Tuesday, October 8, 2019

Limousine Liberals

Conservatives and their media would have us believe that Hollywood liberals are irredeemably leftist. Those of us who actually are irredeemably lefty know that no, they are not.

Today's Twitter feed was as good an example as any.

Jesus Christ, Rosie!
Look, I get it. I hate Cheeto Mussolini as much as the next guy, but George W. Bush? He's a monster. Il Douche may seem more noxious, but he will likely never have the kind of body count that Dubya has on his karmic record. You're nostalgic for Dubya? The man who got 5,000 American troops killed when he invaded the wrong country after being asleep at the switch on 9/11? The man who authorized torture? The man who decided that habeus corpus was an option to dismissed at his discretion? The man who gave us the DHS, ICE and the PATRIOT ACT? Nothing that tRump has done so far comes close to the damage that GW Bush did to the nation and the world.

Then there was this.

You can watch the video if you want, but I'll save you some time. It's the usual centrist pablum about how we can be friends with people even when we disagree on things or have different opinions and blah, blah, blah. . .
(And yes, she specifically says that she is "friends" with George W. Bush. Ugh!)

Of course, one of the things on which Ellen ans W disagree is the notion that she and Portia should have the same right to marry as Dubya and Laura. Or the right to serve in the military. Or to be treated as regular, not second-class, citizens.

I mean, for God's sake Ellen and Rosie are both LGBT! (Or, I guess they're both "L," but whatever.) Do you ladies not remember how Dubya and his Republican party used gay marriage as a wedge issue to drive homophobes to the polls? Do you not remember his support for "traditional marriage?" Or his call for a Constitutional Amendment to permanently restrict marriage rigfhts to only hetero couples?

I get that you can be friends with people you disagree with. I could be friends with someone who thinks single-payer healthcare is not a good idea, or that rich people are already taxed enough, but I don't see how I could possibly be friends with someone who thought that I was not deserving of the same civil rights as everyone else.

This is the problem with "mainstream" or "moderate" or "centrist" Democrats. They are obsessed with this idea that we can find common ground with the right, that we can work out compromises or whatever. Which may have been a legitimate approach pre-Gingrich, but this is a vastly different political landscape we inhabit now. Not that it was ever really a great idea to play buddy-buddy with Republicans. That usually ends up with Republicans getting the policy that they want and Democrats going along in the spirit of bi-partisanship.

You can not compromise with monsters. If someone wants to institute a policy of torture, how do you compromise with that person? How do you find common ground with that person? Do you agree on waterboarding is okay, but no bamboo under the fingernails? Do you settle on you can only torture some of the prisoners you are holding without charge in Gitmo?  And how do you compromise with someone who thinks LGBT people should not have the full rights of citizens? Actually, we know how, because a lot of centrist Dems were okay with "civil unions" for gay couples, but not actual marriage. When you try to compromise on a civil rights issue, you bargain away people's rights, their status as fellow human beings, their dignity. It's wrong. It was wrong when they told black civil rights activists to "go slow" * It was wrong when they told women's rights activists to accept incremental change, and it was wrong when they told LGBT people to accept the "compromise" of civil unions. It will always be wrong.

Someone asked me recently what the difference is between liberals and progressives. I had to think for a minute, but what I came up with is this: Liberals want to address the symptoms, Progressives want to cure the disease. For example, we have a problem in this country that private for-profit health insurance companies have proven that they are either unable or unwilling to cover everyone sufficiently. The progressive response to that problem is to say "Fine. They can't or won't do it. We'll do it for them. We should just do what Canada does. (Or France, or the UK, etc.) The liberal "solution" is something like Obamacare. Is Obamacare better than what we had before? Undoubtably. No question.
Is it good enough? Hell no. Not when people are still having to ration their insulin. Not when people are not going to the doctor because they still can't afford the co-pays and deductibles. The ACA was a compromise with the ghouls of the right who wanted things to remain the way they were so that insurance companies and pharmaceutical companies and for-profit hospitals and clinics could continue maximizing profits at the cost of human lives. Instead of just eliminating these bloodsucking middlemen, we took the liberal compromise approach. We tinkered around the edges. We eliminated annual and lifetime limits. We allowed parents to keep their kids on their health plans until age 26 or so. Which were both good things to do. But since one of our priorities was making sure that Aetna and Blue Shield were able  to remain profitable, we left some people out in the cold. It's great that people with pre-existing conditions can get health insurance now, but if they can't afford the co-pays and deductibles, it's really not much of an improvement.

Anyway, I got sidetracked a bit.
The point is that no one should be rehabilitating the public image of the man responsible for a half million dead Iraqis, two million refugees, and some 30,000 American GIs wounded in a war for NOTHING which his administration lied us into.

And I know it's tempting to blame Dick Cheney for all this. Cheney looks the part of the villain, and he is pure seething evil, while Dubya seems affable and goofy, but Dubya had the final say on every one of these policies. And he's not as stupid as he seems. Oh, sure, he's stupid. But he is a college graduate. It's not like they were propping Lenny from Of Mice and Men up there while Cheney and Rumsfeld made all the decisions. Even if none of this was his idea (which is unlikely) he could have, at any moment said "No, Dick. We are not going to send prisoners off to blck sites to be tortured." "No, Dick, we are NOT going to subject people, including US citizens, to indefinite detention without charges." And "No, Dick, We all know that Iraq had nothing to do with 9/11, so we are absolutely not going to bomb, invade, or occupy them." But he didn't. He never would. Because he was absolutely on board with every single bit of it.

So no one should be rehabilitating Dubya. Especially not people who portray themselves as "liberals."

* Me and my people just about due
I've been there so I know
They keep on saying 'Go slow!'
But that's just the trouble
'Do it slow'
Washing the windows
'Do it slow'
Picking the cotton
'Do it slow'
You're just plain rotten
'Do it slow'
You're too damn lazy
'Do it slow'
The thinking's crazy
'Do it slow'

-- Nina Simone, "Mississippi, Goddam."