July 7, 2011 | with select original comments
Republicans and Democrats… to even suggest that they may be the same thing seems absurd to some, invoking strong debate or personal attacks by others. It’s “Us versus Them” for the political landscape and future of the country, right?
But if you look at the actions of both parties, the actual policies and voting records, the wide dividing line between the parties becomes narrow and blurred.
There is a saying that goes… “If it walks like a duck and talks like a duck…”
Let’s look at the facts and try to separate the Ducks from the Mallards. Review some of the talking points that Democrats use to distinguish themselves from their “lessor” counterparts.
Of course, everyone knows that the Democrats are for Labor and Republicans are pro-business. It’s been that way for many years, right? But wasn’t Clinton the one who was responsible for NAFTA? Why should the manufacturing base stay in the United States when they can get the labor for 2 dollars per hour and ignore any benefits or environmental laws.
Sure Reagan fired the Air Traffic controllers with their labor strike but when has any Democratic president stuck up for labor in a dispute? Just where were those walking shoes that we heard about in the Obama campaign when Wisconsin was having its teachers and firemen being trampled on?
Social Issues (Poverty, Health Care, etc)
Again we can return to Bill Clinton for the “Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Act” which dropped the bomb on about half of those on the assistance rolls.
Do I need to even mention what Social Security and Medicare is going through today? These hard-fought improvements to society are being put on the bargaining table mainly because of the three card Monte game that was played by Wall Street and the Investment Bankers.
Here’s an idea… why not make the ones that gained the most from the economic shell game pay the most to restore the nation and the middle class? Instead of the obvious, both parties are thinking of new ways to inform the nation of austerity.
The BP environmental disaster and the complete lack of updates for offshore drilling regulations and economic responsibility for those “green CO2 free nuclear reactors” that Obama was so beholden to from his home state. Of course, Obama did sign a bill protecting more than 2 million acres of wilderness and miles of scenic rivers. But it was a bill that was started by the Bush administration and all Obama had to do was sign it.
Speaking of signing, who signed the “Clean Air Act” in 1970? Richard Nixon. And here is a list of 17 Democrats that recently voted against enforcement of the Clean Air Act’s climate rules:
Sens. Baucus (D-MT), Begich (D-AK), Hagan (D-NC), Levin (D-MI), Brown (D-OH), Casey (D-PA), Conrad (D-ND), Johnson (D-SD), Klobuchar (D-MN), Pryor (D-AR), Stabenow (D-MI), Landrieu (D-LA), Manchin (D-WV), McCaskill (D-MO), Nelson (D-NE), Rockefeller (D-WV), Webb (D-VA)
How about stripping protection for wolves in five Western states and actually undoing an initiative to protect public land that was put in the budget bill from his own Secretary of the Interior?
The clear distinction of who is most likely to use war as foreign policy is blurred beyond any noticeable difference with the Obama administration. With a political window of ending the war in Iraq and Afghanistan after his election, he chose to proceed not only with both war fronts, but went on to create a few more.
When questioned about the constitutionality of his policies, this Democratic administration responded by trying to “redefine” what constitutes war, insisting that because remote-controlled drone missile strikes do not put US soldiers in harms way, technically it is not a war.
I wonder if China decided to do a drone strike on a Chinese dissenter in Chicago, killing several women and children in the process, if that definition would still be applied?
I could bring up countless documents from WikiLeaks that support the idea the that one of the State Department primary functions is to protect “National Interests”- like keeping wages low in Haiti for Levi Strauss Jeans, or suppressing reports of the use of child labor for making shoes.
A question I ask… If the government is not supposed to be in business, an idea that is screamed about by the Teabaggers, then what exactly does protecting ‘National Interests” mean? Interests is another word for resources and who gets those resources to market but corporations? Both parties use the nation’s diplomatic pressure and military might as the corporate policeman… or a more apt definition, the “corporate strong-arm.”
The New Corporate Constituency
With the recent Supreme Court developments such as “Citizens United” and the class action lawsuit being thrown out against Wal-Mart and the tremendous amounts of wealth being concentrated into a smaller and smaller percentage of the US population, a new powerful political dynamic of society has formed.
