Friday, September 11, 2015

Are Today's Socialists Yesterday's Progressives?

What are the biggest differences between FDR, Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton?

Compare the "mainstream" positions of the GOP now with that of the GOP in the 1950s or 1960s — or for that matter, the 1980s. The extreme right is now the mainstream GOP, whereas Donald Trump might be a "Progressive Republican" in drag ;)

Now do the same thing with the Democratic party. FDR's "New Deal Democrats" are currently out of power and are now called "socialists" and "far left" by their political rivals and the corporate media — while the actual power-holders in the Democratic party today are to the right of Eisenhower and Nixon.

The Southern Dixiecrats of the 1940s became Republicans — who morphed into the Tea Party as of 2010 — and now makes up a large part of the GOP base as of 2015. With Dixiecrats out of the Democratic party, the Democratic party became more diverse — but they also became more "moderate" (a.k.a. Third Way/Pro-Corporate/Centrist Democrats.)

The only "left" in the Democratic Party that exists today are the 15% of Democrats who are members of the Progressive Caucus. Most sit in the House of Representatives, with only one in the Senate: His name is Bernie Sanders, the only U.S. Senator who is a member of that caucus.

If Americans are really fed up with both the "moderate" Democrats and the "conservative" Republicans, they should elect more Progressives to Congress (Check out The Progressive Promise).

After seeing how popular Senator Elizabeth Warren had become, Hillary Clinton spent a large part of her campaign casting herself as a liberal fighter who has been progressive for her entire life. But to many on the left, that never rang true. And recently Hillary has even publicly admitted to being a "moderate" Democrat — meaning, she is not a "progressive" or truly "liberal" — and not "far left" (and more like Obama or Joe Biden).

These days a moderate Democrat is almost the same thing as a moderate Republican: They are the Centrist or Third Way pro-corporate types who agree on issues such as trade deals that offshore American jobs to low-wage countries. Currently, centrists in the two major US political parties are often found in the New Democrat Coalition and the Blue Dog Coalition of the Democratic Party — and the Republican Main Street Partnership of the Republican Party (of which Senator John McCain belongs).

Clinton recently proclaimed at a Women for Hillary event: "You know, I get accused of being kind of moderate and center. I plead guilty."

That line was seen as a subtle shot at Independent Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders, who is running to the left of Clinton — maybe because Bernie (who is running as a Progressive Democrat) has recently passed Hillary in another poll. Among likely Democratic Iowa caucus-goers, according to a just-released Quinnipiac University poll, Sanders edged out Clinton 41 to 40 percent (not to mention, in New Hampshire as well).

Yesterday Bernie Sanders was interviewed on CNN with Wolf Blitzer. The Vermont senator, who serves as an Independent in Congress and has identified as a democratic socialist, was pressed on whether he was a true Democrat. He said it's "no secret" he's an independent in Congress, but he has always caucused with Democrats. And when asked about Hillary being a moderate, Bernie Sanders simply told Wolf Blitzer, "I am a proud progressive."

Wolf correctly assessed that Hillary and others within the Democratic Party Machine (including some in the media) have been implying that Bernie is not a "real" Democrat in an attempt to fear-monger him as an extremist and radical Socialist (with a capital "S").

Going forward, Bernie might better clarify his self-proclaimed political identity for people who aren't aware of all the different political affiliations and what they actually stand for on the various issues. When asked, Bernie could also say:

"I identity as a Democratic Socialist, the brand you'd find in Western Europe — democracies that the U.S. encouraged after WWII — not the brand of socialism that many Americans might associate with Russia's Joseph Stalin during that time in history. This is simply fear-mongering by a few politicians and by some in the media. Throughout my whole career in Congress I have caucused with Progressive Democrats — just as FDR was a Progressive. And if you look very carefully at all the issues that I have advocated for over the past several decades, there is little difference between my agenda and FDR's — and he won four straight elections with the vast majority of the States, including those in the South. In her speech earlier this year at Netroots Nation, Senator Elizabeth Warren, who also promotes Progressive ideas, had said: "The American people are Progressives". I also promote Progressive ideas, and that’s most likely why my message has been resonating so well with the American people.”

On another show on CNN they were discussing the latest poll results putting Sanders ahead of Hillary Clinton in Iowa, where a man named Adolfo Franco was on as a guest. Franco used to oversee the U.S. government's project to promote democracy in Cuba. He left his post while serving under George W. Bush to serve as a foreign policy advisor for Senator John McCain — who at the time, was just considering a presidential run. Yesterday Franco was all-out bashing Bernie like a rabid dog. (Why he was even on the show to begin with is a mystery. See the embedded below with some media clips from yesterday. Adolfo Franco is the last pundit speaking in this 7-minute compilation from the cable newscasts.)

And then there's the moderate Democratic Senator Claire McCaskill of Missouri (a big Hillary supporter) who said Bernie Sanders was too liberal — and had complained that the media was being too nice to Bernie because they weren't calling him a "socialist" often enough (see the video here on Ed Schultz's show).

For the uninformed, if you want more details about Bernie's "socialist" issues, visit his website and check out www.FeeltheBern.Org

Because Hillary is now behind in the polls in Iowa and New Hampshire, already John Kerry, Al Gore, Joe Biden and Elizabeth Warren are being discussed as an alternative "Plan B" to Hillary — because all those pro-corporate/moderate Democrats would hate to see a Progressive like Bernie Sanders be our next president — because they are more interested in maintaining the status quo and keeping themselves in power, rather than bend to the will of the majority of the American people at large.

