Whenever the village embraces a new “serious” idea to help Liberals and Democrats you can be sure that it will end up with roots in the manure generated by the concerned trolling of some denizen of Wingnutopia.
You can see how this is done with a reality-free bit of drivel from a typing monkey on Tucker Carlson’s parasitic Daily Caller. In his “How the Tea Party can win the left”, James Poulos posits that hate of government can and should be the glue that binds liberals and the Tea Party together. He further argues that only by embracing the Glibertarian unicorn can both the left and right be saved from the horror that is Barack Obama. In his regurgitation of very tired wingnut talking points, Poulas claims that Liberals are angrier at Obama than they were at LBJ back in the day–of course, no evidence or facts are offered to support this regularly debunked claim that massive swarms of Liberals hate Obama. Poulos also explains that Liberals are hopeless and will be forced to vote for Obama because they have no place to go. Then he offers up the Tea Party as the last great progressive hope in the Nation. It is complete nonsense that only a Firebagger could love. And yet, it is nonsense that Conor Friedersdorf finds “provocative”.
Now, I know that taking a whack at the Conor’s dribble is usually the sport of others, but his fluffing of Daily Caller wankery is a classic example of how even the stupidest ideas move up the media chain to become “serious”.
Conor takes Poulos’ call for Liberals to embrace the Tea Party as the core proof of his Case for a Primary Challenge Against Obama and the Daily Caller Teabagger nonsense becomes the foundation of Connor’s advice for Liberals and America. To build his “case”, he invents several fantasies to serve as pillars of sand for his argument. According to Conor, the Tea Party is a real Grass Roots movement and it was around during the Bush years. Not only that, they were very angry at W as far back as 2003. Evidence of any of this is–of course–absent. Conor then repeats regularly debunked assertions like the majority of Liberals are angry at Obama or that President-Obama-has-broken-every-important-promise-he-ever-made. To “support” these claims, Conor links to himself and even more of his selective hodgepodge of out-of-context statements, myths, deceptive rhetoric, “some say” non-quotations, spin, wingnut frames and other nonsense to obscure the weakness of his thinking. Actual proof of any “fact” he offers up is missing, misleading or incomplete. This is not a surprise as the point of his work is to move wingnut memes/frames into the mainstream and it is a task he does with gusto.
Conor takes a poorly thought out bit of wingnut drivel–the notion that the Tea Party and glibertarian magical thinking are the only hope for Liberals and America–and turns it into call for the Left to embrace a Primary challenge for President Obama. I suspect that this Obama has betrayed the Left and must face a Primary challenge meme will get more such fluff pieces from Conor and other “serious” people in the coming weeks. Regardless of who tries to fluff this latest helpful suggestion from Wingnutopia, you can be certain that they–like Conor–will use wingnut sources, talking points, memes and frames to make their “case” that defeating Obama should be a Liberal priority. It is known.
It might be possible that there is a progressive case for a primary challenger to President Obama, but I’ve yet to hear anybody make that case without using wingnut nonsense. As for Conor’s notion that a Teabagger/Progressive alliance through glibertarianism will save the Nation… well, that just burns with stupidity. It is an argument that can’t be made without a full embrace of wingnut crazy.
That said, there are issues where progressive should pressure President Obama to change a priority, a policy and/or take an action. This is especially true with policies controlled by the White House like many issues surrounding civil liberties and the fall out of the GWOT. There are other issues from Education to Immigration to financial oversight where a fully progressive critique of the Obama Administration could be made and have been made. When considering events, policies and actions from the frame of this or that single issue a strong case to pressure the Obama Administration is a good idea. There are folks do this regularly and they have proven that it is possible to make very strong critiques without an embrace of wingnut bile, spin, frames and talking points. It can be done, but not if you’re lazy.
Our political reality is diverse and multi-dimensional. The endless issues with their unique binary frames are the collection of data points making up our political landscape. It is my holistic view of issues and this political landscape that makes me a liberal. I know that no person, party,opportunity or period of time will be perfect or even good on some (or many) of these issues. And yet, when it comes to social justice and progress rigid dedication to a single issue frame over a holistic approach has always failed. Always. Problems are interlocking and so are solutions. I tend to get off the bus when I’m told that there is only one way to understand all events and/or that any single issue frame is the most important and/or the only way to view things. Embracing any single issue as your only filter for political action is a well worn path to madness, violence and destruction. As I read and hear the arguments of the single issue folks from left to right, I find that it is an inability to view politics beyond the frame of their favorite issue that produces the anger and hate driving their rhetoric and politics. And to justify their narrower and narrower view of reality through the lens of their chosen issue, their thinking and rhetoric tends to get lazier and lazier as they embrace anything from any source to make their case. This inflexibility of thought has led many keyboard progressives to willingly serve as the left flank of wingnutopia and parrot wingnut attacks on Obama and other Democrats as some odd example of a “progressive” virtue.
Over at GOS one frequently recommended single issue keyboard progressive decided that a racist Free Republic video from 2008 would help convince progressives that Obama must get a Primary challenger. And over at FDL this type of thing continues 24/7. Guppies like Conor will pick up these memes and move them up the media food chain until every outlet has done their version of the Obama has betrayed the Left and must face a Primary challenge meme. And all of these efforts from the small-time GOS poster to Halprin’s Gang of 500 Villagers will share an inability to write the story without an embrace of the hate, bile, lies and frames from the wingnuts.
Judging from their prose, a clear hatred of Obama seems to be inspiring many of these progressive keyboard commandos to jump into bed with the worst ideas and people of Wingnutopia. Alliances have already been made and some have been working on the dream of a Firebagger/Teabagger mashup for a long time. And the result of it all is a pile of bile rooted in magical thinking.
And yet, wankers like Conor Friedersdorf will do their part to present this weak tea as “serious” and “provocative” and “important”. They will use it to promote Democrats in Disarray memes and efforts to suppress turnout in 2012 just as it was done in 2010. I suppose that within a few more days many other Beltway villagers will pick up Conor’s twin lament that the only hope for Liberals is to find a primary challenger for President Obama and to embrace the glibertarian gibberish of the AstroTurf Tea Party movement. And many fools of the so-called progressive blog-o-sphere will only be too happy to help.
