Saturday, May 4, 2019

Pelosi the Appeaser

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi tells the New York Times that the way to beat Trump is not through impeachment or championing progressive causes. To win, Democrats have to be more friendly to "centrists" - which is neoliberal-speak for the donor and corporate class which owns her organization.

If you cower, they (the mythical center of the electorate) will come.

Remember how well that smarmy strategy worked out when Neville Chamberlain tried to appease Hitler by granting him permission to invade neighboring countries in the belief the rest of Europe (and capitalist interests) would be spared?  Even more recently, remember how well that worked out when Pelosi's party thought it would be a great idea to run Hillary Clinton in 2016 and destroy Bernie Sanders at the same time? The polls and the pundits certainly thought she'd be a shoo-in to beat Trump.

So let's double down on that winning strategy. If it doesn't work out, it will all be the fault of the Deplorables, again. If it doesn't work out, Nancy Pelosi personally will never have to suffer. Nor will the Democratic donor class, who are flusher with cash than ever thanks to Trump's tax cuts and their investments in his military machine and prison-industrial complex.

It's a toss-up as to whether Pelosi's main problem is corruption or senility, or a combination of the two, when she posits that only a boring centrist can win in 2020. This boring individual will win by such a stupendous margin that Trump will never be able to challenge the results. 

On the other hand, the results of a Bernie Sanders or Elizabeth Warren victory could not possibly be stupendous enough to physically scare Trump out of the White House. Only a Biden or a Buttigieg or maybe a Harris would triumph in a landslide, which would bury Trump forever and ever.

Glenn Thrush reports:

Sitting in her office with its panoramic view of the National Mall, Ms. Pelosi — the de facto head of the Democratic Party until a presidential nominee is selected in 2020 — offered Democrats her “coldblooded” plan for decisively ridding themselves of Mr. Trump: Do not get dragged into a protracted impeachment bid that will ultimately get crushed in the Republican-controlled Senate, and do not risk alienating the moderate voters who flocked to the party in 2018 by drifting too far to the left.
“Own the center left, own the mainstream,” Ms. Pelosi, 79, said.
Of course, Pelosi's version of center left actually skews more toward right of center. She neglects to mention that the "moderates" who did win their mid-term races were heavily bankrolled by the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, which refused financial aid to what she dismisses as the "exuberances"- including the victorious Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. She also neglects to mention that such right-wing Democratic senators as Claire McCaskill and Heidi Heitkamp lost badly in their own bids for re-election, despite their soulless valiant efforts to appeal to the Mythical Center.  

The tacit message of the Times article is that if Sanders or Warren win, Trump will not go quietly. But he magically will go quietly if Biden wins. 

If you really want to dig right down to the center of the centrist Id, Pelosi doesn't even want a Democrat in the White House. She'd rather dance the triangulation tango with Trump for four more years. 

Pelosi is trying to gaslight the electorate at the same time she dog-whistles her reassurances to nervous Democratic Party donors, who have made no secret of the fact that they dread Sanders or Warren in the White House, because both these candidates threaten to unconscionably use their power to serve people who don't have has much money as the big donors and the corporate lobbyists do.

She claims that if Democrats would just cringe pragmatically and appease Trump now, he will be less nasty and dangerous, less likely to irrevocably poison the minds of the malleable against the Democrats during the primaries and the general election. She bizarrely calls this her "cold-blooded plan" for victory. I'll grant her the cold-blooded part. And I'll even compliment her for having one hell of an overdeveloped lizard brain to go along with all that ice in her veins.

Her strategy amounts to pretending to be scared and disgusted by the Trump administration in public, but being complicit with, and accommodating to, the Trump administration in private. Pelosi seems confident that the actual public is not reading about this cynical strategy in the Times, mostly because they probably can't afford the subscription, despite working several jobs. And if the bottom 80 percent or so of the reading public are perusing the Times, maybe Pelosi can instill the requisite doubt and fear into their psyches.  I doubt that she cares about anybody but her donors. The underlying message to her real constituents is that she's got their backs. She's cold-bloodedly pushing the scales. Hers and theirs.

One thing to keep in mind about many Times articles and op-eds is that they are essentially telegraphed messages from the rich to the rich. But in a show of egalitarianism, they are happy to offer the lesser people a tiny box with which to share their expertise (1500 characters or less) with their peers. If you are very lucky, your comment will be accepted by some mystery algorithm and make it into print. If you write from a centrist, pragmatic  point of view, a human moderator is very likely to award you a coveted golden "Times Pick" icon. This digital badge of honor is the equivalent of a jolt of dopamine, and will encourage you to write more centrist - and influential! - comments in the future.

The Appeasement Not Impeachment For Our Time Tango. 

*Update, 5/5: Boy, do I ever feel dope-amined. After suppressing my submitted comment on a Maureen Dowd column for about five hours last night, the moderators not only finally published it, they awarded it a coveted Times Pick! I must have subconsciously inserted some pragmatism in there - but more likely, they viewed it as a hook for all the self-avowed "centrists" in Timesland to digitally venture forth to set me straight, to insist that yes, they really do exist, and that befuddled old me must not let the Perfect be the Enemy of the Good. 

I have a bone to pick with Dowd's odd, but typically "insidery" characterization of Atty. Gen. Barr as a heretofore revered elder statesman in Washington, before Trump ruined his stellar reputation. How soon she and her corporate media cohort forget that it was Barr who orchestrated a pardon for (among others in the Iran-Contra scandal) Elliot Abrams - who has returned bigger and meaner than ever to spread more mayhem in Latin America via the ongoing US-led Venezuela coup attempt.

