HomeArticleNeera Tanden And Bill Kristol Agree That Populism Undermines Democracy

Neera Tanden And Bill Kristol Agree That Populism Undermines Democracy

If there’s one thing that brings a tear to my eye, it’s the inspiration I feel when watching Republican-aligned neoconservatives and Democrat-aligned neoconservatives find a way to bridge their almost nonexistent differences and come together to discuss the many, many, many, many, many, many many many things they have in common.

In a conference at the Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy, “Resistance” leader and professional left-puncher Neera Tanden met with Iraq-raping neocon Bill Kristol to discuss bipartisanship and shared values. While leprechauns held hands and danced beneath candy rainbows and gumdrop Reaper drones, the duo engaged in a friendly, playful conversation with the event’s host in a debate format which was not unlike watching the Pillsbury Doughboy have a pillow fight with himself in a padded room after drinking a bottle of NyQuil.

To get the event started, the host whose name I refuse to learn asked the pair to discuss briefly what common ground such wildly different people could possibly share to make such a strange taboo-shattering dialogue possible.

“Issues around national security and believing in democratic principles as they relate to foreign policy,” replied Tanden. “And opposing authoritarianism, and opposing the kind of creeping populism that undermines democracy itself.”

Neera Tanden, in case you are unaware, is a longtime Clinton and Obama insider and CEO of the plutocrat-backed think tank Center for American Progress. Her emails featured prominently in the 2016 Podesta drops by WikiLeaks, which New Republic described as revealing “a pattern of freezing out those who don’t toe the line, a disturbing predilection for someone who is a kind of gatekeeper for what ideas are acceptable in Democratic politics.” Any quick glance at Tanden’s political activism and Twitter presence will render this unsurprising, as she often seems more concerned with attacking the Green Party and noncompliant progressive Democrats than she does with advancing progressive values. Her entire life is dedicated to keeping what passes for America’s political left out of the hands of the American populace.

Kristol co-signed Tanden’s anti-populist rhetoric and her open endorsement of neoconservative foreign policy, and went on to say that another thing he and Tanden have in common is that they’ve both served in government, which makes you realize that nothing’s black and white and everything’s kinda nebulous and amorphous so it doesn’t really matter if you, say for example, help deceive your country into a horrific blunder that ends up killing a whole lot of people for no good reason.

“I do think if you’ve served in government -this isn’t universally true but somewhat true- that you do have somewhat more of a sense of the complexity of things, and many of its decisions are not black and white, that in public policy there are plusses and minuses to most policies,” Kristol said. “There are authentic disagreements both about values, but also just about how certain things are gonna work or not work… and that is what adds a kind of humility to one’s belief that one is kind of always right about everything.”

I found this very funny coming from the man who is notoriously always wrong about everything, and I’d like to point out that “complexity” is a key talking point that the neoconservatives who’ve been consistently proven completely wrong about everything are fond of repeating. Everything’s complicated and nothing’s really known and it’s all a big blurry mess so maybe butchering a million Iraqis and destabilizing the Middle East was a good thing. Check out this short clip of John Bolton being confronted by Tucker Carlson about what a spectacular error the Iraq invasion was for a great example of this:

I listened to the whole conference, but it was basically one long smear of amicable politeness which was the verbal equivalent of the color beige, so I had difficulty tuning in. Both Tanden and Kristol hate the far left (or as those of us outside the US pronounce it, “the center”), both Tanden and Kristol hate Trump, and hey maybe Americans have a lot more in common than they think and everyone can come together and together together togetherness blah blah. At one point Kristol said something about disagreeing with internet censorship, which was weird because his Weekly Standard actively participates in Facebook censorship as one of its authorized “fact checkers”.

The buzzword “bipartisan” gets used a lot in US politics because it gives the illusion that whatever agenda it’s being applied to must have some deep universal truth to it for such wildly divergent ideologies to set aside their differences in order to advance it, but what it usually means is Democrat neocons and Republican neocons working together to inflict new horrors upon the world. America’s two mainstream political parties agree furiously with one another on war, neoliberalism, Orwellian surveillance, and every other agenda which increases the power and profit of the plutocratic class which owns them both. The plutocrat-owned mass media plays up the differences between Democrats and Republicans to hysterical proportions, when in reality the debate over which one is worse is like arguing over whether a serial killer’s arms or legs are more evil.

Neera Tanden and Bill Kristol are the same fucking person. They’re both toxic limbs on the same toxic beast, feeding the lives of ordinary people at home and abroad into its gaping mouth in service of the powerful. And populism, which is nothing other than support for the protection of common folk from the powerful, is the only antidote to such toxins. Saying populism undermines democracy is like saying democracy undermines democracy.


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Latest comments

  • Bolton, is clearly physiologically challenged! The other two are brainless and dangerous idiots!

