( – promoted by buhdydharma )
Must Read Eric Alterman article about our kabuki democracy — and what to do about it.
Face it, the system is rigged, and it’s rigged against us. Sure, presidents can pretty easily pass tax cuts for the wealthy and powerful corporations. They can start whatever wars they wish and wiretap whomever they want without warrants. They can order the torture of terrorist suspects, lie about it and see that their intelligence services destroy the evidence. But what they cannot do, even with supermajorities in both houses of Congress behind them, is pass the kind of transformative progressive legislation that Barack Obama promised in his 2008 presidential campaign. Here’s why.
As for the “Here’s why” and how to fix things part, one should go read the whole article at The Nation, and go below the fold for more.
Crossposted at The Progressive Electorate.com
(P)ost-Bush America is one disaster waiting to happen after another, all of which-when they do-are laid at the feet of the current president.
Some legacy, huh?
Like Digby, I strongly urge one and all to read this entire piece, titled “Kabuki Democracy: Why a Progressive Presidency Is Impossible, for Now”. Also like Digby, I do not fully endorse this point of view, but I highly recommend that everyone read it.
In it’s entirety, the article by Eric Alterman strikes at the heart of much that is wrong with our political system. The problem is the MONEY.
Washington operates on a culture of implied bribery no less than it does the real thing.
Alterman attacks lobbyists, the media, the Special Interests, both parties and many other actors in the kabuki he describes. Alterman explains in detail exactly why Congress is totally dysfunctional, and best of all he gives us ideas on how to fix things.
Indeed, with regard to almost every single one of our problems, we need better, smarter organizing at every level and a willingness on the part of liberals and leftists to work with what remains of the center to begin the process of reforms that are a beginning, rather than an endpoint in the process of societal transformation. As American history consistently instructs us, this is pretty much the only way things change in our system.
Read the whole article. To quote Dave Eggers it is “a heartbreaking work of staggering genius” in my humble opinion, and it explains in detail why progressives can NOT win under these circumstances, not with the nearly unlimited powers of Big Money Lobbyists, Media and the status quo arrayed against us. But Eric Alterman also offers hope in this piece, the hope that things can be made better, though, if we want it we have to start working our tails off now.
Because the nearly unlimited powers of Big Money Lobbyists, Media and the status quo want to return us to a world that sounds like it was designed by the Egyptian Pharaohs of old, as Digby describes so eloquently.
This is a rigged game for average Americans and they should wise up.
Update: Pastordan writes in to explain that the Pharaohs had this all under control many moons ago:
From Exodus 5:
But the king of Egypt said to them, ‘Moses and Aaron, why are you taking the people away from their work? Get to your labours!’ Pharaoh continued, ‘Now they are more numerous than the people of the land and yet you want them to stop working!’ That same day Pharaoh commanded the taskmasters of the people, as well as their supervisors, ‘You shall no longer give the people straw to make bricks, as before; let them go and gather straw for themselves. But you shall require of them the same quantity of bricks as they have made previously; do not diminish it, for they are lazy; that is why they cry, “Let us go and offer sacrifice to our God.” Let heavier work be laid on them; then they will labour at it and pay no attention to deceptive words.’
Pharaoh gives the benefits, Pharaoh expects results, not slaves getting rational economic ideas in their heads.
Have hope, but fight like hell.
I leave you with the same final words as Eric Alterman did, and I ask to you this one question . . .
To borrow from Hillel the Elder: “If not now, when? If not us, who?”
Because there is a wolf at the door, it has all the money in the world behind it, and it wants to blow your house down and take it’s country back. It wants to pay your less and charge you more, and it believes “social justice” is the enemy.
So how do we fight back? And if not now, when? If not us, who?
Follow me on twitter here @JesseLaGreca
Now, how do we begin?
was one of the first online columnists I ever read having been a Nation magazine reader for years. He really pissed me off during the bushies and I wrote him off as the neo/con liberal he was and is. the assumption that a progressive presidency is impossible now is just plain old bs. then there is the hard cold reality that Obama want’s a progressive presidency. He doesn’t he is into ‘wealth creation’ he sets up the bamboozles and we are supposed to view him as victim of what was dumped at his feet?