My comment is basically a rehash of the stuff I've been writing recently at Sardonicky, but I'll repost it here anyway:
No shock that D.C. insiders saw Barr as an upright member of the legal establishment, despite his crafting of pardons for war criminals under Bush Sr. In an ethical system, he would have been divested of the respectability badge decades ago.
  He served corrupt power then, and he serves corrupt power now. Yet somehow, Trump has suddenly and single-handedly corrupted an honorable man. This narrative speaks to the rot in the entire political establishment and the media's complicity in it.The media who so slavishly treated Mueller as a virtual Father of Our Country are now dissing him as a Deadbeat Dad for not sending Barr to the rhetorical naughty chair sooner. Why would he, when "tradition"  also dictates that no sitting president, not even Trump, can ever be taken to the legal woodshed and indicted?
Nancy Pelosi herself says impeachment is off the table, claiming that this Constitutional remedy would only embolden Trump to act brattier. In effect, she's the parent who yells a lot and threatens her kid with punishment but never follows through, which only emboldens the kid and his feral gang to act more brazen by the day.Meanwhile, in a Times interview, she says that only a mild centrist (not Sanders or Warren) can attract enough mythical centrist voters to beat Trump into enough of a quivering pulp to actually agree to vacate the White House when the time comes.
 It's Neville Chamberlain deja vu all over again.
"Appeasement Not Impeachment For Our Time." 


Many thanks said...

The NY Times announced a three-day suspension of their paywall with an article about celebrating their brand of "independent" journalism (including photos of starving children) to launch their spring paid subscription drive.

I am content to read my five free articles a month. Plus, I don't really have the funds to pay for a subscription. However, I will find some money to send to Karen as I find her commentary to be far more enlightening and informative than what's available in the newspaper of record. It all comes down to the class perspective and Karen has definitely got the righteous angle. I have come to rely on it more than the Times.

I encourage everyone that reads Sardonicky to contribute as well so she can keep this vital service going.

Jay–Ottawa said...

Ralph Nader (since the Mueller Report) also encourages the impeachment of Trump.

However, even if impeachment were to get as far as the Senate and even if the Republican-controlled Senate would yank Trump out of office, most unlikely, we would still be saddled with the government wreckers Trump has put in place to determine our fate and that of the world. Barr, Pompeo, DeVos, Acosta, Haspel, Mnuchin, etc. will still be destroying their agencies, leaning into war, and sucking up to plutocrats.

Under Pence, the V-P in the wings, these commissars would still be in charge, continuing to shrink government until each enfeebled bureaucracy could be drowned in the bathtub. There isn't enough time and energy between now and 2020 for Congress to then go about impeaching Trump's cabinet heads. Furthermore, any crimes for which Trump might be thrown in jail once out of office would be pardoned by President Pence. In short, nothing accomplished by the impeachment of Trump, other than a great show.

Thanks to the Fourth Estate, Trump's antics got him on the front page before the 2016 election and kept him there after he assumed office. An impeachment trial––Hold the Front Page!––would only serve as his wet dream heading into 2020.

The real damage of Trump's Administration is being done by Trump's appointees, who were approved by Congress. Impeachment, unlike a vote of no confidence in a parliamentary system, does not bring down the whole government. Trump will only continue as The Great Distractor whether left in office or sucked into the circus of an impeachment trial. Either way, his agents will continue to exercise their power to subvert their agencies.

Whatever fight there is among Democrats should first be directed against the cabinet heads for what they are doing presently. I know, I know, Pelosi, Schumer and their floor leaders will resist that effort; pointing at Trump is simpler and changes nothing, which tactic works for the DNC Dems' currently and supposedly in 2020.

What of the so-called progressives in the Congress? What have they got to show beyond talk and identity issues? Do they have enough political savvy to band together and buck the leadership in order to rouse the electorate and get something done? If not, what good are they? Why bother with hope for reform from within? Anyway, give them a chance this time around. Let's see how much fight they can mount from within the party, should they care to raise hell by going directly to the people. Here's an opportunity to see whether they are fakes or have the right stuff.

Obama, with his love of quietude and his service to the big money crowd, never ventured out of his office to arouse the citizenry and strengthen his party at the state an national level. He served as an opiate within his party and among the masses. He turned out to be, from Day One in office, one of the people we thought were his enemies. So why would he bother to raise hell and whip up the citizenry to lean on their representatives?

Nader says the 535 people of Congress are the ones reformers should home in on––not the Executive, not the Judiciary, but the Congress itself. Change Congress and you can change the other two branches; that's how the Constitution set things up.

Then look in the mirror. Nader keeps saying that only 1% of the population, if organized and committed, can turn things around. With impeachment, no matter which way that goes, nothing much will change for you and me. However, 1% of the citizenry––a few good men and women as the Marines say––could come to dominate the smallest branch, removing or scaring to death the 535 who now form the Congress. Listen to Nader himself argue for this political efficiency in a talk at Scripps College (2017 or 2018). Nader at his best.

Anonymous said...

Looks like Mitch McDonnell might be reading your blog. He said today that the democrats are suffering the 5 stages of grief over Russiagate (something from your 3/25 blog). Maybe one of his aides delivered it to him.