Aw, Ralph. Not this year, OK?
That said, today’s tizzy of handwringing and fingerpointing is profoundly irritating. Nader did not cost the Democratic Party the election four years ago – the Supreme Court did, Al Gore’s listless campaign did, and most importantly, the helpless floundering of the Democratic Party as it cut and ran from the actual long term interests of the party’s former base, the American working class.
Was I a Dean man? Well, no. His critiques were trenchant and I hope that President Kerry taps him for HHS at the very least, but his political record in Vermont reveals that he’d been very much the conservative New Democrat he was running against in the primaries. Do I expect to see Kerry pick up the Dean ball and advance to D.C., scattering the forces that have created our current woesome economy and limp shell of a democracy before him like ninepins?
Hell no. But the election is his to lose. GWB and team won’t – CAN’T – repair the economy in time; we’ll still be losing jobs in November. The big question, as I’ve noted here before, is, “Can any Democratic nominee win an election in the face of an October Surprise?”
I don’t know the answer. I am certain that the administration is capable of that exact sort of thing, it worked to get Ronnie elected, after all. I certainly hope the Kerry team are not under any illusions about the lengths to which they’ll go. They should certainly even be anticipating assassination attempts – not needfully directed by anyone in particular, but the Kennedy comparisons will draw wackos, it seems safe to say.
So is Ralph a threat to a Kerry? Well, no. I think it’s clear that a Bush victory ensures the creation of a virtual one-party state that will guarantee that our country effectively loses its’ middle class over the course of a generation. It seems likely this insight is not unique to me. So Democratically-inclined voters will vote for Kerry (or Edwards), not Ralph, in order to stave off that eventuality.
The hysterical armwaving about Nader today has only served to remind me just how misdirected and inimical to my interests the interests of the professional Democratic Party actually are. Both Nader and Dean based their appeal on pointing out the mechanisms that have created ungovernable centers of power via accelerated capital concentration. Until those mechanisms have been disassembled the future of this country as a democracy remains in deadly peril. The more anti-Ralph rants I hear the more clearly reminded I am of this. I think it would behoove the Democcratic Party to shut up about Ralph, right now.
Right now, do you hear me?
The underlying problems that the Democratic Party has created for itself are highly unlikely to be addressed under a Kerry administration, which will see its’ interests as aligned with that of the capital. They appear marginally likely to be more effectively addressed under an Edwards administration. Either way, four years later, the same problems will hobble a Democratic effort to retain power.
Would a Dean administration have addressed these issues? We’ll never know. We can hope that the Doctor remains active and exerts a salutary pressure on the Party – a Dean-Edwards fundraising alliance might be very effective – but once in power, I’m frankly skeptical that he would have run the country any differently than our ususal crop of white guys.
I lean so far to the left I have special shoes that make me appear to be upstanding. In the long term, I genuinely believe that the diminution of American power in the world and the requisite economic shrinkage are what’s best for my country. That’s not to say I’m an isolationist. It is to say, as someone who grew up as much outside of the United States as in it, that the world is a great big place and it’s a good thing when middle-class economies proliferate, as they just might be about to do in many places internationally. They provide economic stability and a wider degree of both social mobility and resource sharing than most other economic forms, and I think we can all agree that the very inventive pop and high culture markets that accompany the discreet charm of the bourgeoisie are life-enriching.
So why not adopt a neo-Marxian position and embrace the GOP? After all, the sooner they lead the country into maximal capitalism, the sooner the country destabilizes, right?
I’ve lived in countries which have experienced this progression of events, each time enabled by direct or tacit United States support for the disempowerment of that middle class (See today’s news concerning Haiti, for example). It leads, to be succinct, to a shitload of needless human suffering, and makes a hell of a lot of people – often poorly educated people – very, very angry. Controlling the passions of such a populace often requires a great many military-grade weapons, which eventually become distributed throughout the society. The kind of internal destablization that is likely to eventually result from the election of a Maximal GOP administration is something I don’t care to live through, and believe me, neither do you.
So Ralph is no threat to a Democratic nominee. The internal contradictions upon which the Democratic Party is currently founded, however, pose a grave threat to that same nominee. Today, the President was pointing this out as he noted the contradictory positions that Senator Kerry has taken. Governor Dean talked like he intended to address these contradictions. So far, Senator Kerry has only continued to claim that they are not, in fact, contradictions. It’s something he should resolve.
[I promise, no more politics for a while. As I’ve noted here and there, I can be intensely political in personal discussion. However, I made an editorial determination not to incorporate politics here. It came in respect of the intense personal pain I experienced as I read many, many others’ political opinions out yonder when I first began blogging. The memory of that pain led me to conclude that I had no desire to inflict it on others in this form. So mum’s the word, generally.]