December 02, 2006
It was nice to see Democrats win back the House and Senate, if only because it was a repudiation of sorts of the last six years of Republican rule. But let's not kid ourselves. Democrats aren't the answer.
First, Iraq. It's entirely possible that Democrats never would have invaded Iraq, but the ugly truth is that Bill Clinton killed more Iraqis than George Bush has. Clinton killed via sanctions, not an invasion.
During the 1990s, according to the World Health Organization, the UN Food and Agriculture Organization, and the UN International Children's Emergency Fund, the sanctions imposed on Iraq by the US and UK killed at least a half a million Iraqi children (as a percentage of population, equivalent to well over 5 million American children). Hundreds of thousands of adults died as well.
Democrat Madeleine Albright, then Secretary of State, was asked by a television correspondent, "More than five hundred thousand Iraqi children are already dead as a direct result of the UN sanctions...Do you think the price is worth paying?" Albright replied, "It is a difficult question, but, yes, we think the price is worth it." Notice that she didn't dispute the question's premise.
For most of the past six years, Republicans have controlled Congress as well as the White House. What if Clinton had had a Democratic Congress? Well, he did, for two years, in 1993 and 1994. What happened during those two years? MickeyZ:
In just two years, the notorious liberal [Clinton] managed to abandon his pledge to consider offering asylum to Haitian refugees, renege on his promise to "take a firm stand" against the armed forces' ban on gays and lesbians, and back away from his most high-profile campaign issue: health care. He also signed the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), increased the Pentagon budget by another $25 billion, fired Jocelyn Elders, dumped Lani Guinier, ordered the bombing of Iraq and the Balkans, renewed the murderous sanctions on Iraq, ignored genocide in Rwanda, deported hundreds of thousands of "illegal" immigrants, and passed a crime bill that gave us more cops, more prisons, and 58 more offenses punishable by death. (All this came before the much-hyped Republican "revolution" in 1994. Can someone please explain to me why the right wing didn’t like this guy?)
What about the environment? The Bush Republicans have been a disaster for the environment. Surely, the Clinton/Gore administration was pro-environment. MickeyZ again:
Then we have the environment — allegedly Bill Clinton and Vice President Al Gore's domain. In 1996, David Brower, former president of the Sierra Club, penned a Los Angeles Times op-ed entitled, "Why I Won't Vote for Clinton." In this piece, Brower offered a litany of Clinton administration moves, which utterly smashed the public image of Bubba and Gore as "pro-environment." Some of these moves include: the passage of the salvage logging rider, the continuation of the use of methyl bromide, the weakening of the Endangered Species Act, the lowering of grazing fees on land, subsidizing Florida's sugar industry, weakening the Safe Drinking Water Act, reversing the ban on the production and importation of PCBs, and allowing the export of Alaskan oil.
These, and other proud Clinton/Gore accomplishments, led Brower to declare that the dynamic Democratic duo had "done more harm to the environment in three years than Presidents Bush and Reagan did in 12 years." That's Bush the Elder he's talking about, of course. As for Bush the Lesser, consider this: the total logging cut in national forest during his first three years of Dubya's reign was less than the annual logging cut in national forests was under Clinton (Bill, not Hillary).
It sounds like a cliche, but it's true: the real power in the US is corporate power. Corporations — especially the giants in weapons manufacture, media, energy, finance, and pharmaceuticals — call the shots. Both parties are fronts for corporate power. Both are married to a system founded on rapacious exploitation of nature and the powerless.
There are some differences between Democrats and Republicans, but they're a lot more similar than they are different. Coke and Pepsi. At bottom, MickeyZ may have it right: the real difference between Democrats and Republicans is that they tell different lies to get elected.
Let's not forget the voting results of the Patriot Act.
Posted by: Jeff at December 3, 2006 12:47 PM
the real power in the US is corporate power.
Ok, so how do the people de-fang the corporations? Wait for them to implode? Stop buying stuff from 'em? Wait for the end of cheap oil so they lack the energy to exist? A return to states rights so its more expensive for firms to buy legislation? Move to community currencies?
Posted by: at December 3, 2006 01:59 PM