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(Crossposted from The Field.)

"I hope he fails... I know what his politics are.  I know what his plans are, as he has stated them.  I don't want them to succeed... What is unfair about my saying I hope liberalism fails?  Liberalism is our problem. ... Somebody's gotta say it..."

-   Rush Limbaugh, January 2009

"I think (Organizing for America) will fail in its mission to directly engage Obama supporters in supporting Obama's executive actions. And I think this is a very good thing... I support Obama wholeheartedly, and have been thrilled every day of his Presidency. But I support self-government even more, and a successful organization sharing uncritical media with 13 million citizens sounds spooky to me. I'm glad it's going to fail."

- Zephyr Teachout, January 2009

Great timing on that faux pas, Zephyr...

Zephyr Teachout obviously isn't Rush Limbaugh, she's a bit of an icon and sacred cow from the 2004 Dean campaign, and yet there she is, with that rather unfortunate phrasing slipping from her keypad at the very moment that Rush Limbaugh has become so deservedly targeted for saying it aloud.

To be fair, Teachout's "I'm glad that it's going to fail" isn't a reference to the entirety of Obama's presidency, but it is an attempted slap at the Obama-launched Organizing for America project.

(There's also a fledgling Facebook page for the project - I see already many of the best grassroots organizers across the country among its first members - and Teachout has just unwittingly inspired me to join it, too. Thanks, Zeph!)

I hope that Teachout will handle it like a grown-up when she is likely to be proved wrong in her claim of fact that, "it's going to fail." After all, she wouldn't be the first "expert" or Netroots celebrity to have lost some credibility because she underestimated and misunderstood the Obama movement and the people that make up its rank-and-file. I'll explain why in a moment, but first...

Teachout and Limbaugh deserve parallel credit for at least admitting in public that they are "hoping against hope." After all, others - be it Limbaugh's GOP allies or some who share Teachout's tendencies on the technocratic left - mask their "hope for failure" behind less up-front (but equally transparent to many of us) efforts to derail and detour the Obama presidency from accomplishing its goals (the latter group arguing, basically, that they want him to accomplish those goals but it must be done their way, not his way.)

All that said, Teachout's position is as morally and strategically bankrupt as Limbaugh's. And it's based on a reductive reasoning that is absurd: She assumes that because the first step being taken by Organizing for America is to organize upcoming house parties to spark grassroots support for the Stimulus Bill, that therefore the only thing that Organizing for America will be doing over the coming years is having house parties. Yeah, right.

And in a way, Teachout's stance is less defensible than Limbaugh's, and not just because we ought to be able to expect better from her. The radio host's hoping-against-hope tirade, at least, better serves his parochial goals - boosting his radio ratings and making more money for himself - than Teachout's serves her stated goals, which can be discerned from this final paragraph of her blog post:

"I would encourage OFA to throw all of its support and resources at local democratic parties and officials--to decentralize the data, and let local groups experiment. I believe Obama has largely done his job, by getting elected and by electrifying the country and showing people that they can have power; but for them to exercise it meaningfully, instead of simply acting as shills for Presidential policy, they will need to exercise it through our representative offices: Congress, and the state houses."

In Teachout's view, "local democratic parties and officials" ought to be the filter for the future organizing of the Obama movement, rather than Organizing for America. Who's she frickin' kiddin'? Herself? She clearly doesn't "get" that the Obama movement was an insurgency in the Democratic party, against many of the practices and turf-warriors of those local parties and officials.

Hers would be a very romantic notion if, and only if, the Democratic Party on the state and local level had already undergone the kind of transformation that the 2008 elections (and the 2005 Howard Dean DNC chairmanship victory) brought to the DNC. But the truth is that most state and local Democratic parties are still stuck in the stone ages of the Clinton-Bush years, at the stage that the DNC was in under Terry McAuliffe's leadership: with few exceptions, they are smelly bastions of hackery, self-interest and corporate interest layered upon special interest, and are not yet plausible vehicles for struggle from the bottom up. Rather, they are the loci of power struggles between warring factions of ugly bureaucratic tendencies, most of whom are mainly interested in gaining control of various levels of government and in using that control to exercise power over others.

In other words, handing over data (voter lists and information, donor lists, etcetera, built by so many volunteer data-entry folks and field organizers last year) to "local democratic parties and officials" as Teachout advocates - which will be done but to a more carefully limited and targeted extent for the 2010 elections anyway - would not decentralize the data in the spirit of Jeffersonian democracy. To the contrary, in many regions it would be like handing the enemy your ammunition! Her proposal would merely divide up the movement's real estate into lots - a grand condominium plan for the party hacks and aspiring political bosses - where it would surely atrophy and die.

Those hacks and bosses would then hoard the information for use toward their own personal and factional advantage, because that's what they've always done with every little scrap of info or power. And the rank-and-file volunteers and organizers from the Obama 2008 campaign would end up outcast (and correspondingly demoralized) much more so than if information and resources flow through Organizing for America, which at least is about them, and not about the old guard in local Democratic Party organizations.

Teachout writes:

"It will fail because Obama--suiting a President--is not oppositional, conflict-driven, and not likely to pick out particular targets to be won over--all things that are likely to engage people."

Had she phrased that, instead, to urge that, "Organizing for America should be oppositional, conflict driven, and pick out particular targets to be won over - all things that are likely to engage people," that would have been helpful advice. But she doesn't do that - she admits - because she wants the project to fail.

As I see it, there are three obvious things that Organizing for America can do and probably will:

1. Continue the Community Organizer Renaissance by training even more grassroots volunteers and organizers much as Camp Obama and the campaign "Fellows" project did.

2. Place a trained paid organizer in each of 435 Congressional Districts as a loci for all the yet-to-be-determined organizing projects, including disaster response in the wake of future events like Hurricane Katrina.

3. Build the grassroots lobbying pressure arm of the movement for when tough legislative priorities need grassroots support. (I've noted before that I think Immigration Reform will offer a kind of "perfect storm" for this activity, because it was the xenophobe campaign - led by Rush Limbaugh and other right wing radio hosts and bloggers - that in 2007 flooded the US Capitol switchboard and scared 20 senators off prior commitments to vote for the bill. Thus, what better issue on which to break the back of the reactionary right?)

I don't think those goals are unworthy, nor unattainable. If Teachout does, that's her problem, not yours or mine. She can sit it out enviously from the sidelines - gritting her teeth and cursing as that damn Obama and those drat-double-drat community organizers do it again - along with anybody else that doesn't want to participate. I, for one, would rather not have such Eeyores and Chicken Littles around to be the constant buzzkills they seem to wish to be. More work can always get done without them. And reading, today, the aversion of that tendency to joining makes me eager to sign up as an individual in part because maybe it means they won't be there.

But you know who will participate? The salt-of-the-earth grassroots organizers and volunteers, black, white, yellow and brown: the ones that knock on doors and make phone calls and organize locally. The bases of the Obama movement are so very different than most bloggers and "activists" because they're either already formed organizers or everyday people who for the first time became involved in their country's politics in the past two years and went out and perspired to get it done. They're a more diverse, multi-racial and multi-generational collection than anything Teachout or the other complainers have ever themselves organized. And yes, I mean "ever."

Would it be more ideal if those grassroots bases began organizing themselves, independent of the Obama organization? Well, of course it would. And some of that is going to happen (including through the Field Hands). But the truth is that the US Left has grown so accustomed to mistaking "activism" for "organizing" that in many places there is no critical mass of folks that know how to do it, and that yet feel the self-confidence to do it. (For example, does Jim Dean's "Democracy for America" do much real organizing? - doors, phones, and such on the local level? - or does it merely practice activism? It's never even attempted what Organizing for America is gearing up to do.) The reality is that if the Obama organization doesn't continue stoking it, the organizing will disappear altogether in most parts of the land.

If Zephyr Teachout or anybody else thinks it can be done or that they can do it better, I double dare them: Prove me wrong, stop bitching, and go out and do it. If you build the better mousetrap, they will come.

Those that didn't knock on doors and do real organizing in 2008 will probably never "get" it. But there are so many that did, and they (you, we) are the future of American politics.

Perhaps it is a little unfair to lay out Teachout's quote next to Limbaugh's - but not for the reason some might think. If anything, it's unfair to that slob, Limbaugh.

Limbaugh - unlike Teachout - has a more reality-based grasp of what is happening right now in the US: the total destruction of the power bases that he and his kind built over recent decades.

And Limbaugh - unlike Teachout - understands that... It's the Organizing, Stupid!

Here's Limbaugh, last Monday, January 26, in response to President Obama's calling him out:

"This is a political play and a lot of people I think are misunderstanding this.  ‘He's frightened of Limbaugh.'  I don't think he's afraid of anybody.  He's the president of the United States.  This is a political play to marginalize me so that Republicans are afraid to associate with my ideas or any of us.  He wants conservatism, mainstream conservatism to be thought of the way you and I think of communism.  He wants it thought of as the most foreign, the most offensive, the most extreme manner of belief possible.  There are no elected Republicans who are espousing conservatism today, so he's gotta find somebody who is.  I happen to be the most prominent voice, but there are many others, so he focuses on me.  This is a Saul Alinsky radical rule number 13:  Pick the target, me, isolate it, polarize it.  It's almost like Colin Powell.  We'll kill it, we'll isolate it, we'll cut its head off.  That's what's happening here. This is a purposeful effort to get rid of conservatism as a mainstream way of thinking forever in this country, make no mistake about it."

Later on Monday, in response to a caller, Limbaugh elaborated:

"I don't think that's what this is about all.  Remember, now, Barack Obama comes from the Saul Alinsky Rules for Radicals school.  The Obama way is to get rid of opposition.  Not a fair playing field, you clear it.  You get rid of your opponents as quickly and as rapidly as you can.  What he's trying to do, as I said in the last hour, is marginalize me to the point that Republicans are afraid to mention my name, that they wouldn't dare do this primarily because he wants conservatism to be thought of the same way you and I think of communism.  He wants conservatism to be thought of as the most extreme kooky, wacky thing, and that anybody who publicly espouses it is insane or what have you.  There is a method here, and it's not a mistake.  The guy did this on purpose.  The Drive-Bys are running around talking about whether this was wise to focus on me and build me up and so forth.  Believe me, he's gotta compliant GOP already.  The GOP, they're all out there saying, ‘Well, we hope he succeeds.'"

Game on. If you don't like Organizing for America, just get out of the way and try to avoid getting rolled over - along with Limbaugh and company - once it starts to move.

