enough = enough?

Paul Henry Rosenberg rad at gte.net
Wed Oct 14 08:46:11 PDT 1998

Doug Henwood wrote:

> I have very mixed feelings about this. I hate Clinton, hate hate hate, but
> persecuting a guy for a blow job is a very bad precedent. The people behind
> it are horrid snoops & social disciplinarians.

We should not forget that Clinton is the Democratic Party embodiment of the politics of "personal responsibility" aka "blaming the victim", which fixates on the failings (real or imagined) of the designated other and obsesses to the point of hysteria, blocking out all considerations about social, economic and political causes.

Of course, Clinton's not as completely gung ho as many in the DLC would like, and this is certainly PART of the subtext of Liebermans attack last month. He knows that he needs the Democratic base -- not just the "Reagan Democrats". That's part of why he's President and Liberman, Nunn, etc. aren't.

So what are liberals, progressives and leftists to do?

My answer is "Remember Wiemar Germany." Do not defend Clinton. Defend the rights that are being attacked, and above all defend the good sense of the American people who are instinctively horrified by all this. The American people have a more sophisticated moral sense than the politicians on either side seem to give (with a very few exceptions). This complexity of their moral sense may not fully qualify as a dialectical consciousness, but it definitely has promise in that direction.

Pandering to populist outrage -- as former Carter pollster Pat Cadell and major Nation honcho Marc Cooper have been trying to do on KPFK for the past 2 months or so -- is the EXACTLY WRONG thing to be doing now. Pat Buchanan and Pat Robertson can do it much better than us -- and there's a damn good reason why. Populism will always be reactionary to the extent it is defined in terms of outrage -- what it's against -- rather than what it's for.

If we don't have more respect than that for the working class, there's no reason it should have respect for us. Our particular ideas -- over which we disagree constantly -- are far less important than that basic attitude of respect.

-- Paul Rosenberg Reason and Democracy rad at gte.net

"Let's put the information BACK into the information age!"

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