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Sun Dec 9, 2012, 08:21 PM

PROGRESSIVES And CORPORATISTS Struggle for Control of the Democratic Party






Last week, I wrote about a powerful lobbying group of the wealthy and their corporations, Campaign to the Fix the Debt. Fix the Debt has among its members the CEOs of Boeing, Dow Chemical and AT & T. Critics have richly pointed out that this group ostensibly so dedicated to reducing government debt has members, like Jamie Dimon and Lloyd Blankfein, who have taken some of the largest government handouts in history. Fix the Debt’s efforts have been intensely focused on getting legislators to implement austerity measures, a combination of draconian cuts to social spending like programs for the poor, elderly, and disabled, public education, and healthcare, with increases in corporate welfare. However, as much as liberals might want to cordon off conservatives as the only perpetrators of these “eat the poor” policies, Fix the Debt has Democratic members. It is the very fact that the Democratic Party is such a big tent that has many people upset. Some do not think the party should include leaders who will support Fix the Debt. This month, L.R. Runner discusses the issue in the Nation essay, “Can We Save the Democratic Party?”


Runner writes,


“Too many members of the party’s nationwide hierarchy are closer, ideologically and politically, to Wall Street than to Main Street—to the corporate, rich and powerful than to the stricken middle class, the increasingly impoverished working class (and the diminished and embattled unions that protect it), and the unemployed and perpetually poor.”

http://www.politicususa.com/austerity-bomb-real-threat-america.html




Runner’s essay highlights the tension in the Democratic Party between the “apologists” and the “progressives.” While there has been a lot of attention on the schisms within the Republican Party after the election, there has been less discussion of how the internal dynamics of the Democratic Party have been affected by the election. Prior to November 6th, the need to stop Mitt Romney from winning was forcing the marriage of two factions of the American Left. With the election over, Runner’s article appears to be one of the first to turn attention to the schism on the left between what some may call the corporatists and the progressives. It has come to the point when the interests of corporatists and those of progressives are deeply at odds. Runner thinks democracy itself will be on the line:



“An influential group of disaffected Democrats, led by financial titans, highly placed columnists and other privileged insiders, has been clamoring for an avowedly “centrist” party based on still more “bipartisan compromise,” as though Democrats have been lacking in that regard. If the project, essentially a version of the “grand bargain,” succeeds in swaying the Democratic establishment (which may be its actual purpose), the result would be a democracy without any alternatives to government of, by and for the 1 percent—that is, no democracy at all.”




The viewpoint of the corporatist is not only considered pro-business, it’s seen as all-American. There are clearly those in the Democratic Party who believe in cultivating relationships with Wall Street, corporations, and the business community as a whole. It’s good for campaign fundraising. It’s good for gaining access to power. But it’s certainly bad when it comes to making policy; as Democrats grow closer and closer to the people at the top of the hierarchy, social policy is written more and more in favor of the rich and powerful, or simply by them. For example, leaders of the Democratic Party such as former chair of the Democratic National Convention, Antonio Villaraigosa, and former Democratic Pennsylvania Governor Ed Rendell, are actually members of the board of Fix the Debt. These two men represent just two of many Democrats who do things like get involved in an organization that advocates policies at odds with what should be Democratic Party values.



- Contrast Democrats like Villaraigosa, Rendell, and Bowles with those like Sherrod Brown or Elizabeth Warren, and it’s easy to see how there is a struggle for the soul of the party. On the one hand you have party members who are willing to let big business write law to limit regulation, reduce corporate taxes, and slash government spending. On the other hand, you have party members who are middle and working class champions unwilling to see social programs eliminated so that the wealthy can keep tax breaks and averse to seeing big business unregulated and operating without contributing to society. In the big tent of the Democratic Party, these two factions seem to be on a political collision course for control of the party and its policy. But the debate over the soul of the Democratic Party is actually an old one. Franklin Delano Roosevelt was frustrated with the party’s split loyalties and wrote a never-delivered letter declining to be re-nominated for the Presidency in 1940:


“In the century in which we live, the Democratic Party has received the support of the electorate only when the party, with absolute clarity, has been the champion of progressive and liberal policies and principles of government. The party has failed consistently when through political trading and chicanery it has fallen into the control of those interests, personal and financial, which think in terms of dollars instead of in terms of human values.”







cont'

http://www.politicususa.com/progressives-corporatists-struggle-control-democratic-party.html