This is how the game of politics is played in America and why we cannot have nice things.
As you say, no evidence for this conclusory statement. But it does raise a secondary point: was liberal anger at LBJ, on balance, a net positive or a net negative? I ask this as someone whose parents brought me to anti-war marches in the late ’60s–whose mother wound up voting for Dick Gregory because she couldn’t stomach Humphrey’s (enforced, as it happened) refusal to oppose the war in Vietnam. And I’m not sure what the answer is, but it is fairly clear to me that without the anti-LBJ sentiment on the left Nixon never would have been elected.
And of course, it’s kind of important to consider the question if one considers Obama at all analogous to LBJ.
It’s not just FDL. Check-out the comments on sites like DK & HP.
Progressives do feel betrayed by Obama and you can hear the same baloney that we heard in 2000: Obama is a sell-out, corporatist, centrist, Republican, same as Bush …
No wonder so few politicians espouse the left-wing line … progressives are very quick to turn on them.
@Tom Hilton #1: Yet I got yelled at in comments in TPM and DK this weekend that Obama needs to be more like LBJ …
The most depressing part is, I will bet the rent money that the thinking behind that piece of wingnut drivel was something along the lines of “F*ck it; let’s throw it out there. Everything else we’ve tried has worked; we might as well keep rolling the dice.”
Woodrow L. Goode, IV
In theory, this almost makes sense. I had this exchange with E.D. Kain in e-mail when he was here.
1. I happen to believe that the political spectrum– as a straight line– does not exist. I view it as a circle, with extreme left and extreme right standing next to each other, separated by a barrier.
2. The barrier is the question “What is the greatest evil plaguing society?” The answer, for the lefties is “Big business, functioning with no restraints”, while the right is “Big government, functioning with no restraint.”
Get a really pure libertarian– not a glibertarian, who grafts right-wing social beliefs onto a no-government economic scheme– and a wild-eyed lefty and there will be tons of common ground. Gay rights, abortion, privacy, religious issues, drugs, subsidies, trade, foreign policy, etc… I’ve had this conversation dozens of times over several decades.
3. It’s not possible to unite the two groups, because things always breaks down over the same key issues (related to how much each side trusts its bogeyman to behave and how much power it will give the deity it worships), but there certainly can be a coalition on some issues.
In theory, that coalition could put a hurt on both major parties and provide a check and balance.
Of course you can’t possibly make that work with a Tucker Carlson or Megan McArdle, who’s more than to happy to have oppressive, intrusive government as long at it does so to enforce policies they support. When you hear “government can’t ban the sale of any weapon– but it can ban birth control and RU-486” or “Subsidies are evil, unless it’s a bank or oil company”, you’re dealing with a wingnut in sheep’s clothing.
What makes the piece a fantasy is that the Tea Party is filled with glibertarians and psuedo-conservatives, who believe that All Animals Are Equal– But White, Male Animals Who Believe In The Proper Ghod Should Be Treated More Equally Than Everyone Else.
Obama can not be more like LBJ for a simple reason: LBJ had been in Congress for YEARS before he became president. He had horse-traded and negotiated with other members of Congress and knew where the proverbial bodies were buried for everyone. He could arm twist like no one else. He could do these things because of time — years and years of time working with both sides.
Obama just can’t compete with the time and knowledge of his colleagues.
That may be so, but doesn’t Joe Biden (nearly 30 years in the Senate) bat clean-up for him?
In his regurgitation of very tired Dumpster Juice talking points, Dennis G. claims that Firebaggers love the kind of unsupported nonsense offered up by Daily Caller – of course, no evidence or facts are offered to support this regularly trotted out claim that massive swarms of Firebaggers agree with the writing on the Daily Caller.
Tom Hilton raises one of those good, but unanswerable questions. In retrospect, anger at HHH based on anger at LBJ helped elect Nixon and usher in the last 40 years of reaction.
And I do think the left should have gotten behind HHH despite his failure to break from LBJ on the war. Todd Gitlin, an SDS founder, has come to the same conclusion.
But you can’t underestimate the fury at the war at the time, and the atmosphere of uncertainty, tragedy and disappointment at the killings of RFK and MLK and failure of McCarthy. To go from riots at the ’68 convention in August, to knocking on doors in September was just very difficult. (I knocked on doors, but for Al Lowenstein, the Presidential election was a footnote in that district.)
And blowhard like Brokaw pin the blame more generally on the anti-war left throughout the sixties, rather than only their failure to coalesce behind HHH in the fall of ’68. After all, it was the birth of hippie-punching.
Now in 2000, it was much more obvious that the Nader voters were destructively ushering in the age of Bush.
Our progressive overlords, are an angry, directionless bunch. Every few weeks they are thrown into another hysteria. They spend more time attacking Obama than advocating for liberal causes or challenging the freaking republicans. But what annoyes me the most about them, is their use of right wing memes in their attack of the President.
I’ve been struggling as an Obamabot the last several months – especially with this debt / deficit nonsense. The fact that the debate in Washington is not and hasn’t been over how to decrease unemployment but rather over how to reduce the deficit is a sign to me that someone (I don’t know who – the WH, Dem leadership, etc.) decided to give up fighting over what problem matters most.
Dems – Pres. Obama included – have accepted the notion that the deficit and debt are the biggest problems now. They’re not, and the way I know is I waste a lot of time following nerdy econ blogs and watch the bond markets and so on. Interest rates are still lower than they have been in many years (with the exception of a brief period in late ’08), which means there isn’t some imminent or urgent debt issue.
Meanwhile, there’s a lot of evidence that the main reason the economy hasn’t grown much is high oil prices, which aren’t going to go down for a sustained period ever again since we’ve been on an oil production plateau globally for 6 years now (and are likely at or past peak oil).
Given these fundamentals, it hurts my head to see the president and his advisors and cabinet talking about the things they do rather than focusing on the real issues and ignoring/arguing against the other stuff as nonsense.
Besides all that, who the hell would they recruit to primary Obama? Hillary Clinton has repeatedly stated she’s not running again; Russ Feingold has indicated the same; Howard Dean would not only turn you down, he would ask what the hell you think you’re doing; Alan Grayson seems to be gaining some traction on the Internet, but has said nothing himself; I would love to see Bernie Sanders run, but apparently he’s not going to; and just who does that leave, exactly?
