Friday, August 29, 2008

Democrats: Snap Out Of It! That goes for the rest of us, too

I post this article today, even though it was written as the Dems began their convention, mainly because I like Gene Robinson and because much of what he says here is still pertinent, if not in the same way or for the same reasons.

I doubt that the Democrats' convention could have come off any better if it had been produced and directed by Spielberg.

Obama's choice for V.P could not have been better for him or for the nation. No one in their right mind could doubt that Biden's experience in foreign affairs, not to mention the military and Justice, is just what the ticket needed.

Hill and Bill did what they had to do, not just for their party but for the nation. As Hillary said, No McCain, no way, or something to that effect. There is no way the country we all love can survive more of the GOP in the White House, not to mention as the majority party on the Hill; certainly not this GOP.

This is not Eisenhower's GOP. As a matter of fact, it is the GOP that Eisenhower warned us about, the political party whose lust for one party rule is, by now, obvious to the whole world and whose relationship with the military/industrial/(and now security)/complex, as well as other big corporate interests, is stunning and the greatest danger to face this nation since the civil war.

I was also struck by another thing Hillary said; rather a question she asked her supporters, "Are you in this just for me?" Hillary's supporters need to seriously contemplate that question, if they haven't already. Perhaps there was a time when Americans could afford to play our usual silly political games, but not this election year. No time for cult-of-personality politics this year! We, as a nation, have been staring into the abyss for too long. The abyss is staring back.

This is not politics as usual in the U.S.A.

Truth be told, the end of politics as usual began, obviously to all, with the impeachment of Bill Clinton for lying about adultery in sworn testimony, making his words fall under the legal term of perjury. Clinton's perjury is a form of perjury committed daily (except for weekends and holidays) in courthouses across this land, from sea to shining sea. Rarely is anyone ever charged with any kind of perjury in family/divorce courts, let alone criminal perjury.

"It is almost expected that people will lie their arses off when it comes to sex," as I was informed by an attorney friend some years before Clinton was impeached for it. Oddly and naively, I had thought that perjury was perjury, period, when a person lied in a court of law. I was wrong. Slapping someone with a perjury charge arising out of lies about adultery is very rare, the case of Bill Clinton, then a sitting president, being one of the exceptions, aparently, though certainly not a very bright one for the country.

Let me be clear. I am not a big Bill Clinton fan. I give him his due. He is probably the smartest politician I have seen in my lifetime and his administration was about peace, for the most part, social and economic justice, fiscal responsibility and, for a majority of the people, prosperity. The U.S. had a surplus when he left office, so the GOP can scream from the roof-tops about the "recession" the economy was sliding into as Bush/Cheney took office, as they in fact did and still do, but that "recession" was a tiny blip on the radar compared to what we face now.

Nevertheless, many of his campaign promises went unkept, some with barely and effort at all. The other thing that makes me think less of Clinton is that he hardly ever lays into Republicans for what they did to him and what they put this country through. He blames the news media. Admittedly they did their share of x-rated reporting, breathlessly, hourly, on and on, ad nauseum, but there would have been nothing to report had the GOP and their money men had not investigated Bill and Hill, as if they were the reincarnations of Bonnie and Clyde, almost from the day he took the oath of office. Of course, none of it would have been possible were it not for Clinton's own stupid/sick behavior. His enemies had been after him for his womanizing ways since before the election. Clinton, as smart as he seems to be, honestly thought they had let go of that one?

Do they put something that is toxic to the brain in the White House water supply?

So, we can all forget about politics as usual. The GOP House managers, who prosecuted perjury charges against Clinton, while frothing at their pompous mouths, against the clearly expressed wishes of the majority of the American people, put an end to politics as usual and everything that has happened since has only made it more apparent, from the stolen election of 2000, to 9/11 and Osama bin Forgotten, to the stunning deception that led this nation into a war of aggression (the mother of all war crimes) against a nation of people who had nothing to do with the attacks of 9/11 or the second major terrorist attack on American soil during the Bush administration, the anthrax attacks. Terror is terror and terrorism is terrorism, just as murder is murder and war crimes are war crimes

No, this is not politics as usual, but this election is by far the most important election I have seen in my lifetime, not only for our country and the future of our kids and grand kids, but for the well-being of the planet and all its citizens.

Even after Obama's speech last night in front of 80,000 people at Denver's Mile-High Stadium, other millions tuned in all across the country and on television sets all around the world, a speech that was both electrifying and informative, the Democrats and all who wish to join them in getting Obama/Biden elected have got to hit the ground running and get tough. After all, it is only our Democratic Republic that is at least, what's left of it after the last 40 years, especially the last 7 years and some months.

In case it was missed, Obama issued a call-to-arms last night.

There is no doubt about it. Obama knows that no matter how good of a speech he gave and no matter how well the convention went, we are in for the fight of our lives; it will be nasty and brutal. How could any of us believe otherwise. McCain has the Rovian smear machine on his payroll, not to mention Rover's geek-squad, specializing in election tampering and headed up by Chief Geek, Mr. Connell.

Those of us, whether we are independents, Democrats, disaffected Republicans or Americans registered as members of some of the many minor parties, who see our current situation clearly, had better be prepared to fight to our last last breath, if necessary or be prepared to suffer consequences still unimaginable to many.

Barack Obama made it crystal clear to us that he is ready to take on the real enemies of our constitution. He does not plan on leaving the fight to Joe Biden and others. He made that perfectly clear when he said he would be glad to have the debate about who is prepared to be "commander-in-chief," about who has the judgment and TEMPERAMENT for the job.

