Democratic Deceit and Denial on War, Impeachment, Health Care and Prisons

How Democracy Works

The general problem facing Democratic party leaders can be summed up this way.

How do we get elected one more time without giving Democratic voters any of what they want? How do we get elected without ending the war and the policies which led to it, without impeaching Cheney and Bush, without delivering health care? How do we run a woman presidential candidate who’s not quite pro-choice, or a black one who’s not really not all that committed to addressing issues like the nation’s policies of black mass incarceration?

Unfortunately, they seem to have it all figured it out.

After more than five years of lies and a million dead Iraqis, most Americans are ready have the troops brought home. But Democratic House and Senate leaders, along with Democratic presidential candidates, except Mike Gravel and Dennis Kucinich, have cynically decided to let the war continue through the rest of George Bush’s term in office, to give them something to shadowbox with, proposing ineffectual time lines, irrelevant benchmarks and gimmicks like “more rest for the troops”.

Corporate media obligingly depict this as real, if ineffectual opposition to the war in Iraq, while continuing to promote the so-called “war on terror” that will lead to more Iraqs in Africa, Latin America and elsewhere.

Though Democratic voters overwhelmingly favor impeachment of Cheney and Bush, as do a majority of Americans, party leaders want no part of this either. Even Detroit’s John Conyers, who sponsored impeachment bills last year when he was in the minority, and is now chair of the powerful House Judiciary Committee, refuses to do so this year, he reaffirmed to more than 300 disappointed citizens at his office on Monday. Shortly after that announcement, 30 of them, including Rev. Lennox Yearwood were arrested on the spot.

The focus-group tested phrase “universal health care” is also once again on the lips of every Democratic presidential candidate because they know this is what the vast majority of the American people want. Still, with the sole exception of Dennis Kucinich, a co-sponsor of the Medicare-For-All bill in the House, not a single Democratic candidate for president is willing to take on the parasitic private health insurance industry, which sucks up twenty to thirty cents of every American health care dollar in advertising, billing and profits.

With Democratic leaders and corporate media omitting all discussion of Medicare-For-All or any form of single payer health care, private insurance companies can confidently switch a portion of their generous campaign donations from Republicans to Democrats without fear that anything will change.

In the same spirit, candidate presidential candidate Barack Obama’s commercials on South Carolina black radio begin with the drive-by observation that there are more young black men in prison than in college before abruptly changing the subject, leaving trusting, and hopeful souls to imagine that electing him will somehow address that issue. After all, as Obama supporter Oprah Winfrey has assured us, wishful thinking really does make it so.

mic01This is the substance of mainstream political discussion in the Democratic party. Deceit, denial, omission, and wishful thinking. So far, it’s working. Corporations who till recently only donated to Republicans candidates are including Democrats in their portfolios. Front runners Clinton and Obama are raising more cash than any Republicans this year, most of it from the very wealthy. So you see that the Democratic Party, and democracy really do work. Never mind what Democratic voters want.

Bruce Dixon is the managing editor of the Black Agenda Report, where this article first appeared. Read other articles by Bruce, or visit Bruce's website.

5 comments on this article so far ...

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  1. Max Shields said on July 26th, 2007 at 11:09am #

    More on Conyers from Ray McGovern

    John Conyers Is No Martin Luther King

    by Ray McGovern
    What do Rep. John Conyers (D-Michigan), chair of the House Committee on the Judiciary, and President George W. Bush have in common? They both think they can dis Cindy Sheehan and count on gossip columnists like the Washington Post’s Dana Milbank to trivialize an historic moment.

    I’ll give this to President Bush. He makes no pretence when he disses. He would not meet with Sheehan to define for her the “noble cause” for which her son Casey died or tell her why he had said it was “worth it.”

    Conyers, on the other hand, was dripping with pretence as he met with Sheehan, Rev. Lennox Yearwood, and me yesterday in his office in the Rayburn building. I have seldom been so disappointed with someone I had previously held in high esteem. And before leaving, I told him so. Throwing salt in our wounds, he had us, and some fifty others in his anteroom arrested and taken out of action as the Capitol Police “processed” us for the next six hours.

    As we began our discussion with Conyers, it was as though he thought we were “born yesterday,” as Harry Truman would put it. With feigned enthusiasm he began, Let’s hold a Town Hall meeting in Detroit so we can talk about impeachment. Get out my schedule; let’s see, we need to hear from everyone about this.

  2. Michael Rappaport said on July 26th, 2007 at 1:29pm #

    I have been a Democrat all my life, but I have very little hope for either one of the two parties anymore. I believe that anyone who wants to be president enough to run for the office probably should not be allowed to be president; it’s all about power.

    In 1988, when Poppy Bush was running and said he wasn’t much on the “vision thing,” I believed he wanted to be president because he liked the trappings of the office. Of course, his son has proved to us that the “vision thing” can leave us in horrible shape when someone’s visions are demented.

    BTW, I thought Edwards — not just Kucinich — also supported single payer health care.

  3. Max Shields said on July 26th, 2007 at 3:07pm #

    Edwards’ plan is so-called “universal” but not single payer. His plan would include continued privitization of health care. Kucinich’s plan does not. Kucinich’s plan is “Medicare For All”.

    I know it can sound the same, but there’s really a big difference.

  4. Deadbeat said on July 26th, 2007 at 5:36pm #

    The Democrats basically conceded the race in 2000 to the Republicans. In 2004 the “Anybody But Bush” crowd even those on the left abandon principles to support war-monger Kerry. Once again look to the left to see what coming from the right

  5. Bruce F said on July 26th, 2007 at 6:16pm #

    I agree with your characterization of the political proccess as being contaminated with “…Deceit, denial, omission, and wishful thinking. ”

    I think that most people, including most voters, rely on the same sort of thinking to survive.

    How can a politician hope to win a plurality of the votes without appealing to the “normal” voter?

    The late, great Billmon said, and I’m paraphrasing, that to understand the American political scene required a close reading of both Pierre Janet and the Marquis de Sade.