Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Let's Be Vigilant And Work Hard For Progressive Values... Without Hauling Out Any Guillotines



As you know by now, we started an Act Blue page to thank congressional resisters to Trumpism-- the courageous men and women who are refusing to attend his inauguration. Please visit to see the updated list. When we started there were only 6... now there are over 3 dozen! And we've raised them over $5,000 from Blue America members who are grateful for their leadership. There's a long way to go. After all, 80 Members of Congress boycotted Nixon's second inauguration in 1973. I'd think today's Congress would do a lot better, wouldn't you?

I asked several members to consider joining. Most of them said they had their own reasons for going. "As a matter of principle," one solid progressive told me, "I believe we have to respect the process and attend. I don't want a nation where the Republicans boycott a Democratic president." OK, he's entitled to his opinion although he certainly knows that the Republicans did far worse to a certain Democratic president than not attend his inauguration-- like refusing to consider his judicial nominees, for example. But fine. If someone wants to go, they can go. Several who I spoke to early in the week changed their minds after Trump's moronic tweet-rage against John Lewis. Others-- I suspect-- may have re-thought the political calculus. It's hard for me to understand why any Democrat is going to their horror show, which I wrote about on Sunday, complete with clips of movies about resisting the Nazis in World War II.

Another congressman who is no fan of Trump's by any stretch of the imagination-- and has an excellent voting record-- told me he thinks boycotting the inauguration is "horrible politics. We won't win the majority by marginalizing ourselves from the middle of the country. We need to connect with them. We lost in part because we had no jobs message for Pennsylvania, Ohio, Michigan, Arkansas... I have a vision for how to bring jobs to those areas and encourage small business and opportunity there. And I will combine that with a real populism on paid maternity leave, Medicare for all, expanding Social Security... We can't marginalize ourselves from these communities. It will be a divided nation." OK, I agree that, ultimately, that's more important than the symbolism of the boycott.

Not even one senator is boycotting. A friend of mine close to the Cory Booker campaign told me they're thinking of having Booker stay away and using it to regain some of the credibility he lost when he voted last week against an amendment by Amy Klobuchar and Bernie Sanders to allow Americans to import and in most cases, re-import, pharmaceuticals from Canada. He has announced yet. (I'll eat my hat if he musters the guts to do it.) Neither, though, has Elizabeth Warren or even Bernie Sanders. I respect them and their strategies and I'm not going to hold it against them or anyone else-- just reward the ones who do what I feel is the right thing. What I hold against politicians has to do with patterns of behavior, not just a disagreement over a symbolic protest.

By the way, a couple of hours ago, Jamie Raskin (D-MD) confirmed that he isn't going to Trump's thing. "For the last couple of weeks," he said in a statement to his constituents, "I have assumed that I would attend the inauguration of Donald Trump, obviously not to show any support for his politics but as a gesture of constitutionalism, simply to witness the peaceful transfer of power from President Obama to the new administration. But, as the hour approaches, I realize that I cannot bring myself to go.  I wish that these were normal times and that I could sit and applaud the normal workings of government as I did when Maryland Governor Larry Hogan was inaugurated in 2015 in Annapolis. But these are not normal times and I cannot pretend as if they are.  The moral and political legitimacy of this presidency are in the gravest doubt.  I cannot get over Trump’s refusal to deal seriously with the constitutional problems caused by his business entanglements with foreign governments and corporations.  I cannot get past his stubborn denial of the enormity of Russia’s efforts to sabotage and undermine our presidential election (regardless of the victor).  I cannot stomach his relentless trafficking in bigotry, misogyny and fear. And I am outraged and confounded by his continuing provocations against civil rights heroes, such as my colleague the great Congressman John Lewis, union leaders and other individual citizens.  Given these dynamics and given that one can never have any confidence in what Trump might say or tweet, I cannot risk my presence at his inauguration being interpreted as any kind of endorsement of the normality of our situation. I will not attend the inauguration.  I do not rejoice in this decision or take pride in it, any more than I would rejoice or take pride in going; the inauguration ceremony is just a fact of life now, and we must all deal with it as best we can.  I am afraid that these kinds of searing moral and political conflicts are our destiny for a while."

Meanwhile Caitlin Johnstone wrote last week that a newly resilient progressive base is determined to hold conservaDems and the Establishment accountable. "Cory Booker," she wrote with some certitude, "can go ahead and bury his presidential ambitions in the backyard, next to his conscience and his childhood goldfish. They are dead. He will never be President. Not in 2020. Not ever." Why is she so sure? "Easy," she says.

