Neoliberalism, My Ass

Continuing my rant…

In this section, let’s talk about ideology for a bit.

Imagine, if you will, that you come back from your Caribbean vacation to find that your house is flooded. You have $20,000 available to fix whatever needs fixing, but instead of fixing the gaping hole in the roof, you decide to replace all of the floors and the carpet instead. That makes no rational sense, of course, which is what makes the liberal elites (who, quite ironically, call pragmatic progressives “liberal elites”) so frustrating. Much of what you read in the professional left is complete bullshit and has no basis in reality, but it is the rest of us who are crazy and “lack vision.” One thing I learned when I  earned by political science degree is that political theory is just that, and bears little to no relationship to reality. Sorry if that’s hard to take, but it’s true.

Just this morning, I awoke to a new comment on my list of Obama accomplishments, taking me to task because I opened the list with a statement that we elected the most progressive president in history in 2008. The commenter said I was being inaccurate when I called Obama progressive, which is absurd on its own. However, he then proceeded to prove that he didn’t understand what I said, by citing President Obama’s support for the TPP as proof that he isn’t progressive.

Think about that a second. Not only did he not understand what I said, but he was commenting on a list of 358 improvements Obama has made to benefit society. In other words, in the minds of people like this, someone who says all the right things IS progressive, while those who make actual “progress” don’t qualify. You can feed tens of millions of poor people and disarm the police in black neighborhoods and you can cure cancer, but if you don’t think the TPP is evil AND you don’t believe that income inequality is the key issue for most people, you can’t be progressive in any way. That is completely irrational and it explains why progressives are often the least progressive demographic anywhere. The loudest, most obnoxious group of white liberal elitists (note the lack of quotation marks) have decided that they alone have the authority to decide who is and isn’t “progressive” based on the other person’s position on a pet issue. Ideologically speaking, such irrationality makes the left look stupid and causes voters who don’t have the time to watch 10 hours of cable “news” every day to want to stay home on Election Day. Hence, the anti-progress GOP has far too much power.

Yes, I am pragmatic, but anyone with a brain will take pragmatic any day over profoundly stupid.

The view of ideology many of these people have is rooted in pure fantasy. PUBs and professional lefties have convinced themselves that the Democratic Party has become anti-ideological in recent years. I can’t tell you how many times I have heard that and it’s ridiculous. They claim that we Democrats have chosen to reject liberalism and progressive politics in favor of  pragmatism, which they will happily say or write with sarcasm dripping from their fangs. You know, because to BE a progressive requires that we always say “progressive things.” Doing is always secondary to saying all the right things to them. Why can’t they see how moronic this sounds? I can be in favor of all of the ideals of the progressive movement AND be pragmatic about achieving progress because that’s how it’s done. That’s just how democracy works, folks.

Objectively speaking, who’s really more progressive, keeping in mind the root word, “progress”; those who are pragmatic and eventually get what they’re going after, or those who scream and make demands, but never see progress of any kind. These are the morons who actually demanded that we kill the ACA because it didn’t have a public option. These are the morons who insist that advocating for “single payer’ is exactly the same thing as advocating for universal health care. They call themselves “progressive” because they WANT everyone to have “free healthcare,” but they were willing to let 50 million go without healthcare in the name of purity. At the same time they claim the people who created a system that added 20 million people to the healthcare system in less than three years are not progressive because they don’t believe in “single payer.” Why would anyone accept what they say?

These same people are living in a dream world. They actually insist that the Democratic Party has abandoned New Deal principles in favor of the mythical “Third Way,” and that Democrats have abandoned labor in favor of business. They live in a fantasy world, and they demand that we join them. No thanks, I live in the real world, as do most actual progressives. I mean, how smart are you, really? Democrats elected a progressive president, Barack Obama, and we put Democrats within 2-3 votes of having a 1960s-style Democratic supermajority in Congress, and you decided to sabotage that by targeting Blue Dogs, whom you accused of all sorts of delusional “crimes” and replacing them with Tea Party members? But we’re supposed to follow your lead? I know you like to call the rest of us sheep, but for fuck’s sakes PUBs and pro lefties, who are the real followers? You people take yourselves over the cliff every election, but we’re supposed to follow? Why would we do that?

