New Orleans and the Demise of the Democrats

Black Commentator

"They have M-16s and they're locked and loaded. These troops know how to shoot and kill, and they are more than willing to do so." - Kathleen Blanco, Democratic Louisiana Governor Governor

But I want to thank the president." - Mary Landrieu, Democratic Louisiana Senator

"...you and I are not in a position to make any judgment because we weren't there." - Bill Clinton, former Democratic President

Democrats made these mean spirited and ignorant statements. The entire country is facing the plight of the people of New Orleans, coping with the dangers of Republican hell and Democratic high water. One party is proud of its viciousness while the other claims not to be vicious but proudly proclaims its willingness to shoot desperate refugees.

The degree of Democratic callousness in the New Orleans tragedy may be shocking at first, but it is actually consistent with the direction the party has taken for the past two decades. The Democrats are dying a slow political death. Their inaction and acquiescence in New Orleans is just the latest symptom presented by a terminal patient.

In the summer of 2005 President Bush's approval ratings took a dive. The plunge was not the result of any shrewd political moves by the Democrats. Iraq is dragging Bush down. His approval ratings are akin to Richard Nixon's at the time of his resignation during the Watergate scandal. The issue that could have catapulted John Kerry into the White House is rearing its head yet again, but Democrats refuse to take up the challenge.

Not only do they refuse to fight, but they aren't shy about admitting their cowardice. Party leadership boldly states for the record that they will continue to support a president whose policies have now become a liability for his own administration. They repeat John Kerry's losing talking points as if they were religious scripture. Hillary Clinton, the likely nominee in 2008, advocates sending more troops to Iraq. Only one Democratic Senator, Russell Feingold, has publicly called for a withdrawal of American troops.

The rest make baffling appeals to their fellow Democrats to stay on the sinking ship. "The smartest thing Democrats can do is be supportive," opines former Clinton press secretary Mike McCurry. It has to be an historic first for a political party to make a conscious decision not to kick an opposition that is on the ropes.

In the face of the New Orleans disaster Bill Clinton, still the party leader, decided to cheapen himself yet again and fetch the stick when the Bushies threw it. On the same day that the Mayor of New Orleans begged for help and thousands of refugees told horror stories of being left to fend for themselves without food, water or adequate sanitation, Bill Clinton agreed to hang out with Bush 41 and raise corporate cash.

The love fest with the Bushies was a shameful performance. Thousands of people who couldn't get out of the city followed directions to take refuge in the Superdome. They waited on line for hours and then sat helplessly as the stadium roof didn't live up the word "super." The wind and rain they hoped to escape came inside. They lived in fear of assault, reused disposable diapers and urinated on the floor, but the former president had only these words of comfort:

"So I understand why they're so anxiety-ridden. But they have to understand, by the time it became obvious that they were in the fix they were in, there were a lot of other problems, too."

Clinton could have been worse. He could have bragged about shoot to kill orders.

If Clinton really wanted to help New Orleans he should have refused the offer to join the old boys network of former presidents. He could have been the voice of an indignant and outraged nation. As a former president he was uniquely qualified to ask why the Department of Homeland Security kept no one in the Gulf Coast secure. He also has, or rather had, the unique ability to send Republicans into a frenzy of rage.

Bill Clinton could have cut short the wait for help with a simple offer to coordinate the relief effort personally. Dubya would have stopped looking like a deer caught in headlights and demanded action, if only to keep Clinton from getting any credit.

Whether the issue is Iraq or hurricane Katrina, millions of Democrats still live in hope that their party will fight for them. Instead they are left disappointed and angry after years of electoral failure and complacency.

New Orleans itself epitomizes the anguish of Democrats. In 2004 it dodged the hurricane Ivan bullet. This city run by black Democrats only reluctantly opened the Superdome to shelter potential refugees. Despite the Ivan warning they did not develop an evacuation plan for the thousands of residents who don't have cars, the only adequate means of escape. Their plan seemed to consist of hope, denial and wishful thinking that major hurricanes would miss the city and that levees would always hold up.

Republicans won't suffer when Bush is unable and unwilling to help thousands of Americans suffering from a natural disaster. They won't suffer when he arrives at the disaster scene and messes up a simple photo-op by laughing and smirking inappropriately and talking about Trent Lott's destroyed vacation home.

