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The Vichy Democrats

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Message Dale Bird

Like the puppet government of German-occupied France (ca. 1940-1944), the Democrats in congress are controlled by the fascist Republicans - fascist because they are no longer "Goldwater Conservatives", who would stand for isolationism, fiscal responsibility and a government that would not intrude in a person’s private life. Fascist because today’s Republicans are Neo-Conservatives who are bent on strengthening the unholy marriage of Corporate America with Government, fomenting wars of convenience, and the destruction of anything in their path. And fascist because they sanction torture and rendition, and the shredding of habeas corpus, posse comitatus, international law, and the Geneva Conventions.

I first supported Kucinich, then Edwards, and finally Obama. I opposed Clinton not because of gender, but because I view the Clinton-lead DLC as the Republican arm of the Democratic party. Bill Clinton governed as an "Eisenhower Republican" – he was far from liberal: note NAFTA, WTO, the Telecommunications Act, and so-called Welfare Reform.

Under eight years of Clinton leadership the GOP gained 48 seats in the House, 8 seats in the Senate, 11 Governorships, and 1254 State Legislative seats. Nine State Legislatures were taken over by the GOP and 439 Democrats switched to Republican (3 switched from Republican to Democrat). In 1990 Democrats held a 1542 seat lead in state bodies, but by 1998 that lead had shrunk to 288. In 1992 the Democrats controlled 17 more state legislatures than Republicans, but after 1998 the Republicans controlled one more than the Democrats.

Since Hillary Clinton represented herself as the experienced candidate, and since her top campaign advisors were top-DLC functionaries (including Bill Clinton), I saw the epic Democratic primary battle as one for the heart and soul of the party. And I was euphoric at the defeat of the DLC. But now as Barack Obama runs to the center I feel betrayed (as many do).

When the Republicans controlled congress we were told that our issues were blocked because the Republicans controlled the calendar. So the (obviously rhetorical) question I have for our Vichy Democrats is: "Why in the HELL is this FISA crap even being worked on?!" In fact, how in the hell can anything the Republicans want even make it to the floor?!

The sad answer is that nearly everyone in congress is an aristocrat – including Obama. Even sadder is the fact that we must still vote for him because the alternative is dreadful - even more dreadful because of our aging Supreme Court.

I’m sure that I don’t fully know how suffragettes felt in 1850 after some 30 years of fighting for the franchise with expectation for change (the 19th Amendment was finally ratified in 1920), but I think there’s a lesson in all of this. However disillusioned progressives are, there is simply no alternative to voting for Obama. The fact that he isn’t as progressive as we thought he was, or we’d like him to be, only means that we have to continue the fight.

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houston liberal, professional, self employed, believe that liberal means social justice, economic fairness, and human rights trump economic concerns.
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