Guest Editorial by Kenneth Anderson
Endlessly mundane and always uninformative, the moribund struggle for party nominations in what we so disrespectfully still call the "presidential campaign" inhabit a realm of such vacuous inanity one can palpably sense malignant tumors of ennui forming within.
While would-be Republican candidates spar for the GOP nomination by appealing to brain stem functions (that is, when they're not extolling us with tales of their heavenly devotion), Democrats carry themselves at only a marginally elevated level. This is not to say that there are not candidates --- on both sides --- who would like to raise the bar and address actual issues and policy, but those are shunned by our craven and cack-handed media mavens, who never seem to tire of their perceived role as king-maker in what has become --- for the world's "greatest democracy" --- an embarrassing spectacle of the most base and primitive dimensions. I suspect if media moguls could get Romney and Huckabee to square off in a cage fight, well, that would be next on the tour of the candidates. Who needs all this talk? Though the American public demand campaigns of substance, there appears too little of that on the political horizon, while furry idiots like Wolf Blitzer express puzzlement at the term "triangulating" as it pertains to Hillary Clinton.
What we constantly hear from the corporate media, though it is never stated quite so bluntly, is that those with the money become the kings. The American political campaign system is now a big-money bonanza for media corporations. These corporations prop up candidates with the most money knowing full well that that money will come straight back to them in the form of campaign advertising. The media are now simply advertisers for the biggest political spenders, which is perhaps the reason why the campaign cycle is now virtually continuous. It is a positive feedback loop, reinforcing in the minds of the public that the only viable candidates are the ones with the money, the polls reflect this, more money pours in for those "viable candidates," which in turn cycles right back to the media money machine.
Which is why I am constantly amazed that the so-called "progressive" blogs have chosen to endorse corporate-backed candidates like Hillary Clinton.
Though Dennis Kucinich espouses ideals resonant with most liberal voters, he is as marginalized by progressives as much as the mainstream media as "unelectable," though no one ever seems to understand or explain exactly what that means. Is it his ears?
By all appearances, blogs such as dKos, MyDD, etc, have now simply become another arm of the Democratic party and their backing of the major, big-money candidates simply because they are deemed "electable" entirely betrays the original purpose of their fora.
The purposefully constrained political party system has, indeed, forced liberals into only one corner. Liberals certainly will not vote for Republicans today. Bush has fairly destroyed any vestige of that odd creature once known as the "Reagan Democrat" and the "major" Republican candidates seem interested in being more Bush than Bush. No, progressives have been forced into seeing the Democratic Party as their only choice and, as the performance of Democratic-led House and Senate have amply demonstrated after over a year in the majority, that choice is a damn poor one.
Nonetheless, "progressives" are unwavering in their desire for a Democrat to gain the White House, which they believe will lead to some kind of correction of our horribly misbegotten ways. But I wonder if they do not find it the slightest bit disconcerting that the leading Democratic candidate is --- by far --- the biggest recipient of defense industry cash. Do these progressives not see the future in the sign that the health care industry is also backing Clinton above all others? (free subscription req.)
What does this tell us about the possibility of Democrats repealing the military misadventures or providing universal health care that is not simply a tax-payer sop to the "health care" industry? Does Kos believe that Clinton is, perhaps, a progressive sleeper agent, that once having soaked up those corporate dollars, she will spring into progressive action, stop the war, withdraw the troops, reinstate habeas corpus, halt the spying, hold the telecoms accountable, and send up those venal HMO corporations?
It was obvious after the 2004 election that Daily Kos creator, Markos "kos" Zuniga was more afraid of the establishment than he would have people believe when he unilaterally declared that reports of election fraud would be stricken from his site. Despite years of evidence now gathered, despite the volumes published, despite expert opinion and analysis, kos' position has not wavered on this, despite daily reports of Republican-led election shenanigans across the country, with only the latest (and most benign) being the Romney campaign's corruption of a Florida GOP straw poll.
In this regard, he is acting like the Democratic party, too afraid to bear mention that some things have been terribly amiss in recent American elections. If the U.S. Attorney purge scandal, uncovered and now largely forgotten, should have demonstrated one thing to the Democrats, it is that the Republicans, as led by Rove, have utterly hijacked the apparatus of government in service of the GOP. Today, a Democrat sits in prison because of these activities, and yet, from the Democrats, not a word. And neither is there one from those so-called progressives like kos.
One can construct two possible scenarios from the evidence of the corporate largesse directed toward Clinton. One, influential industries really do place their faith in Clinton that she will continue to deliver that which they so desire, and two, that these industries and others backing her are setting her up for a fall at the hands of a corporate media that is well-schooled in the art of Clinton-bashing, in which case the Republican nominee takes the White House.
The latter is hopelessly convoluted and, despite Republican/corporate control of the electoral system, the outcome is not guaranteed. More likely, of course, is that Clinton has simply been bought off and nothing in her performance to date would dispel that. The added bonus of this, obviously, is that she has to deal with Iraq and can be blamed for that as needed. And despite American public insistence that we leave Iraq, Clinton has more than endorsed our continued (albeit reduced) presence there, as have the other "major" Democratic candidates.
This reality is something for which progressives can only blame themselves, by ignoring the candidates who promise withdrawal and choosing to vote for someone more "electable."