Saturday, August 22, 2020

Strong People Can Vote Against Trump Without Forcing Themselves To Wear Blinders About Who Joe Biden Is


Slimeball by Nancy Ohanian

In the early days of DWT, Paul Lakasiak occasionally graced this blog with guest posts. They were always among my favorite contributions. Paul was back yesterday with a response to a post-- Is The Tent So Big That The Party Has Become Meaningless As Anything MoreThan A Vehicle To Save The Country From Trump?. "The answer to your question is 'yes'," he wrote in the comment section. "And the Democratic Party is getting worse, not better."
Watching the convention over the first three days, I was actually working up some enthusiasm for helping the Dems win big in November. Then I saw the news that Pelosi had endorsed Joey With the Good Hair over reliable, principled progressive (and INCUMBENT) Ed Markey. And now I'm outraged.

I'll still crawl through broken glass laced with tetanus laden rusty tacks and fire ants to vote against Donald Trump in November. But don't ask me to tell anyone that things will get better with Democrats like Nancy Pelosi in charge of the House -- because all I can say is that, under Biden, things won't be as bad as under Trump.

And I suspect that this viewpoint will be shared extensively among real progressives. They know that the democratic party is completely corrupt-- and that Pelosi is thoroughly worthless. And we're most likely to see repeat of 2010 in another two years, as Biden, Pelosi, and Schumer betray the American people in favor of their corporate sponsors.
Biden's acceptance speech Thursday night was excellent. Whoever wrote it with him deserves a lot of praise. Biden delivered it very, very well too. I'm a big admirer of John Pavlovitz and share his thoughts here at DWT frequently. I've never disagreed with him-- until his post yesterday: Joe Biden Is Not The Lesser of Two Evils. Obviously, anyone could agree with his observation that "The only people still defending [Trump] are brainwashed Evangelicals, looney conspiracy theorists, and abject racists. The raking light of history is recording all of it, whether these people like it or not. The human rights violations and the assaults on our Constitution and the attacks on our institutions and the rampant criminality cannot be denied or explained away or buried in fake Fox News headlines." It's his next line, though, that merits some debate: "Joe Biden is not the lesser of two evils, because he is not evil by any measure."

For someone like myself, who doesn't vote for evil, whether it is lesser or not, that's an important assertion, and one I entirely disagree with. Politically-speaking, Biden is profoundly evil. Unlike Paul Lukasiac, let alone John Pavlovitz, I'm not even going to vote for him. On a relative basis of evil, he pales next to Trump. Trump's evil isn't normal political evil... Trump's evil comes from the bowels of hell and I pray that selfless and courageous Secret Service agents spend time meditating on a Satwant Singh and Beant Singh solution to what plagues our country and is bringing it to its knees.

I respect people who look at Trump and Biden and conclude that Trump is so much worse that they will... "crawl through broken glass laced with tetanus laden rusty tacks and fire ants to vote" against Trump in November. I haven interest in trying to persuade anyone to not vote against Trump and do what I can to remind everyone I know-- and readers of this blog-- that Satan has a servant in the White House.

But that doesn't change how I see the Joe Biden I've gotten to know since the mid-1970s, when he only had one issue he ran on as a newly-minted Democrat: racism. His campaign was based on dog-whistles vowing to protect white suburban voters from the horrors of integration. And once he got to the Senate, he was in a constant battle for the position of that body's worst Democrat, consciously-- no, literally, consciously-- fighting to present himself as a conservative. Like I said, I'm not trying to dissuade anyone from voting against Trump and I spent the last year talking about Biden's shortcomings. That said, this kind of drivel is not something I'm buying into, no matter the source:
He is a profoundly decent man: a man of faith, a man of compassion; a man who is willing to listen to different viewpoints, capable of evolving, and able to admit his mistakes. He is a man who loves deeply, mourns greatly, and gives fully. He is a man with actual meaningful, healthy relationships with other human beings. He is a humble man who sees others as more important than himself.
Biden is a corrupt conservative and he will head a corrupt conservative administration. Mainstream Republicans love him and they will love him more. He may even achieve their biggest goal-- and his own-- wrecking Social Security with some kind of bogus Grand Compromise he's been working on for his whole miserable career. Is he still better than Trump. Of course. One would be hard-pressed to see Trump as anything less than demonic. Biden is, admittedly, a "flawed human," as Pavlovitz put it. The Democratic Party is also very flawed, very, very, very flawed. There are no Republicans in Congress worth re-electing, not even one. The Democrats have many decent members of Congress-- certainly not a majority-- most congressional Democrats should be defeated-- but there are dozens and dozens of good ones too. Something to build on. The GOP? Needs to start over from scratch.

