What Ever Became of Democracy?

( – promoted by buhdydharma )

In looking back at the Bush debacle, one thing stands out.  It would never have happened, at least not so blatantly and egregiously, had there been a healthy opposition party in America.  Up until 2000 there was at least the illusion of the Democrats as a party in opposition to the Republicans, however ineffective.  And the Republicans, though always venal, have never been so nakedly predatory, never so in-your-face ‘I’m going to take your shit and you’re going to like it’, never so openly disdainful of the Constitution and the law.  Somewhere along the line, the notion of the Democrats as the voice of sanity counter-balancing Republican lunacy has become just so much political vaporware.  What happened?    


The entire government has failed us on Iraq

“You know, it is very important. The fact is, that this is not supposed to happen the way it’s happened in the last seven years. The framers, I think, would have been astonished by the absolute passivity, if not the collusion of the Democrats in protecting President Bush from impeachment. I mean, they created a system that was essentially idiot-proof, and God knows we’ve put that to the test in the past few years, but I don’t think they anticipated that so many members of the opposition would stand quietly in the face of clear presidential crimes.”

Jonathon Turley, Constitutional Law Professor on Countdown with Keith Olberman on June 10, 2008.

You can’t stand in opposition to selfishness and greed if you succumb to such temptations yourself.  You can’t oppose corruption if you buy into it.  At this point, the Democrats have gone from being the champions of the working class to shilling for the elite.  Take the Sibel Edmonds case for example, a case involving the theft and sale of nuclear technology to terrorists on the black market by highly placed members of Congress.


Prior to 2006, Rep. Henry Waxman of the House Government Reform and Oversight Committee allegedly promised Ms. Edmonds that if the Democrats gained control of Congress, he would order hearings into her charges. But following the Democratic sweep, he has been less forthcoming. It is suspected that Mr. Waxman fears that the revelations might open a Pandora’s box, damaging Republicans and Democrats alike.

The Dallas Morning News

Another example is how John Conyers went from being a passionate advocate of impeachment to just another empty suit.


By a bipartisan vote of 251-166, the full House of Representatives sent Dennis Kucinich’s 35 Articles of Impeachment to the Judiciary Committee.

That means Chairman John Conyers now has the power to decide whether to hold impeachment hearings – or not.

Incredibly, 24 Republicans voted with 227 Democrats; the 166 no votes came exclusively from Republicans.

So what will Conyers do? After the Downing Street Memo was published on May 1, 2005, Democrats.com worked closely with Conyers to hold the famous basement hearings featuring Cindy Sheehan, Ray McGovern, and John Bonifaz. In August 2006, Conyers published all of the evidence of Bush’s crimes in The Constitution in Crisis. Many of us believed he would begin impeachment proceedings if Democrats won the House, which they did that November.

But in the spring of 2006, Nancy Pelosi declared impeachment “off the table.” And when Democrats took control and Conyers was sworn in as Judiciary Chairman, he fell firmly into line behind the Speaker. (Conyers insists Pelosi did not threaten to deny him the Chairmanship.)  

Bob Fertik on Democrats.com

Instead of opposing the ever-increasing influence of Big Money in our politics, the Dems somewhere along the line decided to fight elitism with elitism.  They decided to compete with Republicans for the corporate money, to compromise themselves with special interests and corporate lobbyists, and to stop paying so much attention to all those pesky citizens – to out-republican the Republicans.  


Big Money vs. Grassroots: The Fight For the Heart of the Democratic Party

by David Sirota

Every two years since 1992, the Democratic Party has trotted out Fleetwood Mac’s classic “Don’t Stop Thinking About Tomorrow” as the theme song of its campaign. Now, after the party’s repeated election losses, polls suggest that the Democrats’ “tomorrow” could finally be dawning. November 7 is the big day. Yet even if the Democrats do well on that day, it’s not clear that things will change. In fact, there are ominous signs that a Democratic Congress would cause another song to start ringing in Americans’ ears: The Who’s “Won’t Get Fooled Again,” with its harrowing line: “Meet the new boss, same as the old boss.”

To be sure, a change in congressional leadership would slow the advance of President George W. Bush’s dangerous agenda. And as the Associated Press has reported, the specific Democratic lawmakers in line to take over key committees are among the administration’s biggest critics, and among the most ideologically progressive in Congress.

But beyond this, there are troubling signs that the party isn’t serious about reforming America’s money-dominated politics. Many working-class swing voters are still suspicious of a Democratic Party that promised not to sell them out, and then supported President Clinton’s alliance with big business to pass economically destabilizing “free trade” deals. But that doesn’t seem to matter to the Beltway’s Democratic elites. That voters would be supporting Democrats in 2006 with the specific expectation of reform hardly seems to register with many of the party’s Washington insiders.

The arrogance is stunning. Here you have a national political party righteously hammering its opponents’ “culture of corruption.” Here you have a national party standing at the threshold of an Internet revolution that has shown itself more than capable of democratizing political fundraising by taking in huge sums of money, in small contributions, all without the usual expectation of cronyish legislative favors. And yet here is that same national party bragging to reporters that it is focused on doing everything it can to milk the corporate teat as effectively as Republicans.


