This is a woman, who not only edits and writes for The Nation, she owns and publishes it as a hobby. She has a column in The Washington Post. She appears on MSNBC regularly as a political contributor.
Do you see why our political commentary sucks shite? Her political opinion is that of a wealthy trust fund kiddie, scion of the original radical chic, whose only close association with politicos of any note is at mega fundraising dinners and high society cocktail parties. In any other country, she would be regarded as a dilettante. The BBC would, quite honestly, not allow her to sit on any noteworthy panel on any of their political discussion shows, with any credence.
This woman is dangerous.
vanden Heuvel was one of a triumvirate of big mouths - the other two being Bill Maher and Michael Moore - who trolled the nation during the 2000 campaign cycle, asserting that Bush and Gore were one and the same and extolling people to vote, instead, for Ralph Nader.
We all know what happened there, and anyone who took Katrina's sage advice, should realise that they enabled 8 years of George Bush as much as had they pulled the lever to vote for him directly.
Don't believe me? Have a gander at a very precise and articulate blog from 2010 by the healthcare blogger, Citizen K (the emphases are mine):-
With the 2000 election shaping up as a contest between Al Gore and George Bush, The Nation magazine urged Ralph Nader to run for president on the Green Party ticket and eventually co-endorsed him. His presence at the head of the ticket, The Nation argued, gave the Green Party a fighting chance at attracting 5% of the vote and a seat at the 2004 presidential debates.
In a moment of rare political prescience, I wrote to the magazine, objecting. What was to be gained by a Nader candidacy?, I asked. To get the votes of over 3,000,000 people, you had to be more than a consumerist celebrity: You had to present yourself as a credible president, which Nader could not do. A Nader candidacy, I argued, risked great harm for a remote chance of good. If he made a show of getting 5% of the vote and came up significantly short, his candidacy would marginalize progressives. Worse, he could swing the election to the Republicans. The only justification for a Nader vote was if you really believed that there was not a dime's worth of difference between Bush and Gore, and that was a ridiculous proposition.
We all know what happened: The Nader candidacy played a key role in swinging Florida and New Hampshire to Bush. In vain, I waited for a modicum of self-examination from the left, but it never came. Instead, I read that Nader played no role in Bush's victory because Bush cheated and Gore ran a poor campaign. True enough, but all that means is that the Nader candidacy put the outcome in play. (Conveniently glossed over was Nader's paltry overall vote total and its marginalizing effect.)
It's an article of faith among the left that its harsh -- and often brainless and naive -- criticism of President Obama puts it squarely in line with the left wing "insurgencies" (as Katrina Vanden Heuvel wrote) that pushed Franklin Roosevelt and Lyndon Johnson to the great reforms of the New Deal and the Great Society. This might be a fair point if it bore any actual relationship to reality.
One might be forgiven, for example, for wondering exactly what modern-day insurgency Vanden Heuvel refers to. The soldiers of labor and civil rights put thousands of boots on the ground and had commitment in their souls: Men, women, and children were willing to accept injury and death as the price of justice. But today? A few people milling aimlessly around a MoveOn "rally" isn't exactly the Edmund Pettus Bridge. Moreover, where's the leadership? I see no John L. Lewis, no Martin Luther King. The most prominent figure of today's left is Michael Moore, who presents himself as a clown. The "insurgency" is nothing more than a hodgepodge of policy statements and snarky op-ed pieces. Big deal.
Moreover, the Labor and Civil Rights movements helped Roosevelt and Johnson go where they wanted to go anyway. As vice-president, Johnson urged John Kennedy to be more aggressive on civil rights, and he and King liked and respected each other: They were hardly in opposition. Plus, these movements represented votes, the political coin of the realm. Both presidents knew that Lewis and King could turn out numbers that would support them at the polls. Today's left would have trouble convincing a lush to drink a martini.
With the eagerness of a child at Christmas, the left has compared Obama to Bush practically since the day after Obama's election. It constantly berates him for compromising on what they call "Roosevelt moments," as if FDR would have shipped his mother to Auschwitz rather than cut a deal. This ignores the troubling reality that FDR dealt with the devil regularly: Most New Deal programs were either segregated or white-only; Roosevelt had to agree to this in order to retain the necessary support of the segregationists in his own party. One reason for his not pursuing health care reform was an unwillingness to battle the segregationists, who feared integrated hospitals. Following the left's logic, this makes FDR the moral equivalent of Strom Thurmond or Bull Connor.
