So I am a child of the late 1980’s, which means that most of my cultural education took place during the 1990’s. Unfortunately my interest in music started almost immediately after Kurt Cobain shot himself in the face. This means that I was a member of MTV’s key demographic just in time for the demise of grunge and the rise of shitty bands like Nickelback.
For those who have the fortune of having some how avoided this era in popular rock music; the late 1990’s saw record companies settle on non-offensive, over-produced bands as a way to justify $20 prices on CD’s. None of these bands had any form of unique musical expression, and all of them just seemed to embrace the facade of rebellion while avoiding doing anything that might prevent their album from being sold at Wal-Mart. It was terrible, especially given the fact that a growing set of diverse independent bands were developing underneath this heap of awful music (and would only become “mainstream” after annoying ass hipster culture also integrated into the popular consciousness).
I give that longwinded introduction to compare that shitty era of music to the shittiest of all political movements within my beloved Democratic party; the self-aggrandizing assholes who make up the “Blue Dog” Coalition. Celebrated by absolutely no one outside of empty-headed elitist moderates within the D.C. press circuit, these politicians have continued to exist by promising to be the “New Coke” of the Democratic Party. Without any shred of self-awareness (or a history textbook), the members of this coalition promote causes which benefit none of the traditional interests groups of the post-FDR Democratic party. Instead the Blue Dogs choose to heap benefits on the members of the 1% in their districts by stopping environmental legislation, anything that would strengthen of workers rights, destroying the progress of the Civil Rights movement, and even supporting idiotic “anti-crime” efforts like the death penalty.
You might be saying “hey, actively working to degrade the same populist economic politics that attracted both southern white voters and minority voters for the first half of the 20th century seems to be a prescription for constant failure and disappointment”- and in saying that you would be absolutely right. The Blue Dogs chose to forgo offering a diametrically opposing narrative to the bullshit spouted by Republican operatives beginning with Nixon in 1968 (eg: “you guys are a bunch of racist fucks and your ‘Southern Strategy’ is thinly-veiled cracker bait politics being used to fool people into voting with your robber-baron base). Instead the coalition offers a slightly less insane (yet still batshit crazy) form of the same story, knowing that black voters/unions/women have no other choice than to vote for their well-funded yet flawed asses.
But despite this genius strategy of offering voters a choice between a kick in the balls or a punch to the throat, the GOP somehow keeps their ideological hold on the political consensus of the country (my guess is that voters prefer a candidate who doesn’t assure their constituents that it is raining whilst they are receiving a golden shower from business interests). In effect the Blue Dogs function as not just enablers of awful conservative causes, but they also provide the GOP with the perfect scapegoat for the inevitable fuck up caused by allowing dumbass ideas from CATO or Heritage to become law. So while the march towards corporatized “charter” schools erodes the quality of public education, free trade obliterates the manufacturing base, and the criminal justice system continues to (only) target the poor, the GOP continues to shamelessly claim that “government is the problem”- and then points to the work of the Blue Dog’s to prove their point.
So what is the antidote to this incredible exercise in electoral futility? Well we can start by actually paying attention to our candidates (especially at the primary stage) and what they are saying on specific issues involving economic justice. The background of our candidate (i.e. whether they are a veteran, business person, or DFH) is way less important than their stances on workers rights or welfare benefits. This was the dilemma that successful Democrats like FDR or the Kennedy’s created for their opponents. A politician from the elite sector of society who still spoke eloquently about the plight of the poor and working class was (and probably still is) basically unbeatable. Continuing to elect former failed NFL quarterbacks who don’t believe that women or gays should have basic human rights and that the government shouldn’t give a fuck about poor people is only going to instill the idea that even liberals don’t believe in their own ideology.
So in the end I’m not asking for ideological purity. Rather I am demanding that national Democrats stop extending our tent to encompass members of the party who don’t believe in the basic foundations of our supposedly shared political philosophy. If the DNC disagrees with me, then they can follow the advice from the Boise Weekly (when discussing better alternatives to listening to Nickelback) and instead use campaign money to:
Buy 45 hammers from the dollar store, hang them from the ceiling at eye level and spend an evening banging the demons out of your dome.
That activity alone is so much more productive and beneficial for society than listening to another dumbass opinion from the Blue Dogs.