If you have "no place to go," come here!

And the difference between the neo-cons and Emanuel, Biden, Hilbadwards, and the Do-Nothing Democrat Party would be?

Not a dime's worth.

Tony Smith writes on WaPo's editorial page:

Although they now cast themselves as alternatives to President Bush, the fact is that prevailing Democratic doctrine is not that different from the Bush-Cheney doctrine.

So, with Iraq withdrawal: Can't, or won't?

Without a coherent alternative to the Bush doctrine, with its confidence in America's military preeminence and the global appeal of "free market democracy," the Democrats' midterm victory may not be repeated in November 2008. Or, if the Democrats do win in 2008, they could remain staked to a vision of a Pax Americana strikingly reminiscent of Bush's.

The Washington Consensus again; which is not, not, not the consensus of the country, or the voters who elected what they assumed would be new leadership:

Since 1992, the ascendant Democratic faction in foreign policy debates has been the thinkers [propagandists; hacks] associated with the Democratic Leadership Council (DLC) and its think tank, the Progressive Policy Institute (PPI). Since 2003, the PPI has issued repeated broadsides damning Bush's handling of the Iraq war, but it has never condemned the invasion. It has criticized Bush's failure to achieve U.S. domination of the Middle East, arguing that Democrats could do it better.

So, these guys are arguing that they can be more effective pushers for America's oil addiction. Splendid.

This is not a fringe group. Many prominent Democrats are PPI stalwarts, including Sens. Joseph R. Biden Jr., Evan Bayh, Thomas R. Carper and Hillary Rodham Clinton. Rep. Rahm Emanuel, chairman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, published a book last year, "The Plan: Big Ideas for America," co-authored by Bruce Reed, editor of the PPI's magazine Blueprint and president of the DLC.

Emanuel and Reed salute Marshall's "outstanding anthology" for its "refreshingly hardnosed and intelligent new approach . . . which breathes new life into the Democratic vision of Franklin Roosevelt, Harry Truman, and John Kennedy." Not a word in their book appears hostile to the idea of invading Iraq. Instead, the authors fault Bush for allowing a "troop gap" to develop (they favor increasing the Army by 100,000 and expanding the Marines and Special Forces) and for failing to "enlist our allies in a common mission." The message once again is that Democrats could do it better.

The DLC is a fringe group--Everywhere except inside the Beltway.

In fact, these neoliberals are nearly indistinguishable from the better-known neoconservatives. The neocons' think tank, the Project for the New American Century (PNAC), often salutes individuals within the PPI, and PPI members such as Marshall signed PNAC petitions endorsing the Iraq invasion. Weeks after "With All Our Might" appeared, the Weekly Standard, virtually the PNAC house organ, gave it a thumbs-up review. And why not? The PPI and PNAC are tweedledum and tweedledee.

I'll resist the "tweedledumber" joke, here. Shooting fish in a barrel, and all.

Sources for many of the critical elements of the Bush doctrine can be found in the emergence of neoliberal thought during the 1990s, after the end of the Cold War.

Neolibs such as Larry Diamond at Stanford also posited the "universal appeal of democracy," suggesting that "regime change" leading to "the democratic transition" was a manageable undertaking. Anne-Marie Slaughter at Princeton asserted that "rogue states" guilty of systematic human-rights abuses or that built weapons of mass destruction had only "conditional sovereignty" and were legally open to attack. These views were echoed in the columns of Thomas Friedman of the New York Times. Here was the intellectual substance of much of the Bush doctrine, coming from non-Republicans.

Of course, the Republicans did add their own special sauce to the recipe that the Democrats so carefully prepared for them. But still.

The front-runner, Hillary Clinton, has not moved from her traditional support of the DLC's basic position -- she criticizes the conduct of the war, but not the idea of the war. Former senator John Edwards and Sen. Barack Obama are more outspoken; both call the war a serious mistake, but neither has articulated a vision for a more modest U.S. role in the world generally.

