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What's the Matter in Madison?

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Thomas Frank's insightful book What's the Matter in Kansas took a close look at the ways in which residents of the Beef Belt always manage to cut their own throats, by continuing to vote for a Republican party that never fails to fail them. A Republican House, a Republican Senate, a Republican President and Republian Court managed to pass much pro-corporate legislation, but in six years never made a run at Roe vs. Wade. Why not? Because Roe is a perennial wedge issue, dependable as rain to turn out sheeplike Christian Conservative voters even as they are fleeced.

Sadly, Progressives are to the Democratic Party elite as the Christian Right is to the Republican: essential to an election victory, easily rallied and a dependable source of funds, but not to be considered seriously in any policy decisions. As Evangelicals are mocked by Wall Street, so Progressives are mocked as a fringe element by the likes of Pelosi and Reid. Progressives are the one group the Democrats think they'll never have to pander to, as we'll always be first to fall in line while asking for nothing in return. We lose issue after issue-- FISA, war funding, single-payer health care and dozens of others, yet we'll be the first to tell each other, "Forget FISA, think of the Supreme Court. Forget single-payer health care, think of the Supreme Court." Then, when another corporate shill is appointed to the Court by a Democratic president, we'll look ahead to the next election with our silly sad vows of Never Again, Never Again.

Just like the Christian Right, we Progressives vote against our own best interests year after pathetic year, never able to understand why the issues we care so much about never quite make it out of committee, never quite make it into law. This year, Progressives should face the simple fact that the Democrat Party is no longer our home. The Democratic leadership is now in thrall to inustry and the military machine every bit as much as the Republican leadership. Sad to say, Obama will sell us out just as Hillary would have, but with charm. Having secured the Democratic nomination on our backs, as sure of our vote as he is of our dollars, Progressives are the first group Obama will throw over the side. In fact, he has already begun to do so, as demonstrated by the recent reversal on his promise to filibuster the new FISA bill.

This year, I must admit to myself that the DNC and the DLC and the DCCC have nothing to offer me save further disappointment. This year, I will write in my vote for Dennis Kucinich and let the chips fall where they will. If McCain wins and sure disaster follows, perhaps America will find the will to regain itself. But this election, dear Democrats, it's time for me to let you go.

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For a living, I manage the design and construction of renewable energy projects. My hobby is sandwich repair; I also swap for parts.
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What's the Matter in Madison?

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