Eugene Robinson: “Power without purpose…doesn’t get you anywhere”


    As I watch the White House and Congressional Democrats flounder in the post-election-wipeout period generally, and specifically on the issue of extending the Bush tax cuts – adding $4 trillion to the national debt over the next decade in the process – I become more and more disappointed, disenchanted, and ultimately disgusted with the spinelessness and cluelessness of (many of) my party’s so-called “leaders.” Here’s a case of classic Republican craziness — wildly irresponsible public policy, the main purpose of which is to satisfy the Republicans’ wealthy donors who put them in power. Oh yeah, and let’s not forget the Republicans’ continuing longer-term purposes: 1) to “defund” government, except for corporate welfare, the military, and rich people; 2) to make government unworkable so it fails, which they can then point to and say “see, government fails!”; and 3) “break Obama” so they can return to power and never let go of it again.

    Given all this, of course the White House and leading Congressional Democrats are fighting back with everything they have, particularly since they still control many of the levers of power in Washington, not to mention the “Bully Pulpit?”  Oh wait, they’re not fighting back at all? Huh? They’re actually negotiating with Republicans on blowing up the deficit/debt by extending the Bush tax cuts, even as the “deficit commission” issues its report, clearly stating that extension of said tax cuts is completely unaffordable?  Argh.

    With that sound of utter exasperation and pounding of head on desk, I strongly recommend Eugene Robinson’s superb op-ed in today’s Washington Kaplan Post, entitled, “Tax cut fight highlights Democrats’ missing convictions.”  The conclusion is that nobody knows where, if it exists at all, the Democratic Party’s “bottom line” happens to be. Also, the Republicans remain monomaniacally disciplined – on their agenda for the wealthiest Americans, for their corporate overlords, and for their goal of making Obama “fail” – while the Democrats completely flounder. Then, we’ve got President Obama failing to “fight for the principles that got him elected.”  

    In the end, what does this all add up to?  Nothing good, either in terms of public policy or in terms of political calculus for the Democrats. So why are they acting this way?  Are they stupid? Spineless? Delusional? Naive? Also serving their wealthy and corporate overlords? All of the above?I’m not completely sure, but one thing I am 100% certain of is that, as Eugene Robinson writes at the end of his op-ed, “Power without purpose, in fact, doesn’t get you anywhere.”  The question is, does anyone in the White House or top levels of Congressional Democratic “leadership” understand that?

    P.S. Let me just point out that I say all this as a committed progressive and as a committed Democrat – at least to the Democratic Party that fights for working people and the middle class, that stands up to the corporations and certainly doesn’t do their bidding, that fights for the environment and minority rights, etc, etc.  Key word in all this? Fights! Fights for what? Democratic principles! (if there are any left at this point, after “triangulation” during the 1990s and whatever the hell we’re calling the cluster**** we’re seeing now)