David Mamet’s convoluted op ed in the LA Times makes the valid point that the Democratic Party is not only cowardly, but unlikely to benefit from its cowardice. But I think that the point is undermined by the assumption that, given different circumstances, we would have a different Democratic party, boldly bringing us peace and universal health care.

In LI’s opinion, this confusion of the Democratic Party with liberalism has no warrant. A far better way of examining both the Democratic and Republican parties is to view them as two factions of one Court – Court in the royal, Byzantine sense….

[The Republican and Democratic parties] are parts of one thing, which I would call D.C. D.C. is concerned, above all other things, to service the industrial/service network through which politicians wash. That network has done well from the war, protects the caste system of health care in this country as one of the bigger moneymakers of all times, and is only really vivified by the idea of taking away some freedom from the average citizen in the name of morality or good nutrition. And we all know that steroids as used by ball players are much more interesting to Congress than who failed to help poor folks during Katrina.

Mamet’s notion that the Dems were all secretly against the Iraq war has to be the explanation for the persistent faith of anti-war proggish people in such party luminaries as Wesley Clark, whose doddering notions about remaining in Iraq until we are truly defeated there in 2020 are somehow read as withering critiques of the War. If you are really looking for a military general to get us out of Iraq, go for Colin Powell. If Hilary Clinton, by some quirk of fate, had been elected president in 2000, I am not confident that we wouldn’t be occupying Iraq right now. If Powell had been elected, I am pretty confident we would not be occupying Iraq right now. This isn’t to argue that Powell is a progressive. One has merely to look at his son’s rule at the F.C.C. to see what the father is about – Michael Powell’s rightwing deregulatory agenda was the most radical thing to be put in place in the D.C. sphere since, say, Clinton’s Commerce department was in town. Colin Powell is merely on that end of the D.C. Supreme Soviet that is more cautious about committing American troops…..

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