Biden the Republican

Gerontocracy, here we come

W.J. Astore

The predictable headlines are here: “Biden plans to reach across the aisle” to solicit Republican support. Even though he just won the popular vote by more than five million and a clear electoral victory as well, Biden must compromise with Republicans. Just because.

Remember when Donald Trump lost the popular vote by nearly three million in 2016? And eked out electoral victories in three states? Did he feel the need “to reach across the aisle” to Democrats? Of course not. Trump and the Republicans took no prisoners. They got the tax cut they wanted. They did their best to overturn Obamacare. They got three supreme court justices. No reaching across the aisle required.

If Biden were a real Democrat, and the Democratic Party a real party, there’d be no premature talk of aisle-reaching and bipartisan handshaking. But Biden and the DNC are essentially moderate Republicans, as Barack Obama himself admitted in an interview. You might say they’re DINOs: Democrats in name only. Dinosaurs.

Speaking of dinosaurs, remember when Americans made fun of the aging leaders of the Soviet Union in the 1970s and 1980s? “Gerontocracy” is the word I remember back then. Joe Biden will be 78 when he takes office; Mitch McConnell, likely to remain the Senate majority leader will also be 78, and Nancy Pelosi, the Speaker of the House, is 80. I have nothing against senior citizens, but it’s not a coincidence that the three most powerful people in U.S. government are 80 or pushing 80. They are all creatures of a system that is all about sustaining a status quo. A status quo in which two parties, one that’s center-right and the other far-right, work to ensure that money keeps flowing into the usual pockets, irrespective of world-changing events like climate change.

With respect to Biden’s cabinet, early reports are that we’ll see a lot of Obama and Clinton retreads espousing the usual neoliberal or neoconservative positions. They’ll be more “diverse” voices,” i.e. more women, more people of color, even an openly gay guy (Mayor Pete!), but the song will remain the same. I’m guessing not a single prominent progressive voice will be added to Biden’s cabinet. None.

With respect to action, I don’t see Biden even trying to expand the Supreme Court. I see a lot of half measures: a weak attempt at a “green” economy, a weak attempt at reforming Obamacare, perhaps an expansion of Medicare to cover people 60 and older, and so on. These and similar half measures will be consistent with what the donors and owners want. And if Biden fails even with this tepid plan, he can always blame Mitch McConnell and those obstinate Republicans who just can’t seem to reach across that same aisle that Biden is so eager to cross.

Of course, there is no “aisle” to reach across. There’s plenty of bipartisan consensus already in Washington. One clear example is at the Pentagon and the Defense budget, which continues to soar no matter which party is in power.

The only “aisle” Biden truly needs to reach across is the progressive one within his own party — and I can almost guarantee you it’s the one he’s least likely to cross.

95 thoughts on “Biden the Republican

  1. You’re begging the question in your first paragraph. Why is a bipartisan approach automatically wrong? I will agree that attempts in previous administrations tended to accrue benefits (consolidation of power) only to Republicans, known for a time as the Party of No! Still, I find the idea that we should always be divided (red/blue, town/country, old/young, white/people of color) a giant distraction from the real division that plagues us: 1% vs. the rest. Polls numbers demonstrate significant popular support for a variety of progressive policies and initiatives, yet those leading our government, by their actions, are hellbent on preventing those things. Instead, they serve the interests of the 1%.

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    1. Shouldn’t “bipartisan” be a two-way street? Why is it only one way, with Democrats always reaching for compromises with Republicans?

      Actually, as I say later in the article, bipartisan already exists, e.g. overwhelming support for trillion dollar security and war budgets. No need to reach across the aisle there since the aisle doesn’t exist.

      Bipartisan appeals (esp. in the media) are most often designed to serve the 1% and to thwart people’s support for Medicare for all and similar efforts. It’s been an effective false narrative in the past, so why not continue it, says the gerontocracy. It’s what they know.

      So: I wouldn’t say bipartisanship is “automatically” wrong. But it’s most often a sign of a “consensus” that usually doesn’t serve our (the people’s) interests.

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      1. In light of your comment, we appear to be more in agreement than not. Perhaps I’m not reading your post with enough subtlety. You propose one thing, say it doesn’t exist anyway, yet to support divisiveness as a default posture. Who goes first up the bipartisan street? Somebody’s gotta do it.

        My point, with which you appear to have agreed, is that division along the familiar binaries is faulty framing. JPA’s comment below argues that, at least at the ballot box, popular support for progressive issues (and candidates who support them) isn’t really there. Polling and voting are thus misaligned. Reasons for that may be many, not least of which are party machinations to disallow progressive candidates such as Sanders to survive the primaries, saddling us with the choice of true-believer Republicans and Republicans-lite.

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        1. “My point, with which you appear to have agreed, is that division along the familiar binaries is faulty framing.” Yes — totally agree

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  2. Take a breath here. Calm yourself. You’re too old to get all het up about the worst that can happen and to prove it, the worst that can happen is nothing remotely like what you are yelling about.

    We the Americans have dodged a bullet here. Our version of a democratic republic has once again had an election and it appears by most counts to have been a secure, honest and representative election. The candidate for President from the Democratic Party won. That to me is a strong indicator that the American Republic will endure at least another four years.

    What? Oh, yes. There is THAT. The popular election is over. But there are still hurdles to leap before we can begin to assess the potential for the future. There is still the electoral college’s “election”, so there is room yet for victory to be snatched from the jaws of corruption and corruption in Washington currently is in charge.

    Right now I worry about the flurry of administrative heads that are rolling. I am not yet satisfied with any of the explanations of why Trump’s henchmen are doing what they are doing. Rearranging the Pentagon and other offices in the government just now doesn’t feel like rearranging the deck chairs on a Titanic that is sinking.

    The novelist in me wants to think up some more radical explanation.

    For now, I’ll await the final dawn from this darkness before I bemoan what might come next with a Biden presidency.

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    1. I’m taking deep, cleansing, breaths. 🙂

      I didn’t realize I was “yelling,” nor did I realize that in electing Biden Americans have already “dodged a bullet.” I’m not about to put my faith in Biden, not with his record.

      If you think Biden’s election strongly indicates the Republic will survive for another four years, so be it. I see four more years of imperial decline. The trio of Biden/McConnell/Pelosi virtually guarantee it.

      But I’ll keep looking for the dawn and for morning again in America …

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      1. “[T]he trio of Biden/McConnell/Pelosi.” There’s something wrong with this picture. Speaker Pelosi has served as a lightning rod for GOP hate. I don’t find her particularly admirable, but she HAS stood up to Trump–which especially infuriates The Donald, coming from a woman–the past four years. It’s that middle name in your trio that is the major problem. Any legislation smacking at all of “progressive ideas” will continue to die upon arriving on Mitch’s desk. That would have to include expanding “Obamacare” or expanding the number of seats on SCOTUS. We can expect four years of deadlock, just what we need in the current health and financial crises. Duct tape and chewing gum have held the lid on the financial wreck for a while now–another “American Miracle”!–but that situation simply can’t last much longer. You read it here first.

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          1. Nevertheless, she DID stand up to Trump. We wish she’d stand up to the War Machine when it comes begging for its next budget, but…we have to live in the real world.