Recently, from The Nation magazine:

  • In a recent ABC/Washington Post poll, 68 percent agreed that we live in a country whose economic system favors the rich rather than the rest of us.
  • In another poll, fully 83 percent called the nation’s wealth gap a problem, with a majority terming it “a major problem.”
  • Gallup has seen a steady majority in the number who respond positively to its 30-year inquiry: “Do you think our government should or should not redistribute wealth by heavy taxes on the rich?”
  • The Pew Research Center recently found that 69 percent of respondents agreed with the statement that the federal government should do “a lot/some” to reduce the income gap.
  • A study recently published in Perspectives on Psychological Science asked Americans to guess the ratio between the average Fortune 500 CEO’s earnings and their workers’ wages. The average estimate: 30 to 1. The truth: 354 to 1.

Would it be wrong to imply that the mainstream media are ignoring economic inequality, because Americans remain sadly uninformed about the severity of the problem? Bernie Sanders is obviously talking a great deal about inequality. So how do these issues get treated in the mainstream media?

The New York Times Magazine asked Bernie, “Do you think it’s fair that Hillary’s hair gets a lot more scrutiny than yours does?” Bernie relied: "I don’t mean to be rude here. I am running for president of the United States on serious issues, OK? Do you have serious questions?”

Amazing as it may be, this exchange was hardly atypical of the mainstream media’s coverage. ABC’s George Stephanopoulos felt compelled to remind Sanders that he was a socialist before asking for a model of his preferred government. When Sanders named the Scandinavian nations, Stephanopoulos mocked his response: “I can hear the Republican attack ad right now: ‘He wants America to look more like Scandinavia.’”

Bernie’s reply: “And what’s wrong with that? What’s wrong is when you have more income and wealth equality. What’s wrong is when they have a stronger middle-class in many ways than we do.”

A Progressive Party (FDR's party) has to fight very hard for any success in this country today — because with so much $$$ corrupting our politics, it's enabling the plutocrats to influence our elections, and it's making the CEOs and major investors of multi-national corporations the "governors" of our country. "Democracy" in America is now a farce because we have "moderate" Democrats such as Hillary Clinton and DNC Chairperson Debbie Wasserman Schultz, who said three days ago on CNN that she WILL NOT sanction more than 6 debates — saying 6 debates will be enough.

But the very next day both vice chairs of the DNC (Rep. Tulsi Gabbard of Hawaii and former Minneapolis Mayor R.T. Rybak) called for more Democratic presidential debates. So maybe not EVERYONE within the Democratic Party Machine is rejecting a chance for real change, and not just making some empty promise of "hope and change". We don't need more campaign slogans, we need real results.

But getting back to the title of this post: Chris Matthews (A Hillary supporter) asked DNC Chair Debbie Wasserman-Schultz: “What’s the difference between a Democrat and a socialist? I used to think there was a big difference. What do you think it is?”

She avoided a direct answer, when she could have said: "There's very little difference between FDR and Senator Bernie Sanders as progressive Democrats. However, Hillary Clinton as a "moderate" Democrat is much more like Mitt Romney, a "moderate" Republican. So there's little difference between a democratic socialist and a progressive Democrat.

So, if as Senator Elizabeth Warren claims, "The American people are Progressives", then maybe we're also Socialists too — just like FDR.

QUOTE OF THE DAY: Hillary Clinton, joking at the Brookings Institution:

“I don’t admire very much about Mr. Putin, but the idea you can stand up and say ‘I will be your next president?’ That has a certain, you know, attraction to it.”

Yes. Her only ambition is to call herself "President of the United States" — and probably wants to keep President Bernie Sanders from raising her taxes.

* As a final thought: Maybe it's time the media and political pundits stop comparing Hillary to Trump — and start comparing Bernie to Trump.

1 comment:


    CNN: Clinton's lead over Sanders shrinks as her edge over GOP vanishes: Nationally, Hillary is only ahead of Bernie by 10 points — 37 to 27 percent among Democratic and Democratic-leaning voters. CNN also reports the tightening general election match-ups reflect a weakening of support among women for Clinton.

    Post by Nate Silver: Stop Comparing Donald Trump And Bernie Sanders (As an aside: Donald Trump appears on “The Tonight Show” with Jimmy Fallon tonight on 9/11.)

    Joe Biden on the Late Show with Stephen Colbert last night: "I don't think any man or woman should run for president unless, number one, they know exactly why they would want to be president and two, they can look at folks out there and say, 'I promise you, you have my whole heart, my whole soul, my energy, and my passion to do this.'"

    Bernie Sanders, who supports campaign finance reform, doesn't want super-PACs supporting his campaign and has asked a fake superPAC (Americans Socially United) to stop its efforts on his behalf. His campaign sent a cease and desist letter in June, which continues to be disregarded. MOTHER JONES: Super-PACs, which are largely unregulated by the Federal Election Commission, can get away with a lot. As attorney Paul Ryan explained to CPI, the people running these super-PACs could legally use the money they raise “to buy a yacht and sail off into the sunset.”

    POLITICO: DNC chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz refused to budge after her two vice chairs called for more than six Democratic primary debates.