Partisan Number 22
The taming of the Democrats
Since the recent Democratic wins in the U.S. House and Senate, there has been a concerted effort from the corporate media to evoke from them preinstallation promises of moderation, and a mass denial that there are any plans to impeach a widely unpopular President, George W. Bush.
There has been equally aggressive attention paid to House Speaker-elect, Nancy Pelosi (Dem. - Ca.), who makes history as the first American woman to reach what is essentially the third most powerful office in the nation.
With few exceptions, most outspoken legislators have pooh-poohed the idea of impeaching the President, even before there have been hearings into the events that led to the ruinous disaster in Iraq.
Columnists lecture, "It would be too divisive." Others decry such talks as 'radical.'
What is more radical than war?
Why are the same voices and institutions that led the cheerleading squad to war now setting the parameters of acceptable political debate and activity?
Perhaps the most influential newspaper in the U.S., the New York Times, used its front pages as a virtual billboard for the Bush administration, and high-ranking people like Vice-President Dick Cheney, and Secretary of State (then National Security Advisor), Condoleeza Rice quoted the NYT incessantly in the run-up to the Iraq War. Pulitzer Prize-winning Times reporter, Judith Miller essentially served as a scribe for the White House.
It was press scrutiny that led to the recent downfall of outspoken anti-war figure, Congressman John Murtha (Dem.-Pa.) in the race for House Majority Whip, using grainy tapes from almost 3 decades ago -- the FBI ABSCAM attempts to bust corrupt politicians. It certainly appears like the so-called 'Washington consensus' was unilaterally opposed to Murtha in the Whip post, for it would have provided the critic with a platform that could not be easily ignored. It was precisely this so-called 'consensus' that lined up to support the Iraq adventure, virtually without a whisper of dissent.
It very well may be the case that these same forces wanted to humble the House Speaker-elect. And yet it was this same alleged 'consensus' (driven, to be sure, by the mad neocons in the White House, the Defense Dept. and the corporate think tanks) that led to this mess.
Consensus, here in the U.S., is actually the agreement of a fairly narrow slice of the American (and sometimes foreign) elite. In the brief but brilliant book, Behind the Invasion of Iraq (N.Y.: Monthly Review Press, 2003) written by the Mumbai, India-based Research Unit for Political Economy, this theme is argued quite strongly:
"Typically apart from legislators and the press, a proliferation of research institutes, semi-governmental bodies, and academic forums circulate proposals voicing the case of one or the other lobby (leaving the administration free to deny that they constitute official policy). These proposals elicit objections from other interests, through similar media; other powerful countries press their interests, directly or indirectly; and the entire discussion, in the light of the strength of the respective interests, helps shape the course of action finally adopted and helps coalesce the various ruling class sections around it. (This process, of course, has nothing to do with democratic debate, since the people are excluded as participants, and are included only as a factor to be taken into account)."
We shouldn't haggle with theory here. One need only recall the unprecedented mass pre-war protests, all around the nation, and abroad. The experts and think tank types decried the ignorance of the masses, but time has proven that the mass demonstrations were right. Now, the Democrats, being seduced by the lobbyists, the media, and the know-it-alls (who might best be called 'the know-nothings') are being persuaded to be bipartisan; to take impeachment off the table; to cool that rap about ending the war.
That, like before, is the recipe for disaster, for it ignores the people who turned out to vote, largely disgusted with Bush's war. People are sick to the soul about Iraq.
If they ignore the public mood, they will, once again, be digging their political graves. For this war, from beginning to now, has been an unholy disaster, causing the deaths of at least a 1/2 million people. That ain't impeachable?
(Copyright 2006 Mumia Abu-Jamal.)
Mumia Abu-Jamal is a Pennsylvania death row prisoner who is a frequent writer and radio commentator. He was falsely convicted in 1982 of killing a police officer in a trial which was rife with police, prosecutorial and judicial misconduct.
[The graphic of Mumia typing in his cell is by Eric Drooker.]