by Paul Street
Part 2 - Feel the Hate
For many years I have been trying to tell “progressives” who cling to the quixotic notion of advancing social democracy, peace, and environmental sanity through the Democratic Party that the party’s corporate establishment hates them and would rather lose to the ever more fascistic Republican Party than to the moderately social-democratic wing of their own party.
The evidence of this hatred (not too strong a word) is plentiful. Think of Barack Obama’s future White House chief-of- staff and future racist Chicago “Mayor 1%” Rahm Emanuel working as a foulmouthed right-wing Congressional leader to purge antiwar candidates from the party’s 2006 House of Representatives candidate roster.
The sociopath Emanuel would go on to regularly threaten and abuse progressives who meekly tried to push the militantly neoliberal, Citigroup-captive Obama administration towards small measures of social and environmental decency. His corporatist blood brother Obama made sure to purge advocates of Single Payer health insurance – irrelevantly supported by most of the U.S. populace – from the national health care reform debate in 2009.
There was nothing new or surprising about all that. The second half of the Jimmy Carter administration was dedicated to corporate-friendly de-regulation that helped usher in the tragic two-term Reagan presidency after Carter kicked progressives to the curb. The Bill Clinton presidency was a monument to smug pro-corporate “free market” politics and policy, with the party’s progressive wing treated with contemptuous disdain. “
“David, tell me something interesting.” That was then First Lady Hillary Clinton’s dismissive response – as head of the White House’s health reform initiative – to Harvard medical professor David Himmelstein in 1993. Himmelstein was head of Physicians for a National Health Program. He had just told her about the remarkable possibilities of a comprehensive, single-payer “Canadian style” health plan, supported by more than two-thirds of the U.S. public. Beyond backing by a citizen super-majority, Himmelstein noted, single-payer would provide comprehensive coverage to the nation’s 40 million uninsured while retaining free choice in doctor selection and being certified by the Congressional Budget Office as “the most cost-effective plan on offer.”
The Democrats’ “contempt for their left flank,” Clark Iverson recently reminded me, “was laid bare in the 1968 [Chicago] police riot at the [Democratic National] convention, and it has basically remained in place ever since.”