The Third Estate
What Is The Third Estate?
What Has It Been Until Now In The Political Order?
What Does It Want To Be?

Is It Time For A Purge?

Wednesday, November 11, 2009
In considering the Stupak amendment and one's response to it, it is vital to understand that the Democratic Party is above all a coalition. It is not a unified ideological movement with a coherent leadership and a motivated, cohesive activist base. It is therefore a very tricky thing to craft policy, because sometimes varying interests of the coalition members must all be appeased. It is also extremely frustrating for the numerically larger progressive wing of the party to make concessions to the tiny but majority-making "moderates" in the party, but such concessions are probably inevitable - as inevitable as the fact that moderates aren't going to be able to dictate policymaking either. The two sides have to get along.

All of which makes the Stupak amendment the political equivalent of a mugging. Ha! You thought I was going the other way, didn't you? No, there are a few issues that define the Democratic Party - issues that are supposed to transcend ideological division and interest-group loyalties. Health care is one of those. For decades Democrats have been trying to put forward national health insurance, and time and time again the liberals in the party have set aside their own preference for a single-payer system in an effort to get moderates on board. And every time we are told it is just not enough. Well, I understand, I suppose, however unhappy it makes me.

But what is entirely unacceptable, what is in fact an act of gross political sabotage, what I am frankly not going to forget, ever, is the effort to introduce a piece of legislation that divides the party to block health care reform. Stupak and his pro-life (and quisling) allies decided to use the chance at health care reform as an opportunity to shove a pro-life policy down the throats of an overwhelmingly pro-choice party. In a coalition one avoids putting issues that divides you on the agenda in favor of focusing on what unites you. You do not sidetrack things onto divisive issues, and you most certainly do not crassly manipulate your coalition partners' desire to pursue the common agenda. It is just. not. done.

Since the beginning of Obama's presidency, every significant piece of progressive reform has been undermined by a group of self-serving "centrists" whose chief loyalty is neither to their constituencies nor their party but instead to their contributors and their own egos. What precisely have liberals gotten out of the last year, anyway? Card check legislation? Health care reform? Winding down our foreign adventures? Protection of civil liberties? Pro-choice laws? The end of don't ask/don't tell? A climate change bill? Can you please point to me one area where the "mods" have not either badly weakened or outright blocked everything that the majority of the party wants?

And after that year of frustration, they attempt to impose the most regressive, anti-woman legislation in a decade on us? What, so we can have a hopelessly compromised health care law with no public option, no cost controls, and huge subsidies to insurance and drug companies?

I'm sorry, but these are not the actions of a political ally - but of an enemy. No, the "mods" are not as bad as the Republicans. But if their demands are conceded to, then progressive will be permanently blocked from any of their agenda. Our politics will continue to be an alternating cycle of conservative policy under Republicans and the consolidation of conservatism under Democrats. Thanks, but no thanks.

But you know what? Those mods are destroying themselves anyway. If they succeed, they'll be washed away in the next election, and the Palinists will come to power. And they will have earned every bit of it.
Posted by Arbitrista @ 12:40 PM
  • Well said! Your conclusion does, however, lead us into a Palinist period. My question is why, after umpteen years, is abortion still an issue? If we put race in there, there'd be no hiding behind 'moderate' labels. If we said 'okay, abortion has the same limits Viagra does. You limit one, you limit the other...' would that demonstrate the idiocy of this?

    I'm just sorry I'm not coherent enough on this (choking on fury doesn't help) that I can craft a better response. So I thank you for yours.

    By Blogger Belle, at 6:52 PM  
  • Yeah, the Palinist conclusion doesn't please me, but what else am I going to do? If I just say that "well, they're better than the Republicans," that just enables all the damage they're causing. It's them that's making this happen, not liberal activists.

    Why is abortion still an issue? Easy. Because there are still millions of people in this country that hate women. They haven't accepted the feminist revolution of the 1970's any more than they've accepted the Civil Rights movement, the New Deal, or basically any progress in social justice since the Civil War (and maybe before). They're Calhounists, plain and simple. Basically, they're evil, and the "mods" are their fellow travelers. They're the Petain to the Republicans' Hitler, the Doughfaces to their Secessionists.

    I know that probably sounds radical, maybe even a little crazed. and I probably wouldn't right those words if I were a bit calmer. But I'm not calm at all. I'm just furious.

    By Blogger Arbitrista, at 8:33 PM  
  • I've been furious forever, it feels like. But you really lightened up my mood with that quick switch. I loved what you did there.

    Good post, all in all. And I'm not reading much political writing these days, it's not good for my health. Glad to know that there are still people fighting the good fight though.

    By Blogger Rebecca, at 1:35 AM  
Post a Comment
<< Home

:: permalink