The Price of Staying Away

george bush fliesSo after the relief of getting some non-Bush into office in 2008, and achieving victory for the amazing Barack Obama, wha happen? Well, many things. Perhaps Obama couldn’t or wouldn’t act as fast and as progressively as he could, given the disastrous (and well calculated) inheritance from Mr, Bush. Obama was confronted with a right wing megaphone on steroids. But perhaps more sinister, he was also confronted with a rather demanding liberal class demanding a quick cure of Bushitis. They had expended time, money and enthusiasm on electing this “hope we can believe in”. “We are what we have been waiting for” was absolutely correct.

Then there was the healthcare “debate”, where Obama faced the unique problem of being opposed with feudal error by those on the payroll of the health insurance companies and those who expected Canadian healthcare for all. He coughed up as much as he could to the first, and naturally still got spanked – they never are deterred by facts. But the coughing up, despite the “first step” gains of “Obamacare”, devastated liberals.

Liberals, experts at the circular firing squad approach to such political defeats, decided the best approach in November 2010 would be to punish Obama by not voting. The right wing echo chamber naturally encouraged this discouragement with fervor. Polls were flouted that showed Obama’s favorability numbers flagging, and relentlessly predicting Republican victories all over the country. The Enthusiasm Gap grew, as the young folks, feeling betrayed and discouraged with fallen expectations returned to their Wiis. And with the immigrant demonization programs, most ardently displayed in Arizona, many brow people, concerned with confrontations at the polls – promised by Republican thugs – were skittish.

And the extraordinarily strident “tea party” people, actually fueled by the Koch Brothers, Dick Armey and other anti-Democratic icons, were feverishly getting out the vote especially in local districts where they had been able to beat up Democrats and disloyal Republicans alike in those “town hall meetings” in 2009.

The irony of 2010 is that true progressives in fact did well. It was those scaredy cat Dems running as Republicans, such as Blanche Lincoln, were trounced by ACTUAL Republicans. Harry Reid survived, but, back to Wisconsin, the great Russ Feingold did not.

Sure enough, Democratic voters stayed away, and quickly and eagerly filling the vacuum was a class of Republicans never before seen. And so, Wisconsin has Governor Walker.

And so, Wisconsin. But of course we know there’s no real “Tea Party” ethos, as espoused in bumper stickers – stuff about smaller government, protecting our borders, and managing the deficit. That’s the sizzle they are selling, with not a little undertow of racism (the frightened John Boehner can never completely dismiss the birthers, less he turn off a legion of haters who vote).

No, we (the informed) knew what Scott Walker was up to, and it had nothing to do with responsible spending, and budget balancing; rather he is the initial cannon shot of a broad Republican corporate strategy – the war on the middle class, the war on the New Deal, the war on unions initiated by Walker’s hero Reagan. Bust the unions, and then they aren’t organized to support Democratic nominees. Strangle public services, such as heath and education, by withholding money, and people are too busy scrambling for survival or sufficiently dumbed down to worry about informing themselves on how to vote.

And then, as they always do, Walker busted himself. Punked by a journalist pretending to be his benefactor David Koch, Walker admitted to his real ploy, toady that he is.

They implode, they always do. Is Frank Luntz working over time to save his ass, so that Kasich can do the same stuff in Ohio, and LePage in Maine, and Daniels in Indiana?

bob illesBut this battle raging now is the price of staying away. There is even talk among some of my progressive friends of “voting green” in 2012, as if the complete the deal. Imagine how Citizens United beneficiaries are to take the White House in 2012, if for no other reason than to pack the Supreme Court with even more Scalias and Alitos. And there’s not just money for TV ads, there’s all manner of vote suppression in the works. Hosni Mubarak could have learned something from the take no prisoners approach. We mock him and Gaddaffi who will stop at nothing to maintain their power. Well, they have nothing on Karl Rove and the Koch Brothers.

This is the price to pay for staying away.

History of sorts was made in 2010 – but about as opposite as possible to what happened in Egypt, which we admired and supported so much. They were clambering for democracy… while we are doing our best to discard it.

Robert Illes

Valley Dems United, Margie Murry, Editor

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