We have been throwing a tantrum. That puppies video was very satisfying and indeed very funny. And it showed what we can do when we are really pissed off. But I wonder if what has been going on here is draining our credibility both with the administration and with the educated, thinking left liberal base we need to keep around for a dialogue, or a multi-logue.
We behaved (I hate that word but it fits here so I going to use it) exactly the way our detractors said we would. –the left is going to be furious--. That fury isolates us just at a time when we need to be considering our relationship with the new powers and understanding the limits of that relationship and how to push against them.
Kos and Josh Marshall and Jane and Nate: I know the attacks on Sarah Palin worked. They did so because they were fact based; She was a real and frightening force we had to contain, and TPM had already done our homework for us. Indeed, I surprised my friends by soothing them the day after the convention when Mc Cain selected her with the information I already had about troopergate from the eagle eyes of TPM.
We are in a different position now. Our candidate is elected and he is independent of us. His first task (and I know you all know this but let me say it anyway) must be to establish a working relationship even a dominant one, with his party in congress. As I see it this is how Obama expects to begin to govern: First he issues his policy of procedure, unite his own party under his hand. He started with Lieberman because that was issue on the front burner. note: he never hid the fact that he wanted L back in the party. Obama supported his campaign. O saw that he could win and getting into power is very important for him. It is hard to see how he could be otherwise right now. But it also should inform us about the contours of what we will have to work with or against as the case may be.
I have seen a lot of anger here, people having virtual fist fights over how strongly they feel and who feels more strongly than whom and name calling. What that tells me is that we are not thinking and we need to be thinking.
What is our role as the reliable but critical base. The equivalent of Socrates, a gadfly to the powers, biting when the beast turnns the wrong way? Well partly. We are not just the "left". WE are not ideological. We recognize facts. We analyze their impact. We see the problems and we construct solutions. We are not, and I repeat, not, operating as an ideological entity. We do not have a general ax to grind. We do have positions once we understand the problem and we argue for them. In short we are liberals. But past that how do we get our message out? How do we get listened to? How do we effectuate solutions, given our place in the political universe?
Lets look at the dangers first: Kos has always designated this site as a Democratic party site. So we aren’t going to run off half-cocked and support Nader.
But we do not want to be like the right wing base, useful to get elected but, after, only to be assuaged with sops, in short, eliminated from the conversation about running the country.
We want to be a place where educated grown ups come to discuss policy and how to effectuate it. What I love about Dkos and FDL and 538 and TPM is that I can go there for discussion with other people who think politics is really important: teachers, doctors, lawyers, geeks, scientists, poets.
I don’t know how to figure out our power and effectiveness alone, but with everybody here thinking calmly may I can.
It was offensive the way Emmanuel could brush us off the way he did. But that is a fact. The Obama people are isolating Howard Dean and they will try to isolate us. Behaving just as they predicted we would is not the way to enhance our voice in the administration.
We should be informed by this that Obama is going to consolidate control when he can eg. in Congress and tamp down unruly independent elements like us.
This is the reality. Whatever we feel about it. What are we going to do about it.
Here is what I think, Stay unruly but not belligerent. Use You-tube and video to satirize, discuss, expand the idea base, follow, as we have always done, committee hearings carefully, check out the documents. maybe we could have our own virtual hearings. consolidate our discussion and conclusions once they are laid out?
Look clearly at the evidence. What does it mean when Howard Dean explicitly refers to the fact that the new administration may be considering accepting the 2011 date for getting out of Iraq, 18 more months than Obama promised. That’s scary. Is that just beating drums in the woods to flush out the fox, or is that really what they are considering? If so what do we do about it.
We have our work cut out for us. We have already started, Lets go.