On Monday of last week, I published an article '10 Republicans Who Should Go Away.' For some reason, the article went down a storm and received well over 100,000 hits on my site TheDailyBanter.com. Reading the comments and emails I received was probably more fun than writing the article (which I enjoyed immensely), but I was a little taken aback at the debate I seemed to have sparked off. A host of conservative bloggers were up in arms, raging about liberal 'hate' I was spewing, and the temerity I was showing for insulting their idols. Neal Boortz called me a 'Moonbat,' and Michelle Malkin fans left comments on my site accusing me of being a 'liberal terrorist' and a 'communist.' I did however, receive some intelligent emails asking why I was only focusing on Republicans.
The Democrats have in some ways, been worse than the Republicans. As a party, they've stood idly by as the Bush Administration has literally ransacked the country, trashing the constitution and driving the national debt into uncharted territory. So in order to show the Right that progressives are not reflexive liberals, I thought I would pen an article listing the top ten Democrats who should go away. And by 'go away,' I don't mean censor, or prevent from speaking. I'm asking that they do it themselves -- shut up for the good of the country. Here they are:
1. Joe Lieberman
Lieberman is not a Democrat in any real sense of the word -- he is a foreign policy hawk and a fiscal conservative, remaining liberal on only a few token issues (abortion, gay rights, etc). Lieberman was a vociferous supporter of the war in Iraq, threatening Democrats if they didn't support it and hyping up the non-existent threat from Iran (a country that spends the same amount in a year on its military as the U.S does in a week in Iraq). Lieberman is the quintessential corporate shill, selling his soul to the pharmaceutical companies and defense contractors while painting himself as a 'moral' Democrat, mostly because he doesn't cheat on his wife (see his outrage over Monica Lewinsky) and believes in blowing up Arabs whenever possible. Supporting John McCain was one thing, but breaking a pledge not to go negative on Obama was completely unforgivable. The only reason Joe is still a Democrat is because his party is almost as spineless as him, and won't throw him out for fear of appearing too liberal.
2. Mark Penn
It's hard to find a kind word about Mark Penn, CEO of PR company Burson-Marsteller and chief strategist of Hillary Clinton's campaign. Penn is about as greedy as they come in the modern era of political hackery and corporate corruption, and Penn has his fat little fingers in about as many dodgy pies as humanly possible.
Burson-Marsteller has represented stellar companies like Blackwater and Countrywide, and lobbied hard for Free Trade agreements that have wrecked the lives of millions of poor people. While Hillary Clinton went on an anti NAFTA campaigning jaunt throughout the Midwest, Penn was busy promoting a free trade agreement between the U.S and Columbia at the behest of leading human right's violator and president of Columbia, Alvaro Uribe. So corrupt was Penn, that he had to resign from Clinton's campaign (never known for its purity), and publicly apologize for the clear conflict of interest. In terms of strategy, Penn exemplifies the slash and burn politics of Karl Rove, using anything and everything to win. He wanted to use Obama's foreign upbringing during the primary, focusing on his lack of 'American values.' He wrote in a strategy paper:
"All of these articles about his boyhood in Indonesia and his life in Hawaii are geared towards showing his background is diverse, multicultural and putting that in a new light.....
It also exposes a very strong weakness for him -- his roots to basic American values and culture are at best limited. I cannot imagine America electing a president during a time of war who is not at his center fundamentally American in his thinking and in his values."
We've not heard much from Penn in the political arena since, and hopefully it will stay that way. He'll no doubt continue to destroy the lives of poor people in the corporate world, but his stock as a political consultant was damaged badly after the Clinton debacle. Penn is not obsolete, but with operatives like David Axelrod and David Plouffe taking center stage, his days are seriously numbered.
3. Harry Reid
When the Democrats took power in 2006, they were elected by war weary citizens that were fed up with President Bush and the Neo Conservatives. Despite his position as Senate Majority Leader, Reid failed spectacularly to reduce war funding or establish a firm time timetables for troop removal from Iraq. Reid showed the cojones of a neutered kitten, and has spent the last two years backing down to the Bush Administration instead of doing what he was put in power to do: stand up, and stop the war. When the effort to put timetables for withdrawal in the war funding bill failed to override Bush' veto, Reid and other members of Congressional leadership caved and gave Bush all the money he asked for in the first place. Amazingly, Reid didn't even push for a compromise. Should Obama follow a more centrist agenda than he promised during his campaign, you can bet Reid won't do anything to hold him accountable.