Originally posted to The Field on Fri Jan 30, 2009 at 11:53 PM PST.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Alinsky's Rule #13 (287+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Sharoney, spyral, Kitty, Ed in Montana, tmo, Yosef 52, Sean Robertson, Ray Radlein, catdevotee, sheba, askew, AlanF, Anton Sirius, TrueBlueMajority, Powered Grace, whataboutbob, karlpk, dengre, LynChi, eeff, devtob, Mumon, frisco, marjo, theran, bethcf4p, object16, Nuisance Industry, Creosote, sardonyx, joyous, missLotus, Nellcote, SoCalJayhawk, highacidity, rustydude, javelina, sberel, skertso, Miss Blue, MJB, BruinKid, Shaniriver, thingamabob, enough already, dmsilev, sidnora, delphil, DustyMathom, BlueDWarrior, American Zapatista, Urizen, Chicago Lulu, churchylafemme, DSC on the Plateau, Neo Leftist, defluxion10, mcfly, snakelass, liberte, grrr, Pirate Smile, Sophie Amrain, econlibVA, side pocket, randallt, Wife of Bath, snowbird42, wolverinethad, sawgrass727, radarlady, DianeNYS, Elise, blueyedace2, mjd in florida, daulton, panicbean, ChemBob, huckleberry, Brooke In Seattle, NLinStPaul, Pam from Calif, snootless, John DE, FightTheFuture, sodalis, JanL, Ekaterin, ZinZen, golden star, begone, martini, third Party please, Do Tell, sherlyle, dopper0189, Yellow Canary, fromer, akasha, Lurky Lu, goodasgold, nonnie9999, imabluemerkin, bleeding heart, Dinclusin, doinaheckuvanutjob, MBNYC, JugOPunch, Clive all hat no horse Rodeo, WarrenS, Temmoku, BentLiberal, DBunn, orrg1, One Pissed Off Liberal, lightfoot, kokoro, Cronesense, auntialias, Loudoun County Dem, drmah, Femlaw, bigjacbigjacbigjac, bfbenn, VA02 femocrat, yoduuuh do or do not, LoosCanN, DrWolfy, LillithMc, Matt Z, Calvin Jones and the 13th Apostle, foreign noise, chicago jeff, vbdietz, cyncynical, thursdays child, jnhobbs, millwood, Moderation, rogereaton, Empower Ink, gizmo59, kafkananda, rdlafond, JaxDem, ShadowSD, brklyngrl, rontun, joycemocha, Tchrldy, Judge Moonbox, golconda2, Wes Opinion, CDH in Brooklyn, Akonitum, Its any one guess, beltane, baudelairien, royce, pamelabrown, Haplogroup V, NMLib, evora, smartdemmg, Jeff Y, mofembot, jalenth, joy sinha, James Kresnik, DixieDishrag, A Man Called Gloom, dont think, dmhlt 66, shortgirl, jedley, maggiejean, RedMask, 1BQ, pileta, janetj, cybrestrike, rsmpdx, Number5, WereBear, ScientistSteve, velvet blasphemy, kat68, mkor7, cultural worker, Mercuriousss, GreenMtnState, zizi, badger1968, DClark4129, bourgeoisie, jazzence, obscuresportsquarterly, sanglug, allep10, dotalbon, The BBQ Chicken Madness, IreGyre, elropsych, ck4city, PalGirl2008, eclecticbrotha, PoliticalJunkessa, Little Flower, D Wreck, sherijr, fernan47, EmmaKY, Dragon5616, MizKit, carmenjones, TenthMuse, Leftcandid, Super Grover, Colorado Billy, ETF, NCrissieB, Amber6541, hotdamn, marypickford, raf, oohdoiloveyou, political junquie, Alohilani, loper2008, kcandm, Sand in Florida, Pebbles, Vacationland, Commoditize This, robertacker13, weebo, My mom is my hero, blueingreen, kjoftherock, karend27, Kev, karl pearson, Hyde Park, fidellio, TheWesternSun, tennisjump, nlhmd, chrome327, taiping1, Crabby Abbey, Eddie L, jennyL, Lady Libertine, ItsSimpleSimon, Anne933, juturna, NYWheeler, sharonsz, AustinSaini, pateTX, voicesraised, Caerus, abrauer, Otteray Scribe, Floande, Oh Mary Oh, anaxiamander, watershed, Sassinator, gobears2000, Relevant Rhino, RepTracker, I love OCD, Olon, kirbybruno, Uncle Debo, Mistral Wind, protean4f, Nicci August, sallym, thethinveil, semctydem, zukesgirl64, bamabikeguy, whoknu, The Rational Hatter, Wayback

    ...is particularly useful.

  •  Rush: (49+ / 0-)

    "This is a purposeful effort to get rid of conservatism as a mainstream way of thinking forever in this country, make no mistake about it."

    Yes.  We need education.  The mainstream way of thinking needs to be changed.  People need to read and think for themselves.  Not listen to non-educated drug addicts who think they know better than the educated electorate.

  •  Goddamn, you can write! ... (89+ / 0-)

    ...Would it be more ideal if those grassroots bases began organizing themselves, independent of the Obama organization? Well, of course it would. And some of that is going to happen ...

    Yep. I understand the concern that these organizers will be the Obama Brigade eternally - the PUMAs and some other Barack haters call it fascistic. But that's not going to happen. What is going to happen is a whole lot of people are going learn first hand what organizing actually means. There are going to be spin-offs. This style of operating is going to spread way beyond Obama. And for those of us - including us old farts - who have spent a lot of time organizing door to door in our lives, that is music to our ears.

    Fantastic Diary.

    Americans do not like to think of themselves as aggressors, but raw aggression is what took place in Iraq. - John Prados

    by Meteor Blades on Sat Jan 31, 2009 at 12:05:52 AM PST

    •  I hope you're right about this (5+ / 0-)

      What is going to happen is a whole lot of people are going learn first hand what organizing actually means. There are going to be spin-offs. This style of operating is going to spread way beyond Obama.

      Because, while I'm not necessarily against it I see this mission statement as somewhat ambiguous in terms of outcome.

      MISSION:

      The organization will have professional organizers on the ground nationwide, and they will focus on strengthening volunteer leadership.

      The organization's goals will be to promote:

      • Legislative issue organizing to support President-elect Obama's agenda.
      • Electoral organizing
      • Civic engagement
      • Promote two-way communication between the Administration and grassroots.

      In order to accomplish these goals, we will:

      • Expand the existing grassroots organization.
      • Directly lobby members of Congress and other elected officials.
      • Work to win local elections

      Sticking with this, and having no spin-offs could result in something really postitive if, for example, the "civic engagement" and "two-way communication" actually results in moving Obama toward things many progressives want: things like reinstatement of the rule of law by investigating and prosecuting war-criminals and establishing a single-payer health care plan that doesn't involve for-profit health insurance companies just to name a couple.

      On the other hand, if the emphasis is on "Legislative issue organizing to support President-elect Obama's agenda" then I think the group can only be as progressive as Obama's agenda is.  There are several areas where Obama has signalled, at least, that he is aiming for centrist solutions to issues for which centrist solutions represent incremental change at best.  

      This would be a problem on at least two fronts.  First, it is top-down leadership and not grassroots progressivism. That is, Obama sets the agenda and the group organizes to support it.

      Second, it would have the effect of harnessing the "best grassroots organizers"  cited by the diarist into support for incremental change and not true progressive change.

      So, while I see the potential the diarist points out I also see the potential for this group to result in only incremental change on issues where I think many here are hoping for big changes.

      One solution to this I guess is to join and push, push for an emphasis on two-way communication rather than just lockstep support of the DC agenda.  If that doesn't work out then progressives are in the right place to start the spin-off process.

      "The time for justice is always right now!" - Samantha Booke, Wiley College debate team, 1935

      by Edgewater on Sat Jan 31, 2009 at 05:25:46 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  I'll take both (22+ / 0-)

        Gawd, I hate that false dichotomy "between incremental change and big change."

        I'm much more concerned that the ball move down the field steadily in the same direction. And that means (since it's Super Bowl week, I'll use football terms) running plays that average short yardage (but sometimes break through for big gains) and passing plays that shoot long (although risk interception sometimes). It's by mixing the two kinds of plays up that both can be made more effective.

        The suggestion that there is anything wrong with "incremental change" or that it blocks "big changes" is not borne out by history.

        It's this simple: when we have goals that correspond with Organizing for America's goals, we pitch in.

        And when we have goals that surpass its goals, we do it ourselves and not sit around bitching moaning that others aren't doing it.

        Here's an example: Since Obama's campaign platform was theoretically open to new nuclear power plants, we can't have any illusions that Organizing for America is going to be a successful platform to organize against a new nuke (if one gets proposed, which remains to be seen). It would be pure folly to try to move that organization to do that (or to do the two things you mention, single payer and prosecuting Bush administration figures). All the time you spend on that will be wasted and doomed from the start.

        But that doesn't prevent us from organizing our region against a proposed nearby nuclear plant. Hell, some of us did that successfully not too long ago without support from any president, and we won! And it doesn't prevent you from rolling up your sleeves, going out there and building your own movements on your own separate priorities.

        But too much of the US Left, for decades, has tried to stop other groups from doing things, or change their missions, rather than start their own organizations and work it locally and from the bottom up. And that's why the US Left has been an abject failure for decades. It tried to preach to the converted and tell them what to do, rather than outreach to the multitude and organize it behind its own self interest.

        •  Yes - exactly what I said or at least meant (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          thethinveil

          It's this simple: when we have goals that correspond with Organizing for America's goals, we pitch in.

          And when we have goals that surpass its goals, we do it ourselves and not sit around bitching moaning that others aren't doing it.

          when I said this:

          One solution to this I guess is to join and push, push for an emphasis on two-way communication rather than just lockstep support of the DC agenda.  If that doesn't work out then progressives are in the right place to start the spin-off process.

          Sorry if that was less than clear.

          "The time for justice is always right now!" - Samantha Booke, Wiley College debate team, 1935

          by Edgewater on Sat Jan 31, 2009 at 08:27:52 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  What I am saying is that as people ... (5+ / 0-)

            ...gain the skills and experience that such organizing brings, some of them will carry these to other projects that have nothing to do with Obama's agenda, just as people carry what they learn working for one employer to another, even a rival of the employer from whom they learned those skills and got that experience. Or they will set up their own organizations. I think this is what both The Field and I are saying.

            Americans do not like to think of themselves as aggressors, but raw aggression is what took place in Iraq. - John Prados

            by Meteor Blades on Sat Jan 31, 2009 at 11:06:47 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

  •  seems to me the right had a name for anyone (19+ / 0-)

    who hoped bush failed in iraq, wasn't  peacenik, or liberal... started with a "t" i think...

    who cares what banks fail in yonkers - as long as you've got a kiss that conquers.

    by rasbobbo on Sat Jan 31, 2009 at 12:07:15 AM PST

  •  I'm blown away, I (32+ / 0-)

    feel like, well, "FIRED UP, READY TO GO."  

    "Politics is not left, right or center ... It's about improving people's lives." -Paul Wellstone

    by maggiejean on Sat Jan 31, 2009 at 12:27:19 AM PST

  •  i HATE using caps, but RECOMMEND (21+ / 0-)

    this diary now, please.

    "Politics is not left, right or center ... It's about improving people's lives." -Paul Wellstone

    by maggiejean on Sat Jan 31, 2009 at 12:30:27 AM PST

  •  yes for the grassroots (16+ / 0-)

    this part in particular rankeled me the most

    "I would encourage OFA to throw all of its support and resources at local democratic parties and officials--to decentralize the data, and let local groups experiment. I believe Obama has largely done his job, by getting elected and by electrifying the country and showing people that they can have power; but for them to exercise it meaningfully, instead of simply acting as shills for Presidential policy, they will need to exercise it through our representative offices: Congress, and the state houses."

    Hell no!!

    I believe that Obama and the people he installed in the DNC have the "Democratic ideals" in their mind and they will use their data base to feed, grow and nurture these ideas....giving the data freely to every party hack is definitely the wrong way to do it.

    This year we can declare our independence...Barack Obama

    by PalGirl2008 on Sat Jan 31, 2009 at 12:53:02 AM PST

    •  So you are for the grassroots. . . (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      notquitedelilah

      Well the grassroots themselves have their own top down structures to deal with to open up more debate and discussion in their organizations - this one include - I am looking at you front pagers.

      Not that this is all bad but we know so far that real democratic ideals will be coming from the congressional representatives not from Obama. Please look to to how he is positioning himself in the middle of the radical right wing and blue dogs and progressives on issues of the TARP, stimulus, cutting entitlement benefits and the campaign promises on Afghanistan and UHC.  

      I think congressional pressure is one of the few ways anything will happen in these upcoming years. Obama is now immune to criticism from the Left because we are told to STFU whenever we criticize him for moving towards the right - see numerous responses on this thread.

      So in part I agree with Zephyr and The Field that we need to not lose the voices at the bottom because THAT was what invigorated the Obama campaign not Obama himself - same goes for MLK BTW.

      And putting the power in the hands of the locals is a really bad idea - we need some third party action here to break them out of bad habits.

      What am I saying, you ask?

      Hopefully Obama or others can give Obama's organizing group the power to differ with Obama - say on health care and Afghanistan war or we will have splinter groups which could work as well but will probably be less well funded.

      Good Frames Won't Save Bad Paintings.

      by thethinveil on Sat Jan 31, 2009 at 04:12:07 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Grassroots organizing terrifies the neocons. (4+ / 0-)

      Look at the countries they've supported over the decades -- Pinochet, Saddam early on, the Shah, it just goes on and on. The whole idea was to suppress political freedom so as to take over the economy and bleed it. In all of these countries, the first things to go were unions and any organized effort at unity and brotherhood/sisterhood. (No accident that "Solidarity!" was the rally cry of the unions in Gdansk.) Scared, isolated people are powerless and can be manipulated.

      So the reverse: strong unions and Organizing for America. This is what Obama is calling for. This is true wisdom. If we work together, with respect, compassion, intention and determination, we cannot fail.  

      "Hatred paralyzes life; love releases it. Hatred confuses life; love harmonizes it. Hatred darkens life; love illuminates it." ML King

      by TheWesternSun on Sat Jan 31, 2009 at 09:55:28 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  I wish you would have posted this diary tomorrow (22+ / 0-)

    Al, so more people will see it.

    it's sad that Rush understands and gets what's Obama is all about better than the netroots progressives.

