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May 2004, Volume 11 Nr. 10, Issue 131
If You're Not With Us, You're Against Us. 
George?  No.  Dean!   Democrats Need a New Mantra

Jozef Hand-Boniakowski

An Associated Press story on April 21, 2004 quoted former presidential candidate, Howard Dean as saying that, "a vote for Ralph Nader is the same as a vote for George Bush."  Governor Dean is the former governor of my home state of Vermont.  How Howard Dean ever became known as a "progressive" or being left-of-center is a mystery to many Vermonters.  

Vermont has a somewhat left of center major party, the Progressive Party.   Howard Dean is not a member.  He is a Democrat, a member of a party that is one-half of the duopoly that holds a monopoly stranglehold on the illusion of democracy.  Now, Dean is going around pushing his Democracy For America campaign and theme telling people in Oregon and across the United States that Nader spells his name B..U..S..H.  By doing so, Howard Dean with a quick obnoxious quip embraces the very same  tactics of the crowd he wants us to vote against.  Dean is pontificating that folks wanting to exercise their electoral franchise are lo and behold, voting for George Bush, if they don't vote for the candidate he approves of.  So much for Dean's belief in Democracy.  Tell me governor, how is this different from George W. Bush telling us that, "You're either with us or against us."  Some progressive.  I suggest sticking to primal screams.

I'm not surprised that Howard Dean would behave like the Democrat that he is or like a shadow Republican.  After all, the Democratic Party enables the Republicans and vice versa.  It takes two gloves to keep the hands warm.  We can always expect a politician to behave like a politician.  And, this politician sees a role and a position for himself in a Kerry  administration.  That's how it works.  Dean gets progressives to vote for Kerry even though he is not one, and, if Kerry wins there is perhaps a cabinet level or high level department position waiting.  Vermont's most well-know "progressive", Bernie Sanders, stands to attain a chairmanship should the House of Representatives shift to a Democratic Party majority.  That's about as likely as progressive mayor, Pete Clavelle running as a Progressive for governor of Vermont.  He's running as a Democrat.  The Progressive Party doesn't plan on having a candidate for governor.  The suspicion is, however, that a non-Progressive may run as a progressive candidate anyway.  

Running Away

Liberals ran away from the term "liberal" during the 1990s.  With much effort and carefully applied makeup, but with little makeover, many came to be known as small "P" progressives to the dismay of capital "P" Progressives.  Liberals are people who become conservative when the times get tough.  So, now we have conservatives who pass as progressive, like Howard Dean and John Kerry.  These folks push toward the center from their safe position to the right of it.  In other words, they are Bush Lite.  

Ask Howard Dean or John Kerry about a comprehensive exit strategy for Iraq and you get the response that we have to increase troop strength.  Ask a Democrat to explain Kerry's Iraq strategy and you get an Anybody But Bush non sequitor blather.  Ask Dean about war and you get that he is not opposed to war, just to the way "this" war is being conducted.  John Kerry has no exit strategy.  Quite the contrary, he wants to send in more troops.  Ask Kerry about gay marriage and you get that he is opposed to it, but in favor of civil unions, a false substitute for equality.   How is it that so-called progressives oppose civil rights and equal protection under the Constitution for same sex couples?  Perhaps it is because they are wolf conservatives in liberal sheep-skin clothing calling themselves progressives.  And the bleat goes on.

How is it possible?

I'm not naive enough to believe that Ralph Nader is salvation.  But what of John Kerry?  While Nader is not salvation, Kerry is not the solution.  However, do we really expect anyone other than Ralph Nader to take on Bush's messianic militarism?  Or openly call for impeachment?  Or call the war on Iraq what it is - an imperial expansion of empire.  

How is it possible that no  Democrat has yet to introduce articles of impeachment against George W. Bush?  Why not?  Consider the website who call themselves the "Patriotic Progressives".  The website calls for the impeachment of Bush.  It lists all sorts of books on the great tragedy of this administration that one can buy.  It calls for impeachment.  Good.  Yet, there are no articles of impeachment from the Democrats in Congress.  Perhaps, impeachment is being saved for a second Bush term?  A failsafe position or Plan B if Democrats lose the election.  Never mind that this  administration has trampled the Constitution.   They did so with Democratic Party blessing including John Kerry who voted for the war.  Thank you Democrats for unconstitutionally transferring war making rights to the executive branch.  Thank you Democrats for voting to fund an illegal war under false pretenses.  Thank you Democrats for passing the PATRIOT Act without close scrutiny.  After giving this administration just about everything it wanted for 3 years, finally, in the year 2004, the Democratic Party grew a small spine and acquired a little courage.  Reason?  2004 is an  election year.  So what does it take to impeach Bush?  Perhaps, a stain on an intern's dress.

