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By way of reply to Chris Bowers…

December 26, 2009 Leave a comment

Jane Hamsher

Last week, Jane Hamsher shocked progressives by joining one of the arch enemies of big government, Grover Norquist, in demanding the investigation and prosecution of Rahm Emmanuel on charges related to Washington’s housing market debacle.

Grover Norquist is best known for his statement:

I don’t want to abolish government. I simply want to reduce it to the size where I can drag it into the bathroom and drown it in the bathtub.

In the following excerpt, Hamsher explains her tack:

So, it’s not an issue of “personalities.” It never should be. It’s about principles. And principles aren’t pliant — you either have them or you don’t. You can’t just use them as a yardstick to measure the inadequacy of people you don’t like, and then throw them away when it comes to your “friends.”

Rahm Emanuel is destroying not only the Democratic majority but the Democratic Party.  There isn’t enough pork in the world to hold his “Blue Dogs” in office with the legacy of bailouts that he has engineered, and that’s why his “big tent” is now collapsing in his wake.  Parker Griffin, and now (possibly) Chris Carney, may blame Nancy Pelosi for their defections to the GOP, but that’s pure demagogurery. The mess they are fleeing — the corrupt back-room deals, the endless bailouts — belong to Rahm.

The ground is shifting. You can feel it. And the Rahm dead-enders have become no different than the Bush dead-enders, completely unaware that the President whose malfeasance they are defending on the basis that one must not “consort with Republicans” is the one who ran on — consorting with Republicans.  It is knee-jerk authoritarianism in the extreme. Rick Warren is okay because Obama says so. Principles? Who needs them.

If Obama/Rahm want to triangulate against progressives (and they do), they’re not the only ones who can make cause with people on the other side of the aisle.  If that’s what it takes to shake up the corporate domination of our political system, we’ve done it before and we can do it again. Because working within the traditional political order to support “progressives” whose conviction lasts only as long as it doesn’t matter just doesn’t seem to be working.

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Progressives are nursing their hurt feeling…

December 26, 2009 Leave a comment

As viewed by Chris Bowers, in an Alternet piece: Marginalized, and impotent, it is slowly beginning to dawn on progressives that they are irrelevant to the Messiah:

Overall, this leaves progressives on the short-end of an ideological divide within the American center-left, with relatively little organizational ability to shift that hierarchy, and facing the very real prospect of being squashed if they step out of line.  This is why so many progressives are frustrated right now.

The pitiful thing is Bowers has absolutely no idea how progressives differ from the Washington mainstream. Waterboard this analyst, and he still could not come up with a single policy difference between the Messiah and his progressive allies. Progessives demand more power be given to Washington over significant portions of the economy, and Washington keeps out-sourcing that additional power to its cronies on Wall Street:

These are the three major examples of the difference between the left-progressive view of government and [Washington’s] view of government.  To solve major problems, from health care to climate change to the financial crisis to education (an example Kilgore discusses in his piece), [Washington’s] philosophy is not for the public sector to take over where the private sector has failed (which would have meant temporary bank nationalization, carbon tax, single payer / expanded public options, and equitable education funding) but instead to use a heavily subsidized and moderately regulated private sector (which meant purchasing toxic assets and loan interest loans to struggling banks, non-auctioned cap and trade, health insurance mandate with subsidies, and charter schools).

So, it all comes down to whether an irretrievably corrupt Washington will educate our children, care for the sick, and protect the environment, or whether it will be out-sourced to the Wall Street cronies of this same irretrievably corrupt Washington.

But, Bowers doesn’t even have the courage of principles to label Washington corrupt to its core. Washington is not engaged in the worst kind of crony capitalism, it is merely committed to relying on private means to accomplish public good. To drive home his point, he quotes another writer:

To put it simply, and perhaps over-simply, on a variety of fronts (most notably financial restructuring and health care reform, but arguably on climate change as well), the Obama administration has chosen the strategy of deploying regulated and subsidized private sector entities to achieve progressive policy results. This approach was a hallmark of the so-called Clintonian, “New Democrat” movement, and the broader international movement sometimes referred to as “the Third Way,” which often defended the use of private means for public ends.

What we are witnessing here, in other words, is not the continued fusion of the most predatory and unequaled economic power with the very machinery of state, to the exclusion of all other human and global environmental considerations, but the mere out-sourcing of good government practices to the private sector.

Okay, fine.