Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Pretend liberals

By Frank Moraes 

Eric Alterman had a great article in last week's print edition of The Nation, "Cuomo vs. Cuomo" (it's behind a pay wall, but a subscription only costs $9.50 per year -- I think The New York Times charges more per month). In it, he talks about the two sides of Cuomo the Younger (Andrew): Socially Progressive Economically Conservative. This is so common that some clever pundits have coined an acronym: SPEC.

I have a better term for such people: Pretend Liberals. It is really quite simple: it doesn't matter what laws you have if the power of individuals is too unequal. If you have the money, you can get around most laws. Wanna launder drug money? That might cost you a few bucks, but certainly not your freedom. If you don't have money, you just better be lucky. Wanna launder drug money? You're looking at life imprisonment. Hell, you don't have to do anything at all for the state to kill you.

(It's interesting to think about this for a moment. There is a great test case: OJ Simpson. Rich OJ had no problem getting a not guilty verdict against a case that was pretty strong. Poor OJ got 33 years for a fairly trumped up charge. Rich man, poor man: free man, caged man.)

Thus, I think we really need to do something about the Democratic Party. Over the last 20 years, the party really has abandoned economic issues. Just watch MSNBC. It is frightening. Now, I'm not suggesting that the people on MSNBC don't believe in economic liberalism. Rather, they are all well-to-do, and are more than willing to overlook the economic issue if they can get some decent policy (or lip service!) on guns or gay rights. What's more, we have our great liberal president whose idea of fair is for the rich to pay an extra percent in taxes while the elderly get their benefits cut by substantially more. That's not liberalism; that's conservatism; it's just not fascism.

We need to rework our political party. We need to embrace economic liberalism. It is not an option. "Economically conservative" means "conservative." And the only way that most liberal voters will understand this is if we promote the idea. We've lived through 20 years during which the Democratic Party has been nothing more than Republican Lite. Not only is that completely at odds with what most liberals want, it is a losing strategy. The Republicans were still winning in 2009 when Democrats controlled the executive and legislative branches of government because the terms of the debate were still conservative. Note that even with overwhelming control of both houses, we couldn't even discuss single payer healthcare. The Republicans won before the debate started.

We need real liberals. New Deal liberals; Fair Deal liberals; Great Society liberals. Not Economic Conservative liberals. They aren't real liberals. When we elect one, we lose.

(Cross-posted at Frankly Curious.)

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  • I try to warn people about Republicrats having taken over the Democratic Party. No one wants to hear it. Inexplicably they circle the wagons around Obama and, worse, Hillary who helped start the DLC "Third Way" sellout to corporations.

    By Blogger Ron, at 8:24 AM  

  • So essentially you propose becoming the Democratic version of the Tea Party. What other elements will be part of your purity test?

    You know where this leads? It gets to a conservative Tea Party dominated minority Republican Party, and a minority but pure liberal dominated Democratic Party, with the vast bulk of the country settling into a middle ground, third party.

    What Cuomo really is, and probably many other elected Dems are here too, is this generation's version of Nelson Rockefeller, Jacob Javits, Hubert Humphrey, Abe Ribicoff, and similar leaders who dominated the 1950s and 60s.

    Just an observation from an old guy who is very troubled by those who insist on all or nothing politics.

    Nonetheless, I appreciate reading your thoughts and ideas.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 9:04 AM  

  • Ummmm...Humphrey was an unabashed liberal. (Except for that whole Vietnam war thing)

    By Blogger Matthew Saroff, at 11:10 AM  

  • Actually the vast bulk of the country supports the liberal agenda, once they are presented with the honest facts and see through the rhetoric.

    The tea party is a fringe, far right of center, and that is becoming more apparent every day.

    By Blogger Jimbo2K7, at 3:02 PM  

  • Right on. We are living in a coporate state NOW. I tell folks Obama would not be president without their OK.
    Corporations are people doncha Know and money is free speech.While 500,000 of or soldiers died, protecting these capitalistic swine pigs Standard Oil was selling them gasoline and for many others it was business as usual.
    As Marvin Gaye "only love can conquer hate". We must take to the streets once again. We must be willing to fulfill our obligation to be willing to look the enemy in the with love in our eyes and sacrifice our lives as so many in the past have done so that future generations may live in Harmony "imagine peace"

    By Blogger Unknown, at 5:18 AM  

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