Friday, November 05, 2010

The Case Against Neoliberalism

What do all these names have in common?

Dick Gephardt
Chuck Robb
Sam Nunn
Bill Clinton
John Breaux
Dave McCurdy
Joe Lieberman
Evan Bayh
Tom Vilsack
Harold Ford

The answer is all these men served as chair of the Democratic Leadership Council. Ask yourself if you want John Breaux, Harold Ford, Joe Lieberman, Evan Bayh or Dick Gephardt to be deciding the direction of the Democratic Party.

The DLC calls themselves New Democrats. They are too terrified to call themselves neoliberals. The DLC was extremely hawkish about the Iraq war. The DLC attack Howard Dean for being against the Iraq war.

So what does the Bull Moose think of the donkey? In the early primaries, I thought Karl Rove had induced a mass brainwashing of the Democrats as they flocked to Howard Dean. If the Deaniacs had seized the party, the Bush-Rovian dream of realignment might have been realized. Dean was their dream opponent -- a socially liberal, anti-war candidate from Vermont. However, the good centrist sense of the Democratic rank and file prevailed.

The DLC got their wish of John Kerry. How did that work out?

The DLC actively placed corporate interests ahead of unions. Rick MacArthur explained to Amy Goodman what happened in the 90s.

Well, this is the legacy of the Clinton administration, that the Clintons persuaded enough members of the Democratic Party that labor unions were finished. And they were, I think, largely right. Labor unions were finished as an important source of votes and power, or that they could be taken for granted. They were going to vote for the Democrats anyway, because they had no choice, and the place to raise money and to expand influence with the party was in corporate America. And Clinton says to these people, through Terry McAuliffe and all his friends, Gene Sperling, the corporate Democrats who came out of the Democratic Leadership Council, "Look, you can’t argue with results. I got elected president twice, and we almost had fundraising parity with the Republicans in the ’90s."

Current DLC chair Harold Ford has a history of being anti-abortion and against gay marriage. Ford voted for the Federal Marriage Amendment - barring gays from marrying. Ford supported an amendment that forbid gays from adopting in the District of Columbia.

Noted neoliberal economist Lawrence Summers has been a longtime advocate for deregulation. In the Clinton administration, Summers fought the Commodity Futures Trading Commission over financial derivatives. Summers was a champion of the Commodity Futures Modernization Act. The law barred derivatives from being regulated.

President Bill Clinton signed the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act. The law abolished the Gless-Steagall Act. The latter separated commercial and investment banks. The neoliberal economics drive for less financial regulation helped create the climate for the Wall Street meltdown of 2008.

A person who as described himself as a New Democrat (code for neoliberal) is Barack Obama. This is why Obama promised to veto any bill that allows Medicare to negotiate prices with drug companies. Obama never backed universal health care or a ban on offshore drilling because he believes corporations should benefit from public policy. Nevermind that the health care bill is riddled with hole that won't lower the cost of health insurance. That was never the point of health care reform. Obama could have given a populist message on how no one who currently has health insurance should not be dropped after he or she gets sick. Obama instead mandated Americans to buy health insurance. If Republicans passed such a proposal progressives would be outraged.

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