Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Us And Them

The usually delightfully witty Molly Ivins is rightfully angry, but has decided to take it out not on the criminals oppressing us, but on powerless bystanders who don't denounce that as much as she would like. She attacks the enablers rather than the destroyers. The first target of her wrath is the junior Senator from New York.
I'd like to make it clear to the people who run the Democratic Party that I will not support Hillary Clinton for president.

Enough. Enough triangulation, calculation and equivocation. Enough clever straddling, enough not offending anyone. This is not a Dick Morris election. Sen. Clinton is apparently incapable of taking a clear stand on the war in Iraq, and that alone is enough to disqualify her. Her failure to speak out on Terri Schiavo, not to mention that gross pandering on flag-burning, are just contemptible little dodges.
Hill is hardly the worst of the pandering ilk, or even the worst such among likely Presidential contenders. Molly is just shooting at her because she is the biggest target at the moment. I sympathize with her resentment, but the real villains are in the Republican Party right now, and we need to throw everything we can at them to wake up the inert masses. If the public is aroused to demand impeachment, any ambitious Dems will go along or be left behind. Don't waste ammo on the spineless crowd-chasers.

Molly goes further, denouncing the whole DC Dem establishment:
What kind of courage does it take, for mercy's sake? The majority of the American people (55 percent) think the war in Iraq is a mistake and that we should get out. The majority (65 percent) of the American people want single-payer health care and are willing to pay more taxes to get it. The majority (86 percent) of the American people favor raising the minimum wage. The majority of the American people (60 percent) favor repealing Bush's tax cuts, or at least those that go only to the rich. The majority (66 percent) wants to reduce the deficit not by cutting domestic spending, but by reducing Pentagon spending or raising taxes.

The majority (77 percent) thinks we should do "whatever it takes" to protect the environment. The majority (87 percent) thinks big oil companies are gouging consumers and would support a windfall profits tax. That is the center, you fools. WHO ARE YOU AFRAID OF?
She may be right about how the public feels, though I have doubts. Polls always show almost no one is really a bigot, and yet I keep meeting them. Could it be people *gasp* LIE to pollsters about what they believe?

In any case, some of those views are WRONG even if a majority does hold them, which makes their support out there irrelevant, if being right matters to you. More importantly, most "swing voters" don't decide who to vote for by sending candidates a questionnaire on issues. They vote on a general feeling about how the candidates feel about them. Hence we have tons of pandering, like very public church attendance by people who are agnostics or less, and so on. Talk about motherhood and apple pie and put a flag pen in the lapel. The politicians who win know this well.

Molly doesn't have to run, so she doesn't have to kiss anyone's rear. An enviable position, but one that leaves her with a blind spot for the awful burden pols feel to be liked, so that they can be elected, so that they can make changes. Molly is not only better company, but has a purer soul. We can all praise her consistency when they haul her away to Guantanamo. Or, we can just wave to her from the next cell.

She does have one bit of great advice though, for those accused of treason by the servants of the powers that would be forever. The classic example of the best way to respond to that kind of imtimidation is Patrick Henry's "make the most of it". Molly's tale may not be historically accurate, but it makes the point clear:
Bush, Cheney and Co. will continue to play the patriotic bully card just as long as you let them. I've said it before: War brings out the patriotic bullies. In World War I, they went around kicking dachshunds on the grounds that dachshunds were "German dogs." They did not, however, go around kicking German shepherds. The MINUTE someone impugns your patriotism for opposing this war, turn on them like a snarling dog and explain what loving your country really means.


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