Wednesday, June 09, 2010

Blanche Lincoln's Survival: A Harbinger of the One-Party State?

Hardball’s Chris Matthews truculently declared it a “crushing defeat” for progressives. In an election fraught with Southern-style electioneering dirty tricks, corporate Democrat Blanche Lincoln edged Lt. Governor Bill Halter in Arkansas’s Democratic Senate primary. The party establishment pulled out all the stops to defeat the labor unions in that right-to-work Wal-Mart state.

While the obtuse generational observers were still caught up in the narrow and distorted right-left analysis rather than insider (corporate) vs. outsider (middle class, anti-Wall Street, change voters), the most telling aspect of this race is that the Democratic Party was indistinguishable from the corporate enemies of the people in its unbridled support for Senator Lincoln.

The Big Dog showed he still has political juice left, President Obama made targeted robo-calls, and the proverbial White House “anonymous source” hid behind Lincoln’s skirt to knife Labor in the back. Consider the irony. The Democratic establishment and the White House aligned themselves with the pro-corporate, pro-Republican Chamber of Commerce and the so-called Americans for Job Security –- to beat back Labor and the progressive netroots movement that got President Obama elected.

The Chamber is well-known for its malignant role as a clearinghouse that siphons Big Business money to its clients in the House and Senate, e.g., Senators Lincoln and Landrieu, among many others, including just about every Republican. The AJS is a special interest business group that aired a reprehensible racist ad against Halter. AJS takes the same reactionary anti-regulation positions that resulted in the Gulf oil disaster, hammering talking points that include right wing-pregnant buzzwords: out of control legal system; duplicative and excessive regulations; government control; frivolous lawsuits.

Remarking on the influence of corporate money awash at all levels of government, particularly in the Senate and House, the Nation’s Chris Hayes (the anti-Matthews in terms of political prescience) said corporations have purchased a virtual rule by oligarchy in both chambers, particularly the Senate, which is dysfunctional. The difference in the extent to which each party is beholden to the corporations can be measured only incrementally.

In yet another silly commentary, to which he didn’t seem to devote much thought, Matthews lamented the optical illusion of a bipartisan fracture in the vacuum of 2010, as if it’s 1959 all over again and the GOP has statesmen of the caliber of a Dwight Eisenhower, Nelson Rockefeller, Everett Dirksen, and even Barry Goldwater. His argument:
“So ask why they can‘t get anything done in Washington? Start here. If you can‘t meet and talk, how are you going to find common ground? If you don‘t get the common ground, how are you going to run the country? You want one party rule? Like they have in some developing countries? That‘s what you want? Some party-central committee running the country? Go for it. You‘ll be back begging for a two-party competition so fast it will make your head spin.”
Um Chris, it seems as if that train has already left the station. Take a closer look at the Lincoln election. Review her voting record and her alliances with corporatist Republicans. See what they say and do on behalf of corporations in defiance of the expressed wishes of their constituents. Lincoln had to be rescued big-time by her party establishment against the onslaught of $5, $10, and $30 progressives along with shrinking but reenergized labor unions.

So an anonymous White House hack was resentful that we didn’t genuflect and save our money for their hand-picked candidates? Excuse me, but fuck him. This fight isn’t about “ideological purity.” Far from it. No constituencies, left or right and up or down, have been more pragmatic than the unions and progressive netroots. It’s in the nature of progressives. We’re willing to take the half-loaf, if it moves the ball forward.

But in the wake of the Gulf oil disaster and the SCOTUS Citizens United decision slashing limits on corporate campaign contributions, we’ll be damned if we allow our country to truly descend into one-party rule. This is about ethics in government, and political parties standing for more than shameless corporate shilling.

George Washington lost most of his battles to the British Tories –- the BP/Tony Haywards of the Revolutionary Era –- but won the war and the Revolution. That’s how progressives and Labor view this war against the reactionary right wing politics of corporatism. This was a shot across the Democratic Party establishment’s bow. Consider themselves warned.

In a classic example of political projection, Senator Lincoln declared “loud and clear that the vote of this senator is not for sale.” Well, it all depends which side of the fence Blanche Lincoln is on. Perhaps if she becomes a lame duck in November she’ll be free to vote her conscience. If she digs down far enough.

1 comment:

clarionj said...

Sigh. I just don't know what to say. Disheartened. Thanks for giving further voice to the unions; the fight in your words helped steel me.