As you can see, our base is demoralized and tuned out, and plan on sitting out the 2010 elections at rates that will absolutely fuck us if they don’t improve by November.
But again, African Americans, Latinos, and young voters aren’t tuning out because we failed to build bipartisan concensus with Olympia Snowe, or because MSNBC or the blogs made them angry. Making such claims is patently absurd. They’re tuning out because we wasted 2009 “negotiating” with bad faith actors like Snowe and Mike Enzi. The tools were available to quickly pass a health care bill, yet Democrats were too incompetent to do so. And on issue after issue, they’ve proven completely ineffective.
THAT’s why the base is sitting things out. They don’t need blogs or MSNBC to tell them that Democrats can’t govern. They already knew that Republicans don’t want to govern, but the Democrats were supposed to be different. And they are, they want to govern, but they can’t. And the voters that worked their asses off to give Democrats the White House and super majorities in Congress are now realizing that it was all for nothing. That all that talk about hope and change was cynical bullshit designed to motivate them. It worked once, but that crowd is learning the art of political cynicism, and it ain’t pretty.
These are fair points, but it’s also fair to point out that John hasn’t been criticizing progressives for saying that Obama was stupid for to bargain with Olympia Snowe, he’s been criticizing them for doing things like joining up with teabaggers (Jane Hamsher), drawing pictures of Obama throwing hippies under a bus (Open Left), and acting like Rahm Emanuel was the second coming of Dick Cheney (numerous progressive blogs).
Obama has done things I don’t like. His economic team’s predictions were wildly off-base, his support for “entitlement reform” terrifies me, he underestimated how intransigent Republicans would be, etc. But he also came a lot closer to getting substantial health care reform through Congress than any other Democratic president ever did. The fact these efforts — which may well have been flawed, admittedly — somehow make him a traitor to the grand cause of progressivism mystifies me (EDIT: I am not saying that Kos has called Obama a traitor to the grand cause of progressivism, but various commentators, here and elsewhere, have.)
And as for Congress, I don’t see how it’s fair to blame the 53 or so Senators who have been solid votes for progressive issues for the filibuster and fickle behavior of the other six Democratic Senators.
Yes, the Democrats have been absolutely pathetic since last Tuesday. But the absurd Firebagger attacks predate the election of president Brown by weeks if not month.
By contrast, in 2005, conservatives were calling Bush a genius even though he had horribly mismanaged a war, presided over the worst terrorist attack on American soil in American history, failed to cut the federal budget, and was in the process of failing to privatize Social Security.
Republican openly revere Republican presidents, progressive outlets openly distrust Democratic presidents. I’m not saying FDL and Maddow and the rest should emulate Powerline, but obviously, this affects Democratic morale.
I don’t think progressives should clap louder, but sometimes I wonder if we couldn’t boo our own more quietly.
“and acting like Rahm Emanuel was the second coming of Dick Cheney (numerous progressive blogs).”
Didn’t you just do that earlier today, DougJ?
It’s nice to know that no matter how crazy things get around here, you can always count on Joe Beese to get things wrong.
I am sure President McCain will be saddened to know he’s lost his office, as will Presidents Snowe, Lieberman and Nelson.
“and acting like Rahm Emanuel was the second coming of Dick Cheney (numerous progressive blogs).”
I don’t like threatening rhetoric from anyone. What Geithner said was in the Cheney vein of scare ’em.
….something about horseshoes and hand grenades…..
…something about horseshoes and hand grenades…..
Actually, no, there weren’t in fact the tools available.
I haven’t caught much of her show in the last couple of weeks, but when Rachel was on Letterman she delivered a very effective defense of the Obama presidency. Maybe she was conscious of speaking to a broader audience, but in any case I wouldn’t lump her in with the Firebaggers.
See, this is what drives me crazy about Greenwald (OK, one of the things). Even if it’s in the service of a larger, more defensible point, when he says things like “Barack Obama controls the news cycle,” or “Barack Obama controls the health care plan,” he loses me completely, because such statements are not in the service of, um, reality.
I think it’s very funny that after a YEAR of yelling at Obama for being just like Bush a lot of bloggers are now worried about morale. I am not about punching hippies but if the fucking shoe fits, then wear it. Take some responsibility instead of pointing the finger at those of us who have been pushing for getting shit done instead of whining.
Well, HCR isn’t dead yet. The “substantive” part is on life-support, so DougJ’s phrase is a little preemptively phrased, imho.
That all that talk about hope and change was cynical bullshit designed to motivate them. It worked once, but that crowd is learning the art of political cynicism, and it ain’t pretty.
I wonder where the progressive crowd is learning the art? I’d say it’s from those who want to cut off their noses to spite everything else.
Is political cynicism in this case holding your breath till you turn blue? Cause it sure sounds like the tactics of a 6 yr old.
I agree with Kos on this–people don’t need to read FDL or watch MSNBC to realize the Democrats haven’t delivered.
And by god I will absolutely hold those 53 reliable senators responsible for not being able to secure the other 7 votes. How big of an idiot do you have to be to not realize Lieberman would stab the caucus in the back?
It should have been as simple as ‘to be a Democrat in good standing, you must vote for cloture. Period.’ And start taking away committee chairmanships etc to those that don’t play ball.
We are so screwed.
Bruce (formerly Steve S.)
John is criticizing these people vastly out of proportion to their actual importance in the larger scheme of things.
@Joe Beese: Nothing personal, fella, but I imagine you to be so rigidly principalled that you creak when you bend over.
I really just can’t get behind being such a purist.
@arguingwithsignposts: I give that. And I hope you’re right. Unfortunately, I don’t have a lot of faith in this group to do what’s right.
The difference is one of strategy. Some people believe that if you want people on your own side to behave better, you should criticize them politely when they misbehave, sometimes even giving them a sternish talking-to.
Others think that if you want people on your own side to behave better, you need to scare the living shit outta them, threatening total annihilation if they don’t come around.
Bullshit. The only thing, and I mean the ONLY thing standing in the way of health care reform right now is the Progressive Caucus. If they agreed to vote for it we’d have it.
If you’re going to respond to Kos, then don’t put words in his mouth. Nowhere in that post did Kos suggest that Obama was a “traitor” to anyone or anything.
Then you should provide evidence of that, because Kos’ post provided all sorts of ratings/traffic/demographic numbers that show how these Progressive voices just are NOT that influential. I’d love to see some solid evidence that backs up what you’re saying- that the actions of FDL, Maddow, etc. are negatively affecting the base (i.e. youth, african-americans, latinos, women) of the Dem Party. This is the disagreement, and you haven’t provided numbers. Kos has.
And that’s only part of his point. His main point was not to necessarily defend Schultz or Hamsher or any other leading progressive voice. His post was yet another attempt to explain to the Democratic Party and to moderates in the party that President Obama and Congress ARE KILLING THEIR OWN ELECTORAL FORTUNES by screwing Progressives. The Firebaggers and Ed Schultz have had little to no effect on that, so criticizing them, regardless of how righteous those critiques may be, doesn’t do anything. You’re engaging in pointless bickering with people who are NOT and never were the problem. (This is why you guys are always accused of “hippie-punching”- it does no good, it solves no problem, and thus it must serve some need on a much more personal level than you’d care to admit.)
Daily Kos is a site dedicated to electing Democrats. So any stance they take is always going to have an eye towards “selling it” come election day. Almost everything that President Obama and Congress have done on HCR has been making that job harder, not easier. Right or wrong, the electoral prospects for Dems are dimmer now than they were before they started screwing Progressives over- reconcile that however you want.
@Yossarian: “‘Barack Obama controls the health care plan,’ he loses me completely, because such statements are not in the service of, um, reality.”
I think you’re right: Greenwald appears to think that Obama controls the entire legislative process in the same way that some on BJ appear to think that the ‘firebaggers’ control the entire media discourse.
Exactly. I don’t know what planet Kos lives on these days, but the idea that Obama/Reid/Pelosi could have magically coerced the recalcitrant blue dogs into supporting meaningful reform — and that they could have done so “quickly” — seems wildly off-base to me.
Unless he’s talking about the nuclear option–getting rid of the filibuster. I guess that “tool” was technically available, but I can’t blame the leadership for failing to whip that one out.
