Louis Proyect: The Unrepentant Marxist

December 17, 2007

The Nation Magazine And The 2008 Presidential Elections

Filed under: parliamentary cretinism — louisproyect @ 2:32 pm

(Swans – December 17, 2007) As 2007 draws to a close, one must acknowledge the utter incapacity of the Democratic Party to mount any kind of serious challenge to the Bush White House. Despite lip service paid to ending the war in Iraq and forestalling a new war with Iran, the Democrats continue to find a way to fund the former and prepare for the latter. Domestically, they have done nothing to resist the ongoing dismantling of the welfare state safety net nor are they able to address the underlying cause of the immigration “crisis,” namely the inability of the Mexican economy to produce jobs — a function of neoliberal trade agreements that the Democrats pushed for under Clinton.Although a leftist presidential campaign has not yet emerged, one can be sure that the Democrats will attack it vehemently no matter how awful their own candidate turns out. You can already see a parade of “lesser evil” politics in the pages of The Nation Magazine, a primary outlet for Naderphobia in 2004. It would be worth reviewing a recent forum on the 2008 elections in the November 26, 2007 issue (1) that allowed well-known liberal personalities to stump for their favorite candidate in rather impressive displays of self-deception.

From John Nichols, who covers the politics beat for The Nation, there is a pitch for Joe Biden, the malapropist Senator from Delaware who Nichols described as “muscularly partisan.” In keeping with the sports imagery that typifies punditry chat on the elections, Nichols writes as if Biden were going to the Super Bowl:

In the blood-sport competition for the presidency, Biden’s flair for finding the GOP jugular ought to count for something among Democrats who grumble about their last two nominees’ failure to play offense.

Nichols acknowledges that Biden supported the invasion of Iraq (how could he not?), but gives him credit for blocking some retrograde Supreme Court nominees. While it is true that Biden has voted against the likes of John Roberts and Samuel Alito, he and fellow Democratic presidential candidates Hillary Clinton, Chris Dodd, and Barack Obama did not bother to vote against the confirmation of Michael Mukasey as Attorney General, the very Mukasey who could not answer whether waterboarding was torture.

It should be mentioned that Nichols had already chided Biden, Clinton, Dodd, and Obama for their no-vote on Mukasey in the November 11 issue, but apparently their refusal to take a position against Mukasey was understandable in light of their need to continue on the campaign trail. As Nichols put it, “Running for president is, to be sure, a big deal.” Certainly, it would seem a bigger deal than standing up to torture and Bush’s Star Chamber approach to the law.



  1. Bitchin’ commentary on the national election, Louis. As I’ve said before, it’s refreshing to see someone write about the period before the Civil war, and the manner in which political forces lined up. Whether the “left” sees it or not, the reality is that we have come to a similar point in U.S. history where the question of production and the role it plays in our lives is going to be a watchword. Are we working to build economy, or is it working for us? Everyone at some level knows we’re being run ragged. Everyone at some level knows the future under these people is debt peonage and a common ruin of infrastructure. Nowhere is this more obvious then in the stupid and culty workshops almost every profession is served up at “professional development workshops”, where there are dozens and dozens of shills trying to convince us that the purpose of work is not so much to build ourselves and each other through work, but to enhance the wellbeing of the company. These kumquats are so backwards they actually are looking for ways to get people to swear fealty to the padrone! Nothing can teach like events.

    The fact that the actual movement has yet to gain articulation is irrelvevant to me, we ask questions and ask follow up questions and scrap and build in the labor movement and whatever semi-sane community organizations as still exist as fast as we can and that’s all. The election with all its sideshows will wear off, and we will be forced, as the old Moor said, in all sobriety to face the reality of our times. What decisions we make, who knows? But the question of self governance will continue to come to the fore, and capital at this stage will continue to do nothing but stifle where it can’t co-opt. We need to prepare accordingly. —mhp

    Comment by Michael Hureaux Perez — December 17, 2007 @ 4:39 pm

  2. Wasn’t it Gore Vidal who said we have “a one-party system with two right wings.” What else is new?

    Comment by Richard Greener — December 17, 2007 @ 6:49 pm

  3. Hello Louis,

    “…about their last two nominees’ failure to play offense.”

    As you know, I explained in my blog that they were actually playing way too offensively. As a reminder of famous sports proverb, “offense sells the tickets, defense wins the game”. This time striving to defend the interests of working class might help Democrats (!)

    btw, I like the picture, isn’t it from one of my favorite literature texts, “Through the Looking-Glass”?

    Comment by Mehmet Cagatay — December 18, 2007 @ 1:43 am

  4. “Considering the loss of civilian life in Iraq since 2003 to be in the 75 to 85,000 range”

    What the hell ? It’s in the hundreds of thousands !

    Comment by littlehorn — December 18, 2007 @ 2:27 am

  5. Someone was saying about the lack of a legitimate leftist candidate??

    Cynthia McKinney Announces Bid For Green Party Presidential Candidacy (from her blog)

    I’d say that she is far better than Ron Paul any day of the week.


    Comment by Anthony Kennerson — December 22, 2007 @ 4:29 am

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