The leadership of the Democratic Party never tires of their role as doormat to their Republican overlords. Fresh off their stunning defeat in the John Roberts appointment to the Supreme Court, the main players -- Clinton, Dodd, Kennedy, Biden, Kerry and Feingold -- announced they won’t attend the massive antiwar rallies in New York or Washington. Even now, when the public perception of Iraq has shifted as dramatically as two plates in the San Andreas Fault, the foremost sentinels of the party are too timid to budge.
What a useless collection of stuffed shirts and pompous windbags. Even the moniker “Democratic leadership” is an oxymoron. Their solitary interest is perpetuating their own miserable careers and reveling in the childish vanity of their office. They’d rather see the nation bullied and plundered by autocrats and sadists than jeopardize their precious tenure in Congress and their lofty aspirations for higher office. After all, standing on principle might torpedo their chances for a lucrative job as lobbyist with the defense industry when retirement rolls around.
Where’s Hillary Clinton when her loyal supporters need her?
Working on a strategy to send even more young Americans into the Iraqi meat grinder or currying favor with the pro-settlement crowd for another 37 years of occupation?
Clinton is the face of the Democratic Party: the standard-bearer for compromise and capitulation; another free market, neoliberal, warmongering sock puppet for big industry and finance. She’s pro-war, pro-NAFTA, pro-Patriot Act, pro-Israel and pro-anything else that greases the path to the swivel chair in the Oval Office. She has never once railed against the horrors at Guantanamo or Abu Ghraib, never criticized the abusive round-up of aliens in the war on terror, never challenged a system that starves its enemies and sluices billions into the pockets of corrupt corporations. Perhaps, she thinks she can grovel her way into the White House, but that’s doubtful. The present occupants seized that piece of real estate by force and won’t be surrendering it anytime soon.
And where’s horse face Kerry and the mad doctor Dean, champion of the antiwar throngs?
Kerry was more than eager to lead the charge in Iraq. He even claimed he had a “winning strategy” for the conflict. Now that the Massachusetts Senator is safely ensconced in the bastions of the ruling elite, he is only too pleased to send other mother’s sons “to be the last man to die for a mistake.”
As for Dean, his role as party chairman has further divorced him from the grassroots movement that bolstered his candidacy. His failure to show up at the antiwar marches is a public disgrace. He owes his whole putrid career to the antiwar movement and now he spits in their face.
I know the Democratic Party. I worked in it for three years as program chairman. The people at the grassroots level are as fine as anyone you’ll ever meet. They are overwhelmingly against the Patriot Act, the Iraq war, the unlimited incarceration of terror suspects, NAFTA, and the abuse of detainees. But the goals and aspirations of these people will not be realized through the vehicle of the Democratic Party. The Party system is as clogged, arthritic and unresponsive to change as their mirror image, the Republicans. The party has been co-opted by elites who set the agenda and subvert any effort to upset the status quo. They endorse the same imperial mayhem as their rivals, albeit with greater eloquence and diplomacy.
The conventional channels for transforming the political organism have all shut down; the system is broken. No amount of effort will alter the outcome within the present paradigm.
The only avenue for political change is massive popular movements that disrupt “business as usual” and send tremors into the corporate towers. Democracy won’t reappear in the form of Hilary Clinton or Howard Dean. Forget about it. We’re looking at a decades-long struggle to reestablish fundamental human rights and stop the incessant whirring of the war-machine.
We need foot soldiers not politicians.
Mike Whitney lives in Washington state, and can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
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