@Bruce (formerly Steve S.):
I don’t think so. Sirota to Hamsher to Digby (who just got off the bus) to Atrios, to Krugman, we’ve been hearing about the sordid failure of the Obama administration, the bus we got tossed under, the evil mastermind role of Rahm, non-fucking-stop since November 2008. I’m sick of this strategy of declaring failure and letting the right off the hook.
Is this true? Numerically? I’ve been looking here and at TPM, and the only people I’ve seen say flat out “no” are Weiner, Maloney and Grijalva. Danny Davis, Waxman, Barbara Lee are all open to pass it/fix it if they can get some good faith sign of a fix. AFAIK
The odd thing about Glenn Greenwald’s constant auto-erotic crucifixion is trying to figure out how he manages to drive in that last nail.
Nobody — and I mean nobody — jellydicks process up like Democrats. Nobody.
We have been sounding warning alarms about Obama’s “remoteness” for some time and all we get is ridicule from Grand Troll Stuck and others.
Liberals = circular firing squad with President in the middle.
If we don’t trumpet Obama’s accomplishments, i.e. the folks who campaigned and voted for him, who will?
Good topic. The word on this needs to get out to stop shooting ourselves.
I stopped reading Kos and FDL quite a long time ago, because they are basically always at 11 (out of 10). There is no subtlety with these guys, at least in blog form. Everything is just RAGE, RAGE, RAGE MOTHERFUCKERS, all day, every day for now and forever.
It’s just exhausting. I definitely get frustrated with some of this site’s hippie-smackin’, but at least there is some nuance and sense of proportion most of the time.
And John likes Psych, which I think is criminally underappreciated.
Daily Kos is a site dedicated to electing Democrats.
No, it isn’t. It’s dedicated to advancing progressive goals. There’s a big difference.
I respect Kos and what he’s done there. I wouldn’t feel this way if it was simply dedicated to electing Democrats.
They’re killing their own electoral fortunes by not getting shit done. It’s not a political-spectrum thing. And, frankly, if “progressives” are announcing they’re happy not to vote, I can only expect even further adverse selection effects from that, because the politicians might as well write off the Emopants Platoon and continue to chase the votes they can get.
And “close” will help all the people in this country who have health care problems? No, passing a good bill and signing it into law count. Good intentions are cheap and widely available.
@Midnight Marauder: I agree.
@Jim: And surprising she did give a very good defense of the Obama Presidency. I was surprised.
@Unabogie: Yeah, well, I don’t plan on blaming them. They got handed a dripping bag of shit and got told by the “elders’ to make a cheesecake.
I don’t have the whip count, but as far as I know, the only people who have come out against are Bart Stupak and his “12”. On the other side, the Progressives are holding out on their support. Granted, I could be wrong, but it seems to me that with no public option for the Blue Dogs to hide behind, the Progressives are the ones blocking things. Their support would pass the bill.
@valdivia: I agree wholeheartedly.
Again with the changing the frame when it suits you to do so. FOR MONTHS, GOS has been threatening/encouraging liberals to stay home at election time if Obama didn’t move faster on a series of pet issues. Then an election comes along where Democratic voters stayed home and “boom” now healthcare reform was set back and/or (I desperately hope not!) completely derailed and all of the sudden: “No one is paying attention to us liberal bloggers. It’s all Obama’s fault.”
I think John Cole nailed it in the sense that a lot of these people (i.e. Ed Schultz) see themselves as the leaders of a movement (for whatever motivation) and kingmakers. And what’s the fun of being a kingmaker if you can’t threaten the king with removing his crown?
BTW, that has NOTHING to do with helping the American people. Not one frickin thing.
“The odd thing about Glenn Greenwald’s constant auto-erotic crucifixion is trying to figure out how he manages to drive in that last nail.”
You win the Internet for today, my friend.
Ah, there’s the rub. It used to be, _explicitly_, a site dedicated to electing Democrats, and its first high-profile successes were people like Stephanie Herseth in South Dakota and Ben Chandler in Kentucky, neither of whom has been a progressive voice, though certainly better than the Republican alternative. Only later did Kos decide to turn the ship around and head towards “advancing progressive goals” (as he sees it) foremost.
There would be no base problem if the Dems could push there message better. They need some word that they can get behind and be proud of. Every Republican in the country says as loud as they can that they are a proud conservative. Rarely is a Dem heard saying they are a proud liberal, or progressive, or that they are even a proud Dem. And they certainly don’t as a caucus. People sense that. The voters see Dems as weak because they are weak. They need to forcefully call bullshit when people scream ‘Death panels’ or whatever is the phrase of the day. Would give the base a lot more confidence in them even if the bill didn’t pass.
Could we say that the circular firing squad is the cancer that is killing (D)?*
obscure 4chan /b/ reference (urban dictionary link)
Day 1 – 50 Progressives: Rahm is a scumball, a traitor, a winger, an evil man and an idiot.
Day 51 Progressives: Rahm said something not-nice about us! If they are going to be mean to their base, us, the people who’ve been non-stop calling them scumballs, we will stop supporting them.
Dave 52: Adults: STFU.
@Yossarian: Thanks; the “last nail” is someone else’s joke, of course, but I think “auto-erotic crucifixion” is mine. But I’m not about to Google that, even in safe image search mode.
Harry Reid And Teh conservaDems are going to get voted out in November no matter what FDL, dKos, or anyone else is saying. Kos is right: enough Democratic voters are going to stay home that it’s going to happen, the question is really just whether we can save enough good Democratic incumbents.
All this Argument From Tone pearl-clutching is a joke. We’re Democrats, this is America, Democrats are mostly Northerneastern by style: which means little code, little verbal cowardice. Everything gets said out loud, people mean what they say within the moment and situation they are in, and that puts everything out into the open. And free for everyone to ignore as b.s. or regard as as articulation of something meaningful.
From the GOS FAQ (that’s a link, btw):
The phrase I’ve always heard was “more and better Democrats,” which has since (correct me if I’m wrong) been shortened to “better Democrats.”
What kos said.
Yes. Dems. Have. A. Base. Problem.
Nailed it. But it’s not even as distant as “threatening to stay home come election time.” There have been organized efforts on the Kos front page to bring about the death of THIS HEALTH CARE BILL if it didn’t contain a public option, or it did contain a version of the cadillac tax, or various other provisions. To continuously blast a bill as shitty, insufficient, and even positively harmful to working Americans robs you of the right to pull the wide-eyed “who, me?” routine when that very bill is on the knife’s edge of survival in part due to progressive discontent.
The mission of DailyKos was and still is to elect “more and better Democrats.” After the huge majorities achieved in 2008, Markos explicitly said the focus of DK will shift away from “more” and towards “better.” You can probably email Markos and clear this up if you want, DougJ.
:) we usually do, which always makes me feel a little better that I am not the only who feels this way.
How do you explain Harriet Miers sitting on the Supreme Court.
I remember progressives trying to get Republicans to support the TARP bailout and “immigration reform” by declaring G W Bush supports it.
@cd: No one stays home if these people”man up”. The fate of their employment is very literally in their hands.
It’s not the booing, it’s the clapping.
And by that I don’t at all mean to stop booing. By all means, by pointing out what we don’t like and what we want, we at least get that message out into the public consciousness and to the ears of elected officials when they start wondering how to stay elected (repetition and temper tantrums is how taxes and abortion access became these giant third rails in politics).
Nor do I mean we should engage in “clap louder” tactics where we fetishize public leaders no matter what in order to blandly support a party before what we actually believe (yes, we’re a fragmented coalition with a million voices and a million egos, that’s what comes from being the good guys).
What I mean is clapping when something good happens. Acknowledging the little victories and remembering them and cherishing them in the long fight.
We are fed a fiction of important landmark decisions. Of course many of those were fragmented or only the beginning. Getting women the right to vote was landmark, but women still ended up needing and still need today a slew of legislative victories over the years to move from being only slightly above property to “i can see equality from here”. Access to legal abortion, reforms to no-fault divorce, the end of marital rape laws, battered women’s shelters, Title IX, etc…
For the long fight and if you’re a progressive, you are never not fighting for one freedom or another against the slow ache of “always been done” and pure conservative evil or corporate malfeasance, one must hold on to the remembrance that you are never wasting your time.
Oh noes, President Lieberman is scuttling a chance to slay the beast known as our hideous health care system and give us at least the medical access that was available to the goddamned Soviets back in the 70s and is available in every first world nation?