There has been a paradigm shift within the two parties, to be sure. Perhaps you haven’t noticed, but the Southern Dixiecrats, who used to throw a monkey wrench into the progressive machinery, have all gone over to the Republican Party. All of the crazies are in the same party now; isn’t that convenient? That means we should be able to get more done. We should be able to get more progressives in government now and we can make sure the far right never runs government again. Yet, led by the PUBs and the pro left, here we are. For six years of the most progressive president in history, the rhetoric coming from these liberal elitists (PUBs/emos) has largely been anti-Democrat and has given us the largest Republican majority in more than 80 years. In other words, as smart as PUBs and the pro left think they are, we keep losing. In politics, that means you’re profoundly stupid.

It’s those fantasies that prevent us from having nice things.

Getting back to ideology, I keep reading about how Democrats have abandoned the New Deal, despite the fact that there is no evidence of that. They point to Bill Clinton’s signing of the bill that basically repealed Glass-Steagall, but they fail to mention several things. First, they forget that the bill he signed was Gramm-Leach-Bliley and it was a Republican concoction. They also fail to mention that Dodd and Frank were Democrats and they got that bill past a filibuster-happy Republican Party. All five Democrats who ran for president this year talked about strengthening the protections in Dodd-Frank and improving protection against the securities fraud that led to the Republican-caused Great Recession. Meanwhile, all 17 Republicans running for president promised to not only kill Dodd-Frank, but to repeal healthcare reform.

Let’s see… We have the Democrats, who all want to restore the New Deal and who want to move us closer to universal healthcare and you have Republicans, whose entire being is about killing the entire New Deal and returning us to the old healthcare paradigm. Yet, these idiots will happily tell us how both parties are basically the same. When they claim Democrats have abandoned the New Deal, they also claim that Democrats have abandoned labor, which is complete fantasy. The unions themselves still view the Democratic Party as their friends; unions represent their largest contributors. In fact, do you know why the Citizens United case even happened? Citizens United wanted to find a way  for Republicans could counter the tremendous amount of influence the labor movement gave to Democrats.

When was the last time a Democrat championed right to work? Every increase in the minimum wage has come courtesy of the Democrats. I mean, you can’t name a single major advance made in the last century that wasn’t championed by Democrats and you can’t name one time when Democrats as a whole championed backing away from a major societal shift.

Like I said, these liberal elitists are living in a fantasy. They create words and catchphrases that they use as if they have been afflicted with Tourette’s Syndrome. Besides “Third Way,” another of my favorites is “neoliberalism.” Did you know that all of us liberals who don’t spout the same fantasies as the worst Bernie Stans are now “neoliberal”? We’re even ANTI-liberal, did you know that? They assert that, because we’re pragmatic politically, we have abandoned liberalism altogether. I shit you not; I have been told this at least a dozen times in recent weeks by the professional left. It’s all over the Bernie Stans’ rhetoric.

Just this past weekend, I read several articles telling me that I am against the working class, that I don’t care about rising income inequality and I am somehow not a populist because I don’t reject every free trade agreement reflexively. I am not a “good progressive” because I have actually READ the TPP and understand it and actually don’t see the end of the world coming if it passes. I am also not a “good progressive” because I don’t demand that NAFTA be done away with altogether. Never mind that the agreement is more than 22 years old, is entrenched and it isn’t practical to just erase it from existence. Never mind that the rationale for rejecting a 22-year-old treaty is that it cost us millions of jobs, despite the lack of evidence of that. Never mind that several sections of the TPP actually repair some of the more glaring flaws in NAFTA. I’m just supposed to be against it because a bunch of self-described progressives have decided I have to be if I want to be a member of their little “club”?

Wait a second! Isn’t that actually “neoliberalism”? I mean, we call people the far right “neocons” because they call themselves “conservative” when they’re actually just phonies. In the same vein, aren’t PUBs and the pro left technically “neoliberal”?

I will be continuing this rant, but in the meantime, I want everyone to think about something.

The PUBs and professional left insinuate that the progressives in the Democratic Party aren’t really “progressive.” However, PUBs are predominately white males with college educations. The progressives inside the Democratic Party are largely people of color, working class people, union members, immigrants, gays and women. So…

More on that in the next installment.