of the founding members of the DLC.  He is a corporatist Dem from the 'get-go.'

        Whereas I admire his work on climate change, and was heartened that he recognized that Iraq was a fiasco, IMHO that alone doesn't make him a progressive.

        [It was not a shock to many folks in TN, when he didn't carry his own state.  There was a great deal of lingering resentment that he was 'not from' Tennessee.  IOW, he actually grew up in D.C., only very occasionally "visiting" Carthage, TN.  That's according to the locals, anyway.]

        As for "Clinton certainly wasn't a Democratic saint until just recently."  I don't believe that all progressives or liberals necessarily share that view.

        Many activists that I know pretty much blame him and the policies that he signed into law (with the help of Robert Rubin, Summers, etc.) for the Crash of 2007.  [repeal of Glass-Steagall Act, etc.].  And many folks were not at all happy with NAFTA and other trade pacts that he implemented.  

        Eviscerating the old cash-assistance program wasn't particularly popular with a lot of liberals.  According to the WSJ, the average benefit in 2006, which reflects the most current data collected by the government, was $372.  Here's the link.

        I heard on NPR (The Diane Rehm Show) that under the current TANF program, just over a quarter of the folks who qualify monetarily for assistance, receive it.  Apparently, that's because it was written 'to whittle down the number of beneficiaries,' not necessarily improve the lives of the very poor.

        I recently wrote a diary based upon the AP story entitled:  'Dismal' Prospects': 1 in 2 Americans Are Now Poor Or Low Income.  Here's the link.

        I thank you for bringing up this matter.  I believe that the most critical question facing Democratic Party activists is, "Do we want to be the party of the common man, or the corporatist party of the DLC."

        IMHO, we are at a very critical "turning point," as we are faced with the impending enactment of austerity measures, unlike any I've seen in my lifetime.

        Now is the time to put out a "clarion call" to all liberal activists.  We desperately need to unite, in order to stop the shredding of our social safety net.

        I just hope that we can do it.

        Mollie

        “If a dog won’t come to you after having looked you in the face, you should go home and examine your conscience.” -- Woodrow Wilson

        by musiccitymollie on Tue Jan 08, 2013 at 09:04:03 AM PST

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        •  BTW, joe shikspak, excellent diary. Thanks. N/T (5+ / 0-)

          Mollie

          “If a dog won’t come to you after having looked you in the face, you should go home and examine your conscience.” -- Woodrow Wilson

          by musiccitymollie on Tue Jan 08, 2013 at 09:11:22 AM PST

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          •  thanks! (3+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            aliasalias, joanneleon, Lucy2009

            i think that you're correct about liberalism being redefined, i think that it has been going on in modern times really since mcgovern was nominated and then stabbed in the back by the party insiders.

            the party apparatus has been the property of a group of 1%ers for quite a number of years and the heretics have been slowly weeded out to the point that they are largely irrelevant to the party.  they tolerate a certain small number of them to keep the liberal/progressive voters from bolting the party, but they have no role allowed them.

            i'm part of the 99% - america's largest minority

            by joe shikspack on Tue Jan 08, 2013 at 09:33:00 AM PST

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        •  In many aspects I do think liberalism has (4+ / 0-)

          been redefined, although I'm not trying to make that case here. I completely agree with your assessment of Gore and Clinton- that's kind of my point. But here, on this site, we had a lot of people in the "draft Gore" movement, which I didn't understand at all.

          At the same time, we have way too many people here NOW who are hoping Hillary runs in 2016. I personally can't think of anything more demoralizing to me, as a Democrat, to have a Clinton on the ticket again. Yes many people (who are, in fact, liberal in every other way) are wanting Clinton 2.0

          My point is not the definition of liberalism, my point is that this is a party-wide problem. The Clintons and Obama are still highly approved of by most Democrats. This is what I think the struggle is, because our party picks our leaders, and it looks like our party would be more than happy for another Clinton presidency.

          It's also why I don't fully understand the angst against Obama. He's the leader of our party, and our party picked him. Our party supports him and approves of him. Shouting about him seems pointless- I think we need to direct our criticism party-wide. WE are the problem.

          (By "we," I don't mean you and I and everyone else in this thread, but we as Democrats in general.)

          P.S. I am not a crackpot.

          by BoiseBlue on Tue Jan 08, 2013 at 09:19:59 AM PST

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          •  Thanks for your reply, BB. Agree with pretty much (3+ / 0-)

            everything you say.

            You've nailed it totally, here:  "This is what I think the struggle is, because our party picks our leaders, . . . "

            James Carville actually declared on a Sunday show a couple of weeks ago, that if Hllary Clinton has the party nomination IF SHE WANTS IT--PERIOD.

            He DECLARED THIS.  Which is the problem.  Since the DLC took over in the 1908's, whether or not we want to admit it, the Democratic Party lost its "grass roots," and is now a party 'run top down' out of D.C.  We have no say, really.

