Wednesday, August 06, 2003

President Dean: Got a Problem With That?

A excellent article in Philadephia weekly covers the Dean machine. My favorite quote, "A smart man in Karl Rove's shoes would be crapping himself right about now." Oh yes, sweet truth!

One just hopes that Rove discounts the possibility that citizens make a difference in politics and doesn't change his strategy for the campaign one whiff. I hope they continue to underestimate Dean and discount the idea that Dean has tapped into something they just don't understand; the wrath of the public. By the time thy realize their mistake it will be on top of them, mauling them like a bear whose cubs are threatened.

I don't worry too much about beating Bush if Dean gets the nomination. Bush is a castle of cards; his fortifications are flimsy lies and his moat is filled with cooked numbers which try to make pure idiocy look like financial wisdom. Persons are not stupid; masses of people on the other hand can be dumb, panicky beasts. Rove wants to shout his nasty lies at people to scare and dupe them into voting for Bush. Dean wants to address persons. One on one. He can't do that himself, that's what he needs us for. Dean will kick over Rove's castle of cards and barely break a sweat. But unless he has an army of volunteers talking to the people as persons and appealing to their collective wisdom, the scaremongers and liars could win.

What this country is about to experience is a new Progressive movement much like that of the early years of the last century. The hubris and unalloyed greed of the special interests, the flagrant corruption of politics, the exploitation economy all point to a convergence of interests between rural folk, the middle class, low income people, small business owners, minorities, and professionals; the people who work for living in this nation. Having swallowed enough, and more than enough, of the hypocrisy, self-dealing, and short-sighted exploitation that has become the dominant ethical code of this countries' elites, they are set to put the house in order and woe to anyone who gets in their way. People are fed up. They want their society to run according to real American values of honesty, equity, justice, accountability, and thrift, not their opposites dressed up with rhetoric and lies.

People often mistake Progressives for elitist idealists with their heads in the clouds, the DLC certainly has. They don't realize that when things get really bad in this country, it is the barber down the street, your cousin the town lawyer, the local doctor, the farmers, the homesteaders, the pensioners, the hardware store owners, and all of these people's modern equivalents, who take a stand. When the corruption and stupidity in which elites engage to get stinking rich right now, with no thought for the future, begin to threaten the common person's livelihood, their children's future, and this nation's well-being, these are the folks who say, "Hold it, bub."

Progressives and progressive reforms have one purpose, to hold back the tide of greed and corruption that constantly threatens to swamp the nation. We are a nation of self-interest; it sustains our economy and underlies our political life. But when self-interest become pernicious to our collective interest, people become progressive reformers and storm in. When people realize they can no longer rely on elites to police themselves, everyday people step up and make sure it gets done. The Progressive movement of the last century, contrary to popular belief, was led not by pissed off farmers with pitchforks, but by business owners, professionals, and everyday citizens who had become concerned that big business and corrupt politics were destroying everything they had worked for.

They took the starch out of the party machines by placing the much more of the electoral process in the hands of the state and the voters. They passed laws on who could fund campaigns. They restricted the worst unfettered business practices such as monopolies and trusts. They paved the way for the electoral and living standard triumph that was the New Deal after the excesses and corruption they sought to reign in nearly destroyed this country anyway in the Great Depression.

We are heading for such a reckoning ourselves. A face off between the elites who are willing to impoverish and destroy this nation, as long as they sit atop the wreckage in a secure penhouse with servants, and the common man, to whom this nation isn't just a convenient legal construct from which to extract wealth and advantage, but his home, his future, and his descendants' future. There is a lot that needs fixing and the great mass of citizens are starting to roll up their sleeves to get the job done once again.

It's time to give this nation a purgative, to rid it of moral monsters who haven't the wit to see the harm they do; who better to administer the needed medicine than the Good Doctor Dean? But, as Dean alway reminds supporters, it is not he that can save this nation, it is us. We have to batter down the doors to the boardrooms, we have to seize the miscreants, hold them down, and force open thier mouths, so that the Doctor can do his work.

It starts with small steps, things anyone can do; talking to a neighbor or a friend, casting a vote for someone who representents your real interests, getting involved in a community service where you can do some good. That's progressivism in a nutshell- people doing what little they can in very great numbers to stop the worst abuses and idiocies which threaten our lives, our nation, and our well-being.

So label Dean and his followers progressives, abolutely. Label them radical lefties? It is a sign of how far to the right politics has moved to try to label progressivism as leftist. Balanced budgets? Oh my! Health care for all? Heavens! They nationalize the oil next! Taxes sufficient to cover expenditures? Communists! They want to redistribute the wealth! Reforms to prevent scams which cost investors billions? Lordy, they hate the free market! An end to unfair and unpatriotic tax breaks and contracts to corporations who move off shore to avoid our taxes? Anti-capitalists! I knew it! The list of abuses and scams that have become standard operating proceedure of corporate governance, high finance and politics is extensive. Stopping the abuses that are killing our nation and making a mockery of our democracy is progressive, but there is nothing radical about it.


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