The great debate rages on! Democrats are really different from Republicans. No, they are the same. I think the confusion results from not looking at this from a dialectical perspective. I am thinking of the dialectical ideas of the unity of opposites and identity in difference. I want to use a specific example not deal with abstract generalities.
It may seem paradoxical to speak of unity and identity being used in reference to concepts or objects that are ostensibly different. But I am thinking of the distinction between quantitative differences on one hand, and qualitative differences on the other. I think there is evidence that the Republicans are quantitatively different from the Democrats while at the same time they are qualitatively the same.
Both ultimately represent the interests of monopoly capital and hence are imperialist parties. What they argue about is how to best achieve the goals of US monopoly capital.
The war in Iraq is an example. This war, when all the patriotic hype is stripped away, was planned back in the 90s, 9/11 was the excuse not the cause, as a resource war to take over Iraq's oil and put the US in a commanding position in the Middle East. Victory will be the control of the oil.
Success or failure in the war cannot be judged by the number of people killed, by the level of sectarian violence, by the increase or decrease of troop levels, or how long the US must remain in Iraq. It can be judged by one thing, in the long run, and that is-- did we get control of the oil or not.
If we leave behind a democratic and prosperous Iraq with a free and happy people whose oil, however, remains owned and controlled by the Iraqi people themselves, then we have lost the war and all our sacrifice of troops and treasure will have been in vain.
On the other hand, if we leave behind a destroyed wasteland with five times as many troops lost as we have lost to date, if we have to maintain garrisoned outposts, and most of the Iraqi people have fled or been killed, but the oil is now controlled by our big oil companies, then we shall won a glorious victory.
How to get the oil? First, overthrow the government of Saddam which controls it. Mission accomplished. Second, install a regime that will be on friendly terms with the US. Mission accomplished. Third get that regime to pass a new oil law which favors the US. Their motivation? Well they need our troops to stay in power. Mission-- on hold.
The major bench mark (there are others, but this is numero uno) that we are demanding the government meet is the passage of the new Iraqi oil law. This law was devised and written by the Bush administration. The surge in troop levels is to impress the urgency of this benchmark on the government.
This law will effectively privatize 2/3rds of the oil giving ownership and then control of production (for the next 30 years) to foreign oil corporations such as Exxon-Mobile, Chevron, and (for Blair) British Petroleum [BP] among others. Since the Iraqi masses completely reject this benchmark (oil workers are striking against it at this very moment) it can be pushed through only with the presence of US troops. The recent talk out of Washington that Iraq will be like Korea, i.e., we will have to keep about 30,000 troops there for 50 years or so (!) is simply a realization that these troops will be needed to enforce this new oil law should the Iraqis pass it.
If they do Bush wins.
The Democrats, for all their anti-war talk (they have used the discontent of the American people to take over the Congress) have caved in to Bush on the funding of the war. They have abandoned a date certain to begin withdrawal and have also said that the Iraqi government must pass the oil law as a bench mark for continued support. Their leadership is also collaborating with Bush on trade policies favored by the big international corporations, including a sell out on the "fair trade" programs favored by the unions for "fast track" negotiating where big deals can be worked out by the executive branch which bypass the Congress. The Democrats, however want some slop thrown to the middle class and the workers and the poor.
Two peas in a pod? I think quantitatively NO (we get some slop after all) and qualitatively YES ( don't expect fundamental change in the goals of our corporate dominated government). Practically this boils down to, lets get rid of the Republicans, but then the real fun begins!