It requires enormous amount of money to even begin a political race. The amounts of money required to get elected has produced a situation where it is no longer a choice of taking corporate money, it’s an essential fact. The only choice to be made is what corporation to be beholden to. To whom does the political candidate sell his soul ?
So why do corporations give money? Is there anyone left in this country so naive as to believe that corporations and super political action committees don’t buy political process for their money? That the end “product” purchased is political favors and bias? Of course it is, why else would they do it?
So the vicious political cycle is formed. More and more money is required each election to get elected, which requires more and more funding from corporate interests. The reality of politics is that you have to play by these rules or you are not even in the game. A spiral that grows greater and greater in depth with each new election cycle.
The Republicans sell the corporatism as “freedom from government” to which false patriotism can play a part. While the Democrats sell the corporatism as denial, dangling the chance of those “crazies” getting elected as their only defense. Of course there will be some “issues” that will tie up the political election process. Some meat for the grinders and main stream media to setup the “big game” of election time. Meanwhile the actual results caused by the political circus keeps getting closer and closer to the same thing, year after year.
But make no mistake, the quacking noises made by both sides are producing the same results, while the pond is being drained right under our noses.
Three party system in America? Hell, I would settle for a 2 party system.
By the way, the inductive reasoning implied by the phrase “But when I see a bird that quacks like a duck, walks like a duck, has feathers and webbed feet and associates with ducks—I’m certainly going to assume that he IS a duck.” was used by a Democrat during the McCarthyism era to label his opponent a communist.
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Filed Under: Commentary, corporate greed, Featured, History, Politics, progressives Tagged With: Claire McCaskill, Clean Air Act, Democratic, McCarthyism, Republican, Richard Nixon, United States, Wikileaks
- The Badger says:
July 7, 2011 at 4:45 pm
I get your point. The whole thing sucks. Career politicians whose only true interest is re-election. I happen to think that right now more than any other time we’re ripe for a third party. Actually depending on what Obama caves on with the “entitlements”. Look for Bloomberg to react to what Obama’s numbers are. Good luck America.
- Krell says:
July 7, 2011 at 5:03 pm
One of the points that I was trying to make is the inevitable convergence of both parties because of the amount of money that is required to even play the political game. With corporations gaining more power and the merging of companies into conglomerates, even the selling of ones political soul will become uniform because of the intertwining of corporate interests.
Unfortunately, the least organized and financially able to contribute will be the disenfranchised majority that needs to have the “wool pulled over their eyes” to continue to get the vote majority. The extent that this can be done with each political cycle is going to become the “game plan” of the elections. More and more of the diversion with less and less of the solution.
Personal lives of the politicians, sex habits, labeling, swift-boating, and sound bites of the stars is what we have to look forward to. Tactics that should never be under-estimated.
July 7, 2011 at 6:07 pm
Public financing of all candidates and absolutely no private spending permitted is the only way to clear the air. Bulworth (movie) nailed this. The money makes it all go to shit. Because candidates need a massive amount of money to be “viable” (i.e. in the corporations back pocket) they have to spend all their time raising money. They then pay this corporate money back to other corporations who own the media to share their message. The airwaves should belong to “we the people.”
To you reading this … if you are registered a Democrat so that you can choose the most liberal candidate in the primary, stop deluding yourself. The most liberal candidate will become just another corporate pawn. What we need is for everyone who knows this column to be true to register for a real party that is actually different. I’m a Green, a Pacific Green from Oregon. Our candidates are not for sale.
- Once a liberal says:
July 7, 2011 at 7:49 pm
You are right about the masses (especially people who think there is actually a difference in the parties) deluding themselves. To become viable they (politicians) must sell their soul to the corporate devils, and stay beholden to them unless they wish to lose office. Campaign Finance Reform will never be enacted because no one (but the people most powerless to change it) want the status quo to change. With the income disparity worsening every year, real reform may only be achievable through open revolt.