But real-life politicians don't deal in moral equivalents: They do what they have to do to get as much as they can get under the circumstances. It has always been that way, it will always be that way, and it's childish to pretend otherwise. You cannot expect a president to push for systemic change in the absence of an impetus external to the system. Lewis knew that, King knew that, and so did the leaders of the anti-war movement. On the left, that impetus doesn't exist, unless you call cheap talk an impetus. The pressure comes from the right; the left has failed -- dismally -- to respond.
So the fragrant Katrina and her coterie pushed Nader's envelope not for any real hope of getting him elected, but simply to make the point that they could, and when they did and it all went pear-shaped, they didn't step forward, swallow with a gulp and admit they were wrong; instead, they absconded all responsibility. They ignored what happened and took up the mantle of criticizing Bush and Bush's policies.
Except this constant stream of criticism continued after Barack Obama's election and for any and all rationale, real or imagined. This President has been held to an unbelieveably high and pure standard that Jesus Christ, himself, would be unable to achieve. It begs the question why, and the ensuing answer is so obvious that it's convenient for them to ignore that one too.
It's the r-word, or rather, in vanden Heuvel's world, it's extreme white privilege, which is one and the same as the other. Would you like to see more proof of that from this lady?
Well, here's a reminder from a 2010 episode of Real Time with Bill Maher. Pay close attention to vanden Heuvel's remark and note who is seated beside her:-
The Daily Howler describes the action:-
One more fruit of the Monkey Business was offered on Friday night’s Real Time, where village nitwit Andrew Sullivan mused about the size of Al Gore’s member, explaining what’s “well known in Washington.” If Katrina vanden Heuvel had any sense, she would have told him to stop playing the fool. Instead, this other High Lady played along with the fools, even making a joke on a deathless theme: Black men have the really large members! We strongly suggest that you watch the tape, thus gazing on the fruits of the Monkey Business.
So now she's on board for the Ron Paul express, so I suppose Paul's high-minded foreign policy of non-intervention - not to mention his legalisation of all drugs as well as prostitution - cancels out the fact that he wants to do away with the Departments of Education, Environment, Commerce and Housing and Urban Development. It cancels out the fact that Paul wants Roe vs Wade repealed and, according more powers to states that formerly were covered by Federal sanctions, allow the growing number of Red States to make abortion, and in some cases, contraception, illegal. It cancels out the fact that Ron Paul buys into the personhood argument, and makes an abject hypocrite of vanden Heuvel in that last month, she was a member of another unholy triumvirate of female scribes (vanden Heuvel, Katha Pollitt and Joan Walsh) who objected vociferously to Barack Obama's approval of Kathleen Sibelius axing the FDA's proposal that the morning-after pill be made available over the counter to girls under the age of seventeen and as young as eleven. A Ron Paul presidency would force those girls - who may even be victims of rape or incest - to bear children begotten under any circumstance.
But Katrina's OK with that, because of Ron Paul's ethical foreign policy. She's OK with allowing the states to control what passes as public education within their realms, ne'mind the fact that a growing number of Republican-controlled legislatures want to do away with free public education anyway. Remember, in Ron PaulLand, neither education nor healthcare is a right-. vanden Heuvel is all right with that because the poor-little-rich-girls like Katrina will always have enough money to buy the best education and the best healthcare for themselves and their children. In fact, a Ron Paul government would ensure that Katrina had more money to do just that.
And she's certainly all right with a Ron Paul government stripping away the Civil Rights' act, to accommodate everyone's basic "property rights," even if, in some instances, this might mean a return to what was formerly known as "Jim Crow" practices. And she'll be all right, sharing the same tent with Stormfront and assorted Truthers.
Of course, she will, because she'll just conveniently ignore any of Paul's policies that offend her delicate palate. Whatever ordinary people might suffer under a Ron Paul regime simply wouldn't matter because - well, because Katrina isn't "ordinary people." She's part of the one per cent.
But maybe she might listen to another Progressive writer's assessment of Ron Paul, Kevin Drum, writing in Mother Jones:-
Can we talk? Ron Paul is not a charming oddball with a few peculiar notions. He's not merely "out of the mainstream." Ron Paul is a full bore crank. In fact he's practically the dictionary definition of a crank: a person who has a single obsessive, all-encompassing idea for how the world should work and is utterly blinded to the value of any competing ideas or competing interests.