Nobody. So the Firebaggers are spinning their wheels.
Look, I’m a big advocate of picking your fights wisely. In 2016, yeah, go hog-wild. For now, they need to shut up, band together, and work with what they’ve got.
@Finn13: Tucker Carlson has howler monkeys. Hoocodanode?
Don’t be silly: we don’t have the power. We pulled out all the stops on health care and we lost. I can’t imagine how we could successfully move Teflon President II, let alone challenge him. Where there is big money involved, Obama will not be moved; his macroeconomic policy is pure Hooverism.
So Obama and Obamist economic policy are here to stay. Time to move on. I keep asking my colleagues on the left what to do during the coming long depression. No-one seems to know. What about you-folk? Let’s hear it. Let’s hear some hope and change.
The world is waiting.
Paul Krugman has done a lot of damage by pushing this theory that Obama has “accepted the notion that the deficit and debt are the biggest problems now.” The President has been very clear that he wants to exempt social benefits, infrastructure, education, and stimulus from any cuts. Krugman, in his prissy wisdom, insists that Obama has embraced right wing policies because instead of speaking in approved Progressive Wonk language, he tries to make things concrete and simple and morally compelling for the public.
@Jewish Steel: And still Biden’s decades in the Senate don’t compensate for the multidimensional nature of modern American politics, as Dennis G. notes.
In today’s politics, even LBJ couldn’t govern like LBJ. (Although it would be fun watching him stomp Godzilla-like on the Villagers.)
I’m starting to wonder if this emerging “Why can’t Barack be more like LBJ” refrain is a sublimated wish that Obama will emulate Johnson and not run for reelection, leaving the field open for the cloned hybrid of Bernie Sanders and Dennis Kucinich beloved of the firebaggers.
I’m still thinking about the assessment of the Democratic primaries and convention in ’68, and I’m not sure where it takes us.
The why can’t Barack be more like LBJ refrain is due to the racist tinged nostalgia that animates firebagger politics. They worked their way through FDR and Truman and the environmental firebaggers have even got to Carter. LBJ was clearly going to be on the list.
I have to disagree with you there. I no fan of Krugman (for reasons different than most folks) but I don’t think the idea that Pres. Obama is talking about the debt is false – he really is focused on the debt, to the point that he has been one-upping the GOP in how much to cut. I’m not talking about Medicare or SS – I’m talking about the bigger question of why is unemployment high. That has nothing to do with the debt and it has a lot to do with energy (oil in particular). The evidence is overwhelming on that point. Yet it’s not even mentioned let alone tackled.
Can we get a full playlist (lyrics included) of all the songs on the Mighty Wurlitzer so people on our side can recognize a propaganda campaign when they see one? ARGH! Firebagger disinformation is giving me a headache already!
I’m trying to imagine what it would take for me to embrace a teabagger, any teabagger. I mean, for gawd’s sake, I live in the state that produced Sharron Angle, quintessential teabagger. So stupidly religious she refused to allow a high school football team to wear the black football uniforms some generous person donated because black is the devil’s color. Angle was on the school board and could get away with that crap. And the school was seriously poor and could have used the uniforms someone GAVE them. Uniforms no tax payer had to foot the bill for.
Are we truly more multi-dimensional than we were back then or do things today seem complex because we are closer in time to events and have a more nuanced understanding of them?
Did you go to Sugar Creek this weekend?
Edited to remove gibberish. Ugh. It’s hot here.
Rootless, must we ignore the plain meaning of Obama’s words and the plain actions he has undertaken? Obama created the Social Security Commission and stacked it with anti-Social Security members. Now he is talking up deficit reductions, and in huge amounts.
I do not understand, exactly, what harm is done by objecting to policies which Obama has openly stated and pursued.
First: the debt is an actual problem. W doubled the size of the Federal budget, pushed a lot of costs to states, and gutted federal revenues. He did that for a reason- to fulfill Grover Norquists dream of the government as debt ridden, weak unable to afford social programs and at mercy of the bond market. Krugmam is too focused on his own rap to figure that out.
Second, Obama is using the debt issue, which has been marketed so well to the public as a lever for addressing bigger issues – like the way the tax code is bent to protect crony capitalists. In fact, Obama is addressing energy via the debt discussion by protecting wind and solar subsidies and attacking oil/coal subsidies. He’s a good politician looking for a way forward and Krugman is a tedious pedant with a single spaced memo that he’s convinced is the blueprint for success if only he can pound it into the heads of the dummies.
Oh that puckish young Conner! What a scamp.
Welcome to the machine….Which one’s Pink?
Wel, a lot of that is because I think a lot of voters (besides large money) are focussed on the deficit. And those voters are more numerous than progressives.
@raven in fact you ARE ignoring the plain meaning of Obama’s words and the plain actions he has taken. Your interpretation of the Deficit Commision is neither one. The plain meaning of his words is very plain
And his actions match. What he is not doing is following the plan that progressives, who have yet to win a single election, dogmatically order him to follow.
I’d argue that Obama speaks the way he does about the deficit because he knows it’s the way a good chunk of persuadable voters — having been inundated with that frame for 30-40 years — think about the economy. What the Angry Lefties don’t seem to notice is that in the same breath Obama makes many of the arguments the left wants him to make — middle-class benefits shouldn’t be cut, the rich need to pay their share, etc.
The Kos-ites (at least the “Must Primary Him” sliver) seem to feel only by disregarding these ingrained prejudices of the middle and rhetorically ramming home a liberal philosophy can liberal goals be achieved. Obama’s take is that we can pay lip service to what those folk now believe but wean them over to our position by bits. It’s an arguable strategy, of course, but the FDL sorts don’t even appear aware it’s being used.
@Jewish Steel: I think it’s more multidimensional – despite the shift rightward, we’ve spent forty years broadening the cast of political actors. Women, LGBT activists, Hispanics and others are at the table to a degree that would have been unthinkable in 1968. And I think the world and the US role in it is genuinely more complex than it was then. We traded the cold war and the threat of a nuclear endgame for a shifting set of economic and security alliances involving more, and more unpredictable, participants.
