An intellectual freedom blog with an emphasis on libraries and technology

Saturday, July 03, 2010

The albatross called the South

My friend AR and I exchanged e-mails about this piece by Glenn Greenwald of We both respect and admire Greenwald - he has always called attention to the misdeeds and hypocrisies that take place all across the political spectrum, and for that we commend him. After reading Greenwald's take on the recent (June 8, 2010) primary AR had this to say:

I hope Greenwald is NOT asking for a third party, like the redoubtable Ralph Nader. Progressives have a very shallow time line. It will take at least a generation to move this country to the left again, if it can even be done.

In national electoral politics in America we are dealing with the albatross called the South. Most of the Blue Dogs that Greenwald laments come from the old confederacy. The Dixiecrats still exist and Lincoln is one of them. They never cared for or served their poor white constituents, but only those who always had the money in the agricultural economy of the old South. Her being a corporatist is the modern incarnation of the same thing. The poor people of the South needed single-payer health care as much as any poor person in the North, Midwest or West Coast. Yet this group of people can be counted on to vote constantly against their own interests. The ugly truth is that as long as the majority of Southerners hold their conservative values there is a limit to what can be achieved on a national level. The great idea of Howard Dean was to realize that one could pull support from progressives even in that part of the country. I honestly wish that Dean was being listened to by Obama, rather than Emmanuel.

One bright spot is that Lincoln is the sponsor of anti-derivative legislation. I hope that she is serious about that legislation because it would force a fundamental change in the structure of American banks. I suspect that Greenwald would be happy about that change. I still smell the left-over late 60s in Greenwald's writing. I think that there is way too much personalization in his attacks on her. She is useful if she can get the anti-derivative legislation passed. (BTW, Barney Frank is said to be against that legislation. WTF?) I think that Greenwald is confused about what a political "cost" is. He shouldn't be happy to maim her. He should be trying to work with her on what they agree on, like the anti-derivative legislation. If you are trying to show an exercise of real political power, coming a close second is not enough. We all laugh at how the tea-baggers come in second to many on the right. What is the difference? Working with someone like Blanche Lincoln is a long run strategy. You may hate her guts about some issues, but hold your nose and get out of her what you can. Some people feel the same way about Barney Frank.

On some level I think that Greenwald needs to grow up and realize that he doesn't have all that much power. I think that his group needs to develop soft power as well as what they think was hard power, which really didn't work. I think that Obama will break the hearts of the left as much as 30 years of supposedly pro-life Republicans have broken the hearts of many truly committed right-wingers. These folks are still horrified that Abortion is legal and that they have only reduced it at the margins and mainly on the state & local level. Reagan was right when he said that if someone agrees with you 80% of the time he is your friend and worth working with. Larry Wilmore was right when he said that America thought that Obama was a "magic negro" and that, of course, Obama is not a "magic negro." Look at this clip from the Daily Show:

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And for no other reason than I can't help myself, while we're talking about an albatross, let's see the classic albatross skit, via YouTube:

The behavior of voters may look this absurd, but nobody does absurd better than Monty Python.

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