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How Corporate Democrats Aim to Stifle Criticism

By       Message Norman Solomon       (Page 1 of 1 pages)     Permalink    (# of views)   4 comments

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opednews.com Headlined to H1 12/27/18

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From flickr.com: Beto O'Rourke {MID-339052}
Beto O'Rourke
(Image by Beto O'Rourke for U.S. Congress)
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Well-informed public discussion is a major hazard for Democratic Party elites now eager to prevent Bernie Sanders from winning the 2020 presidential nomination. A clear focus on key issues can bring to light the big political differences between Sanders and the party's corporate-friendly candidates. One way to muddy the waters is to condemn people for pointing out facts that make those candidates look bad.

National polling shows that the U.S. public strongly favors bold policy proposals that Sanders has been championing for a long time. On issues ranging from climate change to Medicare for All to tuition-free public college to Wall Street power, the party's base has been moving leftward, largely propelled by an upsurge of engagement from progressive young people. This momentum is a threat to the forces accustomed to dominating the Democratic Party.

In recent weeks, Texas congressman Beto O'Rourke has become a lightning rod in a gathering political storm largely because of the vast hype about him from mass media and Democratic power brokers. At such times, when spin goes into overdrive, we need incisive factual information. Investigative journalist David Sirota provided it in a deeply researched December 20 article, which The Guardian published under the headline "Beto O'Rourke Frequently Voted for Republican Legislation, Analysis Reveals."

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Originating from the nonprofit Capital & Main news organization, the piece reported that "even as O'Rourke represented one of the most solidly Democratic congressional districts in the United States, he has frequently voted against the majority of House Democrats in support of Republican bills and Trump administration priorities."

Progressives have good reasons to like some of O'Rourke's positions. But Sirota's reporting drilled down into his voting record, reviewing "the 167 votes O'Rourke has cast in the House in opposition to the majority of his own party during his six-year tenure in Congress. Many of those votes were not progressive dissents alongside other left-leaning lawmakers, but instead votes to help pass Republican-sponsored legislation."

The meticulous and in-depth reporting by Sirota was a public service, but some angry reactions were classic instances of blaming the messenger for the unfavorable news. At times vitriolic, the denunciations of Sirota came from people who apparently would have preferred that Congressman O'Rourke's actual voting record remain shrouded in a hagiographic haze.

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But it's better to learn revealing political facts sooner rather than later. Thanks to Sirota's coverage, for instance, we now know "O'Rourke has voted for GOP bills that his fellow Democratic lawmakers said reinforced Republicans' anti-tax ideology, chipped away at the Affordable Care Act (ACA), weakened Wall Street regulations, boosted the fossil fuel industry and bolstered Donald Trump's immigration policy."

The backlash to Sirota's news article was in keeping with a tweet two weeks earlier from Neera Tanden, the president of the influential and lavishly funded Center for American Progress, who has long been a major ally of Bill and Hillary Clinton. On December 6, Tanden went over-the-top in response to a tweet from Sirota simply mentioning the fact that O'Rourke "is the #2 recipient of oil/gas industry campaign cash in the entire Congress."

Tanden lashed out via Twitter, writing: "Oh look. A supporter of Bernie Sanders attacking a Democrat. This is seriously dangerous. We know Trump is in the White House and attacking Dems is doing Trump's bidding. I hope Senator Sanders repudiates these attacks in 2019."

Such calculated nonsense indicates just how panicky some powerful corporate Democrats are about Bernie's likely presidential campaign and just how anxious they are to protect corporate-oriented candidates from public scrutiny. The quest is to smother meaningful discussions of vital issues that should be center stage during the presidential campaign.

Corporate Democrats are gearing up to equate principled, fact-based critiques of their favored candidates with in Tanden's words "seriously dangerous" attacks that are "doing Trump's bidding." Such demagogic rhetoric should be thrown in the political trashcan where it belongs.

This is not only about Beto O'Rourke it's about the parade of Democratic contenders lined up to run for president. Should the candidates that mass media and party elites put forward as "progressive" be quickly embraced or carefully scrutinized? The question must be asked and answered.

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Reader Supported News is the Publication of Origin for this work. Permission to republish is freely granted with credit and a link back to Reader Supported News.

 

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Norman Solomon is the coordinator of the online activist group RootsAction.org and the executive director of the Institute for Public Accuracy. He is the author of a dozen books including "War Made Easy: How Presidents and Pundits Keep Spinning (more...)
 

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4 people are discussing this page, with 4 comments


Chuck Nafziger

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The American political system is too corrupt to be changed by voting. American elections are too corrupt (because of repubs and dems, not Russians) that no vote can be trusted. American elections are so corrupt that a progressive candidate cannot win a nomination. Even centrist Bernie is excluded from the opportunity.


How do we find a way out of this problem?

Submitted on Thursday, Dec 27, 2018 at 8:52:25 PM

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Derryl Hermanutz

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Beto O'Rourke looks knda like the young JFK. In Canada, the Liberal Party parachuted in a drama teacher named Justin Trudeau who, because of his famous father Pierre, and youtful attractiveness to dipshit voters, was elected Prime Minister. Maybe the Dems plan to parachute in O'Rourke to evoke the JFK vibe and sell a phony to dipshit voters.

Submitted on Thursday, Dec 27, 2018 at 10:33:06 PM

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Devil's Advocate

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Pierre Trudeau is probably rolling over in his grave right now. His son is just a Canadian version of Obama - saying how much he won't sell out the public, while kissing corporate ass and kowtowing to the American War Machine behind closed doors.

He was a "fresh face", which they consciously promoted by emphasizing his youth and looks. A rich kid, born into money, with no real appreciation for the realities of the average taxpayer's life.

He even used his "status" to get prime tickets for that final Tragically Hip concert that so many Canadians found impossible to get into. When asked about it, he got really indignant with the reporter, as if the question was an insult to his intelligence (or to his sense of entitlement).

His father had his issues, but I respected him more for his tremendous sense of justice and fairness. At least "the People" seemed to mean a lot more to him than anyone that came afterward.


Submitted on Thursday, Dec 27, 2018 at 10:59:05 PM

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Nelson Wight

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Derryl, don't forget. ORouke's campaign was to a degree supported by fossil fuel.

Submitted on Friday, Dec 28, 2018 at 12:06:33 AM

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