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        1. I tend to agree with Professor Astore: Mitch probably won’t have to worry about legislation smacking of progressive ideas, because it won’t appear. The DNC will see to it that the efforts of The Squad are quashed, and those of any other uppity Progressives, likewise. Uncle Joe will preside over a milquetoast administration, at best. Don’t expect any radical ideas such as universal healthcare and sweeping environmental measures to make it to the floor, let alone be put up for votes by either the House or Senate. The Old Guard will have to retire or die before anything really progressive happens.

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          1. The guns of the far right are already zeroing in on Biden lest he tries to issue a national Mandatory Mask order. Because, you know, we need MORE millions to be infected to develop herd immunity! On top of the need for serious measures on the Federal level to cope with the actual raging spread of the virus is the extremely great need for additional “economic stimulus” payments to Ordinary Joes and Janes. McConnell has absolutely shut down any possibility of this for months now. (Of course, he does this on behalf of GOP’s corporate patrons, not just because he’s a miserable SOB as an individual. Though I’m sure that latter perception is dead accurate.) His importance cannot be overstated. Will Biden be able to persuade him to change his ways? Time will tell. Certainly the Dems will have to largely surrender–i.e. reduce what they’re asking for for ordinary folks, increase benefits to corporations–if this ice jam is to loosen.

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    2. I consider myself–with all due modesty!–a pretty astute observer of the American political scene. But I, too, am puzzled by the timing of the axe falling on Mark Esper, et al. IF I was paranoid, I’d immediately assume that these officials are being replaced by ones who would go along with a Trump military coup to retain office after January 20. But I stick with my earlier view that the military will NOT sign off on that. I think vindictive Trump may simply be firing, WHILE HE STILL CAN, folks he has come to view as NOT personally loyal to his Royal Highness. We know that personal loyalty to his Demented Trumpness has been very, very important to this sociopath masquerading as POTUS.

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  3. Here is some information I think is relevant. The Republicans gained seats in the House and depending on the outcome of the Senatorial races in Jan in Georgia they may have gained in the Senate. I saw an article on NPR suggesting that a significant number of voters split their ballot, voting for Biden and then voting Republican for other candidates. My point here is that there does not seem to be much evidence for a progressive electorate that will vote for a candidate that has progressive views on the economy or on military spending or on healthcare.

    Trump and his cronies were able to succeed with a “take-no prisoners” approach because a near majority of the people who show up to vote supported their policies which were strongly anti-progressive. He didn’t succeed because his base was a small minority.

    The evidence I see suggests that any elected official who tries to please a progressive base is going to be out of a job in the next election. Americans do not seem to want change. There is no progressive base that can be counted on. A “take-no prisoners” approach by progressives would be like the Charge of the Light Brigade. How did that poem go? “Into the valley of death rode the six hundred.”

    The choices that the American people seem willing to vote for are far-right or moderate-right. In that case moderate-right is the better choice. From this perspective the best Joe Biden can do is keep the country from becoming a fascist dictatorship. He is less likely to succeed in that if he tries to please progressives who would then be strongly outnumbered by enraged supporters of the status quo.

    Note that I am not pleased with this conclusion. I am simply trying assess the situation based on data that I have available to me. I would love to be made aware of data that invalidated my hypotheses and conclusions.

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    1. “The choices that the American people seem willing to vote for are far-right or moderate-right.”

      These are the only choices we are given. Let’s not forget how close Bernie Sanders was to winning the nomination when Obama and the DNC intervened and anointed Biden as the candidate.

      It’s a rigged game. I shouldn’t have been able to predict in April of 2019 that the Democratic ticket would be Biden/Harris. But it was so obvious that these were the establishment candidates, the moderate-right that you mention, the only choice we’d be allowed to vote for other than Trump. And so it proved.

      https://bracingviews.com/2019/04/26/the-dream-democratic-ticket-for-2020/

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      1. Aw, heck, that was a lucky guess!! Look at how conservative Sen. Klobuchar was! She could just as easily have been paired with Biden! [Notwithstanding this, I still owe you a beer!]

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      2. I agree that far-right and moderate-right are the only choices that we are given for president. But is that happening all the way down to lower levels of government? If a lot of Republicans split their ballot then that suggests that they are against a far-right candidate, Trump, and in favor of a more moderate Republican, i.e the Republican on the ballot rather than a Democrat. Of course those people may have just been voting according to party affiliation.

        My impression is that most Americans are not voting at the local level for progressive candidates who will challenge the status quo. Or at least not very often. It would seem that if progressives were a majority, then we would see more of them winning local elections, i.e at the city, county, and state levels.

        If I am a progressive I need to know the situation on the ground before I decide what strategy to engage in. If progressives are a majority and are not organized, then I need to organize them. If the majority is undecided then I need to attract and not repel them. If I am faced with a majority of hostiles then I need to hunker down and take the long road of changing people’s minds.

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      3. Yes—there are precious few Progressive candidates who make it to the ballot. The establishment Dems see to that. If there’s no support for Progressives, then Bernie’s huge showings in 2016 and again this year must have been imaginary. He would have been the nominee in both cases if his candidacy had not been stopped from the inside.

        Moreover, the issues themselves don’t ever make it to the ballot. We don’t get to vote on universal healthcare, a $15-per-hour minimum wage, green energy, increasing taxes on the wealthy, or decreasing military spending. Polls show that the majority of Americans support all of the above, but we have no direct way to enact such measures. As we aren’t offered candidates who espouse them, we’re stuck wanting what we can’t ever seem to get. If the DNC had actually backed Bernie or Tulsi, or even Howard Dean way back when, we might never have had to endure the Orange Menace.

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        1. A little fine-tuning: Bernie’s candidacy drew progressives to participate in the Dem. Primaries. That does not by any means reflect the sentiments of the populace as a whole, or even those who identify as Dems, whether they vote when November rolls around or not. This all brings us back to the issue of building an effective alternative to the two right wings of the Party of Property (bless you, Gore Vidal!). In the present socio-political environment, sorry, I see zero hope of that coming to fruition. This nation is destined to fade away, the farcical (but tragic to be sure) reiteration of history of earlier empires.

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    2. JPA–I don’t think there’s a “danger” that Biden will be “pushed” in a progressive direction. Removing Trump from office was the crucial task we had to accomplish. (“We” being the voters who don’t think Kyle Rittenhouse is a national hero!) The (presumed) vote in Electoral College is shaping up very lopsided, BUT…over 70 million VOTED FOR THE FASCIST! Precious little to celebrate there. And far, far, far from an expression of support for progressive politics, that’s for damned sure.

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      1. Greg – Yes, I have been fairly depressed over the number of people who voted for Trump. I can assume I know why they did so, but my assumptions may not be correct. I know a few people who voted for Trump because their identity as a Republican was dominant. So they weren’t fascist but were willing to ignore fascism in placing their vote. Not something I’m happy about, but a distinction that might change my approach.

        I had an interesting conversation with an old friend who runs a company, the staff of which were overwhelmingly anti-Trump. The banter reflected that. One day his administrative assistant who has been with him for many years confided to him that she was a Trump supporter and the banter was making her very upset. He put an immediate stop to it. She then confided to him that the reason she was supporting Trump was that she was scared. The pandemic, the unrest, the economic uncertainty terrified her. She had always been afraid of change and Trump seemed less likely to bring change because he was already in office. She was afraid of Biden because he was new and unknown and that scared her. My friend was quite clear that his assistant was not a hate-filled fascist. It was only after she felt safe enough to talk with him about how the banter hurt her, and then he made the environment safe for her that she revealed more information.

