Tuesday, January 30, 2007

DKos diary, 1/30/07 The Southern Insurgents: Jim Webb, Wes Clark, John Edwards

Let’s hope that the U.S. supported Iraqi army is not just going ahead now and blasting away everyone in sight, so’s to build the body count as per Vietnam to make it look like we’re winning. Hard to say with the growing lack of foreign correspondents outside of the Green Zone. The plan now seems to be to make Baghdad look like a real city long enough for a photo op and call it liberated. But the lack of real foreign correspondents has a bright side – the employment of local Iraqi amateurs is making it possible to see what is really going on.

An AP photo today shows five Iraqi “troops” arresting a suspect, each in varied degree of uniform. The one on the left doesn’t have his boots tied and he is too fat to be in any regular army. He is either growing a beard (do they have that?) or forgot to shave this month. But he does seem to have the proper hat to go with the rest of the uniform although it is too small and sits on top of his head. Two of the others have different hats – apparently their own hats as there is no military suggestion to them (one looks like a ski mask like IRA terrorists wear to hide their faces) - and one is only dressed in uniform on the bottom. On top he is wearing his own clothes. The ones who have uniform shirts have their sleeves rolled up at the wrist – one size fits all (Pentagon yard sale, no?). They seem to be carrying Russian-made Kalashnikov AK-47s instead of American weapons – good for local economy. And they are all wearing different shoes and boots. Perhaps the fat one got the regular issue boots because he appears to suffer from duck-footism. I think he might need a little more training. He looks like he has never held a weapon in his hands before and he is pointing it at his fellow soldier’s head. The one who seems to be in charge, who has a nice uniform and is wearing a folkloric Arab headdress, seems to be stomping on the suspect’s knee: Old School.

I’m sure the see-no-evil Congress will keep an eye on this as soon the distraction of Senate hearings on Lt. Gen. David Petraeus, who the press is now calling a Warrior-Scholar, have passed. A phrase incidentally, MSM picked up from the web where it was used to indicate a kind of integrity, an innate spirit and a zen focus on task at hand – heart, we say, when it is found in a magnificent and gifted beast like Barbaro – not the fact that he has a degree from Princeton. So does Donald Rumsfeld.

Commenting on the hearings, David Broder of The Washington Post writes that senators of both parties recognized the value of probing this experienced and candid witness. With one exception. . . . Senator Clinton of New York used her time to make a speech about Iraq policy and did not ask a single question of the man who will be leading the military campaign.

But I’m feeling good about all this because I think we are seeing the end of it. Perhaps our collective failure has finally reached its fullest proposition

We crossed a river in this country on Tuesday night with Jim Webb’s rebuttal of the President’s State of the Union. Jim Webb is Pathfinder to a new political country. His speech was very possibly the first important event in the new century.

I’ve actually been feeling it longer than that. When I first listened to one of Jim Webb’s speeches last Spring I wrote that he is possibly the most effective public speaker since Malcolm X. What I meant was that he had a friendly and engaging quality to his conversation and an earthy Southern appeal to common people, but at the same time he could scare the pants of you.

He scared them the other night. It is the first time Wall Street suits heard themselves called Robber Barons by a prominent Senator since the days of Teddy Roosevelt, Poncho Villa and Woody Guthrie.

This weekend, TocqueDeville, a prominent blogger and critic, perfectly expressed the sea change we are experiencing on DKos.

Said TocqueDeville: “I've argued for some time that the real bias in the media is not left or right per say. It is pro Wall Street. And never has this bias been more transparent than with the coverage of Jim Webb's response to the State of the Union address.

“My interest in the way the establishment media would react to Webb's speech began somewhere around the time he said "fairly" in the same sentence with "globalization" and "international marketplace." By the time he got to "robber barons" and "corporate influence,” I was speechlessly stumbling for my laptop.

“You see, there are just some things one does not say in proper company. Much less in a national address. And Jim Webb said a few of them.”

I would like to add that this Wall Street influence is a conditioning that most Americans themselves are constantly "programmed into" - a subtlety that they are acclimated to and not fully aware of, but likewise, this is only a skin (and an inauthentic one) which can and will fall away quickly and from which a new self can (and will) awaken.