They won't suffer no matter what they do because the Democrats are impotent. If the Republicans fail, the failure will be theirs alone. The Democrats will only win if by some miracle the Republicans find a way to do themselves in politically. In the meantime the Dems are like New Orleans, under water, engulfed by debris, and unable to answer pleas for help.

Highlights are mine... personally I am of the mind that if the Democrats do not oppose Roberts 100% ... I am outta this party... simply because there will be no democracy left to save.

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Comments

39 Comments

Here we go again
Parker they are not going to oppose Roberts 100% they may not even oppose him at all.  I am not going to tell you to leave or stay that is your choice, but at some point I hope you come to an understanding that this party is not the party of Dean/Fiengold those two and the movement they represent are a part of it, but there is a movement in the party that has issues with them and the movement they represent.  If the party is going to win it will have to find a way though this but when the people such as yourself who wants the party to just come over to your side without really offering them anything it just not going to happen.
by THE MODERATE 2005-09-13 06:29AM | 0 recs
Re: Here we go again
Doesn't matter what I think. I am but one person... but for people like yourself who steadfastly maintain an air of willful ignorance will be the downfall of this party ...not me.

There are just so many bells and alarms that can go off before this party sinks of its own stupidity.

I specifically posted this diary to break the monotonous balck slapping of the "reformist partisan" clique... to say "IT IS NOT WORKING". But will the heed warning... probably not... like yourself you would rather stick your head in the sand and hope that the Repblicans "do themselves in"...

by Parker 2005-09-13 06:43AM | 0 recs
Re: Here we go again
Oh you do not no me, I have been saying to the Democrats that this has not been working for twenty years.  And when ever someone does come along who has the right ideas he usually spends too much time fighting the party to change then helping.  This is why I am so exited about Robert Casey, Jr.  It is about time the party, particurly after the way they treated his father.  Had they listened to Gov Casey and followed his advice they may well be the majority party now but they did not.  There is a group of frustated Repulicans who are out there I see it every day, but right now they are not ready to join us and as long as we try to make issues about John Roberts and other issues that some on this blog wants we will never get it.  I hope they party works though this thing but right now I am not sure, it is just where you and I disagree with is stands like fighting John Roberts that I not only find a total waste of time but right now I see no reason not to confirm him.
by THE MODERATE 2005-09-13 06:59AM | 0 recs
Re: Here we go again
This is why I am so exited about Robert Casey, Jr.

What ever...

I am sick of "embedded" Republicans in this party... spew that crap to someone who doesn't know...

by Parker 2005-09-13 07:06AM | 0 recs
Re: Here we go again
Are you calling Robert Casey Jr and embedded Republican and why.
by THE MODERATE 2005-09-13 07:12AM | 0 recs
Re: Here we go again
There is ABSOLUTELY NOTHING you like or agree with about the Democratic Party except those who are trying to make it a second Republican party...

I am talking about you.

by Parker 2005-09-13 07:16AM | 0 recs
Re: Here we go again
I grew up in a Democratic house, my Grandfather used to tell me how great Andrew Jackson, the first man to use the word Democrat, was.  I also came to know Grover Clevland Woodrow Wilson, and FDR and I knew this was the party for me.  Even today I find people like Gene Taylor, John Breaux, and my own Governor Mike Easley, and yes now Robert Casey Jr.  These are the elected officals I identify with.  The people I identiy with are those who have worked hard, lived by the rules of God and man, accepted their just punishment when they did not, and have only asked for was the chance to give there children a better life.  These people are Democrats by nature but I do not see the party taking there case right now, and I do not understand why you think this is a Republican mindset, becasue from what I have seen of thier party they are not concerned about these particular people unless it is the monty of November of every other year.
by THE MODERATE 2005-09-13 07:36AM | 0 recs
Re: Here we go again
I rest my case...

...you just listed embedded a load of Republican "Democrats"  (Gene Taylor, John Breaux, Governor Mike Easley, and  Robert Casey Jr.) there are. Breaux rushed on air to lambast Democrats  ... for being Democrats... in regards to Katrina...

