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Watching Barbara Boxer cut off that evil toad Inhofe and his trivializing of global warming and smearing Al Gore made my blood boil. All those years people like me naively gave money to the liberal Sierra Club - an organization that endorsed Inhofe's continued chairmanship of the Senate Environment Committee by endorsing Lincoln Chafee. And NARAL - the friends of Joe Lieberman are as bad. The right has an interlocking system of organizations that aim at building power. The "liberal issue" groups in DC are part of the mighty engine of progressive powerlessness in the US and they need to disappear.

When Paul Krugman slammed the Sierra Club for endorsing Inhofe's role in the leadership (by endorsing Chaffee), Carl Pope, the $200K+/year chair of the Sierra Club explained:

Nor do we think that all politics comes down to whether you have a D or an R after your name on the ballot. Senator Lincoln Chafee earned our endorsement for his courage in standing up to the bullies in the Republican leadership, for transcending the polarizing sound-and-light show that passes for politics these days, and for hewing true to his core beliefs. Championing the protection of the legacy we leave our children cannot remain a partisan issue -- we are all sweltering under the same sun this summer.

Endorsing a politician whose first act on being re-elected would be to vote for the Republican Leadership and the control of the Environmental Committee by Inhofe is anti-environmental in the extreme.  The mystery here is how a supposedly "liberal" organization can come to such a position. The answer is that an organization that pays top executives over $200,000/year (not including overhead) is going to be institutionally incapable of rocking the boat.
Here's Mr. Pope, a Harvard grad, on why the Sierra Club has remained white and upper middle class:

One of the challenges the Sierra Club faces in broadening its predominantly white, middle-class base, is that "it's quite difficult to get people comfortable with working in a multiclass, multiethnic context," Pope says. For example, "most of our members are well-educated, and better at talking than at listening. That's pretty intimidating for someone without a formal education who comes to a first meeting. Unless we're careful--and we haven't been careful enough--that person is not going to have a positive experience, and won't come back."

If you ever want to understand why the Republican party, a party that is dedicated to helping the richest of the rich, has managed to convince a large number of Americans that it is the liberals who are elitist - consider the quote above. In fact, the "elite liberal" organization in the US are as much of an obstacle to progressive politics as the organized right.

Originally posted to citizen k on Sat Mar 24, 2007 at 01:58 PM PDT.

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