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Disdain Versus Democracy

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That strange sound you hear if you listen closely is Senator Ted Kennedy spinning in his grave. Could he have possibly imagined a worse consequence of his departure from the Senate when health care reform was so close? Absolutely not. When he was alive he probably was not even aware of Massachusetts state senator Scott Brown. Though Kennedy deserved a better outcome, Democrats richly deserved the Republican win in Massachusetts.

The main reason is that Democrats in Congress and President Obama have shown nothing but disdain for the overwhelming national desire for an end to the self-serving corruption that is revealed through never-ending sweetheart deals for corporate interests, even as a large fraction of Americans suffer in this Great Recession caused by corporate greed, incompetence and criminality that go unpunnished.

One of the very few truths coming from Obama’s lips was that the forces that swept Brown to victory were the same as those that propelled Obama into the presidency. What so-very-smart Obama apparently did not fully appreciate when he acknowledged this was that the truth of that statement was evidence of Obama’s failures as president. Obama sold himself as an independent-minded, trustworthy Democrat committed to change and better government, and that same approach was used by Republican Brown. If the scam worked for Obama, why not make it work for a Republican? Obviously it worked.

So two days after Brown’s victory Obama announces a new Wall Street and banking reform effort. Coincidentally, 53 percent of the Democrats that voted for Brown said they would vote for Democrats if they would actually fix Wall Street.

In other words, the national desire for true change and reform that convinced so many independents and others to vote for Obama has been made a mockery by a White House and Congress that has continued to behave as conventional, corrupt and lying politicians. How else to punish Democrats then to make someone like Brown a winner that could derail health care reform and other legislation in the Senate?

I say bravo! Nice work. Thanks for all the Obama voters who either did not vote or voted for Brown. Nice message.

All that Obama and the congressional Democrats have shown is that Americans can never believe that politicians who work their way up through the two-party plutocracy can ever be trusted as true change agents. In a system where money dictates public policy corporate and other special interests will continue to win over true public interests.

As long as third parties do not stand any chance of competing against the two-party plutocracy because the system has been so rigged against them, what else can voters do other than to punish one corrupt political party at critical times by shifting power to the other corrupt political party? So much for American electoral democracy.

Obama was a little known state senator who had accomplished very little before becoming a US senator. Ditto for Brown. If Obama could become president with good looks and a winning personality, why not Brown? Now we should all root for Brown becoming the Republican’s best bet for preventing Obama from winning a second term. At least that’s what I hope Obama obsesses about and loses sleep over. Maybe then he will stop showing such disdain for democracy, stop making deals with corporate interests and start producing the changes in the political and government system that Americans want and need. And, most of all, get rid of many of your top advisors that are nothing more than status quo establishment figures with terrible political and economic ideas. And also get your Justice Department to prosecute a large number of criminals in the financial sector that created the Great Recession.

Do these things or millions of angry Americans will surely vote out Democrats in the coming mid-term congressional elections and keep you from getting a second term. Not that Republicans, of course, will ever perform any better. But in our delusional democracy about the best voters can do is shift power between the two useless major political parties. Populist anger demands more than empty populist rhetoric from lying politicians of both major parties.

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About Joel S. Hirschhorn

Formerly full professor Univ. of Wisconsin, Madison, and senior official Congressional Office of Technology Assessment and National Governors Association. Author of four nonfiction books and hundreds of articles.
  • Glenn Contrarian

    Arch –

    The point wasn’t for or against Al Gore. The point was that Laura Ingraham used a doctored video making it seem that he said one thing, whereas the actual video makes it clear he’s saying something else altogether.

    Silas –

    Funny thing about conspiracies – the more people that know about them, the less likely they stay ‘secret’. If someone’s going to tell me that thousands of climatologists (and thousands more assorted government leaders and functionaries) are all engaged in a grand conspiracy and has been able to keep it secret since the mid-eighties when the alarm first began being sounded about global warming, I’ll raise the BS flag in a heartbeat.

    In the modern world, it is impossible – flatly IMPOSSIBLE – that a conspiracy on such a grand scale has been kept secret for so long. I use the word ‘impossible’ very, very rarely…but it’s quite appropriate in this instance.

  • I don’t know about this one, Silas. For some reason, Conan O’Brien doesn’t bring tears to my eyes.

    A class act? You’re really digging a hole for yourself.

  • If Al Gore is riff raff, what does that make George W. Bush?

    After watching Jesse Ventura’s Conspiracy Theory on global warming, I’m starting to lean Arch’s way. That being said, I still think it is incumbent upon all of us to try and clean up the environment from a respect for nature point of view. But doing the right thing these days gets one nowhere.