        Right now I am at a loss as to why Trump got so much support. I need to listen in order to learn because without learning I will not respond wisely or effectively. I have to admit that I don’t particularly want to listen, but that is my issue and I need to work through it.

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        1. Very interesting anecdote. And it underlines the sorry excuse for thinking of our citizens! The woman feared Covid–so she votes for the guy who grossly botched addressing the pandemic? She saw Biden as an “unknown”? Despite her guy (Trump) stressing that Joe’s been in politics for “47 years”?? Do you see how illogical, how irrational this all is? And the excuse that “Well, my father is a Republican, and his father before that, and his…”? No one notices how the Modern Republican Party has gone totally off the rails? I don’t see this differing from someone saying “Well, my father hated the Jews, as did his own father, and etc….So I hate the Jews!”

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          1. Agreed about the sorry state of thinking. But it helps to know if the problem is ignorance, loss of cognitive skills due to high levels of unease, or malice.

            Regarding the issue of poor thinking skills, our “educational” system seems to have avoided teaching those in a rather systematic manner. Extreme income inequality, tax cuts for the rich, and a school system that is severely deficient have caused poverty and ignorance to be increasingly pervasive in our society.

            I recall Dicken’s A Christmas Carol at the end of the scene when Scrooge is with the ghost of Christmas Present and he sees two children at the ghost’s feet. He asks who they are and the ghost replies “This boy is ignorance and this girl is want. Beware them both, but most of all beware this boy.”

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          2. I wonder how many of Trump’s voters/supporters believe Earth was visited by “ancient astronauts” from other planets? Vampires and werewolves? Possession by demons? Our public “education” is a disaster, and Betsy DeVos and her cronies think the solution is privatization, with emphasis on religious schooling, of course. Kind of an Americanized version of the madrasa. All this, in “The Greatest Nation in the History of the World”?? Amazing. Extremely sad, but still amazing.

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  4. One party, two factions.
    The past four years the Democrats have faithfully fulfilled the role of “the loyal opposition” by offering zero resistance and ultimately falling back on “it’s up to the voters.”
    So, Biden won the popular vote but over 70 million people still voted for Trump. Why? Because they’re racists or too ignorant to pour piss out of a boot? No, because the Democrats offered nothing beyond a candidate who “wasn’t Trump” and “a woman of color” for VP. If a Nation is truly a living entity, then there can be no going back or “returning to normalcy” when normalcy is the past. That’s little more than the flip side of the MAGA coin.
    “But people were dancing in the street!”
    That’s Third World stuff. Looks great on video, though. But, it’s “… like the braying of an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing.” I don’t believe anyone will be dancing in the street this time next year.

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    1. “Not being Trump” was THE crucial requirement for a candidate, nevertheless. We can despise the Dem. Establishment all we want for their cautiousness, their conservatism, their pragmatism, etc. BUT pragmatism still wins elections. Had they offered a self-described “socialist” (“democratic,” to be sure) for POTUS, Trump would have romped to a Nixon over McGovern level massacre. This is how I see our political reality.

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    1. “I am shocked, SHOCKED, to learn that gambling is occurring on these premises!” Same old same old down at Rick’s Cafe Americain.

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  5. Okay, enuf already! We’ve been over this turf with a fine-tooth comb for months now! We know how much Biden leaves to be desired. An offer of bi-partisanship is standard practice for an incoming administration. I confess I don’t recall if Trump made a minor noise in that direction in January 2017; if so, his idea of it would’ve been for the Dems to get on their knees and surrender to Mitch McConnell, of course. I expect GOP to continue to rule the Senate. Mitch is not merely a bogeyman for the Dems to conveniently pillory. McConnell is “The Man” who has ensured there would be no second round of “Covid relief checks” for ordinary Americans unless Dems cave to his demands for LESS relief for people and MORE gov’t largesse for big corporations. Trump is fully living up to his image as tantrum-throwing infant with his absurd refusal to cooperate with Team Biden on the transition thus far. FWIW, NY Times has op-ed pieces with headlines (I haven’t read the articles themselves) stating “Trump Owns the GOP” and “The GOP is no longer a party, it’s a cult.” The latter is by Thomas Friedman, with whom I occasionally agree (!). So it’s looking pretty clear that the GOP will obstruct and stonewall Biden every step of the way. It’s said that Wall Street prefers “divided government.” Unfortunately, in the midst of a ferociously raging pandemic, it’s precisely a bit of bi-partisanship that would really come in handy.

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    1. My readers are telling me “enuf already” and that I’m “yelling” because I criticize Biden. Why? Trump has lost, and now we’re stuck with Biden for the next four years. Are we supposed to “support” him like we “support our troops”?

      Biden is a public servant — we’re citizens. It’s our job to criticize him, to push him, to call him out, even to resist him, e.g. if he pursues yet another war of choice.

      I hope Biden surprises me — that he’s more progressive, more creative, more compassionate, more worker- and labor-oriented rather than being an obedient tool of banks and corporations.

      But his past, and early portents for the future, are not promising …

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      1. To be perfectly honest–my most grievous fault, I admit–I really think that certain individuals who comment here, with their Jimmy Dore and their Caitlin Johnstone, have “pushed” you to paint yourself into a corner where you feel you have to criticize the Democratic Establishment 24/7. I’ll take a backseat to no one in my degree of contempt for and criticism of the Established Order, thank you, but there is the problem of appearing to be “a broken record.” There is so much to criticize in our society, but your needle is stuck in the let’s-bash-Biden groove!

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        1. I wish I had less to criticize. I was a Tulsi Gabbard and Bernie Sanders supporter. The DNC smeared Tulsi as a Russian agent or asset, virtually labeling her a traitor, and rigged the primary against Bernie.

          That same establishment almost lost, yet again, to Trump. Of all people!

          I just don’t buy the argument I have to live in the real world and swallow just a little for Joe Biden, as Jill Biden put it.

          With respect to Dore and Johnstone, I try to keep an open mind. I find them refreshing compared to the propaganda I’m fed from CNN, MSNBC, and similar networks.

          Like I said, I hope all my bashing of Joe Biden is proven wrong by events. We’ll soon see as he rolls out his cabinet in earnest.

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        2. If Genuflecting Joe Biden did not wish for American citizens to criticize his notorious corporate-tool career, then he ought to have chosen another profession, or even an honest job. Criticizing one of the Oligarchy’s right-wing tools does not obviate the need to criticize the other (and junior) of the Oligarchy’s right-wing tools. Let either of them off the hook for even a second and you wind up where we find ourselves today: under a smothering blanket of government surveillance and non-stop propaganda. If Donald Trump kept you up at night gnashing your teeth in frustration, I would caution that you not let Joe Biden lull you into a toothless sleep.

          As for Jimmy Dore and Caitlin Johnstone, they do not “push” anyone anywhere. Rather they “attract” thoughtful viewers who like to consider alternate and informative — even “dissenting” — points of view. You really ought to reflect on the difference between “pushing” and “pulling” — two distinct concepts — and not project your own partisan prejudices onto Bill Astore who knows where to look for information and how to evaluate it.