  • Congrats on your success in getting so many lefties to eat this stuff up. You’ve fulfilled your role of helping fracture the left and keeping ’em from voting, good job! The reality: “Populism” IN PRACTICE is far from that definition neatly copied from wikipedia. In reality, the GUISE of populism is used to carry forth OTHER agendas, and in our current environment that’s a far-right agenda counter to the working class and designed solely to empower and enrich global oligarchs, the true “elite.” This Article from the Atlantic may help, as it describes why populism “only speaks to a very small part of a political agenda.” https://www.theatlantic.com/international/archive/2017/02/what-is-populist-trump/516525/

  • “Populism” IN PRACTICE is far from that definition neatly copies from the wikipedia. In reality, the GUISE of populism is used to carry forth OTHER agendas, and in our current environment that’s a far-right agenda counter to the working class and designed solely to empower and enrich global oligarchs, the true “elite.” This Article from the Atlantic may help, as it describes why populism “only speaks to a very small part of a political agenda.” https://www.theatlantic.com/international/archive/2017/02/what-is-populist-trump/516525/

  • so CJ,

    If populism is what we support, how do digest the engagement of Evangelicals in politics over the last forty years, the most retrograde morons on earth? Wasn’t that a populist triumph? What about Islamist governementsnthat replace autocracies like the Shah, or the Islamist tide in Ankara? Populist, right? Was the Civil Rights Act acheved by populism or equally by executive fiat, Federal power telling certain slobbering idiots in the south what they must think henceforth. Likewise abortion. Was that a populist revolt or a resisted change sweeping out of cosmopolitan cities and imposed on the retrograde heartland.What if hte elites that govern on both sides of the aisle are cynical self-servers, while the majority of Americans are just fucking idiots? What then?

  • as Brecht said, “maybe they should dissolve the people and elect a new one.” I had already watched Tucker insult Bolton several times with increasing fascination. Is Carlson the exception to the Fox=State television equation? He basically tells Trump’s presumptive NSA candidate, as politely as he can, “you’re an extremist, a blundering weirdo, an anomaly whom no one agrees with, with less credibility than an anchorman.

  • Again, astute analysis and beautifully written. But this is just SO depressing. Same stuff, different day. Day after year after decade. How many deaths now? How many assassinations? How many countries destroyed? I’m inclined to stop reading about the state of the world and just leave a note saying ‘Wake me up when the revolution starts.’

  • Sorry, I had to immediately have a shower after reading about these slimy individuals who
    fit nicely into “we are Number 1 USA bull-sweat!

  • Pigs

    • I think you are doing PIGS a disfavor. The pig stye is now polluted by the two miserable
      warmongers, of whom you speak.

  • What they didn’t say, but by their actions and phony smiles agree with each other about, is simple: murdering millions of human beings while plundering/raping/eviscerating the Earth is acceptable behavior so long as you’re members of the psychopathic lust mob. Drenched in the blood of the all that is, or was beautiful and innocent, is their slimy agreement and claim to infamy…but they didn’t mention that, did they? Such beings do not deserve this beautiful planet.

  • Caitlin, you took the words out of my mouth! When ‘populism’ first arrived in the media I wasn’t sure what it meant, so I looked it up in the dictionary. I was like ‘how can support for the concerns of the ordinary people be a bad thing?’. I was actually going to write a piece myself with the dictionary definition in! I was thinking today that it can’t possibly undermine democracy when it IS AN EXPRESSION OF democracy. It is illogical.

  • Billy crystal, retard John kasich’s twin brother has drowned himself in a bottle of sore loser licquer-never to be concerned with again!!

  • From the website thehill.com on Sept 20, 2018:

    “The worst single mistake ever made in the history of our country: going into the Middle East, by President Bush,” the president said during an exclusive interview with Hill.TV. “Obama may have gotten (U.S. soldiers) out wrong, but going in is,to me, the biggest single mistake made in the history of our country.”

    So why was it so catastrophic?

    “Because we spent $7 trillion in the Middle East. Now if you wanna fix a window some place they say, ‘oh gee, let’s not do it.’ Seven trillion, and millions of lives — you know, ‘cause I like to count both sides. Millions of lives,” the president explained.

    “To me, it’s the worst single mistake made in the history of our country. Civil war you can understand. Civil war, civil war. That’s different. For us to have gone into the Middle East, and that was just, that was a bad day for this country, I will tell you.” // [End excerpts]
    Comment: Yes, Caitlin, there is a rift between Trump and Kristol.

    • Kristol is the biggest loser on the planet
      God bless trump-he has pulled the hate hoodies off RINOS who swore they were on our side as they destroyed us-now we destroy them

      He wanted the rapist clinton back in the White House

      What a pig

  • Another great article, Caitlin! How the heck do you keep it up, day after day? Are you related to the Energizer Bunny?

  • This will not end very well.
    How do you watch such toxic things? Take care of yourself, please.

  • ‘ ‘ support for the concerns of ordinary people ‘ ‘

    can’t blame the plutocrats, oligarchs, ruling elite and the millionaire/billionaire class
    for feeling LEFT out, can you?

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