    This year we can declare our independence...Barack Obama

    by PalGirl2008 on Sat Jan 31, 2009 at 12:54:27 AM PST

  •  Zephyr Callout (17+ / 0-)

    This won't be the first time that Zephyr has put her foot in it — remember when she claimed that the Dean campaign paid Kos and Jerome for good press?

    That was right around the time she claimed to have done Joe Trippi's job.


    "I play a street-wise pimp" — Al Gore

    by Ray Radlein on Sat Jan 31, 2009 at 01:12:10 AM PST

  •  Be still, my fluttering heart! (40+ / 0-)

    As someone who has spent most of my life in a red state there is nothing that makes me giddier than doing some good old fashioned liberal evangelizing, seed-planting and organizing. Organizing for America has the  potential of becoming a sustained, national, engaged grass roots movement that will outlive the Obama Presidency.

    I've been wondering if Obama is trying to make Rush the defacto head of the Republican party so he can marginalize not only Rush but the whole Republican party along with him. Obama is not a man of small ideas.

    Great diary, Al.

  •  This is a stunningly great diary (32+ / 0-)

    and I sure hope it IS still up on the REC list in a few hours.

    It should and probably will be.

    Who knew Rush could get it?

    There is a method here, and it's not a mistake.

    Observe good faith and justice towards all nations; cultivate peace and harmony with all.... George Washington's Farewell Address, 1796

    by begone on Sat Jan 31, 2009 at 01:51:02 AM PST

  •  Thanks for the link. I joined. (9+ / 0-)

    "The hottest places in hell are reserved for those who in times of great moral crisis maintain their neutrality." - Dante

    by jazzence on Sat Jan 31, 2009 at 02:18:38 AM PST

  •  Old habits die hard (13+ / 0-)

    "Never wrestle with a pig. You both get dirty, but the pig actually likes it"

    by jedley on Sat Jan 31, 2009 at 02:20:50 AM PST

  •  Great diary, Al. I'm delighted to see you in (21+ / 0-)

    this for the long haul, especially given your political instinct.

    Every move Obama has made has been carefully planned and executed, with a specific objective in mind. He is, in my humble opinion, one the greatest political minds of all time.

    "If a free society cannot help the many who are poor, it cannot save the few who are rich." JFK - January 20, 1961

    by rontun on Sat Jan 31, 2009 at 02:23:36 AM PST

  •  Teachout presumes wrongly that we are lemmings, (18+ / 0-)

    those of us on the Obama email list and those of us who donated, volunteered, and actively supported his presidential campaign.

    She has little to fear.  It is only a matter of time before the Obama administration proposes something, attempts to enlist the "O-roots", and all kinds of protracted and messy conflict bust out among said O-roots.  We are human beings who happen to have come together around Obama's campaign and his election; not unquestioning lock-step foot soldiers.

    And that's a good thing.  What Teachout seems to be hoping will fail -- an army of lemmings -- doesn't actually exist.  She, we, and the Obama administration will soon learn that.  It's inevitable.  

    (And a side note, lemmings were never lemmings either.)

    •  Well... (18+ / 0-)

      I wouldn't say that all or most active Obama supporters (i.e. those who worked for his campaign as opposed to merely voted for him and maybe donated some money to it) are lemmings. Most are likely devoted progressives who are just sick and tired of all the corruption and incompetence in government and wanted to take matters into their own hands, and saw a way to do this with the Obama campaign.

      But the whole flame war over his FISA vote did reveal a certain side of SOME of them that I believed then and believe now to be misguided and even dangerous. As in, "How DARE you criticize Obama--he knows what he's doing, he's smarter than you, and this doesn't really matter anyway--I TRUST him!". That was, and is, crap.

      I sincerely hope that they represent a small, dwindling and mostly irrelevant minority of Obama supporters, because they are lemmings--in the cliched view of lemmings:

      Photobucket

      Blind and mindless devotion creeps me out like almost nothing does.

      The liberal soul shall be made fat. He who waters shall be watered also himself. (Proverbs 11:25)

      by kovie on Sat Jan 31, 2009 at 03:18:18 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Fair point.. but I think that was in part defense (9+ / 0-)

        due to "campaign mode."  I was troubled by his FISA vote too..

        But I think the dynamic shifts when we move out of campaign mode into actual governance and its expectations.  Also to clarify where I'm coming from -- I've spent some time the past two years on other websites where Obama supporters of any kind are routinely taunted with tiresome shit about Kool-Aid, cultism, and "The One."  So please understand that I have built up a visceral reaction to the cartoon that you posted.. it, or its equvalent rhetoric, sometimes gets thrown too casually at people with whom we disagree.  Sometimes all of "those people" who seemingly think alike, have a valid and important viewpoint.  

        •  I think I'm pretty good at telling (8+ / 0-)

          the Kool Aiders (and I think we can agree that they do exist) from the enthusiastic but uncultish supporters. The FISA vote really drew out some of the former. I also suspect that it might have transformed some of them, even if they found it hard to admit it at the time, into more critical supporters who looked beyond the man to the issues.

          Btw, is one of the sites you're referring to TalkLeft? Because I used to post there, until I got called a cult member by none other than BTD (because I dared to defend Obama during the primaries over the semi-racist treatment he was getting from the Clinton campaign), and between that and the unrelenting anti-Obama hatred, I decided to pack up and leave. So I'm hardly an Obama hater. I think he's great and will do great things. I'm just trying not to be TOO enthusiastic a supporter, because he's going to screw up, and he's going to need us to tell him that he screwed up.

          And c'mon, it's a funny cartoon. The one with the life preserver is classic. And, in reality, this is far more descriptive of Repubs than Dems these days.

          The liberal soul shall be made fat. He who waters shall be watered also himself. (Proverbs 11:25)

          by kovie on Sat Jan 31, 2009 at 04:07:39 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  OK, the lemming with the life preserver does (3+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            bethcf4p, highacidity, kovie

            make me chuckle :)

            The main site I was referring to is Datalounge, my other primary discussion-board hangout.  It's a gay-oriented mix of opinion, gossip, politics, personal/advice, and "pointless bitchery" in the site's own words.  

            I guess I have just seen too much lashing-out that seems lazy and cliched in terms of its rhetoric.  I mean, if I were to post that Joe Biden is a two-headed monster from outer space, and 100 people here were to post replies to the effect that I'm wrong... I could call them all "groupthink" and "koolaid drinkers" and "lemmings," lumped together in my mind, but it wouldn't make me right.  

            •  But are WOULD be wrong (3+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              bethcf4p, Torta, tethys

              Because Joe Biden is actually a THREE-headed monster from Combover IV, of the intergalactic empire of the N00b, and he breaths Vitalis.

              Sigh, you people will never learn...

              The liberal soul shall be made fat. He who waters shall be watered also himself. (Proverbs 11:25)

              by kovie on Sat Jan 31, 2009 at 06:07:25 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

          •  Are they kool-aiders merely because (3+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            highacidity, Torta, baudelairien

            they happen in that instance to be defending Obama? If the other group seems to be in lock-step also and display groupnik thinking are you suggesting they are not lemmings because they happen to be opposing Obama in that instance? The intolerance of debate that causes a person to change the subject when he is losing the argument and resort to labelling people kool-aiders should be condemned too.

            But I am not concerned because the only solution to lock-step thinking and lack of freedom is more freedom. As long as freedom reigns Obama will not get away with dangerous wrongdoing, kool-aiders or no kool-aiders. So before you go down the path of insulting intelligent people who disagree with you in support of Obama by calling them gullible religious nuts (that's the origin of the kool-aid charge) think about freedom of expression and maybe it will cause you to chill out.

            And I am not saying there are no kool-aiders or groupnik thinkers. I am challenging the notion that they only exist if they blindly support Obama.

            •  I was specifically referring to people (5+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Torta, sidnora, weebo, thethinveil, Edgewater

              who displayed clearly cultish behavior, like indignantly and hostily lashing out at criticism of his FISA vote and accusing anyone who did it of aiding and abetting McCain. Not only were they uncritically defending a really bad vote, but they were trying to shut down criticism of it. If that isn't cultish, I don't know what is.

              When a congressional delegation visited Jonestown to see what conditions were like there, they were assassinated before they had a chance to leave. Then everyone drank the Kool Aid uncritically, because their leader told them to. Intolerance of criticism and blind obedience are hallmarks of cultism.

              Obama is no cult leader, nor does he try to be. Such people are in their own little cult and just think that he's their leader. Thankfully, they seem to have quieted down.

              The liberal soul shall be made fat. He who waters shall be watered also himself. (Proverbs 11:25)

              by kovie on Sat Jan 31, 2009 at 06:48:42 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  I sensed some of those people knew full well (4+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                highacidity, kovie, Edgewater, Fuzzy Dais

                that the FISA debate was a valid and important one to have.  They were trying to squelch dissent because they were afraid of anything that could become a threat to Obama's election chances.

                I agree with you though, the recurring "Obama knows all, let us place all trust in him" voices do still exist and they are beyond annoying.  In large part because Barack himself would have none of that! He says so repeatedly, and he wouldn't have picked Biden and Clinton (much less Rahm Emanuel) if he wanted compliant nodding heads around him at all times.  That was a quality of the Bush(Cheney) administration that allowed it to rot from the inside out.  

              •  Yes I would agree with that.However (0+ / 0-)

                some people didn't think the vote was a really bad vote and were trying to explain why but were also pounced upon by those who felt the vote was bad. There was cultish behaviour on both sides that is my point.

                •  It is not cultish to define and fight (2+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  sidnora, Edgewater

                  your opponent. If you really thought the FISA vote was a good one then . . .well good for you . . . not so good for our civil liberties.

                  If you thought Obama made the right decision but opposed warrantless wire tapping from the beginning then I think you are moving in the cultish direction.

                  Good Frames Won't Save Bad Paintings.

                  by thethinveil on Sat Jan 31, 2009 at 11:33:48 AM PST

                  [ Parent ]

                •  Most of the people who defended his vote (0+ / 0-)

                  did so very poorly and incoherently, the gist of it being "He knows what he's doing, shuddup, this isn't that big an issue anyway, who cares about the 4th amendment". That was cultish. There was a minority of defenders who qualified their defense by saying that while they were unhappy with his vote, under the circumstances of the upcoming election they were provisionally willing to forgive him for it. That was a far more reasonable defense. But it was not the majority defense. The majority, the cultish ones, were the ones who were utterly unable to come up with anything more convincing and coherent than the above "defense".

                  Funny how most of them aren't around much here anymore.

                  The liberal soul shall be made fat. He who waters shall be watered also himself. (Proverbs 11:25)

                  by kovie on Sat Jan 31, 2009 at 03:39:16 PM PST

                  [ Parent ]

      •  My experience with Obama supporters... (11+ / 0-)

        ...in the field, the real deal, is that most of the real work is done by regular folks, who, at least in Virginia, are not nearly as Progressively Pure as this blog or Open Left. Open Left is so far out of what is electable in my part of the world it's ridiculous.

        I love the people I worked with in the Obama office. I loved that I worked with vets. Vets from Viet Nam, vets from Iraq. Real blue-collar blacks, real retired rich whites, suburban housewives of all colors, college students of all colors and backgrounds. Socialist salesmen from Canada. Gay professors. Redneck hunters. A damned rainbow.

        It saddens me to feel so alienated by the Left. In my town, we all live together. We don't all feel the same way about religion, gay marriage, FISA, acceptable foreign policy positions. I feel like the progressives they've turned on us--the real populace, sticky to the damned Purity issues, when we have real work to do with our neighbors, in our flawed and diverse communities.

        •  Wow, weird typos! Sorry! (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          highacidity

          Obviously typed too fast with too much emotion...

        •  keeping it real (4+ / 0-)

          thanks

          and it's true...here in Utah , a lot of the Obama supporters I met would have been considered wingnuts in places like open left...but they supported Obama despite having stark differences with him because  they liked the general idea of his candidacy, they liked his approach to government( that's why I hope he never listens to people who are calling him out for reaching out to the GOP).
          These people are not democrats, they are independents who are to the center right on some issues:
          -abortion: keeping the choice but minimizing it's use as much as possible.
          -gay rights: civil unions are OK, gay marriage..not as comfortable with.
          but on the center left on other issues9 economical equality, environment...

