The Future of the Democratic Party, IV: Bush, Bennett, Miers, and the DLC

Column No. 82 By Steven Jonas, MD, MPH -  October 27, 2005

In this week’s column I return to a consideration of specific political issues that I believe are central to the development of the Democratic Party as a true opposition and governing alternative to the Georgite juggernaut.   Bush and Iraq.  The Miers nomination.  Bennett on race, abortion and crime.  I then briefly consider what one of the major DLC spokespersons considers to be important at this time.

On October 6 President gave a speech in which he announced a brand new major justification for his War on Iraq, his fourth.  (The first three principal ones were, you will recall, the Weapons of Mass Destruction, the Saddam-bin Laden link, and “bringing peace, freedom and democracy” to the country.)  The latest is that the “enemies of America seek to create a radical Islamic ‘totalitarian Empire that spans from Spain to Indonesia’ bent on enslaving nations and intimidating the world” (C. Gordon, Newsday, Oct. 7, 2005).  Want a holy war?  You’ve got one.  Want data-free policy-making?  You’ve got it.  (If there is indeed some pan-Islamic organization or government bent on enslaving the world, they sure have been quiet about it.) Want an example of lethal, global, psychological projection? You’ve got one.  Can’t get much more totalitarian than Bush’s Christian Rightist base that right here in River City wants to substitute theocracy for Constitutional Democracy.  (Yes, Sen. Brownback of Kansas is considering a run for the Republican nomination in 2008 on a platform of “opposition to abortion and support for God in public life” [DD Kirkpatrick, “Kansas Senator Makes Faith the Bedrock of Campaign,” New York Times, 10/14/05].) And Bush says, THEY, the “Isamicists,” want to do it to US (when it is really some of us, the Christian Right, who want to do it to us).  The Collaborationist-DLC, which takes the position that the only thing wrong with Bush’s War is that he isn’t doing it right, would be hard pressed to attack Bush on that one I should think.

Let’s move on to the Miers nomination, on which the DLCers have been pretty quiet, except for noting that she might, “might” mind you, not be qualified.  (At the rate she is going of course, by the time this column, written on 10/20/05, appears, her nomination may be a thing of the past.) Allen L. Roland (10/5/2005, great website, was one of the very the first to point out that a primary reason for this nomination is that Bush wants to have a personal lawyer on the bench when the matter of Executive Privilege comes up in the Plamegate, White House crime (Savafian), and Congressional-White-House-linked corruption indictments (that is if there are indictments from Fitzgerald, about which, as of Oct. 20, I still had my doubts).

There are three other possible reasons for the Miers nomination (other than Bush’s stated reason: she is the “most qualified” of all the candidates he considered). First is a "bait and switch" maneuver on the Democrats.  Nominate someone who the Far Right of his own party won't support.  Enough of them will then join with enough Democrats voting on either "she is unqualified by experience" and/or "she won't tell us what she about" and/or she is not openly a member of the Republican Religious Right (RRR) grounds to deny her confirmation.  Then Bush will nominate an open RR Rightist, but one over whom not enough Democrats will support a filibuster.  That person, say Janice Rogers Brown or Patricia Owen, will be confirmed.  The third possible reason for the Miers nomination is that she is indeed a closet rightist.  The White House has apparently privately assured leading theocrats like James Dobson that this is the case.  However, in this formulation the Dems would be lulled into supporting her just because certain members of the RRR, like Brownback, seem to be so openly against her.  Rove, even under a cloud (which may well prove to be temporary) is very inventive.

Finally on this week’s “what the Democrats ought to consider and respond to” agenda, there is the matter of Bill Bennett and his “let’s abort all black babies to reduce crime” statement.  To be fair to Bennett, that quote was taken out of context.  In the next sentence of the radio commentary in which he made it he termed it an “impossible, ridiculous, and morally reprehensible thing to do,” at the same time allowing that the “crime rate would go down” (“Going on the Offensive,” Newsday, Oct. 1, 2005).  Bennett has been roundly attacked as racist and hyper-hypocritical (on the matter of abortion), as he should be.  But there are a few broader points about the kind of thinking this leading Republican ideologue represents that should be considered.

