I awoke this morning knowing what I had to do.
I don’t mean I know what I have to do for myself, or for my family or for my race. I mean, I know what I have to do to make the world a better place.
Of course, if I’m being honest, I’ve always known what I had to do. That’s why I’m a Democrat. Except for allowing a Nixon campaign minion to place a Nixon straw hat on my head and stand outside the Nixon/Agnew headquarters in the old Equitable Trust Building in Arbutus when I was 10, I have always been a Democrat. I actually made calls and passed out leaflets in support of George McGovern when I was 14 and did some slightly more expansive work for another Democrat (and a liberal Republican) when I was 16. When I was 18, I made a lot of calls and helped out in strategy sessions with the Jimmy Carter campaign in 1976. In other words, I was there when McGovern got his ass kicked by Richard Nixon and I was there when upstart Jerry Brown beat Jimmy Carter in the 1976 Maryland primary. I helped out on many other local campaigns and I have lost as much as I have won, maybe more.
Losing doesn’t bother me, necessarily. In politics, sometimes you win and sometimes you lose. I get that. What bothers me, though isn’t that we lose so often, but that the main reason for our losses has been my natural friends, so to speak, on the left side of the aisle. Democrats don’t lose because the Republicans make a case for how great they are. No one is voting for Republicans because they have great ideas and they have the most competent leaders. No, Democrats lose because they are attacked from the inside, by people who should be our natural friends.
If I seem increasingly cranky these days, it’s because the frustration builds. Yes, there have been times when the Democratic leadership has pissed me off and sometimes the Democratic Party can’t seem to get out of its own way. But, like every other democratic body (note the small d), as personnel changes, so does the Party. The Democratic Party has changed over the years. Despite this, there is a strain of so-called “progressives” who don’t seem to have noticed. Some of the changes weren’t so great. For example, after Reagan won big in 1984, the party was taken over by the idiots in the Democratic Leadership Council (DLC). The rationale was faulty; it was believed that Reagan won and was enormously popular because he was “conservative,” which meant that the solution was to turn the Democratic Party to the right. I remember fighting with these nimrods tooth and nail for a long time. In the early 1990s, when I was working on a campaign in a liberal district in Arizona (yes, they exist) and I couldn’t get support for a perfectly good liberal candidate, for the same reason I threw in that parenthetical qualifier; they didn’t think such a thing was possible in Arizona. They were idiots.
Here’s the thing; the only success the DLC had when they were running the Democratic Party were the two campaigns of Bill Clinton, and, to be honest, Clinton only won in 1992 because all of his primary opponents canceled each other out. They sucked. I still have a visceral reaction when I see Terry McAuliffe running Virginia, even though I have to admit, he’s doing a good job. (I have much the same reaction to Rahm Emanuel, FYI.)
But what you have to understand about Bill Clinton is that he was less a proponent of the DLC than a user of them. See, a good politician understands that s/he can’t do it alone; they have to align forces with others. At best, only about 15% of our population is happily and proudly liberal and I hate to break it to you, but no one can win in a democracy with 15%. Sorry, PUBs and pro lefties, but until you start trying to align yourselves with the center and stop denigrating them as lesser than you, then you will never have a progressive country. You have to work with others to get there. So, Bill Clinton aligned himself with the DLC apparatus and ran a somewhat left of center campaign because that’s where the votes were. Had the country moved right? Well, sure; after 12 years of Reagan and Bush, what do you think? They got used to certain types of rhetoric, and no one was going to win by saying the exact opposite of that. So, yes, he didn’t run a full-on progressive campaign. But, as president? Come on, folks, he was as progressive as he dared be. Look at Bernie Sanders’ rhetoric from this year and you’ll find that, with a few exceptions, Bill Clinton matched most of it. I know, many far left progressives love to focus on NAFTA (and lie about it), the Communications Act and the “repeal of Glass-Steagall” as if that’s all he did, but the fact of the matter is, under Clinton the middle class grew by leaps and bounds, wages rose for the first time in a quarter-century, home ownership grew significantly without a bubble and job creation was off the charts. Ask anyone who lived in an inner city during the 1990s how much better it was,. Better yet, ask an inner-city home owner or business owner how it was.
But the thing you should realize is that the DLC essentially started to die while he was president. Democrats lost Congress in 1994, when the GOP had its so-called “Revolution,” and they lost even more in 1998. In 2008, they went bye-bye for good when their candidate, Hillary Clinton, lost to the anti-DNC candidate, Barack Obama.
That’s right, Hillary Clinton 2016 is NOT supported by the same apparatus that supported her in 2008. The DLC, or “New Democrats” or whatever ancient moniker you want to pin on them, have nothing to do with Clinton’s current campaign. If that’s not obvious, then you’re not paying attention. I mean, for Crissakes, people; it’s the most progressive platform in history. Listen to her speech from last night, when she rattled off most of Bernie Sanders’ platform issues as things she plans to do upon taking her seat in the Oval Office. Does that sound like something a DLC candidate would support? Free college for the middle class and affordable college for everyone? Forgiveness of student loans and debt relief for current students? A public health insurance option, to get most of the 25 million uninsured some health insurance? A promise to strengthen financial regulations and make sure the rich pay more in taxes because that’s where the money is? Our country has been moving left for the last eight years, and many of you seem to have not noticed. Not to worry, though, because Hillary Clinton noticed, and she’s got this.