Yeah, that sucks, but if you dwell and sulk, you go mad. You burn out, you end up needing to take a break and you go hard and forget why you were fighting. To recharge you remember that this victory is much needed health insurance reform that makes things better now and gets us a step closer. If you’re a woman, you don’t let Stupak make you forget the Equal Pay Bill from the beginning of this year. If you’re gay, you don’t let the disappointment let you forget the numerous states that went for equality or that a stronger Hate Crimes Bill passed this year.
You need to clap for the little things to fight for the big things.
This is the reality of being a Progressive.
I worry that so many are losing that and their burn out will be a short term loss when they might most be needed.
This is a way of life.
what you said, a thousand times.
Bruce (formerly Steve S.)
You’re just hearing what you want to hear. Krugman is the best known of the bunch and a staunch advocate of “just pass the damn bill.” The rest you name blog about a great many different topics with a great many different villains. The fact that you’re supersensitive to any perceived criticism of Obama by these people is more your problem than theirs.
How do you explain Harriet Miers sitting on the Supreme Court.
Sub-40 approval ratings are a bitch.
I’m pretty sure this is false, although maybe a link could prove me wrong.
I’m sure there have been countless diaries intending to do just that, but I don’t recall any frontpagers calling for anything like this. This is akin to criticizing a blog for positions taken by its commenters. Utterly ridiculous.
@valdivia: No we aren’t only ones.
But we have to keep on fighting.
As is typical of progressives, Kos is being disingenuous about blacks and Hispanics “sitting out” because they’re demoralized. Here in the Chicago area Blacks and Hispanics tend to sit out midterms in general and really don’t get interested until the presidential elections come along. Also, that surge in minority and youth voters in 2008 wasn’t inspired by the Democratic party, it was inspired by the candidacy of Barack Obama. What was the party doing at this time? Well, first it was pushing Hillary as their standard bearer and then silently on the sidelines letting her kneecap Barack for months after the eventual outcome of the primaries was no longer in doubt.
I should also point out that the progressive bloggers are doing as much to demoralize the base as anyone else, since progressives tend to trust their insight and if bloggers like Kos, Aravosis and Hamsher are constantly accusing the party of selling out and capitulating, well, guess what happens to the morale of their readership?
@rootless_e: Blaming the right brought everyone together… let’s bring it back!
It’s actually worse than that. I have posted diaries at Dkos and back when I was still masochistic enough to post at Atrios in which I list, for example some of the many good things being done by DOJ and DOL. And there was a diary at DKos recently about how the Sierra Club is lauding this as the most pro-environment administration ever. And the reaction from the “critics” spans “low hanging fruit” to “so what?”.
Kos is right about this issue. Obama and the Dem leadership have completely wiffed on the mandate they were given in ’08. They should have come out with all guns blazing and bitch-slapped the Repugs into submission, but no, they had to make nice and kiss up to them instead. You strike when the iron is hot, and it was hot in early ’09, but they missed that opportunity to do all the things they promised. From here it looks like they never intended to follow through on any of them. Others may say they simply couldnt pull it off. Either way, they have lost their base support for all the reasons spelled out by Kos, Hamsher, etc.
Hunter S. Thompson:
“My mother hates Nixon, my son hates Nixon, I hate Nixon, and this hatred has brought us together.”
Of course it’s a way of life. But to go extremely meta for a moment, if something’s a way of life, don’t you at some point need to wonder if it’s solely due to the cravenness of the leaders you believed in, or rather if it’s due largely to the simple fact that fighting for progress in a large society that tends to prefer inertia and familiarity is something of an uphill battle and will always remain so?
I mean, I’m sure that sounds really apologetic for Obama and other progressive leaders, and I don’t mean it to because right now I’m frankly pissed at a lot of Democratic elites who really could get more done if they just woke up and smelled the fucking coffee. But the implication of your comment, at least to me, is that progressivism is constantly failed by its leaders who would prefer to sell their base out. At some point you have to broaden your scope, it seems to me, and realize that being a progressive is also just really, really difficult in a mass society.
you have captured the essence of Greenwald — simulateously a martyr and a jerk off. Bravo, sir, bravo.
One thing I’ll add about this entire discussion is that this is truly an amazing sight to see – this entire HCR debate. This is truly the first enormous, historic, ground-breaking legislative process that has occurred during the 24/7 Internet-enabled, social media-juiced media environment. Think about Medicare or Social Security or the Civil Rights Legislation as its precursors.
Thanks to that (or cursed because of that), the politically tuned-in public has been treated to the full panoply of legislative maneuvering in ways we have not witnessed previously. Even the ’93 version of HCR didn’t have this level of information available about all that was going on. Two things I see from this:
1. This new level of information has revealed a lot about our legislative process that turns off a lot of the public (look at congressional approval ratings across the board – ugly). Sure, the public hasn’t liked Congress for a while, but this whole process has made the disgust that much more palpable. I knew the sausage making process was ugly, but damned if I knew it was this ugly.
2. The constant need for content in the news media (and blogosphere) has artificially compressed everything, so that we (the politically attuned) are following every zig and zag as if it’s life-or-death. This has amped up the emotional level to 11, as witnessed by the heated discussions that go on here every day. We want everything instantly, like we get our opinions and our e-mail.
I don’t know what to make of those two things, but I find them of interest. And I will be glad when this entire process is over.
you are right and wrong about the purpose of dKos- it is about forwarding the cause of progressivism, but the means of that cause is to elect a Democratic majority. Or as the slogan went not so long ago, “more and better democrats”. Early on Kos was pushing Tester and Webb, with enthusiasm, and those are just the names off the top of my head. They are not left wing radicals by any stretch but far better than the wingnuts that might otherwise sit in their places. ‘More’ where that’s the best choice, ‘better’ when the current officeholder is pushing against both the party goals and their own electorate. That’s an important distinction.
@DougJ: “which may well have been flawed, admittedly”. I don’t think these caveats are necessary every time you give the faintest praise to Obama’s accomplishment of getting a health care reform bill passed in the two houses of congress, something no other president has done. They open doors for more abuse and just make us look like weenies. No apologies!
How many right-wingers do you hear bashing Bush, Jr.? They may have ran from him in ’07 and ’08 as his popularity plummeted, but they sure as hell aren’t trashing his 8 years in office with the vim and vigor liberals are attacking President Obama’s one year and 5 days as President.
Do they think tax cuts were a bad idea, which added to the deficit? HELL NO!
Do they think Iraq was based on faulty intelligence, deliberately pushed on us? HELL NO (or they won’t admit it).
Do they think he handled Katrina badly? HELL NO, it was all Nagin’s fault for not using school buses to evacuate people.
I could go on, but I hope you get the point…
Does he have a theory yet on how to get Democrats from places like Arkansas and Nebraska to be “better”? Because the whole way they get elected as Democrats there is by running as “not _that_ kind of Democrat.” They have no incentive to be more liberal. How about throwing his weight behind more primarying? (What ever happened to erstwhile DKos darling Wesley Clark, BTW? Couldn’t he be exerting some leftward pressure in AR?)
Also, yes, there is a base problem which is similarly related. Basically, the base understands the most how fucked we are and how second world and rapidly third world we are becoming and thus is rabidly desperate for rapid meaningful reform and so forgot lesson one above of remembering the small victories in the long struggles (and for progressives, they’re always long struggles).
But yes, it’s also a bit about human nature. People want to be recognized, especially when they’ve been so constantly right or worked so hard for certain goals. They want some red meat, some acknowledgment from people in power. And sadly, the current media landscape has made an art of ignoring the left-wing base out of fear and tactics and our leaders following suit.
I don’t know it will get fixed in that respect. A lot of people have gotten to the step of being emotionally invested in umbrage and are displacing the hostility of feeling like one is being deliberately ignored by those in power against the democratic party and even if the leaders wanted to throw some red meat to placate them and tell them they are heard, Presidents Lieberman and Nelson will take the opportunity to essentially speak for the Democratic Party and publicly try and ruin it for the sake of pissing on said base and thus retaining the love of the current media environment.
So yeah, there’s a base problem. Maybe it came with us being to invested in the minutia of Congress to remember the real fight is over a thousand different wavelengths. People, media, politics, etc…
We’re an empire in collapse. That can be a blessing as well as a curse.
