When the Democrats re-took the congress in 2006 and again when Barack Obama was first starting to look like a formidable national candidate, I wrote for my column in the Hoot offering my half-assed analysis and predictions concerning the future of the party that I have aligned myself with for as long as a I can remember. My basic theory was not revolutionary as it pretty much followed the common wisdom of that day for political science. I argued for a big tent, especially on social issues, as a way to amass power and effect change. Like many other people concerned with politics and policy of that day, I completely ignored the issues concerning the economy, especially the micro financial problems affecting the American underclass. Unfortunately my oversight has been the rule of thumb for Democrats for generations of politicians after Johnson. It needs to stop.
Cory Booker is an up and coming politician out of Newark whose national prominence is linked to his heroics in that impoverished city and his eloquent centrist message as portrayed in fawning documentaries and interviews. His politics and skin tone are almost exactly like Barack Obama, but the media’s political analysis of the two men starts with race and never actually discuss their similarities on policy. This is why Booker’s tone deaf defense of Bain fucking Capital on Meet The Press came as such a surprise to those who write about these sorts of things.
Ignoring the fact that Barack Obama has said pretty much the same thing in defending the right of rich assholes to vulture the rest of us, the general idea created by the third estate by Sunday afternoon pretty much settled on the idea of Booker breaking ranks to defend Wall Street in the face of a resurgent economic populist message by the administration. While this is of course bullshit in its substance, the idea that our party needs a purge of those who defend the Jamie Dimon’s or Mitt Romney’s of the world is actually a pretty good idea. Actual policy usually follows a clear and concise political message from the top.
Lets remember the important lesson from FDR and Reagan- economic theory is driven by politics and it sets the tone for every other issue that can be affected by the democratic process. Once you have embraced the idea that the government does or does not have a role in how people spend money, how much businesses are regulated, or whether the government has a job to prevent poverty, you have essentially decided every other vote that you will make from that point (assuming that you are capable of being ideologically consistent, which is another thing all together). Since the time of Lyndon Johnson the Democratic party has been inexplicably afraid to attack the other side for contributing to income inequality or any of the nasty results of the predatory capitalism embraced by the modern Republican ethos. Reagan’s sociopathic charisma and habitual lying in the defense of anarcho-capitalism (combined with the need for campaign donations) effectively prevented any sane Democrat with national ambition from stating the truth. No nominally liberal politician has simply said that the assholes ascending to the positions of power in the Forbes 500 did not given any amount of fucks concerning the interests of the American people- they cared only about their own profit margins (and damn the consequences).
In some ways the choice of Mitt Romney as the GOP nominee is the perfect necessity for the overdue discussion concerning wealth and power in this county. Romeny is a man whose virtually unlimited riches were made at the expense of extreme and permanent suffering of the many people who were conned into his shell game of economic salvation. Romeny is also a person whose hatred of the underclass and impatience with dissent are so transparent that any attempt to spin a Horatio Alger defense of his method of personal enrichment will continue to fail miserably. As a result of Romney’s failure to effectively defend his asssholery through obfuscation or deceit, we might finally be reaching a point where success in gaining profits is no longer necessarily seen as analogous to being a good, decent, or even intelligent individual.
So what should the national Democratic Party do in the face of Booker’s massive fuck up this past weekend? Well first of all drafting candidates who reject the false equivalency of government regulation and outright communism would be a good start. However at the end of the day a harsh, unforgiving, dare I say Republican-style litmus test is necessary to win elections and effect our desired policies. Candidates that do not support broad and essential tax increases, high levels of welfare spending, and a return to the 1930’s economic regulations should simply not be welcomed into our party. The leaders of the DNC and DCCC need to look at the purpose of government as envisioned by those who call themselves liberal. If someone does not believe that the government exists to prevent poverty and assist with the development of successful American enterprise, they are not working for the either interests of the party or the nation, and they need to go. Our tent is not big enough for people who insist on pissing on the people who are holding up its poles.