The more effective evil

love-that-demThe gubernatorial race in Virginia drew a great deal of attention from my friends thanks to the proximity.  There was no Green in the race, nor obviously could I vote, but I was still the recipient of a lot of advertisements about it, and a great deal of the usual justifications trotted out by rank-and-file Democrats that make up the majority of my base of friends for their actions.

A local Maryland Democrat and a great friend who is somewhat sympathetic to my political viewpoint, posted a message from Planned Parenthood in Virginia on an online forum we frequent concerning the election.  It was a congratulatory message that they “KEPT KEN OUT!”…which I considered painfully apropos to Democrats in general.  The race was considered to be between a Republican and “someone else” – who suddenly became vital to vote for given no other considerations as a purely defensive measure.  A discussion ensued in which I was led to discuss my own view on the matter – and while I don’t generally do this, I thought it might be illustrative to reproduce it here, with a minimal amount of editing to take out some references to other friends and family members.  I began:

ME: Notice they don’t mention who they put in?

HIM: Of course. They took a deep breath, held their nose, and pushed the button. OTOH, they don’t have a batshit climate change denier and rabid anti-abortionist in charge.

ME: And I hear they’re moving the capital to Vichy.

HIM: What is your particular beef with the winner?  I know what my cousin’s is, but I like to hear an outsider’s perspective.

ME: More or less the architect of the Clinton Democrats’ appropriation strategy: take the Republicans’ ideas and propose them yourself. The Republicans are then (after a bit of adjustment) free to go to the far right, the Democrats follow; lather, rinse, repeat.

More generally, I detest the Democratic base’s cowardly bleating every time an election comes up…cringing in the corner whimpering not to hurt them. No ideas, no proposals, no principles…just “please elect this slime we were told to support in order to not have the asshole”. The Pétain analogy is completely, sickeningly apt. Sorry for the bile, but I’ve been suffering this idiocy all day.

HIM: I remember when Jesse Ventura got elected governor of Minnesota and there were Ds and Rs who wished they could have voted so as to defeat his bid. Once in office, I knew a co-worker who was a local Dem aparatchik who told me quite candidly that he would move to MN if he could somehow get Ventura out of office. I asked when he join with say the YAFies to do it and he said yes unequivocally. There is indeed a downside to bipartisanship.

I’ve come close to telling Dem aparatchiks: GET A F***ING SPINE AND STOP DRIFTING WITH THE WIND WILL YOU?!

ME: The thing is, they refuse to see themselves as a problem…refuse to acknowledge that they are the enablers in this whole sordid process. It will happen again, and again, and again, because they allow it to. Not the GOP, not the Tea Partiers, not Sarah Palin, not Rush Limbaugh or Glenn Beck – all of those are for the most part consistent. Their motives may be repugnant, but their strategies are very clear and sensible. Ever noticed how Democratic parrots will insist that you have to “lean on them once they’re in office”, you see – I mean you can’t expect them to support your agenda before the election…and yet, Republicans magically require no “leaning” from their constituents? They just simply go about doing what they promised to do? And of course the Democrats then fail to lean on anybody once they’re elected, because fear is just a part of their “ideology” by that point.

The reason why a strongly ideological Tea Party analogue could not form in the Democratic Party – and the reason why Occupy refused to fill that niche – is because the Democratic base long ago was forced to abandon principles in order to maintain their place as nominal opposition in the duopoly. Actual positive ideology, or suggested progress in public policy, is at odds with the true configuration they’ve built towards for decades: the bland “other option” to avoid suicide-by-elected-official. And they’re even a failure at that half the time.

True progress in government in this country is going to require the defeat of the Vichy Democrats.

HIM: You know you are describing the classic gothic scenario of the good but meek versus evil and assertive twin?

ME: Except it’s not! Good is more than “absence of evil”. It is – and should be – an active principle. You can claim a few successes by following Google’s “Don’t Be Evil” mantra, but sooner or later, sterner stuff will be required, and when that happens, you are lost. (Hell, look at Google.)

I’ve read a radical paper which during the last election(s) suggested that Obama, as an illustrative example, was not “the lesser evil”, but “the more effective evil”. That’s pretty harsh, even for me, but there is a bit of truth to it. He can – and has – struck where Republicans would be tenaciously opposed. Only Nixon could go to China; only Obama could kill the public option.

As for Ventura: granted, he was a mediocre public administrator, but he drove Democrats in particular completely frothing mad, because he showed people the one thing that scared the Democrats more than anything else, more than a whole raft of Michele Bachmanns: he showed them what the world without them looked like. Where they could vote for an independent thinker and not the next anointed Dem off the turnip truck. Free people making free choices is extremely threatening to both the Republicans and Democrats, and they’ll do anything to stop it. (And it’s a lot easier to do anything when you don’t have those pesky principles in the way.)

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