Dr. Bushlove...

Pat Ryan

...Or how I learned to quit worrying and love Rahm Emanuel

Like a lot of BlueOregonians I am clear who the Corporatists in my own party are, and I have watched their moving and shaking for the past sixteen years, initially with alarm and later with despair. They call themselves with no irony intended the Democratic Leadership Council. They have been quick to denigrate anyone who disagrees with their Right-of-center orthodoxy as extremists, but were happy to forgive Republican dirty tricksters for outrageous lies and character assassination.

They gave away the store on civil liberties for the middle and lower classes. They enabled "deregulation", NAFTA, CAFTA, and any other scheme put together by the WTO boys. They voted to give Bush unchecked power for overseas adventures, and they torpedoed anyone who threatened their cozy relationship with large multi-national corporate donors.

Never short on hubris they ignored the rank and file of the party and focused exclusively on fundraising for their eternal incumbency. They worked tirelessly and in concert to defeat the upstart Howard Dean in '04.

The Enforcer of this crew, Rahm Emanuel of Illinois is a Hard Bright Boy who is, shall we say, an artist with a shiv. He has been a consistent keeper of the flame and has taken out many Paul Hacketts in his drive to keep the money flowing and the grassroots suppressed.

But I am happy to report that in the wake of the Lamont victory in Connecticut, Mr. Emanuel has called for backing the winner of the Democratic Primary. Thus we learn another lesson in Rottweiller Pragmatism. He is waking up later in the game than many of our local Pols, who saw which way the wind was blowing when Dean was overwhelmingly elected to chair the party.

He's still a little cranky that Dean put his money where his mouth was by earmarking funds for his "50 state strategy" instead of feeding directly to Democratic incumbents at the national level, but his remarks in the last 48 hours seem to indicate that he uderstands the beginnings of the powershift away from Big Money and toward rational policy issues.

Welcome to the Democratic Party, Rahm. You've been a formidable ally for Terry McAullife and his Corporatist crew. We look forward to benefiting from you slavering ministrations in the upcoming elections in '06 and '08.

Now roll over and let me scratch your tummy.

Comments

  • (Show?)

    Nice to have you back in the keyboarding saddle Pat. Been missing your pithy take on the local, state and national Democratic Party. I really want you to be 100% correct about Rahm Emanuel's new Democratic Party political transplant since Lieberman lost to Lamont. Maybe Kos should send him a free copy of Crashing the Gates..or Howard Dean can provide Rahm with some therapy 101 on how to work with, and along side the grassroots in all 50 states. I'll be waiting to see if Rahm rejects his new organs or reverts back to using his shiv. Great to have you around again Pat.

  • (Show?)

    Second Paulie on your absence. And you echo my own surprise about Rahm's recent performances. I don't think he's gone Russ Feingold on us yet, but I'll take the trend--

  • Code Gray (unverified)
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    This explosion of Yankee popular discontent, elevating the self-financed Great Progressive Hope to Senate hopeful, has surely aroused the ire of the Democratic establishment. The people of Connecticut are awfully bold to question the strategic wisdom of those qualified to make what are painstakingly calculated national strategic decisions. How dare thes voters convert a plebiscite into a referendum. What the people don’t know is that they just don’t have all the right information. They never do. That's why people like Rahm Emmanuel are in charge of getting people elected.

    Still, Emmanuel’s surprisingly measured response to the upheaval may be a calculated reply to Ned Lamont’s own measured tones. Rahm may be alarmed by the process, but not so likely by the outcome.

    Because Lamont speaks of timetables for withdrawal, of redeployment, of training and logistical support, and of the right of Israel to defend itself from terrorist attacks. He's speaking the true language of Democratic statecraft.

    And what does the establishment understand? That surely this product of the meritocracy, this multimillionaire of the people, this son of the House of Morgan can be assimilated and made to see the true essence of realism. That is, if he hasn’t already.

    Of course, as others have said elsewhere (DailyKos comes to mind): if there's definitely one upside to this, it's that Lamont can’t be bought by the moneyed interests.