Yes, I went to Sugar Creek, and was glad I brought my own fan. It was amazingly crowded at 10:15 yesterday.
The debt could have been said to be an issue for any year in the last 30. What makes debt a problem is the bond market, as you write, but as I mentioned in my comment above, the bond market isn’t remotely concerned about US debt – interest rates are near historic lows.
Also, the energy related stuff you mentioned is so small and tangential that it will do virtually nothing given the scale of the issue we’re talking about. I’m not upset at Pres. Obama about this – I know it’s a hard issue to broach – but I’m saying that if he want to have any hope of anything better than a sluggish recovery, he has to seriously deal with energy. The stimulus and other minor programs in the last couple of years only did 5% of what we need on energy, and it’s clearly far more urgent to resolve than the debt.
@normal liberal: I’ll buy that. But I think our ability to know every little zephyr and breeze that blows through capitol hill and the White House in, real time no less, illuminates what was probably always a complex machine.
You could’ve set up a booth and sold your little fan for a tidy profit today. What a scorcher.
Extremely unreliable, impatient rubes. They are impatient with the political process and just want a dictator that just does what they want. They turn on the rest of us as well. They are children.
Rootless, Krugman’s a red herring–he is as marginalized as the rest of the left. Energy and environment are important issues in the long run but, “In the long run we are all dead.” We are in a depression. 1 in 6, roughly are unemployed. The housing market is in chaos, with some 60 million titles shadowed and a steady drumbeat of foreclosures. And the Federal government is not addressing these issues. There is every reason to believe the depression will continue for years.
Given that, how would you suggest, as citizens, we react?
Note that the founders of those sites are ex-Republicans.
Here’s a question I’ve often wondered about but never hear discussed: If LBJ had run, would he have done better than Humphreys? While he was a focus of hatred on the anti-war left (probably deservedly) he was a gifted politician, and incumbent presidents do have a leg up over veeps (who typically were simply chosen by the presidential nominee for whatever reason and usually aren’t seen as having “won” the position in their own right). If LBJ had stuck it out, could the Nixon disaster have been averted?
Of course, a more interesting question (if only to alternate history buffs) is: Could Carter have gotten reelected and saved us from the even greater disaster of Reaganism if only those damn choppers hadn’t gone done in a freak sandstorm.
@The Raven: energy isn’t important only in the long run – it’s important now. Without dealing with energy, the economy is liable to bump along as it is. This is a common blindspot in progressive thinking – that energy policy really only needs to change because of climate change, and therefore it’s a long-term rather than short term issue, and that it doesn’t constrain the economy. It does.
@Jewish Steel: That was actually my point about LBJ – he couldn’t have operated as he did under the level of minute-by-minute scrutiny that exists now. Kennedy couldn’t have kept his extramarital exploits and health issues quiet. And so on.
No question that that period was complex,but I would be interested in a comparison of general public knowledge of the status of Vietnam in 1968 versus the same about Iraq in 2008. Were we actually better informed about Iraq, or did we just have a greater volume of sanitized factoids blasted at us? I’m not sure how you measure this, but I think the two eras run neck-and-neck on the lying-to-the-public-about-war metric.
This. All this.
The most popular online sites & two (Ed & Cenk) with Shows on msnbc are also “X” republicans. They both bash Obama with rightwing talking pts & threats of primaries & not being reelected. What a setup!
What I’d like to see happen:
Everybody who is out of work and is able to–descend on the Mall, the Capital, the Supreme Court and NOT LEAVE until a jobs bill is passed. That’s what-20 to 30 Million people who have been forgotten by the Powers That Be-especially since they’re saying that time is running out?
For those folks, time has run out.
@Citizen Alan: LBJ was a talented and resourceful politician, but I have a hard time seeing him campaigning in the fall of ’68. Too much blood in the streets, and on the evening news that everybody got from the same handful of sources.
I think it’s possible that the convention would have been less chaotic and thus slightly less damaging,(and Johnson would have sat on Daley and the CPD), but it wouldn’t have been enough. Nixon promised peace with honor (he lied) and told all those terrified middle and working class families that he’d get those scary students off the streets and into school or the Army, where they belonged.
@ The Raven:
Hmm…the only ones who pulled out all the stops on health care and lost were the Firebaggers and GOP.
Which means you’re in one of those camps.
BR, so far as I am concerned energy has been important for a long time. But the current depression does not appear to be a result of energy prices or even price shocks, which the article you cite confirms. The most likely short-term factor affecting the current depression is going to be misguided reductions in government spending.
In general, this statement is horseshit. First, since when are progressives anyone’s “overlords?” When was the last time progressives forced anyone to do anything? Was it when Obama and the Dems failed to let the Bush tax cuts expire? Was it when the Patriot Act was renewed and strengthened? Was it when single-payer was never once considered during the health care reform debate? Was it when Obama decided not to withdraw from Afghanistan? Yeah, those progressives are always bullying people and getting their way.
But what’s the bit about using right-wing memes? What progressives are calling Obama a socialist or questioning his country of birth? If anyone is using right-wing memes, it’s Obama himself, as he undermines and repudiates much of the liberal agenda. Remember “Government must live within its means” and all of the recent talk about spreading the pain? It’s the kind of stuff that Ronald Reagan might have said, and all it does is validate the last 30 years of Republican bullshit.
I contributed to Obama’s campaign and voted for him in both the primary and the general, and I’m sorry to say that I’m disappointed in him so far. I think I earned the right to say that without having my actions or my motives dishonestly impugned.
@normal liberal: Oh, I see. Yeah absolutely. Not to mention LBJ’s unprepossessing looks and squeaky voice, would he have ever gotten elected in the first place?
That’s a really good question. Info vs knowledge. You can know more, more readily now. You can understand more deeply, but from fewer sources then.
AxelFoley, there were a lot of people on the left opposed to the Obama health care plan, not just the FDL crowd. (BTW, I am deeply underwhelmed by the namecalling.) Physicians for a National Health Program has been working for single-payer since 1987. My side lost. We have also lost on the other issues Dennis cites. We have no help to give: all we can do now is speak the truth to power.
Are you going to dispute the economics I have cited, or the need for citizen action in hard times? Given that there is such a need, what actions would you take?
