This is No Time for Temper Tantrums!

 Arianna Huffington: A leader of the pack


Are Leftist Ideologues Unwitting Allies of the Tea Party?

The more I listen to the shrieking voices of discontent on the left, white and black, the more I am persuaded that if the unthinkable happens, the ultimate disaster, a Republican takeover of the entire government: the left will be as much to blame as the Tea Party.  It matters not that the Tea Party is coming from the right of the political continuum and they are on the left; in the end it will be a distinction without a difference!   Instead of aiming their invective at the Grand Obstructionist Party – from whom all our problems flow – which daily expresses their disdain for the working class and displays open contempt for the public interests, the Left is having a collective temper tantrum and aiming their irrational attacks at President Obama. 

Yet among the people who are likely to become the next President of the United States Barack Obama is the only friend of the working class!  Thus I am puzzled by the muddled thinking and self-righteous posturing of so many luminaries of the liberal left.  What is most perplexing is that they claim to be speaking for the working class, yet the actual leaders of the working class – the great unions – unambiguously support the President.  They know who saved the last of the great American manufacturing base; and they know best who their friends and enemies are.

Hence as I listen to the arrogance and rage of the bourgeois poseurs, most of whom have never done a hard day’s physical labor in their life, I am once again reminded of the old Ibo Proverb: “Beware of the stranger who comes to the funeral and cries louder than the bereaved family.”  The middle class intelligentsia and wealthy “radicals,” for whom just taking an intellectual stance is the same thing as real struggle, cannot define the goals and agenda for the working class.  After all, when they are wrong – such as in their decision to support Ralph Nader and thus helped elect George Bush- it just supplies them with more dramatic issues to explicate in writings and lectures for handsome fees. But it results in devastation and death for the working class.  Yet the verbose, left leaning, petite bourgeoisie refuses to learn from their errors and thus honestly calculate its cost.

Take Arianna Huffington for instance.  By virtue of her wealth she has become a major commentator and opinion maker of the liberal left establishment through the vehicle of the Huffington Post, her online news magazine – which as I write is the subject of criticism for exploiting writers by publishing their work without compensation.  Ms. Huffington’s confused tirade against the President, masquerading as thoughtful and informed commentary on MSNBC, is characteristic of the self-defeating prattle that has become common fare among ideologues on the liberal/left.  To hear her tell it, President Obama’s compromise with the Republicans on the debt ceiling is inexplicable.  Nowhere in the conversation with the erudite and politically savvy Lawrence O’Donnell, does Ms. Huffington make any attempt to explain the complex issues the President had to consider in making that decision. 

If she had it would have required Ms. Huffington to explain in some detail what policy options Barack should have pursued instead.  In the face of the reduction of America’s credit rating by Standard and Poor’s, which specifically cited the increasingly dysfunctional relationships between the various sectors of our government, how can any sane person concerned with the stability of our country suggest that the President should have risked a default by the treasury.  

Politics is the art of the possible!  In a divided government this means the parties must compromise in order to get anything done.  If zealots on both sides consider compromise to be a synonym for treason, nothing will get done and we end up with gridlock.  It would have been inexcusable for President Obama to allow our government to default. Like most thoughtful Americans, I didn’t like the deal, but unlike many of my comrades on the left, I am convinced the alternatives would be far worse!

 Default would have been an unmitigated disaster!  While most of the Obama bashers on the left glibly say the President could have by-passed Congress and raised the debt ceiling on his own by invoking section IV of the 14th Amendment,  all the constitutional scholars I have heard address the subject say that the 14th Amendment option could not have been invoked until after our government defaulted!  And then it is fairly certain that the Tea Party controlled House would have filed articles of impeachment against the President.  All of this would have created conditions that could literally kill some Americans; who are barely hanging on as it is.  We saw this during the height of the recent recession, when the stress brought on by economic desperation caused a dramatic increase in mental illness, heart attacks and the suicide rate.  A Republican takeover of the total government would certainly increase such malignant maladies. 

It is dangerous foolishness to pretend that the President should have chanced default, especially since many Republicans said they were prepared to push the nation over the falls if they didn’t get their way.  What is obvious, although most of the left refuses to admit it, is that an ignorant racist electorate must take responsibility for what has happened. It is they who gave the People’s House back to the fanatics in the Grand Obstructionist Party, only two years after they wrecked the economy and got us involved in a war of choice that has cost more than it would cost to rebuild the entire American infrastructure and put millions to work. 

One need only listen to the statements from leading Republican candidates for President regarding the reduction of our government’s credit rating in order to see that they are clueless ideologues who will complete the wreckage of the economy should they gain power!  Hence sitting on the sidelines pouting again, in a repeat of the midterm fiasco, is the very definition of Political Folly as the two time Pulitzer Prize winning historian Barbara Tuchman defines it in her seminal treatise “The March of Folly.”  

 Thus I say to Ms. Huffington, and all the bourgeois poseurs for whom a leftist stance is but the latest expression of “Radical Chic,” an 18th century French intellectual fashion au courant among the decadent and confused bourgeois: The only way forward is to take back the People’s House from the Grand Obstruction Party; elect a 60 seat majority for the Democrats in the Senate, and reelect President Obama!  Otherwise the left will end up like Jack the Bear: Making tracks but getting nowhere!!!!!




Playthell Benjamin

Harlem, New York

August 6, 2011

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