So McCain's campaign strategist works for Clinton's campaign strategist, and both have made careers defending some of the most reprehensible corporate misdeeds, as well as overseen propaganda efforts both domestically and abroad. These guys aren't just in the belly of the beast, they're part of the stomach lining.
While of course there are clear distinctions in ideological principles between Democrats and Republicans, in practice many of these distinctions diminish somewhat. No, Al Gore would not have let 9/11 happen, and thus would not have disastrously invaded Iraq under false pretexts. But he also would not have halted the ongoing bombing campaign, nor the sanctions which were already responsible for hundreds of thousands of Iraqi children dying young, a price which Madeline Albright once smugly stated was well worth it. Well, it's always "worth" it when you aren't the one paying, dearie. And while he's become the demi-god of the enviro movement on his permanent vacation, it is helpful to recall that the CAFE standards were gutted under Saint Albert's stewardship in the first place.
As for the current candidates, one notable assumption has been that Hillary will prevent an escalation of hostilities with Iran, yet she voted for Kyl-Lieberman without batting an eye, and has been consistently emphatic in her unconditional support for Israel. She voted for the PATRIOT Act twice, and has yet to take a stand against the abuses of FISA. There are no guarantees, only bets to be hedged.
And domestically, the distinctions are refined even more tightly; aside from health care, abortion, welfare, and gay rights (the last two of which the Clintons were more than happy to punt on the first chance they got), there's not a whole lot to write home about. Even on health care, you can have all the "universal" happy talk you like, but any plan is going to be underwritten by the insurance and pharmaceutical lobbies right from the start. Instead of taking it out of your hide on the job, it'll just be another taxpayer-funded sop, an across-the-board feel-good boondoggle that will neither improve care, cut costs, nor fix the ruinous shareholder-driven revenue model. Just another spreadsheet adjustment.
Which leaves abortion rights, and if you want to hang your hat on that one, vaya con dios, folks. I would prefer that HRC or Obama pick the next couple SCOTUS justices, rather than Straight Talk, but there are no guarantees there either, especially with Clinton's instinct to always cater to people who will never not despise her. On economic issues, there were decent (if much-delayed) gains in real wages during the Clinton years, which have since been more than offset by huge increases in basic living expenses. This is not a "Democrat" versus "Republican" issue so much as a labor vs. management issue. Guess who's winning.
What always bugged me most about the Clintons and their acolytes back in the day was the ease with which they bought their own hype. They appeared to honestly think that they could rent themselves out to management and still help out the little guy. Sort of like encouraging a vampire to utilize a less painful method of attacking victims.
This shouldn't even need to be said: People who represent military juntas for a living are not typically concerned much with the travails of the commoner, except insofar as there's a buck to be turned acting concerned.
Again, I do still think that there are substantial differences in terms of respective intent, a brief perusal of all the candidates' stated positions makes that clear enough. But if the past year or so has been any indication, good intentions are not enough. Even a clear, consistent mandate by the voters has not been enough to empower the Democrats to simply accomplish (or even make more than a token effort at) what they promised they would do.
The differences do not matter if they are not sufficiently acted upon, and many of us continue to harp on the foolish consistencies of ideological semaphore, when the fact of the matter is that this is all about money. Not the war, not the preservation of choice, not education, not universal health care. The issue is money and who gets to preserve and expand their share of making it, and maintaining access to it.
The recently departed Wire character Omar Little sagely pointed out, as he robbed drug kingpin Marlo Stanfield at a card game, that money has no owners, only spenders. True dat. By the time the election is over this year, over half a billion dollars will have been raised, donated, spent. Much more doubtlessly will have been generated in selling ad space in the corporate media to provide two straight years of horserace coverage, to skew information and consent as needed, to treat the corrupted opinions of known liars and calumniators as received wisdom, to lobby the very same people they talk about.
Whose pockets are the origins and destinations for all these wads of dough, the thick envelopes and four-figure-a-plate rubber-chicken stemwinders; whence does the money come and where does it go -- and for what purposes? Not fucking universal health care, you'd best believe that.
Nader is just the typical blind pig finding the quadrennial acorn, once again, and with none of the intellectual heft or constructive responsibility that should accompany his increasingly strained attempts. But that doesn't mean he's wrong; it doesn't mean we haven't become emotionally invested in gutless incrementalism posturing as "change". The very definitions and perceptions of that word have been compromised.
[to be continued]