19 replies, 1464 views

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Arrow 19 replies Author Time Post
Reply PROGRESSIVES And CORPORATISTS Struggle for Control of the Democratic Party (Original post)
Segami Dec 2012 OP
marmar Dec 2012 #1
roguevalley Dec 2012 #9
woo me with science Dec 2012 #10
antigop Dec 2012 #13
raouldukelives Dec 2012 #15
truebluegreen Dec 2012 #19
ProSense Dec 2012 #2
Segami Dec 2012 #4
ProSense Dec 2012 #5
Ikonoklast Dec 2012 #7
Segami Dec 2012 #8
Jim Lane Dec 2012 #11
sabrina 1 Dec 2012 #6
rhett o rick Dec 2012 #16
RKP5637 Dec 2012 #3
cascadiance Dec 2012 #12
colsohlibgal Dec 2012 #14
pampango Dec 2012 #17
Egalitarian Thug Dec 2012 #18

Response to Segami (Original post)

Sun Dec 9, 2012, 08:25 PM

1. Seems like the corporatists have been winning since 1992.

nt

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Response to marmar (Reply #1)

Sun Dec 9, 2012, 10:17 PM

9. yeah. I have been reading for two days that Obama will allow rich people

to wash money down on the inaugeration. (Spelling boo-boo) I could just die. It seems so futile. He got a massive mandate and still this happens.

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Response to marmar (Reply #1)

Sun Dec 9, 2012, 10:26 PM

10. Indeed. nt

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Response to marmar (Reply #1)

Sun Dec 9, 2012, 11:27 PM

13. and a lot of Dems refuse to acknowledge it. nt

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Response to antigop (Reply #13)

Mon Dec 10, 2012, 12:41 AM

15. Or even worse, join hands with them and invest. nt

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Response to marmar (Reply #1)

Mon Dec 10, 2012, 01:44 PM

19. More like since the 70s, or certainly the early 80s.

The party abandoned the anti-war McGovern, didn't fight for labor, even started deregulation with the airlines.

But yeah, Clinton really kicked the door open.

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Response to Segami (Original post)

Sun Dec 9, 2012, 08:31 PM

2. This reads like

one of those Americans Elect-type hypes, this time focusing on "Fix the Debt."

Does anyone really give a shit about that group?

I mean, Rendell and Bowles vs. Sherrod Brown or Elizabeth Warren?

Two unelected blowhards vs. one sitting Senator and one Senator-elect who kicked the RW's ass in the last election.

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Response to ProSense (Reply #2)

Sun Dec 9, 2012, 08:40 PM

4. I agree that Rendell and Bowles are unelected yet,

they (Rendell more so) continues to advocate positions on air that make my hair stand on ends. Its like you fight and win one battle only to find a team friendly shouting on air, parroting the same position in another guise.

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Response to Segami (Reply #4)

Sun Dec 9, 2012, 08:47 PM

5. Yeah, they're the

"they (Rendell more so) continues to advocate positions on air that make my hair stand on ends."

...media picks. After all, it wouldn't be "fair and balanced" if the Republican talking points weren't countered by a similar sounding allegedly Democratic talking point.

It's a tie!

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Response to Segami (Reply #4)

Sun Dec 9, 2012, 08:52 PM

7. It's all they can do. They are on the outside. They are starting to be ignored.

Their clout, as is that of the defunct DLC, is on the wane, and they know it.

Rendell, Bowles, and their ilk are the past of the Party, and are being quickly marginalized as policy shapers as the demographic shifts changing this country are also changing this party.

They might squeak loudly trying to appease the money guys that use them, but things are changing...ever so slowly, but I see the party moving away from them and back to the where the rest of us have always been.

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Response to Ikonoklast (Reply #7)

Sun Dec 9, 2012, 09:18 PM

8. The message of moving 'back to where the rest of us have always been'

needs to be shouted a little louder throughout for ALL to hear every day.

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Response to Ikonoklast (Reply #7)

Sun Dec 9, 2012, 10:53 PM

11. They should NOT be underestimated.

Obama has said that, in tough economic times, the government must tighten its belt. This is directly contrary to sound economic thinking, and also directly contrary to the interests of the Democratic Party's natural constituents. It comes straight out of the Fix the Debt playbook. I'm not at all convinced that you're correct in stating that their influence is on the wane.

