Thursday, April 14, 2011

Extortions willingly accepted

A quote for today:

A shrewd victor will, if possible, always present his demands to the vanquished in installments. And then, with a nation that has lost its character-and this is the case of every one which voluntarily submits-he can be sure that it will not regard one more of these individual oppressions as an adequate reason for taking up arms again. 'The more extortions are willingly accepted in this way, the more unjustified it strikes people finally to take up the defensive against a new, apparently isolated, though constantly recurring, oppression, especially when, all in all, so much more and greater misfortune has already been borne in patient silence.

It seems to me, and I hope to you, an accurate description of what the GOP has been doing for the last 10 years (if not the last 30).

So who wrote that little piece of the GOP playbook?

Adolph Hitler. Mein Kampf, and if I read the link correctly, volume 2 chapter 15.

No, I'm not about to link directly to something named hitler-dot-org, but the site I'm linking to has no such qualms. And sorry to run into the rule that the first one to mention Hitler loses the debate.

I got this from a blog written by NTodd, who also quotes Ezra Klein and Paul Krugman. By giving into the GOP on a few small items that make life for the poor and middle class a little worse the Dems signaled they will allow more. By allowing the GOP to dictate the District of Columbia can't use its own voter approved taxes to fund abortions (a last minute concession by the prez.) the Dems signaled more giveaways on abortion rights are possible (and thus likely). The Dems compounded the problem by then celebrating their submissiveness as "historic." That was not something to celebrate.

Richard (RJ) Eskow wrote in the Huffington Post about why the Tea Party, a minority, keeps winning. They are certainly much more effective than any group on the left. Eskow lists these reasons:

* Money. The Tea Party is well funded by the Koch brothers and the new law that allows corporations unlimited campaign spending. This won't change without campaign finance reform.

* Obama misrepresented himself on the campaign trail or reversed himself once elected (examples listed in the article). This is actually a small reason why the Tea Party comes out on top.

* The media shies away from issues labeled "progressive" (such as reducing poverty) even though they are very popular. Again, this isn't a top reason.

* There is a big difference between supporting the Democratic Party and supporting every last candidate that runs as a Democrat. Progressives seem satisfied with the "D" after the name, no matter how conservative they person actually is. The Tea Party has shown that policy positions matter to them, even if the person is an otherwise good Republican. Challenging incumbents helps the Democratic Party to clarify its brand. So, will someone be challenging Obama?

* Dems are too concerned about "what's politically possible." Yet, when true progressive ideas get past Dem gatekeepers and into open debate they draw a few GOP lawmakers. In the same way Dems cheer over little crumbs (even before the vote is taken) rather than insisting on the whole thing. And those who insist on the whole thing are accused of undermining the prez.

* We keep waiting for a charismatic leader like JFK or RFK. We thought Obama would be that person. But such a leader doesn't exist and the Tea Party proves one isn't necessary.

* The GOP offers a vision. It's not a good one, but it's more than the Dems offer (well, until Obama's speech yesterday -- I'll comment more once I've found a transcript). Eskow offers this vision: Bump up the payroll tax cap (which goes to Social Security). Add a financial transactions tax. Increase the income tax on the rich. Increase the capital gains tax. Increase Social Security benefits (by 15%!). Stimulate the economy by a half trillion every year until unemployment is down to 4%. Provide "Medicare for all." So what if we don't get it all the first time. It should be what we strive for.

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