Sunday, January 17, 2010

Rust Never Sleeps

"Dissipation is actually much worse than cataclysm."
-Tracy Lett,
August: Osage County
Or, as Neil Young prophetically sang back in 1979, it's better to burn out than it is to rust. Christopher Hayes writes here that the policy failures of the Bush Administration nonetheless created an entrenched corporate state that left progressives on the horns of an exquisite dilemma. By working within the system to address the myriad problems facing it, progressives risk inadequate but still helpful solutions that at the same strengthen the power structure. But taking a long view and working to change the distribution of power could mean forgoing assistance for progressive constituencies that need help now, no matter how imperfect. It's the high risk-high reward approach in which failure consigns the progressive movement to irrelevance. But Hayes doubts that progessives have much choice, and points out that a movement's long-term goals doesn't preclude it from having a short-term impact. The problem that I see is that a redistribution of power does require a movement, and I don't see one. Most progressive grass-roots groups are so focused on the harm done to their constituencies during the Bush administration that they don't have the time or resources to focus on long-term collaborative movement building...

Hayes doesn't say how organizers and activists should respond to thuggish tactics like these. And you can be that these would be the tip of the iceberg in response to a serious challenge to power distribution...

I am not feeling optimistic about today's special election in Massachusetts. A loss means the end of health care reform for at least a generation, an increase in the number of retiring Democrats, and the possibility of a Republican landslide this fall. The Republican strategy of just-say-no and divide-and-conquer appears to be working: I read of one Brown voter who said that the country was more polarized than during the Vietnam war and then blamed Obama. And, of course, conservative calls for bipartisanship drip with typical hypocrisy. These are politicians who didn't think twice about politicizing a war...

Andrew Romano writes that if Martha Coakley loses, it will be because she took Massachusetts voters for granted. As someone who watched Christine Gregoire nearly lose the governor's race in Washington state for just that reason, I can attest firsthand that voters hate to be taken for granted. They're willing to bite of their nose to spite their face to send exactly that message, too...

At The Nation, Richard Kim writes that Haiti needs justice as much as charity, and that a good place to start is debt relief...

Don't miss the pictures from Haiti on Corve DaCosta's blog here...

Hey hey my my:

2 comments:

Rastamick61 said...

I keep looking for signs of this Democratic majority in the Senate, the one in danger if Coakley chokes. The fact that Joe the Lieberman and Full Nelson are among them causes me to question its very existence.

K. said...

Neither are among my favorite politicians. Holy Joe Lieberman is an egotistical windbag, a hypocrite who embodies sanctimony. I have a little more sympathy for Nelson because he's from a red state, but his conduct during the end game of the Senate health care bill was despicable.

That being said, what's the alternative? Putting Mitch McConnell and Jim DeMint in charge of the Senate? We can gripe about Republican discipline v. Democratic disorder, but the truth is that they are ideologically rigid extremists bent on obstruction whereas Democrats are at least trying to take on the myriad problems bequeathed them by Republicans. Subtract 20 members from the Democratic caucus and the remainder can say "no" as a unit, too. But I hate to think of what they'll be saying "no" to.