4. Nancy Pelosi
Nancy Pelosi finds herself on this list for many of the sames reasons as Harry Reid. Failing to enact a serious timetable for withdrawal from Iraq, as well as repeated caving to the Bush Administration's war efforts, Pelosi also refused to seriously consider impeaching President Bush. Pelosi argued her role as Speaker of the House was to "try to bring a much divided country together," and that "impeachment would be divisive.". She believed that Congressional Leaders would not be able to further their Democratic agenda in the midst of an impeachment process, regardless of the overwhelming evidence that serious crimes had been committed. Representative Dennis Kucinich introduced 35 articles of impeachment that asserted directly that impeachable offenses (crimes) had been committed. These crimes include taking a nation to war based on lies, the deaths of a million Iraqis (constituting a war crime), illegal wiretapping, rendition, torture, and illegal detention. If impeachment can't take place because it's politically inconvenient, it begs the question as to whether or not the Legislative Branch still serves as a check and balance on the Executive Branch. According to Pelosi it can't, and as a consequence, her name will go down as one of the most ineffective Speakers in history.
5. Chris Matthews
Chris Matthews seems like a genuinely nice guy. He loves politics, and he loves his job, but for all the wrong reasons. Matthews knee slapping, frat boy journalism has contributed massively to the dumbing down of politics in America. The title of one segment in his show is called 'The Politics Fix,' which really says it all. For Matthews, political issues are to be consumed like cups coffee, quenching an addiction rather than enlightening our intellect. Discussions often look like public masturbation as 'experts' of various sorts are invited to pontificate on inane subjects they've specialized in. In a panel discussion, here's what Matthews had to say about President Bush's 'Mission Accomplished' speech back in 2003:
"We're proud of our president. Americans love having a guy as president, a guy who has a little swagger, who's physical, who's not a complicated guy like Clinton or even like Dukakis or Mondale, all those guys, McGovern. They want a guy who's president. Women like a guy who's president."
Most disturbingly, Matthew's analysis of the war consisted of how it rated with undersexed housewives:
"Check it out. The women like this war. I think we like having a hero as our president. It's simple. We're not like the Brits. We don't want an indoor prime minister type, or the Danes or the Dutch or the Italians, or a [Russian Federation President Vladimir] Putin. Can you imagine Putin getting elected here? We want a guy as president."
Thanks, Chris. Don't worry about the thousands of innocent lives lost in the invasion, the enormous waste of tax payers money and monumentally catastrophic consequences for the region. Matthews is capable of real journalism when he wants to, and is apparently looking to run for the Senate in 2010 as a Democrat. Let's hope he grows up by then and takes it seriously.
6. Rep John Dingell
The long-serving Michigan congressman has been this single biggest road block to better fuel emissions standards, and to all other forms of regulation on the automakers. Though generally a progressive Democrat, his intransigence in terms of fuel emissions standards is completely intolerable. Not only are GM, Ford, and Chrysler his three biggest campaign donors, his wife Debbie Dingell is GM's chief lobbyist. He has been one of the primary behind-the-scenes players in Detroit's downfall, shielding the automakers from all of the disastrous failures of the last 20 years and helping them resist true innovation and progress. Thomas Friedman, strangely, had some pretty harsh words for Dingell in a recent NYT op-ed:
The blame for this travesty not only belongs to the auto executives, but must be shared equally with the entire Michigan delegation in the House and Senate, virtually all of whom, year after year, voted however the Detroit automakers and unions instructed them to vote. That shielded General Motors, Ford and Chrysler from environmental concerns, mileage concerns and the full impact of global competition that could have forced Detroit to adapt long ago.
Indeed, if and when they do have to bury Detroit, I hope that all the current and past representatives and senators from Michigan have to serve as pallbearers. And no one has earned the "honor" of chief pallbearer more than the Michigan Representative John Dingell, the chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee who is more responsible for protecting Detroit to death than any single legislator.
There is some good news on the Dingell front though. Since he just lost the Chairmanship of the House Energy and Commerce Committee to the Mustache of Justice, (otherwise known as Henry Waxman), we might already be rid of him. But its still a little early to throw the party.