          This year we can declare our independence...Barack Obama

          by PalGirl2008 on Sat Jan 31, 2009 at 08:18:59 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

      •  Interesting (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        highacidity, scottiex2, thethinveil

        I couldn't agree more about mindless devotion. I am deeply suspicious of it.

        I wasn't comfortable with Obama for a long time, at least in part because he seemed to inspire it, even in some people I respect. He was my third choice during the primaries. He has cast votes, taken advice, and appointed some people, that I deeply disagree with. I didn't lift a finger for him until after the convention (I did work my tail off for him after it, though).

        And yet I find that since last February, when it became obvious to most clear-eyed people that he would win the nomination, my trust in him has only grown, if gradually. I realize that he's going to make decisions that I don't like, or that I think don't go far enough, and I have every intention of doing whatever I can to move him to the most progressive results possible. But my confidence in him, and especially in his political skill, continues to increase.

        And I do believe strongly that he is depending on us to make his presidency successful. That's a two-way street.

        The only thing we have to fear is fear itself.

        by sidnora on Sat Jan 31, 2009 at 11:38:50 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  but if we are not lemmings (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      papermoon, thethinveil

      then the top-down approach of the OFA will be a massive fail.  At least that's what Teachout has said in summary form.

      And waaaaaay too much is made of her last paragraph.  I interpreted it as a call to just cough up the data to the grass-roots, via local Democratic organizations - not (as the diarist interprets) to create hundreds of top-down OFAs in the nation.

      Nevertheless, the residual organizing from the Obama campaign will impact positively in the future - not because of any top-down orders from the OFA, but simply through organic action.  Example: all of the anti-prop-H8 activity in the wake of H8's passage in California.  Another example: Teachout explained it here.

      •  Speaking as a member of a (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        highacidity

        very progressive Democratic Club, the last thing I would want to see is OFA data turned over to the leadership of our County Committee. They are completely corrupt and power-driven and would probably figure out a way to expel us from the party if they could. And I'm on the inside.

        The only thing we have to fear is fear itself.

        by sidnora on Sat Jan 31, 2009 at 11:46:59 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  I think conservativism's at risk of assimilation. (11+ / 0-)

    Not the policies or leading figures but its value(s).
    Conservativism to a large extent defines itself not in its own terms but in relation to and opposition to liberalism-progressivism-socialism-whateverism.

    The content of its policies changes in response to our successes and failures.  

    What would happen if an evil genius liberal extracted real family values, awareness of the ways liberalism can go awry, respect for tradition, etc. -- all the things sincere conservatives are concerned about -- and reconciled them with liberal policy / governance?

    What would be left?

    Sputtering Limbaughs.
    Palin and McConnell.
    John Boner and Yoo.

    •  I think that is the plan (5+ / 0-)

      It becomes a little more apparent every time he reaches out to conservatives they find fewer and fewer nits to pick until they are left sputtering just like you said.  

      What would happen if an evil genius liberal extracted real family values, awareness of the ways liberalism can go awry, respect for tradition, etc. -- all the things sincere conservatives are concerned about -- and reconciled them with liberal policy / governance?

      I see it on MSM commenters and in news stories, commercials and in the latest whining of those right wingers I have to work with.  They have one foot on the bandwagon and are dragging the other behind.  They just don't know that they are being assimilated.  They can tell something is wrong though because the confusion is obvious.

      Nature's laws are the invisible government of the earth - Alfred Montapert

      by whoknu on Sat Jan 31, 2009 at 06:45:20 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  As an environmentalist (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      peraspera, chicago jeff, MizC

      it blows me away that "Conservatives" don't want to conserve our natural resources, our very planet, for future generations. They vote and conspire against it ever since I've been paying attention.

      Even Nixon signed on to the Environmental Protection Agency, the Clean Water Act, the Clean Air Act. The current Republican party shares none of the conservative values I share with the majority of Americans.

  •  Ha! after 30+ years of the opposite (21+ / 0-)

    they don't like the shoe being on the other foot. Limbo is projecting like crazy... substitute the word "Liberal" for "conservative" in his arguement and you have the right's entire playbook demonizing the "L" word... and succeeding way too much for way too long with a helping hand from the media monopoly they built up during that time. They can fool some of the people most of the people some of the time and some of the people all of the time.... etc.

    Turnabout is fair play and Obama and progressives are not even framing things with anywhere near as much overt polarization as alleged by Rusho the Limpo or as much as they did to us all these years. It's like the victims of a torturer & his masters for the last 30 years finally win free and are now running things and happen to give their former tormentor(s) a paper cut and the resulting shrill complaints sound like accusations that the newly empowered are acting like the torturers used to...

    They can dish it out but they can't take it.

    Pogo & Murphy's Law, every time. Also "Trust but verify" - St. Ronnie

    by IreGyre on Sat Jan 31, 2009 at 03:10:29 AM PST

  •  Thanks for your post. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Anne933

    That post by Teachout was appalling. But in the comment section, Micah Sifry pointed out some problems with OFA:

    Not an impressive debut

    My sense is that in states where OFA did a lot of local organizing (mainly battleground states, plus a few like CA where they battled Clinton hard in the primaries), there's more of a residual structure. States like NY, where I live, went thru much less of the intensive field cultivation and thus the post-election meetings I've heard about were also less fruitful.

    I think Zephyr is making a very serious point that is both a critique of our general obsession with the Presidency as the main lever of change, and also a critique of how OFA2 (Organizing for America) appears to be taking shape as the marketing arm of the Obama political team--the President's email list/political army, rather than an organization of community organizers.

    All along the way, Obama's internet team told us that when he got to the White House he'd use the internet the same way that he did during the campaign, and now we are seeing that is the case.

    Al, I wanted to know what you thin about this.

    "Liberals are never so happy as when they are unhappy."--LBJ

    by Micheline on Sat Jan 31, 2009 at 04:28:00 AM PST

    •  Sure, there are different stages (9+ / 0-)

      ...of organization in different regions. That would be a natural thing in any national movement. If you add up the swing states with the "caucus states" during the primaries and the states where the primaries were really contested, you have the great majority of states where there is a more advanced level of organizing than in New York.

      Micah - an old friend with whom I've collaborated some already since the election (we're pushing in the same direction) - is in New York which was the home state of Obama's primary rival for the nomination. Of course OfA has to start more from scratch there than almost anywhere.

      As for the "the obsession with the Presidency as the main lever of change," that's a cultural reality that will take generations to change. Rather than, um, obsess about it (after all, obsessing against it is just as much part of the national obsession as obsessing for it), I say utilize it, like gravity, to map our battle plans.

      I also don't buy into the "either-or" logic of my esteemed colleague when he seems to say that OFA2 has to choose between being the "President's email list/political army" and "community organizers." The early evidence is that it's both. What's that evidence: that the organizers I got to know during 2008 are flocking to it a bit faster than other sectors. And of course they'll utilize the gatherings to recruit folks for additional organizing agendas. But we think it's great that there will be a place where we can go find them. Had OFA2 not been launched, it would be harder to find them because unlike Professor Xavier we don't all have the resources to build our own personal "Cerebro" machine to locate the mutants! OFA2 is going to be our "Cerebro" whether that's the plan or not!

  •  Why is it that the only mentionof (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    88kathy, sidnora

    the word 'citizen' was in the Zephyr Teachout quote? Isn't the whole point to change as back into citizens again, after too many years as 'consumers'?

  •  RNC "grassroots" reply with a great malapropism (14+ / 0-)

    Josh Marshall over at Talking Points Memo came across this great malapropism during this week's Republican National Committee meeting:

    "We need a bottoms up party"
    -- As yet unidentified state party chair speaking at the RNC meeting.

    1/20/09 ... What a day!

    by dmhlt 66 on Sat Jan 31, 2009 at 04:48:36 AM PST

  •  For such a verbal guy, who can fill dead air (3+ / 0-)

    with endless hateful dreck, I find it interesting that all he could think of to describe conservative believers was "insane or what have you." Let's help define "what have you":

    what have you | (h)wät hav yoõ| adjective

    1. uninformed
    1. misinformed
    1. bamboozled by conservative propaganda from high-paid hacks who don't have any empathy for those less fortunate than the billionaires who pay them to churn out reactionary drivel in service to a gang of psychopathic thieves of the commonwealth, who see nothing wrong with slavery and war for profit.
  •  Rush Limbaugh will... (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Existentialist, abrauer, TheCid

    ...spend eternity twirling Rick Warren's dial in Hell.

    SOMEBODY'S GOTTA SAY IT!

    You can always rely on a conservative to come up with the right answer...25 years after everybody else.

    by Mercurius on Sat Jan 31, 2009 at 04:52:12 AM PST

  •  Teachout Article Has The Odor Of Puma (5+ / 0-)

    Smells as if maybe some big cat passed by. Teachin is a better answer. The answer to discrediting Limbaugh and Limclones is more education. Limbaugh never even completed high school, and that's why he thinks GWB should still be king of the heap.

    What you see is what you get, but what you don't see is what ends up getting you.

    by Existentialist on Sat Jan 31, 2009 at 05:14:58 AM PST

    •  I disagree with nearly all your statements. (7+ / 0-)

      Firstly, I see no connection to the PUMA movement at all.

      Teachout is concerned about a new dictatorial movement building from benevolent roots. Generally speaking such a course of events is possible. However, the concrete case - Obama style of organizing - is something quite different.

      Obama's appeal rests on his trustworthiness. People worked for him so hard, because finally there was someone advancing their cause (not just pretending it) and somebody with a consistent message (not shaping the message according to how many votes it gets). If Obama would be tempted to descend into ego-stroking, power-mongering, etc, he would lose his grass root support. So, there is nothing to fear here. On the other hand, there is so much to be gained, basically to accomplish all Obama set out to do!

      The left can be really funny sometimes (and I say that as a long term at least intellectual member of same). They fight against (perceived) power abuses already when their own side just begins to make the changes which they presumably fought for. Should one not wait at least until comprehensive health care and free choice of unions is the law of the land?????

      •  I Disagree With You As Well (0+ / 0-)

        Especially with your other comment re this diary, written above:

        So Limbaugh gets it. Seems one should not underestimate him.

        What you see is what you get, but what you don't see is what ends up getting you.

        by Existentialist on Sat Jan 31, 2009 at 06:24:00 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  Wow - same planet different worlds (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Existentialist

        Obama's appeal rests on his trustworthiness.

        Wow. I don't read the situation like that at all. What we do not need is a typical Democratic circular firing squad. Right now we have serious work to do, and it is NOT in opposing the week-old Obama Administration!

        This guy, and the groups I've interacted with in town, are the exact opposite of Dictatorial!

      •  I totally agree with you Sophie (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Edgewater

        Teachout is hinting that a semi private, semi government financed group can be a very dangerous weapon, if used for ulterior motives.
        In fact since when has a group like that ever turned out out to be favorable towards the people, the government are always directing it towards their own ends. And they always start out with missions to help the common good, and only later generates into tattle tale squads, enforcement of government laws, uniforms etc.

        Now it may be that Obama's group is different, I really hope it is, just people ought to be aware that this could happen and has happened before in history.

        Common sense isn't that common - Voltaire

        by obgynlover on Sat Jan 31, 2009 at 11:02:58 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  I'm changing my name (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    dietcokehead98

    To Pandemic Fruitflavored Wrinkle-proof

    The Road to 2010: More Democrats. Better Democrats.

    by Splicer on Sat Jan 31, 2009 at 05:26:34 AM PST

  •  There's a lot here I agree with. (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    huckleberry, bkamr, Edgewater

    Particularly the idea of having a paid organizer in every district.  (It still baffles me that people who spent months learning about local populations were unceremoniously canned, and makes me skeptical that this will actually happen.)

    I don't think one can assume that a policy lobbying organization will look anything like the campaign organization.  Obama campaign advisors will be the first to tell you that the Palin pick did more than any other single event to catalyze organizing efforts.

    And your Manichean frame is distasteful.  One can hope that OFA would fail in organizing people in favor of bad policy without wishing harm to Obama, his presidency, the Democratic party, liberals, or America.

  •  Zephyr Teachout. (4+ / 0-)

    I wondered what happened to her? I was involved w/Dean's campaign & the original Meetups. It sounds like Obama is following in their footsteps w/community organizers added in the mix. Nothing wrong w/that--Dr. Dean would definitely approve.

    I hope the good doctor surfaces and gets involved again. We need him to ward off the 'evil spirits' aka the DLC. That ilk is very prominently represented by Raul Emmanual. YECK! Hope I spelled his name wrong. LOL

    When you stop learning, you die.