If neither Joe Biden nor Hillary Clinton runs in 2016, then Andrew Cuomo will probably run and will have the support of the corporatist wing of the party. As things stand now, I'd rate him as the favorite for the nomination in that scenario. (If either Biden or Clinton runs, it's more complicated, but they'll be 73 and 69, respectively, on Election Day 2016.) The corporatists don't care much about social issues, so they're happy to see Cuomo burnishing his "progressive" credentials by supporting marriage equality. On issues such as labor, economics, and the environment, however, he represents the right wing of the party. He will heavily outspend Sherrod Brown or Martin O'Malley or whoever else emerges as the leading progressive candidate.

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Response to ProSense (Reply #2)

Sun Dec 9, 2012, 08:51 PM

6. Yes, a lot of Democrats give a shit about the Corporate Influences on the Dem Party

And yes, there is a split in the Party. The only thing I disagree with in this article is that this is the first article to focus on it. Maybe in the MSM, but certainly not in Democratic circles.

If they succeed, and the results of these 'negotiations' will tell that story, then there will be 'hell to pay' as stated by a member of the huge Coalition of Progressives formed to prepare for this fight.

Democrats will be reminded that they kicked Republican ass BECAUSE of them. Now it's time to do it again, or we will know who runs this Party:

Progressives get ready to push the president

Our members are really really fired up to fight alongside of him and fight Republicans who are holding the economy hostage,” Ilya Sheyman of MoveOn.org told Salon. “But at the same time, it is also true that we have a very clear bright line from our members on Social Security and Medicare. That’s the top priority for our membership and we’re staying fully mobilized.”

Hoping to avoid a fight, the White House invited the leaders of the biggest labor unions and major liberal groups to meet with the president today. “I’m really hoping that the president listens more than he talks at the meeting today and truly understands how fierce the opposition to these cuts would be,” said Alex Lawson, the executive director of the advocacy group Social Security Works. “I think that you would find a huge backlash.”

Led by the AFL-CIO, the progressives have presented a united front on two basic demands: No cuts to entitlement programs, and no reauthorization of the Bush tax cuts for higher income brackets. “If it’s bad for workers, it doesn’t matter to us who proposes it. We won’t be on board. We won’t be taken for granted,” Richard Trumka, the AFL-CIO’s president recently told Salon’s Josh Eidelson.


This coalition was formed before the election because the left is no longer willing to just trust those they elect to represent their interests. The choice for Democrats is clear, use the mandate the people gave them for the people, or side with the Corporate interests that have infiltrated the party.

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Response to sabrina 1 (Reply #6)

Mon Dec 10, 2012, 01:03 AM

16. Too many Republicans have slithered under our tent. We need to kick them out. nm

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Response to Segami (Original post)

Sun Dec 9, 2012, 08:33 PM

3. When it comes to $$$$$, I think there are many similarities, sadly, between R's and D's in the

upper echelons of the parties. $$$$$ likes $$$$$. And $$$$$ talks and has power, the rest of us just talk, for the most part. Some days I think "we the people" are screwed no matter what we do.


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Response to Segami (Original post)

Sun Dec 9, 2012, 11:06 PM

12. The stars on the corporatist "ass" needs to rotated properly to match its origin...

...



which is more representative of both of those entities souls...

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Response to Segami (Original post)

Mon Dec 10, 2012, 12:04 AM

14. We Need Many More Real Progressives To Turn The Tide

The centrists and/or apologists drive me nuts. To me compromise now means screwing the non rich for the benefit of the rich slightly less.

Right now policy wise it's a rout, led by the guy in the WH. Obama talks a semi good game in campaign mode but after that he goes all centrist, and centrist today = pretty far right pre Reagan. The proof is the utter lack of prosecutions of any Wall Street big wigs for massive fraud - I just find that stunning, but big money speaks volumes. We must go to public financing of elections.

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Response to Segami (Original post)

Mon Dec 10, 2012, 02:07 AM

17. Conversely, teabaggers/fundamentalists and Big Business struggle for control of the GOP

It seems to be unavoidable that the base of each party has to struggle with the 'establishment' wing for control. Each base may scare its "establishment" wing from time to time (perhaps defeating a few of its members in the primary season or by threatening to stay home if they are not listened to), but it seems difficult for either base to exert control over the 'establishment' for an extended period of time. The PTB seem to infiltrate the halls of power once elections are over, both through access purchased with campaign contributions and the effect of big money lobbying.

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Response to pampango (Reply #17)

Mon Dec 10, 2012, 02:36 AM

18. When only two teams are allowed to play, the way to win is to own both teams. n/t

 

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