I have to say that I’ve grown pretty sick and tired of this sort of bullshit from my fellow liberals.
The following is my response to the OP.
Thought it was worth sharing with a broader audience than just the closed FB group. Would like to hear what you think.
Man, that is some tortured reasoning in the face of the facts, <NAME REDACTED>.
Look, I’m as liberal as anyone, and I want what you want, but when are you going to give up the purity tests, give up blaming the Democratic Party, and realize that on election day you can’t always get what you want?
The Democratic Party prefers losing elections? That’s absurd, and I suspect you didn’t mean it literally. Besides, I know you know that Clinton beat Sanders and Trump by 3million votes each. I know you know that nationwide Democratic Senators and House Reps tallied more votes than Republicans.
And, you want to blame the Democratic Party for not fielding candidates you want?
Voting Americans were very clear in 2016 about whom they preferred. Democrats.
Yes, yes, the two party system is corrupt and beholden to big money. Yes, yes, campaign finance and electoral processes are rigged.
And, what you complain about is a, “….Democratic Party <who> is unwilling to put forward candidates for public office that will serve the American people.”
The American electorate – a majority of the American electorate – doesn’t see it that way.
Yes, yes, what about all the voters who have given up and don’t vote? I say fuck ’em, just like I say fuck off to Flake and Corker. They aren’t courageous, they’re cowardly. If they had any balls and were truly committed, they’d campaign against the buffoon and his flavor of Republicanism even if it meant losing reelection, but I digress.
Of the many reforms we both (I think) want to see is the elimination of the electoral college. I’ve sent Lessig some money. He’s actually doing something about it. And even though they’ve hit their fundraising goal, here’s the link. Hope everyone reading this will kick in and pitch in however they can.
<NAME REDACTED>, I believe you to be a thoughtful, intelligent, and caring person, but this demanding that the Democratic Party apparatchiks……what??……meet up in their secret mountain lab to stitch together pieces of candidates to create some kind of pure-enough politician that you can support really is maddening.
What, exactly, do you want from them? Even better, who would make you happy running as a Democrat? Who would be pure enough for you? Elizabeth Warren? Bernie again? Who? And, what are going to do if you don’t get your way again, throw in the towel? Throw away your vote so a Republican vote isn’t canceled out. Yeah. That’s what has to happen in the end. Republican votes need to be canceled out.
As for this endless lamentation about the two party system, I’m with you, but I have to ask again, what do you want and from whom do you want it? You think the Democrats aren’t doing enough? Why would they, and have you seen the other side? Shit, the GOP is literally setting ballot access and voters’ rights back 50 years!
And corporatist Democrats are too distasteful?
Honestly, man, the 2016 election has opened my eyes wide in lots of ways. One of them is why conservatives hate us and mock us.
What we collectively seem to be really good at is whining and complaining about all kinds of injustices while we collectively refuse to basically take one for the team – meaning, society at large.
We refuse to actually do what is pragmatic and possible. Instead, what we seem to be really good at is shaking our self-righteous fists at “the system” from the comfort of our laptops and middle class homes while all the groups of causes and people we are supposed to care about – the environment, economic inequality, refugees, immigrants, the poor and working poor, LGBTQ, women, minorities, and on and on – all get left to Republicans because we can’t bring ourselves to vote for those so-called “corporatist” Democrats until they give us the perfect politician.
Who’s perfect? If that’s the standard, then get used to conservatives running things while liberals do what we seem to do best; hold fast to our ideological purity regardless of the consequences to others.
John McCain? John Kasich? Lindsey Graham? Now, Peggy Noonan?
Peggy-fucking Noonan? Now she’s being lauded for her WSJ piece as some sort of voice of reason because she found some modicum of self-serving political courage to criticize Trump and the GOP???
Oh, she’s so brave.
(Side note: For those who don’t know her, Noonan’s claim to fame was putting only slightly more intelligent words into St. Reagan’s and GHWB’s dimwitted heads than either of those two intellectually challenged conservatives could come up with on their own.)