@Jewish Steel: Hey, if the ’68 election had been contested on looks (among the survivors), Gene McCarthy would have won. It’s not as if Humphrey or Nixon (or George Wallace) were GQ material.
And now we get Palin on the cover of what used to be Newsweek. She’s not there as a celebration of her brilliance.
Suffern, so obviously, the adults are in charge now.
Now where have I heard that before?
I’m confused from reading some of the comments here. Are progressives so contemptible because they’re such overbearing bullies that they always spoil everything by getting their way, or is it because they always lose? Are they omnipotent “overlords” or self-destructing losers? Apparently it’s one extreme or the other, but how can it be both at the same time?
By not paying attention to people who would lead you in divisive conversations about things like “who should primary Obama?” for starters. No one is going to run against him and all that it will do is lead to bitterness. So and so will say “Bernie Sanders” and someone else will say “Draft Krugman!” and in the fight over that, egos will just get damaged.
There is no such thing as an “Activist Blogger.” Join groups that have actual activists and members and see what they’re up to.
No they aren’t. Seek some out and put them in charge.
Have you contacted your Rep in the House? They control the money. Nothing will pass unless the Speaker has enough pressure that they have to act. That’s one reason the prez isn’t talking about jobs programs that have to be funded. He has no leverage with the GOP House to fund anything. There’s an Infrastructure Bank Bill in the Senate that Kerry was working on, per the prez Budget. Call him & ask for the status.
Mike Kay (Team America)
Obama needs to invade Vietnam and kill JFK?
Mike Kay (Team America)
Queen Jane has been saying this since the fall of 2009. She still maintains that ACA should be repealed.
It’s only a matter of time before she pulls the full Hitchens and becomes a neo-con. It’s not that far fetched, even the liberal Eldridge Cleaver became a Reagoon. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eldridge_Cleaver#Later_life
The Repblican party that LBJ faced was nothing like the party today. The analogy fails. At that time the Reps were a long time minority party with very few members who had ever chaired a committee. Dems had huge majorities. Deals were made because the Reps were there to deal. If they had held their breath and stopped medicare from passing, the Dems could have made them completely irrelevant by shear numbers alone. I’ve been on negotiating teams before as a rep. for my teacher’s union. The first 2 years the board was willing to strike deals on issues. We won some stuff and had to table other issues. The last time it was a new board who had no interest in negotiating. We were told to take it or leave it, and they were hoping we’d leave it. They wanted a strike because the public was on their side. This was the 80’s and not a single board member gave a crap about education. In fact they were there to destroy it. Our choice was do we give them the win in three sets, or do we go down love and love. Being better negotiators, fighting harder or changing our rhetoric wouldn’t have made a bit of difference. The president negotiated deals in the Illinois statehouse; he’s not clueless; he’s also not dealing with people who care about the issues on the table. They care about issues only insofar as they can be used as political tools. If angry liberals want to join with the tea party to primary Obama, they are free to do so. Freedom Works will be happy to fund them, and thrilled to destroy them in the general election.
A Republican House majority wants to make cuts. Obama wants to use the discussion about cuts to make technocratic fixes to social-welfare programs (e.g., how providers are paid, how to avoid duplicative services, how to weed out what doesn’t work) while also continuing to fund important, forward-looking initiatives. He tends to call the latter “investing.” He tends to refer to the former with familiar, even hackneyed, phrases like “live within our means” and “tighten our belts” and the dreaded household-government analogy. But, here’s the thing, what happens _after that_ is also important.
It’s his version of a debate tactic that I recall him also using: “Pat Opponent is right that _____. But we have different views on _____.” If you want to start a fight or just plain act like a dick, you can Huffandpuff that “OMG, he just said Pat Opponent is right! He actually said it! All our worst fears are confirmed!” Or you could, like, continue to listen.
If you’re more adversarial by nature, maybe you just don’t like that kind of thing. I teach. I do it a lot. Student says something, I think it’s wrong, but I don’t say, “Actually, dumbass, it’s the opposite, now shut up and try harder next time.” I might say, “You make a good point, but you might consider _____ too, and if I told you _____, what would you say to that?”
IMHO, if your first impulses are (1) to teach, (2) to make peace, you deploy this kind of rhetoric a lot. On the other hand, if your first impulses are (1) to scoff, (2) to attack, maybe you just don’t get it.
Mike Kay (Team America)
Boehner must shower in OrangeGlow©
If there are any Catholics or ex-Catholics on this board you know that converts were always the worst. They’re the ones who ratted you out to your mom when they saw you eating a burger with some friends on Friday. Your mother would say- Honey if you are going to eat meat could you not do it where Phyllis can see you? She a “convert” you know.
Sometime in the 2050s, a small but vituperative minority of the American left will use whatever dominate form of social media to castigate the current Democratic President as being a sell-out and pine for the days when we had Presidents like Barack Obama who actually cared about ordinary Americans.
Not because Obama does or does not care about ordinary Americans. But because this minority is fucking stupid along with being small and vituperative. It constantly needs to reinvent its own history in order to justify itself. The forebears of this group hated FDR in the 30s and LBJ in the 60s, but their pathology has necessitated canonizing both men as progressive saints.
So when the question is asked, “who do they have to primary Obama?” the most obvious choice that comes to my mind is the reanimated corpse of either Huey Long or Bobby Kennedy.
@normal liberal: No, she’s there because, “I can win.”
@dogwood: Yes, and didn’t Obama stick the Republicans with a bag of balls and a few prospects below the Mendoza line (if I may extend my baseball metaphor)during the budget negotiations? I don’t think he’s a bad negotiator.
a million times this.
it’s possible that your perception that Dems and Obama have accepted the notion that debt and deficit are the biggest problems now is wrong. I believe it is. The reason that the discussion has been focused on debt and deficit is because the GOP threatened a shutdown in April and threatened to fuck the world economy in August. There are deadlines here. Moreover, the GOP has tied debt and deficit TO job creation with their ridiculous and provably false notion that cutting taxes creates jobs. It’s horse shit, but that’s what their message is. And that message resonates because our side is not attacking the faulty logic behind that message. So to the hard right folks, the GOP actually IS focused on creating jobs and focused on reducing debt simultaneously. our side knows that’s crap, so we have to do whatever is necessary to make the other side think they are getting a good deal. of course to the intellegentsia on our side, it seems half-baked. i don’t think it is. let’s wait and see.
