You hear that a lot these days, that there is no difference between the Democrats and the GOP. Both of America's political parties are run by corporations. So it doesn't matter which you vote for, the results will be the same. You equally hear that we need a third party that will be ideologically pure and immune from influence by special interest money. Good points all.
It is curious though. Republicans don't share the sentiment that there is no difference between the parties. In fact they are acting as if they find the distinction to be rather greater than at any time in the last century. The GOP is behaving as if the world will end if a single one of them compromises with the Democrats on anything. They are so hell bent to get Democrats out of government that they have actually and repeatedly voted against their own socioeconomic goals in order to drive a negative narrative about Democratic control of government. They have used the filibuster to block everything before the Senate, even economic stimulus and unemployment extensions, in a totally unprecedented lockdown of government at a time when government is needed more than ever in generations.
You may not take the differences between the parties seriously but the Republicans do. Their corporate big money backers do. The Tea Party astroturfers do. So if all of the right wing from U.S. Senate to Tea Party protesters are exercised about driving out the Democrats at any cost, up to and maybe including the total destruction of the economy and the nation, then they must think there is a huge difference. It seems that if the country is not to be a Republican America, they would rather that there not be an America.
While it's true that the individuals comprising the two parties meet in the middle philosophically, and that corporate money strongly skews the middle to the right, it is the extremes of the wings that are the critical difference. The wings of each party vie to move the party platforms closer to the wings. Right now, the right wing is winning it's bid to drag the Republicans more to the right. Backed by billionaires like the Koch brothers, they are dragging it so far in fact that GOP moderates are becoming an endangered species. The left wing seems to have been less effective with corporate money and corporate media both conspiring to push the entire world to the right.
All this is framed in jeopardy for the Democrats in November. Truth is though, with the economy still this far in a hole, the amount of damage predicted for the Democrats is probably a history making low. Clinton lost as much or more when the economy was in a shallow Reagan/Bush 41 recession. The press does stick to the most distressing story line imaginable like glue.
If the Republicans had still been in charge during this economic melt down instead of just neatly handing it off to Obama, there might be just fifty Republicans left in the House by this November 3rd, representing the arch red states of the South. Bush 41 dodged political infamy by handing his and Reagan's mess off to Clinton. Hoover and the Republicans, in 1932, lacked the good luck of handing off, having their nest of snakes come unraveled while they still held power, and it eventually banished them into the political wilderness. But it took time, a decade, even then.
In heading off the disaster that would have been a McCain/Palin administration, the Democrats and left have headed off the second self destruction of the capitalist GOP world, for 20 months. Unfortunately the Democrats have now occupied a position of proving a negative to an electorate barely capable of even recognizing a positive. It is enough to make you sick, as the exact same arguments from the right and disillusionment on the left wracks the first term of a potential second New Deal as they did on the outset of the first New Deal.
But at least the battle is rejoined. Liberals have awakened after 75 years in which we slipped into the complacency of an established social contract hewn by FDR. It literally is a déjà vu of a conservative vs. progressive fight we had grown to think of as having been settled.
Now the far right has conceived an attack on liberty based on a minority interpretation of the unamended Constitution as a literal end and limit to Federal law, not in order to make a more perfect union and country but to make it easier to evade responsibility to the public to whom they make the hypocritical argument that the public themselves should be more responsible. Huh? Did I hear that right? The Republicans want you to suck it up and be personally responsible, pay your own way, while they claw out TARP to pay for their irresponsibility? Greed appears to be a strong motivator to hypocrisy.
The bloodline of greed is never extinguished and the battle is renewed every few years. This is a critical year, a year in which the fate of the nation is at stake as much as if it were invaded by a foreign power. The foreign power that currently threatens is not Islam, it's not socialist outsiders, it is a Republican party intent on imposing a feudal rule of corporations. Godless by American standards, the soulless corporations and GOP agentry are the clear and present danger, while they ridiculously and bigotedly purport Islam as a threat to hide behind. In a stunning irony, Newt Gingrich recently opined that the Muslims sought to impose Sharia Law on America. The actual real threat is total capitulation of our government to secular for profit corporate feudal rule.
Yes, you can complain that the Democrats are agents of the corporations too, but Democrats under the corporate thrall are fewer and with less, or no, allegiance to corporate power than have Republicans. That's why Democrats get less money from the wealthy who cross over to simply hedge their bets.
Although it may seem otherwise, owing to the recent belligerence of the right, Democrats scare Republicans far more than Republicans scare Democrats. All the conservative saber rattling and aggression can be indicative of only one thing, fear. Since the left is not as afraid of the right as it should be, it leads to a political estop beyond which the left is reluctant to go, the geopolitical analogue of the Korean 38th parallel. It leads to rationalizations that the parties are the same, even when those on the right are inflamed in certainty that they are not.
At the core of this political estop of action by the left and center is the unfounded faith that Republicans will not completely renew, or do worse than, what they did the last time they had power. Given the rhetoric from the new more right right, it is probably the safest bet to believe that a mandate, no matter how small, to the right will lead to the greatest economic and social havoc this nation has seen since the Civil War. To redouble the GOP deregulation (read small government) effort will result in a greater depression than the Great Depression because no one will be in government to stop their idiotic crusades for a Laissez Faire economy. It will be an economy of wolves who will then die out themselves having slaughtered all the sheep, for profit.
So now is the time to bury the right and conservatism for another 75 years. It is not a time to complain about how much the Democrats are under the thumb of corporations, not until after November 2nd. It is a time to bury the flag bearers of the corporations, the Republicans, and show money that it's power is not equal to the power of a purposeful humanity. Now is the time, while there is still a Democratic party in which an Alan Grayson, Russ Feingold or Dennis Kucinich can find a home and voice. To lose this election in balance to the GOP will be to embolden the likes of Dick Armey and Sarah Palin, neither of whom understand what the ultimate goal of concentrated wealth is, a unitary monopoly.
Deal with the GOP first, with your vote, then you may deal with errant Democrats at your leisure. The goal of concentrated wealth is nothing short of, and never has in any epoch been short of, total exploitation of the world for profit. That is their goal by the social form of Natural Selection. Where they may stop, to what level of oppression and exploitation they will descend, will be up to them. And the fresh insult of the Citizens United decision will assure them unlimited finance to keep control well away from the public in the future.
You can still take the stand that they paradoxically admonish you to take, be responsible for yourself, vote for yourself, work for yourself and demand from them at least as much as they require of you. A corporation finds you disposable, as people increasingly discover. Through your political activism you may indeed deal with them before they dispose of you. Democracy was meant to create just that dynamic. Use it while it still exists.
None of this is to say that a really progressive third party is not valuable. Through it the arguments of the left can be introduced into the political debate. And if they are, they will move the political barometer for the Democrats as the astroturfers have moved it for the GOP. Who knows, maybe someday a third party will be viable on its merit. But until then, until campaign reform has changed the political landscape, the money flowing from corporations into the two party system will push elections outcomes to the middle right. The effort to change that will be huge, and it is likely to take every person of left leaning philosophy to join together under that one objective.