Zell Miller belongs your group group...at least he was honest enough to finally admit he was a Republican at heart... these others are like a cancer within the party eating away at the party.

by Parker 2005-09-13 07:50AM | 0 recs
Re: Here we go again
If you had your way and the party and myself and the others like me left to the GOP the devistation it would cause the Democrats would have them in the minority party for generations to come, that is why the party pays up the lip service it does, my only problem with it is in the end it is only lip service, and not much else.
by THE MODERATE 2005-09-13 07:58AM | 0 recs
No not really...
If you had your way and the party and myself and the others like me left to the GOP

Actually...that is not such a bad idea...

It would bring back the thousands of Democrats who left because they could not stomach voting for embedded Republicans...

by Parker 2005-09-13 08:24AM | 0 recs
Re: No not really...
I am not saying I would never go, but it is not in my plans to do so, however most in the party seems to want up to stay at least that what they tell me.  As for anyone of the few leaving the party that you have mentioned, it does not come anywhere near those who left the party in the last twenty years because they feel they party went too far to the left.  If the party got those people back they would again be the majority party they enjoyed for most of the twentieth century.
by THE MODERATE 2005-09-13 08:31AM | 0 recs
Re: No not really...
those who left the party in the last twenty years because they feel they party went too far to the left

Well I hope they are happy with no jobs, no healthcare, substandard public education, a bloated fed budget, weak defense, high heating and gas bills...etc. etc. etc.

by Parker 2005-09-13 08:36AM | 0 recs
Re: No not really...
Wasn't that Barry Goldwater's philosophy? Be as conservative as possible, humiliate all the liberal republicans, scare the independents...but don't worry, because there is a hidden core of conservatism within the country just waiting to vote because they were turned off by semi-reasonable people like Landon, Wilkie, Dewey, Eisenhower and Nixon.
by JRyan 2005-09-13 02:37PM | 0 recs
Re: Here we go again
If you want to destroy the contry by voting for the religious wackos in the republican party you can't be reasoned with.  Also you don't know for a fact more people have left because the democrats are too far left. Taht is just your assumption.
by Dameocrat 2005-09-13 03:26PM | 0 recs
Re: Here we go again
"If you want to destroy the contry by voting for the religious wackos in the republican party you can't be reasoned with"

If that's true, then we should give up right now. You may think that there are democrats who refuse to vote because of the party's rightward shift, but if those democrats want to destroy the country by not voting in 2004, then they obviously can't be reasoned with.

by JRyan 2005-09-13 03:36PM | 0 recs
Re: Here we go again
I think a lot of Americans are not voting because the Democrats are too far to the right. Most oppose the war. The Dems don't. Most think that people should be held accountable for what  happened in New Orleans. Democrats don't.  Most would like National Health Insurance. Not on there radar. MOst people don't vote for them because they don't oppose Bush on anything the public opposes Bush on.  If you care about those issues who the fuck is there to vote for?  Dems that think the party is too far left are a minority of dorks.
by Dameocrat 2005-09-13 11:33PM | 0 recs
Re: Here we go again
Why? When did the Reagan democrats ever rejoin our party? I think you missed the point of my post. You were saying something to the degree that people who supported Bush can't be reasoned with. But guess what, there is no hidden core of liberals just waiting for us to take the right position. Everything that I have seen shows me that liberals are a minority in America.

"I think a lot of Americans are not voting because the Democrats are too far to the right. Most oppose the war. The Dems don't."

Uh, no. Maybe you should pay attention to what the Congressional dems are calling for now.

 "Most would like National Health Insurance. Not on there radar."

Of course, we can just pass a National Health Insurance bill with our House majority. Then it can be passed with minimal revisions by our senate majoirty, so it can be signed into effect by our democratic president.  

by JRyan 2005-09-14 03:11AM | 0 recs
No comment...
What can we expect from Democrats when they put this on the frontpage of their website..