I think it’s silly to think that the WH doesn’t know that unemployment is of utmost importance. However the GOP is so busy playing chicken with our economy, and waging their culture war, a d doing a spectacular job of tying both of those issues TO job creation via debt reduction (hey, defund Planned Parenthood to reduce the debt and make sure women can’t get abortions — it’s a twofer! and reducing the debt creates jobs! awesome!)
I’m babbling, but the point is, I think you’re giving the Obama team too little credit, here.
(edited to add a point)
and in the meantime, he has set an amazing trap which boehner walked right into. boehner suggested some cuts. obama suggested MORE cuts. boehner walked away. now dems can say that boehner felt it more important to give subsidies to corporate jet owners than to listen to the majority of american people who favor making rich folks pay their fair share.
screaming and refusing to put everything on the table in a negotiation is not a winning strategy, especially if you can bluff. which obama did.
he said he’s not going to weaken social security. he’d be an idiot if he did.
he’s not an idiot.
great post, by the way. :)
Mike Kay (Team America)
you are absolutely correct.
the aging boomers idolizing LBJ today on blogs were calling him a murderer on their college campuses 45 years ago.
how true. here’s a list a partial list of leftys who hated FDR for not being a true progressive.
it include his royal highness, Howard Zinn “whose book A People’s History of the United States criticizes Franklin Roosevelt and the New Deal for not going far enough to redistribute wealth in the U.S. during the Great Depression. Zinn argues that the New Deal was primarily concerned with saving American capitalism, and that it should have been more radical in nationalizing American industry and promoting economic sozializm. Other historians such as Eric Foner and Alan Brinkley have made similar criticisms of the New Deal.”
it reads like a broken record of what we hear today: no nationalization, not far enough, not enough redistribution, should have let the banks failed to enable the transition to soczalizm.
When I see and hear people arguing that the only difference between the extreme right and the extreme left is who their bad guy is, and I see and hear people agreeing, it reminds me just how far we have to go in educating people in politics. Because that kind of mouthbreathing is about a half step to the left of ‘socialism = communism = Democrat Party’.
Good post. I don’t know if FDR talked jobs, but the New Deal didn’t produce them as rapidly as the revisionists believe. Unemployment remained extraordinarily high throughout the ’30’s. I also believe that the president is more measured in the language he uses about jobs because he knows it’s so much hooey. The Reps. aren’t going to pass any jobs bill. In some ways this reminds me of the 80’s. Reagan got elected by promising to reduce the deficit. He got elected and tripled it. He found out you couldn’t enact tax cuts, a big defense build-up and slash social programs by fiat. He took the cuts and the defense stuff and went along with funding programs he despised. He had it easy though, because his adversary in congress was Tipp O’Neil.
@Mike Kay (Team America):
Little known fact: In 1864, following Lincoln’s pocket veto of the Wade-Davis Bill, a small group of Radical Republicans decided that Lincoln was selling out the movement to the Southern planters in exchange for electoral support. So they had the bright idea of holding an alternate convention and nominating one of their own, John C. Fremont, to run against Lincoln. It ended badly for them. Fremont got absolutely no support outside the group and ended up suspending his campaign about two months prior to the election, Henry Davis lost his seat in Congress to a pro-Lincoln primary opponent, and the Radicals became politically crippled after Lincoln’s assassination.
As for Brinkley, Foner, and Zinn, it is generally through their scholarship (and other historians like them) that we’re able to move beyond the tepid narratives of the Depression. Pointing out where reform movements fail is not exactly a bad thing, really. Foner, in particular, does this really well I think. He’s scholarship on Reconstruction is second to none, and he really sticks it to the Radical Republicans for being myopic and tone deaf in their approach. Brinkley’s End of Reform, dealing with all the perils and pitfalls of the Roosevelt administration, is also very good.
Something along those lines with respect to LBJ would likely be Allen Matusow’s The Unraveling of America, though its framed in a more broad look at 1960s liberalism. The main reason why Johnson was politically successful is that virtually all of his domestic policy decisions (excluding Civil Rights) were designed not to arouse the ire of the middle-class. Its also the main reason why his policies weren’t as effective as they could have been.
Which is the trade-off modern liberalism must inexorably make each and every time it comes into power.
@Mike Kay (Team America):
And when I reference people who hated FDR, I mean those who supported the likes of Huey Long, Francis Townsend, Upton Sinclair, Charles Coughlin, and Norman Thomas. People who thought that the purpose of the Federal government was not to save the capital economy, but kill it and magically make something new.
Alan Brinkley and Eric Foner weren’t even alive during the Depression, and Zinn was a child during most of it.
Unemployment dropped from 25% in 1933 to 11% in 1937. Had it dropped similarly in the Obama administration, Unemployment would be at about 4% and the only thing people would be saying about Obama was if we could repeal the amendment that limits him to two terms.
Mike Kay (Team America)
as usual, you make no sense. FDR lowered unemployment and they actually enacted term limits.
Clinton drastically cut unemployment and the left hates him with a passion. the usual suspects say there’s no difference btwn bush and clinton.
To restate a point I made Friday evening, it isn’t just FDL: “I hate to accuse President Obama of being an Uncle Tom, but like Uncle Tom he counsels accepting our system of enslavement to the rich and powerful….If Obama had been president in 1861, he would have negotiated an end to war based on a promise from the slavers to treat their slaves better. ” From DKos.
So Young Connor has this going for him: some so-called liberals are champ[ing at the bit to join the Tea Party in its racist rhetoric too. And then they’re surprised when African-Americans think that there’s racism among the left. Can’t imagine why…
Obama is clearly a corporatist Democrat and liberals like me were hoping (dreaming) for an FDR Democrat who would literally send Wall Street to jail, get universal health care, blah, blah, blah.
So, no, I have nothing in common at all with the hateful, conservative, right and our divisions will grow wider and wider (the Koch brothers will no doubt fund it!)as the forces of corporatist evil continue to laugh hysterically at their private joke of (hating) and destroying us all.
