“Liberals” as Reactionaries: PoliticusUSA as “real liberal politics” (archive 2012)

So the funny thing about PoliticusUSA is that it represents a real trend in the self-dishonesty of American liberalism, which most people mistakenly take for some kind of left opposition. So let’s look at another  PoliticusUSA article:  Giving Obama The Credit He Deserves For Defending The 99%.

Although Democrats are not perfect, they served as a barrier to unbridled tax cuts for the rich and more importantly; more drastic cuts to programs that 99% of Americans depend on. The difference between Democratic ideology and Republican’s hard-right, unregulated free market capitalism and government privatization is stark and without Democrats, Americans’ economic situation would be far worse. The events in Wisconsin and  Florida, with Republican assaults on public employees, unions, and voters are but a glimpse of what happens when the GOP controls the executive and both houses of a legislature.

One is reminded of what Eugune Debs though of Democrats reading this: “The Republican and Democratic parties are alike capitalist parties — differing only in being committed to different sets of capitalist interests — they have the same principles under varying colors, are equally corrupt and are one in their subservience to capital.”

Now I think it is more than capital they are subservient to, but nonetheless the criticism applies. The argument that the Democrats are the least corrupt of bad options is probably the weakest argument I have seen.  What systemic problems enable this to be a constant shifting right in which “progressive” liberal Democrats complain about the shift right in Republican administrations and then make excuses for it in Democratic ones.

Ironically, the blogger knows this is coming:

There are perpetual complaints that Democrats, like Republicans, accept campaign contributions from Wall Street, corporations, lobbyists, and special interest groups and are therefore no different than Republicans, but one only need look at which party is fighting for the people to understand that those complaints are misguided. Democrats, as a rule, do not advocate undoing regulations, giving more breaks to big business, obstructing job creation, privatizing Medicare, Social Security, or Medicaid, or enacting harsh spending cuts to safety nets. The payroll tax cut and unemployment benefit extension controversy is just one example of the blatant difference between Democrats and Republicans.

Payroll tax cut was a tempest in a teapot to which the Republicans consented, so much for real differences there.  As for Democrats not opposing deregulation or privatization, the US “free trade” agreement with South Korea and NAFTA put the lie to this. Both have World Bank and IMF provisions that effectively back-door deregulate mutlinational economies, both backed by Democrats.

 Now, Democrats do understand that to maintain Medicare and Social Security’s solvency and effectiveness to last over the long haul, there must be changes made to both programs, but the notion of privatizing either program was never part of Democratic plans.

Notice that the author and the Democrats accept neo-liberal economic logic and take it as a given.  It’s just that Democrats wish to buy that system more time before the crushing tax burdens hit or capital fight renders that policy irredeemable, asking our real paymasters for a few more crumbs, and Republicans embrace the problem as a means to power. Notice that there really isn’t a problem of choice and the logic of  economic relationships is essentially naturalized.

“Americans owe Democrats, and especially President Obama, a debt of gratitude for holding the line against policies that would give all of Americans’ tax dollars to the wealthy and corporations. “

As opposed to what? For example, the individual mandate is well mandates giving money to insurance companies for a defective product which still has no meaningful cost control?

” Instead, because of Bush-Republican deregulation, the country is just now making strides, however slowly, at economic recovery because President Obama and Democrats resisted Republican attempts at more deregulation and tax cuts for the wealthy that put America, and the world on the brink of a depression.”

Fact: Most of the de-regulation occurred under the Clinton Era.

“There is no way to accurately predict what horrors Republicans would impose if they controlled both houses of Congress and the White House,  but suffice it to say that safety nets would disappear, education, Medicare, Social Security, and nearly all government programs would be privately run and Americans would suffer.

We lived through a period where this did happen and effectively this did not turn out to be case. Instead we got a surveillance state which Obama has largely maintained and even normalized.  That is because almost everyone knows that if one totally embraced the contradictions in neo-liberal production, like say Ron Paul, this would collapse.

In lieu of that, we have President Obama and Democrats to protect 98% of the population like they have for all of 2011.

Which is to say, you have worse than nothing. This is reactionary politics–what Democratic partisans regress to. Not only failing to see another way, but conceding all the points of their own opponents on the right and just saying, “look, it could worse” without realistically addressing that their bogeymen and themselves don’t look so different these days. But if one was honest, they never did.


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