    No doubt. Lamont is a moneyed interest.

  • (Show?)

    I'm disinterested in the particular politics or fortunes of Mr. Emanuel and Mr. Lamont, and wealth is not inherently evil as far as I know. I would note that it would be damned near impossible to find a more reliable lackey for the extant oligarchy than Lieberman.

    As for Emanuel, I'm pretty sure that he's an actual pragmatist and if he is, we will have his skills at our disposal right up until the moment that he determines that an alliance no longer serves his interests.

    My expectations are not high. I'm just pleased that he's availabe to us for the '06 cycle. I'm sure that he'll be mixing it up in the '08 presidential primary. I would expect no less.

  • (Show?)

    I'd be happy if Mr. Emanuel would quit shooting Dean in the back on TV. You can't have a groundswell if you only let the dirt come up in a few places.

    Here's the problem: The DNC and the DCCC and DSCC have very different missions. The DNC's mission (at least under Dean) is to rebuild the Democratic Party so that it can reliably elect Democrats at all levels in 50 states as well as elect a president. The DCCC and DSCC are focused only on House and Senate races at the federal level. They see every dollar spent to help elect a sheriff in Dallas or a judge in Alabama or a mayor in Utah as a dollar wasted. The DNC, on the other hand, sees electing Democrats to these positions as building the farm team for a long-term effort.

    The organizations will never see the world through the same lens. They should be complementary, though, not adversarial.

  • (Show?)

    Yeah, wasn't that FDR feller from the, ah, right side of the tracks? The other Roosevelt, the guy that busted the trusts, I seem to recall the spoon in his mouth at birth wasn't tin, either. Wealth isn't inherently evil, it seems.

  • (Show?)

    not to sound like the socialist i am, but it's not wealth per se -- it's the fact that a few have so much while so many have so little. the reason a true conservative like Kevin Phillips speaks out against this unjust situation is because he recognizes how unhealthy it is for a nation. and just like all the rest of the problems the neocons & DLC have created, addressing this issue is going be hellish. to make things more just, we'll have to take a lot from the wealthy, and somehow that's become unamerican.

    you forgot to mention, Pat, the DLC has a great track in of losing elections. unlike Dean, whose DFA has helped win many elections for Dems in places once thought hopeless, like MT, WY and CO. the sooner we bury the DLC, the better.

  • Mister Tee (unverified)
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    T.A.:

    Do you think Clinton would have been elected without the existence of the DLC? It seems like a pivotal piece of their track record.

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    Scuttlebutt that I'm hearing suggests that Mr. Emmanuel might challenge Ms. Pelosi for the speakership in the event that the D's win control.

  • Chuck Butcher (unverified)
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    I have to agree with Jenny and Pat by combining their observations. Politics is an exercise in pragmatism, that certainly doesn't mean that ideals and philosophy have to be sacrificed but they do require a certain amount of molding and presentation. The "disputes" between the various Democratic arms certainly have something to do with point of view and pragamatism regarding that POV, but there is also something else going on, I believe that is a certain elitist blindness. I have no delusion that any of the "arms" of the Democratic Party are reflective of the general view of the Democratic electorate, for pete's sake, political activism in itself defines it's practicianers as separate and different. Most folks don't spend time and money and energy on politics, they're going some if they read the newspaper and watch a news program, mostly they're trying to get by and keep some kind of order in their lives. I believe that DNC is closest to the general folks and its approach demonstrates that, but there still is a serious gap.

    Here's the thing about that gap, I've met and spent time in good conversation with a lot of these "elite" and that's where the good ideas and approaches come from. They come from the people willing to spend the time and energy and money on politics, selling them is where it gets sticky because of that gap. I continue to work in DPO because I want to see those good things brought forward. Thanks Pat and Jenny. Chuck

  • (Show?)

    Do you think Clinton would have been elected without the existence of the DLC? It seems like a pivotal piece of their track record.

