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January 23, 2006

Molly Ivins Has Had It Up To Here Politics

You've probably seen this, but in case not, here's Molly Ivins on Hillary Clinton and the weak-kneed Democratic Party establishment:

I'd like to make it clear to the people who run the Democratic Party that I will not support Hillary Clinton for president.

Enough. Enough triangulation, calculation and equivocation. Enough clever straddling, enough not offending anyone. This is not a Dick Morris election. Sen. Clinton is apparently incapable of taking a clear stand on the war in Iraq, and that alone is enough to disqualify her. Her failure to speak out on Terri Schiavo, not to mention that gross pandering on flag-burning, are just contemptible little dodges.

The recent death of Gene McCarthy reminded me of a lesson I spent a long, long time unlearning, so now I have to re-learn it. It's about political courage and heroes, and when a country is desperate for leadership. There are times when regular politics will not do, and this is one of those times. There are times a country is so tired of bull that only the truth can provide relief. [...]

What kind of courage does it take, for mercy's sake? The majority of the American people (55 percent) think the war in Iraq is a mistake and that we should get out. The majority (65 percent) of the American people want single-payer health care and are willing to pay more taxes to get it. The majority (86 percent) of the American people favor raising the minimum wage. The majority of the American people (60 percent) favor repealing Bush's tax cuts, or at least those that go only to the rich. The majority (66 percent) wants to reduce the deficit not by cutting domestic spending, but by reducing Pentagon spending or raising taxes.

The majority (77 percent) thinks we should do "whatever it takes" to protect the environment. The majority (87 percent) thinks big oil companies are gouging consumers and would support a windfall profits tax. That is the center, you fools. WHO ARE YOU AFRAID OF? [...]

You [Washington Democrats] sit there in Washington so frightened of the big, bad Republican machine you have no idea what people are thinking. I'm telling you right now, Tom DeLay is going to lose in his district. If Democrats in Washington haven't got enough sense to OWN the issue of political reform, I give up on them entirely.

Do it all, go long, go for public campaign financing for Congress. I'm serious as a stroke about this — that is the only reform that will work, and you know it, as well as everyone else who's ever studied this. Do all the goo-goo stuff everybody has made fun of all these years: embrace redistricting reform, electoral reform, House rules changes, the whole package. Put up, or shut up. Own this issue, or let Jack Abramoff politics continue to run your town. [Emphasis added]

Hillary Clinton is an extraordinarily smart, talented woman. She could be a towering figure. Let's hope she gets a clue.

(One minor quibble with Ivins' piece: I'm not sure Eugene McCarthy was quite the hero people remember. Yes, it was inspiring when he stepped forward in 1968 and ran against the Vietnam War, and it made an important difference, but it's also hard not to see it as a piece of political opportunism: when he lost the nomination he completely disappeared from the antiwar scene. (By 1980, he was endorsing Ronald Reagan.) The antiwar movement did have real heroes: people who stayed in the struggle year after year after year, not just for the length of a primary campaign. None of which has anything to do with Ivins' critique. I'm just saying.)

Posted by Jonathan at January 23, 2006 10:54 PM  del.icio.us digg NewsVine Reddit YahooMyWeb