Pavlovitz is no dummy and only an imbecile would dismiss his thoughts. "It’s one thing to be a good-hearted but flawed human being who sometimes says something stupid or occasionally has an error in judgment or simply gets it wrong," he wrote. "Most of us fall under that category. We’re not any kind of evil, we’re just imperfect , emotional people, and so we fail and fall-- sometimes slightly and sometimes spectacularly. That’s who Joe Biden is. He is one of us. He is human. We need more human these days." How can anyone disagree with that? Especially when he offers the contrast: "It’s something else entirely to be an inherently malevolent creature: to be incapable of empathy, defiantly unwilling to admit mistakes; to wake up every day intending to do harm and feeling no remorse for it. If the word evil can apply to anyone, it’s the current President. He lacks a single noble impulse. Even his supporters know that."

Pavlovitz says he "would much rather be led by a well-intentioned human who sometimes misses the mark, than a purposefully cruel sociopath who has no concern for other people’s pain. False equivalencies are irresponsible here. These are fundamentally different people in every important way one can measure such things."

He should vote for Biden. He's going to. Most voters are going to. Nearly everyone I know and respect is going to. All my relatives-- except one seriously deranged one-- are voting for Biden. All my friends are voting for Biden. I am fairly certain that even my partners at Blue America are voting for Biden. I hope that on November 4th, I'll be thanking God for having defeated Satan the day before. And when Biden starts being Biden, I'll be interested to see how long it takes Pavlovitz to rethink his thoughts on relativity. For example, is Austerity evil? Not as evil as Trumpism, but... well, maybe I'm wrong and that nearly 50 years of Bidenism is suddenly going to change. But I doubt it.
One man pulls us toward unity, the other stokes division. 
One man speaks to our collective better angels, the other to the worst of who we are.
One man is burdened to inspire, the other compelled to engender fear.
One man is continually turned outward and the other is fully self-absorbed.
One man expresses his love for America, the other vilifies over half of it.

Stop telling me the choice isn’t clear.

I’m not voting for Joe Biden begrudgingly.

I’m not holding my nose or halfheartedly standing behind his campaign, and I’m not supporting him simply because he’s opposing Donald Trump.
I'm voting for Joe Biden because I know that he won’t deny the existence of a pandemic.
He won’t blame viruses on Republicans.
He won’t silence medical experts.
He won’t reject Science.
He won’t allow tens of thousands of Americans to die in order to protect his ego.
He won’t tweet demeaning nicknames for his opponents.
He won’t validate nonsensical conspiracies.
He won’t shout over female reporters.
He won’t shut down social media apps when teenagers hurt his feelings.
He won’t dismantle the Postal Service in order to deny Americans their essential liberties.
He won’t make fun of people with disabilities.
He won’t call racists fine people.
And on and on and on.

Republicans for Biden feel a lot like Pavlovitz. Below, on the Bulwark podcast-- a #NeverTrump outlet for conservatives-- two staunch conservative Republicans, Charlie Sykes and Tim Miller, had a discussion of the Democratic Convention. Tim Miller, a former RNC spokesman and Jeb Bush Communications Director, said "I wanted to share one thing that we discussed after the show was over. Both of us we were caught off guard by how emotionally attached we were last night to this candidacy. We had sort of expected to feel this reluctant, begrudging support for the Democratic nominee, to have been left in a tough spot between one normal bad choice and one existentially bad one. But that isn’t what happened. Joe Biden has me energized. And frankly, that he has both Charlie and I reflecting on whether maybe in the past we were just…in the wrong…"

In his wrap-up of the Democratic Convention for Politico yesterday, Ryan Lizza wrote that "Much of the week was spent by Democrats balancing praising Biden for his empathy and character and attacking Trump for-- well, just about everything. What was missing from the big speeches-- with the notable exception of Bernie Sanders-- was a clear articulation of the specific policies Biden would pursue to combat the pandemic and recession. Biden filled in those gaps clearly. He discussed, with some specificity, infrastructure, education, health care, climate change, and tax policy. He gave a detailed list of actions he would take to stop the spread of Covid-19. Overall this was a nimble speech that responded to the dramatically changed circumstances of the last few months, when Biden transformed from being the leader of a faction within his party to the leader of the most diverse electoral coalition in modern politics. In that span, the pre-existing crises he knew he would face as president-- climate change, the diminished standing of America in the world-- were shoved aside by three additional and equally urgent crises."

This morning, a trusted progressive leader in Congress suggested that if I could try to "take it easy on Joe until after the election that would be great-- have to beat the Nazis before we can worry about USSR (to torture an imperfect analogy)." I get it... and believe it or not, I have been "taking it easy" on Joe... relatively speaking.