So, I issue this plea with all due respect and humility to my fellow liberals and progressives; please stop with the, “Oh, he’s/she’s one of the good ones,” bullshit. PLEASE!
Noonan, McCain, Graham, Kasich, and all these newly minted “good ones” fall into the same who-gives-a-fuck-what-they-have-to-say category as Rick Santorum who, unlike these new Republican “reasonables”, proved once again and just yesterday on CNN that he is an unmitigated sycophant happy to say and do anything, including defending Trump, just to get air time. Why the fuck he is paid any attention at all by any media outlet is a mystery.
Which brings me to this question. Can you guess what media strategy so-called reasonable Republicans are starting to use? (Hint: It includes criticizing a certain someone they all helped to get elected.)
Me? I’ll start taking Republicans at their word when they start acting more and talking less.
As for my fellow liberals and progressives who are starting to turn a warm and welcoming smile toward some Republicans, this is your cue to stop willingly playing the fool.
I write this because I’m starting to see this in too many places and from too many liberals and progressives. There seems to be a drift by some lefties toward wanting to make room for and to even extolling the all too obviously disingenuous virtues of people like Kasich, McCain, and Graham.
We must resist their siren song. We can’t be so eager for reasonableness and sanity that we allow ourselves to fall for their politically calculated appearance of reasonableness.
Conservatives are the very people who set the world on fire. They and their actions going back to Reagan are what made a cretin like Trump possible. Now that the Earth is being scorched, they want us to believe they are in the fight to put out the flames with us?
Bullshit. They are doing what they do best; playing Americans for the fools we all too often are.
If we on the left agree to set the ethical, moral, and intellectual bar at a president who is now seemingly half a step away from flinging his poo at press conferences, we are allowing right-wing, empty-headed, narcissists like Noonan, soft-spoken ex-Lehman Brothers directors like Kasich, and hack politicos like McCain and Graham to try to appear as reasonable and to be more appealing to Americans generally.
And, that’s commendable? Laudable?
That’s no accomplishment at all. It does nothing to move this country to the left if we start giving credit to anyone for anything when it’s Trump they are compared against. It’s not just meaningless, it’s ridiculous.
We must give Republicans and conservatives no quarter nor any credit for doing anything more meaningful than serving their own ends by criticizing the horror of a person that they put into office.
The bar for me is still set where it always has been; liberal and progressive values that put people, the planet, and peace above the backward, destructive, and discriminatory ideology that is conservatism and Republicanism.
So, again I say to my fellow liberals and progressives, don’t be fooled, and stop playing the fool.
This country is where it is now because of conservatism, because of Republicans and their failed policies, and because of people like McCain, Graham, Kasich, and many who, yes, are far worse.
Every conservative and all of the right-wing own some part of Trump. For any of them now to try to convince us that they, too, are upset, angry, and concerned about Trump is like the arsonist now claiming to be worried about the neighbors’ houses.
They now want us to believe we’re all on the same side; unified against Trump.
Perhaps they even want us to believe that they are coming to their senses.
They may even want us to start thinking and believing they have agreed with what all of us Trump detractors have been saying since that idiot man-child came out from behind his failed businesses to be their candidate and the candidate of the hateful, the uninformed, and the aging white conservative voter.
Well, I’m calling bullshit on all of them. So should you.
What I see happening now just proves that they are nothing more than self-serving hypocrites and lying political hacks.
All they want now is to keep turning this country in their favor, and all they may need to realize that is to win a few of us liberals and progressives to their side.
Don’t do it. Don’t start complimenting them for pretending to care when all they are doing is being politically savvy.
Call them out for their culpability. Call them out for their guilt in helping to set this country on fire.
All conservatives and all Republicans are not equally guilty. Not all of them threw equal amounts of gasoline on the fire. But, they all threw some.
The conflagration that is Trump is on them.
Every conservative and every Republican owes this country and the world an apology. Then and only then can they have any credibility in helping the left to take down this abomination that is Trump, and only if they work with us to replace it with a progressive and liberal agenda.