          Not wishing to overtax your limited tolerance for complete sentences and developed paragraphs, I’ll stop here.

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      2. I disagree. If the Dems had backed a Progressive, I think the initial “socialist” tag could have been overcome with some intelligent marketing approaches. If they’d put policy over identity, I absolutely believe Bernie would have won. He polled much higher than the incumbent this year, and polled higher than any of the GOP candidates in 2016.

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        1. Denise, I beg your indulgence because this may take a while. What follows is merely something that came to me whilst making up a pan of enchiladas late Saturday afternoon. I make no claim to it having been delivered unto me carved into stone tablets, by the shade of Charlton Heston, though I may present it as such:

          Two of the many memories I have of the Cold War have to do with words. The first of which is no longer relevant in the Grand Scheme of Things:
          “You Can’t Spell Communism Without UN” bumper stickers.
          When was the last time anyone thought about the United Nations? But in those days, as with the Olympic Games and pretty much everything else – science & technology, economics, education – it was East vs. West, the US & its allies against the USSR, the Warsaw Pact nations and other Communist satellites. Everything was a competition, and votes in the UN no less than anything else. We were always seeing charts and statistics showing how every aspect of American life ranked against its Communist counterpart.
          Now, hang onto that.

          The second is what the letters USSR (in their English translation) represented: Union of Soviet Socialist Republics. The fourth word is the operative word for this lengthy comment. And now, finally, we get to the thought that came to me whilst preparing dinner yesterday:

          As sure as the Sun rises in the east and sets in the west, as long as the term “Progressive” is in anyway linked to the term “Socialist” it will fail. Why? Because Socialism has long been equated with Communism and even though the USSR is gone, it’s a case of “a rose by any other name.” It’s “Russia” now but it was “Russia” then, too. So, Russians are Communists and Communists are Socialists and Russians are our enemies. This is a mindset that has never gone away, and nothing has ever been done to correct it.
          (I was taught the difference between two economic theories – socialism and communism – during my freshman year of high school (1968). It may not have been taught as such since.)

          What is continually overlooked or willfully ignored is how woefully under-educated – and, as a result, how provincial – the American populace has become. You no longer hear glowing reports of how American students rank against the rest of the world (another staple of the Cold War era).
          Through grades 1-12 the education system is driven by standardized tests to promote higher graduation rates in order to keep the maximum amount of tax dollars flowing into the school districts. “Higher education” is geared toward high-dollar careers and the benefits to be derived therefrom.
          With the emphasis on memorization and retention at the expense of critical/creative thinking comes a population susceptible to populist, “sounds good to me” sloganeering. And dare I say it, the belief in American exceptionalism. We remain better than everyone else and have it better than everyone else because we are told and say we do. Never let the facts get in the way of a good story.
          (The misconceptions about socialized medicine is a case in point: I find myself regularly attempting to dispel “what everybody back home knows” about the subject because they have no idea other than the horror stories put out by the American media and medical/pharmaceutical industries.)
          I recently saw a post on a “social media” platform in which were presented the reasons an anonymous “I” couldn’t vote for anyone who espoused “socialist notions” because “I am too old to live under socialism. I am addicted to luxuries like toilet paper, electricity, food, clean water and shoes.” A great many people had hit the “Like” button on that one (including a disturbing number of people of my acquaintance).

          The changes some of us would like to see require the acceptance of said changes by a majority of the populace, which means their long-standing, preconceived (systemic/institutionalized) “beliefs” have to be overcome, and that’s going to take more than four years if it’s even possible, which it may not be.
          Personally, I hold to the admittedly fanciful belief that any hope lies in the establishment of a fully independent third party. But even there, we are taught ours is a two-party system, that’s it. “Best system in the world.” Independents are and will most likely continue to be dismissed (on the national level) as a joke, who only serve to draw votes away from legitimate candidates. And – what may be the “bottom line” – starting a political party requires time, patience, and money. Americans have shown themselves to have no concept of “the long term,” limited patience (a “microwave mindset”) and far more likely to funnel money into established entities (Democrats or Republicans) than to the new/unknown/unproven.
          How many people have bemoaned not investing in Microsoft or Apple “when I had the chance”? And we love the story when a “long shot” wins, but the reason they were a “long shot” was because the vast majority went with a “favorite” with shorter odds.

          That’s all I’ve got.
          The clarity of vision that accompanied the assembling of the enchiladas vanished the moment they went into the oven.
          I’m making chili tonight. If any further insights arise, I will be sure to pass them along.

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          1. Hope your enchiladas were as good as your analysis! I was taught the same as you were about Communism, so I definitely know that mindset. And I know it still exists in a segment of the population.

            The observations I would make are, first, that was then and this is now. Nobody under 40—and that’s a fair percentage of the population—fears the Commies under the bed. To 20- and 30-somethings, the “Russkies” are ancient history, at most. The Old Guard still hangs onto power, but in a few years, they’ll be eclipsed by the AOCs and Greta Thunbergs.

            Second, it’s all about messaging and framing, and admittedly, the Dems are woefully inadequate in those areas. Always have been. As George Lakoff has said for a couple decades at least, how ideas are presented—the actual words used—makes all the difference. I agree completely that critical thinking skills in this country are going the way of the dodo, so there’s all the more reason to drop the “socialist” label and replace it with, say, verbiage expressing “shared,” or “for ALL the people,” as in, infrastructure, education, fire departments, etc. MAGA is a stroke of genius in that it contains the framing and the message in one pat phrase. The progressive Dems need to be street-smart and savvy like that. They need to hire experts like Lakoff, and they need to stay on message.

            Which brings me to your comments about a third party. More than ever, I believe a separate Progressive party needs to split off from establishment Dems. Yes, it takes money. But look how much funding Bernie accumulated from those $27 donations. With the will and an intelligent approach, it could be done. Mainstream Dems do nothing but get in their own way, or so it seems. In reality, they’re merely standing squarely for the status quo, which means pandering to their donors. If Bernie, The Squad, and other like-minded activists are ever going to accomplish their goals, they have no choice but to go outside the Democratic party. As desperate as the situation is in this country, my question would be, if not now, when? They have the grassroots structure in place; it just needs to be wielded in aid of Progressives, period, and not Dem masters. Perhaps that transformation can’t be accomplished in four years, but that’s all the more reason to start now.

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          2. Denise, if “socialist!” and/or “communist!” no longer have a sting when hurled at a political opponent, why did Trump try to tar Joe Biden–Joe Biden!!–with that brush, exaggerating the reforms (will there even be any?) Joe proposed in healthcare?? Why did Trump draw 72 million votes? Why does the Establishment still rant against “Communist” Cuba, Venezuela, Nicaragua, and yes, China, which brilliantly (in terms of their subsequent success) chose to go down the Capitalist Road when Nixon sweet-talked a probably Alzheimer’s-afflicted but still breathing Chairman Mao??

