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06/13/2004:

"Clinton is Reagan's Legacy Too"

by Rootsie

It was good to see the righteous indignation with which so many stepped forward last week to challenge the appallingly untruthful picture the mainstream media gave of Reagan and his legacy.

On a network news program this morning (just when I thought it was safe to go back in the water), one commentator said she thought Reagan’s greatest achievement was taking the Soviets to the mat on human rights. Apparently she chose to forget the Soviets’ reply: “Everyone in the Soviet Union has a job and a roof. What say we talk civil liberties in the Soviet Union when you talk homelessness
And unemployment in the U.S.?” There's been a whole lot of forgetting going on.

I am not a professional political pundit. I sat around for a lot of years watching before I wrote a word, and I don’t imagine that I realize what no one has realized before. But what hit me anew this morning is the degree to which the Democratic Party which emerged in response to Reagan is perhaps the most pernicious and destructive aspect of the ‘Reagan legacy.” I know that Nader, one among many, has been saying that for a long time.

Reagan talked ‘welfare queens” while dishing out scads of corporate welfare. Clinton crafted the Welfare reform that declared and still wages war on poor mothers. Reagan dropped a few million people out of the bottom of the economy, beyond statistics. Clinton cemented their status as a permanent underclass with his ‘economic recovery,’ generating disparities in wealth unknown in the history of the world. Really.

Although it is a fiction that Reagan 'ended the Cold War,' his foreign and domestic policies certainly paved the way for a global corporate takeover. Clinton fired the first shot of an all-out corporate attack on the planet with NAFTA and GATT.

Bush invaded and bombed Iraq. Clinton bombed Iraq every single day for 8 years, and enforced sanctions that starved a million children. And bombed Afghanistan. And bombed a hospital in Sudan. Seeing to it that there are a lot more little Osamas running around.

It was Clinton who built the million jail cells to house the casualties, poor and non-white, of Reagan’s ‘Just Say No to Drugs.” Clinton put the 100,000 new cops on the street and began the vogue of ‘community policing,’ which in the words of a lawyer in Los Angeles has turned South L.A. into something a lot like Fallujah, except with no end in sight.

It was Clinton who enacted the anti-terrorist legislation which paved the way for the evisceration of the Constitution.

What is the ‘neo-liberalism’ of the ‘new’ Latin America that emerged in the 90’s but simply the ‘kinder gentler’ face of the age-old despotism? We have apparently decided it's time to take the torturing duties, which we once paid client terror-states for, on ourselves.

I remember very clearly that during his entire campaign Clinton mentioned Iran-Contra NOT ONCE. We found this very curious until we read that there had been Contra-training camps in Arkansas.

The simpering cowardice of the Democratic Party is why in 2004 we have Bush slipping in the polls while Kerry, president of the Ariel Sharon Fan Club, gains no ground at all. When they meet face to face this fall, it will be like the Bush-Gore debates: ‘I agree, I agree, I agree…but I can pronounce all the names!” George Soros gets to look like a great progressive hero for dumping loads of money on ersatz liberals because here is a grand opportunity to paint himself as a critic of capitalism with not a thing to lose. A Cold War capitalist robber-baron as de facto spokesman and Big Daddy for the liberal wing of the Democratic Party??

I can’t imagine what Bush would have to do to lose this election, short of the CIA deposing him for destroying Valerie Plame. In which case Lord knows what new horrors await. Well in any case, only new horrors await. Because somewhere along the line, we have lost our government.

Admittedly, when you realize that the American Revolution was ultimately fought over the issue of which set of rich guys would get to control the slave trade, you could argue that the American people have never been in possession of their government. But the brazen criminality which Reagan ushered in and the rapid rise of corporate hegemony during the Clinton years reads like the resolution of the age-old tension between populism and elitism, and, far from the American Dream, it is unmitigated nightmare for most. An Evil Empire indeed.

Because it has been recognized that the best way of controlling information is flooding people with it, no one is going to come crashing into my house to drag me away, and this freedom of speech is used as an argument to marginalize ones like me. But even if they did, no one would be paying attention. American soldiers crashed into Aristide’s house and removed him from the Presidency of his country, and only a few days of uncomfortable questions faced Rumsfeld and Powell before that event was swept away by the tide.

Reagan’s ultimate legacy is seen in Clinton’s total capitulation, in Bush and Co.’s shameless cruelty and criminality, and an ‘opposition’ as loyal as they come, complicit in every possible way. There may be a few Democrats left who legitimately feel they can stem this tide through electoral politics, who have not been completely compromised, but they will be remembered as naďve. Or dead. Like Paul Wellstone. Even Michael Moore has employed Clinton attack-dogs to promote his new movie. An opposition is necessary for ‘the free exchange of ideas so important to a democracy': Bush has said so again and again when faced with protestors. Moore is something of a pro at NOT getting to the heart of the issues.

This is such a dangerous time because, in this country at least, the iron fist is wearing a velvet glove. Democrats are made to order for that, wittingly or not. As long as they, like Clinton, merely accept the terms of the world as Reagan framed it and roll with the tide, this ship is sunk.

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