If what we do is to once again move to the right by once again compromising and even embracing the right, then we truly are the fools.
We liberal elitists are now completely in the clear. The government is in Republican hands. Let them deal with him. Democrats can spend four years raising heirloom tomatoes, meditating, reading Jane Austen, traveling around the country, tasting artisan beers, and let the Republicans build the wall and carry on the trade war with China and deport the undocumented and deal with opioids, and we Democrats can go for a long , brisk walk and smell the roses.
I admit that I’ve never been much of a fan of Mr. Keillor. I’m even less of one now.
While Mr. Keillor has the luxury to travel back to his own version of Lake Wobegone, the entire planet and everyone on it will be put at actual existential risk, especially if you’re Muslim, LGBTQ, poor, a person of color, or some combination of these.
Keillor’s shtick always struck me as too much of an aw-shucks-why-can’t-America-be-Mayberry view of the world.
Given that, it’s no surprise to me that now his advice is for liberals to make plans to travel the country tasting artisan beers and raising heirloom tomatoes back home.
Sounds like advice Nero would like.
My advice is for liberals to spend the next 4 years demanding that our elected officials do everything possible to obstruct and reverse everything and anything Trump and the Republicans try to do.
How can I say that?
Because there is no middle ground with bigotry, racism, xenophobia, and misogyny, and that is what Trump represents. It’s also what Republicans have always been about during my lifetime, too.
Washing my hands of it to take brisk walks and smell the roses is the epitome of liberal cowardice and privilege.
Keillor may have done this tongue-in-cheek, but somehow I don’t think so.
Either way, we liberals – especially my fellow white liberals of some privilege – should be unified in sending a completely opposite message to all of our elected representatives; from our local school boards, town councils, and city leaders, to county, state, and federal officials.
That message is we’re not surrendering anything to you. We’re coming, and we are not here to compromise.
I’m starting with no longer accepting liberal cowardice.
For far too long too many liberals and self-proclaimed “progressives” and “trans-partisans” – yes, I’m looking at you, Join the Coffee Party Movement – are doing little more than wasting precious time and energy by pretending that every voice matters and that there’s more than one side to every issue. There isn’t, and the insistence that there is actually looks like cowardice to me.
The Left in too many places demonstrates far too little commitment to recognizing and acknowledging right from wrong; good from bad, in terms of people, behaviors, beliefs, leaders and policies. By “engaging”, we execute perfectly on a strategy of surrender. By “engaging”, all we accomplish is NOTHING. We allow the more committed, better organized, more unified, and more forceful conservatives – and their shills – to control the conversation and the outcomes.
By always wanting to “engage in conversation” and “really listen to the other side” and “working to find compromise and middle ground”, we have surrendered, and in so doing we allow the center to move further and further to the right. That’s dangerous and wrong for everyone except the tiniest few, and it must stop. Now.
You say you want to speak truth to power? I say, “Start by empowering yourself, and start that by speaking truth to yourself.”
The truth is on full display everyday. All that’s required is the courage to look at it.
Conservatives, corporatists, and the rich are the ones who effed this country up. It wasn’t us liberals, or the poor, or the peaceniks, beatniks, or hippies; it wasn’t legal or illegal immigrants; it wasn’t minorities or Santorum’s “elitists” in the ever-shrinking middle class who struggle to find ways to send their kids to college.
It always has been, still is, and always will be conservatives and their so-called conservative “values” who wreak havoc on the rest of us.
And just like it always does, it falls once again and now to us liberals to clean up the conservatives’ mess.
I say let’s do it differently this time.
Let’s stop pretending we can “work” with them. That’s the formula that has failed us for the last 35 years. It’s they who must change.
Yes, this is about Us versus Them. To deny that is the cowardice that denies the reality of our situation and how we got into it. To deny that reality is the cowardice that only strengthens and emboldens conservatives and their duped minions to continue making society worse instead of better for more people.
We have long since passed the time for pretending we can work with conservatives. Instead, we need to start telling the right-wing that they are NOT welcome into the discussion because they ARE the problem.
