Laura Flanders, host of Radio Nation, asks, “When will Democratic leaders stop dissing their base?”
When Progressive voters stop blindly supporting the Democrats and start holding Democrats to the same standards to which they would hold Republicans, third parties, and independents. If you keep giving them what they want and asking nothing in exchange, they have no reason to do what you want.
There’s a difference between being pissed off and holding people accountable (whether through impeachment and electing a competitor). Which is why I keep asking if Progressives who are pissed off now will remember why they’re pissed off come election time. Will you withhold campaign support of any kind and instead endorse another candidate (perhaps from a competiing party, perhaps an independent) based on their campaign funding, political history, and stated goals?
I’m not holding my breath for this to happen, but it will take stronger political stomaches than Leftists appear to have and greater organization around the ideas so-called Progressives talk about when there’s no election coming. People will have to vote corporate-funded politicans out, replace them with people willing to hold past leaders accountable, and do the bidding of the public even if that means telling corporations they’ll lose money.
The public will have to form pressure groups to keep all elected officials in check, regardless of affiliation, and set goals like implementing single-payer universal health care, a national living wage, and ending all foreign occupation. Don’t take corporate money to run these pressure groups or you’ll lose your power to advocate.
Cindy Sheehan, the most visible anti-war advocate, recently left her anti-war work in part due to the criticism she received from Democrats—Democrats who were proud to support her when the Republicans were running Congress. But now that the Democrats control Congress, the Democratic Party’s shame on the war is all too obvious. It was obvious to people who paid attention to votes and campaigns before the 2006 mid-term elections, but it’s impossible to ignore that it’s now the Democrats’ war.
Party faithful have to decide whether to adopt a principled position against the war or support their party no matter what they do. They’ve obviously chosen the latter. So Sheehan’s contined activism against the war and Sheehan’s recent exposÃ© is too much to bear.
Sheehan is standing by her promise to not “make the mistake of supporting another pro-war Democrat for president again: As I won’t support a pro-war Republican.”. That means holding Democrats to the same anti-war line as the Republicans.
Anti-war groups haven’t lived up to this standard. In 2004 the Leftist line was to vote for pro-war Sen. Kerry (who promised to manage the war better than Pres. George W. Bush). Anti-war Democrats, anti-war candidates from third parties, and the independent Ralph Nader were either ignored or excoriated in part for interfering with their chosen Democrat. Most were chided for not running campaigns that could win. Perhaps I should take that as a sign of how small any group is which believes that line.
I remember when the Nation magazine said it was too difficult to stand behind a Nader candidacy because the war had to end and the Democrats were the most likely route to end it. Co-owner of The Nation magazine, Katrina van den Heuvel, was on C-SPAN recently discussing her support of the Democrats with Brian Lamb. Lamb is not a good interviewer, but it doesn’t take much to see how embarrasing that position is for someone who watches the Democrats manage the war.
As Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D-OH) said, it doesn’t take a bill to defund a war. You simply stop providing the money to keep the war going (transcript, audio, video)
Amy Goodman: Do you think the Democratic-led Congress has failed the American people right now?
Rep. Dennis Kucinich: Absolutely. Are you kidding? This isn’t even a close question. We were elected in November to end the war. That’s why people voted Democrat. That’s why they gave us control of the House and the Senate. And they expected us to take a new direction. They didn’t want a Democratic version of the war, and they didn’t want to be told later on, “Well, we just don’t have the votes.” Well, you know what? You don’t need the votes to say no. You just don’t offer any legislation at all.