This obsessive idea has, at various times in his career, led him to: denounce the Civil Rights Act because it infringed the free-market right of a monolithic white establishment to immiserate blacks; dabble in gold buggery and advocate the elimination of the Federal Reserve, apparently because the global economy worked so well back in the era before central banks; suggest that the border fence is being built to keep Americans from leaving the country; claim that Social Security and Medicare are unconstitutional and should be dismantled; mount repeated warnings that hyperinflation is right around the corner; insist that global warming is a gigantic hoax; hint that maybe the CIA helped to coordinate the 9/11 attacks; oppose government-sponsored flu shots; and allege that the UN wants to confiscate our guns.
This isn't the biography of a person with one or two unusual hobbyhorses. It's not something you can pretend doesn't matter. This is Grade A crankery, and all by itself it's reason enough to want nothing to do with Ron Paul. But of course, that's not all. As we've all known for the past four years, you can layer on top of this Paul's now infamous newsletters, in which he condoned a political strategy consciously designed to appeal to the worst strains of American homophobia, racial paranoia, militia hucksterism, and new-world-order fear-mongering. And on top of that, you can layer on the fact that Paul is plainly lying about these newsletters and his role in them.
Now, balanced against that you have the fact that Paul opposes the War on Drugs and supports a non-interventionist foreign policy. But guess what? Even there, he's a crank. Even if you're a hard-core non-interventionist yourself, you probably think World War II was a war worth fighting. But not Ron Paul. He thinks we should have just minded our own damn business. And even if you're a hardcore opponent of our current drug policy — if you think not just that marijuana should be legalized, not just that hard drugs should be decriminalized, but that all illicit drugs should be fully legalized — I'll bet you still think that maybe we should retain some regulations on a few of the worst drugs. They're pretty dangerous, after all, and no matter how much you hate the War on Drugs you might have a few qualms about a global marketing behemoth like RJ Reynolds having free rein to advertise and sell anything it wants, anywhere it wants, in any way it wants. But not Ron Paul. As near as I can tell, he just wants everything legalized, full stop.
Bottom line: Ron Paul is not merely a "flawed messenger" for these views. He's an absolutely toxic, far-right, crackpot messenger for these views. This is, granted, not Mussolini-made-the-trains-run-on-time levels of toxic, but still: if you truly support civil liberties at home and non-interventionism abroad, you should run, not walk, as fast as you can to keep your distance from Ron Paul. He's not the first or only person opposed to pre-emptive wars, after all, and his occasional denouncements of interventionism are hardly making this a hot topic of conversation among the masses. In fact, to the extent that his foreign policy views aren't simply being ignored, I'd guess that the only thing he's accomplishing is to make non-interventionism even more of a fringe view in American politics than it already is. Crackpots don't make good messengers.
Now, if you literally think that Ron Paul's views on drugs and national security are so important that they outweigh all of this — multiple decades of unmitigated crackpottery, cynical fear-mongering, and attitudes toward social welfare so retrograde they make Rick Perry look progressive — and if you've somehow convinced yourself that non-interventionism has no other significant voices except Ron Paul — well, if that's the case, then maybe you should be happy to count Paul as an ally. But the truth is that you don't need to. Ron Paul is not a major candidate for president. He's never even been a significant presence as a congressman. In a couple of months he'll disappear back into the obscurity he so richly deserves. So why get in bed with him? All you'll do is wake up in March with a mountain of fleas. Find other allies. Make your arguments without bothering to mention him. And remember: Ron Paul has never once done any of his causes any good. There's a good reason for that.
You'd think the World War II non-intervention would be a wake-up call for Katrina. After all, her mother is Jewish, and she describes herself as "half-Jewish, half-Catholic". (Go figure that logic). She'd be happily associating herself with a man who - had he been adult enough and in politics at the time - would have been supping at the table with the anti-Semitic likes of Linbergh and Father Coughlin.
This goes far worse than her jumping on the bandwagon to prove a point in 2000, herd-following Nader, who regularly refers to the President as an "Uncle Tom," this blind support of Ron Paul based on his fringe foreign policy, simply illustrates how little common sense this woman really and truly has and why she shouldn't be given a platform to comment publically on political policies and procedure.
At the end of the day, money does not buy common sense.