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At 1:52 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

As a regular reader of DWT I have to disagree with your take on Biden and predictions for a future Biden presidency. Yes, much of the DWT was drivel, but the progressive voice within the Democratic party is much louder and stronger than it was even 4 years ago. Biden is an experienced politician and he'll have to make concessions. Otherwise, the left will make his life miserable. Moreover, past presidents, who have made the most significant advances in American justice and democracy, were "moderates" (or worse) earlier in their careers. Lincoln, Franklin Roosevelt, and Lyndon Johnson evolved in their thinking and responded to pressure. I'm not suggesting that Biden has the wisdom to join that illustrious grou, but he won't have the ability to do the sort of awful things that he might have done even 10 years ago. It seems obvious that he's struck some deals with Bernie and I believe we can expect a few very good cabinet appointments -- along with some less good ones.

At 2:15 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Give it a break. Biden is way, way, way better than Trump. The movement to socialism is based on rationality, and the first step is stanching the irrationality.

At 2:31 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I:52 obviously is clueless about hos Pelo$i and $chumer stifle any legislation which doesn't benefit their corporate donors. I plan on being far away when that realization strikes, for the detonation will be bigger than the recent blast in Beirut.

At 7:01 PM, Blogger Cugel said...

Joe Biden isn't even really a Conservative Dem. He certainly thinks he is, but Joe Biden is essentially an empty suit. Observers note that "Joe Biden has always tacked to whatever he thinks the center of the Democratic Party is."

You just don't like that center, because the "Center" of the party is essentially Bill Clinton -- who gave us an "End to welfare!" and "the death of big government."

His second term was far more worthless than Biden's could possibly be, so bad in fact that he was prevented from implementing a treacherous "grand bargain" only by the fact of his impeachment. He had to maintain the loyalty of nationwide Democrats and in the House and Senate to defend him and couldn't alienate any of them getting some bill in to gut Social Security and Medicare at the same time. It would have been fatal to take on his own party at the time he needed maximum loyalty. So, it was left for Obama to try that.

What is different now than 1996? The voters that's what. A bunch of Silent Generation voters and Greatest Generation have died off and been replaced by much more radical Millennials and Gen-Z. The impact started in 2018 and will only get bigger in this election.

That's why Biden has tacked left and will be forced to govern more to the left still. Will he try to betray us again? Of course. That's what intense grass-roots lobbying is for. To put so much pressure on the Congress and Administration that they are forced to drop bad bills and take up good ones.

How good of a job Biden does will not depend on Biden, but on us.

At 4:22 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

There's Cugel Bogartin' that joint, my friends. Won't even pass it over to us so that we can share the vision of unicorns and magic dragons he enjoys with each toke.

I recognize no tack to the left by Biden. He isn't going to govern "even more to the left still" - not with Pelo$i and $chumer controlling the Congress to prevent any such anti-corporate behavior.

Biden will betray those deluded enough to fall for the heavy mind-control effort by the Party and allied corporate media sources to make people forget what Bernie Sanders represented - a task made much easier by the obsequious obeissance demonstrated by the kowtowing of the Vermont Senator toward Biden.

Biden will destroy Social Security and Medicare. He will not restore American employment - unless you want to consider the economic military draft as a jobs program. You will be homeless and without medical care. You will be food insecure as Wall Street remains at the Public Trough getting fatter still.

Remember Free Speech Zones? They will be making a comeback so that "intense grass-roots lobbying" won't interfere with the distribution of corporate bribes. Gilens and Page proved that "intense grass-roots lobbying" by We the People can't be heard over the din of cash registers ringing (ask great-grandpa, kiddies!). Going to the streets will only result in goon squad cops and media blackouts. Social media cannot exist once it becomes too inconvenient for the corporate owners of the necessary infrastructure to allow it to continue without "adult supervision". Any "unapproved" message will be stifled in favor of the Official Information. This doesn't only happen in China, people.

Nothing. Will. Fundamentally. Change.

Biden said it, Wall Street believed it, and that settled it. No matter how much you want to pretend otherwise.

At 8:04 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Fascinating how otherwise smart people will inevitably succumb to fear rather than act on their principles. Reading the rationalization as it develops is interesting... and pathetic.

After 50 years of that, you get trump. After a few more... what? You certainly won't get FDR out of that.

"That’s who Joe Biden is. He is one of us. He is human. We need more human these days."

See what I mean? Personally, I never raped anyone. I have not spent my life as a racist. I have not groped women. I do not wish to let poor and sick people die by denying them sustenance.

yeah, he's human. filled with hate, lust, greed and a yawning indifference to everyone who cannot enrich him. And because he's been elected for 50 years, he's had the good fortune to be able to take bribes and get his family jobs based on his corruption, neoliberalism and fascism.

yep. we sure need more of those these days.

fortunately for him, we are plenty scared and stupid enough to make him our king... for a while.


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