They turned away from their traditional constituents, the poor and the working class.  In doing so, they abandoned their roots and their principles.  Instead of fighting for what was right and good and true, instead of representing the people of America against the powerful corporations and special interests, they sold out for the big bucks.  They became willing slaves of the ruling elite and reduced themselves to simple pawns of the Military Industrial Complex, all for the basest motivation of all – money.  They abandoned the grand vision of the founding fathers and their obligations to the American people to get their grubby paws on their thirty pieces of silver.

The Democrats Sell Us Out


I believe that we must all support Barack Obama and I’m excited about the hope he represents, but we must also realize that the Democratic Party won’t produce the change we seek unless we first change the Democratic Party.  We must reclaim our role as champions of the poor and working class, we must return to our principles and abandon the politics of cynicism and amorality, and we must eschew and work against the influence of Big Money in our politics.  We must divorce ourselves from the Military Industrial Complex and start leading the world to peace instead of to war.  

We will get nowhere in fixing what the Republicans have broken unless we first recapture our own soul.  That we might still do this is the only hope I can see for America.

And finally, once again, thank you Keith Olberman, David Sirota and Dennis Kucinich.  You sirs, are men after my own heart.



Skip to comment form

    • OPOL on June 17, 2008 at 21:17

    must go!

  1. your essay made me think of the only politician I’ve ever been able to vote for with a whole heart.

    I still miss he and Sheila so much!! I don’t know about other parts of the country, but around here we still regularly see bumper stickers that say “What would Wellstone do?” It always grounds me somehow to think about that.  

    • Alma on June 17, 2008 at 21:52

    and ditto to this:

    And finally, once again, thank you Keith Olberman, David Sirota and Dennis Kucinich.  You sirs, are men after my own heart.

    I wish we could clone them.

  2. He’s basically been conducting informal impeachment hearings for the past two years now; the only difference is he can’t officially say that’s what he’s doing because Pelosi has threatened to take away his chairmanship if he does.

    Meanwhile Conyers can’t even get his subpoenas enforced because the Dem Leadership in the House also refuses to back him up on inherent contempt.

    Conyers, and to a lesser extent Henry Waxman, have been doing their jobs under hostile opposition from their own Party’s Leadership.  It’s Pelosi, Hoyer, Reid and the rest of the corporate accomodationists in charge of Congress who aren’t doing theirs.

  3. An abbreviated list of American democracy triumphs since the end of WW2:

    1946-1989 Cold War

    1950-1953 Korean War

    1953 Iranian coup d’état

    1954 Guatemalan coup d’état

    1959-1973 Vietnam War

    1961 Bay of Pigs

    1965 Dominican Republic

    1972-1974 Watergate

    1973 Chilean coup d’état

    1983 Grenada

    1984-1986 Iran-Contra

    1989 Panama

    1991-2003 Gulf War

    1993 Somalia

    1994-1995 Bosnia

    1999 Kosovo

    2001- Afghanistan

    2003- Iraq

    2008- Iran?

    America doesn’t believe in democracy, let alone the Democrats.

    • brobin on June 17, 2008 at 22:12

    Oh, yeah!  The top 1/10th of the 1% of all income earners in our country.  All, oh, 5,000 or so of them.

    Well, while they may OWN this country, I understand we other peon’s have a few more votes than that.  I realise that we don’t have the MONEY to advertise as well as they do, and DAMN they advertise well.  The fact that George W. Bush was re-elected should tell you just how widespread and really good their advertisements have been.  Makes those Super Bowl commercials look like amateur hour, huh?


    Make sure everyone you know understands that Friends Don’t Let Friends Vote Republican.  Be sure they know that by voting Republican, they are voting to pay for the advertisement blitz to keep 99.9% of Americans under the thumb of of that 1/10th of the 1% of all income earners in our country.

    Media is the one thing that ALL American’s are addicted to today, from the video game to the documentary to the music video.  All influenced by the media blitz that has taken this country by storm.  

    The Perfect Storm.

    The bastards were SO close.  Then WE decided NO MORE……


    • Viet71 on June 17, 2008 at 23:26
  4. …but I just saw that the House plans to appropriate $2 billion for flood relief in Iowa and other Midwestern states.  The catch?

    The $2 billion would be inserted in a war spending bill that has been pending in Congress for some time as lawmakers battle over side issues such as unemployment insurance.

    I know this happens all the time, but why why why does our desperately-needed flood relief have to be inserted in a war spending supplemental?

    And whose idea was this?  Rep. Tom Latham (R-IA) is mentioned in the article for announcing the plan, but Democrats are supposed to be running the Congress, right?

    • Viet71 on June 18, 2008 at 00:21

    love our country.  I know that from the comments.

    Many, but not all, here believe Dems are the best hope to deliver our country back to us.

