P.M is right on as usual.
Most of us I.U are old enough to remember the bad old days that led to the horror that was Chicago '68. Many of us then chose a more spiritual kind of politics and chose to be independents, and we remain so today. We are not independents because we don't care. We are independents because we do care.
The parties mean nothing. They are both big lies. We need political parties that mean something; that are honest about who they are and what they stand for. Neither the Republicans nor the Democrats come anywhere near that.
And that's why we are independents; independents who will now crawl over hot stones to vote for Obama. He is really our only hope.
The headline, "McCain Profits in Iraq as Democrats Brawl," was followed by a textual emphasis on only the brawling. Such is news.
The Arizonan's tremendous good fortune in the primaries -- his ultimately revealed and colossal mismatch against a pathetic horde of ultimately revealed and colossal blockheads -- was, I'm sure, enough to convince him of the power of his assorted superstitions.
Now, however, I imagine the senator believes that he's transcended the rewards of mere superstition; that, indeed, God Himself has partisanly aligned by celestially commanding, "Let Democrats be Democrats."
For when afforded such divine permission, Democrats are sure to fill the hard-copy news with phrases like "Democratic infighting," "the campaign fracas," "their warring," and as "the Democrats feud," Republicans "profit."
And are they ever profiting: "In a hypothetical match-up against Clinton, a weekend Zogby poll gave the Arizona senator 45 percent to her 39 percent. Against Obama, McCain led by 44 percent to 39." Juxtapose that with match-ups of but a month ago, when Obama led by a margin of 12.
Then juxtapose that with this remembrance as well: This was to have been the year of the Great Conservative Crack-up. Social conservatives, economic conservatives, foreign policy conservatives -- they were all at each others' throats, a much-anticipated if not inevitable development springing from the historically uneasy construction of the Great Conservative Synthesis of the early 1960s.
George W. Bush may have engineered the train wreck, but John McCain was sure to bring it home. When the neoconservative McCain wasn't insulting social conservatives he was offending economic libertarians, or at least his history of doing so was both unforgettable and unforgivable by the insulted, offended constituencies. Conservatism's uneasy alliance was shattered: the 2008 general election would be more mop-up for Democrats than match-up.
What Democrats failed to remember, however, was that their own party, since at least 30 years before the conservative synthesis, has also been an uneasy alliance of competing political sentiments, if not actual ideologies. Their unifying difficulties -- their repeated inclination to scatter philosophically hither and yon -- run much deeper than mere organizational disorderliness.
Beginning in the New Deal era, throughout the Great Society battles and now, to today, the tensions within the Democratic Party have been, in the most sweeping terms, those between its progressive elements and the older-school conservatives. Reaganism appropriated most of the latter in the 1980s, only to have its hold attenuated somewhat in the '90s by the triangulating Bill Clinton, and whose wife now wishes to call them home en masse.
But whose home? The progressive dwelling erected by FDR and furthered remodeled by visionaries such as Bobby Kennedy, George McGovern and Paul Wellstone? Or the conservative Democratic home of Scoop Jacksonism, which tosses a socially progressive bone now and then but adheres to the fundamental electoral attractions of a globally muscular and intrusive America.
And let there be no mistake: the latter is precisely what Hillary Clinton represents, and that representation is precisely what lies at the heart of Democrats' modern disunity.
The representative's gender, along with her opponent's race, has merely complicated the divisive equation. Older white women, especially, would no more reward with their votes a white, neoconservative, Democratic male in 2008 than they would write in a vote for the late Jerry Falwell. They have to know that, and the energy required to suppress the knowledge must be as exhausting as it is embarrassing.
I'm not unsympathetic. As a male, I try my best to keep in mind the allure to women of a woman candidate, no matter how unprogressive some of her past may be. I would hope, however, that if I were a woman I would also wait till a genuinely progressive one came along, rather than throwing in with the Democratic neoconservatives for gender's sake.
Hillary's Iraq speech yesterday was intended to alleviate widespread concerns about her voting past, but to me it only drove the pain home. As Reuters summarized it: "She said the war has sapped U.S. military and economic strength, damaged U.S. national security, taken the lives of nearly 4,000 Americans and left thousands wounded."
In other words, Hillary reminded us that the war has produced exactly what progressives predicted in 2002 that it would produce. Mrs. Clinton was a knowing voice in the institutional body that handed Mr. Bush a blank check to prosecute this militarily and economically sapping, security-damaging, life-taking and human-disfiguring war, nevertheless she knowingly sided with the neocons -- and all for the Scoop Jackson-, Joe Lieberman- and Ronald Reagan-Democrat vote.
Some political acts are so cowardly, so callous, so cynically motivated and lastingly harmful as to shut down any consideration of forgiveness. Hillary's was one of them. Absent it, her admittedly overplayed "35 years of experience" would have blown away Barack Obama. This would have been no contest.
Her gender and her opponent's race now keep her afloat, but again, let there be no doubt that at the core of the party's modern-day split is the deeper historical and ideological division between long-term, visionary progressivism and short-term, opportunistic neoconservatism.
THE FIFTH COLUMNIST by P.M. Carpenter
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The Nazis, Fascists and Communists were political parties before they became enemies of liberty and mass murderers.