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June 05, 2007


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patrick j. mullins

Well, you've got a lot of emotion about it, so I haven't any reason not to respect someone's guilt; although I am highly suspicious of my own lack of guilt, about which I plan to do precisely nothing except maintain and increase...

But on this I might veer off--

'Ever since, there has been a collective shame on the part of the left, a shame not simply at the way we've exposed our weakness but also a shame toward our collective disavowal of the fact that the right was not as powerful as we made it out to be.'

But they were as powerful as they were made out to be--it's just it was temporary, and you're stuck with hated democracy and voting rights as the reason they were proved not to be omnipotent. The years 2004-2006 were especially thrilling in their frightening fundamentalism, blood-drenched and terrifying at all times--but for me, only because I wasn't sure what was going on with Voting Machine Rackets. I still think that 2006 is the line for me: Voting Machine Fraud Success would have meant the end, and I thought the Bushies could do it. They are proved to be incompetent by their failure to implement Voting Machine Fraud for themselves in 2006. I now even doubt that they really could catch Bin Laden. Things I've recently read about the FBI, NSA and CIA have proved to me that these agencies are not anywhere near as powerful as I thought, although part of this was my own ignorance--I hadn't read enough. They've fucked up so many times it can't even be believed, even had to have Aldrich Ames sent to them by Registered Mail before they'd agree that it might not be wise to let him continue turning over U.S. spies. Even the White House started getting really good at rendering CIA almost inoperative in those years. So I think they were extremely powerful, just not omnipotent. As long as they were not put in check, they went on partying like there was no tomorrow. Not conceding that things have changed because of being annoyed that the Dems couldn't keep sending back the Iraq spending bill over and over without a veto-overturning majority hasn't really changed anything, has it?

'We retreated and cowered before a weak opponent; our shame indicates our opponent's weakness and vulnerability, not our own. We gave in and up before those we could have defeated.'

What good would have 'taking to the streets' really done due to Rehnquist's attempted destruction of the entire world? A few days to assuage future guilt? If Rhenquist was the 'rule of law', we didn't defeat them just because Gore got the popular vote. Bush won the election, because he got the electoral votes--whether by chicanery or what-have-you is beside the point ultimately. Who says Gore shouldn't have been less gentlemanly? If he wanted protests, he might have so indicated.

'And actually did.'

Still no, I think, but I see what you're talking about. The last years of Clinton's reign are a little more easily forgotten or mimimized than they should be because they weren't as bad as Bush, not by a long shot. The most outrageous thing Clinton did was that quickie Iraq bombing when the impeachment vote was coming up--and he made himself into a buffoon, because it only gave him one extra day. But there was an atmosphere of decadence at the end of his reign--pardons galore-- that had a lot to do with Gore not winning a lot more easily--a lot of Gore's defeat is Clinton's fault. I agree that everything got worn down so that people weren't able to get enthusiastic about imagining all the villainies about to come up, though. There wasn't enough passionate conviction, although it really was just Rehnquist.


"Perhaps the depoliticized economy is that disavowed fantasy that has enabled our acquiescence to neoliberal hegemony without a fight."

I think this is crucial, and true about capitalism generally. Capitalism purports to remove the economy from the political realm. We are seduced by the notion that capitalism is "natural", and thus further seduced by the idea that the de-politicization of the economy is not only how things are, but how they ought to be (even while ignoring the very real ways in which the economy IS political).

I think this kind of block, along with your previous point in an earlier post about how the left "enjoys" the fruits of capitalism/neo-liberalism, goes a long way towards explaining the left's inability move.

With respect to the 2000 election somehow proving to the left that the US was in fact this big conservative monster, perhaps you're right. But it's important, I think, not to forget that Bush wasn't exactly doing so hot till 9/11. The liberal response to that may have proven the left's worse fears more than even the election had.

Bob Allen

Excellent insights into the nature of capitalism. When we talk of the left's collective guilt and shame, we shouldn't forget that Clinton was not a leftist and that participation in the electoral process of bourgeois democracy in itself is a capitulation to the right. Does this add to the sense of shame, knowing the game is rigged and yet playing it anyway?

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