What Webb brings forth is something which is underneath - something which is there already; something which has always been there, but something the Dems left behind 25 years ago. TocqueDeville quotes one of Webb’s advisers on the substance of this insurgency: “Recently, to explain the devotion and commitment working class Americans once had to the Democratic Party, Mudcat Saunders described how in the old days, people had two photographs on their living room wall: Jesus and Franklin D. Roosevelt.”

Jim Webb is bringing the Democrats to a new country. And it is increasingly clear now even to the head-in-the-sand corporate media and its bastard child, the info-entertainment industry, that there is a division now in the Democratic Party. There are the upscale Globalists who married into the concept mid-term into Reagan’s regime, and there are now the new economic populists. Webb leads the charge, but John Edwards and Wesley Clark are both beginning to speak the same language. Last week Clark was speaking Union to a church-basement crowd in Montgomery, AL; a crowd as far from Wall St. as one could imagine. I would like to see Senators Clinton, Dodd, Biden and Obama address these NASCAR Moms on the same topic.

It is hard not to notice that the new insurgents, Webb, Edwards and Clark, are all proudly Southern. And to the reality-based, this should come as no surprise, for everything of consequence that has happened in this country since Eisenhower, - from Elvis to Oprah with Little Richard, Pat Robertson, Jimmy Johnson, Tammy Faye Baker and the Intimidating #3 in the Big Black Car in between - has risen from the South. The demographics on economy and population demand it. And as Newt Gingrich once pointed out, the rise of his own movement 20 years back depended on the New York delusion that they still ran things. They are still reality impaired: These Democrats show who and what they are as they constantly seek the photo op with the Conspicuously Rich and Ostentatious, such as Virgin Atlantic Airways’ Richard Branson, Mick Jagger and Bill Gates.

But things are beginning to change quickly. Even mainstream press has begun to look at Democratic front-runner Senator Clinton, darling of the DLC crowd, and find her leadership abilities to be less than sterling. On Sunday, Frank Rich of the NYTs calls her mission “unaccomplished.” He writes: “Mrs. Clinton has always been a follower of public opinion on the war, not a leader.”

Harvard’s John Kenneth Galbraith warned Democrats about becoming the Party of the Very Rich in his 1992 book, “The Culture of Contentment” but he was ignored (and even despised) by the new group that had come to power in the Democratic Party which featured most prominently Bill Clinton, Hillary Clinton and Al Gore. Still they send forth their candidate to the Presidential Election today. But the season has changed. It changed on Tuesday night.

Virginia has just crossed the psychological river sooner than the rest of us. Here in the mountains of northern New Hampshire we are lucky to have the occasional voice of Haviland Smith, a retired CIA station chief, giving his opinion in our local paper. Like Clark and Jim Webb, Smith opposed the invasion of Iraq from the start. He says this week in The Valley News: "Those Democratic members of Congress who fell for the Bush rationalization for the Iraq invasion and voted to enable it are, quite frankly, morally and politically compromised on this issue. Except for those few who have repudiated their own votes, they have lost their standing and credibility."

The Democrats are still in a state of denial RE the leadership failure they have been experiencing in this country over the last 25 years, particularly since Democrats lost the House and Senate and the will of the country in the mid-90s, giving an easy ride to the most egregious group of radicals ever to disgrace the Oval Office & its sacred space. Some Dems today want to go back to the '90s, some to the '60s, some to the '50s.

But there is no going back. There is only the trail ahead. When we fully face the Iraq crisis, the economic crisis and the leadership crisis we will press on Jim Webb, John Edwards, Wesley Clark and other Southern Insurgents which are sure to follow.


Anonymous said...

i noticed you are a woody guthrie fan - check out the klezmatics "wonder wheel" (lyrics by woody guthrie) - its new material - put to eastern european folk music - grammy nominated!


Dick Mulliken said...

Found you on Kos. Kindred spirit. I'm convinced your Southern Insurgents are the vanguard of the Democratic Party. Love your comment about Webb and Brother Malcolm!