    My take:  Isn’t going to happen.  Repub or Dem, Americans are screwed.  Too much money allocated to corporations, which don’t care about Americans at all, just about profit.

  5. Obama is the love child of the globalists and is going to turn out to the THE Manchurian’s Manchurian but that is only IF we get to Nov 7 without NSPD-51 after the next “911”.

  6. we have options. it’s just that we haven’t realized them quite yet.

    couldn’t agree with you more OPOL. couldn’t agree more: with democrats like these, who needs republicans?

    and where the hell has Howard Dean been? i thought he wanted our country back. not to mention savior Al Gore… i’m sorry. but we are in such bad shape, then put down your fucking oscar, Al. run for office if you’re really the savior everybody thinks.

    sorry. it just pisses me off.

  7. i’m just a little testy. i’ve just finished my dutch homework. i’m really going for it. i will do it: learn another language. heh. if i can do it, then anybody can do it. i’m sure of it. now, if i could only learn when to use geen and niet. two little words that are driving me nuts.

    anyway. time for bed!!!  

  8. 85 House Dems who voted for the last Iraq appropriations bill, which failed because Repubs sabotaged it by voting “present.”  Another vote is coming in days.  What are we gonna do about it?

    Jason Altmire, Brian Baird, John Barrow, Melissa Bean, Shelley Berkley, Howard Berman, Marion Berry, Sanford Bishop, Dan Boren, Rick Boucher, Allen Boyd, Nancy Boyda, Corrine Brown, Christopher Carney, Donald Cazayoux, Ben Chandler, James Clyburn, Jim Cooper, Jim Costa, Jerry Costello, Bud Cramer, Henry Cuellar, Lincoln Davis, Susan Davis, Artur Davis, Norman Dicks, Joe Donnelly, Chet Edwards, Brad Ellsworth, Rahm Emanuel,

    Bob Etheridge, Bill Foster, Gabrielle Giffords, Charles Gonzalez, Bart Gordon, Gene Green, Baron Hill, Ruben Hinojosa, Tim Holden, Darlene Hooley, Steny Hoyer, William Jefferson, Paul Kanjorski, Ron Kind, Nicholas Lampson, Rick Larsen, Sander Levin, Daniel Lipinski, Tim Mahoney, Jim Marshall, Jim Matheson, Mike McIntyre, Charles Melancon, Harry Mitchell, Alan Mollohan, Dennis Moore, John Murtha, Solomon Ortiz, Collin Peterson, Earl Pomeroy, Silvestre Reyes, Ciro Rodriguez, Mike Ross,

    Lucille Roybal-Allard, Dutch Ruppersberger, Tim Ryan, John Salazar, Stephanie Herseth Sandlin, Adam Schiff, Allyson Schwartz, David Scott, Joe Sestak, Brad Sherman, Heath Shuler, Ike Skelton, Adam Smith, Vic Snyder, Zachary Space, John Spratt, John Tanner, Gene Taylor, Mark Udall, Peter Visclosky, Timothy Walz, Charles Wilson.

  9. It’s good and it’s necessary to keep that adrenaline up there and keep us ever on the alert, in your inimatable fashion  😉

  10. contributors there (myself, included, although very infrequently now) have lambasted him from left to right, including name calling.  (I haven’t gone that far, mind you.)  

    But here’s the thing, he has said himself, personally, that he has the control, and that Nancy Pelosi cannot dictate over him.  Hummmm!  Well, maybe, that’s his chauvinism showing!  Or????

  11. It’s long gone. What was left of it was finished off during the past seven years.

    As a consolation we do get treated to a lot of dog and pony shows. We are teased with interesting, though short duration, threats to take action, firmly worded letters, subpoenas and other various types of theater. Meanwhile the emperor and his friends in congress, the MIC, Wall Street and in the corporate media are laughing and counting the money in their offshore accounts.

    On the other hand we still have Congressman Kucinich, Congressman Wexler and maybe some hope on deck.

    Peace OPOL.

    • Edger on June 19, 2008 at 03:26

    < slaps forehead >

    Now I remember…

    Of course. How could I forget?

    George Bush shipped Democracy to Iraq and Afghanistan.

    Along with 2.7 trillion or so dollars and the U.S. economy.

    The little of it that’s left is buried.

    In Arlington National Cemetery. And in mass graves all over the Middle East.

  12. …I really wonder sometimes if you are being conned or if you are one of the con artists like Sirota.  Seriously.

    It is so easy to pretend that Bobby Kennedy wasn’t a corrupted, union-busting son of a bitch.  So easy to pretend it wasn’t the Democrats who sent Americans to Vietnam.  So easy to pretend it is the half a billion spent every four years on political campaigns and not the 1.4 trillion the government spends every year that is the corrupt “big money”.  So easy to pretend it is that your government is being bought in secret as opposed to pandering to the crap that Americans want, or think they do.

    When I read this OPOL, I come away thinking that someone is trying to con me.  I’m sorry to say it, because I do like you.  But what ever became of democracy?  If democracy was all that mattered, you and I would be forced into church every Sunday.  And you know it.

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