 

by Parker 2005-09-13 06:50AM | 0 recs
agreed
kudos for pointing out that picture.  i think i just threw up in my mouth just a little.
by annatopia 2005-09-13 08:14AM | 0 recs
some netroots are nothing but recalibration on
part of the dlc.  If you look at the history of Louisiana and Huey Long you will see that a better strategy is to take over the democrats.  Now Kos has been a disappoinment in this department since his minions are siding with dlc Blanco but mydd and booman aren't We should have started becoming suspicious of Kos when he endorsed NDN's Simon Rosenberg over Dean. Also it is clear to me now that many of the the uber mods,people who have permanant mod status and are above the rules that guide normal kossaks are Liebermanites.  
by Dameocrat 2005-09-13 03:24PM | 0 recs
Re: some netroots are nothing but recalibration on
I think MYDD is in the NDN mix...
by Parker 2005-09-13 10:34PM | 0 recs
It's a wake, not a party
"What does it benefit a man to gain the world, if he loseth his soul?"

I think that discussion about whether the Democratic establishment is too moderate or too liberal misses the point.  The reason that the Democratic party is dead is not because it has the wrong political agenda.  It's dead because it has no agenda.  The party leadership has decided that the best way to keep their jobs is to not challenge the GOP in any substantive way.  

If Democrats had followed their hearts and been willing to take on the Bush insanity early on, they may have suffered short-term losses, but would have been rewarded in the long-term by Bush's inevitable fall in the polls.  I talked about this last year on MyDD.  

But now, while Bush poll numbers may be low, they are still way ahead of the Democrats.  What's worse... being Bush or being a Bush-wanna-be even when you know its wrong?

But maybe the mistake is mine, and they did follow their hearts.  Like, they really think that tacitly supporting Bush is the right thing to do.  I mean, if Hilary was president, not only would we have invaded Iraq, we would now have a lot more soldiers there. (I think that is her current position.. didnt she say something like that on stage next to Gingrich recently?)  Either way, I left the party, proudly, and won't re-register until they deserve me.  

Enjoy the Wake!

by Winston Smith 2005-09-13 06:37PM | 0 recs
And one more Goddamned thing!
I spent a lot of time and money on Dr Dean last year.  The guy is really a moderate, the only extreme thing about him was that he was not afraid to take on Bush.  

I was pretty pissed off when he was painted as a loopy left-wing extremist.  So I ask, why did that happen?  Not because he was too liberal, but because when you stand alone against anything, you look extreme.  So the problem was not that he took on Bush, but was abandoned by major party leaders to do the job himself.  Bush may not have deserved to win in 2004, but the Dems deserved to lose.  

by Winston Smith 2005-09-13 06:43PM | 0 recs
Re: And one more Goddamned thing!
It happened because Dean couldn't control his mouth. Yeah, he got shafted by his opponents, but when you have no discipline, you pay for it dearly. Look at Gary Hart. The guy had great ideas and great promise but no discipline, and the media tore him apart.
by JRyan 2005-09-13 07:00PM | 0 recs
Re: And one more Goddamned thing!
What did he say during the campaign that was so undisciplined?  Oh yeah, he called that NY Times reporter a major league asshole on the microphone.  

 Or was that Bush?

by Winston Smith 2005-09-13 07:04PM | 0 recs
Re: And one more Goddamned thing!
His entire Iowa caucus speech, for one. I don't care about the "scream", that was overplayed and unfair to begin with. However, most americans only tuned in to the 2004 race after the caucuses. That was basically Dean's introduction to America, and he blew it, sounding combative and tailoring his speech to cheer up his activists rather than reach out to voters. It was a huge tactical mistake, and it came because he wasn't disciplined enough to see the larger picture.

Moreover, the fact that a moderate governor was able to be so easily caricatured as a radical shows that Dean wasn't paying much attention to his public image. Admirable perhaps, but it cost him.

by JRyan 2005-09-13 07:18PM | 0 recs
Re: And one more Goddamned thing!
Yeah, ok point taken.  I dont care that Dean didnt win the nomination.  What I care about is that when he lost, so did any vigorous opposition to Bush.  And that was not due to one speech.  It was due to the Democrats abandonment of their core values for the sake of politcal expediency.
by Winston Smith 2005-09-13 07:25PM | 0 recs
Re: And one more Goddamned thing!
Their "core values"? Goddamnit, you need to understand that the democratic party is not solely a liberal party. Conservatives and moderates reside here too. Maybe the party is without direction, but what people like you and Parker are doing is demanding that the everyone in the party hew to the liberal party line, and if you don't, then you are some kind of traitor or "republicrat". I'm sorry that you are dissapointed, and I'm sorry that you're not giving the party any money. But what you ask is impossible.
by JRyan 2005-09-13 07:40PM | 0 recs
Re: And one more Goddamned thing!
I think you get me wrong.  I am not really liberal.  I am conservative about a lot of things.  I am not even a pacifist.  I supported the first gulf war, the interventions in the balkans, and the invasion of afganistan.  

