Tuesday, December 24, 2019

What Intellectual Integrity on the Left Looks Like...

Jonathan Chait, "Tulsi Gabbard and the Return of the Anti-Anti-Trump Left"
Tulsi Gabbard has been slowly edging toward leaving the Democratic Party and, it now seems more likely than not, launching a spoiler candidacy to peel disaffected left-wing votes away from the Democrats. Her “present” vote on impeachment, followed by a disavowal of what she called the “zero-sum mind-set the two political parties have trapped America in,” sets the stage for Gabbard to play the role of 2020’s Jill Stein.

Left-wing anti-anti-Trumpism played an important role in the bizarre 2016 outcome. Die-hard Bernie activists, fired up with anger at the release of DNC emails stolen by Russians that purportedly showed the party had rigged the primary, demonstrated against the party outside its convention hall and tried to drown out the speakers inside with boos. Stein attacked Hillary Clinton from the left, then audaciously staged a grift-y fundraising scheme supposedly to hold recounts in the states she had labored to flip to Trump. Trump’s election appeared to deliver the same shock of reality that had vaporized Ralph Nader’s 2000 support.

But Gabbard’s emergence is another indication that the disaffection that drove these events has not disappeared. Anti-anti-Trumpism has maintained a small but durable intellectual infrastructure. The sentiments that first registered as dissent from the Russia investigation transferred to impeachment, and a chorus of left-wing voices is attacking the effort to remove Trump from office as at best a misguided diversion and at worst a deep-state coup.

The anti-anti-Trump left is not a monolithic bloc. It has differing levels of enthusiasm for splintering the progressive vote in general elections, for Trump himself, and for the ethics of explicit alliances with the right. (Some anti-anti-Trump leftists eagerly appear on Fox news and other right-wing media, while others shun it.) What they share, in addition to enthusiasm for Bernie Sanders, is a deep skepticism of the Democratic Party’s mobilization against the president. The left’s struggle against the center-left is the axis around which their politics revolves. From that perspective, the Russia scandal and impeachment are unnecessary and even reactionary.

While incomprehensible to liberals, centrists, and even many leftists who work within two-party politics, left-wing anti-anti-Trumpism has a coherent logic. It takes as its starting point a familiar critique that Trump won because liberalism failed. Trump, while bad, is merely a meta-phenomenon of the larger failure of the Democratic Party and the political and economic Establishment. And so, to the extent that investigating Trump’s scandalous behavior allows Democrats to discredit Trump without undergoing revolutionary internal changes, it is counterproductive. “The Ukraine affair,” writes left-wing historian Samuel Moyn, “shows that the biggest risk to the American people is that centrists link impeachment to a reinstatement of one set of failed prescriptions, while the right repulses the attempt to oust the president and rules under equally dead-end policies.”

Some anti-anti-Trump leftists see impeachment not merely as a distraction from the Sanders revolution but a deliberate effort to marginalize it. Krystal Ball and Aaron Mate recently speculated that Democratic leaders just might be setting up an impeachment trial in order to keep Sanders and Elizabeth Warren locked up in Washington and off the campaign trail. While such a possibility is obviously insane, if you consider the struggle between left-wing populists and evil neoliberals to be the central dynamic in American politics, it might seem at least plausible.

What gives the anti-anti-Trump left its emotional impetus is a simmering resentment against the center-left, especially the way the Russia and Ukraine scandals have made Democrats lionize elements of the security Establishment. “My discomfort in the last few years, first with Russiagate and now with Ukrainegate and impeachment, stems from the belief that the people pushing hardest for Trump’s early removal are more dangerous than Trump,” writes Matt Taibbi.

Ted Rall, who has been given space on The Wall Street Journal op-ed page to publish periodic anti-anti-Trump columns, uses one of his recent pieces to quote Doug Henwood, a fellow leftist. “It seems like a lot of Dems think that everything was pretty much OK until Trump took office, and if we can just get back to the status quo ante, everything will be all right,” Henwood says, “Add to that the fact that impeachment is making liberals celebrate spies, prosecutors, and heavily medaled soldiers — people no one on the left should have any warm feelings towards — and you get a serious feeling of derangement.”