It isn't easy to offer a true alternative. The challenges to world order are many, as are the influential special interests in this country that want an aggressive policy: globalizing corporations, the military-industrial complex, the pro-Israel lobbies, those who covet Middle Eastern oil. The nationalist conviction that we are indeed "the indispensable nation" will continue to tempt our leaders to overplay their hand. The danger lies in believing that our power is beyond challenge, that the righteousness of our goals is beyond question and that the real task is not to reformulate our role in the world so much as to assert more effectively a global American peace.

No, not easy, but it has to be done; our greatest challenge will be to keep our Constitutional form of government.

I'm gradually coming to the conclusion that there is no coherent challenge to the destruction of the Constitution and the abuse of executive power from Democrats because that's the way they want it if and when they take power. And no, I don't want that power in Hillary's hands any more than I want it in Bush's hands.

NOTE This is why state movements to impeach are so important. Because we may have to do exactly the same thing against a Democrat chief executive.

UPDATE I cross-posted this over at Kos for shits and grins. What was it we were saying about in-group thinking the other day?

UPDATE MaxSpeak said it better than I did. Writing on the same Op-Ed:

We don't need a critique of the Bush Administration's execution of the invasion, nor of the neo-cons fantasies about democratization of the Middle East. We need a critique of Empire. We need to think differently.

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hobson's picture
Submitted by hobson on

I don't like the DLC. I didn't vote for Clinton for his second term. I have commented in these pages about Rahm Emmauel and other Dems wanting to increase the military and obviously its budget. I don't think of myself as a blind follower of the Democratic party.

But I don't understand why the Republicans keep getting left out in these critiques. They have been in power. It isn't so important that they have views that we strongly disagree with. That's supposed to be democracy. It's that they have abused their power in unprecedented ways to get those views implemented. Even Reagan recognized some limits on his power. He also was aware of public opinion.

There is a lot to criticize about the Dems or parts of the party. But it seems destructive to me to keep suggesting that they are at fault for what Repugs have been doing since Nixon. It's one thing to try to influence them and another to condemm them.

For one thing i expect that kind of abhorrent behavior from the Repugs = i find it more excruciating when supposed members in your own party give their tacit approval and blessings to nefarious and pernicious legislation. For me, it's kinda like being locked in a room with Saddam and a DLC thug and you have a gun and two bullets - whom do you shoot first? the DLCer with both bullets. They're simply a disgrace to the US Constitution disguised as Democrats. The sooner we vaporize the DLC the better...and i've said many times the DLC is a bigger enemy than the Repugs.

Now posted at:
Finding Closure: Contest for an Epitaph for the Iraq War Begins Today
(Originally posted March 10, 2007)
Americans. We must take responsibility for the actions of our government and our corporations. We must act now to make sure our soldiers have not died or been injured in vain. We must admit when we have failed. Learn from our mistakes. And move on to create something positive from our failures. What does the Iraq War mean to you? Where do we go from here? Please submit your own epitaph for the death of the War itself. Post your entry as a comment or send it in an email to Sponsoships and links to web sites that encourage dialogue about the War are also welcome. Weekly Winners and Prizes to be announced.
From the tears and ashes of our countryman must come an enlightenment and new dedication to truth and love.

Epitaph for the Iraq War
Iraq War
March 20,2003 to ASAP

Election tied
Leaders lied
America tried
And with Pride
Americans died
Those on each side
Were sad & horrified
Our nation is petrified
But must reverse the tide
They're no longer glorified
The murderers can never hide

Submitted by [Please enter a... (not verified) on

says we can only crucify so many people at once and therefore some sort of prioritizing is in order. Which is to say I am agreeing with Hobson here.

How about we finish the job of getting the fuck rid of Dick Cheney, Abu Al Gonzales, and George W. Bush and all their flunkies and flacks, and then worry about increasing the level of progressive perfection of Democrats?

This trashing of Obey--who as ChiDy notes is somebody with a sterling record of actual action on the causes we support--and now sweeping denunciations of DLC liberals and, sorry Lambert, the entire Democratic party by contagation, plays nicely into the "there's no difference between the parties, fuck it let's vote for Nader" attitude which is the source of so much of our problems.

If we're going to plug Repubican talking points FOR THEM for fuck's sake, what good are we doing anyway? Christ, they'll be offering us TV gigs when Lieberman or Biden can't show up at this rate.