I dont really mean core values.  I mean a couple of big issues.  One is Iraq.  Two is fiscal responsibility.  There are a lot of others, but those are big ones.  I am willing to support candidates who dont agree with me on a lot of issues.  I wanted a choice in the elections, and I want to be a member of a party that reflects my views on at least at least some big issues.  

I can assume that Democrats would manage things a lot better than Bush, but you know what, thats not enough anymore.  You see, I think it means something if you stand up for a principal that is right and you lose.  But it doesnt mean anything if you avoid an issue, whether you win or lose.  

by Winston Smith 2005-09-13 08:05PM | 0 recs
Re: And one more Goddamned thing!
Look, after 1998, people said that the republicans stood for nothing, that they had nothing new to bring to the national debate. Now people were saying that of a party that controlled the House and the Senate. We control neither. Didn't Kerry have a comprehensive Health Care platform? Once more democrats get elected, a new democratic agenda can be set.

Look, the democrats opposed social security pretty strenuously, and they have shamed republicans into dropping their tax plans for the time being. Yeah, CAFTA sucks and so does the energy bill, but as of now we are in the minority, and I'd say that when it comes to fiscal responsibility we have done at the very least a tolerable job.

by JRyan 2005-09-14 03:04AM | 0 recs
Re: And one more Goddamned thing!
I dont know if you get what I am talking about.  In 1998, we didnt need a vigorous public debate.  The country was not in crisis.  The Gop was forced to invent most of their scandals (travelgate?) The budget was balanced, we were not manipulated into a major and illegal war and occupation, and civil liberties were not being eroded by legislation such as the Patriot Act.  

So democrats need to win more before they set an agenda?  This is the premise that leads me to believe that the party is dead.  Compare the GOP in 1994 (out of power in both houses and the executive) and the democrats of 2005.  The democrats wont win more, nor will they deserve to win until they have a coherent and inspiring message.

Todays democratic party has accepted the gop premise that challenging bush aggressively is polical suicide.  They are cowards.  

Good on the Dems for social security, but on my "what i care about list" that comes in about 13 or 14.  

Kerry had a health care plan?  Who gives a fuck?  Where did he stand on the war.  About where Bush stands.  He assumed that he didnt have to be an antiwar candidate because he took for granted that he would get the antiwar vote.  

Do you understand my frustration?  I think the invasion of Iraq is one of the truly great evils of our times.  I didnt have the option of voting for a viable candidate who was not afraid to expose the ruthless inhumanity of the neocons.  I am pissed off about that, and I wont vote for a wishy-washy panderer again.  I wont be a member of a political party that doesnt stand for anything that i really care about.

And I will not assume the dems really are against the war, or they will be more fiscally responsible, or they will agressively act to defend civil liberties or protect the environment until they stand up and make these things issues.

by Winston Smith 2005-09-14 03:28PM | 0 recs
Re: And one more Goddamned thing!
I get more pissed off everytime I read your comment.  Yeah, George Bush is Winston Fucking Churchill.  Not a week goes by that he doesn't add entries into the encyclopedia of political career-ending utterances.  I was going to list the best quotes or links, but do I have to?  No one could have imagined the levees failing, after all.  

Howard Dean was right when he said that the capture of Saddam Hussein would not affect the insurgents in Iraq.  Maybe if the Democrats had been willing to debate this issue, the country would have been able to start a debate about why the insurgency is happening.  