  •  Not convinced it's going to work (5+ / 0-)

    We thought a bit about the house party idea here.  But concluded it wasn't a good use of our energy and time.  The effort to elect Obama strained our local resources to the point we lost several very important local offices due to lack of money and attention.  It all went to Obama.  It is pretty obvious to me that locally we are renewing our efforts for our free health clinic, food pantries, lack of sustainable jobs (we've been floating on second home construction for a decade), failing schools due to lack of money and loss of students to religious schools and home schooling, etc. And Obama's legislative agenda, while very, very important, isn't going to be where we point our efforts.

    And BTW, one thing that rankles is that the Obama organization built on Dean's work with DFA and the DNC and now Dean's nowhere to be seen.  Why?

  •  yuck (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    DelRPCV, Hlinko, thethinveil, Edgewater

    Your BS equivalence between Limbaugh and Teachout is not only wrong, its slimy. And your throwaway disclaimer that you're not really equating them - before you then, in fact, inform us how much worse Teachout is than Limbaugh. That's "reality based?" That's just personal-contempt based. Separate yourself from your President a bit, here.

    Agree with her or disagree with her, but by smearing her and insisting that her views are phony and rotten and evil to the hoots and "yee-has" of commenters assembled only makes her argument - which I hadn't really spent any time considering before this, frankly - that much more compelling.

    Get over to the Green Mountain Daily! What are you still reading this sig for?

    by odum on Sat Jan 31, 2009 at 05:50:10 AM PST

    •  I tipped because I want a response from the field (0+ / 0-)

      Good Frames Won't Save Bad Paintings.

      by thethinveil on Sat Jan 31, 2009 at 09:59:57 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Why don't you ask Teachout (7+ / 0-)

      ...if she feels "smeared" before condescending to speak for her?

      She left a comment over at The Field in reply to my essay:

      C'mon Al, you know very well, having read the piece, that I'm not "hoping against hope", I'm hoping for it.

      I'm thrilled with Obama, and I think he will succeed. I also think lots of organizations sprung from the Obama campaign and inspired by it will succeed--and their autonomy may be necessary for their power, and when the real fights come, their power (expecially if it can be more progressive) will be critical. I don't think OFA is one of them--and OFA is DNC organization, nothing more or less.

      What I'm not thrilled about is an idea of self-government that puts the Presidency at the center of it--I've written about this more here, how Obama's own vision requires a rejuvenation of more power in the other branches:

      http://tpmcafe.talkingpointsmemo.com...
      Z

      In other words, she's a grown-up that understands we have a disagreement. Those are not the words of someone that feels "smeared." There's no personal contempt from me toward her (or from her in response). We understand that debate is often a contact sport.

      Frankly, had I typed "I'm glad that it will fail" on the same week that Rush Limbaugh is in the middle of a shitstorm over saying "I hope he fails" I would batten down the hatches, expect to be compared to him, and ride it out.

      Nothing in my diary suggests that her views are "evil." I think you need to down a bottle of chill pills and stop playing mall cop for people who aren't asking for your protection.

      So, "yuck" right back to ya, officer.

      •  Next time I see her or hear from her, I'll ask. (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Edgewater

        I don't know Zephyr well, but I know her well enough to know she wouldn't stoop to a counter-smear, and would be more inclined to be civil and mend fences. That's the thing about people with actual manners. They're a bit better socialized. You go right on telling yourself that hurling that kind of bullshit at somebody is no big deal, though. It'll serve you oh so well in your adult life.

        "Mall cop." Yeah, I love that. You say she's worse than Rush Limbaugh and that's all free speech goodness. Somebody gets grossed out by such a far-fetched, insulting comparison, that's "mall cop." Ah, you kids these days.

        And another thing you'll learn as your understanding of human relationships develops, is that when you step up to push back when somebody you know is insulted - especially such a crude, offensive, and inappropriate insult - that's not speaking "for" someone. Believe me, I'm speaking for myself. I found your rhetoric childish at best, disgusting at worst.

        But by all means, don't let me draw you away from your angry blogmob any more. Otherwise someone might suggest that, y'know, rather than speak for Obama, you should let him speak for himself? I know, I know - that sounds so familar, somehow.

        Sorry that my taking offense at your rhetoric clearly designed to give offense has gotten you so self-righteously riled up, though. Hey - debate is often a contact sport. Maybe you should try chess instead.

        Get over to the Green Mountain Daily! What are you still reading this sig for?

        by odum on Sat Jan 31, 2009 at 09:37:30 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  So Limbaugh gets it. Seems one should (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    huckleberry, Alohilani

    not underestimate him. Anyhow I am looking forward to success of rule 13:-)

  •  rule #1 of zealots? attack opponents? c'mon! (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    brainwave, papermoon, Edgewater

    your diary has a LOT of great points, BUT

    comparing this howard dean ex-star to

    THAT JUNKIE FUCKING PERVERT FASCIST ??!

    Please.

    I've lived in Seattle for the last 20 years, and in Boston for most of the 11 years before that. the dem parties have their factions who sometimes spend more time whomping on each other with their petty fucking cabals and petty fucking secrets than whomping on these lying limbaugh SCUM.

    THE problem is processes which happen cuz it is a pain in the ass to go to the meetings AND waste the first 2 hours on high school robert's rules of order playpen crap, so people get fed up and don't come back. THE problem is that TOO much time is spent puttering about over how to organize much of anything, except internal fights, instead of fighting the pigs.

    http://www.liemail.com/...

    I HOPE you are right and Zephyr is wrong, with respect to this obama thing being about US being more effecitve in OUR communities, BUT

    there ain't no guarentees.

    sorry, but your diary has a 'your with us or your against us tone' which I don't like from ANYONE.

    Rush is 1 of the MOST evil, selfish fucks to disgrace this country. If he was on fire, I would NOT piss on him.

    I don't like casting people outta the temple, period, cuz I do NOT think there is anyone qualified to decide who is pure enough to be in the temple, much less by comparing them to that piece of shit.

    rmm.

    Yond Cassius has a lean and hungry look; He thinks too much: such men are dangerous

    by seabos84 on Sat Jan 31, 2009 at 06:14:29 AM PST

    •  Ah but you contradict yourself. (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      highacidity, kafkananda

      Remember you started by saying rule #1 of zealots is to attack your opponent etc etc. You then went on to pour the most vitriolic scorn on Rush Limbuck(sorry I can't ever seem to spell these German names correctly). Evidently Rush L is your opponent and Ms Zephir is not.So basically you are employing rule # 1 here. In fact you use more colourful language in this attack than the diary even comes close to in opposing Ms Zephir.

      Now I also think the diary has gone too far by basically suggesting Zephir is worse than Limbark. I wouldn't have been that harsh myself but it's just that I agree with the main thrust of the arguments. Zephir attacked community organizing in a most dismissive way and used the dreaded words "hope it fails". For dedicated community organisers like Al it's like a body blow and reminds one of the palpable pain you could feel in the blogosphere when Sarah Palin insulted all community organizers not a long while ago.

      However in my own opinion Limbag also shows quite a lot of savvy and method in his madness. He has actually analized Obama accurately and aknowledged that he didn't get where he is by being stupid.

      I don't think he's afraid of anybody.  He's the president of the United States.  This is a political play to marginalize me

      Rush maybe be the first of the prominent GOP opinion-makers to realize the real challenge they face in the formidable opponent that President Obama poses for them (which those of us more alert have known for a longer time). In the process he also gave a powerful compliment to this African-American President and may have finally (unwittingly)removed the wool from the GOP eyes to move quickly beyond childish race-baiting play into real opposition. For this he also deserves some respect although he is an enemy and wise ones never take their eyes off an enemy.

      •  reread the diary for context on Zephyr (0+ / 0-)

        Zephir attacked community organizing in a most dismissive way and used the dreaded words "hope it fails".

        This never happened. Zephyr wants what she considers real grassroots organizing not top down organizing. As someone who has worked in a number of issue oriented grassroots lobby's as an organizer I agree on that point. The Field only differs in the (s)he wouldn't want these lists going to another top down organization i.e. local democratic parties - which really is a strech because it depends on where you live on how open the party is to new ideas. So the Field doesn't think the way she argued was a good one but shares where she is coming from.

        Much different than you understanding of the issue.

        Good Frames Won't Save Bad Paintings.

        by thethinveil on Sat Jan 31, 2009 at 10:05:44 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  I totally agree (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      thethinveil

      I HOPE you are right and Zephyr is wrong, with respect to this obama thing being about US being more effecitve in OUR communities, BUT

      there ain't no guarentees.

      sorry, but your diary has a 'your with us or your against us tone' which I don't like from ANYONE.

      Especially about the tone in the diary.  In the context of discussing a "grassroots movement" originating from the White House this tone is particularly unpleasant.

      "The time for justice is always right now!" - Samantha Booke, Wiley College debate team, 1935

      by Edgewater on Sat Jan 31, 2009 at 09:09:49 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Now I know why they got rid of Dean, and (4+ / 0-)

    frankly, I don't disagree.  You can't build a parallel party structure when you're doing the Dean thing.

    The idea of building a parallel party is a spankingly good idea.  What bugs people like "Teachout" is that it works, and the history of where it's worked: the conservative movement in the repugnant party the Stalin apparatus, the SS, etc. has showed that it's worked in sinister guises.

    But it was also the labor movement.

    "It's better to realize you're a swan than to live life as a disgruntled duck."

    by Mumon on Sat Jan 31, 2009 at 06:22:16 AM PST

    •  Good point, Mumon. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      highacidity

      As many others have noted in their comments, we're running into the fact that the local party is not as fertile a ground as we would like or need. The popular dynamics and bureaucratic stasis are sometimes far apart. So for right now, let's use both these two legs and march forward together. Over time, they will cross pollinate and become more effective as they learn their natural roles.

      Wake up to find out that you are the eyes of the world. Not McCain

      by kafkananda on Sat Jan 31, 2009 at 08:26:37 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  In some places, like, umm, parts of New York, (5+ / 0-)

    I believe we will be much better off with a parallel party structure. The internal party politics can be paralyzing, and the stranglehold of the party machine all-too-often promotes mediocrity and discourages public involvement.

  •  I'd like to make a simple, fundamental point (17+ / 0-)

    in favor of the diarist's position here. One of the central reasons that I, and I'm sure millions of others voted for Obama in the primaries is that we thought he would have the ability to rally large numbers of Americans, and indeed most Americans, in support of critical programs that have languished for decades in the face of entrenched institutional opposition. It may not seem so much like it now with the economy on the ropes, but make no mistake, our government is completely dominated by corporate interests, and the only way to face them down is with organized opposition from mainstream America. Note that I said organized. Yes, Obama can and should give national speeches to explain his programs and build popular support. But OFA is a critical part of the mix to make sure our voices are heard at an adequate volume, which is VERY LOUDLY.

    The differences between Clinton and Obama during the primaries couldn't have been more stark . Clinton said basically, "I'll fight for you. Leave it to me, and I'll take care of everything.", while Obama said, "united, we can finally change things." We tried Clinton's approach, when she tried to pass universal health care during her husband's administration, and it was swept aside easily by the insurance lobby and other supporters of the status quo. You're naive if you don't think that the same forces will find a way to do so once again, without a concentrated pushback from all of us. This is Obama's true pledge - to help us take back OUR country.

    Now obviously, any time you try to do something like this, there is a whiff of possibility of an antidemocratic outcome. But I don't think for a second that it is a serious possibility. Yes, OFA will serve as a vehicle for explaining the Administration's ideas on our biggest issues. Which it should. I believe that these ideas will be developed in the course of a national discussion, conducted completely in the open, and effectively using net technologies.  They will be developed in conjunction with a Congress that is an equal rather than a doormat.  If it ever gets to the point that OFA organizers try to stifle dissent and a free flow of opinion towards the government, then I think there is reason to worry and to oppose it. I just don't see this happening, though. I have to believe that Obama, unlike his predecessor, has the confidence, intelligence, and disposition to encourage vigorous, reasoned, democratic debate over the challenges of our time. And we are not blind supporters, like so many of those authoritarian-inclined right wingers, and Obama in fact depends on that.

    "The only thing we have to fear - is fear itself." - Franklin Delano Roosevelt

    by orrg1 on Sat Jan 31, 2009 at 06:45:50 AM PST

    •  I agree with you to some extent (0+ / 0-)

      Yes on certain issues, where we feel the government is not going in the right direction, we should speak up.