After being used like store-brand toilet paper by the Democratic establishment throughout the entire election cycle, Berniecrats were hungry for blood. Democrat blood. The first head to stick up on behalf of the plutocrats against Bernie was going to get lopped off and bandied about the village as an example for all to see. That head was Cory Booker’s. There will be others-- many others if they take too long to absorb the lesson-- but you never forget your first. Cory Booker’s face now permanently occupies the Hillary Clinton slot. The crony capitalism slot. The “I will put the profit margins of my corporate donors before your lives” slot. It’s possible that he could go on to have a long and sleazy Senate career if he avoids such spectacular lapses of judgment in the future, but he will never be President. He lost the progressive vote forever. This is as far as his political career advances.

And we may be certain that every Democrat in DC has taken note of this. The social media hammer that dropped on Booker came down fast and came down hard; very rarely will you see such immense public outrage about the vote of a single particular Senator on a single piece of legislation. Alternative media outlets were quick to follow the zeitgeist, fanning the flames and debunking Booker’s pathetic defenses of his actions, and the typical establishment damage control mechanisms were powerless to stop any of this. It all happened right there online for everyone to see. It’s still going on. The article you are currently reading is just one tiny spark in a massive inferno of rage that will never forget and will never forgive.

Booker knows this. Every Democrat on Capitol Hill knows this. Every politician and pundit within the liberal establishment knows this, whether they admit it or not. Politicians of the Democratic party are being scrutinized far more meticulously than any of them have ever experienced in their entire careers, and the ones who thought they could keep getting away with openly selling the 99 percent down the river for corporatist interests have now had those illusions shattered after seeing Booker’s name dragged through the mud by that very 99 percent.

Madame Thérèse Defarge
This changes everything. The political force that nearly thrust an outsider progressive into the White House despite every dirty trick in the book being used to sabotage him by the political establishment is still only just beginning to get a feel for its own strength. The Wall Street Democrats who are still reeling from the way their tried-and-true formula failed to work as it should are now realizing that the progressive base of their party can no longer be appeased by a little lip service to social justice and a cute sound bite criticizing Jeff Sessions. They are most definitely going to have to start walking the walk. If they do not, they will be destroyed. Progressives are finally done being doormats, and they’re ready to start kicking ass. And thank god. What we were doing was not working. What we were doing saw the decimation of the Democratic party throughout eight years of the continuation and expansion of all of the Bush administration’s most toxic policies and an attempt to install a corporate crony war hawk into the White House who wanted to drag us into wars with both Syria and Russia. Thank god these lunatics are finally getting their fingers ripped from the steering wheel by force. Thank god the 99 percent are finally waking up to their own power.

Expect to see more heads join Cory Booker’s on the spikes outside Capitol Hill. Get used to corporatism and corruption being treated more and more as a deal breaker and a disqualifier and less and less as an unfortunate normality in the Democratic party. The Berniecrats are the only Dems with the passion and drive necessary to determine the future of the party; everyone else is only in it for the bumper stickers. The progressives will win, and the establishment will lose. The only question is how much of a fight they’ll try to put up.
It will be interesting to see "Berniecrats" fête Booker if he's the only, or even just the first, senator to announce he's boycotting the Trump inauguration. But he hasn't... not yet. Anyway, let's see which, if any, Democratic senators vote to confirm truly heinous monstrosities like Jeff Sessions, Scott Pruitt, Tom Price, Betsy DeVos, Wilbur Ross, Andrew Puzder, Steve Mnuchin... all people we all know mean real trouble for this country. Will Democrats who vote, for example, to confirm Jeff Sessions, be held responsible for his actions as Attorney General. They should be, right?
Goal Thermometer

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At 2:59 PM, Blogger Skeptical Partisan said...

"As a matter of principle," one solid progressive told me, "I believe we have to respect the process and attend. I don't want a nation where the Republicans boycott a Democratic president."

Any 'process' that results in a character like DJT winning the presidency proves itself unworthy of 'respect'.

At 6:19 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Agreed. *IF* a progressive is ever elected (chance: 1 in 10000000000000), we shouldn't give a crap whether Nazis, kkk, billionaire sociopaths and other assorted douchenozzles attend. In fact, MAKE them stay out. They couldn't possibly augment a single thing about it.

As when FDR and LBJ made their, now forgotten, advances to society, you win them over by improving their lives by doing exactly the opposite of what their chosen heroes are doing.

As FDR once said of bankers: "I welcome their hatred".

No guillotines. But we need to gather kindling and strike a match to the Democrap party. Should have been done in '85... but americans are always... slow... Maybe we'll get our heads out of our sphincters 33 years late. I hope that's all it takes.


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