    Last night I was literally brough to tears when Conan O’Brien said the following:

    “All I ask of you, especially young people…is one thing. Please don’t be cynical,” O’Brien said. “I hate cynicism — it’s my least favorite quality and it doesn’t lead anywhere. Nobody in life gets exactly what they thought they were going to get. But if you work really hard and you’re kind, amazing things will happen. I’m telling you, amazing things will happen.”

    He’s a class act from Massachusetts of all places. That’s one thing which is sorely lacking in our society — kindness. But in the end, no matter how much I was moved, I remain quite cynical.

  • Arch Conservative


    I could care less about riff raff like Al Gore……profiteering from the gloabl warming hoax and all………

  • See, the grammar Nazi is right, after all.
    Mine is a blatant ignorance of English, and I’ll be the first to admit it (well, not actually first since I was beaten to the punch.)

    That’s enough of a humble pie for me for this day.

  • LOL too!


    My “equal partner in this world” needs to use the desk so I’ll see you all soon…:)

  • Indeed ’tis.

  • Just looked it up. It’s like “humble pie,” no?

  • Cindy,

    Don’t go near that oven…I’ll bake cookies for all of us!


    Not talking about your cooking skills, friend!

  • Roger, Are you familiar with the expression ‘to eat crow’?

  • ROFLMAO!!!! I am So cracking myself up.

  • What are “crow cookies”?

  • Oh, look, Roger can’t wait to taste them! lmao!!! (heee!!!!)

  • lol Jeannie are you suggesting someone is going to be eating ‘crow cookies’?

    I won’t mind having some if they are sugar-free or low-fat. I hope you will be providing the nutrition information for crow when you serve them. 🙂

  • Well, Ruvy said I wouldn’t get any.
    I’m willing to bet he’s wrong.

  • I’m baking them right now..crow! 🙂 I know some of you here get my drift.

  • How you’re doing, by the way, with your science article?

  • Take it easy on Archie, Glenn.

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Arch –

    Except for your claim that Laura Ingraham is ‘level-headed’, I think your comment #8 was the very first one of yours where I smiled and agreed with you at least in part.

    Ms. Laura isn’t quite so bad – she’s head-and-shoulders better than Glenn Beck – but she’s got her own problems to hide, like using this doctored video of Al Gore.

  • Silas,

    I posted some commentary on the SCOTUS decision on the “Scott Brown” thread.

  • See, Cindy. It’s never in vain. But Archie was always a straight shooter.

  • …but I did tell the screener that most in the GOP are neocon hacks and that Paul is an honest man who gives a damn, a rare breed in Washington. The response was “gee that’s interesting but I don’t think we have time for that.” Then I was promptly hung up on.

    And this STARK ruling supplied by the SCOTUS 5 pretty much insures that next time nobody will even answer the phone.

  • Neither side of this broken two party system gives a damn as long as they’re ahead in the score column.

    Can’t pass up the opportunity to agree with Arch. Nice, Arch.

  • Jeannie,

    The author’s name is Joel, not John. And when are you going to comprehend what I’m telling you about how you do not live in a democracy?

    I was contemplating exactly what Joel talked about in comment #7 – and concluded that if I wanted to live in a country other than the US, and if it didn’t matter to me that my kids married Christians, I’d move to Australia. After all, they have socialized medicine, which I believe in, they have a solid economy, AND THEY SPEAK ENGLISH!! But it does matter to me that my kids marry Jews – and care that they are Jews. That means I have to live here in Israel, a place far less comfortable in many ways than Australia. My younger son’s girlfriend, whose family originates in New Zealand, is a patriotic Israeli who wants to serve in the army here – but won’t. Her health won’t allow it. Also, for all of my own discomfort with the way things are here, this is where my heart is. In Australia, I’d be what I was in America – a Jew in exile longing for home.

  • Just go bake some cookies, Jeannie, and leave politics to men. Then we’ll all love you.

    No, you won’t Roger – you won’t get the cookies – her kids and hubby will.

  • Just go bake some cookies, Jeannie, and leave politics to men.

    Then we’ll all love you

  • ARCH wrote-Neither side of this broken two party system gives a damn as long as they’re ahead in the score column.

    wow…we agree.

  • Glen, #6,

    When I first read your comment, I was bristling! Then, I finally got it! Now,I know what irony and satire are…ha, ha, ha.

    I know most of these people wish I was more involved with say, following a soap opera, going shopping, visiting a spa, or any other activity that would keep my , big-opinionated-mouth shut!

    But..that’s not going to happen today! because I got my spell checker back..:)

  • Archie,

    You are waking up.

  • There certainly are other places which have advantages over the US, but none are without their respective problems.

