Friday, February 25, 2011

Don't lose elections!

I've been talking with some Democrats who are applauding the Wisconsin senators on the lam. Somehow there is the perception that as all the facts about the bill under consideration come out, opposition will grow. (Yes, I know that the bill allows public power plants to be sold off without bid and other yadda yadda. ) Ain't gonna happen -- or at least, not enough to make any difference in the foreseeable future.

In fact, the contents of the bill are known to the people who count: the elected Republicans of Wisconsin. I haven't seen any evidence that there is pressure on them to change, and I don't think they will. They have the votes, they have the ideology, and they have the Koch money. They will eventually pass this outrageous bill. That's because they won in Wisconsin and the Democrats lost. The senators will eventually slink back, as they always have in this kind of confrontation, and have their noses rubbed in it.

The Democrats lost because they still don't understand that they need discipline and principle and toughness, both in Wisconsin and nationally. They refused to pursue attacks on the Republicans once they and Obama won in 2008: that was the time to press their advantage and start investigations and play hardball, putting the blame for the economic crisis on Wall Street and the PTR. But no. They and Obama got all lovey-dovey about non-partisanship and working together "across the aisle." The Republicans started knifing them over and over, and now the Dems are starting to get hit in vital places. But it's too late.

And, of course, the Dems are still paying back Wall Street for the large contributions made just before 2008. People forget that Goldman-Sachs gave more to the Dems in 2008 than it gave to the PTR: Wall Street knew what was coming and invested accordingly. They were rewarded with Geitner et. al. and a no-strings-attached bailout. No one went to jail, though a few execs had their bonuses put off for a while.

The "liberals", in love with the Dems, are like the proverbial husband: always the last to know.

Losing elections has consequences: for local ordinances, for contracts and cabinet appointments, and for the courts. You can't let up for a moment. The Republicans are intellectually and morally beneath contempt, true enough, but they still have the political chops.

The unions, of course, are pissed, but it will take more than banging drums and offering guest rooms to fleeing Wisconsin senators. They are going to have to make their pitch all over again. They are going to have to re-organize workers -- maybe starting with the millions of unemployed. They are going to have to put the screws to the Democrats or maybe organize a labor party: something militant, with a clear understanding of the actualities of American political life. (They might even take a few pages from the Tea Screamer playbook.) In short, they are going to have to go back to their roots and do a lot of the old hard work over again. It's really too bad that we don't have an international Communist movement (or "Menace") to throw some fear into their Big Business opponents, and provide them some serious backbone-stiffening support. I'm afraid that liberals simply won't do that job.

At this point, I'm beginning to think that that the near-dead labor movement may be our only hope in avoiding an America totally dominated by corporations and the wealthy.

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