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          3. Didn’t say the term doesn’t still have a sting, Greg. But much less so with younger people. The Orange Thing trotted out the ’50s-era hobgoblin to smear Biden in the eyes of the older, more hidebound voter segment. Also those who are less educated/informed. Again, it’s a matter of intelligent, focused messaging and well-thought-out communications. Waiting to be vilified and then protesting is a losing strategy. The ONLY thing that saved Biden is that he isn’t the incumbent, and even at that, probably only because of the pandemic. Put against just about anyone else, Biden would have been defeated.

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          4. And here are Mr. Obama’s brilliant insights, via CNN online/”CBS Sunday Morning”:
            “Former President Barack Obama said the election results, in which each candidates received more than 70 million votes, show the nation remains bitterly split.

            ‘What it says is that we are still deeply divided. The power of that alternative worldview that’s presented in the media that those voters consume — it carries a lot of weight,’ Obama told CBS News’ Gayle King in an interview that aired on CBS Sunday Morning.
            Asked by King if that worries him, the former President responded, ‘Yes. It’s very hard for our democracy to function if we are operating on just completely different sets of facts.'”

            Good grief, dude, are you giving credence to “alternate facts”?!? Joe Biden, in terms of coping with the Covid pandemic, argued with facts in the “debates” with Trump. The GOP and its media outlets have no use for actual facts, isn’t that crystal clear by now? In other realms, like foreign policy, war & peace, we certainly should be on alert for an absence of truth in the incoming administration. At any rate, Obama is on TV to promote first volume of his memoirs, which yours truly will certainly NOT be reading, thank you, not even if it was available for free!

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          5. Um….yeah. Not sure Obama-the-sell-out is the best source of street-smart advice. His entire campaign was built for him by the DNC, so although he’s clearly an extremely intelligent person, he didn’t necessarily come up with his own chops.

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          6. Good observations here, BUTSUDANBILL. The “Cold War” never went away, and ain’t it “funny” how we ordinary citizens never realized a “peace dividend” after the Berlin Wall came down?? In the early days of the USSR, the soviets themselves–local councils of representatives elected directly by members of trade unions, army and naval units, etc.–doubtless were much more democratic bodies than what today’s craven corporate bootlickers in the US Congress present to us. But any further dissection of Soviet history has to drag in Stalin, so I won’t continue in this vein. In the late 1950s into the ’60s, we were reminded constantly by POTUSes that the Russkies were ahead of us in the Space Race and other arenas of technological competition. [Anyone reading this who hasn’t read Tom Wolfe’s book “The Right Stuff” is missing something very special. I’d settle for you seeing the movie version, directed by Philip Kaufman.] And that did spur academic interest in the sciences…for a while. Nixon launched the age of GOP domination of ideology, Reagan raised Ayn Rand to goddess level–had he ever actually read her works himself? I tend to doubt it–even if he never mentioned her in a public presidential speech. And things have devolved as BUTSUDANBILL describes. The goal of “higher” education is not to become a well-rounded member of society, contributing to the general welfare, but to rake in the highest annual income possible.

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        2. Precisely because the Health Insurance industry has become such a monstrous profit generator, the knives were out for Bernie from day one. “Medicare for All? You want to rant and rave against our profit rates? You’re going down, buddy!” was the message Bernie received. Loud and clear. And of course, in the Dem. “debates,” Biden hit Bernie again and again with the accusation that he wanted to actually DENY folks their current benefits. It was a winning strategy for Biden within the Dem. Party candidate selection process. Play it safe, play it conservative. What else is new?

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          1. Exactly why Progressive messaging needs to change. Bernie et. al. need to be proactive, not reactive. Don’t give the Bidens of the political spectrum the openings to make accusations of denying people their benefits. The message needs to be cohesive, succinct, and properly framed. The appeal needs to be focused toward the masses, not toward white-collar execs. And it needs to be phrased in terms all can understand. If even Fox News concludes that 70% of the people they surveyed want universal healthcare, there’s simply no denying that progressive values will win votes. It’s a matter of how they’re presented, and the level of intelligence in communication techniques. Slickness won’t work; neither will pontificating. Plain speaking will, as will anticipating counter-messaging. In other words, the Progressives need to become much smarter, AND, like the Dems with regard to the GOP, they need to take the gloves off.

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  6. Thomas Frank shares some of my concerns:

    “Biden’s instinct, naturally, will be to govern as he always legislated: as a man of the center who works with Republicans to craft small-bore, business-friendly measures. After all, Biden’s name is virtually synonymous with Washington consensus. His years in the US Senate overlap almost precisely with his party’s famous turn to the “third way” right, and Biden personally played a leading role in many of the signature initiatives of the era: Nafta-style trade agreements, lucrative favors for banks, tough-on-crime measures, proposed cuts to social security, even.

    What Biden must understand now, however, is that it was precisely this turn, this rightward shift in the 1980s and 90s, that set the stage for Trumpism.”

    https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2020/nov/07/trump-defeat-election

    And the interview here on Rolling Stone: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=snF6cBPMmU4&t=1957s&ab_channel=RollingStone

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    1. Was ‘Big Dog’ Bill Clinton ever a progressive? No way. He tried to offer, as Governor of Arkansas, an image of a “New South” where racism wasn’t the only pastime of the populace. Where a guy who studied at Oxford and “maybe” toked a little weed could be popular enuf to, indeed, be elected Governor. He entered the White House as “moderate,” a “centrist,” and then moved ever farther to the right with the passing years. But this was that damned PRAGMATISM at work again. In the wake of Reaganism, the Dems saw that being “left” was NOT the way to go for one to retain political office. They didn’t consciously pave the way for today’s totally Looney-Tunes GOP. They failed to FIGHT AGAINST the right. That was their fatal failing. GOP or Dems, the Business of America will always be Business. The welfare of the people, indeed of the globe as a whole, is secondary stuff.

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    2. Good call on the Thomas Frank article, Bill. Also the interview with Matt Taibbi and Katie Halper of “Useful Idiots.” I haven’t had time to do a complete transcript, so this is just as a sampler from the YouTube video:

      [43:45] Thomas Frank: “The problem is identifying with the winners and not the working-class.”

      [45:10] Thomas Frank: [the Clinton-flattering literature] would say: “What are Clinton’s greatest achievements? There are five of them: NAFTA, Bank Deregulation, Welfare Reform, the Crime Bill of ‘94, and the Balanced Budget.” All five of these sucked, now that you look back at them. All five of them are disasters. All five of them are Reaganism, by the way. All five of them were inherited from Republicans. Basically Clinton got the Reagan agenda done when Reagan couldn’t do it.”

      So which Republican (even Trumpian) policies do we have every reason to suspect that Joe Biden and his “Democrats” will now undertake to accomplish? History shows that we have every reason to start screaming bloody-murder — yesterday — before Genuflecting Joe does his Obama thing: you know, inviting crooked bankers into the White House, telling them: “I’m the only one standing between you and the people with the pitchforks.” By “people with pitchforks,” of course, Obama meant the voters who elected him president instead of Bomber John McCain and Sarah Palin.

      But just like voting for LBJ (the “peace” candidate) over “bomber” Barry Goldwater got us more Vietnam in 1964, voting for Obama instead of McCain in 2008 got more wars than even McCain would probably have initiated. I haven’t heard a peep from President-elect Biden about going Trump one better and completing the withdrawal of US forces from Syria, Germany, Iraq, and Afghanistan. What a way to show up Trump as “all hat and no cattle,” as they say in Texas. Unfortunately, I have heard of him searching out disciples of Marine Corps General James “Mad Dog” Mattis (the Butcher of Falluja) for counsel and staffing suggestions at the Pentagram. This — how shall I put it? — does not bode well for America and the world.

