Which Section of the Elites Will Govern After Tuesday?

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Real News’ CEO Paul Jay’s commentary on the top six ways Obama and the Democratic Party allowed a resurgence of the Republicans:



Real News Network – November 01, 2010

How Dems Allowed the Tea Party to Rebrand the GOP

..transcript follows..

Transcript

PAUL JAY, SENIOR EDITOR: Welcome to the The Real News Network, I’m Paul Jay in Washington.

On Tuesday American voters are going to choose which section of the American elite they want to govern them. Who says that’s the choice? Conservative pundit George Will did, that was in the fall of 2008 during the Presidential elections. Here’s what he had to say:

GEORGE WILL, JOURNALIST AND AUTHOR: Surely in a democracy it’s time for us to quit being sentimental and say the question we settle in an election is not whether elites shall rule, but which elite shall rule.

JAY: George Will did something that no one is supposed to do on American television. Acknowledge that we live in a class society. Of course, in elections we hear all about the middle class. One would think that presupposes there is a lower and an upper class (unless we live in something like an open faced sandwich), . . . but no one wants to talk about it, never mind suggest it’s the elites that rule. Mr. Will had to get pretty angry to break down that wall.

Well, in 2008 the majority of Americans decided to vote for a “section of the elite” that promised change they could believe in. Who would have imagined in Jan 09, when pundits were talking about a Democratic Party dynasty that could last for a decade, with such enthusiasm and so much public support, that two years later President Obama and the Democratic Party might lose 50 or more seats in the House, might lose control of the Senate and a string of governorships across the country.

Of course a lot of factors go into this but here my top six list of Obama’s Administration decisions that set the stage for a Republican resurgence.

Number 6: Not investigating Bush and Cheney for criminal actions while in office – including the deaths of at least 100,000 Iraqi civilians in a war founded on lies; illegal wire-tapping; authorizing the use of torture; and at the very least, for gross negligence or worse in the events that led to the attacks on 9/11.

First of all, it was the principled thing to do. It would have told all future administrations they are not above the law and the constitution. From a political point of view, it would put the Republicans on the defense for years to come. This decision not only let Bush/Cheney off the hook for all of the above, it was the start of Obama’s naïve bipartisanship policy, that left the previous administration off the hook for the economic meltdown. Instead, Bush is rehabilitated with an assignment to go help Haiti.

Number 5: Bailing out bankers and not the banking system. Obama appointed a Wall Street crowd to advise him, allowed public money to refloat banks and investment houses that gambled and lost, without demanding any real public control or any public interest mandate. Bankers made more obscene bonuses and continue to sit on billions of cash, while unemployment foreclosures and bankruptcies ruin countless lives. Instead of taking advantage of a moment when bankers were on their knees, he gave them back keys to their lambergetis.

Number 4: Not using the GM/Chrysler bailout as an opportunity to build a green economy. President Obama campaigned for rebuilding infrastructure and a new green transportation system. Instead, after billions of public dollars, we are getting an industry based on lower wages, fewer jobs, making more or less the kind of cars they were already making. The message could have been if you want public dollars, then you have to serve the public interest. If a public option made sense for health insurance, why not for the auto industry as well? If were going to take climate change seriously, where was there a better place to start?

Number 3: Not defending the public option for health care reform. The summer of 2009 was the start of the Tea Party surge and the rebranding of the Republican Party. For months, the White House fiddled while their health care reform burned. When the process began, polls showed that most people were ready for a government run health insurance program of some sort. The insurance industry wanted a more regulated environment where everybody had to buy insurance. The industry got what they wanted, big Pharma got a sweetheart deal to boot, and most people were left dazed and confused by the process.

Number 2: Not bringing a promised new mindset to US foreign policy. The underlying assumption that the U.S. must dominate the globe by projecting military power everywhere goes unquestioned. The almost trillion dollar military budget goes untouched, when the funds are desperately needed at home. Not only did this help to fiscally tie the Presidents hands, it put him in an unholy alliance with the Republicans who gave him more support on his Afghan adventure than he had within his own party. It also freed the Libertarian section of the Tea Party, people like Rand Paul who say they are against empire and the two wars, to cover up their unholy alliance with people like Karl Rove and the others that not only brought us the Iraq war but also the Patriot Act and other things Libertarians are supposed to abhor.

The Number 1 reason for the resurgence of the Republican Party?: The Democratic Party allowed Republicans to rebrand themselves as populist behind the skirts of Sarah Palin and the Tea Party. How did the Dems accomplish this? By not fighting for a bigger stimulus package. Not fighting for a direct government jobs program. Not fighting the deficit hawks by taxing those who had cashed in during the bubbles, and making them pay down the debt. Not fighting for promised legislation that would have made organizing unions easier and for polices that would significantly lower workers tax burden and raise wages. Not seriously dealing with urban poverty and immigration reform, which would have given blacks, latinos, young people and the poor a reason to vote on Tuesday. By trying to negotiate by-partisan agreements instead of calling on the millions of people who voted for Obama to mobilize in the streets and on the web in support of policies that are more likely to have been effective. To talk to their neighbors; to win them over to a real change of course. In other words, by fighting for the change people thought they had voted for.

