By Dom Nozzi
March 3, 2017
Now that both the Republicans AND Democrats have been corrupted by big money lobbyists, it should come as no surprise that the Democrats are now sounding like Republicans during the Donald Trump era.
It was just a short while ago that Dems hammered Repubs on warmongering and hating/fearing the Russians. It is now the Dems that lead the effort to beat the war drums and engage in McCarthyism. For instance, more than any other presidential candidate in 2016, Dem Hillary Clinton forcefully assured us that she was going to ramp up warfighting in Syria and elsewhere in the Middle East. It was Dem Obama who increased the number of wars the US was fighting in the Middle East from two to seven or eight.
In the past, Dems accurately criticized Repubs for taking enormous amounts of lobbyist (donor) money from major corporations. It is now the Dems who lead in taking money from Big Pharma, military contractors, and Wall Street. Indeed, Obama accepted more contributions from Wall Street than any Repub challenger when Obama ran for president.
Previously, Dems rightly attacked Repubs for ignoring the working class. Now it is the Repubs who at least pay lip service to the needs of the working class. During the campaign, Trump promised he would bring jobs back home from overseas, attacked NAFTA, called for the deportation of illegal immigrants (who could be seen as taking US jobs), and punish foreign corporations which had taken US jobs and are now exporting to the US. Soon after being elected, Trump ended US involvement in the TPP. During the 2016 presidential campaign, Dems did not even pay lip service to the working class needs. Obama and other Dems openly supported NAFTA and TPP.
In past decades, it was the Repubs that were most eager and successful in spending money on the Pentagon. But during his two terms of office, Dem Obama set all-time records for the amount of money allocated to the Pentagon.
When Obama was president, nearly all Dems BLASTED Repubs for ridiculing Obama, accusing him of being a liar, laughing at him, obstructing EVERYTHING he proposed, opposing ALL of his appointments, joking that he should be assassinated, never giving him credit for ANYTHING, and stating that “Obama is not my president.” Today, a day does not go by where Dems are now joking about Trump’s appearance, calling for his assassination, calling him names, blaming Trump for everything imaginable, and lampooning him in cartoons.
In the past, Republicans were infamous for calling Dems traitors for what Repubs considered excessive friendliness toward “enemies” of the US. Today, Dems regularly engage in calling Trump a traitor for wanting to work with the Russian government.
In the past, Dems lead the fight for freedom of speech and attacking Repub efforts to engage in censorship. It is now Dems who are mostly leading the fight to censor public speakers or silencing speech that they consider “hateful” or “racist” or “sexist.”
In previous decades, it was the Repubs who were the loudest advocates of being “tough on crime.” Under Dem Bill Clinton in the 90s, Dems showed they could build more prisons than Repubs, have more crimes be eligible for the death penalty (from 3 to 60), fund 100,000 more cops, and create a huge increase in the number of mandatory minimum crimes. Dem Bill Clinton also significantly increased the penalty for crack cocaine vs powdered cocaine (100-to-1). Bill Clinton escalated the drug war far more than the Repubs could ever imagine, leading to the largest increase in prisoners ever.
Repubs used to be the most regressive when it came to taxation. But then Dem Bill Clinton successfully passed a capital gains tax cut that was one of the most regressive tax cuts in history.
Repubs were formerly the party most responsible for eliminating regulations that protected us from socially undesirable actions by the powerful. But then Dem Bill Clinton’s deregulation of the investment banking industry played an enormous role in creating the crash of 2008. He repealed the Glass-Steagall Act, which had separated commercial from investment banking since 1933, and directly led to the 2008 crash and the need to bail out the too-big-to-fail banks.
Repubs have long attacked Dems for supporting the public nature of Social Security. They proposed such things as investing social security dollars in the stock market. But then Dem Bill Clinton, while in office, nearly succeeded in privatizing social security (another Repub dream) had the Lewisky scandal not led to his impeachment.
I remember when it was Repubs who far outspent Dems in presidential races. In the 2016 election, Dem Hillary Clinton outspent Repub Donald Trump two to one.