      However, you are talking about 13 million or more people.

      If it's "organized" effort then it works.

      If it is a mass confusion into factions, which very well could happen, then it doesn't work as if so may groups go in different directions, and we look like a mob out of control.

      "Lead, follow, or get out of the way" - Thomas Paine

      by pinkbunny on Sat Jan 31, 2009 at 08:07:57 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Can there be a happy medium? (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    bethcf4p, orrg1

    Thing is, I'm part of one of those local party organizations that has been trying to break the turf-warrior mentality long before Obama came along.  And the last thing we need is OFA as yet another layer that doesn't work in conjunction with us.

    In that sense, Teachout is right.  Certainly OFA should just ignore the local and state parties that don't work well.  But those that DO, and can certainly USE OFA's resources...they shouldn't be ignored just because.

    Obamaponies made of rainbows would make ME happy.

    by wmtriallawyer on Sat Jan 31, 2009 at 06:48:47 AM PST

    •  Interest post (0+ / 0-)

      Seems to me it's based on the community--sometimes there's just the same little crowd. The Obama campaign--and perhaps OFA will get new folks involved that the local Dem crowd hasn't attracted. But yeah, these groups should work together--or at least have enough overlap of people that communication is seamless and open among the community.

  •  WTF is Zephyr Teachout? (4+ / 0-)

    Never heard of her. "Icon" and "sacred cow" to whom?

    Did I sleep through a big chunk of 2004?

    I put the fist in pacifist! -- xxdr zombiexx

    by MaskedKat on Sat Jan 31, 2009 at 06:48:54 AM PST

  •  Well said. Cheers! (4+ / 0-)

    Time to clean up DeLay's petri dish! Help CNMI guest workers find justice! Learn more at Unheard No More.

    by dengre on Sat Jan 31, 2009 at 07:08:03 AM PST

  •  Could not DISAGREE with you more (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    KuanShiYin, papermoon

    Don't get me wrong. Unlike Teachout, I want to see OFA succeed -- magnificently.

    But you and she are saying basically the same thing (sorry if that offends you, but I think you've got to admit it) if you think that this is some sort of either-or, zero-sum game. Cooperation with party units will not decrease the effectiveness of OFA or marginalize those new activists that it is energizing.

    I speak from the viewpoint of a newly minted local-party-unit chair (responsible for one state senate seat and two house seats, about one tenth of a Congressional district). I was elected at the start of the 2008 cycle. I don't have a lot of the old encrustations and old interests to bind me. I inherited a small group of activists: about 20 people seem to do all the work. My struggles and frustrations throughout the campaign centered on how to get these folks to think in new ways (something they weren't unwilling to do, just didn't know how to do), how to tap in to the energy Obama was creating, how to get new people involved, and how to get the Obama machinery to display a lick of interest in the local races that we were trying to win -- races that are, frankly, vital to achieving progressive goals in a state that still has a Republican governor who loves his veto pen.

    So I'd love it if I could get my hands on the Obama mailing list. But I'd love it because I'd have a chance to bring in fresh blood, and possibly transform this little local unit into being a lot more Obama-like while still having its local focus.

    I know you have a lot of cred around here, but frankly, I have to wonder when was the last time you attended a local unit event. Your ludicrous description of local units as

    smelly bastions of hackery, self-interest and corporate interest layered upon special interest, ... not yet plausible vehicles for struggle from the bottom up.... loci of power struggles between warring factions of ugly bureaucratic tendencies, most of whom are mainly interested in gaining control of various levels of government and in using that control to exercise power over others ...

    is so far from the reality I see here on the ground that for me it calls your entire viewpoint into question.

    The people at my local unit meetings are struggling to find a way to express their activism and to bring about progressive change. They figure the party is an effective way to do that. Not once have we been strong-armed from above or asked to represent the corporate and bureaucratic interests you are so certain are controlling everything.

    I'll close by just asking these questions:

    How do you think the party is ever going to change for the better if we don't begin to transform it from the bottom up?

    What better way to begin that transformation than by permeating the local units with Obama-inspired energy?

    Since when is sharing information the means of marginalizing somebody? Sharing strengthens both sides.

    Thanks for getting my blood boiling this morning. I was wondering how I was going to get the fog out.

    You seem seriously misguided. Let me know if you want to enlighten yourself a little by attending a local unit meeting. Our next one is next Wednesday evening, Feb. 4.

    •  Your Contributions are Commendable (0+ / 0-)

      Sharpner,

      Thanks for your contributions to your community - and this one.

    •  Wow, it seems like you are ahead of the curve (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      highacidity, BentLiberal

      in the process where you are. Keep up the good work and I would love to see a "nuts and bolts" diary so that we could all benefit from your experience. But please understand that the local conditions vary greatly across America. My experience here locally matches Al's general description. In any case, I don't think he believes we shouldn't enter and control the party structure, rather that at this time, parallel structures for the People to engage are useful.

      Although "blood boiling" is great to warm up on a cold winter's day, I've been applying Obama's cool, moving forward approach to great positive effect.  

      And where is that next local meeting?

      Wake up to find out that you are the eyes of the world. Not McCain

      by kafkananda on Sat Jan 31, 2009 at 08:53:21 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  I don't see him in favor of "parallel" structures (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        kafkananda, thethinveil

        Parallel (but cooperating) would be fine. Al seems to be saying that one of the two structures is irredeemable, so he doesn't seem to care for any sort of parallelism. What I would call sharing and cooperation he calls "handing the enemy your ammunition." The enemy? Seriously?

        P.S. -- I don't feel we're ahead of the curve. Compared to how the Obama campaign was able to manage technology, messaging, and grassroots mobilization, we are miles behind, and it really frustrates me that we're going to have to reinvent all of this ourselves. We don't even have a worthwhile basic website -- one of my key goals for this year, before the next cycle.

        I might diary this later in the year, when we've actually had some success.

        As to where we are, we're in the suburbs of Minneapolis.

  •  Can anyone explain... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    MizC

    why, when I Google "Saul Alinski", every site is marked "This site may harm your computer"?  Is this a new "feature" of Google of which I'm not aware?  Is this some right-wing thing or what?

    I've run into similar things with my spam filter and firewall but never this...

    Do you know if there's a way to disable or turn this off?  I've NEVER experienced this before with Google.

    "All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing." - Edmund Burke

    by CyberDem on Sat Jan 31, 2009 at 07:17:42 AM PST

  •  thanks Al (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    highacidity, peraspera

    well said.
    peace

  •  i'm having one of those parties (10+ / 0-)

    and i will continue to have parties for this movement.

    and my idea is that we will decide what we want to tell Obama and to define what we want the economic policy to be and to organize support for our goals, hoping that they are adopted by Obama.

    not one of the people i have met is for supporting obama blindly.  in fact, they are all for critiquing in the most incisive way and telling him what we want.

    and every single person who has come to one of the events i have attended or held is for single payer healthcare.  

    we are not going away.

    we are not shutting up.

    we are not robots.

    we will speak our truth to power.

    smoke that Limbaugh, et. al.

    this ain't no party.. this ain't no disco.. this ain't no foolin'around..

    by fernan47 on Sat Jan 31, 2009 at 07:25:02 AM PST

  •  Rush is not a stoopid guy. (4+ / 0-)

    He sees what is coming down the pipe.  Bush/Cheney has proven conservatism (neoconservatism) to be extreme and ineffectual.  The image does not need to be fabricated out of thin air.  The evidence is the last eight years and the condition his leaders have left this country in. (how could you walk away from this mess and still call yourself a leader?)

    He knows conservatism's brand is not just bruised.  There is a HUGE wounded elephant to point to.  He is trying to get out ahead of it with this statement.
    He wants to try and market the conservative failure as the Democratic party (President Obama; as if he has nothing better to do) "marketing" it as extreme failure.

  •  ZT's concern stems from disagreement here: (7+ / 0-)

    She clearly doesn't "get" that the Obama movement was an insurgency in the Democratic party, against many of the practices and turf-warriors of those local parties and officials.

    There is still a lot of disagreement in the left as to whether Obama represents a true insurgency in the Democratic party.  These people are inclined to believe in Naderlike fashion that the Obama/Clinton runoff represented a contest between two candidates who were insufficiently different and who are both corporate tools.

    I don't share that view, but it is prevalent and is still in the process of being addressed.  This is the essential core and cause of all the concern about the sincerity of his progressive bona fides.  It allows many ideas to fester in an environment of doubt that anyone truly progressive could ever win, and that we're being tacitly given a corporate-approved candidate who will lull us into a political/philosophical compliancy in an ultimately mistaken belief that we prevailed.

    I do think that this view prevails among people who are and were not engaged in the Obama campaign and did not get the sense of the people who were running it.  Engaging them now is key to dispelling this lingering fear that we've been conned because we did not elect Kucinich.

    The hopeful depend on a world without end, whatever the hopeless may say. --Rush

    by Leftcandid on Sat Jan 31, 2009 at 07:34:00 AM PST

  •  It also seems like Rush maybe revealing (5+ / 0-)

    his play book.  He really seems to 'know' the "Rule for Radicals" like the back of his hand.

  •  Rush has caused a lot of damage in my own (11+ / 0-)

    family, polarizing us with his hate speech.  And I think this has happened not just to my family but all over the country.  He can't go fast enough to suit me.

  •  I hoped Bush wouldn't "F" everything up. (0+ / 0-)

    Oh well.

    Stupid. Breakfast of Republicans.

    by You Get What You Deserve on Sat Jan 31, 2009 at 07:45:14 AM PST

  •  I have complained in the past about posting (11+ / 0-)

    Limbaugh diaries on the grounds that it only encourages him, like paying attention to an overweight hyper ill-behaved child.

    After reading this diary I freely admit I was wrong.  Any piece of writing as well researched, analytical and backed up by sources material, or at least inclusion of names I feel compelled to check out,  is a valuable addition to the education of the masses, of which i am a speck of dust.

    However, now I am going to be forced to do some more research to see why i need to take Zephyr Teachout seriously or her ideas?  I must confess despite the fact she is 'netroots celebrity' self proclaimed or by majority acclamation I haven't a clue, I had never heard the name before in my netroots life, which i must admit is only a couple of years old.

    I must also admit in the old days when i read the NYT over my morning coffee I was rarely motivated to zip on over to Wikipedia and check someone or something out., altho I did get many of my ideas for projects and writings from newspaper stories.

    The Times, indeed, they are a changin'.

    •  on your ignoring of limbaugh (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Fuzzy Dais

      i could go on and on on the importance of talk radio in getting us into this disaster but in general i'd say obama did what clinton gore and kerry should have done by getting limbaugh out from under his rock. he won't survive the light of day. but he is just the point man for the radio monopoly in general and

      ignoring the talk radio monopoly continues to be the biggest political blunder in decades

      by certainot on Sat Jan 31, 2009 at 11:21:21 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  I gotta tell you (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    bethcf4p, highacidity, sharonsz

    reading your posts always makes my day. Excellent work.

    The future is this moment, and not someplace out there.

    by MBNYC on Sat Jan 31, 2009 at 07:57:24 AM PST

  •  Obama tied "I hope he fails" to the Republicans (11+ / 0-)

    By bringing that up in his meeting with the GOP, he has permanently tied them to the hope for failure.
    Now everything they do will be viewed through the prism of what Rush said. While it seemed like a stupid thing for Obama to do, it was not. It was brilliant.

    •  Yes, it was a master stroke. (6+ / 0-)

      I never fail to be awed by the way he thinks, the way he does strategy.  It's like watching a chess master: he makes a move, and we think 2 or 3 moves ahead and think it was a blunder.  But he's thinking 10 or 12 moves ahead, and when he gets there, we all see what it was about.  I hope he writes a Sun Tzu-type book someday, when he's old and gray, just to let us know how he did it.  

      President Obama is smarter than me.  I sleep better knowing that; it comforts me so -- it's right up there with "Be still and know that I am God."

      I love the smell of failed conservatism in the morning.

      by snazzzybird on Sat Jan 31, 2009 at 08:38:21 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  They make a mistake thinking he is naive (4+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        snazzzybird, kafkananda, kat68, COkdub

        They make a mistake underestimating him and his ability to get what he wants. He will end up getting the stimulus he wanted and the Republicans will hand it to him. By loading up the bill with irrelevant programs that he knew would not fly, he forces them to come up with relevant programs which he probably wanted in the first place.

