November 10, 2006

Letter to an Ecstatic Liberal

I wrote the following in response to a letter from a friend of mine in the wake of the midterm elections of 7 November 2006. He was very excited about the Democrats having taken the House and the Senate; now, he assured me, everything was going to change. This is my reply:

Dear John:

I share your disgust of the GOP &c., but I'm not sure that very much has changed. This country has millions of Rumsfelds, millions of Bushes; they walk the streets of our great nation every day, and if we eliminate one particular Rummy or Bush, there is no doubt that they can be quickly replaced by clones (e.g. CIA-man Robert Gates, another useful idiot). Head of the Hydra, as the saying goes. Consider this:

1. According to the Miami Herald (11/8/06), the leading House Democrats say that there will be no cutting of funds for the war in Iraq. They also, in both the lead-up to the election and the aftermath, have never mentioned the words "withdrawal plan" or "timetable for withdrawal." The truth is that we are talking abt the difference between Empire and Empire Lite; big deal. The changes the Dems are now proposing deal with minimum wage and stem-cell research. Important? Maybe; but I see these as basically cosmetic. There is no addressing the fundamental error of globalization, US capitalism, and the agitated foreign policy that is typical of an empire in its death-throes. Any president who might try--think of Jimmy Carter--would be out the door in fairly short order.

2. The so-called shift to blue states is a mirage. After all, the great American people would be cheering Mr. Bush if Iraq had been a victory. They have no objection to an immoral foreign policy, or even a severely misguided one; they only think in terms of win or lose. Hence, the so-called liberal tilt in the House is due to the fact that at least 9 very conservative Dems won GOP seats--some tilt. As for the Senate, Va. was the swing state, and this by a mere 7,000 votes.

3. In the wake of the election, Nancy Pelosi vowed a "move to the center." I don't know if you've noticed, but since about 1978 the so-called center is on the far right. Arthur Schlesinger's famous argument about how the American people can only be wooed from the "vital center" remains true, except that that center is violent, stupid, and basically moribund. So she's moving to the center, but to what end? Recall that line from Gore Vidal: US politics consists of a single party with 2 right wings.

The bottom line: the US is broken; there ain't nothin' gonna fix it.

With kind regards,
Maury Berman