I don’t object at all to the advocacy, but I do object, a lot, to what I see as saying things that aren’t true, or leaving parts out, or settling on a meme and sticking with it, facts be damned. I don’t often read Kos diaries, but I did yesterday, and I think the diarists are either confused or misrepresenting what has happened so far.
1. They had test votes in the House on raising the debt ceiling (a clean bill) and they failed. They have to address that, before demanding a clean bill.
2. Pelosi, the progressive caucus (so the Democrats that are most to the Left) and Obama are not that far apart on debt reduction. They aren’t. Nothing any of them has said has indicated this HUGE divide that Kos diarists are insisting exists. The progressive caucus has said they will consider cuts to Medicare. That’s what they said. They did (it is TRUE) object completely to SS changes, so there’s the area in dispute.
I think they’re seeing what they want to see, instead of reading the statement, and what they want to see is Obama miles apart from the progressive caucus, because that puts Obama on the far Right of Democrats. I’m not seeing that from what the caucus said, and I’d like to know where they’re getting it.
All the posts over there yesterday said Pelosi/progressive caucus opposed to “cuts”. You know what? That isn’t strictly true. That isn’t what they said. It’s an important distinction.
One of the problems with this particular meme is that the two issues that most Liberals are most disenchanted with President Obama are his bank friendly – trickle down to workers economic recovery program and his apparent willingness to significantly reduce Social Security and Medicare benefits on the altar of “deficit reduction” are issues where wing-nuts and glibertarians, who want to eliminate these programs entirely in order to pay for more tax cuts for rich people. So exactly how do liberals work with Tea Party types who want to end Social Security? Further, the Tea Party Republicans are seen by their works in Congress and the State Legislature. They may be for less Government in the form of environmental regulation of gas drilling and other Koch Industries projects, but they are all for authoritarian regulation of women reproduction rights, for restricting voting rights to white property owners, and for placing a many Brown and Black people as possible in prision using draconian immigration and drugl laws.
I recognize now that President Obama is a 21st century Grover Cleveland, but like Cleveland, he is an honest man, if capative of some very bad 1980s and 90s ideas, just as Cleveland believed in some pretty silly 19th century ideas about laissez-faire and the gold standard. And compared with the grifters, scoundrels, and fanatics in the current Confedearate Party, at least he is unlikely to destroy the country and immiserate millions of his fellow citizens.
As for the wars and policies he has inherited, I would say it is quire right tha the has basically continued the policy of second Bush administration, if somewhat more successfully. I wish he was disengaging from these wars more quickly then he is. I also wish the U.S. had not been using the past 40 years building up a de facto empire in the Middle East and Central Asia, but it is what it is and disengagements from Empire are usually as slow and bloody and the building of one in the first place.
Here’s the source on the test votes on a clean bill to raise the debt ceiling. Can we now stop saying they didn’t try to get a clean bill, or that the “answer” is to just push a clean bill thru Congress?
They tried that.
This idea that Obama is far to the Right of Democrats in the House is not supported by anything I’ve read.
There’s nothing wrong with saying all the Democrats in the House are also wrong on deficit reduction, but that’s a different debate. This singular focus on Obama as the far Right Democrat on deficits doesn’t seem to be true, so far.
Someone is going to have to show me something that supports that, because I haven’t seen anything yet.
I think a big part of the problem is the messiah fixation that vests the President with the responsibility for changing things overnight.
I’m sympathetic to a lot of the critiques of Obama. I’ll vote for him without hesitation in 2012 not because I think he’s such a great guy — although he has done some good things — but because I think it’s important for the left to build, build, build.
It will take many decades to reverse the Ray-Gun Reaction, if it’s possible at all. President Jesus Roosevelt Kennedy himself couldn’t do it in four or eight years. Electing even a Conservadem president is better than a Rethug, because it keeps the momentum going for Democratic victories all up and down the ballot. Turn on Obama, face another wave, and another 10 years of Rethug congressional majorities, governors and state-houses.
Mike Kay (Team America)
This has always been true. Especially among the PUMAs who embraced the race baiting early in 2008. I guess the Firebaggers don’t want to be last to put on a sheet.
Unemployment dropped from 25% in 1933 to 11% in 1937. Had it dropped similarly in the Obama administration, Unemployment would be at about 4% and the only thing people would be saying about Obama was if we could repeal the amendment that limits him to two terms.
First of all – that would have required Obama to turn 2 years into 4 years which really would be remarkable. Second, FDR came in when unemployment had stabilized at around 25% while Obama came in while unemployment was growing rapidly. And third, your numbers are wrong
In other words, you are making a nostalgia based argument.
Look, the biggest problem Republicans have gotten themselves into have come because nobody in the party is allowed to question the leadership.
Boy Blunder would not have been such an utter disaster if people with a tiny bit of common sense had been calling him back to reality. The conservative movement, for whatever reason – and there are several, cannot handle internal decent. While the liberal side seems to do nothing but decent.
So, while I was not expecting a liberal when I voted for Obama, I am still disappointed at how his administration has turned out. That, however, should not be taken as any sign that I would ever consider supporting the sort of insanity that the teabaggers trumpet. Just the opposite in fact. This bullshit is just delusional thinking, another ‘feature’ of the right.
So why is Bill Clinton so beloved among Democrats? Many in the Gay community think he’s the shit; and as I’ve said before, people seemed angrier at Obama for not getting DADT repealed fast enough (and yes, I know the process isn’t done yet) than they were with Clinton for signing the damn law in the first place. Not to mention his radio adds endorsing DOMA and his eventual signing of that. Welfare reform to appeal to whites, along with that Sistah Soulja moment, yet Bill was very well liked by the African American community.
What drives me bonkers at times is this idea from some Progressives that Dems can dump Obama, have Elizabeth Warren drafted, and live happily ever after in Progressive land.
Or that after the countries first African American President is tarred and feathered as worse than Bush, the Black community with simply move on and vote for whoever takes Obama’s place. Nope, no animosity there.
I’m just tired of the fantasy land daydreams.
Suffern ACE, #50: “By not paying attention to people who would lead you in divisive conversations about things like ‘who should primary Obama?’ for starters.”
I’m not. You are. So is Dennis.
