Skip to main content

Sometimes, you really just have to sit back and laugh at the ridiculousness of the purity-obsessed political culture we now live in. Take this poorly written screed in which Dave Sirota belittles Illinois Sen. Barack Obama's (D) anticipated run for president. He goes through what makes Obama unfit to represent "the movement," and this is the one that just makes you chuckle:

For progressives, this situation is perilous indeed. Obama is a candidate who has kept his record deliberately thin, who has risked almost nothing  for the bigger movement, and in fact who has sometimes gone out of his way to reinforce dishonest stereotypes about the left.

Think about it. The national media roundly ignores Sirota, who marginalizes himself every time he writes a column. Yet, at the same time, they are implicitly acknowledging that he has no interest in appealing to readers (or voters) who are not in lock-step with his creepy insistence on ideological purity. In other words, readers are to simply accept that even though Sirota has done nothing to roll back Republican dominance, his pursuit of Marxist ideals trumps all -- even Obama's actually DOING SOMETHING for the people who elected him to the Senate.

I don't blame Sirota for not having accomplished much - he has written meaningless diatribes for the Nation for a couple of years now.  But the main concern about him is that he doesn't actually seem to ASPIRE to affecting the Washington power structure (by winning elections), and doesn't seem to be interested in challenging the status quo of Marxist/"progressive" dogma in any fundamental way. Using his leftist rants as a guide, it suggests that any writing by him is about him, his speaking ability and his fawned over talent for "connecting" (whatever the hell that means) with other leftists.

This is a man who has undermined Democrats by describing their presidential aspirations with words like "ridiculousness" and "danger." This is a man who belittled Barack Obama as a do-nothing. This is a man who refused to lift a finger for mainstream Democrats. Flocking to an ideologue like that without demanding that he change only reinforces the truth:  that his "movement" is a Seinfeld Movement about nothing.

I want to be clear: Narcissistic Sirota doesn't think his movement is a Seinfeld Movement. But don't fool yourself: a movement that rushes to embrace a writer who belittles leading Democrats - well, that sort of mindless negativity could be a death blow for what we are working toward. Movements move because writers write in ways that unify and promote popular causes -- and because they spell words like "wield" without inappropriately applying mnemonics like "i before e except after c and sometimes w." Movements are killed by false prophets like Sirota, who mistake self-righteousness for substance.  They "weild" their power for their own, self-referential agenda.

Look, I'm willing to admit that maybe it's true: maybe in this age of cynicism where people have completely given up on the idea that government can do anything, all the country really wants is a slipshod writer who nebulously "connects" the Marxist dots - a talk show host hack writer who makes us feel good when he's self-righteous, even as he refuses to use his power to actually change anything. But I think now, more than ever, people are looking for real leaders - someone who has either done something, like Barack Obama, or at least used their platform to try to do something that actually changes the political status quo, instead of trotting out old leftist canards.

I sincerely hope that Sirota becomes a reality-based writer, whether he stays at the Nation, or actually writes something that people will read. I mean that, because our side needs good writers, and because I don't want to see our movement be tricked by someone who is not really rational. If he becomes a good writer, then there is no quandary for progressives, and he would make a great leader - one that I would loudly cheer on.

However, the fact that Dave Sirota has to drum up a diatribe against a fellow Democrat as a WAY to interest readers rather than him writing cogently and thoughtfully as a way to convince people that he has TRIED to seem smart and relevant is really a sad commentary on the substance-free nature of knee-jerk progressives today.

Originally posted to demosthenesqpublic on Fri Dec 01, 2006 at 10:14 AM PST.

Your Email has been sent.
You must add at least one tag to this diary before publishing it.

Add keywords that describe this diary. Separate multiple keywords with commas.
Tagging tips - Search For Tags - Browse For Tags


More Tagging tips:

A tag is a way to search for this diary. If someone is searching for "Barack Obama," is this a diary they'd be trying to find?

Use a person's full name, without any title. Senator Obama may become President Obama, and Michelle Obama might run for office.

If your diary covers an election or elected official, use election tags, which are generally the state abbreviation followed by the office. CA-01 is the first district House seat. CA-Sen covers both senate races. NY-GOV covers the New York governor's race.

Tags do not compound: that is, "education reform" is a completely different tag from "education". A tag like "reform" alone is probably not meaningful.

Consider if one or more of these tags fits your diary: Civil Rights, Community, Congress, Culture, Economy, Education, Elections, Energy, Environment, Health Care, International, Labor, Law, Media, Meta, National Security, Science, Transportation, or White House. If your diary is specific to a state, consider adding the state (California, Texas, etc). Keep in mind, though, that there are many wonderful and important diaries that don't fit in any of these tags. Don't worry if yours doesn't.

You can add a private note to this diary when hotlisting it:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from your hotlist?
Are you sure you want to remove your recommendation? You can only recommend a diary once, so you will not be able to re-recommend it afterwards.
Rescue this diary, and add a note:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from Rescue?
Choose where to republish this diary. The diary will be added to the queue for that group. Publish it from the queue to make it appear.

You must be a member of a group to use this feature.

Add a quick update to your diary without changing the diary itself:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary?
(The diary will be removed from the site and returned to your drafts for further editing.)
(The diary will be removed.)
Are you sure you want to save these changes to the published diary?

Comment Preferences

Subscribe or Donate to support Daily Kos.

Click here for the mobile view of the site