    Nevertheless, my son has lived in Germany for 7 or 8 years. While he does miss being home at times, I believe he is much happier with living there than here. Glenn is quite correct about how all the American conservative crazies get so puffed up about socialism. Most people who live in quasi-socialist economies are no less happy and certainly no less free than all of us self-righteous and self-deluding capitalist Americans.

  • Arch Conservative

    Great article except for the part about what Teddy Kennedy deserves…go ask the Kopechne family what he deserves.

    Anyhoo……. I had to drive into Boston today for my job. On the way down I was listening to the Laura Ingraham show on the radio. I like Laura, she’s pretty level headed and a graduate of Dartmouth, the only Ivy League school that hasn’t devolved into a haven for batshit crazy, left wing elitist whackadoos….

    Anyhoo, she was bashing Obama and the Dems pretty hard so I figured I’d call in to say how the GOP isn’t exactly doing anything great for this nation. I told the call screener that Ron Paul was the truth, the light and the savior of all that is god’s kingdom and the time is nigh!!!!!!! Well not really but I did tell the screener that most in the GOP are neocon hacks and that Paul is an honest man who gives a damn, a rare breed in Washington. The response was “gee that’s interesting but I don’t think we have time for that.” Then I was promptly hung up on.

    Moral of the story? Neither side of this broken two party system gives a damn as long as they’re ahead in the score column.

  • Joel S. Hirschhorn

    One of the least examined areas is the number of Americans choosing to live in another country, probably about 1 million annually. Good friends, very educated and successful moved to New Zealand where they are totally happy; a major reason they left the US was our corrupt, dysfunctional political system. But some of the best democracies make it very difficult to foreigners to enter and live permanently. And the brother of my best friend has lived in France for many decades, where he is totally satisfied. To think that the US has the best democracy or society is just insanity.

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Jeannie –

    Careful, young lady! You know very well that even though most of the British Commonwealth has better standards of living, universal health care, better schools, more paid vacation, more personal time, and lower crime rates…you KNOW that these don’t matter!

    All that really matters is that the Republicans and conservatives have deemed the countries of the British Commonwealth as ‘socialist’, and that automatically means that they are inferior in every way and that their people are nothing more than downtrodden serfs!

    How DARE you think that someplace outside America’s borders might be a better place to raise a family! Your punishment is to write “Rush Limbaugh is a paragon of American values” one thousand times on your iPhone!

    So there!

  • Baritone, #3

    Ask STM, his country sounds good, National Health Care, more paid vacation and personal time.

    You know, like when your government, all three branches of it, respect you as an individual.

  • Baronius

    “It truly surprised me that Bush did not implement the dictatorship-creating executive orders he had drawn up.”

    Ruvy, could it be because Bush, and Americans in general, are more committed to the democratic rule of law than you realize?

  • I’d be curious to know of any industrialized country or countries that don’t suffer from much the same problems with their respective governments – whether they be supposed democracies or are under some kind of totalitarian rule? I’d bet there are damn few of them.


  • John,

    in our delusional democracy about the best voters can do is shift power between the two useless major political parties. Populist anger demands more than empty populist rhetoric from lying politicians of both major parties.

    That is the truth!

    But, please let me make one point. This system was broken by all of us! We had the chance in the sixties to effect real change and didn’t! And why? Becuase we were too freaked out over the assasanations of our leaders! They died for us!

    How obnoixous! We celebrate MLK Day without knowing why..next year at this time Wal-Mart will be having a MLK white sale! and we will all pour into the stores to BUY, BUY, BUY!
    I sent a copy of one of your articles to MSNBC, The Ed Show. Do you remember?

    It is time people really listened to you, John.

  • Golly, gee! This is almost exactly the analysis I would have written if this election had occurred where I live. The American two-party plutocracy, a two headed mafia of élite interests who basically pull together to feed themselves at Americans’ expense, consistently screw Americans over by getting them to scream at each other over whatever bullshit is on the plate that day (i.e. “health care reform”) – instead of kicking out (or killing, if necessary) the white-shoed élites who laugh at them from behind gated mansions.

    Neither Obama nor Bush believe in democracy. It truly surprised me that Bush did not implement the dictatorship-creating executive orders he had drawn up. Did someone high up threaten to blow him away if he did? Obama believes in democracy, Kenyan-style. He puts the secretary of state in charge of a military operation in Haiti. The military comes out looking bad, the aid programs come out looking bad, the American media carefully avoids trumpeting the incompetence (so far), and Haitians die. How long will it be before Americans realize that there is a coming food shortage in the U.S. of A.?

    And who will they blame when they are going hungry?