Politics: California Democrats should write in peace

On primary day, one symptom of the dysfunction of the California Left is the free ride given to generally liberal representatives, such as Brad Sherman in the 27th CD, who support the security state. It's not that a peace candidate would be expected to prevail, but that voters should have the opportunity to express their opinions on our militarized foreign policy.

Although, like his Valley colleague Howard Berman, he is too liberal to pledge the fraternity of congressional Blue Dogs (whose past and present members, for context, include the likes of former Richard Nixon aid Walter Minnick, Travis Childers, Heath Shuler, Harold Ford Jr., Kirsten Gillibrand, Gary Condit, GOP converts Parker Griffith, Ralph Hall and Blue Dog-founder now mega-lobbyist Billy Tauzin), on foreign affairs and military issues Sherman's record is practically indistinguishable from other Democratic supporters of the military-industrial complex, such as Jane Harman, who are more frank about their political allegiances. On a press call last week with a right-wing pro-Israel organization he revealed his plan to seek the prosecution of any Americans on board the aid flotilla that attempted to break the Israeli siege of Gaza. Citing the Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act of 1996, Sherman said he’ll ask “the Attorney General to prosecute any American involved in what was clearly an effort to give items of value to a terrorist organization.” Gee, does that apply to U.S.citizens who enlist in the IDF, too?

As they go to the polls today to try to shoot down such corporate-sponsored mischief as Props 16 and 17, liberal voters, especially in precincts represented by dogs, might consider writing in protest votes for persons, such as MLK or Gandhi, identified with non-violence. Only in the 36th CD, where Marcy Winograd is campaigning hard against Jane Harman, does a dog face a serious challenge, but it would be news if other BDs such as Adam Schiff, Jim Costa, Dennis Cardoza, Loretta Sanchez, Joe Baca and Mike Thompson inspired measurable peace tallies. Also, it's worth remembering that so-called progressives like Lynn WoolseyHenry Waxman and others in the Incumbent Self-Protection League went out of their way to endorse Harman over Winograd. As long as the Obama administration and Congressional leadership continue to pursue illegal, ill-conceived and counter-productive actions in Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan, withholding votes from all but the handful of actively anti-war Democrats makes political sense.


Anonymous said...

sherman votes with the other democrats about 96% of the time, he's one of the better voices on bread and butter issues, and he is no warmonger. you're just annoyed that he is a loyal supporter of israel, but he hardly stands out for that. aren't there plenty of real right wingers to worry about? why attack real democrats?

John Gabree said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
John Gabree said...

The Democrats have presided over the Congress for most of the last four decades, so if we have turned into a military-dominated corporatist oligarchy, if we have seen the infrastructure ossify and the education system decline, if we have watched jobs disappear and the manufacturing sector implode, who are we supposed to blame? To say that a congressman votes Democratic 98% of the time is not much of a recommendation. In any event, my post was directed at protesting war and militarization, not replacing Sherman with Robert Greenwald (not that I think that would be a bad idea). In fact, I picked Sherman as an example because he is, as I described him, a "generally liberal" representative, not one of the Blue Dogs that it goes without saying should be challenged in any case. However, the empire is a liberal project that the conservatives are happy to go along with, not the other way around. And it was the Democrats who used the bailout to transfer massive amounts of public wealth to private hands without getting anything back for the people and without introducing meaningful reforms. We don't owe the Democrats allegiance just because the Republicans might be worse -- most days it's hard to see how they could be worse.

A vote for peace is not only a vote to end the wars in progress; it is also a call for a change in the way we are governed and on whose behalf. The voters in the 36th had a real chance to change business as usual; that incumbency prevailed doesn't mean the fight wasn't worth taking on, but the question is what is the next step in the fight. Marcy Winograd has a big decision to make: since it's pretty clear she is not destined to represent the 36th CD, does she give up the fight, like a typical careerist, and take a job with the Obama administration or the Brown campaign? Or does she carry on the fight into the general election, either running as an independent, if that's still an option, or throwing her support to the remaining anti-business-as-usual candidate on the ballot, in this instance the Peace & Freedom nominee? For others in the 36th, the choice is obvious: vote against Harman to protest the war and the security state and politics-as-usual, and give a boost to third party politics in the bargain.

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