Ben Tripp can hear the whine, if not mine then yours, and knows what to do about it. Read his The Whine of the Progressive Voter: Spare Change:
All across America you can hear a high-pitched whining sound. It’s the progressives again. The 2008 presidential election was supposed to be the return of the Authentic Left, the revitalization of a slumbering progressive majority that would transform the United States into an Aquarian paragon. One by one, the progressive candidates, the liberals, the lefties, all dropped out, ignored by the press. The last to go was John Edwards, who is about as liberal as the bowler hat-but at least he’s not a Stetson. The poor fellow found himself unable to get a moment’s media time, than which nothing else matters. So he folded up his platform and went home. Who is left to vote for? Who shall we choose to lead our metamorphosis from 19th century feudal empire throwback into golden land of love and renewal?
((In short, nobody, and yet in contrast to wise Hair Club for Men, Tripp concludes by urging us to vote anyway.))
. . . just vote, even though there’s nobody worth voting for and your vote won’t count? Everybody knows you don’t end a piece like this on a down-note. It’s not the done thing. You have to offer a promise of hope and suggest something people can do to make a difference, otherwise it’s all just complaints and impotent ranting. So here’s my sage advice as a devoted liberal progressive type. Given that the race is down to a bunch of Mussolini impersonators on the Republican side and Hilary Clinton and Barack Obama on the Democratic side, realistically, what can we as progressives do besides whine?
But hey, screw Tripp and his sold-out, whining, ‘whatever’ pro-voting screedism. Instead, vote for substance, though the only substantive distinction the wonkish Paul Krugman finds in BamaHill is their position on health care ‘mandates’:
You see, the Obama campaign has demonized the idea of mandates — most recently in a scare-tactics mailer sent to voters that bears a striking resemblance to the “Harry and Louise” ads run by the insurance lobby in 1993, ads that helped undermine our last chance at getting universal health care.
If Mr. Obama gets to the White House and tries to achieve universal coverage, he’ll find that it can’t be done without mandates — but if he tries to institute mandates, the enemies of reform will use his own words against him.
If you combine the economic analysis with these political realities, here’s what I think it says: If Mrs. Clinton gets the Democratic nomination, there is some chance — nobody knows how big — that we’ll get universal health care in the next administration. If Mr. Obama gets the nomination, it just won’t happen.
Finally, and last but ironically most important, KNOW WHO YOU’RE [not] VOTING FOR. Read On eve of “Super Tuesday” primaries, Wall Street casts the money ballot, from the notorious wsws.org (gee, did fairleft go a little overboard on the bold crap or what?):
The two remaining Democrats in the presidential race, senators Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama, raised, respectively, $106.1 million and $102.1 million for all of 2007. In the last quarter, Clinton raised $27.3 million while Obama took in $23.5 million. . . .
Among the most important sources of campaign cash for both parties is Wall Street. Employees of the major investment banks and finance houses shelled out over $34 million to presidential candidates last year. Clinton and Obama each raised more than $5 million from the financial industry as a whole. Romney took in $4 million, while McCain trailed with $2 million.
An analysis of the FEC filings done by the McClatchy news agency surveyed 12 major Wall Street firms, including Goldman Sachs, Merrill Lynch, Citigroup, Lehman Brothers, Morgan Stanley and the Swiss-owned UBS, comparing their contributions to the two front-running Democrats and top two Republicans in the course of last year. It found that that finance capital was tilted heavily towards the Democrats in the current election campaign.
According to McClatchy, Clinton received $2 million in donations from the 12 firms’ employees in 2007. Those at Morgan Stanley donated $373,020, Goldman Sachs accounted for $316,001, and Citicorp, $290,000. . . .
For his part, Obama pulled in a total of $1.7 million from the same finance houses, which included $288,835 from Goldman Sachs, $242,395 from UBS and $226,805 from Lehman Brothers. . . .
A similar breakdown was seen at Wall Street hedge funds and private equity firms, which cater largely to the top layers of America’s financial oligarchy. The Center for Responsive Politics (CRP) (www.opensecrets.org), a non-profit group that tracks campaign funding, reported that these firms had contributed a total of $3.6 million in the course of 2007. Hillary Clinton placed first with this section of Wall Street, netting $1.3 million, while Obama came in second with $1 million. . . .
Under conditions in which the major financial firms and investment banks have been forced to write off tens of billions of dollars in assets in recent months and are facing increasing scrutiny–including potential criminal probes–into their role in the subprime mortgage debacle, these layers clearly see the Democrats as reliable guarantors of their interests.
Since the Democrats took over the leadership of both houses of Congress in 2006, they have proven their usefulness to Wall Street. Last August, the party’s leadership succeeded in burying a proposal to impose the normal rate of taxation on the massive incomes of hedge fund operators. These multi-millionaires and billionaires enjoy a loophole allowing them to claim the bulk of their income as capital gains, which are taxed at a flat rate well below income tax rates. Moreover, neither of the Democratic front-runners has put forward any proposals in regard to the subprime meltdown that would infringe on Wall Streets interests.
The other major sources of large, bundled contributions are law firms and lobbyists. Together with the finance houses, they account for 46 percent of all large contributions–considered to be $200 or higher.
According to the CRP analysis, law firms, which frequently function as lobbyists for major corporate interests in the political arena, donated nearly $27 million in 2007. Of this money, Democratic candidates received nearly 80 percent. Clinton got $11,756,493 from the legal industry, while Obama received $9,521,441. . . .
In terms of contributions from lobbyists, Clinton also enjoyed a clear lead, with $823,087, nearly twice the amount received by her runner-up, Republican McCain. . . . Obama, who has claimed that his campaign rejects any contributions from lobbyists, still reported $86,283 in contributions from employees of lobbying firms.
The Democrats also enjoyed a clear lead in contributions from the health care and pharmaceutical industries, which clearly see the policies of Clinton and Obama–whatever their campaign promises of health care reform–as supportive of the huge profits garnered by this sector.
From the pharmaceutical industry, Clinton received the most money– $349,270–with Obama close behind– $337,525. . . .
The only major sector that directed the bulk of its contributions to the Republicans was oil and gas, which gave nearly 65 percent of $1,138,764 to Republican candidates. . . .