Impeachment, the Centrist Delusion, and the Democratic Primary

by on February 3, 2020 · 5 comments

in Election, Under the Perfect Sun

By Jim Miller

If there is one thing the impeachment trial has taught us, it’s that anyone who thought there would be enough fair-minded Republicans to even allow witnesses to testify was painfully naïve.  This whole thing was over before it started.

What are the lessons?

Newsflash: the contemporary Republican party doesn’t care about bipartisanship or even truth or basic decency.  If you are not on team Trump, their mission is defame and defeat you, pure and simple. In sum, reasonable NPR listening Democrats, your friends across the aisle mean you ill.

And none of this should come as even the slightest bit of a surprise as the hard-right, dark money forces that own the Republican party have been playing for keeps and winning for years.  They don’t care if they need to gin up the rubes with racism, xenophobia, and culture war or shred Democratic institutions because their real aim is to restrict democracy in the service of the minority of the opulent.

Nothing is unacceptable if it helps ensure the consolidation of plutocratic rule.  As long as the right judges get seated, the tax cuts keep coming, the regulations get gutted, and power remains in their hands, it’s all good.  They don’t even care if they push the world toward an irreversible, devastating climate catastrophe providing the short-term profits of the fossil fuels companies remain robust.  To paraphrase the old R.E.M. song, it’s the end of the world and they know it and they feel fine—they’ll be dead before the world really goes to hell anyway.

But the folks in the “pragmatic” (read neoliberal) Democratic establishment publicly cling to the centrist myth of bipartisanship even as the evidence has been abundantly clear forever that the only significant work that gets done across the aisle in the United States is when the Republicans get the Democrats to help crab walk us over a cliff.  Whether the Democratic establishment actually believes it, or they don’t but think it polls well doesn’t really matter. Nobody on the other side wants to compromise — they only accept surrender. Consequently, Democratic Party elites are playing a losing game, again.

Meanwhile as we approach the Iowa caucuses, Democratic establishment types have been fighting a different war.  Instead of hurling their fury at the obscenity that is Republican rule at present, most of the time of the “moderate” folks who know what’s best for us has been spent trying to check Bernie Sanders’ rapid rise.  Over the last week, it’s reached the level of hysteria in some circles. As Hamilton Nolan put it in the Guardian recently :

You can sense their panic, rising like tree sap. As time grows shorter and the polls in Iowa and New Hampshire trend in Bernie’s favor, the Third Way-style Democrats voice increasingly desperate warnings that a party that lost to Trump may be about to make a mistake. The Wall Street set throws more money at Joe Biden; the famous columnists who backed the Iraq war sound the alarm about unelectability; the candidate who lost to a reality television clown joins in the doomsaying. A Hollywood casting agency specializing in budget comedies could not assemble a less credible group of opponents. One of Bernie Sanders’ greatest advantages in the race is that many of the most unlikable hypocrites in America despise him.

Why do they hate Bernie so?  As Nolan observes, “In their eyes, he is an existential threat to their traditional approach of determining their stance on moral issues by finding a point halfway between ‘What’s right’ and ‘What the Koch brothers are advocating via attack ads.’”

The advantage Sanders has is that his analysis of power and who wields it is spot on, and he can answer Trump’s dark vision with a critique of corrupt power and an appeal to solidarity while his most vocal opponents have little to offer other than the same stale neoliberalism and excuses for why bold change will never happen.  If Sanders wins tonight in Iowa it may be a sign that progressives are ready to fight back hard.

{ 5 comments… read them below or add one }

Hopper Moss February 4, 2020 at 8:59 am

To all you Bernsheviks and identity group mavens, here’s hoping that Bernie wins the Iowa caucus and is the Democratic Party candidate for President.


Frank Gormlie February 4, 2020 at 10:24 am

Can you see my middle finger?


Hopper Moss February 4, 2020 at 12:01 pm

Oops. I thought it was another appendage.


sealintheSelkirks February 7, 2020 at 12:47 pm

Bernsheviks? I mean, REALLY? You can’t think of a disparaging label any better than that? So…80s! The Reagan regime used to use similar words against anyone who didn’t love their corrupt neoliberal trickle-down theory of economics and penchant for funding right wing death squads to overthrow governments that were actually elected by their citizens. Kind of like…now thinking about it. Not much has changed no matter which party was in power since Reagan. The DNC keeps screetching about ‘Putin-lovers’ and the RNC yells ‘snowflakes.’ History keeps repeating?

Identity politics is what the DNC & RNC run on, dude! Without those policies they got nothing to differentiate themselves from one another. All the same stale neocon/neoliberal Military/Industrial Complex/Wall St. banker-supporting crap that keep the ruling status quo and wealth accumulation for the few functioning smoothly. Which I guess is the point since politicians are well into the top 10% income bracket far above the majority working class. How many people reading this started their career with a base pay of $172,000 a year? Not many I’m guessing.

Both sides of the corporate party are run by the wealthy for the wealthy. Big sigh.

Sanders policies are so similar in content to FDR, the man who saved Capitalism from its own excesses of the 1920s (so that it could become OH SO MUCH worse now decades later) that to call him a Socialist is almost humorous. If he was such, the first thing he’d do is chop the military budget in half or more and put it into serving the working class and I don’t hear a peep about him thinking of doing that. That’s what a real Socialist would do!

Not that Socialism isn’t everywhere one looks in this country anyway, at least the parts that haven’t been shifted to privatized profits for the wealthy who own the corporations. Examples are fire departments, highway crews, etc etc. Even the military is socialist since we don’t have the luxury to refuse to pay taxes that support war crimes and mass murder (I just love the term ‘collateral damage’ don’t you?). We all pay into the pot regardless of how much of it we absolutely hate because we have no choice.

And it looks like Bernie won Iowa, a predominantly white state, and now heading to New Hampshire which is another mostly white state. Hmmmm. Guess there are more Bernshiviks out there than you thought, Hopper, in those melanin-deprived areas!



Frank Gormlie February 4, 2020 at 10:24 am

MSNBC is reporting that the majority of the Iowa caucus results will be available by 3 pm PST.


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