The road of excess leads to the palace of wisdom. - Wm. Blake

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Tom Tomorrow and the Big Dog

This post reminded me of something I though of posting a few months ago. Tom writes:
I’ve never entirely understood the tendency of bloggers who revile the DLC and everything it stands for to simultaneously revere Bill Clinton, who is pretty much the embodiment of the DLC and everything it stands for. [...] his decision to stump for Lieberman should nonetheless serve as a reminder that this guy will sell out progressives at the drop of a hat if it is somehow politically expedient to do so.

That this is not exactly breaking news is something anyone who was paying attention during the nineties should understand.
Awhile back, I reread Tom's Great Big Book of Tomorrow, a comprehensive collection of pretty much his whole career up to 2003. It was mostly funny of course, and where the Bush 1 years seem quaint and the Bush 2 years horrifyingly prescient, the Clinton years mostly pissed me off.

Why? Because, while Tom's criticism of course comes from the left - why isn't HillaryCare single payer, etc. - the actual complaints tend to be grounded in the exact same tired, slanderous, and - as we know understand too well - completely wrong tropes that rightwingers and the press used to obstruct Clinton, wound Gore, and ultimately lay the groundwork for Bush to become president. Think of every bit of nonsense you ever heard Rush say about Clinton, and - short of drug-running at Mena and murdering political opponents - it's in This Modern World throughout the 90s. And it really pissed me off.

Ultimately, what Tom Tomorrow did was very similar to what we're now angry at Lieberman for: attacking a Democrat with the same weapons used - honed - by the rightwing. Unlike Lieberman, Tom makes no claims of being a Democrat, so at least the disloyalty issue is less salient, but you know what? Attack centrist Dems for pusillanimity in the face of Republicans, promote lefty ideas, mock DLC mantras all you want. But don't pat yourself on the back for promoting, in whatever small way, anti-American bullshit like the '98 impeachment. Anyone who thinks that what has gone wrong in the last 15 (25?) years in this country is not enough lefties attacking Democrats needs to wake the fuck up.


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