This isn’t demagoguing. This is reality.
Prove it to yourself.
Ask yourself these questions. See if you aren’t feeling empowered as a liberal by the truth of the answers.
Who still wants to deny human rights to other human beings because they are LGBTQ?
Who wants to cling to the lie of in-person voter fraud just so they can make it harder for people they don’t like to be able to vote?
Who denies that everyone on Wall Street and in the financial services industry writ large doesn’t need regulators crawling up their asses every single minute of every single day?
Who wants to forcibly legislate their religious beliefs on the rest of us?
Who denies science and blocks policies that are rooted in and based upon science?
Who wants their racism and xenophobia to manifest itself in the form of walls, moats, electric fences, armed patrols, and drones on our borders?
Who screams at busloads of children?
Who seems perfectly content with the fact that we have become an imprisoned nation that applauds policing in poor and minority communities by para-military forces?
Who defends the abuse of police power?
Who thinks whisleblowers are the traitors and spies the patriots?
Who thinks the minimum wage is either fine as is and perhaps should be abolished altogether?
Who thinks that labor unions are still too strong in comparison to the people running corporations?
Who thinks health care is something only those with the means to pay for it should get, and who is warm and content in their unbridled selfishness when asked what alternatives they have to health care as a human right?
Who still votes for any politician anywhere who is still peddling the lies of trickle-down economics and smaller government?
Who believes that corporations are people and money is speech?
Look. There’s no excuse in modern America for anyone outside the One Percent to consider themselves to be a conservative or, for that matter, a Republican.
And, here’s why this is so important. Anyone outside of that tiny sliver of the obscenely wealthy and powerful who is still allowing themselves to be duped into voting against themselves is also VOTING AGAINST THE REST OF US.
We don’t have the luxury of time to try and convince them to end their madness and to stop voting for people who consider them to be just another expendable resource. Instead, we need to stop them by no longer pretending that they can be part of the solution. We need to stop wasting time trying to find compromise. We need to stop pretending like enough facts will someday turn the light bulb on over their heads.
We outnumber them. There are more Liberals than there are Conservatives. We’re just used to being conciliatory and willing to compromise. No more!
What we need to do is exercise our strength of numbers.
Liberals must become lions. We must roar louder, longer, stronger, and more ferociously than those Americans who call themselves conservatives and who think they’re Republicans.
We must stop giving them cover by constantly engaging them online, in our living rooms, and in the coffee shops and polling places.
We must show up in greater numbers. We must be loud. We must be forceful.
And most of all, we must vote. Liberals – and people who call themselves moderates only because they think “liberal” is an insult – outnumber the truly lost and dyed-in-the-wool duped conservatives.
It is Us versus Them.
It’s time we stopped pretending otherwise. It’s time to work together as Liberals so that we can fix the fuck ups that conservatives leave every time they end up in power.
It’s up to us to change the things we can no longer accept from conservatives. And, that’s everything that is stamped with the “conservative” label. Everything.
I’m all for….
….putting the NSA and the CIA back in their cages,
….taking drones out of the hands of presidents,
….spending tax revenues in wiser ways,
….legalizing marijuana (which, btw, Paul is NOT in favor of doing; see here and here) and
….shrinking our global empire.
That does NOT make me a libertarian. It shouldn’t make anyone else believe they might be one, either.
I want to encourage everyone, but especially young people, to not be fooled by Rand Paul just because he successfully delivered some none-too-surprising applause lines, “…thanks, presumably, to the first-come, first-served ticketing system used by the student-run Berkeley Forum, which sponsored the event in collaboration with the Berkeley College Republicans.”
What he didn’t have the courage to do was to address, “….Republican red-meat subjects like abortion, Obamacare and gay marriage.” To his credit, he did say, “Clapper lied in the name of security; Snowden told the truth in the name of privacy.”
As with every politician, he played to the audience before him. Sure, a little silver lining was visible.
After all, not all libertarian ideas are bad ideas, just like not all Green, Republican, Democratic, or any other political party’s ideas are all bad.