    Clinton was really the sole, shining success story for the DLC. If Clinton hadn't won, it's possible the DLC's influence might have been shortened by a decade; instead, thriving in the light of Clinton's glamor, they managed to deflect attention away from the steady erosion under their guidance of the party. This suggests that while Clinton supported and was supported by the DLC, he actually won in spite of these politics rather than because of them. Put another way, the only candidate able to overcome the abysmal politics of the "third way" was the incredibly charismatic Bill Clinton.

  • LT (unverified)
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    Thanks Jeff.

    And here is another way to put it: In 1992 I was doing research on the 1932 election for a class. When people asked me if I thought Clinton had a chance, I said it seemed to me he was following the Jim Farley strategy and that had worked before. Jim Farley did the travel that FDR would have found difficult--going around to the various states and talking to interested folks prior to 1932. Clinton did much the same thing--even came to Salem in 1991.

    The thing about DLC is the truth behind the joke that the letters stand for Democrats Leaning Conservative.

    Think about all the issue debates Ben Westlund has been a part of--and all the support he gathered. ( I think there are a larger number of Westlund petition signatures than the number of votes Ted won by in 2002.) Partly that is because he did the simple thing Clinton did--travel around and talk intelligently with folks. My friend who saw Clinton in 1991 said that was what happened. I know in 1992 Clinton showed up in venues where all the candidates were invited but he was the only one to show up.

    My sense of DLC is that when they publish a platform, they expect the whole thing to be accepted by all good people, and only subversives would say "I've got a question about...". DLC has often been the group to say they don't need to debate issues, because they have the revealed truth. Sounds like some Bush supporters in that regard (as opposed to some Republican Senators who both support Bush AND ask intelligent questions).

    Clinton welcomed serious issue debate. DLC doesn't seem to want to engage in debate. They are more apt to sound like the folks who say "The voters of Conn. had no right to nominate Lamont, because Lieberman deserved to win!".

    Last time I checked, democracy meant letting voters decide who wins elections, not powerful groups or individuals.

  • (Show?)

    Ayup. It's the Charismatic Personality Stupid.

    Jeff, you are dead on that this is the central enabler of the fallacy of DLC.....uh........ideology.

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    Chuck: You expose one key area where we at the grassroots are also out of touch. When my fellow travellers want to get together in Sandy, it's always at the Thai restaurant or the most liberal leaning coffee shop or whatever. They are aghast at the idea that we should instead go to the Mom and Pops with their huge breakfasts and weak Folger's coffee.

    As the most successful grassroots organization in America, the NRA likes to say, "Hunt where the ducks are." No one will change their minds based on my laser sharp insights unless I actually.......er....discuss these things with people who don't frequent the same venues as my liberal buddies do.

  • Jennifer W. (unverified)
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    ONLY DEMOCRATIC PRESIDENT SINCE CARTER.

    That's a pretty big success story: even if it were the only one. Sure beats the hell out of the geniuses that came up with Dukakis. Your not from 'round here, are youuuuu!

  • (Show?)

    Here on my vacation in warm and cloudy Costa Rica, where the internet access isn't nearly so bad as the roads, I must say that ones political perspective can be both changed and reaffirmed.

    Costa Ricans are ruthless environmental capitalists. There's not a 10 foot waterfall in the country that doesn't have at least two vendors trying to sell the 'touristas' fruit out of the back of a pickup, various wooden knick-knacks that must be mass produced somewhere, and tickets to overpriced rappelling tours.

    You can see why when you see the parts of the country where tourism hasn't taken hold: desperate poverty lived in tiny tin huts eroding the land with subsistence farming.

    Which brings me to Pat's screed. He lost me in the first sentence: "I am clear who the Corporatists in my own party are". Such a lovely invention, that word "Corporatists". I suppose it's better than the old Communist epithet: "running dog Capitalist PIG". But it means the same thing, and it comes from a belief system that has been disproven time and time again - that by their very nature "corporations" are evil, and anyone who claims otherwise is a vile "corporatist" (capitalist) who must be Purged from the Party Apparatus, so that the Common Man (for whom only true believers speak) may achieve worldly bliss.