First, one has to give Bennett credit.  For while he did not go into any detail about how his plan would work in practice, since he mentioned it at all he has obviously thought through the matter of exactly how one would define “black” in such circumstances.  This is a problem that haunted the authors of the mid-nineties right-wing tome The Bell Curve.  Their thesis that “blacks” were by nature intellectually inferior to whites fell afoul of their total lack of definition of the term in a book of several hundreds of pages, before one even got to their totally inept and unscientific methodology.  But Dr. Bennett is nothing else if not intelligent, as least he is so reputed to be.  Obviously he must have worked out some kind of system.

It presumably uses some kind of rating of skin color. Otherwise he would not have used the term “black,” although he must have been using that term generically, for few African-Americans actually have skin of a black color, for reasons that are well-known.  Also, he obviously must have come up with some kind of exemption system, for surely he would not want to eliminate the possibility of in the future the Republican Religious Right having in its pocket such luminaries as Clarence Thomas and Janice Rogers Brown (he of a darker hue and she of a medium one, one must note).  So, good on Dr. Bennett for solving that one.

Second is the absence of facts in his presentation.  If social class-adjustment is applied, there is no evidence that the black crime rate is any higher than the white crime rate.  The black conviction and incarceration rate is much higher primarily because of the racist nature of the so-called “Drug War” that Bennett himself did so much to aggressively promote when he was the first Bush’s “drug czar.”  (It happens that 75% of drug use is among whites while 75% of persons incarcerated for drug-related offenses are black.)  So, drug-related crime for which persons are incarcerated would indeed go down if the population was reduced in size by eliminating blacks but no other forms of crime would.

Third, the Republican Religious Right, of which Bennett is a principal leader, defines abortion as murder.  I will not deal with his (and their) hypocrisy in the extreme.  Many others have, very effectively.  Perhaps even more importantly it should be noted that Bennett publicly considers killing as a way to problem-solve. In Germany of the 1930s, the first policy for dealing with “undesirables,” whether they were homosexuals, or Jews, or “mental defectives,” was simply to remove them the general society.  The killing solutions came later, after they had been under development for some time.

Finally, if killing certain members of society is a way to solve problems, even if at first the idea is rejected (and it was at first rejected in Nazi Germany) I wonder what the former tobacco-addict William Bennett (ironically he was heavy cigarette-smoker when he was the drug czar) would think about aborting the fetuses of smokers as a way to deal with the highly addictive substance responsible for close to 25% of American deaths annually.  I wonder what the overweight William Bennett would think of solving the obesity epidemic, which starts in childhood and in many cases is related to the overweight of parents, by aborting fetuses of the obese.  I wonder what the well-known compulsive gambler William Bennett would think of solving the gambling problem (so beloved by states that don’t want to tax those persons who can afford to pay taxes, but hated on religious-doctrine grounds by major elements of the Georgite base) by aborting the fetuses of known gamblers.

Hey, what’s good for the goose, is good for the gambler, I mean gander.  But I am much more concerned with the necessary Democratic Party response to Bennett than I am with the details of his thinking.  I don’t think that anytime soon the Collaborationist-DLC is going to be going on the attack on any of these issues.  They are too busy attacking progressive Democrats for promoting civil rights, civil liberties, defense of Constitutional rights, and a US withdrawal from Iraq. I guess that they just don’t have time to deal with the essence of Georgitism, as represented by the examples on these pages.

Guess what that leading DLC spokesperson mentioned at the outset, none other than Sen. Hillary Clinton, was featuring in her email message of Oct. 19, 2005 (; “  “Hillary is working to increase the supply of vaccine to help meet the dangers of a worldwide flu epidemic and avian flu outbreak.”  ‘Nuff said.