While we might all find some amount of common ground everywhere, we should not mistake that for support. Yes, I share some ideas with libertarians, but make no mistake about it. I consider hardcore libertarianism as not only bad for America, it’s bad for humanity and for civil society.
In fact, the only ones who actually benefit from libertarianism are the wealthy corporatists.
Milton Friedman would either have to agree or lie to our faces about that fact.
Why do I say that? Well, I wonder how many self-proclaimed libertarians and so-called “libertarian populists” actually know about their movement’s history?
Let me share some here.
“Libertarianism” was a project of the corporate lobby world, launched as a big business “ideology” in 1946 by The US Chamber of Commerce and the National Association of Manufacturers. The FEE’s board included the future founder of the John Birch Society, Robert Welch; the most powerful figure in the Mormon church at that time, J Reuben Clark, a frothing racist and anti-Semite after whom BYU named its law school; and United Fruit president Herb Cornuelle.
The purpose of the FEE — and libertarianism, as it was originally created — was to supplement big business lobbying with a pseudo-intellectual, pseudo-economics rationale to back up its policy and legislative attacks on labor and government regulations.
This background is important in the Milton Friedman story because Friedman is a founding father of libertarianism, and because the corrupt lobbying deal he was busted playing a part in was arranged through the Foundation for Economic Education.
The problem for libertarian politicians is that Americans hate libertarianism. They like Social Security and minimum-wage hikes, they are still somewhat wary of free trade and they resent that the world is full of conniving and frequently swarthy foreigners who are scheming to provide us with goods and services in exchange for little green pieces of paper.
Smaller government. Unfettered and unregulated free trade. Ending the Fed, the IRS, the EPA, the DOE, the ED. If not eliminating, at least privatizing federal social safety net programs. Banning abortions. Putting more and more decisions like voting rights, gun laws, and marriage equality into the hands of locals.
These are libertarian ideals, and they are an anachronism. It is a way of thinking about and seeing the world, people, society, and governance that belongs more to the 18th century than it does to the 21st.
Unregulated markets have proven time and time again to be a recipe for environmental and economic disaster. It is exactly what is causing our ever-widening wealth gap, and it is precisely to blame for what looks more and more like a caste system in America.
As for the social issues, we have seen time and again what locals do the minute they are given the chance to turn their parochial thinking and ideology into legislation.
We never would have had the Voting Rights Act or the Civil Rights Act had it been left to the states. The latest and most obvious example of the abuse of power at the state level is voter suppression. Some states leapt at the first chances they’ve had since the 60s to institute the very same voter suppression laws that the feds have denied to them for years because those laws aim squarely at limiting minority voters. States are getting it wrong.
Yes, the movements for marriage equality and marijuana legalization, as well as for reforming gun laws if the majority of Americans ever find the courage to stand up to the gun manufacturers, the lobbyists, the NRA, and the minority of Americans who oppose them, are movements today at the state level. They are meant to do one thing: Make these federal issues and, eventually, federal law because each state should NOT get to decide who marries whom, what vices we choose to indulge in, or whether or not the person in line with us at the grocery checkout – or in the pew next to us on Sunday – is carrying a concealed weapon. That’s not only parochial, it’s uncivilized.
So, young people, please do not be fooled or seduced by Rand Paul. Just because he went to Berkley and just because he’s talking the talk on domestic spying, drones, and military interventions does not make him your friend, your ally, or your advocate. (And remember, he’s NOT for legalizing weed. He just thinks you should spend *less* time in jail if you’re busted.)
Conservatives of all ages need to know that Rand is not your friend, either, at least not according to those ostensibly speaking for that ideology like Jennifer Rubin of the Washington Post.
In fact, Paul might have created what has become a rarer and rarer occurrence. He’s created agreement between extremist tea partiers and their intra-party nemeses, the so-called “mainstream” Republicans, that he’s not a conservative.
(Editorial note: The 2012 presidential election results prove that the GOP is anything but mainstream. All one has to do is look at the demographics. Data does not lie.)