Repubs have long lead the charge to engage in invasive surveillance of US citizens. But it was Dem Obama who established, by far, the most extreme and comprehensive surveillance of US citizens in history through the NSA and other agencies.
For a long time, it was the Repubs who were vocal opponents of what they called “The Welfare State.” But it was Dem Bill Clinton’s gutting of welfare that led to a huge increase in poverty. Some have called Clinton’s action “one of the most regressive social programs promulgated in the 20th Century.”
Only a Dem (Clinton) could have rammed a right-wing program such as NAFTA through Congress. No Repub president could have ever hoped to adopt such an anti-worker program.
The Repubs have always been considered the party most hostile to the environment. But in 2016, the Democratic National Committee came out against the carbon tax and against a fracking ban.
Repubs have a long, disgraceful history of calling people un-American! Or treasonous traitors! Over and over, Repubs were seen attempting to prevent people from protesting (often by claiming that the protest would “incite violence”), attempting to censor comments they do not like, and associating the actions of a lone protester with the behavior or beliefs of an entire protest movement. But in response to the violence at the Univ of Virginia protest in August 2017, a great many Dems are screaming to prevent future protests by extreme right wing groups (and wanting to prevent people from boycotting Israel), calling right wing protesters un-American. Or treasonous traitors. Such Dems are demanding censorship of right wing speakers at universities, stopping speeches because they will “incite violence,” and linking a lone protester (who drove his car into a group of counterprotesters) with the agenda of the right wing protesters. In American history, progressives have rightly objected when protests have been prohibited due to fear of “inciting violence.” Feminists, gays, blacks, and atheists have been stopped from protesting discrimination in the past for this reason. Labor rights activists have been stopped because their protests against unfair labor practices would “incite violence.” Peace demonstrators protesting a war have been told they are not allowed to protest because it would “incite violence.” Even Jane Jacobs, the great American urbanist, was charged with “inciting a riot” when she protested the Lower Manhattan Expressway that Robert Moses tried to ram through New York City in the 1960s. Since when is it acceptable to be able to pick and choose which protests or speeches are okay and which should be prohibited? To be able to engage in such a double standard? Does not true support for free speech demand that we tolerate speech that we hate, and not just speech that we agree with? “If there is any principle of the Constitution that more imperatively calls for attachment than any other, it is the principle of free thought — not free thought for those who agree with us but freedom for the thought we hate.” — Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr. “There’s no fine line between ‘free speech’ and ‘hate speech’: Free speech is hate speech; it’s for the speech you hate – and for all your speech that the other guy hates. If you don’t have free speech, then you can’t have an honest discussion.” — Mark Steyn. “Hateful, blasphemous, prejudiced, vulgar, rude, or ignorant remarks are the music of a free society, and the relentless patter of idiots is how we know we’re in one. When all the words in our public conversation are fair, good, and true, it’s time to make a run for the fence.” ― Daniel M. Gilbert. “[First Amendment protection] must be accorded to the ideas we hate or sooner or later they will be denied to the ideas we cherish.” – Justice Hugo Black. “One way that speech restrictions often grow is through what I call ‘censorship envy.’ Say one group wins a ban on speech that it finds offensive. It’s human nature for other groups to then ask: What about speech that offends us — harsh criticism of Israel, or of certain religious belief systems, or of abortion, or of America?… Oddly, many of these [speech] restrictions come from political groups that see themselves as outsiders fighting the powerful. If that’s really so, how can they give the government extra censorship powers that can so easily be used against future ‘progressives’ like them?” — Eugene Volokh.
Journalist Amy Goodman, in February 2017, noted that Dem Elizabeth Warren has said she’s not so clear she’s going to be working with Donald Trump. “I mean, very interesting, [said Amy], when Dem Barack Obama came in, Repub Mitch McConnell made it very clear they won’t work with Obama at all.”
I am not a partisan extremist (everything the other party does is WRONG, says the partisan extremist). But apparently in America today, nearly everyone else IS an extreme partisan.
Extreme partisanship (and the extreme double standards that both the corrupt Democratic Party and the corrupt Republican Party) is toxic to democracy. And guarantees that nothing will be accomplished by our elected officials.
Is it any wonder that our Founding Fathers opposed the creation of political parties?