Sorry, not buying. mcjoan has been beating the drumbeat for running the whole bill through reconciliation due to its perceived shittiness, Jed Lewison was blasting the thing as an insurance company giveaway (or something along those lines) in repeated diaries due to its lack of a public option, and Markos himself has repeatedly called for the bill’s defeat and said its passage would be worse for Democrats than its failure. That’s to say nothing of slinkerwink, who although a diarist has been given a running platform to organize against anything that doesn’t contain a public option.
I like the way you put that.
Except the netroots were blasting the bill from the left. And while you had some rather asinine moves from the likes of “the Jane Hamshers of the Left”, by and large the progressive blogs have been pushing the bill in a progressive direction.
When MA was in the middle of losing Ted Kennedy’s Senate seat to a Tea Bagging Republican (dude must be doing underground loop-de-loops), it was the netroots fund raising and rallying to the bitter end. When the right wing moderates in the Democratic Party were ready to toss in the towel on HCR, it was guys like Tim F making phone calls to rally support.
We were blasting the shitty bill because it was a shitty bill. 1st Amendment and all that. Better to stand up now and call out the gaping holes then to roll it all under the rug until the check comes due.
For those of you chanting “We don’t have the votes!”, “We don’t have the votes!” every time another progressive reform gets sliced away – well, shit. The progressives aren’t going to support a bill that levies a massive tax on union labor. We don’t have the votes for that bill either. So it’s a hard fight through the center of this clusterfuck.
Every statement, every post, every fund raising rally, every Hardball appearance, every “Kill the Bill!” misguided rant – it’s all about getting viable progressive health care. Every step has been towards that end. If the HCR bill dies, you will have to be shitting me to claim that it dies because those mean little Progressive bloggers just didn’t work hard enough.
A thousand reasons why this bill might fail, but the netroots ain’t one.
First: you really need to provide links and evidence for pretty much your entire comment. Assertion after assertion after assertion may feel good, but it’s not persuasive in the long run.
Second: regarding the above passage, I’m starting to realize this is a pretty big disagreement. Markos doesn’t believe that he, Hamsher, Schultz, are that influential in the Democratic Party- that if they said boo, the base would freaking disappear. It doesn’t work that way according to Markos, and the numbers he showed (IMO) backs him up.
If someone can provide links and evidence directly tying blogger critiques with the demoralization of the base of the Democratic Party*, then I’ll take notice. Otherwise, you guys are just punching hippies.
*keep in mind when you do this you have to hedge out other factors to base demoralization, like endless negotiations with bad faith Republicans, abandoning a critical piece of the President’s plan, refusal to break/bypass a filibuster, etc. Those real world events arguably have just as much if not more of an impact on base motivation than anything a blogger says.
@Yossarian: I was just saying that progressives are pissed no matter what. If a good HCR passes, they suck because it has no public option. If HCR w/ PO passes, they suck because it’s not single payer. Etc., etc., etc.
I’m not a progressive. I support porgressive goals, but I’m too pragmatic to get emotionally drawn into a cause. That’s not meant as an insult, I just don’t generate empathy very well.
heh. I knew Lady Jane would take issue with Kos lumping her in the category of “not that powerful.”
“We want to know which members of Congress you think we should help.
We can, of course, raise money. But our online tools and organizing abilities have grown tremendously, and we’re light years ahead of the GOP.”
Speak fer yerself, Kossie. The fate of the Democratic party in November rests in Hamsher’s hands.
@Bruce (formerly Steve S.):
Krugman and others were shocked into a last minute “pass it” line, but it’s been a nonstop Obama-slam since the primaries for Krugman and others.
You are washed up as a blogger if you keep saying sensible things like this, Doug.
Where’s the fauxrage, the whiny voice, the crocodile tears, the cries of “betrayal?”
Jesus, man. If you start a trend toward sensibility …. well, I don’t even want to think about that. First of all you will lose about 70% of your commentariat, like that ( snapping noise ).
Ah. In which case I think we’re actually violently agreeing with each other.
In regard to AA, I don’t think black people are by and large disillusioned about Obama, they feel Obama is not getting a fair shake by the very people who helped elect him (as in, white Liberals), and being accused of being a failure right at the start.
@Malron: THIS!!! In spotlights, huge ones.
You don’t have to tell me. I’m part of the LGBT community. Now that’s the real pinnacle of pulling your hair out over the frustration of people not seeing things.
According to most if not all of the online gay community, last year was some sort of disaster year for gay rights where Obama personally killed our dog and IA, NH, VT, DC didn’t grant marriage rights, a whole slew of states didn’t grant civil unions, and they didn’t pass a national Hate Crimes Bill which was the first legislation to grant recognition of gender identity (trans people). Oh yeah, and there weren’t some trans nominations for federal government, nor has Kevin Jennings survived a non-stop defamation campaign by the right trying to smear him as a pedophile which for a change no one but the usual suspects is falling for.
So yeah, it’s why I think it’s a problem. People are focusing on how impossible it is to get a landmark bill passed or several in a row and forget how uncommon that sort of thing is, hence why we call such events landmark rather than run-of-the-mill or Tuesday.
We need to remember the little things to keep fighting. It’s a marathon not a sprint.
Obviously, you’re not very familiar with Markos or DailyKos. They are very, very careful about which primary challengers they get behind. They mostly leave red state Dems alone, for the reasons you cite. Recently, Blanche Lincoln became a primary target, but that was only because she’s absolutely unelectable and the only hope for holding on to that seat is if somebody else is the Dem nominee. Ben Nelson is criticized, but not touched. You’ll also note that Arkansas’s other Senator, Mark Pryor, is not touched.
Primarying is a difficult and most often thankless task, and it’s too easy for a site like DailyKos to get branded as a “radical left” organization hellbent on primarying anyone and everyone that doesn’t meet their standard of purity. Markos and the other FPers understand this, and thus are careful about the targets they choose.
My previous post should have begun “As is typical of
I apologize to anyone in the thread who ascribes to the belief that the term “progressive” should be reserved for those who strive to make actual progress.
@sy2d: “But the truth is that its supporters just feel hopeless.”
Supporters feel lukewarm, opponents feel blind rage. That’s a tough dynamic to overcome.
It’s not hard to understand. All the good ideas go to the Senate to die, and all the grimace-inducing annoying ideas go to the Senate and thrive, and Things just don’t seem to be getting better. And, to be blunt, it feels like it’s taking too long. People just want Obama to take the McCain strategy for the Middle East and say “Cut the bullshit.” Especially because under Bush there wasn’t this much of a prolonged and tedious lag between his declaring he wanted something and his appearing to get it. So it reads as, “Well, Obama must just not be trying hard enough.” Instead of, “Wow, the Congress sure can make life difficult when they feel like it.”
The rose-tinted-glasses version of this is that Pelosi, about the only person on the Hill whose basic competence I trust, essentially has the votes to PTFB, at least conditionally, but is not saying so because she needs to put pressure on the Senate to modify the bill retroactively through reconciliation – possibly modifications that are necessary for her to realize some of those votes.
@fraught: There’s not necessarily a contradiction there. It’s possible that African-Americans feel Obama is not getting a fair shake by the very people who helped elect him, and also that they would not feel that way had Obama not wasted so much time negotiating with bad faith actors.
When the history of the end of the short-lived “netroots” bullshit is written, this will be the smoking gun … this kind of idiotic talk.
Congress is run by money and lobbyists on both sides of the aisle, you do not “bitch slap them into submission.” The idea that a few deluded hotheads with keyboards could derail that train is just laughable.
Markos has managed to turn a phenomenon into a caricature of itself, a mob instead of a team, a crowd instead of a coalition. He apparently actually thought that the way to organize was to give people with big mouths a large megaphone. Nobody took the time to strategize or apply real political sense to anything they’ve done over there at GOS.
DailyKos has become the California Government(c) of progressive politics. A complete clusterfuck.
Who said that? Shame on them. At the same time, Rahm Emanuel is a total fucking douche and always has been, if not even close to Dick Cheney’s league.
Now everybody call your congressperson and tell them to hold their nose and pass the motherfucking piece of shit bill already. It blows, but it’s all we got. It’s the only motherfucking option. So stop mewling and get with it already. Fuck.
@FlipYrWhig: I don’t think the objection is that Obama doesn’t get what he says he wants. I think the objection is that Obama doesn’t (appear to) fight for what he says he wants.
