Defend my Inquirer letter published Dec 4th
Good morning Marc,
I appreciate your letter. I don’t quite understand why my criticisms have come across as unfair or outrageous. I don’t believe money in politics is a side issue. Biden’s been a politician for a while and has a thick enough skin to take criticism (unlike his predecessor). That said, I hope our national conversations about presidential policies can aim at a return to an understanding that when we criticize a President, their choices, their actions, that doing so can be taken as political criticisms, and not personal attacks.
I may not have made clear that I definitely don’t see every pick as a bad pick, but there are some troubling facts about SOME of his picks, and if I glossed over that positivity too quickly, the error is mine.
To that point, I did say that the diversity of his picks is important. I only had 150 words, so I left it at that. It could/should have said the diversity of his picks is very important. It’s undoubtedly overdue for Americans to continually see the faces of more women, and people of color in positions of authority if our racial perceptions are going to begin changing. If Black Lives are going to start to Matter in our society, we all need to see black and brown faces making historic decisions.
Further, I agree with you that Kerry is a good pick. I quoted Kerry and I expound on which nominations concern me in my follow-up blog. Kerry rightly says: “To end this crisis, the whole world must come together. (Biden is) right to rejoin Paris on day one. And you’re right to recognize that Paris alone is not enough.”
Before I address the rest, I’ll share a piece that I wrote on my blog which I wrote to progressives and Green Party voters weeks before the election. In that piece I argue Biden is Progressives’ and Greens’ Only Choice in 2020. To me there was no reason to vote for Stein in 2016, and it was imperative that Biden won this election by a lot.
To my first point about my criticisms being political rather than personal, my goal is not to sew division on the left. My goal in writing is to make the most compelling case I’m able to make that the Democratic Party can not survive or ever hope to thrive (i.e. to win successive elections and actually accomplish half of what Trump has) without being for working class people. The “I’m not Trump” argument was refuted by down-ballot losses in congress and at the state level across the country.
Obama sold us “Hope and Change,” yet his tenure, in my view, was stifled by centrism in the Democratic Party. He was unable to accomplish a public option because of the influence that Pharma and HMO lobbyists exerted over legislators that should have made a public option happen. Lobbyists used every ounce of influence they had over Democrats while they briefly had a supermajority. And here we are in a public health crisis with millions of folks who are unemployed and suddenly uninsured.
Obama begged his supermajority to overturn Citizens United. They didn’t accomplish that. That failure led to billions of unaccountable dollars controlling our elections and paved the way for normalizing Tea Party values. That failure to end Citizens United did more for Trump than Jill Stein’s candidacy ever could have, so let’s give credit where credit’s due.
One of the primary reasons I mention Biden’s Comcast and lobbyist fund-raiser is that he chose to begin his campaign with that event. He began by meeting with lobbyists at a $2,800/plate dinner the day after he announced his candidacy. The timing wasn’t by happenstance, that was a declaration of allegiance to business as usual. Not to mention that Comcast was one of the biggest antagonists to Net Neutrality, one of Obama’s biggest regulatory achievements.
I think your criticisms of my letter are couched in a perception that progressive voices are not valid. Your dismissal of my environmental concerns is the typical “we can’t do that-ism” that leaves the left in a constant state of conceding on issues that ought to be our core values.
Finally, there is nothing outrageous about me raising my voice to demand that Democrats realize we can’t afford to take the next 4 years begging for a return to the “normal” policies that have left out millions of people of color. There is nothing outrageous about demanding that we aim higher than returning to policies that have perpetually increased economic inequality. There is nothing unfair about raising the alarms about the role of corporate money in politics when the last estimate has this 2020 presidential election costing in excess of $11 billion.
I think your outrage is misplaced.
Email regarding my published letter. Writer’s name is Marc,
As a life-long Democratic, who moved here from Berkeley, Calif, no less, I understand the frustration with “conventional” politics and the urge to make fundamental changes to society.
But I have also seen Democrats repeatedly make the perfect the enemy of the good. Al Gore was probably the planet’s last chance to avoid the worst consequences of climate change, but too many Democrats refused to hold their noses and voted for Ralph Nader instead. How many voted for Jill Stein because it was beneath them to vote for Hillary? So instead we got W and Trump.
By attacking Biden before he has even stepped into office is utterly unfair to him. To mention David Cohen and suggest Biden will devote his presidency to satisfying his donors is worse than unfair.
Hasn’t this country suffered enough in the past 4 years? Can’t you even give Joe Biden a few months to show what his agenda is before you start tearing him down??
I question whether you even know what Biden’s agenda is. I heard Kerry interviewed in October (I think) on Living on Earth (loe.org) and was very impressed with his representation of Biden’s environmental plans. Then Biden made Kerry the environmental czar (or whatever his title is). On the environment alone the contrast with Trump is overwhelming.
No, Biden is not a 60’s hippie who wants to abolish the internal combustion engine on Jan. 21. But it is outrageous for you to say that he is a sell-out to his biggest donors.