[Marxism] Marc Cooper ruminates

Louis Proyect lnp3 at panix.com
Wed Nov 3 07:32:38 MST 2004


To Marc Cooper's credit, he has been totally principled on the question 
of assessing John Kerry, even when he finally came to the point of 
announcing that he would vote for him. Kerry's defeat should prompt some 
soul-searching among the ABB'ers, but I would not hold out much hope for 
the ideologically driven among them, like David Corn or Eric Alterman. 
Scoundrels such as these will go along with whatever the cat drags in 
for the DP in 2008. This is from marccooper.com:

---

Locating the roots of this defeat, you are free to dig as deeply or as 
superficially as you care. We could start this particular narrative, I 
suppose, in 1993 when a newly-elected Bill Clinton gambled all of his 
political capital to bully and ultimately divide his own party, forcing 
passage of the pet project of Bush 41 – the job-shredding NAFTA. Or 
perhaps, you’d prefer to begin this story three years later when the 
same Democratic President signed the Republican abolition of federal 
welfare thereby putting on the table the simple question of why we 
should even bother to continue having a Democratic Party. Or maybe in 
’98 when Democrats re-assured America that all presidents lie and why 
pick oin you-know-who.

Yet, to unravel this latest tragedy, there’s no need really to rehearse 
the ancient history of the Clinton Nineties, now enshrined in official 
Democratic mythology as, perhaps, the peak moment of Western 
Civilization. Going back to the fall of 2002 will suffice. I refer to 
the moment when Senator John Kerry joined with Trent Lott and Tom DeLay 
among many, many others in voting the same Florida-tainted George W. 
Bush full authorization to move toward a patently and brazenly 
unnecessary war with Iraq.

Not that Kerry really meant it, of course. He had opposed what was a 
significantly more justifiable war with Saddam a decade earlier. But, 
then again, Kerry wasn’t contemplating a presidential run back in ’91.

Or we could zero in on that frosty evening back in January when about 
30,000 rosy-cheeked and gray-haired Iowa farmers and their neighbors 
decided that, among Democrats, only John Kerry was “electable” and 
millions of Democrats coast-to-coast immediately rubber-stamped that now 
rather discredited notion.

Maybe it’s unfair, however, to isolate any single catalytc moment. A 
cool-headed assessment of the entire Democratic response to the Bush 
presidency would herald the doom deal out on Tuesday night almost 
independently of who ultimately was the candidate. From the onset of his 
administration, the Democrats have combined a freakish accommodation to 
Bush with a shrill, sometimes paranoiac exaggeration of his evil. One 
moment they are part of his War Cabinet. The next they are demonizing 
him as an individual and warning we are on the doorstep of fascism. And 
then we blame the voters for being confused. .

But once so many Democrats had worked themselves into a frenzy with the 
mantra of stolen elections and Supreme Court electoral coups, the die 
was cast. If Bush was, in fact, the most dangerous, evil and demented 
President ever as Democrats tirelessly reminded themselves (and 
apparently only themselves), then Anybody But Bush would do just fine 
and … well… the rest is now history.

Mr. Anybody turned out to be quite the loser that voters suspected he 
was before his miracle resurrection in the snows of Iowa. No one can, 
with a straight face, repeat just what was the precise message of his 
just-passed and wretched campaign. Is there a reader out there who would 
like to write in reminding us of one memorable line to be extracted and 
preserved from amidst the logorrhea that overflowed his campaign?

Could there possibly have been an incumbent more easy to knock-off than 
George W. Bush? A real-life opposition party would have been insulted to 
be matched with a such an unworthy and frail rival. The Democrats, by 
contrast, got their lights punched out..

Think for a moment, if you can bear, just how fraudulent the Party has 
become as a champion for everyday, working Americans. John Edwards, it 
should be said, did a fine job of evoking the rude inequalities of the 
Two Americas. And it’s a pity that someone like Edwards couldn’t emerge 
as the Democrats’ national rabble-rouser. For a brief historical moment, 
the unlikely Howard Dead flashed in that role and then was even more 
quickly extinguished. But when you ask yourself who are the great 
Democratic mass icons of our times, the two or three individuals who put 
a face and some heart on the core populist values, damned if we don’t 
come up with literal clowns like Al Franken and Michael Moore. They may 
or ( may not) be just dandy entertainers. But doesn’t this say something 
rather startling about the state of the Democrats?

Once the whining over Ohio dies out, what will laughably be called the 
war for the “soul” of the once-again-defeated Democratic Party will 
commence – a struggle so drearily predictable that the whole exercise 
can be easily scripted in advance. On the one side the corporate shills 
of the Democratic Leadership Council who will argue that Tuesday’s 
results demand a repositioning of the Party to the right. On the other, 
the “progressives” who will refloat their own formula that success 
resides in simply moving the Democrats leftward (as evidenced by what? 
The 2% primary draw of Dennis Kucinich). Both notions are simplistic and 
insufficient. The Democrats have not won the sort of absolute national 
majority pocketed by Bush in more than a quarter of a century. The party 
doesn’t need to be reformed or repositioned. It needs to be rethought 
and reborn.

The re-election of George W. Bush is a tragedy for which we all pay 
dearly—some much more than others. And the only succor I cling to is the 
notion that the President’s punishment for being re-elected is that he 
will now have to manage the myriad catastophes he has conjured. Good 
luck to him -- and to us

In the meantime, I shed no tears for the humiliation of this Democratic 
Party-- only for those who suffer for having invested their hopes in it. 
But that the Democrats richly deserve to go down-- no question. My 
deepest regret is only that the Republicans don't go down right 
alongside it.


-- 

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