        •  Exactly. The second I heard Republicans (3+ / 0-)

          complaining there was not enough money for infrastructure projects, I knew this was the game. You're absolutely right, they're going to write the bill he wants and believe all the while they're getting their own way.

          •  Aren't you projecting a little? (0+ / 0-)

            There is a difference between Summers who actually wrote the stimulus package and Obama's plans.

            Summers is hugely anti-stimulus - most of the house transportation committee knows this because everyone from far left to right said so. All were disappointed by the lack of infrastructure - making up only at most 15% of the bill.

            Case in point - I have a relative that has made a list of 50 million dollars worth of projects that have yet to be funded by the package - it covers only half a million and this is a city of ten thousand.

            Clearly more can be spent on infrastructure. But republicans are already changing their talking points - the money needs to go out faster now - which is true - but they want it to go out through tax cuts.

            There is still yet another possibility which may in fact happen due to Senate Republican pressure - that long term infrastructure funding and social services funding will be put off for an entirely different package. And the short term stimulus might be put together that includes Republican goodies like military funding and tax cuts.

            This opens up the opportunity to restate their earlier long time favorite talking point of pork against the long term stimulus.

            Obama and the congressional democrats haven't won yet and the only people who have clearly lost is the guys who wrote it - Obama economic committee  headed up by Larry Summers.

            You know, but like narratives and shit. Obama head fake blaa blaa and Romulan three dimensional chess and whatnot. Meanwhile forget about reality based strategy.

            Good Frames Won't Save Bad Paintings.

            by thethinveil on Sat Jan 31, 2009 at 11:01:36 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

    •  I have been an advocate of the Limbaugh strategy (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      peraspera

      because I can sense that it is freaking brilliant.

      However, in my usual "extremely slow on the uptake when it comes to narrative" fashion, reading your comment is the very first time I actually got this thing about hope and fail!

      he has permanently tied them to the hope for failure.

      That flash, that dimly bright flash? That is the lightbulb over my head that just lit up.

      Hope!

      Failure!

      I get it! (I think)

      Thanks :)

  •  she forgets that people WWWANT (14+ / 0-)

    to be ASKED by the PRESIDENT to HELP. DIRECTLY. That is NEARLY impossible to achieve through local party apparatus for some reason. It is a starting point for people and if they get turned on, they WILL take it beyond that and organize locally. That's the whole freakin' point. But even just continuing a dialogue about policies and causing change in this country WILL be a success even if people don't all become Saul Alinsky.

  •  "Yeah, But...." (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    peraspera

    Sorry, Al. Had to say it.

    Good observations as always.

    Is that your stimulus package, or are you just happy to see me?

    by eclecticbrotha on Sat Jan 31, 2009 at 08:07:08 AM PST

  •  I agree with Zaphyr in one thing. (4+ / 0-)

    But I support self-government even more, and a successful organization sharing uncritical media with 13 million citizens sounds spooky to me.

    An "Obama is always right" culture, that I personally have witnessed here (FISA, Geithner), combined with 13 million or more people harnessed by OFA does give me pause. It is a double edged sword can potentially do as much good as it can harm.

    What happens of netroots disagrees with a certain Obama legislation? Will the power OAF reverse course and direct it's flower at the administration? or is it simply a one way tool? Top to bottom?

    I feel that all power requires the check of a critical public to be truly  useful. I'm not sure that OAF will be the kind of movement that would encourage such criticism.

    The Shape Of Things "Beware the terrible simplifiers" Jacob Burckhardt, Historian

    by notquitedelilah on Sat Jan 31, 2009 at 08:19:31 AM PST

    •  Careful notquitedelilah (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      thethinveil

      you're in the rah-rah zone here

      If you don't like Organizing for America, just get out of the way and try to avoid getting rolled over

      I agree with your point:

      What happens of netroots disagrees with a certain Obama legislation? Will the power OAF reverse course and direct it's flower at the administration? or is it simply a one way tool? Top to bottom?

      I feel that all power requires the check of a critical public to be truly  useful. I'm not sure that OAF will be the kind of movement that would encourage such criticism.

      And that statement in the diary simply reinforces it.

      "The time for justice is always right now!" - Samantha Booke, Wiley College debate team, 1935

      by Edgewater on Sat Jan 31, 2009 at 10:15:12 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  There's a difference (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        highacidity

        ...between disagreeing and trying to get in the way of something.

        If you disagree with me, I'll tip my hat, maybe express my disagreement, and move on.

        But if you try to get in my way, you're going to get rolled over, because you're trying to stop me from doing what is in my free rights to do.

        You're confusing the two to claim that anybody that disagrees gets rolled over. That's paranoid.

        •  Yes there is a difference between (0+ / 0-)

          disagreement and trying to get in the way of something.

          I suggest that people like the poster I responded to are raising legitimate concerns about the way this group could end up being used and that raising these concerns is of value.

          These people have free rights to raise such questions and I have free rights to agree that they are raising good questions.

          If your post to me is representative of how people in OFA feel about this that just reinforces once again what notquitedelilah said:

          I feel that all power requires the check of a critical public to be truly  useful. I'm not sure that OAF will be the kind of movement that would encourage such criticism.

          "The time for justice is always right now!" - Samantha Booke, Wiley College debate team, 1935

          by Edgewater on Sat Jan 31, 2009 at 10:59:32 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

    •  critical reflection toward change (0+ / 0-)

      in my experience is not an attribute of the social movements/groups I have come across and been part of.

      I feel that all power requires the check of a critical public to be truly  useful. I'm not sure that OAF will be the kind of movement that would encourage such criticism.

      Though you are talking about power, which is somewhat different in some ways. But I myself would tend to see this in the same light as I see dynamics related to critical reflection in any movement context: probably not going to happen because in this cultural system, real critical reflection that would lead to actual shifts in practice that would make those at the center feel uncomfortable .... would invoke a lot of resistance.

      This is how things work in this country. IMO.

  •  I'm trying to think back (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    highacidity

    on the moment when Teachout's analysis began to actually carry weight for some folks.  All I remember are a bunch of flowery prose (crap about watching the sun rise on a new day, blah, blah, blah) over at BfA, and a bunch of cutesy, rah, rah cheerleading (or was that Kate What'shername?  The isn't-this-fun?-I'm-eating-cookies-at-my-desk! gal?)  For some reason everyone was always wetting themselves over what a brilliant writer Teachout was.

    I didn't realize she was still opining.  Or that anyone still listened.

  •  intellectual honesty (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    churchylafemme, thethinveil

    There is one huge and overriding difference between Zephyr Teachout and Rush Limbaugh.

    It’s called intellectual honesty.  You see, Zephyr doesn’t claim to be "hoping."  She actually IS convinced that her opinion of the project is correct and therefore doesn’t have any doubt that it will fail.

    Limbaugh on the other hand, well, he just exposed his hand didn’t he.  

    The best response when confronted with one of his misguided fans regurgitating his "opinions" is, "In what possible way could it succeed?  When did Rush start having doubts about the unfailing disastrous effects of liberalism?  Is this like when he had doubts a few years ago and complained about "carrying water" for Republicans?  What exactly is it that he wants anyway? ..."

    "Fear not the path of truth for the lack of people walking on it." Robert F. Kennedy

    by enough already on Sat Jan 31, 2009 at 08:40:16 AM PST

  •  Government Propaganda is Bad (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    brainwave, papermoon, Edgewater

    Organized propaganda, which is selective information about issues designed to produce a specific policy goal spread through mass media, is illegal to be produced or distributed by the government. Because it's bad for democracy. The government has a large advantage in pushing a policy on values other than its merits, like seeing it everywhere, putting the "official" stamp on it, and feeling like the policy is inevitable, even when it's not. Especially when that policy is still being developed by the government, when it's not actually the official policy (AKA "law"), propaganda pushing it is bad for an open, democratic, pluralistic society.

    If OFA still coordinates at all with Obama or anyone else in his government staff, then the OFA is a government propaganda organ. That's probably illegal. And even if it somehow manages to stay "ahead" of propaganda laws, such a propaganda organ would be bad and wrong. People would be right to stand up and oppose it. Even if they're in favor of the policy goals, the cost of politicizing (as in partisan campaign politics) the central workings of government is too high a price to pay. The worst crimes of Bush and his Republican Party were rooted in exactly that kind of perversion of government and its coordinated private "allies". The union of the government and partisan mass media is a threat that our democracy has never survived.

    It is possible that OFA is truly independent of Obama and the government. That their coordination is merely a synchronicity, because OFA is simply sticking to the policies it promoted while Obama was a (highly publicly visible) private citizen running for office. So long as Obama sticks to those policies that OFA continues to promote, OFA will look "coordinated". But if there's no actual coordinating communications between OFA and Obama (or anyone else in official government), that's not government propaganda. That's just Obama keeping his promises, and OFA perhaps influencing him to do so. Which is entirely a legitimate role for a private organization.

    If OFA starts "compromising" exactly the same as Obama does (and has, eg. on appointing lobbyists and perhaps on the 5 day public discussion before signing laws), then we're looking at coordination. Which is probably illegal, and certainly bad.

    I voted for Obama. I supported his policies (which can be known) even more than I supported the man (who looks cool, but Bush looked cool to the suckers who voted for him). So long as OFA, Obama, or anyone else supports those policies, I therefore support them. Except if one of those policies turns out to be a secret one of coordination to produce government propaganda. That I cannot support. That I oppose. I hope Obama succeeds. The Obama whose policy is maximum transparency and accountability. If there's some "new Obama" whose policy is secret coordination and propaganda, I hope the old Obama defeats the new one, and the old Obama succeeds in making the new Obama fail. I hope there's no new Obama.

    We should see soon enough. But we should look. Not, as this diary urges, avert our eyes because we just want as powerful an Obama as there can be, regardless of what the Obama we voted for would have said about him.

    "When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro." - HST

    by DocGonzo on Sat Jan 31, 2009 at 08:41:32 AM PST

    •  Is Propaganda "Always" Bad? (9+ / 0-)

      Is it bad for the Left to stay in power and to use propaganda as part of that once it has won?

      You do understand that the consequences of not utilizing propaganda are to quickly lose all that you've gained.

      I'm just not into purity. FDR used propaganda very effectively and was elected four times. I don't have any problem at all with Obama using propaganda to push the agenda and remain at the helm. To the contrary, I would have a huge problem if he suddenly became too "pure" (that is, puritan) to use that tool at his - and our - disposal.

      •  That is the connundrum (4+ / 0-)

        propaganda is lies.
        People drawn to the political left generally have a huge problem with lies and liars.
        The Right believes that the win is all important, analyze the method after the fact if at all.
        The Left believes that winning is important but not at the cost of becoming the enemy.
        Therefore the use of propaganda comes much more naturally to those invested in the Right side of the political spectrum.

        Gross over generalizations I know but hard to deal with this  with specifics.

        There can be no exceptions to "No Man Is Above The Law."

        by stevej on Sat Jan 31, 2009 at 09:01:53 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  I don't buy it (13+ / 0-)

          Pete Seeger and Bruce Springsteen singing "This Land Is Your Land" on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial - that's propaganda, too.

          The Shepard Fairey "HOPE" poster and its many spin-offs - that's propaganda, too.

          Blogs in and of themselves are propaganda or attempt to rise to that level.

          Your comment itself is propaganda.

          So I don't buy the claim that "propaganda is lies." When it lies, it lies. When it frames the truth to be more inspiring or move people to action, it is still true, and therefore can't be a lie.

          Otherwise, you've just called for a society without art!

          •  Be very careful here. (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            DocGonzo, Edgewater

            Propaganda is basically deceptive.

            You may win people over to your side with propaganda, but the more successful you are, the more those who control the message will overreach, and eventually their real failures, not simply political failures, will come back to bite them.

            A large, top-down driven, propagandistic organization whose goal is to "roll over" its opponents based solely on opposition to that organization is itself is not progressive, and in the long run it will prove to be poor strategy.

            •  Enlightenment is propaganda (4+ / 0-)

              Propaganda lies by omission. Propaganda is a biased dissemination of information with the objective of influencing the recipient's course of action.

              Here's the thing, though: from the mid 90's to 2006, the RW Noise Machine - the most powerful propaganda network ever built in this country - completely had its way with public discourse because we lacked the infrastructure to fight it. They were lying, and we were telling the truth, and we were many - but didn't help. You don't fight propaganda by telling the truth - you fight propaganda with counter-propaganda.

              Think about that - enlightenment is propaganda.