      So, the time has already passed to begin screaming at the lying, feckless miscreants who somehow managed to win another election mouthing pious platitudes while planning perfidy.

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    3. I agree 100% with this last comment. The obsession with personalities – Trump, Biden – misses the forest for trees: it is the growing indifference of the Establishment – and I mean the bi-partisan duopoly which fronts for the oligarchy – to the needs of the American people that created the conditions for the 2016 election, the near-miss of 2020 and the entirely plausible return of Trump or someone like him – perhaps far more capable, competent and focused – in a very near future.

      (1) Speaking of fascism, it is actually the current American arrangement melding the billionaire donor class, the intelligence agencies, parts of the judiciary and the giant media and internet conglomerates – gleischaltung in National Socialist theory and practice – that is the precondition for what Fascism was in practice. Not to mention the recruitment of the subaltern class of functionaries, pundits and politicians through the “revolving door” between these entities. These extra-constitutional “understandings” within the 1% and their representatives predates the Trump phenomenon.

      (2) I have then to disagree that the United States of America is really any more a democracy, and therefore I can’t see elections as anything more than a formal ritual, a show put on with the all the media effects that we know and love. In the end, offices from the President on down win elections with at best a third of eligible voters, a third vote for their opponents and the last third, with more than a little justification, doesn’t consider voting worth the effort. In any case, in order to keep the unwashed masses out of the business of government, and in a manner wholly reminiscent of the old Communist “top-down” practice, all candidates and their programmatic intentions have to be vetted and “approved” by the elite – the donor class and its media megaphone – which have a choke hold on both campaign finance and the images of the candidates that are presented (Tulsi as “Russian asset,” Bernie as “Communist”). We don’t get “progressive” alternatives because the candidates that promote and support them make it onto the ballot only in the most exceptional circumstances.

      (3) Since 1991, the United States has become imperial project on steroids, run for the benefit of an oligarchy and the big corporations who stash their cash in tax havens, have engaged in the epochal offshoring of America’s industry and industrial know-how, and use the Federal budget as their slush fund. All empires are structured around a merciless looting of the peripheries for the benefit of the metropolis and its elites. “The West” has been doing this for five centuries; the U.S. is only the latest in a long series of ambitious attempts to rule the world. The problem is that imperial practice, which rests in the final analysis on naked force and corruption, has grown to be incompatible with the civic values that animate our Republic. The populace must be kept out of the functioning of this project, its underlying structures, its monstrous budgets and its financial trickery to keep the whole enterprise running. The political class has as its constituency not the people of the United States but an imperial elite that has turned ethics into a joke (see the financial crisis of 2007-2008) and yet thinks itself superior to and looks down on the “little people”.

      Bottom line. When the Establishment – again both parties – turns it back on the people, leaving very large numbers with little hope in the future, if not pauperized, the people are liable to make extreme, even irrational political decisions: it cannot be stressed enough that Trump is thus a symptom, not a cause: to think that we are passing from “darkness” into the “light” because of an election of a wholly Establishment figure is simply to badly misjudge the historical moment.

      When we are all done virtue-signaling about how horrible Putin-loving Nazi Trump and his storm trooper supporters are and compiling lists of who to punish, we had better to find a way to actually understand the other half of the country and its anger well beyond the dehumanizing media caricatures and engage it in a fundamental dialogue about the way forward.

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          1. I can intuit from the headline that the article is about how the DNC placed progressives between two heavy stones and squeezed with great vigor! This we have established and repeated about a thousand times here on this site. I fully expect Biden’s War Dept. to be more aggressive than Trump’s, another reason to confine celebration of Biden’s win to the very narrow–but crucial, of course!–fact that it meant Trump’s defeat. Tempering the following observation with the knowledge that Trump still has more than 60 days to go in office, we have to admit he has not launched any major new military action. The assassination of the Iranian general was extremely reckless, but the cool heads proved to be in Tehran, and that did not blow up. Israel, champing at the bit to launch an all-out air assault on Iran, was told to wait. They apparently had to settle for assassinating an alleged leader of “al Qaeda” on Iranian soil recently (Iran denies it happened on their turf, however). Can there by any doubt the Pentagon will continue to try to rule the world?

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      1. Agreed. One conclusion of your analysis is that it is in the interest of the ruling class to keep the underlings at each other’s throats. I am quite sure that a large percentage of Trump’s supporters are not fascists. Therefore it is important not to demonize them as “other” but to understand what is motivating them and work to find common ground and break through misconceptions on both sides.

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        1. I am one of those who has unhesitatingly called Trump a Fascist for years now. I don’t require passing of some litmus test to determine if someone is “a classic Fascist,” I listen to the rhetoric. The rhetoric that pulled some 72 million votes for The Donald. Trump is not an academic type who has personally studied everything Mussolini, Hitler, etc. said and did. Has he even read Machiavelli? Who knows! But he has advisers like Bannon (and who says, though officially ousted from the Inner Circle, he doesn’t still give guidance?) and Miller, and Sean Hannity, etc. who have expertise in this area. Trump did not CREATE the divide in our society, he “merely” brilliantly EXPLOITS IT!!

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      2. MILLER–I mostly concur. Of course, this republic was designed from day one to benefit the elites. It is the evolution of technology that led to the present ability to generate a stunning number of billionaires–why, to be a mere, lousy millionaire must be an embarrassment by now!–and consolidate their hold over the machinery of society and government. But concerning your final paragraph, I’m confident the Biden administration doesn’t plan to “punish” any of its predecessors. Such things “just aren’t done” in this country! And at this point, quite frankly, I don’t see any route to “healing the divide” in this society. The Know-Nothings, the Stop-the-Steal [of the election by Biden] crowd, are dug in like never before. The dream of Timothy McVeigh and his crowd of a “race war” erupting coast to coast, with the final decisive victory of The Master Race on this soil, may well be realized one of these days.

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  7. We are in a fix even with Trump out of office because of what the American people have been nursed into being.

    Democracies work when there is compromise. LBJ was a master of compromise. He achieved his aims by first showing respect to all the members of Congress, and then applying his genius, his almost supernatural ability to analyse the personalities and interests of an individual then craft his approach to each so that his target would get a sense of fellow feeling, that LBJ cared about him/her and that made compromise possible. He was doing this as Barry Goldwater first raised intransigence to the national stage and was soundly defeated. There was genuine national relief in 1964.

    But what has happened since has determined our present situation. First Vietnam proved the government was lying to us, destroyed LBJ, let Nixon in to prove government was lying to us and then Reagan exploited the anti-government idea even as he expanded the government, Republicans riding this bandwagon ever since.