Which is now the only hope for HCR passage. So I’m not sure what makes her drum beating for reconciliation so bad. And besides, your original assertion was that DK frontpagers were “organiz[ing] efforts…to bring about the death of THIS HEALTH CARE BILL if it didn’t contain a public option, or it did contain a version of the cadillac tax, or various other provisions.” Mcjoan’s example does not support this assertion.
Again, a substantive critique is not the same as “organiz[ing] efforts…to bring about the death of THIS HEALTH CARE BILL if it didn’t contain a public option, or it did contain a version of the cadillac tax, or various other provisions.”
I would love to see a link proving this, or for any of the other FPers. Consider this a second request for said link(s).
Yeah, something I think that gets missed in the shuffle is that there’s a reason why a bunch of old white men in the Democratic party suddenly found all these very specific principles all of a sudden and are glad to see their party burn if it means making the party look bad now.
A very specific and old reason. And if they were careless they’d phrase it as “uppity”.
There’s a reason why a club of rich, white men are getting extra intransigent right now, even for a democratic president and it’s not all because the conservatives got a taste of fascism and are now starving for it.
So, hold up a second. This entire conversation turns on judgments about 2 things: 1) support for “our side” as they pursue a (possibly compromised) agenda vs. creating resistance to compromise; and 2) the significance attributed to those who attempt to create resistance using criticism or proffering counterarguments.
While the reaction to whatever position one takes regarding these factors is certainly determined by tone of a dissenter, the decision itself is based on fuzzier, hard-to-quantify information.
Point 1: is it better to publicly support Democratic actions in the majority of cases, rather than feed the “disarray” narrative? If so, do private channels for conveying things like “that is a brick wall please turn the damned car around” exist? If not, then how are we to convey information, suggestions and opinions in a productive way? Perhaps we calm down and say nothing, or nothing unreasonable. Where is that line?
Point 2: when do we call something an inconsequential venue for venting/advising/arguing, and when do we say that the venue reaches too many people for revealing discord? Kos argues that his site cannot have significant impact on the national dialog (or, more accurately, people’s polled opinions). Bitching about Obama and Bagram or the impropriety of Goldman ties is something I feel free to do among my friends and publicly. Bitching about
Let’s set aside the more outlandish and petulant stances to adopt re: recent events (“I’m taking my toys and going home!”). None of us are immune to disappointment during a political process, particularly one so pivotal, but these are clearly not rational reactions. And sure, adopting the right’s destructive narratives is bad politics and stupid (although if in some cases the shoe fits, it’s something totally different than a narrative or meme; it’s a reality to confront and change).
I figure what remains is the question of whether to assert counterarguments to emerging policy/politics decisions and if so, how. Since dissent and discussion are what differentiate the small-d democrats from the various authoritarian factions nurtured by Republicans, I’d say yes to being contrarian when constructive. Then it’s about how civil and reasonable one seems to others and also about a more subjective cutoff point. John Cole appears to have fewer buttons to push during the sausage-making than do many at Kos. So be it. Whether shouting policy disagreements at a popular blog constitutes undermining Democratic rule is pretty damned subjective.
So where is the line b/w constructive and destructive criticism? Not entirely in the tone of delivery, surely. Nor entirely constituted of adopted rightwing memes. Is it frequency? Subjectively different levels of button-pushing? Differing attachment to an array of policy positions?
Unfortunately, the red state Dems _are the entire problem_. You can’t get to 60 without them, and they’ll always be opposed to major planks of the Democratic agenda. There are irreconcilable imperatives here: wanting to leave red state Dems alone, wanting the most progressive possible policy, and wanting to avoid compromising to “corporatists.” Can you do all of those at the same time?
Agreed. Some seem to want Health Care to be done and settled with the passage of this bill. It will take a long time, if ever, before health care is truly reformed.
Unrealistic expectations about the velocity of change are a real problem for Obama with progressives. I don’t know how to address the problem. Nobody wants to hippy bash, but someone needs to make sure the progressive army doesn’t outrush the supply lines.
IOW, a lot of progressive bloggers are Patton during WW11 (push into enemy territory ASAP; hit ’em hard and fast), and Obama is more like Eisenhower (methodically plan and prepare for all contingencies). Both types of general are needed.
History buffs: Sorry for the horrendously simplified WWII analogy.
Calvin Jones and the 13th Apostle
@Cassidy: Don’t forget nuclear weapons.
I find it highly implausible that African-Americans are demoralized from voting due to the Mike Enzi negotiations. I’m not sure Mike Enzi’s wife knows who Mike Enzi is.
Not a whole lot of people want to hear this, because it sounds like so much excuse-making, but really it’s the routinization of the filibuster that has caused all these political problems. You may think I exaggerate, but it is the original sin from which all subsequent sins emerged. Without the need to get to 60 votes, you wouldn’t have had the obsession with the Snowes and Enzis of the world, you wouldn’t have had the Nebraska Medicaid deal, you wouldn’t have had the ongoing Lieberman Kabuki dance, you wouldn’t have had the death of the public option (I don’t think) or the death of Medicare buy-in, you wouldn’t have had a process that has dragged on and on and on, you may not have even had the PhRMA deal that Obama cut because he knew he couldn’t afford to lose a single vote, you wouldn’t have Scott Brown… this damn thing would have passed months ago, it would have been a much stronger bill, and it would have been on top of a bigger stimulus that probably did more to pump up job growth than the actual stimulus did.
Structure, structure, structure. Basically, we’re seeing a lot of really bad behavior and a lot of really noxious compromises because the filibuster empowers bad people to behave badly without repercussion and makes ugly (as opposed to productive) compromise an absolute necessity. To borrow from chaos theory, if Nelson’s Medicaid deal and Scott Brown’s election are an earthquake in China, the filibuster is the butterfly flapping its wings in South America.
Really? So the big fuckup was letting Kennedy die, then.
Otherwise we’d have a bill signing by now, or damned close.
Maybe the big fuckup was the people not electing enough Dems to congress? Starting, oh, in 2004, let’s say. Maybe elections … even past ones … have consequences.
Yes. They have a base problem. they cannot get shit fucking done on their major, defining issue. Major, critical shit. That is within their reach, if they only choose to go for it. But no, they are fighting amongst themselves and backstabbing and talking about “taking a breather” and so on.
They are twisting in the wind like twisty twirly things. And they are about as effective at passing legislation.
Yeah, I’d say that’s a base problem. As in, WHO in their right fucking mind would even WANT to be part of this “base”?
Get something done, act like winners, watch what happens.
No more base problem.
Yes, I saw it there on DKos within an hour or two of its appearance.
See DKos at that timestamp, article by TomP
I think it’s more the despair of desperation.
I think a lot of progressives understand that a bunch of things are getting really close to critical and are feeling desperate to “speed it all through” rather than do the traditional slow slog and thus are forgetting that it’s always slow slog and it’s always been critical (though not always Earth-destroyingly so, but certainly very bad for various subgroups).
That and 8 years of Bush and a media culture that encouraged ignoring those who were actually right in favor of obvious lies has got people like whipped dogs, where they are desperate to be heard and this is also making them want to fast-forward to hundreds of landmark victories and thus forgetting that even the New Deal had all sorts of setbacks and petty fights and was literally not a series of landmarks, but rather lots of small things adding up to a landmark.
But yeah, bad either way.
The problem with the progressive left is that they are by and large atheists. I know this sounds ridiculous, but bear with me. (Full disclosure: I’m an atheist, so its not that I got some God-squad complex going on.)
People in general need something to fulfill that part of themselves that we might in broad terms call their “spiritual” selves – that part of our broad social/cultural/psychological make-up that needs to experience themselves as an active part of something larger themselves, that transcends the daily bullshit of their lives. Call, giving your life meaning or whatnot.
For much of human history (and still in large part of the world and even our own American society) that spiritual experience was found in religion – which in organized form provided a shared community with rituals and liturgy in which to find that transcendent experience.
However, if you are progressive lefty (and likely an atheist, or in the least, someone who is allergic to established organized religions), you don’t have access to those traditional religious experiences. So you substitute the “religion of politics” for the actual thing. You invest great significance to your participation in political activism. You idealize it, create set of doctrinal assumptions to which to subscribe to, and continually search for “pure” leaders who will embody your ideals.
Problem is – that unlike God – politicians are…politicians, and politics ain’t praying. So you quickly become angry and disillusioned because the politicians don’t live up to your ideals and then you go in search of even more pure (i.e. “progressive”) politicians.
