Bullies Like It
However much I am displeased with the agenda and behavior of Senator Barack Obama at times there is no doubt that, in his way, he seeks progressive incremental solutions is a classic liberal governance worldview. The “new” in this framework is the Millennial Generation agenda, devoid of Vietnam and Watergate and raging cultural tactics based upon sexism and racism, but more critically in my mind is absent fear as a motivating tactic.
Senator John McCain, however, is a classic right-wing authoritarian, as outlined so brilliantly by the incomparable Sarah Robinson of The Big Con. Authoritarian intellectual structures inherently defy change, the Republican Party is full of big oil interests who won’t even acknowledge global warming, for instance, let alone help to solve it. These general characteristics alone garner an instant vote for Senator Barack Obama, irrespective of any other single variable.
Left out of these lofty intellectual models of political behavior is another motivating factor, however, that earns my instant revulsion of authoritarians. Authoritarians tend to shun people who dare to dream up original ideas and new ways of solving problems as a threat to the established order, yes, but there is much more than fear of the unknown motivating authoritarians, there’s also that messy, ugly element of domination, coercion, and plain old bullying. It’s not just that bullying can be an extremely effective political tactic, but also the dark uncomfortable fact that its practitioners like it.
For reasons I will never fathom significant percentages of the human get off on subjugating others, the pain of putting others “in their place” simply oblivious to their vicious behavior. What is known is that for perverse reasons practitioners of bullying like it, it’s satisfying to them as long as the immediate results are pleasing. They’ll keep doing it, no matter how sick and disastrous the results to the victim, until someone effectively intervenes or the victim fights back.
Republicans are itching to bully the Democratic Party with the threat of terrorism, they’ve been gleefully doing it since 9/11 and the Democrats still will not fight back. The Republic was supposed to have a free press to intervene and stop it, but unfortunately American corporate journalism has failed, it often facilitates and enables the abuse.
This subjugation to bullying in the latest FISA debacle is one element of what’s so galling in the whole disaster. Apparently, as one story goes, the Democrats were so afraid of being terrorist enablers they gave Bush everything he wanted. The story says the big Republican FISA attack would have been on Senator Obama right at the start of the Democratic Convention.
For loyal Party members like myself this constant parade of capitulation, going on for an ungodly seven years now, is beyond galling, the chafing reaches intolerable levels as precious principles are chucked to the wind for nothing but rank cowardice, a complete inability to see the opponent likes bullying you into submission, submission is in fact disastrous, it’s the perfect way for the behavior to continue, not stop.
For some goddamn reason the liberal governance model refuses to work here, when it comes to bullying Democrats will not, for the love of Mary and Jesus, learn and change. They should have, and I will always be fundamentally baffled and puzzled why Democrats will not fight. After a few years the empirical results should have proved to them it’s a total flop, but they keep doing it.
I do think that in this particular FISA instance there was more than bullying at work, however. The lying by Hoyer in introduction and the utterly meek acceptance of Reid and Pelosi tell me there has to be more behind the scenes here, probably informed capitulation to felony in 2001 or 2002 as Bush broke the law. The Democratic leadership knew about it and wants it buried. Senator Obama has displayed masterful political fighting skills over the past year, no other explanation makes sense.
Because the Democratic leadership will not say so, of course not, for all outward appearances this FISA surrender appears to be the Republicans mashing the faces of Democrats into the schoolyard asphalt yet again. Denial is so serene in Democratic leadership, but make no mistake, it horribly discourages the base, shreds the constitution, and emboldens the Republicans for more felonious and bullying behavior.
Senator Obama and the Democratic leadership gambled not enough would notice, and given how the press has ignored the story (when they haven’t utterly mangled it) that gamble will probably pay off. Enough have noticed the infuriating consistent behavior over time, however, and the window for using the tactic is fast closing, if Senator Obama and the Democrats keep giving up without a fight they’ll lose the biggest fight of all, John McCain will become president. The gleeful Republican bullying must one day be stood up to and fought hard, there is no escaping that reality.