Since I was pretty hard on Bill Maher last week for criticizing Obama without criticizing the Democrats (and Congress more generally), it’s only the (ordinary) gentlemenly thing to do to post this video of his most recent show and nod my bowler hat in his direction. The relevant section begins at minute 2.
Even though I wouldn’t normally be considered left-wing I do agree with his point that we have a center-right party and a crazy party in the US. Center-right I think by the rest of the Western world’s standards (centre-right then?). For as much as Obama supposedly slayed Clintonianism, New Democrats still rule. I would actually like for the purposes of opening up the political discourse to have a party that gave voice to many of the ideas Maher announces–even though I would disagree with a number of them.
Alternatively put I suppose, Democrats are still beholden to the New Deal synthesis: corporations, unions, and government. The latter two have weakened considerably since Carter but are still there. The GOP is I suppose the party of corporate executive power.
One medium-level quibble. Maher says that whenever honest to God liberals on TV they are treated like buffons. He mentions Ralph Nader, Noam Chomsky, and Dennis Kucinich as examples. He says that he realizes they aren’t the most charismatic of people. Well, ok, except I think it goes a little deeper than charisma. With Chomsky (for me) it’s that he is such an ideologue. Maher pairs him with Gingrich who is similarly a total ideologue so fair enough. With Nader, it might be because he’s out of touch and a total narcissist if not a racist—remember his Obama better not be an Uncle Tom for the Corporations remark? Boy that was a winner. Kucinich actually has a sorta nerdy charm for me. He’s pretty goofy, he’s been visited by space aliens (who the hell knows maybe he has), but actually looking at this Wiki-list of his policy positions I’d go for a number of them.
I think it’s fair to say that the Naders/Chomskys are kept off TV because their ideology is anti-corporate whereas the Gingrichs are on TV because their ideology is pro-corporate. [I would prefer non-ideologicalism but at this point in human political development that’s probably asking for too much maturity.]
What we have in the US it seems to me is in some ways the worst of both worlds. We have an ever-increasing regulatory state apparatus that actually doesn’t have much power. Either cut the apparatus or get some bang for the buck (really bucks, lots of them in fact) for having the apparatus.
Again in terms of political parties–not political philosophies–I have to spend my time aimed at Democrats because, as much as I’m not a fan, they are the only party approaching some level of sanity. It’s pretty minimal in my estimation, but at least it’s something. The GOP–which is different than conservatives (at least some kinds of conservatives)–is just a total write off and can not in away be taken seriously.