Bruce (formerly Steve S.)
You’re just hearing what you want to hear. Krugman has been on board the Dem health care train for a long time.
No one is going to care though. People hate process arguments. They sound like excuses.
The filibuster issue is important, but if Democrats focus on it, they’re nuts.
I think drawing attention to the fact that Republicans oppose everything without offering any alternatives is probably fruitful, but if we’re going to start talking about procedural barriers, we’re screwed. You’re supposed to get around those.
I don’t think appearing to fight is worth a whole lot if appearing to fight makes losing your fight more likely. That said, there’s certainly a hierarchy:
1. Appearing to fight and winning the fight
2. Not appearing to fight and winning the fight
3. Appearing to fight and losing the fight
4. Not appearing to fight and losing the fight
Everyone wants to see (1). I think (1) was impossible because of the influence of center-right Democrats who have a stake in looking like they won’t get pushed around by The Liberals. I think they tried (2). At this point I feel like the blogosphere people would have been happier with (3) than (2). (4) is what they have to avoid.
Interestingly, Kurt Schrader’s aide just called me back and had this general appraisal of the situation:
The votes are not there. Liberals, blue dogs, and other congressmen are all holding out for changes. They are also waiting for the SOTU to see how the White House wants them to play it. If Obama comes out and says PTFB, they’ll start to count those votes in earnest. If not, they’re looking at ways to get it passed with changes. He says the quiet makes him think something might be brewing, but he didn’t have any independent knowledge of this. He thinks Wednesday will bring a lot more clarity to how things will proceed. He says they’re all talking and meeting on the issue every day. He says the majority of congressmen are getting hammered and just don’t know what to do and wish the issue would go away.
He said that the one thing they are all saying is that they cannot walk away or they’ll be doomed.
Damn right it was!
Should have hooked that drunk ol coot to a Lazarus Engine and kept him alive only through a hideous combination of science and black magicks.
With not even a single attempt at a Resurrection spell, you’d almost think they wanted him to die. Spineless democrats, no spine for the necromantic arts.
oops. Meant “bitching about Bagram is OK in any venue b/c it’s a fundamentally wrong action. Bitching about [insert ridiculous rightwing meme here] is OK with friends to vent but probably not on the highly indexed interwebs.”
Sure. Process doesn’t operate on slogans. It operates on discipline, work, and finesse.
What’s really maddening is that the Moron Brigade took over a major party in this country by following a disciplined process over a long period of time, starting at the local level and working up. Stayed on message, kept their eyes on the ball. Took … something on the order of 15-20 years.
Our side gets its act together and wins a big election, and then starts fucking it up 6 months later. And crows about doing so, here. All the f_cking time.
Well, now you’re getting to a BIG problem that DailyKos has had with Harry Reid going back to 2007- you can’t effectively govern when a simple majority is allowed to be insufficient, and the goalposts keep getting moved for what will be needed for effective governance.
You don’t need 60 to get something done in the Senate. Harry Reid and President Obama need 60 to get something done, but that’s not the same thing as absolutely, empirically needing 60 to get something done, is it? The myth of 60 is something that DailyKos has been railing against for a long time, and predates Obama’s candidacy (although he has done little to nothing to knock down that myth, so criticism of him on this is also valid).
Now the Democrats don’t even in name have 60. So now what? Throw up your hands and say “oh well we really need 60 to get something done”…? Really, we think that’s gonna fly in November? And getting back to the point of this post, do we really think Dems’ inability/unwillingness to get something done will have more or less of an impact on the base of the party than anything Hamsher or Schultz says? I think this is what Kos is getting at- the problems the Dems are facing in November are of their own doing, regardless of what the bloggers are saying.
That last point is something I’m really concerned about. All of us political junkies kindasorta accept why Democrats, Harry Reid, and President Obama “need 60” to get something done…but it is UNACCEPTABLE (and rightly so) to the American people that Democrats are absolutely powerless even though they have an 18 seat majority. Dems will be roundly punished in November unless they (QUICKLY!) change this dynamic. This will not be the fault of liberal bloggers.
You’re absolutely right, and I would just note that I’m tailoring my argument to, well, this crowd and other like-minded blogger types. In other words, the highly engaged. The Dems would be crazy to take this message to the general public (at least right now)– they’d be laughed out of office.
But it doesn’t make the argument any less true, or not worth pointing out to activists and self-styled leaders. And what frustrates me on this point is the degree to which we’re hearing about “betrayal,” and “selling out,” and all the rest from people who really should fucking know better. It seems to me that if you want write an extended blog post or a front-page diary at Kos to criticize Obama and the Dems for not being progressive enough or whatever, you have every right to do so, and you might even be right, but you also have a responsibility to take seriously the nature of the political obstacles in the way of your goals. If you can’t (or won’t) do that, why in god’s name should I take either your complaints or your activism particularly seriously?
I think you’re right, but I truly don’t know what else to do except that old saw about how the Democrats have been working on solving America’s problems and the Republicans just refuse to do their part. That’s all I’ve got.
An interesting point, but for some Americans. Especially those who belong to a minority group or two or three or twelve, politics isn’t personal to fulfill some religious ceremony. It’s personal, because it’s fucking personal.
I think that also explains the anger. When Stupak did his little piss dance he was playing at a complex game and treating the process like something he could play around with to gain a little advantage for a win against the hippies.
To say, a poor uninsured woman, it was playing with whether or not she’ll live or avoid bankruptcy if she ever got sick or injured or if her children got sick or injured and then as part of the game, playing around once more with her reproductive rights which as well may determine some day whether or not she’ll get to live if a pregnancy goes wrong.
@FlipYrWhig: I mostly agree. But I think one thing you ignore is that ‘appearing to fight’ might actually strengthen your hand. Energize supporters, generate excitement. The Republicans loudly fought death panels. Joe Wilson loudly fought Obama’s lies-that-weren’t-untrue. Scott Brown loudly fought HCR.
Loudly fighting doesn’t stand outside of the political dynamic. It drives the political dynamic.
That said, I think you’re right that many on the blogs would have been happier appearing to fight for an amazing bill and losing, than not appearing to fight for a middling bill and winning.
How about the fact that YOU ONLY NEED 53 VOTES TO ELIMINATE THE FILIBUSTER. They don’t want do a damn thing, wake the fuck up.
How is it a “myth,” though? Are you talking about the reconciliation tactic? Or about reminding Senators that voting for cloture doesn’t mean having to vote for the underlying bill? But then we’re back to process talk, which doesn’t feel like a winning argument for the public.
Ah, yes, that was before the conference bill was complete. That means that Markos (and Howard Dean) were calling for the Senate bill to NOT remain as is. They were not calling on HCR to be killed. I remember those times, as there was enormous pressure on lefty bloggers (coming from places like, uh, Balloon Juice) to support “a bill” that didn’t yet exist. Crazy.
You’ll note that nowadays Daily Kos is frontpaging posts calling for the House to pass the bill. But that doesn’t support your “OH NOES THEY WANT TO KILL THE BILL!!!1!!” assertion, so maybe it doesn’t count.
I’m not talking about that. I’m talking about Democrats saying we can’t pass anything because of the filibuster, or that the filibuster is a terrible mechanism, or any of that.
It’s ridiculous to get in there and start complaining about the rules, or to spend even one minute this year complaining about the rules. Is there anything more rule-bound than a legislative process? Presumably, they knew the rules.
Look at it on an individual level. Pretend I hired you to do something, some task, and you held yourself out as someone who knew how to do that, and returned to me after a year and said “the rules in place when I took on the job prevent me from doing the job”.
Maybe you could have told me that when I hired you? I’ll hire someone else who doesn’t sit around explaining why they need 67, or 51, or 127, to get something productive accomplished.
I knew Hillary was going to lose when she fell back on calling meetings on the arcane process rules of the Democratic Party. Who cares? If she can’t get around the rules of her own game, she probably can’t play.
@Cassidy: that’s true. But the chances of that actually happening… *rolls eyes skyward* I’ve watched the culprits for long enough to have no faith left in them. Knowing how the electorate works I’ll put my money on their failure and destruction this November, with Democrats returning to real control of Congress in the next midterms (2014).
“Ah, yes, that was before the conference bill was complete. That means that Markos (and Howard Dean) were calling for the Senate bill to NOT remain as is. They were not calling on HCR to be killed.”
