Thursday, October 26, 2006

Kicking The Ass -- Part I

Whenever I knock liberals in general, and Dems specifically, those among the faithful who respond say that I live in a fantasy world, that I'm a Naderite, that I'm an overgrown campus radical who never got enough Lenin, that I hate democracy, that I don't understand how the Two Party System works. To them, the Star Spangled mule, for all its stumbling about, is the only progressive ride in town. And we who throw rotting fruit at the poor thing are not only being selfish and cruel, we're setting the mule up to be crushed by the rampaging elephant, which humanity can no longer afford.

And yabba yab. You know the narrative.

Still, I won't protest too much about these and other characterizations. It comes with the turf when opining. But with the 11th hour wailing from online & talk radio libs about how the '06 midterms might be -- no, are -- the most important elections in our very lifetimes (be sure to cross yourself before you vote!), perhaps it's time to show you loyal mule riders how I arrived at my present position, such as it is.

As noted here before, I grew up in a largely apolitical home, though my mother, around the time she and my father divorced, got active in Indianapolis Republican campaigns (she worked for Richard Lugar's successful mayoral run and was a big fan of him as Senator, until recently, when she informed me that Lugar is now a "socialist"). When I went to live with my father, his second wife was a dye-in-wool Kennedy liberal, and my exposure to her politics had an effect. In the 1980 presidential campaign, my first, I supported Ted Kennedy's challenge to Jimmy Carter's incumbency. While Kennedy won the New York primary, which seemed huge at the time, he fell way short of toppling Carter from the Dem ticket. Faced with a Carter/Reagan contest, a lot of young disaffected libs like myself ended up in John Anderson's camp, the liberal Repub who thought Reagan was a disaster for the GOP. I worked on Anderson's campaign with plenty of enthusiasm, though no one in our office thought Anderson had a shot (and if I had to do it over, I would've supported Barry Commoner of the Citizens Party). We simply could not work for Carter who, in his drift to the right, reinstated draft registration, which didn't effect me since I was already in the Army. But it was the principle of the thing, and we believed that Carter was caving in too much to Reagan, while at least Anderson put up a fight, however symbolic.

In 1984, I was living on Manhattan's Upper East Side with an older, sexy actress and part-time model who was a Southern Dem through and through. By this point in time, I had witnessed first-hand the Sanctuary Movement, which operated an underground railroad of sorts, getting Salvadoran and Guatemalan refugees into Canada, and was increasingly involved in Central American issues, as well as nuclear disarmament activism (I'd done door-to-door canvassing for SANE/Freeze on Long Island and in New Jersey -- and was chased out of more than a few yards). Needless to say, supporting Walter Mondale or Gary Hart was the furthest thing from my mind, though I did have friends who worked on Jesse Jackson's campaign, who at least made some critical mention of Reagan's death squad policy in the Americas (when not sticking his foot in his mouth via "Hymietown"). Being militantly atheist, I couldn't get with a preacher running for president, no matter how much I agreed with Jackson's positions.

Once Mondale locked down the Dem nomination and picked Geraldine Ferraro as his historic running mate, my lib girlfriend went Mondale mad. We had Mondale/Ferraro stickers all over our apartment, and she insisted that I wear a big red, white and blue button promoting the ticket, which I didn't want to do, since the Dems were complicit in mass murder in Central America. This caused considerable tension between us, which affected our, er, "intimate" relationship. This was too much for me to endure, as I was insanely hot for her. And so, I wore the button during the last weeks of Mondale's doomed campaign, and voted, as promised, for the Dem ticket, which lost New York state. It was the first and only time I voted with my dick. It was worth it in the short run, even though she dumped me about five months later.

In 1986, I worked for Mark Green's New York Senate campaign against Al D'Amato, though I wondered at the time how seriously Green took the election. He was stable during the debates, but lacked a killer instinct and allowed D'Amato to walk all over him. Also, in private, Green was pretty unbearable, his egomania and clear careerist ambition overshadowing what many of us felt were more pressing issues, like Central America, South Africa, abortion rights and the drug war. Green made all the right noises, yet never seemed to follow through with any substance. And of course, he was flattened in the general election.

By 1988, I had had it with the American political system, and with the Dems especially, who made no attempt to impeach Reagan over Iran/contra, which I found scandalous and spineless. To make matters worse, the Dems nominated Michael Dukakis, who would not rule out an American invasion of Nicaragua. But then, he wouldn't have the hypothetical killer of his wife, Kitty, executed either, so some "progressive" tendencies were ostensibly present. Nevertheless, Dukakis ran a horrible campaign against a very beatable George Herbert Walker Bush, and this drove those Dems I knew nuts. Still, they remained loyal to the mule, even though the stupid animal kept running into walls and kicking at air. And, in return, Dukakis had his ass stomped by an emaciated pachyderm. One of the sorriest spectacles I've ever witnessed.

In 1992, I was briefly taken with Jerry Brown's campaign. Although I had many problems with him, Brown spoke about the undemocratic nature of major campaigns, and lambasted the role of corporate money in deciding them. He made Paul Tsongas and Bill Clinton look like the party hacks and corporate shills they were, and for a moment it appeared as if the Dem primaries might actually mean something, especially after Brown beat Clinton in Connecticut. But Brown's suggestion that if he snagged the nomination he would consider Jesse Jackson as his running mate hurt him in mainstream circles. And just before the New York and Wisconsin primaries, ABC News and "Nightline" reported that drug parties were taking place in one of Brown's residences, even though he wasn't present for the fun. This "story" came and went after Clinton narrowly edged out Brown in both states, and it was suspected that pro-Clinton operatives planted this "news flash" in order to give their candidate the extra help he needed to stave off Brown's strong showing. There was no hard evidence that these parties existed; and naturally Brown, as anti-drug as you could get, angrily denied them. Yet, Clinton got the edge he needed, and went on to win the nomination.

It was then I first saw that Clinton was an amoral hustler who would do anything to grab power, which he shamelessly did. But what really floored me, though it shouldn't have, was how many left-liberals were deeply in love with him. It made no sense to me, especially with Clinton using Reaganite appeals to win votes. As I repeatedly told my lib friends who swooned at the mere mention of the man from Hot Springs, it was Clinton, not Bush, and certainly not Ross Perot, who was Reagan's true political heir. Serious Clintonites didn't run from this assessment, but many fawning libs tried to play this down, no matter how obvious it was. And when cornered, all they could say was that, yes, maybe Big Bill is running a Reagan Lite campaign. But that's where the votes are! Once he gets in, he'll have no need for that cover and will be free to unleash the true progressive within!

Well, we saw how that worked out -- or not, depending on one's level of Clintonphilia. But if Bill Clinton was/is what his lib followers insist he was/is, there would have been no need for Aaron Sorkin's fantasy Clintons played by Michael Douglas and Martin Sheen. Why pretend if the reality was as wonderful as liberals maintain?

That's all I have time to tap out today. I'll conclude this post early next week, just as midterm mania reaches its peak. Besides, there are Friday videos to select. Must keep matters in proper perspective.