Democrats “debate” on Democracy Now! or is it just discussion?

On the Friday, December 17, 2004 Democracy Now! (transcript) there is a discussion between two Democratic Party supporters: Prof. Manning Marable, Professor of History and Political Science and Public Affairs at Columbia University, and founding Director of the Institute for Research in African-American Studies, and Donna Brazile, former head of the Al Gore campaign in 2000.

Some notes:

  • Amy Goodman brings up corporate campaign financing at the top of the segment, but it is not discussed again. The single most important reason why the Democrats are circling the drain went virtually undiscussed. MoveOn.org, the Democratic Party front group, said that “we bought it, we own it [the DLC]” so the issue for them revolves around money, not a better take on the issues.
  • This is a discussion, not a debate as it was pitched on the show, because the participants are not at odds over most of the issues being discussed. Goodman is also not provoking the discussion to explore where the two don’t agree.
  • Brazile brought up Barack Obama in Illinois as though he’s a shining star of the Democratic Party receiving wild support from Illinois voters. For a significant amount of time, Obama had no competition in his race. When he ran against Alan Keyes, he was so far ahead he basically just had to not say anything obviously foolish to avoid defeating himself.
  • Nobody cares about Obama’s support of “welfare reform” (taking money from poor people) or implicit support of corporate welfare reform (giving money to corporations). Not even so-called progressives.
  • Inclusiveness in debates is never discussed—the Democrats and the Republicans collude to exclude a mutual threat from third parties and independents.
  • Marable said “I think that clearly mainstream democrats represent, both ideologically and in terms of public policy, positions that are clearly centrist and relatively speaking to the left of the Republican Party.” yet most Democrats: voted for the USA PATRIOT Act, voted for giving the US President sole authority to make war anywhere without Congressional oversight, downplay universal single-payer health care, and taking corporate campaign funding. Most Democrats did nothing to help the Congressional Black Caucus speak on the floor of the Senate when questioning the Florida vote in 2000 (no Democratic Party senator signed their letter). Most Democrats did not sponsor the universal single-payer health care plan Kucinich used as the health care plan for his presidential campaign in 2004. Most Democrats could have co-sponsored it to show support for progressive legislation. The bill would not have gone to the floor for a vote, much less passed, but this shows how hard it is for Democrats to make signal votes.

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