Yeah, that argument doesn’t work. If the Senate bill was substantially changed from what it was when it passed, Nelson and others had already made it clear that they would vote to filibuster the conference report, thereby killing reform. Several bloggers and pundits pointed this out to Markos at the time, but he didn’t budge. The fact that he and others are now calling for passage only means that the Brown election and the possibility of actually losing on HCR made them at some level realize the irresponsibility of their previous stance.
I think the progressives in the House should try to get 50 Senator signatures on an agreement to fix the bill, and if they can’t do that they should pass the bill. I actually think the onus is on the Senate, not the House, but they’re not honorable people over there in the Senate, and they’re refusing to negotiate. They must be thrilled they managed to punt this to the House. That sticks in my craw, because I have honestly never seen such disgustingly craven and cynical behavior as I witnessed in certain Senators this past year, but I have to let that go. I’m comforted by the fact that nearly every “centrist” senator that postured and preened on this is in serious trouble with voters. Good.
It’s too late for recriminations and finger-pointing. They have to do what they can and move on.
Hopefully, we know more, for the next battle. If they want a next battle, they’d better resolve this one.
The nitwits in the media will move on, and the big machine will gear up, and the provisions in the bill will start kicking in, and they can run on all or parts of it in 2010.
It’s a myth because the rules of the Senate don’t have to allow “painless filibusters” (i.e. filibusters where you don’t actually have to filibuster)*. Harry Reid and the Democrats voted to approve these rules back in January 2007, and voted them back in again in January 2009. They have to pass “new” rules at the start of each legislative session, but they can adopt emergency rules any time…which means at any time, with enough willpower/votes, the Dems can bring back rules that require a real filibuster. But they don’t and won’t. It’s not that they can’t, it’s that they won’t. Thus, the “myth of 60.”
Reconciliation is simply another avenue to get around the painless filibuster, but it can only involve budgetary items (taxes, deficits, etc.). But reconciliation isn’t the only way around a filibuster, nor is it (IMO) the best way around it.
This isn’t about selling it to the American people, because as you said that’s process talk. But they don’t care either way, so why not do it the “right” way and give your party the best chance to get shit done? This is about doing your freaking job as majority leader of the Senate. The American people hired you to get shit done, not to get outmaneuvered by a 41 seat minority. Why make it easier for the 41 to literally stop the legislative functioning of the entire federal government?
Everything I’ve just told you I learned from David Waldman, a DailyKos frontpager. I did not learn this from a Balloon Juice frontpager. For the record.
*for that matter the rules of the Senate don’t have to require 60 votes to overcome a filibuster, or don’t have to allow for a filibuster at all (aka the Nuclear Option).
If Obama has demoralized the base, then why have his approval ratings with Democrats not dropped? He’s getting killed by moderates – that’s the real problem here.
Markos and many dKos diarists believe they are presenting rather than characterizing information. For months diaries and front page posts there joined the echo chamber, shouting the most cynical possible view of the hcr bill without regard to its actual language and details. Checking the bill against the commentary showed that provision after provision was being mischaracterized, ignored, dismissed.
And I don’t think it’s true that blogs lack the influence to skew discourse or demoralize the base. Points made on dKos and a few other influential blogs are routinely picked up by traditional media, and Markos and other bloggers are in the pundit pools of many news programs. The media doesn’t check bloggers’ “facts”, though, any more than they check the pentagon’s. So conclusions (and suspicions and mistakes and yellow journalism) are passed along unverified.
Gibbs’ point about Schultz, leading to the exchange that triggered the post here (and Markos’s response to it), was that Schultz did not correctly present or characterize the components of the Senate bill. I’ve read the bill and a lot of analysis of it, and I agree with Gibbs. I don’t think dKos front pagers did a fair analysis, either–in fact, discussion there of the excise tax was more garbled than anything I’ve seen even from the worst and laziest “news” outfits.
A fair representation of the bill on blogs, an effort to explain it before (if not rather than) demonizing it, would have been echoed in traditional media. Maybe the bill would have enjoyed more support, possibly even allowing us to keep our 60th vote.
If blogs and leftwing news shows keep letting themselves off the hook for emotional outpourings, instead of doubling down on fact-checking, it’s going to keep on being garbage in, garbage out.
I think that can be true — but I don’t think it succeeds in terms of actually getting Senators to change their votes. Because then it becomes a state by state thing. Ideally how it would work is that fighting hard for a bill would rally the public, get them to pour in the phone calls and letters and maybe even stage some demonstrations, and then the targeted Senator gets the message that he or she had better do what the excited public wants, and votes yes. That’s why Grassley should have been a good target: Iowa loves Obama (I haven’t checked lately). But Grassley didn’t play; in fact, he made himself a huge thorn in the side.
I think “appearing to fight” may have saved Coakley vs. Brown. But my gut feeling is that “appearing to fight” would have cost, at a minimum, Lieberman and Nelson, because both of them have some incentive to say, OK, I have no problem blowing this up. Probably Lincoln and Landrieu too. I’m presuming that “appearing to fight” means more line-in-the-sand rhetoric and such. The red state Democrats, plus Lieberman, are IMHO unlikely to be moved by that, the red staters for self-interest (they _like_ to be distinguished/opposed from the rest of their party), and Lieberman for spite.
Had his economic team predicted otherwise, there would’ve been no end to how Obama was making fake pessimistic employment & GDP forecasts so that the results post-stimulus would be good no matter what. Also, the next time the market dropped after said realistic forecast, Obama would be cursed as a doomsayer.
Of course, an unrealistically positive economic forecast allowed him to project unrealistically high revenues in his budget and spend more while theoretically holding debt at a constant fraction of GDP.
Every report I’ve seen is that the consensus backward-looking analyses show that the predicted impact of the stimulus relative to what would’ve happened had it not been passed was reasonably accurate… that we’ve added a couple points of GDP and a point of jobs (a million) or so. Pretty much what was predicted. The Q42009 prediction was a 1% employment boost with the stimulus (from 9 to 8% instead of from 11 to 10% as it turned out).
I read somewhere recently that the painless filibuster is an effect of rules passed in 1975. I can’t vouch for whether that’s true.
Yeah, but that’s asking Senators to cut off their own institutional power. I’m not surprised they don’t want to do that. Even the “nuclear option” showdown was carefully limited to judicial appointments.
I sincerely hope you make a longer more developed essay out of this. I is the type of social commentary I find most interesting and useful.
@Guster: Not true. Not true at all.
It is exactly what Maltron and Hal are saying.
Thanks for the encouragement. I was beginning to wonder if anyone even read it. I’m working on extending the comment into a blog post right now.
Doug, I know you’ve moved on and this thread is old but I had to correct something in your post. (And if someone has already made the point in the thread I don’t apologize. This point is worth making a dozen times.)
You said some progressives “distrust” democratic presidents. I won’t argue past presidents because that’s pointless. But I will argue progressives versus Obama.
Progressives are mad at/disappointed with/feel betrayed by Obama because of WHAT HE’S DONE, not distrustful of what he might do. His actions over the past year have been shown him to be who he really is, not who he campaigned as.
Until Obama does something to change progressive’s minds, that’s just the way it is.
(I think Markos is speaking for people he has no right speaking for, BTW. He knows what the average voter cares for about as much as the Villagers do. He is cocooned in the Berkeley bubble. I used to live there. I know that of which I speak.)
Wile E. Quixote
Yeah, no kidding. Damnit when are the Democrats going to take a page out of the Republican playbook and start using necromancy? I mean look at how well it’s worked out for the Republicans, Dick Cheney has been a card-carrying member of the undead since 1999 and look at how hard the Republicans are working to bring Reagan back from the dead.
I mean I’m not asking Obama to be a unitary executive and use the dark arts to open a gate to Hell, I’m just asking that he kick some Republican ass and be willing to raise the dead now and again to deal with Republican obstructionism.
Eastriver: I said “progressive outlets”. I think they have always been distrustful of Obama. I don’t know about progressives per se.
I find it highly implausible that African-Americans are demoralized from voting due to the Mike Enzi negotiations.
Too true. That made me laugh.
@arguingwithsignposts: FYI. I am sure I am one of many who make it a point to read what follows under your handle.
(blushes) You are too kind, sir.
Now, here’s what I’ve written so far. I’d appreciate any feedback you folks would care to offer.