In 2009, when we were looking into the abyss, millions of people would have supported such dramatic and rational measures. Now, millions of voters are rejecting half-backed stimulus policies and think that radical reform will come from trickle down voodoo supply side economics that should have been buried a long time ago. And millions of people here and around the world will pay a terrible price for the austerity measures a Republican victory is sure to bring.

So in the end, George Will was right. As things stand, we get to choose between which section of the elite will rule. And maybe we do have to hold our nose and choose the elite that we think will do us less harm.

But perhaps it’s way past time we realize that we are not one nation, there really are two Americas. That the lack of civil discourse and extremes of competing ideology is not the underlying problem but a symptom of an objective difference of interest. That what’s rational for most billionaires may not be so sane for the rest of us.

Yes, we would like everyone to be in the same rowboat, all working hard to “get things done”, to solve the grave problems facing us. But the problem is some are sailing around in yachts, and the harder the rest of us row, the bigger those yachts get. The real division in America is not between the Democratic and Republican parties, its between the people who day after day, are out their pushing those oars and those that are just taking a cruise.

48 comments

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    • Edger on November 1, 2010 at 2:42 pm
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  1. It ws an audio clip of him giving a campaign speech in Ohio yeasterday. He was constantly dropping his “g”s—-willin’, fightin’ etc. Unlikely Obama talks like that in a cabinet meeting.

    This was Obama putin’ on his regular guy hat, but it wasn’t believable. More and more people realize he is simply an expedient politician, better than the GOP but of the same mindset.

    If the Dems lose the House it will be because Obama has shown he does not seriously care about structural positive change.

    • Mu on November 1, 2010 at 7:59 pm

    .

     Yesterday I predicted that if the U.S. economy continues to gain steam (not saying “soar,” but continues on at least an upward trajectory), in 12-18 months the GOP (with control of the House) will take credit.

     Well look at this, the day before Election Day 2010:  “Running Out of Options, Fed Readies to Jolt Economy.”  I make no predictions on whether or not the economy will be “jolted.”  But I do predict that if this shot in the arm helps, then the GOP will take credit, even though the decision to give this “shot” is made by the Fed, not Republican Congressdips, and made the day before the election.

    .  

  2. wins a week cruise to the Bahamas. The president/cy has capitulated to the Pentagon and their suppliers, and Congress can no longer function effectively as a representative body. And the Supreme Court has become a rubber stamp for the other two coordinate branches of government. Get out the history books, it’s 1900 all over again; although this time the bets are off as to which way the winds will blow.  

  3. and I agree with all his points

    • banger on November 2, 2010 at 2:04 pm

    Jay’s analysis is that it’s all a question of class-struggle and in an obvious way that’s correct. But the American people don’t see it that way at all and this fact is what clouds most leftist discourse. Of course it is class struggle but it is important to understand why the oligarchs are not just winning but they have won the struggle and will remain in complete control for the foreseeable future.

    The American people are victims of a mind-control regime that, for convenience, we can say started with Wilson’s Creel Commission. It isn’t just propaganda itself that has won but the advertising and public relations industry that has used the extraordinary advances in social science to learn how to control people’s minds. People are always denying that those techniques don’t work on them but they do because people, in America at least, seem to deny the existence of the unconscious. Oh, if asked people will agree it exists but they don’t evaluate our current condition as if it were true–it’s just a factoid they vaguely understand but, to me at least, it is the most important thing to understand about public policy other than class struggle itself. Whether you are watching a story on TV that subtly suggests certain values or a commercial about beer or shampoo the more you view these things the more you are softened up for the political assumptions and messages that are served up to you on the “news” which are, btw, usually illogical and factually wrong yet we are so softened up by the assaults on the unconscious that we don’t perceive the obvious illogicality of what we are being told.

    The reason why the left does not and cannot organize itself, in my view, is that they are just as much controlled by the mind control regime (aka The Great Wurlitzer) as any other segment of the population. The sooner we can see that in ourselves the quicker we can begin to get not only get ourselves into new ways of thinking–that’s not the big problem for us, but also unleash our unconscious and creative power.  

  4. … that Wimpy is always trying to cadge in the old Popeye cartoons.

    In return—to continue the Wimpy analogy—the voters seem to be saying, “I will gladly pay you Tuesday . . .”

  5. The so-called liberals are talking about how if the Republicans win the House they will eat your babies.

    None of that would happen unless Democrats ALLOW it.

  6. Straight socialist ticket….

    With the exception of one Green and one local dem who I know is a good guy and will fight for the disadvantaged in my community.

    Feels nice to both vote and say fuck you to the dems.  Oh I got out the vote….

    • RUKind on November 3, 2010 at 5:45 am

    With apologies and love to John Lennon.

    I voted Green-Rainbow. I voted for myself as county sheriff against an unchallenged Republican. Then I went home.

    None of it really matters. Big, old money rules. Always has, always will. Better get used to it. You can admit it but you’ll never get past it until you accept it.

    When you accept it, the change will begin in you.

    “There is no left.

    There is no right.

    There is no black.

    There is no white.

    There’s no way out.

    There’s no way in.

    There’s nothing to do

    but begin again.”
    , RUKind

    • RUKind on November 3, 2010 at 5:49 am

    And for Meg Whitman we have a song as the loser’s compensation:

  7. I respect that.  Paul Jay, Edger, hats off.  It ain’t over.

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