Forget about it. He is the PR dude for the powers that be and the Democratic party groomed him and launched him as the answer to the unrest and wave of discontent that rightfully washed the country. What comes out of this guys mouth is lies. I’m not stupid or deluded and Obama is not the issue. My hope is that the Democrat’s and the Republicans finally get exposed by the reality they are creating. The fix is by-partisan and it’s deep and wide. My hope lies with the people who at some point will reject this insanity.
I say let them rip. The Soviet Union fell and I hope this nasty ass Empire follows suite. Human beings and the earth cannot tolerate this shit out of fear that something worse will ensue. What a fucking extortion scam this is. sorry you caught me on a bad day. all days are bad if you look at the reality instead of the absolutely fiction politic’s we are living through.
Enough with the fear nothing is ever gained through fear. The right may be scary but so is this shit. The solutions are evident and this administration and the Democratic Party have no interest in implementing them.They are the powers that be the were voted in to stop this. If they are powerless they should say so. lol. Of course they are not they are the face of the power and they refuse to use it as the owners of the place are too powerful? How absurd and illogical is this argument. Oh yeah they can’t as a procedural rule is stopping them. they can’t because they are the power that works for this global nightmare. all else is just bs.
my first impulse would be to say, then, by all means, let us make things as bad as possible in America, as quickly as possible. Right now, in fact. Let us bring all these horrors to bear the soonest moment we possibly can. Let us have Sarah Palin, let us have our southern states literally governed by BP, in short order.
Let us have Washington hip deep in feces.
If I believed it, that is.
just make it ’til August and repeat
Blame everything on Bush and give Obama a free pass.
And then there’s pie in the sky!
Just wait for Obama’s second term!
Just give that fucking con-man four years to do nothing, and less than nothing, and maybe then…
I personally don’t agree that Obama is even a closet leftist. He is a center-right politician without a social democratic/socialist/progressive/liberal bone in his political party. As others have said here he’s a servant of the financial elite pure and simple–I’ve seen no evidence that he is anything to the contrary.
Having said that I agree with Alterman and you that a progressive President is impossible and the game is rigged. But I don’t believe that the game rigged itself. The oligarchy obviously rigged it but that’s only half the story because oligarchs always try as hard as they can to rig markets and political systems this they have done and now it is simply to late to do anything about it directly. But are they to blame? Not really–they were just acting in their nature. The people to blame are on the left part of the political spectrum because they would not could not and cannot to this day understand what politics is about. As I’ve said many times before it is not about being indignant and giving moral lectures to people who are in the criminal oligarchy. They, along with cultural conservatives, believe that tendency among progressives is funny, pathetic and above all an example of weakness–and let’s get this straight–no one trusts weak people and weak political movements who are wimpy and cowardly and will cave in every day in every way whenever the Republicans start doing their little fascist act to scare liberals. It’s bullshit–if “we” (and I don’t want to even count myself in this group) stood up to the DLC Dems (essentially Republicans) and the so-called conservatives (neo-fascists) and said to them go ahead do your fucking worst assholes we stand for something–i.e., not fucking HCR bill passes through us until we get a reasonable bill that will work (one based on science and logic). Because then, finally, progressives would get some respect from independents that may disagree initially but, because the progressives would at least appear to stand for something, they may take a second look and think about the issue. I’m convinced, btw, that this tactic would work. Just as the tactic of refusing to vote for mainstream Democrats would work if American leftists or semi-leftists understood that courage and consistently actually is realpolitik not constantly giving in to the status-quo.
I feel the American left has utterly failed in the role that left movements have in societies which is to keep the thieves from stealing everything–just some things. Those of us who consider ourselves on the left not only have no allies but we have no respect–I repeat we are weak and deserve no respect and are the direct cause of the excesses of the Bush administration!
Thanks for the essay–this is a good subject and will give us something to focus on besides being morally indignant.
cheerleading bullshit over here?