Saturday, October 19, 2013

Bill Moyers: On the Sabotage of Democracy

"Once upon a time, when I was a young man working on Capitol Hill, it was commonplace that, when a bill became law, everybody was unhappy with it. But you didn't bring down the government just because it wasn't perfect."

Amen! And how about this?

"When the president refused to buckle to this extortion, they threw their tantrum. Like the die-hards of the racist South a century and a half ago, who would destroy the Union before giving up their slaves, so would these people burn the place down, sink the ship of state, and sow economic chaos to get their way."

Of course, they didn't get their way, not that time and not this time, but they're already planning another go at shutting down the government and defaulting on the full faith and credit of the United States just three months from now.

Is this any way to run a country? Is this any way to run even a banana republic, let alone the most powerful nation on Earth?

As Bill Moyers says, "At least, let's name this for what it is: sabotage of the democratic process - secession, by another means. ... As surely as night follows day, the alternative to democracy is worse."


jeff725 said...

"When the president refused to buckle to this extortion, they threw their tantrum."

What always frustrates me about progressives is when I read headlines like these from progressive sites:

"Even When the GOP Loses, It Wins"

"The Democrats Can’t Defend the Country from the Retrograde GOP"

That kind of defeatist attitude makes me want to tear my hair out!! (my inner football player is coming out). And it perpetuates the stereotype of the so-called "hand-wringing liberal."

I've always said politics is like a hockey fight; you're going to get hit anyway, so you might as well grab a handful of the other guy's jersey and start pounding away.

IMO, the Republicans don't want to win, per say, they want the Democrats to quit; that way they don't have to get their delicate knuckles bloody.

When the Democrats DO "grow a pair," the GOP freaks out. Classic bully; more chest-beating and bluster than substance.

The Tea Party has already tipped their hand that their going to shut down the Government again in February. President Obama and the rest of the Democrats should be waiting at center ice with the gloves and helmets off, stealing a page from G.W. Bush's book: "Bring it on."

WCG said...

You have a point, Jeff, but so do the authors of those articles:

"Tea Party zealots may have lost their bid to torpedo healthcare reform, but the right continues to set the terms of the debate."

True. Partly, this is because Democratic politicians don't want to fight (they'd rather compromise, any day), and partly because right-wing extremism causes the media to shift the "middle" towards the right.

"The GOP may be bearing the brunt of the public’s rage, but anger is also directed at Washington and government generally."

Also true. And this is where the barbarians have an advantage. If your goal is to destroy, rather than build, everything you do which advances destruction - or even retards building - is a win, at least to some extent, even when you're blamed for it.

Just ask most Americans if they want to throw all incumbents out of office. Of course, they won't. Incumbents still have an enormous advantage in elections. But that expression of disgust shows that Republican policies are working. All too many Americans blame everyone equally, rather than blaming the people responsible.

That second article was written by Ralph Nader, but even he has a point. Democrats need campaign funds at least as much as Republicans, even when it's Republican appointees to the Supreme Court who've created that situation.

And in Nebraska, don't you get furious at Democratic candidates who don't offer voters an alternative? In statewide offices, they try to demonstrate that they're just like a Republican,... and then wonder why the voters pick a real Republican, instead.

I tell you, I was furious at Bob Kerrey in the last election! Forget about the short-term - especially since he lost the election anyway. How about the long-term, when Nebraskans never hear the other side, the Democratic side, even from Democrats?

It isn't being defeatist to recognize the problems we face. Destroying is always easier than building, and people who defend civilization have it a lot harder than those who seek to bring it down.

We're on the same side when it comes to wanting the Democrats to fight. Still, I think we're at a disadvantage there, too. Right-wing Republicans like to fight; Democrats, by and large, don't.

Maybe progressives do, but the Democratic Party is decidedly middle-of-the-road these days. The established leaders of the party don't welcome fighters. Those aren't the kinds of people they encourage to run for office. By and large, they want fund-raisers, and that means someone who can schmooze fatcat donors.