I met my State Asemblyman a few days ago and surprised him by saying I was as depressed about last Tuesday as I had been about the 2004 election. He was surprisingly critical of Obama for a Democratic politician, and he pinpointed the President’s decisions for most of the Democratic debacle but he didn’t share my view. Not that I was OK with Bush but I had very mixed feelings about Kerry as I had about Obama four years later. What’s more, a pet theory of mine went down in flames last week. Like some of you, I’ll bet, I thought courageous speakers of truth to power would kick ass in elections.
In Wisconsin Feingold’s drubbing of Johnson in the final debate: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SmFOLHg__yc
was eclipsed in the news by the closing of Wisconsin’s last autoplanthttp://www.wisn.com/r/25482096/detail.html:
(which Feingold had repeatedly tried to save). And as with most Democratic candidates Russ was drowned in attack ads from Johnson and anonymous outside sources. In Florida, Alan Grayson lost to non-descript social conservative Daniel Webster. Grayson’s district is conservative, and he apparently offended even some of his own supporters with certain attack ads on Webster.
Feingold had repeatedly put the interests of people ahead of those of the Democratic party, and Grayson, though he surely offended Republicans, challenged Tarp and the big banks in ways Tea Partyers salivate about. But in both cases these outspoken champions of the Constitution and the working class couldn’t win over enough non-Democrats.
Yes, there were obviously external factors, mainly, the economic backlash against Democrats in addition to those above but at some point wouldn’t you think that voters would spare politicians whose identities were well established and so obviously worked in the average person’s interest?
Unfortunately, there’s a stronger force at work against our few righteous politicians. You can hear it on any radio. Just listen for political talk in any city, even in blue bastions like New York or San Francisco much less suburbs or rural areas. You’ll hear almost nothing but far right wing blather, not only from big-name blowhards like Bill, Sean and Rush but from people you’ve probably never heard of some of whom have national shows. This poisons the political atmosphere as much as Fox and there’s no counterpoint. Now you’ll probably gag, but it really hurts that Air America went down the tubes. Yes, it needed better management and talent but it could have eventually turned into something important. Even Fox didn’t attain its influence until it was 3 or 4 years old.
Have you ever wondered why a loon like, say, Michelle Bachmann can maintain her exalted place in this nutso political world? It’s because she has an entire national network of equally frightful wingnuts repeating her laughable lies and talking points day and night. When Alan Grayson (not that he and Michelle are in any way equivalent) lashes out at Republicans lack of a healthcare plan and their disdain for the uninsured who is around to support him? A few hours at night on MSNBC are not enough.
Now if Feingold and Grayson can not win over enough disgruntled working class former Democrats much less Independents or Republicans what will more moderate Democrats be able to do? Democrats’ coziness with Wall Street will only increase as they fall all over themselves to try and compete with the forces unleashed by Citizens United. So all of the Populist fervor that should belong to Democrats will instead only be found in the faux version brewed by the Tea Party. Barring a miracle the next two years will only bring us gridlock and milquetoast centrist approaches, if anything, to our most pressing issues.
What platform can be created to fire back at the right? Barring George Soros buying or creating a cable network, one thing that would help would be widespread distribution for Al Jazeera (I think it’s on in one area in New England right now.) It doesn’t have to be 24 hours a day of left wing pundits, a real straight news channel that showed war dead and had features on Wikileaks and the effects of climate change in the world now would have a huge impact. Or how about someone prevailing on Al Gore co-owner of the little-watched, mostly non-political but widely distributed Current TV to focus on politics? I know none of this is too likely but I tell ya, unless this something like this happens our collective, Commie goose is cooked for future elections.