    The idea that government is some malign amorphous thing, rather than being made up of our fellow citizens, was encouraged. Popular entertainment deserted civility and descended into TV shouting matches where people red with rage would denounce each other. Oprah played the part of gracious host carefully masking her self righteousness while hosting people calling each other out. Though she could see what was happening and moved upscale, others like Jerry Springer and Maury Povich were happy to go into the sewer. The viewing public learned it was quite acceptable to openly despise fellow citizens. Judgement of others ruled as TV judge shows delighted viewers by humiliating people and sentencing them. Truly pathetic people voluntarily appeared on national TV to denounce and be denounced. The audiences loved it. Reality shows arrived. Fox News feeds on it and spreads it. The descent from reason toward pure emotion has never ended and we are at the bottom of the barrel.

    After a few decades of dismantling civility and thus American civilization, we’ve ended in the election of Trump, a guy out solely for himself who milks resentment, race and rage with no ability to compromise all to the delight of the generations of Reagan, Springer and Judge Judy. Of course Trump hasn’t an inkling of why he is popular, believing it is all about him and not what he represents. LBJ wanted to have himself reflect the nature of the one he wanted to influence. Trump is not able to see anything about another person except the reflection of Trump himself.

    From LBJ to Trump in the White House in 50 years. It takes my breath away.

    Now here comes Joe Biden, like Rip Van Winkle just awakening, seeking compromise as if he had not been on the planet for decades. How can anyone take this guy, our new savior, seriously? Will he get a Nobel for not being Trump as Obama did for not being GWB? We are on auto-pilot.

    My fear is that there is a new face that, just as LBJ knew how to move the members of Congress of the early 60’s, knows how to move in today’s America without the grossness, ignorance, incompetence, and venality of Trump, while retaining the appeal to Trump’s fans. He has watched and learned. I expect to see a move made by Tucker Carlson.

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    1. CLIF9710–I generally agree with your remarks here (you sense a “but” coming, right?). But, to me, LBJ was not so much a compromiser or mediator as a genius bully. And behind closed Congressional or White House doors, the stories go, no less gross and uncivil than Trump. He certainly got things accomplished, but in terms of civil rights, it was very much against his will. Like FDR with the New Deal, he felt change (even if rather superficial) was essential to avoid the nation slipping out of government’s control. As for Mr. Tucker Carlson, that’s a very interesting suggested GOP candidate for 2024. I do not “follow” him (I no longer subscribe to cable TV), but my understanding is that he has engaged in vile, racist rants no less appalling than those of Trump himself. Doesn’t sound like a “more civil” version of The Donald to me. CNN online has an article about Obama commenting on significance of Trump’s 72 million votes. I’m interested in what he says about this, will pursue the article later.

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  8. Right on schedule. Another “historic” (i.e., hysterical) virtue-signalling “Madam War-monger” about to ascend the greasy Pentagram pole under the incoming Biden/Harris (or did I get that backwards) administration.

    Michael Tracey @mtracey – “For years my barometer of whether the next Democratic administration is just a repeat of failed interventionist orthodoxy (with more identity box-checking) has been if Flournoy is named Secretary of Defense”

    This in response to a quoted Tweet:

    AP Politics @AP_Politics – “President-elect Joe Biden is expected to take a historic step and select a woman to head the Pentagon for the first time. U.S. officials and political insiders regard Michele Flournoy as a top choice for the job. http://apne.ws/yb51l0v

    Yep. Gotterdammerung II: The Twilight of the Girls. (I’d better start work on a Wagnerian libretto for the lunatic opera about to unfold). Now, where has BroomHillary gotten to? I understand she’s got her bloodhot eyes fixed on the UN Ambassador’s job, with only “multilingual” Mayor Pete Buttigieg for competition. I mean, she lost to an unknown black community organizer in 2008, then an orange clown with a dead yellow raccoon on his head in 2016. But to lose a third time to a gay guy from some place in Indiana? How interesting, not to mention “virtuous.” The girls and the gays want to play mass murderer, just like the guys. Their turn. How “historic,” not to mention, as Thomas Frank said: “All WOKE and shit.”

    It sure doesn’t look like those marooned troops abroad will make it back home to celebrate Christmas — and even life — with their families this year. I mean, who would Michele Flournoy and the Joined Chefs of Stuff get to boss around and deploy abroad just to fuck with the Russians and Chinese — who could easily kill them all if they chose — if the American military stayed home and defended America instead of knocking over third-world governments for the Global Corporate Oligarchy?

    Time to start the impeachment proceedings. No need to wait for any inauguration. That will just violate the separation of Church and State — just for starters — as every presidential inauguration does. So get them before they get us. Then rinse and repeat.

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  9. Here it comes: the most “diverse” cabinet ever. Here’s the headline from the Guardian:

    “Joe Biden administration: president-elect assembles a diverse cabinet
    Susan Rice is being considered for secretary of state and Michele Flournoy is reportedly top choice for defence secretary.”

    https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2020/nov/14/joe-biden-administration-cabinet-susan-rice-michele-flournoy

    “Diverse” means you’re Black, a woman, gay, etc. It’s about optics. It has nothing whatsoever to do with your political views and commitments. Here, diversity is unacceptable. You must be a true believer in the system as it exists even to be considered.

    So far, these “moderates” are being touted as sensible and smart choices in the mainstream media. You have to go to alternative sites for a different perspective, e.g. https://caitlinjohnstone.com/2020/11/15/this-isnt-feminism-its-imperialism-in-pumps/

    An excerpt from Johnstone: “As we discussed recently, Flournoy is a bloodthirsty imperialist and war profiteer who peace activists Medea Benjamin and Nicolas JS Davies accurately labeled an “angel of death” for the American empire. As leader of the laughably titled Department of “Defense” she can be expected to oversee the same agendas of unipolar global domination at the expense of rivers of blood as her predecessors, in more or less exactly the same ways.

    There is nothing special or noteworthy about a murderous ghoul rising to the top of a war machine that can only be run by murderous ghouls. But because Michele Flournoy is a woman, we will see her appointment as “Defense” Secretary applauded and upheld as a major landmark for women by a political/media class which has never cared about women beyond their ability to turn the gears of the machine.”

    In sum, we’re getting the appearance of change, but with no change in substance.

    We might, perhaps, see one Progressive in Biden’s cabinet. The rest will be “moderates,” including a couple of Republicans in the spirit of “bipartisanship.”

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    1. Utterly depressing. But not surprising. For me, the sucker punch was seeing Hillary installed at State upon Obama’s election. After my initial moment of shock, it made complete sense: the deal had been cut before the convention. Now, it’s easy to see the gears turning.

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    2. I have “sensed” the arrival of Susan Rice in the incoming administration for a long time. Confess I never heard of the War Dept. contender. Fully agree that it is no progress for women overall to have despicable representatives of the Status Quo who just happen to be women placed in such positions. That is why I could muster no enthusiasm for Hillary Clinton in 2016; I could not support her on the basis of her womanhood. It’s said the new House of Reps in January will have a record number of women members. But how many represent the hideous ideology of the Modern Republican Party? All too many for my liking!

