August 10, 2008

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Progressives and electoral politics Democrats insist that progressives must fully support Obama. A McCain presidency just continues the nightmare of the last 8 years. It must be avoided at all costs. With this insistence, Democrats want progressives to fall into line, refrain from criticizing Obama, wait to raise our criticisms and issues until after the election. Again, too much is at stake. So they deflect attention from the issues at stake--free speech (FISA laws), climate change (drilling), military aggression, economic collapse --and proceed as if the only issue is the election. Once the election happens, though, critique continues to be deflected and ignored. The new excuse will be: we need to work across party lines in order to get the country moving again. The Democrats have used this tactic before. Nancy Pelosi took impeachment off the table. Winning the presidential election in 2008 was too important, as if anything like the rule of law or even an aspiration to some kind of constitutional ideals can survive the last 8 years without some kind of war crimes trial or truth commission. I suspect that the real reason the Democrats have failed to push for impeachment or a truth commission is that their leaders are culpable in the decisions to imprison and torture. Some of them likely knew about and approved administration policy (they confirmed administration appointments, for example; also, it is full public knowledge that the administration discussed torture techniques in the Oval Office and that these techniques are illegal). I would expect that Hillary...

Jodi Dean

Jodi Dean is a political theorist.

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