I was gratified to see the lead editorial in this week’s Nashville Scene devoted to the dearth of differences between Demopublican Howard Ford, Jr., and Republicrat Bob Corker. Which would you prefer—an anti-abortion, anti-immigration, pro-war Democrat, or an anti-abortion, anti-immigration, pro-war Republican? Oh, wait—Ford is in favor of letting big pharma play with stem cells for fun and profit, while Corker’s agin it. What a difference!
It is sad and embarrassing to see so many of my “liberal”friends lining up behind Ford—I guess they think it would be uncouth not to support him ’cause he’s black, kind of. Ford voted for the bankruptcy revocation act and supported privatization of social security, both of which are totally against the interests of his supposed constituents. The guy is almost as much of an embarrassment as Ken Blackwell. Can you say, “Uncle Tom,” boys and girls? Martin Luther King must be spinning in his grave.
That we should be faced with such a non-choice is indicative of the bankruptcy of the American political process, especially since there is a candidate who offers a genuine alternative to the failed policies shared by Ford and Corker. But it is for just that reason that Green Party Senate candidate Chris Lugo gets no traction in the media. Gubernatorial candidate Howard Switzer has the same problem—running against a Dempopublican incumbent who’s slashed health care and a Republicrat who wants to cut it even further, his “health care for all” campaign deserves far more attention that it’s getting.
It’s a dilemma—anyone who is a corporate whore isn’t worth voting for, but anyone who’s not a corporate whore can’t get elected because the corporate media won’t pay any attention to them. Hey, it’s simple self-preservation. If enough people who were not beholden to the corporate overlords got in positions of power, we might reverse the doctrine of corporate personhood and put the corporate structure back in its proper place, as our servant. Somehow, I doubt that the Democrats will ever do that.
Meanwhile, for the benefit of those who yearn for the return of the Democratic party, let me remind you of some details of the good cop party’s activities:
Bill Clinton tried to pass an anti-terrorism bill very similar to what Bush has put in place; conservative Republicans shot it down as being a threat to civil liberties—and the freedom of companies like Enron to launder money just like Al Qaeda.
Mike McCurry, Bubba Bill’s former chief of staff, is now with the lobbying firm Public Strategies Washington, Inc., where he serves as head of the astroturf group, Hands off the Internet, which wants the government to get its hands off the internet so that private companies can take it over and turn it into the moral equivalent of cable TV. You know, one underfunded, closely monitored, little-watched public access channel, with the rest of it reserved for big boys with money. They are perilously close to succeeding.
Jack Quinn was Al Gore’s chief of staff for a while, then became Clinton’s chief legal counsel. Since leaving the White House, Quinn has formed a lobbying firm, Quinn-Gillespie, with former Republican National committee chairman Ed Gillespie, a friend and supporter of Tom Delay. OK, that’s guilt by association, but here are some of the lobbying activities Quinn has undertaken:
He’s worked for Enron. I hardly need to say more, but…he’s worked to lift bans on offshore oil drilling, subvert tighter regulation of nursing homes, weaken consumer credit protection laws, keep unhealthy food in school lunch programs, and lower corporate taxes still further.
Mark Penn, one of Clinton’s principal pollsters, still associated with that great Demopublican hope, Hillary Clinton, has lobbied against tighter smoking regulations, against allowing obesity-related lawsuits against fast-food restaurant chains, and on behalf of big pharma, Shell Oil, and the Iraqi National Congress-which, in case you’ve forgotten, was basically a vehicle for scamming money from the CIA. Oh, and he’s also argued against holding Dow/Union Carbide responsible for the 1984 Bhopal disaster. Victims of that corporate crime, the ones that are still alive over twenty years later, still have not seen any compensation from the corporate person that killed their families or left them crippled for life. We would not put up with such irresponsibility from an individual. The capital punishment crew would be howling for blood; but when there’s no blood, just money, they’re strangely silent.
This is just the tip of the iceberg. You can read the rest of the story at The Real News Project.org, where it is listed under the title “25 Democratic Consultants.” Twenty five. And yes, I know that consultants aren’t legislators, but they’re the brains, mouths, arms and legs of legislators. If a legislator hires a whore for sex, it’s a scandal; if a legislator hires a whore for the corporate agenda, that’s just business as usual.
And even when grassroots Democrats get it right, their leadership does its best to shut them down. In California, the predominantly Democratic state legislature has passed a bill establishing universal public health care in the state. Although the bill passed by a wide margin, the Democratic candidate for governor won’t support it, calling instead for mandatory enrollment in private health care a la Massachusetts. That’s like mandating that everyone pay protection money to the mafia—sure, it’ll make things more peaceful for most people, but at what price?
Business as usual politics, although it’s the only kind that can get any airplay, is approaching the end of the line. Whether it’s business as usual in health care or business as usual in energy and conservation policy, soon we will be far from the realm of the usual, like it or not, prepared or not. The Green Party seems to be the only political entity in the country that is willing to fully acknowledge this.