Rubin excoriated Paul for how he insulted the intelligence of Berkley students and young people everywhere, first by wearing “baggy jeans” to Berkley (btw, what is it with conservatives and jeans?) and then for, “…pretending to be an undergrad who’d just rolled out of bed,” something Rubin says Jack Kemp wouldn’t have dreamed of doing.
On the more serious issues, Rubin exposes Paul’s, “…lack of forthrightness about conservative policies and solutions when it might prove uncomfortable – the desire to be something very different than what he’ll be in Iowa or New Hampshire.”
But what about CPAC and Paul’s straw poll victory, you ask?
Well, in this Bloomberg video (by way of The Christian Science Monitor) Dr. Larry Sabato tells us what Paul’s 31% straw poll win at CPAC means: Nothing.
First, there’s the math. Sabato reminds us that 7 in 10 at CPAC voted for someone else.
Next, he reminds us that CPAC is not the GOP. It is, he says, where, “…one goes to show a little leg – the right leg.”
Finally, he leaves us with this, and it’s something that everyone must understand about Rand Paul and libertarianism in general: Paul is very conservative on social issues like abortion, and he ran a very conservative campaign when he ran for Senate, but he is anything but conservative on homeland security issues like defense spending, the Patriot Act, and trials for Gitmo detainees.
What this all means – and what Sabato is pointing out to us – is the obvious about what Rand Paul is trying to do now. Rand Paul is simply trying to meld libertarianism with conservatism to appeal to younger voters.
Do not fall for it, younger voters.
The only kind of governance that would be worse for you than straight-up libertarianism would be libertarianism melded with conservatism.
Don’t believe it? Don’t think that’s what he’s doing, and don’t think it would necessarily be a bad thing if it were true?
Then understand this about what merging libertarianism and conservatism might mean. It comes from Paul’s own words from page 78 in his book, The Tea Party Goes to Washington:
In talking to Palin, one of the primary things I wanted to do was allay her fears about social issues, telling her, “My opponents call me a libertarian but I want to assure you that I am pro-life.” Palin responded, “Oh, we all have a little libertarian in us.”
Palin and Paul. Try that on. Take it for a little walk.
Now, is that even an idea with any appeal at all, and to whom?
Again, my advice is don’t be fooled by Rand Paul or any hard-core libertarians, for that matter. They are not your friends, they are not our friends, and they are no friend to young people. They are, in fact, no one’s friend or champion except for those who believe the corporatist ideology and propaganda that comes out of places like The Cato Institute.
It’s way too early to be prognosticating 2016. Between then and now, I encourage everyone to put a little time and effort into keeping yourselves informed.
For more details on Rand Paul – or any politician, for that matter – my advice is to avoid their web sites. You simply won’t find deeper and faster spinning pits of political bull chips anywhere in the universe.
Stay away from cable news and most corporate media, too. They are corporatists with a single goal: To attract and retain your attention in service to advertisers and their shareholders.
Instead, look for independent and non-partisan sources. Here’s a site I came upon recently. It’s called OnTheIssues, and I’m already finding it to be pretty helpful.
You should also join the conversation with your fellow citizens of all stripes and ages. Below are a few organizations I like and recommend.
The future is yours, young people, and, like it or not, someday you’ll be in charge. It’s up to you.
For what it’s worth and speaking on behalf of the Baby Boomers willing to tell you the truth, we effed things up royally, and we’re very, very sorry. We were the generation that bought the lies of trickle-down economics, worshiped the “greed is good” ethos, and have been governing and running businesses with sadistic selfishness and unbridled narcissism born of Ayn Rand’s perverse Objectivism.
For your own sake and for the sake of the planet and humanity, please don’t miss the opportunity to learn from our mistakes, and please don’t make the same ones we did.
10/1/2016: For the record, I no longer support CoffeePartyUSA as they have become a corrupt organization led by people who pick and choose whom they allow to have a voice and whom they allow was voting members as their way of holding onto power. Click here to read more.