SocraticGadfly: It's time to stop ENABLING the Democratic Party

March 01, 2016

It's time to stop ENABLING the Democratic Party

I've thought this since before the 2004 election, the first time I voted Green for President.*

That said, a new opinion piece totally agrees with where I'm coming from, hence the all-caps header.

Like Sarah Gray, I"ve had "oh, the SCOTUS" thrust in front of me for more than a decade. It's to the point that I anticipate Clintonistas doing it in advance, and then love when they get upset and protest that they weren't going there, then do go there.

And, Gray is also right that there's a whole country outside the Beltway, and anger on the left as well as tea party type anger on the right.

My one caveat on her piece is using the phrase "the left" anywhere in conjunction with today's institutional Democratic Party. I call myself a "left-liberal" rather than a "liberal" precisely because "liberal" (and more and more, "progressive,") have become vapid. The "left" prefix is a qualifier to make clear I don't associate with today's Democrats, who are most certainly NOT "the left."

The "enabling" is exactly true. Per the addiction-and-recovery world, it's like "enabling" a drunken Democratic Party to keep chasing that magic Overton Window. And, I've seen it entwined with a drunken embrace of neoliberalism, especially its new tech-neoliberalism version.

Speaking of ...

Besides being "in the Beltway," the other problem is that the Democratic Party, as an institution, has sold out to neoliberalism. Yes, the word may be a bit overused or misused at times.

But, it's very real, and there's a very good definition of what it means:
I am working under the assumption that “neoliberalism” is a useful umbrella term to describe the interconnected and (generally) explicitly articulated ideas, principles, political views and ideological commitments that have ended up running the table in higher education and much else besides. 
 Without getting too far into the devilish details of my project or plunging right away into the twists and turns of my argument/analysis — that’s what the book is for, after all — I will simply say that “neoliberalism” as an abstract term describes a school of thought privileging the “free market” not as a neutral mechanism for the efficient allocation of resources within a very broad (but still, in the end, limited) sphere, but rather as a positive moral force for determining social values in every sphere of human life.

Couldn't have said it better myself. 

Here's a follow-up thought from Burnett:
But there is nothing conservative about radical free-market ideology.  What has been conserved by the near-total (I say near-total if I’m being hopeful) subjection of higher education to the liquidating logic of the market?  This is precisely why I wish to avoid using such oxymoronic terms as “free-market conservatism” to describe the regnant philosophy of political economy that is currently setting the agenda for higher education.
Indeed. Capitalism is a corrosive acid. It's certainly not religiously conservative, despite Tea Partiers, Success Gospelers and others trying to make it so. 

Robert Reich claims that Sandernistas will continue their revolt against the Democratic establishment until they take it down, if he doesn't get the nomination. Well, maybe. If they do, unless I, Brains and others successfully pitch Plan B, their revolt will remain inside the Democratic Party. Second, unless their revolt goes beyond Sanders' own stances on foreign policy issues, it will be a fairly pale revolt overall.

And, Bob, short of the butler with the candlestick in the conservatory, you've got a LONG way to go when your own party chair, Dancing with the Schultz, is now trying to gut payday lenders' regulations within the Consumer Finance Protection Bureau that Sen. Elizabeth Warren fought to create. More on that issue, including that she's not the only Dem who thinks this is a good idea, from Consumerist.

In general, I trump the "oh, the SCOTUS" or similar with "lesser of two evils can still be evil," or "neoliberalism," or 'Overton Window."

Beyond THAT, if Hillary Clinton allegedly needs my help (if she's the nominee) to beat Donald Trump (if he takes the GOP crown) then she needs a lot more help than I have to offer.

* = (I voted nobody in 2000, seeing already then that Ralph Nader had a bigger ego than either Al Gore or George W. Bush. And, for the likes of Jeff St. Clair and other diehard Naderites who claim a 2004 Green Party conspiracy against him, sorry, but it's true.)

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