Sunday, September 07, 2008

Dead Horse pt 2: or, are you a domesticated goat?

From wikisource, "The Goatherd and the wild goats"

A Goatherd, driving his flock from their pasture at eventide, found some Wild Goats mingled among them, and shut them up together with his own for the night. The next day it snowed very hard, so that he could not take the herd to their usual feeding places, but was obliged to keep them in the fold. He gave his own goats just sufficient food to keep them alive, but fed the strangers more abundantly in the hope of enticing them to stay with him and of making them his own. When the thaw set in, he led them all out to feed, and the Wild Goats scampered away as fast as they could to the mountains. The Goatherd scolded them for their ingratitude in leaving him, when during the storm he had taken more care of them than of his own herd. One of them, turning about, said to him: "That is the very reason why we are so cautious; for if you yesterday treated us better than the Goats you have had so long, it is plain also that if others came after us, you would in the same manner prefer them to ourselves."

Given that I've decided to call this "Dead Horse", I probably should be careful about mixing my animal metaphors. Nevertheless I come back, time and again, to this story whenever I listen to practically anything that comes out of Obama's mouth, he of the silver tongue that makes lefty swooners swoon. I'm not so impressed with Obama myself, and I'm inclined to think his reluctance to define his politics will ultimately hurt him, even if he has more charisma than Kerry or Gore. (Of course most warm-blooded organisms have more charisma than Kerry or Gore, but that's another matter.)

All the same, even if Obama doesn't do anything for me, I recognize that millions of people do respond to him. And yet, he seems doggedly determined to squander his opportunity to help remake American politics at a time when we, the otherwise very conservative public, are more ready for meaningful liberalism and activist government, and yes, change, than we have been in a very long time. The economy appears to be teetering, government corruption and scandal, mostly republican, has soured people on incumbents and the "establishment" and we are mired in (at least one) costly and highly questionable war.

But we have Nancy Pelosi, the supposedly far left-wing democratic speaker of the house, loudly telling everybody who'll listen about her table, the one that will not allow impeachment of the most blatantly crooked president since Richard Nixon(who was pardoned 34 years ago tomorrow, on September 8th, 1974), and Obama and his running mate Joe Biden eagerly praising their opponents on Fox News and assuring anybody who'll still listen that they needn't be concerned about criminal charges being leveled against George Bush, jr.

What's wrong with this picture? Where do you even start?

This is why I'm starting "Dead Horse", which is meant to be a conversation about

1.the dysfunctional democratic party, and whether or not it can (or should) be saved.

2. our post 9-11, post-constitutional republic, a screwed up simulacrum where things are rarely as they seem, at least as far as I can see-- because

2b. It's not just the democrats "suddenly" having become dysfunctional, but a process of unraveling which seems to have been going on for a long time.

Or maybe I'm wrong(not 2b. Sorry, I can't resist...) That's why I want, from the get-go, for DH to be a group blog, for which I'm sending several invitations, both to bloggers who I feel are in approximately the same "camp" as I am, as well as a couple of others who might feel somewhat sunnier about the prospects for our future. I want to try to create the conditions and a venue for a useful conversation, not just an echo chamber. More soon, and hopefully not just from me.

cross-posted at "Hugo Zoom"

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