This is less an argument than an expression of mood. The scandals have reordered the contestants in the political drama in a way anti-anti-Trump leftsists simply can’t stomach. The spectacle of Democrats lionizing intelligence officials and other cogs in the security state creates an irrepressible gag reflex.

Ironically, the same dynamic has brought anti-anti-Trump leftists into their own strange-bedfellow alliances. Leftists like Mate and Glenn Greenwald sometimes appear on Tucker Carlson’s show, giving an edgy, trans-ideological sheen to his increasingly overt white nationalism. Ball’s “Hill.TV” outlet was started by John Solomon, the Republican operative who has worked closely with Russian oligarchs to disseminate conspiracy theories that vindicate both Trump and the Russians. Its format frequently consists of Ball and her conservative co-host alternating attacks on the Democrats from the left and the right.

The fact that anti-anti-Trump leftists have interests that coincide with Russia’s compounds the dynamic. There is zero reason to suspect any of them have covert ties of any kind with Russia. Their arguments are perfectly explainable in normal terms. Russia has helped amplify their ideas because it suits Russia’s agenda — Moscow generated and promoted the most strident anti-Clinton voices on the left in 2016 and seems to view left-wing opposition to the Democrats as a lever upon which it can usefully lean. That fact does not by itself implicate their arguments; if the Russians happened to find reason to promote arguments any of us have made, we’d resent people suggesting we were toeing the Kremlin line. That resentment seems to have created a life of its own, making some leftists tolerant of Trump’s disturbing, obviously corrupt relations with Putin.

But what brought them to this strange place is their hatred for the center-left, which blots out any sense of proportion of the danger Trump poses. Pay close attention to this sentence, by Samuel Moyn, especially his use of the operative terms equally and biggest risk: “The Ukraine affair shows that the biggest risk to the American people is that centrists link impeachment to a reinstatement of one set of failed prescriptions, while the right repulses the attempt to oust the president and rules under equally dead-end policies.” The right and the center-left are equally doomed, and the biggest risk is that the Establishment prevails over Trump.

Many leftists can imagine a bigger risk than the Establishment neutralizing Trump before he can bring the system down. Yet somehow, the emergency of his growing authoritarianism has not concentrated every mind, and the election of Trump has not dispelled the fantasy that his destruction of the center and the center-left will lead ultimately to a better world.

30 comments:

The Honorable, Esteemed And Distinguished Judge Dervish Sanders (A High IQ Individual) said...

Hillary Clinton: ...I think they've got their eye on somebody who is currently in the Democratic primary and are grooming her to be the third-party candidate. She's the favorite of the Russians. [end quote].

Allowing oneself to be puppeteered by Putin isn't "intellectual integrity". Tulsi's cowardly "present" should get her voted out of office the next time she's up for election.

The Honorable, Esteemed And Distinguished Judge Dervish Sanders (A High IQ Individual) said...

While incomprehensible to liberals, centrists, and even many leftists who work within two-party politics .. And so, to the extent that investigating Trump's scandalous behavior allows Democrats to discredit Trump without undergoing revolutionary internal changes, it is counterproductive.

No, I understand it and agree with it. This is why I supported Bernie Sanders in the 2016 primary. And why I support either Sanders or Warren this time. I voted for Hillary Clinton because a neoliberal is better than a Putin-puppet. Although HRC did say she wouldn't sign the TPP, so I do think there was hope of pushing her in the right-ish direction.

Bernie Sanders knew Hillary Clinton was a better choice than Dotard, explaining why he told his supporters to vote for Hillary.

As for Dotard's scandalous behavior, he gave the House Democrats no choice. They HAD to impeach. It's not another "hoax". Dotard committed high crimes by attempting to extort the Ukrainian president into announcing an investigation into Joe Biden so he could cheat his way to "victory" AGAIN.

Joe Conservative said...

Warren is your neoliberalism "fall back". Because you know that they will NEVER allow Bernie to get into the White House. They'd ALL support Trump in what Democrats would soon come to know as the Never-Bernie movement (1st exposed as DNC candidate favoritism in the 2016 leaked e-mails).