I voted for Obama. I gave to Obama. I am not giving up hope. And I haven’t read a single damn comment above. But…
53? Sounds to me like a FUCKING MAJORITY. When I was in school, before most of you fuckers were born, I was taught we lived in a Fucking DEMOCRACY. And that’s before we talk about those 53 representing ~60% of the population.
Look, I’m a realist. I understand there will be some give and take. But people are FUCKING DYING.
Fuck the teabaggers, people are dying due to our current system and 80% of voters realize this.
Medicare buy-in at 40. Medicaid for everyone below middle class. Fix the funding as necessary. Some kind of mandate – to pay taxes or to buy insurance – looks necessary. Just like my grandpa was mandated to go fight the damn Germans.
Declare VICTORY! Which really only means joining the rest of the civilized fucking world…
And on to climate change!
“I believe I said…” Now you sound like a bad TV lawyer, playing semantics with an EZ dictionary in your hip pocket.
“Distrust” infantalizes the opposition. It robs them of logic. You know this.
I won’t bother telling you to choose your words more carefully, because you chose the exact words you wanted. I’m just calling you on the bullshit.
Let’s move on. I like your writing. I’m gnashing at nits.
Considering that I’ve been getting pretty much daily e-mails from OFA telling me to buck up and be optimistic, I don’t think this pessimism is coming from the administration. It seems to be coming from somewhere else. Hmm, where could it be?
Oh, and if the teabaggers can get 20,000 people to turn out against healthcare reform but we can’t even get THREE to show up to support it, then we deserve to lose, because clearly they’re more interested in stopping reform than we are in getting it.
I don’t know about that. I got my ass roasted by John because I was challenging the assertion that the Senate excise tax was good policy and good politics. I did not say the Senate bill should not be passed. But people should be aware that some of the arguments made in support of it (e.g. by Jonathan Gruber) were hard to believe. And whatever intellectual process led to Senate-bill support by Ezra, Drum, et al, needed to be examined closely because that kind of mistaken analysis is a serious handicap in politics.
Your point about the rules is well taken, but to me there is a missing piece. That is, most congressmen and senators are veteran incumbents. The didn’t “get in there” …. they have been in there for years and years. They may have shaped those rules (I am talking about people on both sides of the aisle).
It isn’t the rules that are the problem, as I see it. I start with the assumption that everything these people do is calculated, by them, according to its effect on their reelection chances next time out. Their first thought is of their political hides … not our safety, not our wallets, not our health, not our old age security …. just their own interests. And then, after they do that calculation, they base their thinking on the lobbying and funding streams that are being applied to them by the moneyed interests. I think they are all completely self serving, first, last and in between. And I don’t think they just became that way in the last year. I think they have always been that way. I think we have been in the habit of electing shitheads to congress, and it’s time to start doing a better job of it. I don’t blame the shitheads for being shitheads. I blame the voters for electing them.
So, a lot of people talk about how liberals (I want that word back; I’m not a fucking progressive; the Progressive Era ended in 1920) were deluded by thinking that Obama could come in “with guns blazing” and get shit done, etc. etc. etc. b/c of the institutional, structural, and other deficiencies of the way our Congress works.
Do none of you rah-rah Obama apologists have the temerity to defend what he has done (or, if we want to be accurate, not done) on national security issues? The large majority of problems concerning which issue could be resolved without Congress.
And don’t tell me that he’s doing the best he can with the shit sandwich he inherited from Bush. The positions Obama has taken in court after court, case after case, across this country, cannot be explained as anything other than doing precisely what Bush did in similar situations. This President has been an absolutely massive fucking failure on national security issues. I dare you, I dare you to say otherwise, while still being able to look at yourself in the mirror.
Actually, I do think things have changed. Guantanamo isn’t closed yet, but he’s working that way to the extent he can do it without Congress’ voting.
We have something other than blind “staying the course” rhetoric in the wars (although they aren’t over yet).
He isn’t doing the bidding of Israel with blind loyalty.
These are all changes from the Bush years, so he is NOT “precisely” like Bush. That’s an exaggeration, and I can look myself in the mirror every day.
(I wish he didn’t assert some of the executive privilege arguments, but the fact I don’t agree with him on that point doesn’t take away from the other things he’s done.)
So how is Obama actually different from Bush?
Warantless surveillance: check.
Endless foreign wars: check.
Infinite increase in the “defense” budget: check.
Continued erosion of civil rights: check.
Gitmo still open: check.
“Preventive detention” still being done: check.
Still coddling financial criminals on Wall Street: check.
Okay, some minor differences — the previous maladministration would’ve rammed through more tax cuts for the rich. Obama hasn’t done that. Torture isn’t still going on…as far as we know. The rhetoric toward other countries isn’t as bellicose.
Those are the only differences that come to mind.
Oh, and one more difference…the previous maladministration, ya gotta hand it to ’em…they knew how to rip the political opposition’s gut out. When the Democrats tried to hold hearings, the Republicans not only turned off their mics, they shut down the lights in the congressional conference room.
Maybe if Obama had treated the Republicans that way, we’d have health care reform today.
That’s an ingeniously selective portrayal of Bush’s record in 2005, but I think we all know that Bush was far more successful in pursuing a conservative agenda (with far fewer Congressional Republicans) than Obama has been in pursuing a liberal one. Conservatives liked Bush because he was one of them, and he proved it on an almost daily basis.
How anyone can read those Research 2000 poll numbers and conclude that the problem is liberal bloggers being overly critical of Obama is beyond me. Kos’ canary analogy is absolutely apt.
So, your punchline is a story about what happened in a completely different branch of government.
Boy, didn’t see that coming.
very late to the party but I’ve got to vent somewhere.
1. I voted for this guy to fight everything that has been screwed up for the last 8 years (and some of the 8 years before that), so fuckin’ fight already.
2. Do the easy stuff first. Stop Dont Ask Dont Tell would’ve been a great place to start. People who hate teh gay aren’t going to vote democrat unless they are really effin’ tired of the republican, but what you do get is the folks who don’t think it’s the governments business if you are or aren’t gay actually impressed by the fact that you did something measurable and meaningful for civil rights and the religious nutballs are screaming at you for ir.
3. While the religious nutballs (including those worshiping the “invisible hand of the market”) are complaining about gays in the military use that time to pass reform and structural changes to government that are in the interest of the public, and especially the little guy that contributed $50 from his low-wage paycheck. How many asshole judges did bush’s crew plant in the halls of power, how many signing statements did he make to screw everyone not obscenely wealthy? If you are going to keep the mechanisms of power in working order, corrupt though they may be, at least PULL THEM FOR YOUR OWN FUCKING TEAM.
Most blogs were glorifying Obama with photo diaries and whatnot after his election.
Obama earnt the current mistrust.
Actions that are 25% less evil than Bush – that’s change you can believe in.
Of course, Obama has acted like that because the Democrats as a whole are like the co-dependent battered wife of the Republicans. Democrats must work on breaking free of the current dysfunctional political family.
Supporters need to point out the dysfunctional relationship and help Democrat leaders commit to Democrat values.
Obama’s problem is that he’s getting blamed for the Senate’s problems, by and large. He needs to put the goad under these people. He needs to tell them, “It’s put up or shut up time, people; we swing for the fences and we get either a home run, or we strike out, but we can’t keep hoping for walks.”. They need to make the Republicans actually fillibuster, or reset the rules to remove it. It’s in the rules, not the constitution. Now, Obama could have put a lot more pressure on these people, and damn well should have. PERIOD.
” But he also came a lot closer to getting substantial health care reform through Congress than any other Democratic president ever did.”
You’re right Doug. Clearly this is the most nearly-impressive not-quite-accomplishment ever.
@brantl“Obama could have put a lot more pressure on these people, and damn well should have. PERIOD.”
I have no idea what you’re talking about. Obama is and always has been powerless. If you thought you were voting for a President who was capable of accomplishing things then clearly you were only projecting your own naive viewpoint onto him because he never campaigned on that. Everyone has known all along that he was too wise of a wise centrist to ever risk rocking the boat.
DADT is an executive order. The senate has nothing to do with it.
Getting troops out of Iraq and Afghanistan is an executive order. The senate has nothing to do with it.
Shutting down Gitmo is an executive order. The senate has nothing to do with it.
Ending “preventive detention” is an executive order. The senate has nothing to do with it.
Ending warrantless wiretapping is an executive order. The senate has nothing to do with it.