7. Robert Rubin
No one has done more to create, and less to help alleviate, the current financial crisis than the former Secretary of the Treasury, and current CitiGroup Chairman. His deregulatory stance, and refusal to regulate derivatives as Secretary of the Treasurary laid the groundwork for the Bush abdication of financial regulation. An October 9th article from the NY Times points out that in 1997, the Commodity Futures Trading Commission, headed by Brooksley Born, invited comments on how to best oversee certain deriviatives:
"Ms. Born was concerned that unfettered, opaque trading could "threaten our regulated markets or, indeed, our economy without any federal agency knowing about it," she said in Congressional testimony. She called for greater disclosure of trades and reserves to cushion against losses.
Ms. Born's views incited fierce opposition from Mr. Greenspan and Robert E. Rubin, the Treasury secretary then. Treasury lawyers concluded that merely discussing new rules threatened the derivatives market. Mr. Greenspan warned that too many rules would damage Wall Street, prompting traders to take their business overseas."
Months later, Ms. Born resigned and the Commodity Futures Trading Commission was stripped of its authority to regulate derivatives. Recently Mr. Rubin still failed to recognize his own culpability in the matter, saying "All of the forces in the system were arrayed against it...The industry certainly didn't want any increase in these requirements. There was no potential for mobilizing public opinion."
It must have been great to grow up in Bob Rubin's house, where as long a you wanted to do something and really, really didn't want rules, it would be okay. Unlimited candy for the kids? No problem! Ruined teeth and attention deficit disorder? Well, they didn't want to be regulated, so not my fault! How on earth he managed to end up as an adviser to Obama is anyone's guess, as Rubin is lucky he is not in jail.
8. Steny Hoyer (D-MD)-
Majority Leader Hoyer is a perfect example of the old saying "with friends like these, who needs enemies." In pursuit of nothing but his own aggrandizement, Mr. Hoyer led the charge to capitulate our Constitutional rights to the whims of the Bush Administration. Hoyer led the negotiations for the Telecom immunity bill, in which he judiciously negotiated away our rights as free citizens. As the eloquent and thorough Gleen Greenwald pointed out:
"It's bad enough watching the likes of Steny Hoyer, Rahm Emanuel and a disturbingly disoriented Nancy Pelosi eviscerate the Fourth Amendment, exempt their largest corporate contributors from the rule of law, and endorse the most radical aspects of the Bush lawbreaking regime. But it's downright pathetic to see them try to depict their behavior as some sort of bipartisan "compromise" whereby they won meaningful concessions...GOP House Whip Roy Blunt derided the telecom amnesty provision as nothing more than a "formality" which would inevitably lead to the immediate and automatic dismissal of all lawsuits against the telecoms, while Sen. Kit Bond taunted the Democrats for giving away even more than they had to in order to get a deal: "I think the White House got a better deal than they even had hoped to get."
In true Democrat style, Hoyer told us he was negotiating on our behalf, then actually gave Bush more authority than he had even wanted. He also unrepentantly (and unsurprisingly) voted for the Iraq War authorization. Thanks a bunch, Steny.
9. Bill Clinton
Bill Clinton may have pulled it out at the last minute for Obama, but his behavior during the primary was completely unforgivable. Racist innuendo, temper tantrums and outright lying, Clinton degraded himself to the point where close friends had to intervene through the prime time news. To boot, Clinton presided over huge deregulation of the financial sector, and helped ram through the disastrous NAFTA while in office. He then supported President Bush in the lead up to the War in Iraq (then had the gall to question Obama's policy judgment). Clinton is great at rallying Democrats, but represents virtually nothing they stand for. His slippery 'Third Way' politics consists mostly of extreme right wing economic policy packaged in left wing rhetoric, something we are hopefully moving away from. Sorry Bill, but you have to go.
10. Joe Lieberman
Yes, Joe Leiberman is such a dick head, he's on the list twice. Joe, please stop pretending you are a Democrat. The party has suffered enough humiliation over the past 8 years without you rubbing their faces in it. The peverse pleasure Lieberman seemed to be taking for trashing his party, smearing Obama and cheerleading the opposition should have been enough for any serious Democrat. Yet Lieberman got away with it and ended up keeping his position in the party - showing that no matter how pissed off the country is, the Democrats will work extremely hard to piss them off even more.