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    3. “The Fine Art of Giving Them Enough Rope & Letting Them Hang Themselves”
      The Republicans sat back, offering no resistance to Trump’s loading out his staff and Cabinet with family members and sycophants. For four years, the level of incompetence, the ensuing turmoil and the trampling of The Constitution didn’t even raise a collective eyebrow within the GOP. It’s only now- after the election – that there are murmurs of discontent. No regrets, though. But clearly, the family/sycophants approach doesn’t work. No surprise there to anyone who has been around politics for any length of time (can you say “Mitch McConnell”?).
      Now, the President-elect is loading out his Cabinet-to-be with a photo-op cast without a whole lot of regard for their qualifications at the Big League level. After all, you can’t spell “Democrat” or “Diversity” without the letter “D.” Two other terms also begin with the letter “D”: dumbass move and defeat. Dealing with America’s problems and Trump’s damage is going to require more than enthusiasm and an acceptable racial balance. You can bet even Nancy Pelosi knows this.
      So, here’s your mortal lock prediction for 2024: regardless of who wins, the government will once again be placed in the hands of the professionals, the people who know what goes where and why and can get things done – or not – as they see fit.
      And here’s one more term that’s starts with “D”: Dog & Pony Show.

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        1. To my Twitter-hating mind, one of the most preposterous things about Trump has been his use of that medium (his personal account) to announce policy decisions! The White House has had an official Twitter account since at least Obama’s time in office, and I trust Biden will use it appropriately. Major policy decisions should be announced the old-school way, with official Press Releases. Part of the return to “normalcy” we’ve been in need of since Jan. 20, 2017.

          Liked by 1 person

      1. Yes, absolutely. The Show Must Go On! Despite The Donald’s temper tantrums and firings of staff and Cabinet members, the Machinery of Empire lumbers on. The Swamp will NOT be drained. That was just a cute campaign slogan in 2016. And THIS JUST IN: Per CNN online, Trump is now “threatening” to pull troops not just from Afghanistan but even Iraq. This must surely be just to enrage the Dem. Establishment, who will surely put up a cry that “This is a grave threat to our national security!” If Trump sincerely believed the Perpetual War on Terror was a waste of money and lives, as he suggested on the campaign trail, he could have started on this project his first week in office in 2017, yes?

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  10. Good grief. I shouldn’t rise to the bait of these headlines: “Biden’s first staff appointments include five women and four people of color. President-elect and Kamala Harris promised to build White House team that ‘looks like America’, to reflect shifting demographics”

    What about “thinks” like America? Why is it simply about race and gender and not about a commitment to policies like Medicare for all, a Green New Deal, etc.? Well, we know why …

    https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2020/nov/17/joe-biden-appointments-jen-o-malley-dillon

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    1. Well, one could say it’s a “refreshing change.” But really it’s window dressing, because they (the new appointees) will all be fully committed to Imperial War-making and the preservation of profitability. The 1% of the 1% are NOT trembling with trepidation, we may be sure.

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        1. They gave away their power — now they have none. Unless they’re willing to organize, speak out, and act.

          But they’re so afraid of Pelosi and losing their money and/or plumb committee assignments. Or so it seems …

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          1. Yes, but elected Progressives aren’t the only ones sitting on their hands here. The pundits are as well, including Norman Solomon, for example. They’re busy declaring that Biden needs to be pushed to fight for progressive values, but they’re not actually pushing him.

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          2. Well, how much power do you think Norman Solomon can really wield? Is Biden aware of how hard he’s being slammed here at Bracing Views?? (kind of a rhetorical question) IF he knew, would he give the least hoot? Would any politician equally committed to maintaining the rule of the 1% over the rest of us give the least hoot?

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  11. Nope, nobody would give a hoot. My point, however, is that these pundits have been everlastingly beating the drum for Biden, swearing up and down that, as soon as “we” got him into office, they would be sure to hold his feet to the fire (same as they said about Hillary). Over and over, they repeated that plan of action, and anyone who doubted was slammed as a naysayer or a traitor to the Progressive cause. I read a couple articles that were over-the-top abusive about how anyone who cared about progressive values would be an idiot, a total turncoat, to vote for anyone but Biden. They categorically labeled anyone who voted third-party as selfish, ignorant, and lacking all awareness. And these were in fairly mainstream outlets (no surprise, I guess). So where are all these pundits now, when it’s the time to be objecting to distinctly non-Progressive Cabinet and staff choices? Not a peep from them, thus vindicating all the so-called naysayers. The pontificators claimed to collectively have the power to nudge Biden left. Not seeing it.

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        1. Here’s a brilliant headline/tease for a new op-ed piece on NY Times by one Thomas Edsall (name rings a bell, but I’ve never read his stuff): “THE FAR LEFT IS THE REPUBLICANS’ FINEST ASSET. An intensive battle between moderates and progressives has already spilled into public view.” I won’t bother reading the actual article, but one can guess Mr. Edsall will advise progressives to cool their heels. “The Far Left”?? How the hell does this guy even define “The Far Left” and is he implying that’s what progressives represent? Hey, I’M far left, but my “platform” goes way beyond a Democratic progressive’s. George Orwell would have something to say about all this, methinks.

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          1. Yep, were Orwell still around, he could incorporate Edsall’s comments into a 1984 sequel. I’m heartened, though, by AOC’s thundering response to such baseless pronouncements. I devoutly pray that she, Omar, Tlaib, and Pressley are the future.

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          2. I just read Edsall’s article in its entirety, and essentially, he picked the most damning quotation he recorded and ran with it as his headline. Meaning that, as establishment-Dem as the article actually is, his lead makes it sound much worse than the “experts'” consensus really is. In short, it’s all about messaging and framing (not to flog the subject!). There are some valid points made about national vs. district races, and also about urban vs. rural concerns. Nothing, however, to justify unqualified attacks on Progressives.

            Interestingly, there’s quite a bit of pushback among the posted comments. One woman wrote something to the effect of, “Progressives gave Biden the victory, and as no good deed goes unpunished, they’re now public enemy number one.” Love it!

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          3. I just watched the Hulu original documentary “I Am Greta,” about the tiny (she has to be prodded to eat) Swedish schoolgirl who launched a global youth movement around the Climate Crisis. I recommend it wholeheartedly. But I’m actually bringing it up here re: our discussions of the grave shortcomings of our homegrown politicians and the difficulty of taking progressive stances. There’s a scene early on where Greta’s family is watching Swedish TV coverage of their elections. The commentator observes: “The Green Party has lost votes, so THEY’LL PROBABLY MOVE TO THE RIGHT” [my emphasis]!! Oh dear, there’s that accursed pragmatism on display again.

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          4. Had an email in my Inbox today from a “cause” organization seeking my donation (which ain’t gonna be happening). The Subject Line was to effect of “Urge Biden to build a Climate Dream Team”!! AS IF that’s gonna happen!! Returning US to Paris Climate Agreement–which is no solution to the crisis–is the most we might expect from the new administration. Unless it requires Senate approval, which would mean it’ll never happen.

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          5. So funny. The “far left” or the “radical left”: you know, people who want health care, clean water, decent wages, affordable education. Crazy people!

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          6. That’s why I keep pounding on the idea of messaging. As I’ve mentioned in other threads, it’s a fact that ALL news outlets are inherently biased, evidenced as much by the stories they cover as the ones they don’t (my work at a business journal showed me which kinds of stories don’t make the cut). If the Progressives fail to make the case that they’re relevant to everyone, Edsall’s article, and others like it, stand as is. The representatives fighting for underserved constituencies, such as The Squad, are relegated to the back benches when it comes to coverage. They’re simply dismissed as radical socialists with anarchy as their immediate plan, even though that couldn’t be farther from the truth.

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