- Krell says:
July 8, 2011 at 8:57 pm
Keith, I am currently spending the weekend doing my investigation of the Green Party in my state. Although I live in a southern RED state, I am done with the politics of the Democrats or Republicans. I can no longer vote with a clear conscience to the present situation and “2 party system” and corrupt business as usual. Will I be voting for the winner in the near future? Certainly not in the near future and perhaps never. But I will be able to sleep at night knowing I did the right thing.
Thank you for stopping by and giving your thoughts.
July 8, 2011 at 7:10 pm
No news to me. I’ve been a Green for 14 years. The Dems & Reps are just playing good cop/bad cop with us.
- Krell says:
July 8, 2011 at 8:59 pm
Good cop / Bad cop or perhaps all bad pirates dividing up the loot. I’m beginning to feel that 14 years of being a Green is a 14 year head start on me. Thanks for your thoughts, Mudge.
July 9, 2011 at 8:56 am
Gore Vidal once said wisely, long before any of our current mess had developed, “”There is only one party in the United States, the Property Party . . . and it has two right wings: Republican and Democrat. Republicans are a bit stupider, more rigid, more doctrinaire in their laissez-faire capitalism than the Democrats, who are cuter, prettier, a bit more corrupt – until recently . . . and more willing than the Republicans to make small adjustments when the poor, the black, the anti-imperialists get out of hand. But, essentially, there is no difference between the two parties.”
- Krell says:
July 9, 2011 at 10:50 am
I cannot think of Gore Vidal without picturing those epic “discussions” that occurred when he was around William F Buckley. In particular, when Gore Vidal called Buckley a “crypto Nazi”. Back then the fireworks were spontaneous and not “rehearsed” for the benefit of ratings. Although not as eloquent as Chomsky, Vidal certainly could express his opinion with the best of them.
His saying there is no difference back then and seeing how much they have drawn together since then shows a trend that seems inevitable.
July 9, 2011 at 9:06 am
The advances of The Great Society are lost on today’s culture. The ideals of leaders like Ike, LBJ … had a safe zone of being partisan while safely inviting and embracing a few supporters from the ‘other side’…they still represented….We are absent of true ethics, values, substantial political leadership…. really, since Teddy crossed…. besides the Independent Bernie S. we seem alone. The true leaders in politics are very few, very far between. It’s a UNIPARTY vying for the largest payoff in many cases. Some play it strategically safe, like Pelosi…. putting up her true liberal values only to sell them out to remain in power, in the end. Obama sold us out even before he took office. He was “The Candidate” finally come to us for test run. And the general population are so confused and so needful to have leadership that they ‘choose the lesser of two evils’ instead of resourcing their backbone and voting for a new candidate… it’s tragic and it’s our ending. Unless we stand up to this and bite back. I don’t think it deluded to reach out to the people who are dumbfounded and confused by the UNIPARTY politics and demand their attention. I think we are tying to do that on RT7. I think most like minded folks are reaching via the internet to make a wave build.
Yeah, all bad pirates, Krell. All bad pirates. Let’s make them walk the plank. Or better yet… as I’m for the bloody, lets keel haul ‘em. Arrgh?
- Krell says:
July 9, 2011 at 11:04 am
Some would debate on the Obama selling out or Obama just being himself and his CAMPAIGN for election was the true deception. Regardless, IMHO… Obama put the nail in the coffin for a lot of new people reaching out for true change by way of the American political system as it stands today.
The youth of today is smart, savvy, and technologically light years ahead of the previous generation. But what they don’t have is patience. If they cannot see the changes that they demand, they will seek out alternative methods and end runs to achieve it.
I have come to realize that the lesser of two evils is just a lesser evil. Change is not going to be achieved by bumper stickers and political conventions with red, white, and blue hats. But change is going to occur! Forces such as WikiLeaks and Anonymous are just the top of a large glacier. The part that visible right now. But underneath the water is a LARGE mass of change just waiting to make it’s mark.
Like minds bringing knowledge for the social consciousness. It’s the reason that RT7 was formed.
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