Cat48, #52: “Have you contacted your Rep in the House?” I have. He’s a reliable liberal, and he is in his 70s. He is now serving his 12th term in Congress, and who knows how much longer he will serve. I don’t know that there will be anyone comparable to replace him when he retires.
You hominids are on course for a prolonged depression. Whatever deal is made in Congress now is going to make it worse. You are in a police state that is tightening its grip. There is no indication that there is any major faction of Congress is willing to fight to relax that grip. There is no sign that the cautious Administration is interesting in taking the radical steps that might improve matters.
This is where you are. It is time and past for citizen action outside the political system, since the political system is deadlocked, and apparently going to be so for years to come.
What would you suggest?
rootless_e, #80. Ahem. Nobody Special is arguing out that in the period 1933-37 unemployment dropped 3.5% a year. If Obama achieved those results the USA would now be at full employment.
You then object that unemployment rose in 1938. This was because 1937 FDR was persuaded to balance the budget by the fiscal conservatives of his own time.
Finn13: Really? Do you really need fresh links to 24/7 attacks coming from FDL? Have you visited the site? The evidence is there everyday, but I didn’t provide fresh links to their dribble anymore than I would link to Red State to prove that they are attacking Obama 24/7. In both cases it is known.
Why just the other day, John called out an example of their nonsense in this post: Just Fucking Kill Me
Go swim in that fetid swamp if you will, but don’t be surprised if it makes you sick.
Another Bob @43 ~ I won’t begrudge anyone their righteous anger, or disappointment in any politician they supported. But what annoys me is how much energy they waist in attacking President Obama. Or how they act like spoilt children stumping their little feets, every-time something doesn’t go their way. They spend so much energy on what an anonymous source says, instead of engaging in advocacy and mobilization. Remember the craziness that proceeded the President’s speech on deficit?
As for using rightwing memes, where do I start? Teabaggers talk about how Obama is bent on destroying America, I don’t know, for the benefit of creating an islamofascist government or whatever. The “progressives” talk about how Obama is destroying the democratic party within, or how he’s a secret Republican or how we don’t know anything about him. If you don’t believe me, just go and read some of the recommended diaries at DKos or even some front pagers. And let’s not forget all the variations of Obama being weak, and questioning his masculinity and how he’s all words and controlled by others.
My point is, President Obama is not the enemy. Like any politician, he will disappoint us on some issues, on others he’ll move slower than we want him to. He’s certainly not perfect, but he’s what we’ve got and we need to support him and re-enforce his message, when he’s doing the right thing. We need to pressure him when he’s not meeting our expectations. What we should not do, is direct all of our weapons on him, and forget about our opponents.
@ dogwood (# 58) What I find most ironic in that statement is that you’re saying it on a site created and run by an Ex-Republican.
2 years after FDR took office unemployment was 18%. It was nearly 15% at the end of the first term. It only dropped below double digits when the war started. So please fuck off with the Great White Bwana did so great bullshit.
so nice I had to post it thrice.
well, the bitch part comes through OK, not so sure what definition of boss you have in mind
Washington Monthly has a book review up right now on this very subject — American Dreamers: How the Left Changed a Nation.
Short version: there has never been a liberal president that the most vocal leftists didn’t hate with a passion. Ever. This deep love for FDR and LBJ that people seem to be remembering came from the center, not the left.
Maybe part of the problem that I see in threads like this is equating almost any criticism of Obama to the most extreme “firebagger” elements, while often unfairly or dishonestly representing the gist of the criticism or the motivation behind it.
Just for the record, I don’t call myself a “progressive,” I never read FDL or DKos and I’m neither a tea-tard sock-puppet nor a racist Obama-hater. I’m just pissed off about certain things that have happened where there was no good reason for them to happen, like Obama and the Dems not allowing the Bush tax cuts to expire when all they had to do to accomplish that was . . . nothing at all, or how a Democratic administration is apparently floating trial balloons about cutting Social Security and Medicare as a way of going along with a fraudulent right-wing meme about government debt.
Personally, I’m glad that liberals aren’t a bunch of zombie conformists like conservatives, and I don’t think there’s anything wrong with internal debate — au contraire. It would just be nice to be able to state your honest opinion in a responsible and fact-supported way without having people suggest that you’ve always been a racist who wants Obama to fail. I think it’s part of Obama’s job to look after his own flock and put their interests before those of the Wall Street grifters, rather than try to bullshit us into going along with things that are simply wrong from the perspective of the vast majority of real liberals. It’s not my job to applaud when he does things I don’t like. I don’t ask for the moon, I didn’t insist on single-payer, but when a Democratic president floats trial balloons about cutting Social Security, I think it’s my job to complain.
@ rootless_e, boss bitch
and there we have it. congratulations on revealing yourselves so thoroughly.
… which would have meant millions of people’s unemployment checks abruptly stopping and DADT still being in effect, which were two of the things that Obama got in return for agreeing to a short-term extension of the tax cuts.
You can argue that you don’t think that the unemployment extension and DADT were worth extending the tax cuts, but it’s silly to pretend that there was no trade at all and the extension of the tax cuts just appeared out of the blue with nothing in return.
The Dems had complete control of both houses of Congress and the White House right up until the end of 2010, at which point the Bush tax cuts would expire. They could have reinstated middle-class tax cuts and an extension of unemployment benefits even during the lame-duck session, but Obama intentionally sided with blue-dogs post-election to fight back a revolt from other congressional Dems. They went out of their way to let the Republicans “force them” to make a deal, when the only reason to postpone things to that desperate last hour was to provide political cover for themselves.
I don’t claim to be an expert on legislative strategy, but I don’t see how it’s possible to constantly claim in situations like these that this is the best that Obama and the Dems could have done. And they’re doing it again with Social Security and Medicare in this debt-ceiling negotiation. Nobody forced Obama to put Social Security and Medicare “on the table;” this initiative came from the administration itself. They’re the driving force behind it. We can’t keep fooling ourselves that their hands are tied when they’re constantly begging to be tied up:
“The President has been very clear that he wants to exempt social benefits, infrastructure, education, and stimulus from any cuts.”
I’m sure he has. He also made it very clear that he was determined that there would be a public option for health care and that Bush’s tax cuts for the rich would be repealed.
This guy is as useless as the proverbial teats on a bull.