For a week, just about all we've heard about is Dick Cheney's "simple hunting accident," and how the victim was a long-time Republican fundraiser, and the attempted White House cover-up, and his beer(s?) at lunch and the yahoo truck-based hunting style, and the fact that the quail in this "hunting trip" were in fact caged and released only when the good ol' boys were ready with their guns to blow them to pieces (hey, the rulers are entitled to privileges, aren't they?), and all the other horrid details of this incident involving this hateful man. We heard his unemotional apology, delivered like a military policy statement on the right-wing's propaganda news channel.
Some analysts have even declared that Cheney's recklessness with firearms has boosted his stock with the macho gun-loving lizard-brain constituents of the Republican Party. (Sometimes the Daily Show is just prescient.)
But when it comes to long-term implications in the political realm, the bigger news story was Paul Hackett's withdrawal from the Ohio Democratic primary race for the Senate seat up this year -- and how he was apparently pressured out by none other than the big shots in the Democratic Party itself -- many of whom recruited him to run in the first place.
"For me, this is a second betrayal," Mr. Hackett said. "First, my government misused and mismanaged the military in Iraq, and now my own party is afraid to support candidates like me."Since then, we've seen quite a lot of chest-thumping in the blogosphere, with an abundance of I-told-you-so's and offerings of revisionist history. ("We support Sherrod Brown. We have always supported Sherrod Brown.")
One example is yesterday's offering posted on Booman that comes close to accusing people who don't line up and vote for Democrats -- any and all Democrats, no matter what their political views or character flaws -- are, in effect, supporters of the Republicans. Never mind what kind of Democrats get elected. Never mind that politicians like Casey, whom the diarist supports, are to the right of Democrats like Ben Nelson and Ken Salazar, who've proven how unreliable they can be.
A cornerstone if this kind of political position is the unstated but clear-as-day strategy of co-opting modern-day, pseudo-conservative Republican positions and "values" so that the only change in Congress is with which party the wingnut in question is registered.
Maybe it's not all that foolish. Maybe it's quite clever. We're supposed to be fooled into thinking that buying into such a rightward push in the Democratic Party is actually in our interests. Their calling card is the Republican boogie man, which doesn't need much embellishment to be convincing. And then they toss out a few bones to the voters.
I believe that if you are registered to vote in Pennsylvania, and you do not vote for Bob Casey over Rick Santorum in the general election in November, then you support the privatization of Social Security (which Santorum favors and Casey opposes). I believe that if you don't vote for Bob Casey instead of Rick Santorum, then you support the K-Street Project, which Rick Santorum helps run. I believe that if you don't vote for Bob Casey instead of Rick Santorum, then you think that the minimum wage should only be increased as long as several million workers lose all of their protections nationwide. If you don't' vote for Bob Casey instead of Rick Santorum, then you support CAFTA, which Casey opposes and Santorum supports.It's easy to offer such simplistic rhetoric. But let's set aside the self-righteousness of it and get to the logic: "Our misogynistic bastard is better than their misogynistic bastard."
This seems like a fool's strategy to me. If you become that which you abhor, how do you change back? If the Democratic Party is made even more of a faux-Republican party to obtain power, how would one change it into a progressive party? Where would be the mandate?
What all this party-insider grandstanding is based on is the unspoken and perhaps unexamined belief that neither party wants to address: Women have no right to have a voice in politics.
Every time you hear someone declare your interest in your rights to equal liberty, equal justice and equal protection under the law as your "pet cause" that fits your "single-issue voter" demands for "ideological purity," think about what they're really saying:
"Shut up, woman, and let us men deal with this! We'll get to your concerns later."
Chris Bowers, The Booman diarist mentioned above, probably does not believe he's a chauvinist or that he's blinded by male privilege from really seeing or hearing what women are doing and saying. (I think the jury is still out on Kos, who seems to be proudly anti-feminist.) But the fact that women are marginalized just for demanding equality in this country is very telling.
So as the bellowing gets louder, and the accusations that women's equal participation in all things political is only provisional and secondary to men's rule, remember this:
As long as it's left to men alone to pass judgment on whether women's rights should be respected, honored and protected as a minimum requirement for a truly egalitarian society, there will be no equality for women...
...and reproductive rights will always be a bargaining chip to be given away...
...and universal healthcare will be a lofty political plank with no credibility...
...and progressive values will suffer...
...because a non-inclusive "big tent" strategy will never turn on the regressive hand that feeds it.