Today, on Democracy Now!, Amy Goodman interviewed Katrina vanden Heuvel, editor of The Nation magazine. There was not one question about vanden Heuvel’s blind support of Kerry’s pro-war candidacy (even in heavily-gerrymandered states, like Illinois, where entire counties could have voted anti-war and not changed the ultimate recipient of Illinois’ electoral votes).
Ironically, vanden Heuvel covered “nuclear terrorism, Washington’s stance on Iran” (citing DN!’s website), Iran being the apparent next target of American wrath.
Perhaps liberals & progressives have a long memory for the political missteps of their opponents, like talking about who stumped for Bush during the 2004 election, but they take a considered silence when talking about who stumped for Kerry when they didn’t need to, who unquestioningly supported Barack Obama (calling his election #4 of the “Good Things in Bad Times”), and who chides Nader for running (#7).
In order to prevent settling for the least-worst, you have to analyze the record of your candidates and make demands on them. Kerry’s campaign ran with no demands from the Left. Obama’s Senate record is horrible, supporting candidates for high office that he should know better not to support, but the Left is silent.
On a similar note, I had to miss Medea Benjamin’s visit to the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign this past Tuesday because I was preparing for my radio show Digital Citizen (which I plan to set up a website for so you can hear archived episodes of the show). Benjamin was one of the people who endorsed the letter denouncing Nader’s run for office; the same letter that made no demands of Kerry and said nothing of who to support in the so-called “safe” states. There were plenty of candidates to recommend for one’s consideration: the Green, Socialist, Constitution, and Libertarian parties all had candidates who were against the war. I’m guessing that the friendly audiences she speaks in front of weren’t so impertinant as to remind her that Nader’s candidacy was far more progressive than Kerry’s, would have cost progressive safe-state voters nothing to support, and was expected to not be as popular nationally as he was in 2000 (yet that didn’t stop Democrats and progressives from spending much time and money trying to keep him down) so even by ridiculous support-Democrats-in-the-clutch logic, voting anti-war would have done nothing to adversely affect Kerry’s campaign.
We’re going to repeat this in 2 and a half years or so. And meanwhile, the anti-war crowd is making a mockery of themselves by holding no major marches in recent memory and not explaining how many of them can vote pro-war from safe states and consider themselves bonafide advocates against the invasion and occupation of Iraq.
Update: Sharon Smith’s article in Counterpunch is well worth reading, particularly Smith’s take on a quote from Medea Benjamin. Speaking of Medea Benjamin, a few years ago DN! played a clip of her at an anti-war march saying something to the effect of “I’ve got a message for the women in the audience” and then going on about how the world’s leaders (the vast majority of whom are men) were (exact quote) “testosterone poisoned”. Nobody on DN! remarked how sexist that comment was and how no man could get away with saying how women are ‘estrogen poisoned’. Benjamin said this during an anti-war march in Washington or New York, I’ll try to find a recording of the clip so you can hear it for yourself (I once had a clip of it, excerpted from a DN! episode but that CD has been scratched and become unreadable). archive.org has a copy of the DN! show but that particular episode is unavailable right now. I’ll update this blog entry when I get a copy of the show.