            You know, we can all laugh at Tea Party types, and right-wingers in general, but at least there are genuine grass root factions (or several, for that matter) in the Republican Party.  And the Republican leaders quake in their boots when they speak.  What do we get from our leadership?  Well, I think we all know the answer to that.

            We have got to overcome being "marginalized."  

            I sometime fear that some of the Democratic Party base has fallen prey to "learned helplessness."  [And I'm not speaking about you BB.  Sounds like you definitely grasp the situation.]

            It's one thing to be reasonably conciliatory, and quite another to be a 'door mat.'

            But guess that's a discussion for another day.

            Mollie

            “If a dog won’t come to you after having looked you in the face, you should go home and examine your conscience.” -- Woodrow Wilson

            by musiccitymollie on Tue Jan 08, 2013 at 09:39:46 AM PST

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          •  I don't understand people's LACK of angst with (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            joe shikspack, fuzzyguy

            Obama, after all how do things like the following become ok for ANY Party to engage in... indefinite detention, a personal Kill List above and beyond anything in powers granted by the Constitution, Drone strikes including those called 'double tap' where the second bombing of a place only happens AFTER rescue efforts for victims are underway, or 'signature strikes which are based on info about people's patterns of behavior nothing more, not just the renewal but an expansion of the odious Patriot Act, warrantless wiretapping, refusal to prosecute torturers instead promoting people like John Brennan, Mr. Assassination Czar, while sending to prison a person that spoke out against torture, prosecuting more whistle blowers than all presidents before him...combined..and a host of other things just on the human rights front.

            Yes Clinton inflicted us with NAFTA and the repeal of Glass-Steagal (telecom act, derivatives deregulation and more) which people rightly criticize, but are silent on Obama appointing the same Clinton people for advisors, protecting the Wall Street criminals whom Sen. Levin's committee found had committed "massive fraud and abuse", and Obama's present 'behind closed doors (except for over 600 lobbyists) crafting of what has been revealed by leaked documents to be NAFTA on Steroids. In fact the 3 NAFTA deals that failed under GW Bush (cries by Dems of 'no more NAFTA!) passed quickly under Obama (with most the Dems that voted against it now voting FOR it)

            Yes I have problems with all those things and many more that anyone calling themselves liberal or progressive should be ashamed of to support. (I'm not saying YOU support those things, I don't know)

            without the ants the rainforest dies

            by aliasalias on Tue Jan 08, 2013 at 01:26:56 PM PST

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            •  let me update just ONE thing and with John Brennan (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              TheMomCat, joe shikspack

              and what I said about 'double tap' strikes targeting first responders which btw is a war crime. Angst? Yeah I got it.
              http://www.emptywheel.net/...
              Brennan Attacks First Responders Again

              In a sane world, John Brennan would be on his best behavior while his nomination to lead the CIA is pending approval in the Senate. Sadly, the world we inhabit has become so insane that Brennan’s “best behavior” appears to be a return to drone strikes that come with alarming frequency and include so many missiles fired at each target that it seems likely Brennan has returned to the war crime of attacking first responders who are attempting to rescue survivors at the attack site.
              I had noted last May that at least some US drone strikes appeared to have underpinnings that were as political as they were strategic, and my belief in that premise was strengthened as Brennan and the CIA escalated attacks to near daily at the time when US-Pakistan relations had reached a low point during negotiations to re-open NATO supply routes through Pakistan. Although some of the attacks I have described as political seem to have been very poorly targeted, especially the attack that killed 42 people gathered for a jirga just after the release of Raymond Davis, I was encouraged as the attacks slowed and appeared to be targeted on stronger underlying intelligence last fall and this winter.
              However, it appears that the pace of attacks is picking up once again, both in frequency and in the number of people killed in each attack. Bill Roggio noted in Long War Journal that the attack on Sunday was already the fourth attack of January in only its sixth day. That attack left 17 dead, although it appears that three separate compounds were targeted in the attack. Today, we have yet another strike, bringing the total to five in eight days. Today’s attack, at least according to the Express Tribune, came in two separate waves, and raises the question of whether the US is once again targeting first responders who are trying to rescue survivors:

              US operated armed drones fired missiles in Mir Ali and Essukhel area of North Waziristan in two sorties early on Tuesday morning killing at least eight people, Express News reported
              .

              According to Express News, the CIA-operated drones first fired at least eight missiles at a compound in Haiderkhel area of Miranshah  killing five people. Four people were also injured in the attack.

              Locals are sifting through the rubble to recover the bodies of the dead and rescue the injured.

              In a second attack in as many hours, drone attacks killed at least three people.

              (all emphasis mine)

              without the ants the rainforest dies

              by aliasalias on Tue Jan 08, 2013 at 03:04:46 PM PST

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      •  What do you think that Obama could do to change (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        joe shikspack, aliasalias

        the party's direction, just as a start?

        To pretend it starts and ends with him is pretty short-sighted, IMO.

        "Who are these men who really run this land? And why do they run it with such a thoughtless hand?" David Crosby

        by allenjo on Tue Jan 08, 2013 at 09:47:44 AM PST

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