An anti-anti Trump Democrat downloaded the DNC e-mail and gave them top Julian Assange. Neoliberal Democrats killed him for doing so.

The Honorable, Esteemed And Distinguished Judge Dervish Sanders (A High IQ Individual) said...

The hacked DNC data was given to Julian Assange by Russian operatives. Seth Rich wasn't murdered by "neoliberal Democrats". There is zero evidence suggesting Seth Rich was an "anti-anti-Trump Democrat".

Quote: Trump supporters and the alt-right amplified the theory that Rich was some kind of Democratic whistleblower or leaker, even though the facts didn't really fit this pattern. [Seth Rich] didn't have access to the DNC emails, and he had never shown any prowess at hacking — being a data analyst involves a very different set of skills. Besides, the DNC wasn't the only organization that was hacked: Clinton campaign chair John Podesta's personal emails, for instance, were stolen separately, as were the emails at the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee. [end quote]

btw, someone who would help Dotard win the election by stealing data from the DNC isn't an "anti-anti-Trump Democrat". That person would be a pro-trump criminal. But that person is fictional, as it was a Russian hack that explains the WikiLeaked DNC data, and not lawbreaking by Seth Rich to help Dotard "win".

FYI, Fox issued a retraction in regards to the "Seth Rich murdered because he handed off data to WikiLeaks" debunked conspiracy theory. Seth Rich's family sued and Seth Rich's brother says the conspiracy theory is built on "non-facts, baseless allegations, and general stupidity".

The Honorable, Esteemed And Distinguished Judge Dervish Sanders (A High IQ Individual) said...

Warren moves to outflank Trump on trade (7/29/2019 Political article excerpt) Elizabeth Warren released a trade plan Monday that’s closer to Donald Trump's agenda than Barack Obama's. The sweeping trade agenda ... channels many of the critiques of American trade policy from the left over the past several decades, especially from environmental and labor groups. The approach embraces some of Trump's protectionist rhetoric and would amount to a dramatic shift in trade policy from Democratic administrations such as the Obama and Bill Clinton White Houses, as well as the George W. Bush administration. [end quote].

There is no "never Bernie" movement. If Bernie Sanders goes through the primaries and is selected as the nominee, the Democratic Party establishment will support him :)

Joe Conservative said...

...just like they did in 2016.

Neoliberal tools have names. Dervish Sanders is one.

Joe Conservative said...

Proof.

The Honorable, Esteemed And Distinguished Judge Dervish Sanders (A High IQ Individual) said...

I couldn't be a "neoliberal tool" even if I wanted to -- which I do not, given the fact that I'm strongly opposed to neoliberalism. Very few people ever see anything I write and I live in a red state (Dotard will win no matter who I vote for). Also, your "proof" is bullshit. Putin's tool Tulsi won't be the Democratic nominee. Although she might be a third party spoiler (and thus a much better tool).

-FJ said...

A Hillary supporter hates neoliberalism? Bwah!

The Honorable, Esteemed And Distinguished Judge Dervish Sanders (A High IQ Individual) said...

A Dotard supporter hates neoliberalism? Bwah!

-FJ said...

The WaPo? They don't call it the Lying Post for nothing. Fake News, Dervy.

-FJ said...

No one ever said that the road from neoliberal globalism to national laissez faire was going to be easy. The government still loves to pick economic winners and losers. They can't abide an invisible hand within their borders.

Joe Conservative said...

Government, ensuring that no thumb can fail to be placed on the scales of economic justice since 1786...

The Honorable, Esteemed And Distinguished Judge Dervish Sanders (A High IQ Individual) said...

"No one ever said that the road from neoliberal globalism to national laissez faire was going to be easy"... indeed. Especially when they're able to fool dupes like you so easily.

BTW, spreading fake news is why OAN was created. OAN is fake news perfected. The article I linked to tells the truth about the neoliberal Dotard.

-FJ said...

What Deep State source leaked your "truth" to the WaPo, Dervy? Deep Throat? lol!

The Honorable, Esteemed And Distinguished Judge Dervish Sanders (A High IQ Individual) said...

