[Marxism] RE: Who is David Cobb? (actually re: Walter Lippmann's comments)

Fred Feldman ffeldman at bellatlantic.net
Sat Jul 17 11:20:54 MDT 2004

Okay, Walter got irritated.  I have a different take than he does, but
nonetheless he is on to something basic about what is going on.  
Are there differences between Kerry and Bush.  I can think of  three
basic ones.  The first is on the economy.  Kerry is a tight money
Democrat like Clinton. His backers are concerned with the stability of
the dollar as the world currency under an unexpected challenge from the
Euro, about the stability of the bond market nervous about the enormous
expansion of deficits, and wanting guarantees that their investments
will pay off.  Kerry stands for massive budget cuts and tax increases,
usually presented on the left as eliminating Reagan's tax increases for
the rich.  Of course, the left (but Walter knows better) hopes that the
cuts will come out of the military budget and contracts for Halliburton
and that the tax increases will consist of rescinding the tax cuts for
the rich, but we all know that the end result will be more "equitable"
-- there will be massive cuts in social services (signalled by the
liberals fuming about the costs of Bush's "for" the elderly.
The second difference I have clearly noted is over Cuba.  Despite strong
pressure from Cuba-American-National-Foundation types, Kerry has refused
to clearly endorse the lates Bush measures to strangle Cuba.  It is
clear that he is linked to the growing camp, including in the ruling
class, that favors trying to undermine the revolution by reducing trade
and travel restrictions, lowering the emphasis on military threats, and
stabilizing the immigration situation instead of using it as a potential
tripwire for war.  This creates a simple, practical, area of agreement
with the Cuban leaders who want the blockade ended to increase living
standards, spur economic growth, and reduce the threat of war.  (I
suspect they also hope that the Bush course has discredited the US hold
on Guantanamo enough to allow this question to be opened under a new
administration, although I doubt they are optimistic about this.)
There is a third, fundamental difference between the two candidates.
Millions of people in the United States have learned to hate Bush over
the last four years -- the first president to get this kind of
passionate response since Nixon.  The hate-Clinton campaigns were
intense but never really mass based, although people ordinary people did
not LIKE Clinton, as they have not liked most presidents since
Roosevelt. (Clinton has gained some ground under Bush.)
Very few of the people who hate Bush hate Kerry yet.  They hate the
devil they know, not the devil they don't.
I think the difference over Cuba is the one that primarily concerns the
Cubans, which I think is very appropriate.  From their standpoint, it is
hard to argue that Kerry is not the lesser evil.  At the same time, I
certainly don't see the Cubans campaigning to get people to vote for
Nader, or trying to talk people who have always opposed the imperialist
candidates to change course.  But they have their own bent, as they are
entitled to do.
I have always been opposed to lesser-evil choices among the imperialist
candidates.  It was hard enough to get myself to support Nader and
Camejo after the party I have normally voted for (the Socialist Workers
Party, since 1964) spun off to the right toward the Republicans.  They
now tilt toward Bush (in their own way) about as much as the Greens tilt
toward Kerry. (Their latest twist is the claim in the latest issue that
the stealing of the Florida election by the Jeb Bush administration in
2000 is a "conspiracy theory."  Apparently the Militant assumes that
this idea is inherently paranoid since everybody knows that in the
United States votes are counted by Blind Economic Laws, and why would
they lie?)
But while I oppose the lesser-evil choice among the enemy parties (I
leave aside here the lesser-evil preferences of the Cubans, who do not
act or claim to act as a factor in the US elections), I think we should
completely identify with the hatred and anger that Bush has inspired.
This is a good thing, a product of the world class struggle, not of a
conspiracy by the liberal media" or "Jew hatred" or whatever.  Bush is
hated because he has been caught in enormous lies, because the war in
Iraq is viewed worldwide as ruinous and unjust, because broadening
sections of the Iraqi people have stood up. He is hated because life has
gotten worse for the people of the United States on his watch. (This was
true for Reagan, Bush, and Clinton, too, but people are responding to it
more angrily on Bush's watch, which is a good thing).
A sizable section of the ruling class is backing Kerry because they hope
he will be able to carry forward the war on terrorism without Bush's
mistakes and unpopularity, and because they hope he can take the chunks
out of working people that are required to stabilize the fiscal
But I have a feeling they are making the wrong bets. If Kerry wins, his
pursuit of the Bush course will land him in the same mess that Bush is
in, despite the support that many in the ABB crew will feel morally
obliged to give him in fear that the Republicans will win next time. .
If Bush manages to get elected, the disintegration of his regime will
continue (with an interruption while the media et al try to restore his
moral authority) unless there is a basic reversal in the political
situation which the election alone can't accomplish.  Bush's
unpopularity isn't a product of neocons or the religious right or
personal problems but of basic problems of imperialism.  It is a
progressive development in US politics.
It means more opportunities for the fight against the war and for the
working-class side more generally.  We have no reason to wish it would
go away.
Fred Feldman

More information about the Marxism mailing list