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WHAT NOW?

Submitted by admin on April 8, 2010 – 4:56 pmNo Comment
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by M.Martin
The passage of the recent “health care reform” legislation is more than a little reminiscent of the Democratic Primaries of 2008.

In both cases, a long and hard-fought battle was closely won-and in the process incorporated numerous compromises, repugnant to party Progressives, in order to win the the tepid support of the party’s so-called conservatives.

Just as Democratic Nominee Barack Obama was a far more “centrist” figure than had initially been Candidate Obama (the adoption of that contemptible political prop, the American Flag lapel pin, pretty much let us all know what to expect), the government-mandated (if hardly supervised) transfer of wealth from the pockets of American citizens into the bank accounts of insurance companies bears only the vaguest resemblance to the “reforms” promised by Candidate Obama-or, indeed, any other Democratic Presidential contender from ‘08. Then, as now, progressives are left with the choice of supporting something that is only slightly better than boycotting the process altogether.

Another striking similarity is that both the 2008 Democratic Primary and the 2010 health insurance legislation are entirely Democratic affairs. Despite a year of futile efforts at “bipartisanship” and a Democratic passivity that enabled the worst of demagogues to take control of the public debate, not a single Republican voted in favor of a “reform” little different from what Richard Nixon once proposed-and essentially identical in structure to the measures passed in Massachusetts under the leadership of former GOP Governor Mitt Romney. Then, as now, the sole contribution of the Republican Party has been to ramp up the background noise of racist paranoia, once again convincing those most in need of progressive policies to vote and demonstrate against their own class interest.

What is different is that both the stakes and the consequences are far greater-and also that it is beginning to look like the Republican Party can no longer control what they have created. There has been a wave of real and threatened violence against legislators who voted for the reform act. Under other circumstances, it would be merely sad and amusing that anyone is sufficiently ill-informed as to regard this bill as some sort of harbinger of “socialism” in American society. But when the GOP’s misinformed bubba brownshirts begin to take up arms against the supposed threat and act to overturn the democratic process through intimidation, it ceases to be a joke.

A proposed “Second Amendment March” on the April 19th anniversary of Timothy McVeigh’s terrorist bombing in Oklahoma should tell any thinking American all they need to know about who is actually behind the “Tea Party” movement and give a pretty clear insight into their intentions. McVeigh was the product of the militia movement of the 90’s, which was itself a clear reaction to the GOP’s loss of power that started with the election of Bill Clinton. Even though the GOP was able to regain power in Congress and set much of the agenda in Clinton’s Washington, the militia movements remained.

The militias would like have been renewed as a consequence of any Democrat becoming President. But when that Democrat happens to an African-American with the unlikely name of “Barack Hussein Obama”, it can come as no surprise that they are back and bigger than ever.

So, really….what now? The GOP realized rather belated that they needed to distance themselves from the nutjobs they’ve spent the last two years funding and empowering. Accordingly, they’ve turned down their own rhetoric and instructed their toadies in the Mainstream Media to accuse Democrats of the deadly sin of “politicizing” the recent wave of violence by way of using it in campaign contribution solicitations. But with the 2010 midterm congressional elections looming into view, the GOP can no more cut loose their pet right-wing crazies than the Democrats, hurting from the self-inflicted wounds of the last year, can refrain from capitalizing on the GOP’s reliance on thugs to re-energize their own base.

Absent another Oklahoma City Bombing, don’t expect the GOP to disown their pet loonies anytime soon. If they are to buy back any measure of lost power in November, they need to to keep the irrational angers and resentments they’ve stirred up over the last year somewhere short of the boiling point. And even though the Democratic Party excels at passive and self-destructive ineffectualism, the same high stakes make it impossible for them to not exploit a possible backlash against GOP-sponsored extremism. Recent polls indicate that approval for the reform legislation began to escalate dramatically almost as soon as it passed. If these measures can have a noticeable impact on people’s lives between now and the fall elections, there is a very real chance that usual midterm election gains experienced by the minority party could be offset this year.

But in order for the Democrats to turn this election into a third straight win, they are going to have to do more than paint the GOP as obstructionists and enablers of potential domestic terrorists-even though that ought to be more than enough. The Democratic Party, starting with their leader and current chief resident of the White House, need to start acting like they actually won the last election… and actually meant the things they said in order to win.

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