It wasn't leaked. Dotard revealed these truths via his actions. You simply prefer his "verba" (lies versus truths revealed by Dotard's "acta"). Luckily for Dotard (and Putin) magaturds are incredibly gullible. Explaining why they believe in stupidity like the "deep state" and "fake news". And go along so willingly with Russian disinformation.

-FJ said...

If the story wasn't a Deep State Leak, what was it doing in the WaPo? The WaPo is the CIA's primary leak channel,as the NY Times is the Department of State's primary leak channel.

Anything reported/not leaked by either of these two organizations has GOT to be fake news.

So Dumboocrats continue to go along willingly with Corporate Oligarch disinsformation...

Who owns the NY Times...Presently, Gabrielle G. Greene-Sulzberger occupies the position of Chairman for True Food Kitchen and General Partner at Rustic Canyon.

She is also on the board of Mastercard, Inc., The Conference Board, Inc., Womencorporatedirectors Foundation and Cerevel Therapeutics LLC and Member of Henry Crown Fellowship Program, Director & Member at Trinity Church Wall Street and Member of Massachusetts Bar Association.

In the past Ms. Greene-Sulzberger was Chief Financial Officer for Villanueva Cos., Chief Financial Officer at Crown Services, Inc., Principal at Commonwealth Enterprises, Inc., Director at Johnson Products Co., Inc. and Chief Financial Officer for Gluecode Software, Inc.

She received an undergraduate degree from Princeton University, an MBA from Harvard Business School, a graduate degree from Harvard Law School and an undergraduate degree from Princeton University.


Who owns the WaPo... why Jeff Bezos, head of Amazon..

Nope, no oligarchs there... only good "women/men of the people"...

BWAH!

The Honorable, Esteemed And Distinguished Judge Dervish Sanders (A High IQ Individual) said...

Observable facts aren't "fake news". The source is irrelevant. If WaPo reports that Dotard has three sons (Don Jr, Eric and Barron) and two daughters (Ivanka and Tiffany) has that also "got" to be fake news? Is it "oligarch disinformation" when WaPo reports that Donald Trump's third wife's name is Melania?

Joe Conservative said...

Well one things for certain. If they reported it, we can be assured that said facts were checked/verified by their Deep State fake news "sources," most likely via an illegal NSA database search. :)

Thersites said...

...Michael Cohen was in Prague... lol!

The Honorable, Esteemed And Distinguished Judge Dervish Sanders (A High IQ Individual) said...

The facts were checked against Dotard's actions.

Your attempt to deploy the faulty comparrison logical fallacy = fail.

I have yet to see any evidence of any "illegal NSA database searches". If such crimes occurred, why isn't the Barr DOJ charging? "Oranges"! LOL.

-FJ said...

There's plenty of evidence in Judge Collyer's 2017 report and Judge Boasberg's 2019 reports. That no charges have been filed is the real sin against Deep State.

The Honorable, Esteemed And Distinguished Judge Dervish Sanders (A High IQ Individual) said...

Bill Barr has joined the "deep state"? Who knew?

Joe Conservative said...

Better ask John Durham.

The Honorable, Esteemed And Distinguished Judge Dervish Sanders (A High IQ Individual) said...

We will hear from him eventually. Perhaps then you will stop dreaming of imaginary prosecutions for imaginary crimes individuals that served during the Obama administration never committed? I would write "LOL", but these absurd disproven Russian conspiracies are beyond getting annoying.

Joe Conservative said...

...these absurd disproven Russian conspiracies are beyond getting annoying.

Says the Trump-Russia king.

The Honorable, Esteemed And Distinguished Judge Dervish Sanders (A High IQ Individual) said...

Putin? I suspect he is very happy that he has duped so many Americans into believing his fantasies -- including the US predisent (his puppet) and (almost?) the entire GOP. I have no doubt he views the conspiracy theories (he has his underlings concoct) as awesome.

Joe Conservative said...

The only people duped by Putin shill for the DNC.

The Honorable, Esteemed And Distinguished Judge Dervish Sanders (A High IQ Individual) said...

They all shill for Putin's puppet, Dotard.

Joe Conservative said...

Is Dotad your pet name for Nancy Pelosi?