And by the way, I am not a mindless Deaniac.  I would have supported anyone who vigorously opposed Bush's policies, and that includes Republicans.  

by Winston Smith 2005-09-13 07:21PM | 0 recs
Re: And one more Goddamned thing!
Don't shoot the messenger. You and I both know that it was unfair. Bush says something stupid and it's played off as heartland wisdom. Dean said something, anything, and he was torn apart. Bush has better PR, a better machine. It's what enabled the republicans to beat democrat after democrat. My point is that yeah, the media had it in for him, and yeah, so did his primary opponents (duh), but through miscalculation and a lack of discipline, Dean helped dig his own grave. And his tendency to shoot from the lip now that he is DNC chair makes it hard for other democrats rally to him as a leader again.
by JRyan 2005-09-13 07:34PM | 0 recs
Re: And one more Goddamned thing!
I am not fighting with you.  I respect you comments on the board, and I am sure we agree on most issues.  But we are looking at this issue from different perspectives.  

The problems with Dean was not that he was undisciplined.  He may have been a little, but he was also intelligent and passionate.  The problem was that he looked undisciplined.  Or he looked radical.  

In a larger sense, as you identified, republicans beat democrat after democrat.  They look unelectable, like dean, so that are not elected.  

There are two reasons for this.  One is the republican machine.  But one is the inability for the democrats to counter the machine.  The republican machine is here to stay.  In order for democrats to start beating republicans, they have to take on the machine.  

Here's how I think you do that.  One is to have a message of your own.  I dont think a viable democrat message should be far to the left.  I am pretty happy with Clinton's moderate positions.  How about a Democratic party "contract with america" that elucidates clear policy alternatives, a message that we as a party are willing to commit to and defend with our political future.  Disengagement from Iraq should be part of that.   Call me a hippie if you want to.  

The second part to the expose the machine.  Democrats are ducks in a shooting gallery.  Still, whenever I watch the news, republican party operatives hit the gop talking point of the day without challenge.  How can this still be happening?  The party must aggressively demand equal time.  Whenever a GOP talking point is hit without challenge it must bring down wrath.  This is a failure of the Democratic party.  

What pissed me off was your statement that Dean was unelectable because of an inherent flaw.  He wasnt photographed fucking what's her face on Monkey Business, like Hart was.  That was a lack of discipline.  He was unelectable because the democrats have allowed the gop to define politcal consciousness in this country.

I compared deans lack of rheotical discipline to bush's to make that point.   That was not unfair.  Sorry you feel that way.  

by Winston Smith 2005-09-13 08:39PM | 0 recs
And while I'm ranting to myself
I think the republicrats should confirm Roberts.  Bush won the election and has the right to stack the court.  In the absence of an opposition and a vigorous debate of the issues, the best way to defeat republicanism is to let it run its natural course, until its stench catches up with mainstream America.  

I mean, if Hitler had to step down after 8 years, he would still enjoy the admiration of about 40% of the German population.  

So let the "opposition" be silent about the war, about tax cuts for the rich, underfunding social programs, record deficit spending, raising the national debt limit, eviscerating environmental protections, illegal detentions, torture, Halliburton corruption, alienating allies, automatic weapons, Patriot Act, and pretty much everything.  They cant stand up to Bush, so they should sit down and shut the fuck up.  

by Winston Smith 2005-09-13 07:02PM | 0 recs
Why not just include this in an open thread?
This isn't your diary, it's the black commentator's
by v2aggie2 2005-09-13 07:56PM | 0 recs
Re: Why not just include this in an open thread?
You freak...

What the hell is your problem troll rating this entire thread... does Democracy scare you... pathetic twit

by Parker 2005-09-13 10:30PM | 0 recs
Re: Why not just include this in an open thread?
Well, I accidentally gave one "1" -- my apologies.  I meant to give a "2", so I changed it accordingly.  I would hardly call that troll-rating a whole thread.

As for being scared of Democracy?  Hardly.  My ratings express my opinion.  Simple as that.  You have the right to say what you want.  I have the right to rate it.

Now...
You didn't answer my question.

You basically stole a diary.

by v2aggie2 2005-09-14 06:10PM | 0 recs
Gee Parker,
When are you going to get to the fact that both Kathleen Blanco and Ray Nagin are DLC Democrats? They probably aren't but since you hate the DLC and everything it stands for, it's only a matter of time you and you braincells connect them, so why wait. Go off on another bender and do it. It will make you feel so much better.
by liebermanlives 2005-09-14 07:44AM | 0 recs

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