My last choice among those with any traction to speak of is Joe Biden my second last is Bernie Sanders who has no business seeking the nomination of a party he is not a committed member of. *
The estimable Charles Pierce puts it very well in criticizing Biden who is running a campaign based on his association with Barack Obama,
However, the second overriding notion that all the candidates had in common, and with which the entire hall seemed to agree, was that conventional metrics—hell, conventional anything related to politics—may well be unsuited to the current political moment, that with the election of this particular president* and with the animatronic zombie thrill-ride on which he's taken the government, the country may have passed some kind of point of no return. This would mean bad news for Biden, who seems to be campaigning mainly on the theme of bringing back the golden age of 2009.
I think that that legitimate criticism of Biden is also a key to understanding what Obama's greatest weakness was and, thinking about Pierce's piece, I think it's something that both of them share with Robert Mueller's "institutionalist" process based concept of governing or administering a country in which those things that such establishment golden-boys as Obama and Mueller are most comfortable with, have produced the disaster we are in, today. They are not suited to a country in as much peril as the United States proves it is in by the fact that a known crook, gangster and civil traitor such as Donald Trump, an asset of the greatest danger to democracy since 1945, Putin remaining into office into a third year. I don't think such men have much of a vision of anything past their own careers and self-concept.
I think that Bernie Sanders' current run for the nomination of a party that he will not actually and permanently join and whose previous candidacy is in the running as a contributing factor to Donald Trump occupying the presidency shares much of their self-contentedness, though unlike Biden, he at least can see past the rim of his inner circle. But that's nowhere near enough. Bernie Sanders exposed himself as a selfish egotist, not by running in 2016 but by leaving the party only to rejoin it so he can run in 2020 even as he took out papers to, again, run as an independent for the Senate in 2024. That is a point that I will not stop pointing out. You have to be a monumental egotist to think you are entitled to run for the nomination of a party you will not really be a member of.
Pierce's theme was one I found extremely gratifying. I took some pride in having written at what a disaster a "return to normalcy" would be in 2006, a piece that I took some pride in at the time. I'm still feeling weak from the narrow escape from another major respiratory illness so here it is, almost to the day, thirteen years ago.
Wednesday, June 14, 2006
WHAT IF WE DODGE THE BULLET?
What if they lose? What if the congress investigates the crimes of the Bush regime and those are stopped? What if things go back to normal? After what we've seen the past forty years, if things can go back to normal it won't be a blessed relief, it will be a disaster. Our recent history proves that we have fatal problems in the foundation of the American government.
Our elections have to be fixed, not just returned to c. 1964. We have to secure the vote, from before it is cast to counting to reporting the results to their fulfillment. No elections official, secretary of state, or judge can ever be allowed to prevent another legal ballot being cast or counted or made to count. The sleazy behavior we've seen from every level from elections clerk to Supreme Court and the Executive wouldn't be tolerated in a real democracy. A democracy needs it to be an impeachable crime for a Supreme Court Justice to say that a Citizen of the United States does not have a right to vote. That is a fundamental contradiction of the role of the court in a democracy. Anyone who believes that has no place on our court or in our government.
The media, and today that means the electronic media, have to have their self-interested biases exposed and it's pollution scrubbed out of our politics. They have to be forced to perform the public service they promised, including standards of fairness. Broadcast stations must provide real news, including local news, which has to be unbiased and fair. And as a comment here yesterday said, without diverse ownership of the media, they won't serve the entire public.
The cable "news" channels have betrayed the publics trust even more flagrantly than broadcast, spreading lies effective enough to start the most idiotic and dangerous war of our history. We will pay the cost of their lies for decades, in blood as well as money.
They also aided the Bush putsch of 2000 and the earlier scheme to remove a genuinely elected President on trumped up charges and lies. Pretending that a rogue cable industry isn't a danger to freedom has to stop. Anyone who defends them on their crimes against democracy is a dupe or a profiteer. Put them under the same public service requirements as broadcast media. Media passes itself off as the voice of the people, then let them show it by putting the public before their investors and owners.
Recent history proves that self-government can't depend on leaving it to chance. Laissez faire democracy dies and the death is never a natural one. It lets the powerful and wealthy swamp the Peoples's voice almost all of the time. In the same comments mentioned above, it was pointed out that the Supreme Court rulings making corporations artificial people made that all the more true.
Our government is always presented as having three branches, those are where almost all of the pitiful efforts at reform are concentrated. And that hasn't worked, we have the most dishonest government of our lifetimes. Putting patches on the process to make it a level field is unrealistic to the level of willful blindness. Powerful interests have power. They will always win when they have equal access to the process and own the media. The handful of examples where individuals or small groups win over the big guy make for sentimental TV movies, using them as proof that the system works is calculated dishonesty.
If the People are neglected then it all goes wrong. They won't even show up to vote. That step isn't a naive social studies lesson that you stop thinking about after the test in fourth grade. You don't go on to the higher study of civics and leave it behind. There is nothing higher in a democracy that the People, there is no act of government more important than their Vote. Abraham Lincoln, one of the real founders of the country we live in today, gave the formula for it. You know it by heart. He didn't mention the congress, the executive or the high church of the judiciary. He said that the enormous sacrifice of the American People in the Civil War was so that government of the People, by the People, and for the People shall not perish from the earth.
Any aftermath of the Bush II disaster that doesn't include changes to these laws will be just the beginning of the next time. Not securing the Vote, the will of the People; and forcing their own chosen responsibilities on the media, the only guarantee of an informed and realistic Vote, is a welcome mat for the next would-be dictator. Any liberal, leftist, Democrat, independent, even "moderate" Republican who lets two years go by without enacting real electoral and media reform had better beware. It's just a matter of waiting before the same coalition of corporate interests, bigots, oligarches and haters tries again. They might be as slow and stealthy as they were this time, buying up media, using it to spread lies that "more speech" can't drown out, but they'll make a come back.
UPDATE: 2019, I would add as absolute requirements for saving equality and democracy are
a. Every ballot for federal elections should follow a set form ON PAPER MARKED BY HAND. Nothing short of that, preserved and protected and counted and recountable will result in honest elections. The elections of President, Vice-President, House Member and Senator are issues of national importance having an impact of all of us, the rules protecting that choice should be national, not subject to state corruption.
b. Get rid of the goddamned anti-democratic caucuses in favor of primaries.
c. The Democratic Party should have a rule that refuses to seat delegates not chosen by closed primaries in which party members choose the nominee of their party,
d. If states will not change their laws allowing for that, the Democratic Party should run its own, Washington State style by-mail primary on a national scale, party members only voting for delegates to the convention. Voters who were not declared party members for at least a year before the primary or since shortly after they turned 18 should be inelligible to vote in it. I remember too many Green Party and Bernie Bots changing their party affiliation in Maine while declaring that they would never vote for anyone but Bernie as the Democratic candidate.
e. All announced Democratic candidates must be asked to pledge to fully support the nominee of the party and not to run in it or to support other candidates for the nomination. If they want Democrats nomination, they should be required to abide by the choice of Democratic voters.