Recently, I attended a meet-up at the Northshire Bookstore in Manchester VT.  It was hard to tell just what the meeting was, but the obvious theme was to elect Kerry and to take back our democracy.  There were fund raising bake-sale pies, cakes and cookies galore.  At the end of the book reading people voiced their opinions.  "We're re-organizing the Democratic Party" one man announced and "we invite all people to attend.  Naderites need not apply".  Such a commitment to Democracy.  Can you stand it?  You have to love liberal Democrats and their tactics.  Just one question.  Have you won any Naderites over yet?  You know, those folks you blame for Gore losing the 2000 election.  I didn't think so.

Howard Dean's "if you're not with us you're against us" ethic is trickle down Party dogmatism.  I reminded the anti-Naderite gentleman at the meet-up that 380,000 Democrats voted for Bush in Florida in 2000.  

Robert Adleman writing in the February 10, 2001 edition of the Seattle Post-Intelligencer in an article entitled, "Democrats, Not Nader, Caused Gore's Loss" put it this way: "People with a compassionate vision are too willing to accept corporate democracy that undermines the very vision they profess."  That's Bush Lite.  

Heavy on the Bush Lite

Consider Ralph Nader's call for an exit from Iraq:

Announcing a definite withdrawal and ending the U.S. corporate takeover of the Iraqi economy and oil will separate mainstream Iraqis from the insurgents and give the vast majority of people there a stake in replacing occupation with independence.

John Kerry's approach is, well, does anyone know?  Stephen Zunes, "The US in Iraq: If Bush is Blind, Kerry is at Best Near-Sighted", Common Dreams, April 23, 2004 writes,

When the Massachusetts senator voted to authorize the invasion in October 2002, he stated from the floor of the Senate that he expected President Bush to “work with the United Nations Security Council . . . if we have to disarm Saddam Hussein by force,” promising that if President Bush failed to do so, “I will be the first to speak out.

However, when President Bush abandoned his efforts at getting UN Security Council approval for an invasion that March, Kerry was silent. When President Bush actually launched the invasion soon afterwards, Senator Kerry praised him, co-sponsoring a Senate resolution in which he declared that the invasion was “lawful and fully authorized by the Congress” and that he “commends and supports the efforts and leadership of the President . . . in the conflict with Iraq.”

Thank you John Kerry.  And so Dean and the Democrats want the antiwar vote to go to Kerry while the Senator offers no exit strategy and more of the same Bushit.  And the Democrats are still angry at Ralph Nader for their party's election year 2000 flacid presidential candidate and campaign.  Democrats had better stop and reconsider their obsession with blaming others for their ineptitude.  Their presumptive presidential  nominee, John Kerry, cannot win as Bush Lite.  Just ask Congressman Dennis Kucinich who is still in the primary race for the Democratic Party nomination.  That's right.  Kucinich is still running.  Why should such a small technicality get in the way of the Democracy For America campaign and the Kerry machine?

Guy Dinmore, "Questions Grow Over When Soldiers Will Come Home" (April 24, 2004 Financial Times UK) reveals that,

...the numbers calling for an immediate return of troops had risen to 44 percent...The University of Pennsylvania found this month that a slim majority - 51 per cent - believed it had not been worth going to war...mounting unhappiness over Iraq could benefit Mr. Bush in the November election. Some pundits suggest that antiwar voters might abandon Senator John Kerry, the Democratic challenger whose position on Iraq is fundamentally the same, and back Ralph Nader, the independent.

Get the picture John?  Capisce Howard?  Bring our troops home.  Layout an exit strategy for getting out and repairing the reputation of the nation.  And, change the anti-Nader mantra please.  One Dubya is enough.

© 2004 Jozef Hand-Boniakowski

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