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Barney Frank whines about the effectiveness of partisanship

jumpjet's picture

The House's umpteenth attempt to repeal Obamacare passed today, to no one's surprise. Barney Frank, everyone's favorite errand boy for big finance, took a moment to complain about it to Esquire, and I was struck by his analysis of his enemies:

"I spent 12 years here with the Republicans in power, and it was never like this. The Clinton impeachment was all about power. The Terri Schiavo thing, they all really thought they had the country behind them. But they weren't all extremists. Now, all the Republicans are either part of the Tea Party, or they're afraid of being in a primary with one of them. They're behaving more like an opposition parliamentary party in Great Britain. It's 100-percent opposition, and it's our job, as Democrats, to make sure the American people know how extreme this party has become."

Gee, Barney, it sounds like partisans on the far right have the will and the stomach to throw their own people overboard if they don't conform to their views. And you think this is terrible because in the good old days everybody held hands and sang kumbaya and passed NAFTA together.

Now, this isn't a perfectly applicable lesson for the left, because the rightist partisans have the shadowy backing of all manner of psychotic oligarchs who know the right's intentions will lead to neofeudalism. The Democratic Party can't be fundamentally changed from within. However, it might respond to outside pressures. Like, for example, if Obama were to lose the election this November by a margin of 2% or 3% and Jill Stein gets 4% of the vote. That would really rile up the shitsuckers in the media and the blogosphere. They'd yell and scream at all the leftists, accusing them of repeating what happened with Nader in 2000 (never mind that the whole story is a lie).

And the proper response to that, if it happens, will be to spit in their faces and say, "Of course we're the reason Obama lost. We're quite proud of it. We'll do it again, everywhere we are. So you can either get used to losing, all thanks to us, or perhaps you could start responding to our views. Or you could make our activities illegal, but that will end badly for you in the long run."

There's always something to be gleaned from the behavior of successful extremists.

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CMike's picture
Submitted by CMike on

Jumpjet says:

...Like, for example, if Obama were to lose the election this November by a margin of 2% or 3% and Jill Stein gets 4% of the vote. That would really rile up the shitsuckers in the media and the blogosphere....

And the proper response to that, if it happens, will be to spit in their faces and say, "Of course we're the reason Obama lost. We're quite proud of it. We'll do it again, everywhere we are. So you can either get used to losing, all thanks to us, or perhaps you could start responding to our views. Or you could make our activities illegal, but that will end badly for you in the long run."

I supported Al Gore in 2000 but I really couldn't blame Ralph Nader for the outcome in that election...until Nader, who had run on there not being any meaningful difference between the Democrats and Republicans, began insisting that his candidacy had nothing to do with the outcome in Florida. Here you have a razor thin margin of victory for the right-winger and the third-party candidate on the left insisting that he hadn't cost the Democrat any net votes. What would be the reason for running as a third party candidate if you didn't want to affect the support that would otherwise be going to one of the major party candidates?

Now you might say that Nader wasn't running to hurt Gore's chances but rather to build a third party movement. But, uh-oh, Nader then left the Green Party and ran as the Independent Party candidate in the next election. With Nader you got the worst of both possible outcomes, Bush beat Gore and Nader made no claim that he had pulled votes on the left away from the Democrat. If the third party candidate is neither going to win an election outright nor affect the chances of one of the major party candidates no matter how narrow the margin in an election, why would either major party ever be concerned about the views he's espousing?

Submitted by lambert on

... a celebrity candidate. No party buiding, and (as CMike points out) no claim of electoral power. It would appear (I can't know) that the Greens learned something from the disaster, and I can't imagine Stein making the same mistakes (and her running mate, Cheri Honkala, was apparently a vote getter in PA). Both of them are not experienced at the national level but one must start somewhere.

I think (with Ian Welsh) that Obama has to go down, and be seen to be taken down, from the left. Otherwise (at least electorally*) there is no left. The only way to win any concessions is to threaten them. And when they give something, say "That's not enough."

NOTE * Big caveat. At this point, the scale of corruption is so great I'm not sure what's possible.

jumpjet's picture
Submitted by jumpjet on

He seems to think the failure to primary Obama constitutes a failure to take him down, but I think a left-wing third party costing Obama the election would be seen as taking Obama down even more definitively than mounting a primary challenge. And let's face it, nobody was going to knock Obama off his perch in the primaries.

a little night musing's picture
Submitted by a little night ... on

...although the ability of the Democratic Party leadership to see everything that happens as a sign that they need to move farther to the "center" (i.e., to the right of Richard Nixon) never fails to amaze me.

DCblogger's picture
Submitted by DCblogger on

The Greens have learned the defects of a celebrity candidate.

I disagree with Ian. The only way liberals will learn that the Democratic party is irredeemably corrupt is for Obama to be reelected. (note - I will not vote for Obama, and I advise others against doing so.) People have to see with their own eyes that the Democrats are part of the kleptocracy. Otherwise decent people like Howie of DWT, Digby, and even Cannonfire think we have to keep supporting the lesser evil. It will take four more years of destruction at the hands of the Democrats to wake them up.

The best we can hope for this year is that someone like Julie Williams to win her race.

Submitted by regulararmyfool on

The NSDAP (Nazi) party took over the German government in the 1930s.

The parliamentary battle of the NSDAP had the single purpose of destroying the parliamentary system from within through its own methods. It was necessary above all to make formal use of the possibilities of the party-state system but to refuse real cooperation and thereby to render the parliamentary system, which is by nature dependent upon the responsible cooperation of the opposition, incapable of action.

Ernst Rudolf Huber (witness) From the Chief Counsel for the Prosecution of Axis Criminality Volume I, Chapter VII 1946

Makes things a little clearer, doesn't it?