I know some of you think a cogent response to that is “well, I don’t believe her,” but come on, that’s just childish cynicism. She’s on the record! You might as well have a contract. If she doesn’t at least try to do any of it, then in 2020, you can replace her with someone you believe will. In other words, if you’d like to grow up and trust someone, then you have someone who will do most of what you say you want running for president. Of course, if you would stop pouting long enough to pay attention, you’d realize that she can’t do any of it if the GOP is running Congress, so that should be a major priority for you; a hell of a lot larger priority than throwing away your vote on a candidate like Jill Stein, who has exactly zero chance of winning anything. If you think voting for Democrats is a “sell-out,” then I’d like you to think about that you can’t think of a major societal advance made in the country in the last century that wasn’t proposed and put into action by Democrats. Go ahead, name one. On the other hand, if Republicans hadn’t been winning an inordinate number of elections over the last 40 years or so, most of the shit our society has lost would not have been lost.
For example, Democrats passed Glass-Steagall, and it was Republicans who passed Gramm-Leach-Bliley, who repealed Glass-Steagall. And before you get on your little rocking horse and blame Bill Clinton for signing it, you should know that it passed with 80% in the Republican House and by 90-9 in the Senate, so his veto would have been overridden, anyway. Likewise, Democrats established and expanded the welfare system and it was Republicans who passed “reform,” and it has been Republicans who have since whittled the welfare system away so that three-quarters of the people living in poverty get exactly nothing in welfare. Democrats established a minimum wage and always vote to raise it, while the GOP has tried multiple times to get rid of it altogether and refuse to raise it above the pathetic $7.25 per hour rate. Republicans keep reducing taxes on the rich, with no corresponding tax cuts for the middle class and they are perfectly happy with running up huge deficits when they’re in charge, but when Democrats want to spend money, they demand offsets, which usually cut support for the poor.
In other words, if you are really progressive and you are still pissing and moaning about Hillary, you’re an idiot, pure and simple. I’m not surprised, of course; I’ve been dealing with your idiocy for decades, although it took me a while to realize it. For years, my response was to think there was something wrong with the American people. Then, I started looking at things like voter turnout and rhetoric and realized it was my own ideological brethren who were the problem. I first wrote about this in 2002. In 1976, it was these same progressives who decided to have a love affair with Jerry Brown who almost cost the liberal Jimmy Carter the presidency and made it closer than it should have been, just two years after Watergate. In 1980, these same idiots developed a love affair with Ted Kennedy, who was himself famously asked why he was running for president and couldn’t answer, and undermined Carter every chance they got, giving the election to Ronald Reagan. They did the same in 1988 to Dukakis and they also undermined Clinton in 1992 and 1996 to the point that he didn’t get a majority of the note. Then came 2000 and 2004, when they drooled all over Ralph Nader and made two elections in a row close enough for Republicans to steal. That damn near led to the destruction of the country. In 2008, they supported Barack Obama and immediately turned on him because it turned out he wasn’t going to take the oath of office while wearing a dashiki and giving a black power salute, and they caused Democrats to lose control of Congress in two of the most lop-sided election losses in history.
Now, these same idiots have turned on Hillary Clinton, who has done more for this country than any of them and who has bent over backward to accommodate them, which is what they said they wanted in the first place. I’m tired of this crap. I’m sick of losing elections because a bunch of children who call themselves “progressive” have absolutely no political sense and place their childishness ahead of the good of the country. Here’s a fact, you childish sons of bitches; you can march until your fucking feet are sore and you can yell until you lose your fucking voice, but if you don’t do everything you can to either make sure the right person wins an election or at least make sure the wrong one doesn’t, then you’re not actually doing shit for your country. Being a progressive means putting your ego aside to do what’s best for the most people.
We have the rare treat to have had three elections in a row in which the Democratic candidate has been far and away the most progressive and passionate candidates in history, and we should feel proud and happy of that. I mean, we have the greatest opportunity in a generation to create a permanent Democratic majority and to do away with the major political party that is undermining everything we supposedly stand for. They have nominated DONALD FUCKING TRUMP for president! If you can’t get behind Hillary Clinton, who has worked her ass off all of her life to do things for people, over Donald Trump, there is something seriously wrong with you. And if you believe anything Jill Stein or Gary Johnson tell you, you’re nothing short of a gullible moron. And I’d really hate to think that the progressive movement was being led by gullible morons, wouldn’t you?
Hillary Clinton is the ONLY CANDIDATE who has a progressive vision and who can win. And you have her on record now, promising to do progressive things. If you are a real progressive, then you’ll not only support her and make sure she wins, but you’ll also work your ass off to get her a Democratic majority in the Senate and the House. THAT is what politics is about. It’s not about carefully choosing your positions on issues and then demanding that everyone adhere to them. That’s not progressive politics, it’s pre-school. Politics is about making sure things that need to happen, actually happen.
Hillary Clinton must become president and she must have a Congress she can work with. Nothing else is progressive.