Voting and working
[This started out as a comment to Paul's piece, but it feels too long for a comment, and some of the issues are different. My animal spirits are a little low this morning; hopefully that's just the hangover.]
And as I have been saying all along: I'll vote for Obama in the general, but that will be the extent of my investment in his campaign. No doubt many of Obama's supporters feel that's a good thing; and surely they have the privilege of working with people with whom they feel comfortable.
But I don't feel I have a duty to work for him. Why would I? It makes more sense for me to try to shove Congress left with downticket races; maybe the LA results mean that Obama has coattails. Alternatively, maybe LA just means we'll have even more Blue Dogs than before, and that could end up just as awful as the Rs.
It makes even more sense to start thinking er, creatively, and look around for alternative parties. What about citizen engineered referenda? What about parallel political systems? Who said there had to be only two parties? The Green Party seems pretty moribund institutionally, but maybe I'm wrong at the State or Local level. The Women's Party sounds like a great idea, and given the amount of consciousness-raising needed, which is the clear takeaway* from this election for me. Less testesterone-driven behavior in public life -- can that be a bad thing? Discuss.
I started out this election believing that there really was a clear distinction between the two parties. And there is, there is: It's just that I didn't expect that distinction to be that the Democrats foment hatred of women and use false charges of racism as political tools in intra-Party elections, and that Republicans, though doubtless they would if given the opportunity, don't. Of course, tactics that disenfranchise voters and dirty tricks are now, I discover, common to both parties, so that's a wash.
I've never felt any great sense of idealism about either party. If you don't believe in the Unity Pony, or any kind of Pony, then politics are about conflicts between interests and justice, waged by people with varying degrees of power to affect the outcome -- some of whom actually turn out to raise to the occasion. (One of the great and encouraging things about this year is that lots of people -- except, of course, the voters in FL and MI -- got to affect the outcome.) So the differences between the parties come down more to who they're in bed with -- metaphorically -- than anything else. If the Democrats are in bed with the unions, they're more likely to end up supporting my interests, and my conception of Justice, than the Republicans, who are in bed with religious fanatics. For example. So what our next Party chair is saying, spin it as you will, is some constituencies that were once important to the Democratic Party are now no longer as important as they were; they're being thrown out of bed. Therefore, the Democrat Party will no longer represent my interests, or my conception of justice, to the extent that it once did. And Obama is the figurehead for that process, and like it or not, a huge part of the party machinery would l-o-o-o-v-e to do the same thing. It's not an accident that Daschle was an early Obama supporter; it's not an accident that the Unity schtick means that Democrats will now be "taught" not to be "cynical" and to believe that Democrats and Republicans are more or less the same. Because, operationally, that's what it all means.
OK, so why not take him, and them, at their word?
If I do, that really does mean that my party left me. Further intensification of a two class society of rich and proles. More Blue Dogs, no accountability, more privatization, and more schock doctrine stuff, with Obama's smiling face as the figurehead.** And the creative class handling the marketing collateral as we "create our own reality" once again. Well done, all.
Sorry to feel doomstruck. Obama did worse in NC than projected, and that's a win. And Hillary took IN, and a win is a win. What's depressing me -- beside the hangover -- is that for the first time she did not outperform my own, perhaps secret, expectations. And the slow count in Gary opened old wounds.
I'm sure Hillary sucked it up this morning and hit the trail. Let us do likewise, in our respective endeavors.
NOTE * I am not not not not a feminist paragon. Trust me on this. It's only that what's been done to Hillary is such a violation of any basic concept of fairness or justice that it can't be supported, even by this crusty old white guy.
NOTE ** It's not that I think that Hillary could prevent or reverse any of this. These are huge social trends. Although I do note Krugman's discovery, that politics drives economics, and that might mean that the opportunity cost of Obama's candidacy is even greater than I thought.
[x] Any (D) in the general. [ ] Any mullah-sucking billionaire-teabagging torture-loving pus-encrusted spawn of Cthulhu, bless his (R) heart.