>Date: Mon, 21 Aug 2000 23:04:30 -0500 (CDT)
>THE DECEPTION CONVENTION: DON'T STOP WINKING ABOUT TOMORROW
>By Norman Solomon / Creators Syndicate
> LOS ANGELES -- On the televised surface, the Democratic National
>Convention exuded plenty of sweetness and generosity. One speaker after
>another explained that America's working people have a wondrous friend in a
>party that is committed to fighting for their interests. It was great
>theater -- of the absurd.
> Behind the carefully crafted media facade, however, advocates for big
>business had ample reason to celebrate. For them, the two-party system was
>functioning just fine. No need to worry about the two teams of horses in
>the presidential race when they're both running in the same general direction.
> Past sources of irritation or challenge inside the Democratic
> Party were,
>so to speak, subdued. Jesse Jackson was often moving yet also restrained
>when he spoke to the convention. "Old-line liberals had their night," USA
>Today reported the next day, under a headline that used the derogatory term
>"old guard" to describe speakers strongly critical of corporate priorities.
> Maybe someday the mass media will widely describe the New
> Democrats -- in
>control of the party and the White House for about eight years now -- as
>the highly effective tools of capital that they are. But don't hold your
> When the Clinton-Gore duo romped through the 1992 convention at
>Square Garden, there was palpable satisfaction among reporters and pundits.
>Today, most of the same journalists -- after reflexively labeling as
>"special interests" such political constituencies as low-income people,
>workers and seniors -- accept the assumption that outfits like huge
>military contractors and other conglomerates are part of the "national
>interest." Corporate America is us!
> At a press briefing inside the convention center, I asked a media
>from the Democratic National Committee to provide some examples of when
>Sen. Joseph Lieberman had taken positions contrary to Wall Street's
>desires. She said that she couldn't think of any.
> A former labor secretary in the Clinton administration has
> provided some
>clarity. In a targeted opinion article that appeared in The Financial Times
>on July 14, Robert Reich inadvertently supplied context helping to explain
>why some protesters would arrive in Los Angeles four weeks later wearing
>mock Gore buttons that simply said: "Whore 2000."
> Although he didn't use such imagery, Reich made a convincing case
>Clinton and Gore have excelled at prostituting themselves and their party
>to some very high bidders. "If they were true profit-maximizers, textbook
>illustrations of rational self-interest, U.S. corporations and their senior
>executives would be flooding Al Gore's campaign with money," Reich wrote.
>Of course, they already are -- and with good reason, as Reich went on to
> "Rather than gamble on the unknown George W. Bush, they would be
>on the proven Mr. Gore," the ex-secretary of labor asserted. "No
>administration in modern history has been as good for American business as
>the Clinton-Gore team. None has been as solicitous of the concerns of
>business leaders, none has generated as much profit for business..."
> I thought of those words when standing in the convention hall while
>President Clinton bade farewell to grateful delegates, whose enthusiasm had
>been stoked by an adulatory intro film about him. (The production was
>similar to the flick about George W. Bush screened for similar purposes at
>the GOP convention just before Bush's speech.) Since it is no longer enough
>to merely present oratory, bunting, confetti and red-white-and-blue
>balloons, Hollywood's most modern artifice techniques must be utilized. For
>the good of the cause.
> "Remember, keep putting people first," Clinton said at the close
> of his
>speech. "Keep building those bridges. And don't stop thinking about tomorrow."
> But beyond the well-cooked fantasies served up in medialand, such a
>tomorrow -- truly putting people first in national priorities -- never
>comes. And how could it, when the conventional rhetoric is so disingenuous
>and so disconnected from human realities?
> Unless we've been unduly credulous about dominant media messages, we
>shouldn't be surprised to learn that Reich, in his recent narrow-cast
>missive to moneyed interests, declared: "In short, Al Gore is the ideal
>candidate for American business, with a record to show it."
>Norman Solomon is a syndicated columnist. His latest book is "The Habits of
>Highly Deceptive Media."