Just got off the phone with my old friend Paul Harryn discussing the state of our families and health and politics and the world. More or less. And one of the things I started riffing about is the whole idea that the problems we're facing in this country have been created to a large extent by both political parties' subservience to the interests of corporations and the wealthy and that neither can address the root causes and basic changes needed to address and solve some of these endemic (Paul's word, and a good one) problems.
There's certainly truth to that. But the distinction I'm always trying to make in my forays on this blog into the state of our politics, is that even though too many Democrats are beholden to their wealthy and corporate contributors, just like the Republicans, their philosophies and voter base are different enough to create a very different approach to governing. Much more than "a dime's worth of difference" to use the old cliche that Nader used in his presidential campaigns and was wrong to do so from my perspective.
I believe it is not only healthy but necessary for those of us more to the left, as well as for the centrists (like Obama, despite the crude characterizations from the right that have had such an almost fanatical influence on the Republican base) to hold elected Democratic officials'—and the leaders of the party's—"feet to the fire" (to use another cliche). Absolutely criticize Obama and the Democratic Senators and Representatives for the ideals of the party they aren't living up to (like extending so many of the Bush/Cheney so-called "security measures" that impact our civil liberties, etc.) BUT...
...at the same time, to understand that when it comes to election time, there is much more than a dime's worth of difference between say a Nixon and a Hubert Humphrey or an Al Gore and a George W. Bush. The difference in reality includes the lives of hundreds of thousands of people who died because of policies set in place by the Republicans who won. There is no doubt in my mind (nor in that of most historians) that Humphrey was planning on ending the war in Vietnam and that Gore would not have invaded Iraq.
The world would have been and would be now a much different place (imagine if we hadn't accrued the debt created by fighting the Iraq War all these years (since Bush/Cheney decided to cut taxes for the wealthy while expanding the federal government and waging a war that costs billions and billions and etc.) what our economy would look like right now and the debate over the national debt) and a much better one.