    It's the direct inverse of Republican/Libertarian Anarchism, which believes that "government" is inherently evil, despite all evidence to the contrary.

    I would hope that the vast majority of Democrats live in a much more complicated world than Mr. Ryan, where the "eco-Hotels" traded on the stockmarket remind their guests to "Leave only Footprints; Take only Pictures; Kill only Time", while providing a means for an entire nation to multiply its income, not to mention - as Howard Dean reminds us - provide free health care to all its people.

    Using handy labels to determine good and bad is harder than actually thinking, but it almost leads you down the path to disaster. So let's please not be the mirror image of George Bush, OK?

    And if you are, then don't call yourself a Democrat.

  • (Show?)

    Steve,

    So sorry to hear that your sojourn in ecotopia has improved neither your attitude nor your ability to process information. I was down there a couple of years back and had a great time.

    There are lots of definitions out there on tubes of the internets, and it wouldn't have killed you to go look the damned word up, but bottom line It is the term employed by Mussolini to describe the merging of Corporate and State interests into the government. Virtually everyone else in the world called it Fascism.

    Fascism is difficult to use as a synonym as it has come to represent the systematic murder of over 12 million people during WWII. I like to make an argument avoiding terms that lose people from the first sentence. Yet that seems to be exactly what happened with you.

    My bad for assuming basic literacy. Your arrogance is as obvious as it is unwarranted. It's weird too, because having read your comments over the past several months, I see that we agree on most issues. Don't know why you're a HATA. Hope you get over it. Or not.

    BTW: Of course I don't oppose capitalism. I was a Libertarian for over 10 years and am a shareholder in my wife's C-corp, which you also might have divined had you bothered to read my previous articles or my bio on this blog.

    Have fun in Costa Rica. We sure did.

  • JW (unverified)
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    The Dems and the Repubs are so close there is no difference on major issues...If they were we wouldn't be in Iraq! I know many people who have left the Democratic Party, it doesn't matter what the Bush lite Dems do any more, they have lost the faith of many people (even though we know they will continue with the same policy of hurting the poor, being controlled by Big Business, and giving empty rhetoric how they are for the working class). I encourage you to support the Green Candidate Paul Aranas in Oregon's 5th Congressional. He looks good! Hooley and the Republican Erikson are the same old stuff. Hooley doesn't even talk about issues, she just uses her congressional war-chest to get reelected and throws out cliches about meth and security, while doing little for the workers and all while supporting the war in Iraq. I think there is going to be an upsurge of Green Party Popularity. They are the opposition party to Bush and his accomplices the Dems. Google Paul Aranas for Congress. Support this guy. He looks up and coming and exciting with an impressive background.

    JZ

  • (Show?)

    Odd how a perfectly hopeful observation by Pat Ryan turns into a discussion that has as it's last comment, "there is nodifference between Dems and Republicans." Of course there are remarkable differences between the two major parties starting with the Iraq War, Health Care, bringing down the federal deficit, to name a few. The two major parties may share similarites organizationally but thats about all. I'm interested in watching Hillary get squeezed by the Democratic base to go anti-Iraq war. Rahm might just be in the forefront of helping the Democratic Party with Dems like Mike McMurry stop calling all anti-Iraq war Dems the "looney left." The Democratic-Party-Washington-Beltway-Think is far afield from the reality of the grassroots. The charismatic personality that Pat mentioned is a HUGE factor in the 2008 Democratic Presidential nomination..sorry Hillary..you just don't have it. Stay in the Senate and work on our issues from there please.

  • (Show?)

    Jenny Greenleaf wrote, The organizations will never see the world through the same lens. They should be complementary, though, not adversarial.

    Too bad, actually. To go back to your example... I'm hoping that the DCCC will see the value of the DNC's long-term effort when that sheriff in Alabama or mayor in Utah becomes a viable candidate for Congress in those states.

