The Democrats’ Day of Reckoning

Why does no one on the Left say it outright ? Obama and his Democratic Party gang should be punished mercilessly in the November elections. If they escape such punishment, then they will continue to break every real and implied promise to their base, and the goals of an end to wars and a decent, secure life will continue to be trampled under foot.

Let us remember that Obama was not, and is not, simply the candidate of the Democrats. He was and is the candidate of the most “liberal” or “progressive” wing of the Democratic Party, the candidate of “Progressive” Democrats of America, of Norman Solomon, Medea Benjamin, Michael Moore, and on and on. If this wing of the Democratic Party betrays the hopes of its supporters, then surely there is nothing decent remaining in the party. And so it has become apparent in the last two years.

The people understand this fact far better than the liberal pundits at the Huffington Post, The Nation, etc., and the people have already registered their discontent. A striking fact bears this out. Since 1970, the turnout in Democratic primaries has been dropping inexorably as the Democrats piled betrayal upon betrayal. And this year, according to data compiled by American University, the “average percentage of eligible citizens who voted in Democratic primaries was the lowest ever. The average percentage of citizens who voted in the GOP statewide primaries was the highest since 1970. … Democratic turnout was 8.3 percent of the eligible electorate, lower than the 8.7 percent of the electorate who voted during this period in 2006 and continuing [an] almost linear descent in Democratic primary turnout since 20.7 percent voted in the party’s primaries in 1966.” Why? It is a simple reflection of reality. In his 2008 campaign, Ralph Nader patiently and exhaustively documented how the Democrats have become more and more like the Republicans with each passing year, and so it is not strange that the response of the electorate to both parties has ranged from disinterest to disdain.

So what remains for the Dems? How can they scrounge up some badly needed votes this November? Scare tactics are about all they have left – which I might add is also the only thing the Republicans offer. If your e-mail inbox is like mine, it is brimming with pleas from the Dems to fill their campaign coffers so that they can save us from the Tea Party, China, and a handful of shadowy billionaires. The Tea Party is especially useful in this regard. It is great for the Republicans because it gives the appearance that the GOP has some connection to real people at the grass roots.

But for the Dems the Tea Party is even more bountiful, since it is pictured as a mass movement, racist to the core and about to plunge the country into a fascist abyss. However, as Anthony DiMaggio and Paul Street report in an article titled “The Tea Party Does Not Exist,” “The white nationalist Boogie Man that has the NAACP and the Democrats on the run isn’t a bona fide social movement, at all, but a top-down creation of media and millionaires. The Tea Party is generally drawing much smaller crowds than the leftish U.S. Social Forum, but garners far more coverage from a corporate media that portrays the phenomenon as ‘rising up from the grassroots against establishment politics.’ All indications are that the Tea Party is poorly organized and funded at the local level.” Yes, there is anger aplenty out there, as there should be, but it has not yet found a mass organizational basis, certainly not in the Tea Party. And neither the liberal “Left” nor the Right, neither Dems nor Republicans, with their basic loyalty to the elite of finance and the project of empire, is in a position to tap the people’s anger, which is, after all, directed at their masters.

The other bogeymen conjured up by the Obamaites are the Koch brothers, libertarian conservatives who have drawn the poorly penned ire of Frank Rich and Jane Mayer, whose accounts are masterpieces of lies by omission. As Justin Raimondo has pointed out in a very informative essay:

“What Rich, Mayer, and the other chroniclers of the ‘Invisible Hands’ behind the libertarian-conservative movement elide from their pocket history is the one factor that sets the Kochs apart from post-Cold War conservatives (and liberals), and that is their untrammeled anti-militarism. The Cato Institute, which was started with Koch money, stood almost alone in Washington against the first Iraq war [.pdf], and staunchly opposed the more recent invasion – just as they oppose Obama’s wars in Afghanistan [.pdf] and beyond. Cato has also stood up for our civil liberties, opposing the PATRIOT Act and the whole panoply of post-9/11 repressive measures initiated by the Bush administration and expanded by Obama. Right after 9/11, the Koch brothers gave the ACLU $20 millionassault on the Constitution (George Soros gave half as much).
to fight off the Bushies’

“The Kochs stand at the end of a long albeit virtually unknown tradition. The American Liberty League, which Rich and his ideological allies disdain, was financed by many of the same businessmen who later founded the biggest organized peace movement in our history, the America First Committee. A thoroughgoing anti-interventionism motivated these men….”

Now isn’t that interesting? And might those who despise war and empire not find a lot more in common with the Kochtopus than with the Obamaite Dems?

Obama is racing about the land in an unseemly panic, railing against “the failed policies of the Bush administration” – presumably the policies of waging war, bailing out the banksters while neglecting job creation and mortgage foreclosures, handing over the health care system to the murderous moguls of the health insurance industry, spying on antiwar activists, continuing the extraordinary renditions to torture chambers all over the globe, increasing military spending, and so on. There is no danger of returning to those policies, because Obama never abandoned them. They are now the failed policies of his administration.

Just listen to Christine O’Donnell, the Wicked Witch of Delaware: “There are many things that I have publicly said that I support the Obama administration on. I support Obama’s decision to send troops to Afghanistan. I support Obama’s decision for drones. I support Obama’s decision to treat the American who is recruiting terrorists on American soil, who is hiding in Yemen, I support the decision for our intelligence agencies to do whatever it takes to take him out.” And she is no exception, as Glenn Greenwald points out: “In addition to Christine O’Donnell’s effusive praise for Obama’s terrorism and war actions in Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Yemen, Bush CIA and NSA Director Michael Hayden has repeatedly praised Obama’s ‘powerful continuity’ with Bush/Cheney in these areas; torture choreographer Condoleezza Rice came out of a meeting with the president on Friday and praised his foreign policy and hailed him as ‘a defender of America’s interests’; and one of the most ardent defenders of Obama’s assassination program is the incomparably unhinged anti-Muslim fanatic Andrew McCarthy of National Review.”

So, what is to be done? You are probably flooded with desperate pleas from Dems for money and support. If there is not a dime’s worth of difference between the two parties, then I submit neither deserves a dime or even a nickel. Since there is no lesser evil, there is no lesser evil for which to vote. And if you feel betrayed by Obama and his minions, then let Nov. 2 be the day of reckoning.

Author: John V. Walsh

John V. Walsh writes about issues of war, peace, empire, and health care for, Consortium News,, The Unz Review, and other outlets. Now living in the East Bay, he was until recently Professor of Physiology and Cellular Neuroscience at a Massachusetts Medical School. John V. Walsh can be reached at