It might be less confusing if they just changed the name to the Washing Neo. (motto: All Neo, All the Time)

Here's what I don't understand: is this the author of the editorial, some brainiac at Tufts I gather, completely unaware of the presence of grassroots/netroots groups? I would guess that the membership of alone would dwarf card carrying members of the DLC. Groups, I would emphasize, that are definitely not neo-anything.

As to the other point of the article, which is that there is no unified foreign policy in the Democratic Party, I say: so what? I don't consider the lock-stepped nature of the 'Publican Party to be something to wish for.

Submitted by lambert on

That's what concerns me, Xan. Cross-posting back from the rather tribalist Kos:

Now that we have some power, we, just like the Republicans, bear responsibility and have accountability. It simply is not true that Republican obstruction is the source of all our difficulties:

1. Where is the Democratic alternative to the consensus of the foreign policy elite on our imperial role?

2. Where is the Democratic plan to restore Constitutional government?

3. Where is the pro-active exercise of oversight power--the first 100 days? (I'm seeing reaction -- Walter Reed, the DAs -- but not a plan of action.)

My concern is especially #2. I don't want a kinder, gentler authoritarianism under a Democratic President.

And, Xan, isn't it true that now we have some leverage? So it's the time to use it?

No authoritarians were tortured in the writing of this post.

kelley b's picture
Submitted by kelley b on

..are not equal to popular votes, and are not equal to the will of the majority of Americans.

It wasn't a desire to please the cash cows of the DLC that caused Schumer to ask for Abu Gonzo's resignation today.

It was the attitude even among Chucky's base that resistance has got to start somewhere. I like to think that us progressive Google-bomb throwers here in Left Blogistan are helping to shape that attitude. After all, even if only a dozen or so of my friends and relatives read my little rants, that's a dozen or so (outside the bubble of Corrente space) that would never be exposed to the facts otherwise.

We are still about a year away from even the beginning of the Primaries. The arguments are being framed now in a way they've never been framed before in history. Fat cats like Schumer realize that given the right appeal to the base, even they have a chance. And a loudly vocal base supported by overwhelming poll data is the only way to shift the arguments away from the control of corporate bucks.

Yeah, people are going to get their toes stepped on. Often they really deserve it. In the crunch next year from the Convention to the Election will be the time to bury the arguments, close ranks, and attack the Rethuglicans. Now, our cause(s) are best served with passion and definition, with the understanding among all of us the greater enemy is the corporate criminal cabal manifesting as Bu$hCo-Cheneyburton and whomever it $elects as a leader in '08.

Besides, dammit, I'm with Lambert. Where is the Democratic plan to restore Constitutional government?

The DINOcrats aren't even willing to admit its a problem. And dammit, it's the problem with our government today.

No Hell below us
Above us, only sky

shystee's picture
Submitted by shystee on

I know you won't be voting for Nader or the Greenies.. ever. But it looks like my cynicism has rubbed off on you, Lb. Maybe I'm just having a negative outlook on things.

Results (if they ever come) will speak for themselves. I don't see anything wrong with criticising the Dems until that happens.

Nice anthropological experiment with the Kos tribes. Yipes! You broke the -ic and the "dime's difference" taboos and that was it.

Submitted by lambert on

It's absolutely surreal what's going on. We're in the midst of a Constitutional crisis -- and we're worried about legislating. And the oversight that we're doing seems to be driven by news coverage, instead of some detailed, thought through strategic plan to take these fuckheads apart. That would be the 100 days plan -- one oversight bomb a day, on the news -- instead of the 100 hours plan, which tinkered round the edged with some long overdue legislation which is all good, but not the point. And I venerate Harry Reid, but right now it looks like he was great on defense, but can't play offense at all.

I've just lost patience, and worse, I don't know what to do. Cyncism isn't really an option, because the stakes are too great.

No, I would never vote for a Green in the Presidential race, and I would vote for Gore in a heartbeat. At the local and state legislature level, I'm voting green. At the Senate level, Collins has to be taken out, so I'll vote for a Democrat who can do that.

But sweet Jeebus, opening the Overton Window to the left is hard work...

No authoritarians were tortured in the writing of this post.