(I remember when we elected a president every four years. Now, thanks to Junior and his express wish to be a war president because, in his somewhat addled mind, endless war is how one holds onto power in this country, we get to elect a commander-in-chief....or not, depending on how many and how wide-spread the paperless voting machines and easily hacked optical-scanners are remaining around the country on November 4, 2008.)

We can fight tooth and nail, just by telling the truth. There is no need for meaness and nastiness, let alone lies about the opposition, circulated through the back-channels of Wingnutia in the form of chain emails and other whispering campaigns. The truth will be sufficient if told forcefully and often.

Right this moment, in our history as a nation and as citizens of this planet we call home, it is hard to imagine ourselves in greater peril. Electing Barack Obama and Joe Biden is a huge task. Let's not kid ourselves. The Republicans, Neocons, their swift-boating pals and the right-wing media echo-chamber are going to pull out all the stops. This is not a time for the faint of heart. It is a time for real courage and faith in our own minds and hearts.

We need to be prepared to make their tactics costly to them.

We must remember to re-visit our origins as a nation and demand transparency, the only answers to fear-mongering and deception.

We were not born as a nation of people scared witless; a nation of cowards, voting for security which cannot possibly be achieved, even if, like frightened fools, we gladly gave up every Right we ever had, under the Bill of Rights in the Constitution.

Our founders warned us about a tyranny that would one day come our way. They warned us about a government that would come to oppress the free people of the U.S.A. American citizens used to have a healthy skepticism about government power and how it was exercised. We were taught that power corrupts and than absolute power corrupts absolutely. We've certainly had our brushes with tyranny before, but nothing like what's happening now.

Those who would exchange freedom for security deserve neither. It was old Ben Franklin who said that. I would add that history has taught us that not only do such people deserve neither, they get neither. It was Franklin who informed a curious citizen who asked what kind of government we had, "A Republic, if you can keep it."

I wonder, can we?

By Eugene Robinson

DENVER—If they want to win in November, Democrats have one task to accomplish this week: Snap out of it.

Somehow, tentativeness and insecurity have infected a party that ought to be full of confident swagger. It’s not that Democrats don’t like their odds of winning the presidency and boosting their majorities in both houses of Congress. It’s that they are even bothering to calculate and recalculate those odds.

That’s what you could catch Democrats doing last weekend as they assembled for the convention. We’ll win, they would say, but we just have to do this or Barack Obama just has to do that or the Clintons have to do this, that and the other. And the stars have to align just so.

People, the stars don’t line up any more auspiciously than this. George W. Bush is to presidential unpopularity what Michael Phelps is to aquatic velocity. The Republican candidate for president is a wooden, uncharismatic denizen of Washington whose “maverick” image belies the fact that he has supported Bush on practically every big issue. The economy is sagging, the financial system is in crisis and gasoline prices remain punishingly high. In recent polls, as many as eight out of 10 Americans have said the country is on the wrong track. You don’t need a soothsayer to read omens like these.

Since I landed here Saturday night, though, I haven’t heard a lot of Democrats crowing about the terrible whuppin’ they’re about to administer. I’ve heard predictions of victory, yes, but also a lot of questions. Will Hillary Clinton’s die-hard supporters refuse to lay down their arms, even if their champion begs them to? Will an unreconciled Bill Clinton steal the show? Will Obama’s acceptance speech at Invesco Field be so stirring and poetic that the Republicans will slam him again for excessive eloquence?

In other words: Are Hillary Clinton’s followers, many of whom care deeply about women’s issues, ready to accept a Supreme Court majority that would do away with Roe v. Wade, which John McCain would surely deliver? Has Bill Clinton forgotten everything he ever learned about politics and forsaken his lifelong loyalty to the Democratic Party? Would Obama be wise to effectively renounce the use of his great oratorical gifts, which constitute one his most powerful and effective weapons?

All these questions are just excuses to fret. Unlike Republicans, Democrats like to obsess about what could go wrong. It’s kind of a partisan hobby.

I was going to say that the Republican Party’s hobby is driving Democrats crazy with worry, but the truth is that the Democrats are doing this to themselves.

People here complain that the polls are too close for comfort, forgetting that there is rarely anything comfortable about a presidential contest. When was the last time a non-incumbent Democrat cruised easily to the White House? Clinton, remember, won only a 43 percent plurality of the popular vote in 1992. You have to go all the way back to Franklin Roosevelt in 1932. Why would anyone think for a moment that Obama could win this without a fight?

I’m being somewhat unkind, because the truth is that the Democratic Party has tried mightily this year to fight its depressive tendencies. The party is even playing offense for a change, taking the fight to McCain in states that used to be a forgone conclusion for the Republicans. Here in Colorado, recent polls show Obama with a small but significant lead; in Virginia, which hasn’t gone Democratic since 1964, the race is a dead heat.

As for the Democratic states that McCain is trying to contest, Democrats should take the advice of Pennsylvania Gov. Ed Rendell. Last Saturday, as Joe Biden was being announced as Obama’s running mate, Rendell was asked how to keep his state in the Democratic column. His answer, and I’m paraphrasing here, was to quit whining about it and just go out and win the state. He helped the Clintons pummel Obama in the primary, and he pronounced himself raring to help Obama and Biden do the same to McCain in the general.

Even with the fundamentals teed-up and the stars smiling, winning the White House was never going to be a walk in the park for any Democrat. The party will have had a successful convention if, at the end of the week, Democrats stop all the worrying and declare a moratorium on second-guessing. Go shake some hands and kiss some babies.

Eugene Robinson’s e-mail address is eugenerobinson(at)

© 2008, Washington Post Writers Group

(In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, this material is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. I.U. has no affiliation whatsoever with the originator of this article nor is I.U endorsed or sponsored by the originator.)

The Nazis, Fascists and Communists were political parties before they became enemies of liberty and mass murderers.

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