Monday, December 12, 2005

Populist Front & Barack Obama

Arkansas Coalition To Push For Higher Minimum Wage:

LITTLE ROCK A coalition of religious, community and nonprofit groups plan a news conference tomorrow at the state Capitol to push for a constitutional amendment increasing Arkansas' minimum wage.
The group -- known as Give Arkansas A Raise Now -- intends to submit a proposed ballot title to the attorney general's office. The group also says it has results of a new statewide poll of Arkansas voters on the issue.

See? Keyword in that is "religious." This coalition is made up, at least partly, of wingnuts -- probably some of the same who voted for Bush "because of the queers and abortionists."

Politics is about bargains, not about purity. On social and cultural fronts, we fight (and should fight) such people. But my point is that they are not wholly wrong; and they are a damn sight better that those who court their votes, the Neocons and Chamber of Commerce type Republicans who cynically push the hot button issues and split working class peoples' votes.

These things have to be fought on an issue-by-issue basis. Abortion, Intelligent Design, Gay Rights, racism, etc: we have to fight Fundies on these subjects. But it doesn't mean that, because they are awesomely wrong on such issues, we should decide they are unworthy allies on economics issues. It's politically stupid to abandon Fundies, "whether Christian, Jew, or miscellaneous" (to quote Reverend Lovejoy). There's too many of them. Plus, I would add that it's immoral to abandon them. They have ethics, and while such ethics aren't ours, in some ways they are similar. It's the Republican elite that is amoral, that political "total war" must be declared on.

It's populism, it's always there in the body politic, and it's imperative that we steer it Left, because Right Populism is synonymous with fascism.

Barack Obama, quickly becoming the only decent Senator we have aside Russ Feingold, gets it:

ORLANDO, Florida (Reuters) - Republicans controlling the federal government practice Social Darwinism, a discredited philosophy that in economics and politics calls for survival of the fittest, according to a Democratic U.S. senator.

Sen. Barak [sic] Obama of Illinois, a fast-rising Democratic star, told Florida party members that only a philosophy among Republicans of sink or swim explains why some Hurricane Katrina victims in New Orleans still live in cars while Republicans in Washington prepare next week to enact $70 billion in tax breaks.

"It's called the 'Ownership society' in Washington. This isn't the first time this philosophy has appeared. It used to be called Social Darwinism," Obama said late Saturday at the Democrats meeting at Walt Disney World.

"They have a philosophy they have implemented and that is doing exactly what it was designed to do. They basically don't believe in government. They have a different philosophy that says, 'We're going to dismantle government'," Obama said.

Republicans running the federal government believe, "You are on your own to buy your own health care, to buy your own retirement security ... to buy your own roads and levees," Obama said, referring to flood barriers that gave way in New Orleans during Katrina last August.

Obama, the only African American now in the U.S. Senate, gave the keynote address at the annual meeting of Florida Democrats.

Social Darwinism applies Charles Darwin's theory of natural selection from biology to human culture. Popular in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, the theory advocates free competition and a minimalist role for government in society. Darwin himself rejected the application of natural selection to human society.

This is absolutely true. He's called "Nineteenth Century Bush" for a reason.