  • JW (unverified)
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    The Dems Talk...Talk Talk Talk. Don't pretend that the Dems are anti-war and for the people and not favorable to exploiting the world and the poor. They are the puppet of coroprate America and they will never enact just policy. Clinton with a Democratic Congress gave us NAFTA, kept the sanctions on Iraq which killed over a million innocent people, the Dems and Clinton bombed Iraq every week, bombed Sudan, and enacted many other horrible policies that hurt other nations and Americans. The difference between the D and the R is the Dems talk about being for the working class and do Nothing and Repubs don't talk about being for the workers and do Nothing. If the Dems get into power you will see that they will continue war and exploitation. Anyone can see that if they are informed and not brainwashed by Fox News. No support to the Democrats and Republicans will be an ever increasing slogan over the next ten years!

  • (Show?)

    Aside from aching feet from hiking halfway back from anywhere with my 80 pound 8 year old on my back, I'm having a great time.

    I'm also perfectly well aware of Mussolini's use of corporativismo. Perhaps better than you do, Pat. In Italian, the term means (literally) "bodies of people" but might be better figuratively translated in modern terms as "NGOs" (non-governmental organizations), by which Mussolinit meant everything from trade unions, to churches, to social organizations. According to his political viewpoint, giving these non-elected organizations explicit power within the government (in exchange for some governmental control of their actions) would result in a more efficiently run state, because it would reduce bickering and actions taken directly in opposition to the nations best interests. The idea had nothing to do with modern day business "corporations", other than a similarity of the name, though it does bear a striking similarity to the way many modern day Asian countries are run, in which the government has a liason just about everywhere.

    But that is not the way the term is used in modern parlance. I see it being almost entirely used as a blanket criticism of any business organization over a certain size, especially by Socialists who hate the idea of international trade - so they can "save" the impoverished developing world from development.

    It certainly is not a self-descriptive used by any set of people to identify themselves - not even Republicans use the term, much less the DLC. Not the craziest Republican has ever proposed governmental control of private corporations.

    I was going to go on, but my son wants to go to the sauna now. NOW!!

  • (Show?)

    Hey Steve,

    I doubt that you're spending much time in San Jose, but if you do pass through on the way to the airport, don't forget to stop at Denny's. I do believe that it is the only Denny's in the world with a doorman to keep out the riff raff. The menu, though is identical to the Denny's on MLK in Portland.

    Meanwhile there is a killer seafood place right around the corner........

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    How "off topic" was that?

  • (Show?)

    Getting back to Pat's post...how ideological has the DLC been over time when faced with the unintended consequences of such things as NAFTA and CAFTA? Do they respond to reality (political reality and reality reality) by adjusting their stances or do they just "stay the course?"

    That is, have they tended to act more as pragmatists or just another flavor of ideological zealot?

  • (Show?)

    Denny's has a guard? Not all that surprising, if true. But it isn't "riff raff" that they're protecting against - it's bandits (meaning gangs that rob at gunpoint - rather than using stealth). Because the crime rate is so high near San Jose, you'll find a guard or two openly fingering a military shotgun in front of nearly every business that handles a lot of cash, including every single bank, and most of the gas stations. This is the way it is in most of the third world.

    But again, look at what you just intimated with your comment, Pat. The subtext is as plain as day: because Dennys has a guard, they must be an evil corporation, keeping ordinary people from eating there. But the idea is absurd on its face. How is Dennys, which makes its money serving food to the public, supposed to make a profit if it drives its potential customers away?

    Again, if you're going to start calling any significant portion of the Democratic Party "corporatist" - by which you mean in favor of establishing a murderous "fascist" totalitarian dictatorship - I really can't agree. And I don't think Howard Dean would agree with you either. Not even when talking about the majority of Republicans. The U.S. may be suffering a bout of Republican kleptocracy, the aptly named "culture of corruption", but there is not even the faintest hint of a dictatorial reign of terror in the U.S. People feel safe.

    Hell, most of our gas stations don't even have twitchy fingered armed guards.

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