              An Ceiling Cat rode invisible bike over teh waterz (cskendrick)

              by brainwave on Sat Jan 31, 2009 at 09:35:08 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  We're Not the Government (2+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                brainwave, Edgewater

                Propaganda from competing private orgs is entirely appropriate. It's not some private org's responsibility to present the opposing position as well as their own (though, if their position is compellingly better, such a tactic is very powerful).

                What I oppose is coordinating directly the private org with the official government on anything but official (passed laws) policy. It's the same conflict as the rules governing "527 groups" prohibit: no coordination between the two groups can be permitted. When a private org issues propaganda that has been coordinated with the government, that is government propaganda, just as when a private group issues propaganda that has been coordinated with a campaign that is campaign propaganda. Government propaganda is wrong (even if campaign propaganda is not - but hiding campaign donations trhough a "separate" but coordinated group is wrong). And just as the illegal coordination among campaign groups compounds the crime, coordinating government (but not yet official) policy through private orgs to hide the government hand compounds the wrong.

                Private groups should battle for public support with as much counter-propaganda as they want (so long as it's not repressive, defamation or otherwise an illegal clear and present danger to safety). But government must be above the fray. Government power is so vast that it cannot be wielded except in official ways promoting official policies. And even then the maximum restraint is best. Good official policies will have plenty of support in public from private parties, even if there's also corresponding opposition. So long as the government does its job ensuring open access to the public debate independent of content, the public debate will support good policies from the government. Sometimes good policies will lose, sometimes bad policies will win, but the large majority of wins will go to good policies. That's how democracy works: messy, imperfect, but overall in the interest of the people and their legitimate interests. The alternatives, like those underwritten by (or even tolerating) government propaganda pushing policies to official status, might be more reliable in securing wins for the government, but inherently guarantee unacceptable damage to the society, and of course thereby the people in it (and, thereby, to the government itself, too).

                "When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro." - HST

                by DocGonzo on Sat Jan 31, 2009 at 10:10:09 AM PST

                [ Parent ]

                •  Yes, I do agree with that (2+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  DocGonzo, Edgewater

                  Like I said in response to your original comment - I do agree that there needs to be, not just a firewall, but complete organizational independence between OFA and the administration. Not just in the sense that the people building OFA aren't currently working for the government, but in the sense that they're not now and never have been close to Obama. Now, it may well be the case that OFA is in fact being build just that way. I'm not saying it isn't, I wonder whether it is and want to make sure that it is.

                  An Ceiling Cat rode invisible bike over teh waterz (cskendrick)

                  by brainwave on Sat Jan 31, 2009 at 10:25:54 AM PST

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  Non-coordination (0+ / 0-)

                    I'm not sure that the distance needs be so separate between the org and the Obama administration. Clearly such distance would meet the criteria. But there's probably some middle ground. Just having associated, even been on a team, perhaps even a campaign team, with the person who's now president, would eliminate quite a lot of capable people actually committed to a shared agenda. Which is is a double-edged sword, because it could allow for continuing to act as a team from a pre-written script, even after they "part company" when one of them becomes president (or Secretary of State, or Assistant Attorney General, etc - quite a large number of associates of all those).

                    My test is to ask whether it's legit for a private org to be run by people who were part of Bush's 2000, or 2004 (or any other, really, in that decades-long Rove project) campaign. I'd say it is, so long as they don't continue to coordinate, and as long as their previous association is both known and examined in public by journalists with integrity and a taste for the truth, especially if the truth is that they're unethically coordinating. Transparency is, as usual, the key. Sufficient transparency, complemented by sufficient journalistic investigation, makes it too hard to conceal the coordination that is really the problem, either ongoing or according to some previous plan.

                    "When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro." - HST

                    by DocGonzo on Sat Jan 31, 2009 at 03:35:15 PM PST

                    [ Parent ]

          •  Not Official Government Policy (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Edgewater

            You are again failing to distinguish between "propaganda" and "government propaganda".

            Pete Seeger singing that "private property signs are not for you and me" is not official government policy. It is not government propaganda. A couple days celebration on the Mall pushes the message "America is ecstatic we have a new government the people just chose". That is indeed official government policy, and therefore not propaganda - because it is not selective. Even if some trivial components of it might be.

            The Obama campaign poster, and its continued posting by private individuals, is not official government propaganda. If the government posted those, or any other "Obama" posters, like Saddam Hussein did, like China did of Mao and his successors, like the pharoahs and any number of "cult of personality" governments throughout history and the modern world, that would be government propaganda.

            Likewise, if a private org coordinates its messages on anything but official government policy (passed laws), like promotion of a bill or amendment not yet voted by the Congress, with the government's messages, that private org's propaganda is government propaganda. As surely as when Fox News ran Bush's talking points every night urging us to invade Iraq, while Congress was deciding whether to give Bush that power. That was government propaganda from a private outlet. It was bad and wrong. It did extreme damage to our nation. And not just because of the content, which was a bad policy. But because the coordination of government propaganda through a private org, which is not bound by the same rules protecting the public as is the government, is bad and wrong. Even if the content is not bad for the country (either in your mind, or perhaps even objectively), the damage might perhaps not be extreme, but it's still damage. That damage is a cost not worth the benefit of promoting the policy. If the policy is good, especially while Obama himself is so popular, then it will be well received by the people whose large majority just gave Obama the power to pursue that policy.

            Society has plenty of room for art. Society has no room for both government propaganda, however artful, and for public integrity. We have a huge public integrity vacuum filled with government propaganda. The more we reverse that dominance, the more our art will show a society freely in balance.

            "When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro." - HST

            by DocGonzo on Sat Jan 31, 2009 at 09:40:01 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  This is getting quite semantic (4+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              highacidity, peraspera, NMLib, taiping1

              OfA is clearly not going to be a government agency or funded by the government, so even if it makes pro-government propaganda, it still will not be, by your own definition, "government propaganda."

              I believe that ALL media - including your comments and my responses - are forms of propaganda. There is nothing inherently "good" or "evil" about it. Nor is there anything inherently "honest" or "dishonest" about it (unless you want to get into Aristotelian metaphysics or Buddhist dogma).

              Propaganda is a tool and like all tools it depends on how one uses it.

              Here's the dictionary definition:

              Main Entry:
              pro·pa·gan·da
              Pronunciation:
              \ˌprä-pə-ˈgan-də, ˌprō-\
              Function:
              noun
              Etymology:
              New Latin, from Congregatio de propaganda fide Congregation for propagating the faith, organization established by Pope Gregory XV †1623
              Date: 1718

              1 capitalized : a congregation of the Roman curia having jurisdiction over missionary territories and related institutions

              1. the spreading of ideas, information, or rumor for the purpose of helping or injuring an institution, a cause, or a person
              1. ideas, facts, or allegations spread deliberately to further one's cause or to damage an opposing cause ; also : a public action having such an effect.
              •  rumor, allegations...what about lies, distortion? (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Edgewater

                your definition falls short because while it includes rumor and allegations (which could be true) it seems to exclude lying, such as what has been happening on the talk radio monopoly. i like the definitions below yours.

                the spreading of ideas, information, or rumor for the purpose of helping or injuring an institution, a cause, or a person
                ideas, facts, or allegations spread deliberately to further one's cause or to damage an opposing cause ; also : a public action having such an effect.

                another definition from American Heritage College Dict. doesn't specify, so it INCLUDES LYING

                1. systematic dissemination of  a doctrine or cause or of information reflecting the views and interests of its propagators.

                2)material disseminated by the advocates of a doctrine or cause.

                ignoring the talk radio monopoly continues to be the biggest political blunder in decades

                by certainot on Sat Jan 31, 2009 at 11:02:20 AM PST

                [ Parent ]

              •  You're Switching to Semantics (0+ / 0-)

                No, my argument is not at all semantic. I'm not even arguing whether this is "propaganda" or not. What I insist on presenting in our debate is the difference between propaganda generally, and government propaganda. You keep on ignoring the distinction, as well as that I'm distinguishing between government and otherwise, to the extent of insisting on arguing over whether it's propaganda or not. This is frustrating for me, and I won't continue the debate if you insist on having one that I'm not actually part of.

                The very clear distinction I have been making is whether government is publicly promoting policy that is not (yet, perhaps) official policy, designed to help make it official policy. Whether the government is acting directly, or whether it's coordinating with a private organization, is irrelevant to whether it's wrong, whether it has the damaging effects I've described (that you haven't bothered to rebut). But since we're talking about the private org, the point is that if the private org is coordinating its public messaging with the government, then it's no different from the government doing it directly. Except that it's worse, because it's dishonest, and because the private org is not as constrained as the government, though it's doing government work, so it should be - but isn't.

                That has nothing to do with "semantics". That is ethics, and essential boundaries on politics. If you want to talk about that, we can talk about whether "the end justifies the means" (it doesn't). If not, you can talk about whatever you want - without me.

                "When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro." - HST

                by DocGonzo on Sat Jan 31, 2009 at 04:08:18 PM PST

                [ Parent ]

            •  The thing about Shepard is that (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              DocGonzo

              his posters are in fact mocking soviet style propaganda and apply the criticisms of it to capitalist propaganda.

              I do agree with the Field (even after he compared my posts to shitting) on the issue that propaganda isn't so much as lies as they are media products that argue for one side over the other.

              There is also the common understanding that propaganda is lies.

              And then there is the problem of Government propaganda which is an entirely separate issue. I think we should all be against psyops on civilian populations - yellow ribbon stickers funded by the pentagon anyone?

              To say that in one is THE answer is false. It depends on the conversation and after reading the thread it seems to be the third case I have highlighted.

              Good Frames Won't Save Bad Paintings.

              by thethinveil on Sat Jan 31, 2009 at 03:07:21 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  Government Propaganda Is *The* Issue (0+ / 0-)

                The entire issue is whether the government should be promoting publicly and selectively a policy not (yet, perhaps) the official policy, whether or not you call that propaganda. The legitimate position on that issue is "No". And hiding it by coordinating with a private org to do it as a proxy is even worse. That is why I disagree with this diary's saying "It's OK If You Are a Democrat". That's exactly the attitude that led Republicans to collapse, dragging the country through hell along the way, from which we have not at all recovered. If Democrats go that way too, we're never going to recover, but only get worse, even if perhaps in a different flavor.

                "When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro." - HST

                by DocGonzo on Sat Jan 31, 2009 at 04:21:38 PM PST

                [ Parent ]

                •  Does anyone here actually belong to OFA? (0+ / 0-)

                  What issues are they working on and who are its campaign managers, head organizers and trainers? I think we can learn something as to their intentions if we see where they come from - is it from electoral politics or real community activism?

                  (I was hoping the field might be able to answer these questions but it looks as though he is a bit defensive today. Because even though he pimps them in his diary - any link to them is seen as an accusation of being a paid operative.)

                  So I guess I will have to go elsewhere to find those questions out.

                  I will post whatever I dig up online later.

                  Good Frames Won't Save Bad Paintings.

                  by thethinveil on Sat Jan 31, 2009 at 04:30:26 PM PST

                  [ Parent ]

          •  This is a ridiculous position (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            thethinveil

            Your comment itself is propaganda.

            There is a concept of propaganda that it is a constant bombardment with deceptive appeals to emotion rather than reason.  

            This poster certainly has not done that.  Art is not in and of itself propaganda although it certainly can be used to further the cause of propagandists.

            Your basic understanding of what propaganda is and is not is apparently quite limited.

            Not being into purity is one thing, suggesting that Obama sink to the level of propaganda is another.

            I don't think he has and your suggestion that he should borders on offensive.

            "The time for justice is always right now!" - Samantha Booke, Wiley College debate team, 1935

            by Edgewater on Sat Jan 31, 2009 at 10:48:19 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

      •  Yes, As I Said (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        papermoon, Edgewater

        It is bad for "the Left", or anyone, to keep power by perverting the government. Government propaganda is bad because it perverts the government, apart from whatever value there might be in the content of the propaganda.

        Note that government promotion of official policy is not propaganda. Because that official policy has been produced by the democratic process. The democratic process includes the openness for dissent among competitors without the overpowering advantage of backing by the government itself. That is why government propaganda is illegal, while other government promotion, of finalized official policy, is not.

        There is no doubt that government propaganda is an effective way for those issuing it to retain power. Bush was reelected on his terroristic propaganda, and nearly all the staying power Republicans still have in the Congress was charged by government propaganda they produced during the 14 years they could influence it, and the final 6 years they could control it.

        Good ideas and good policies don't need the unfair propaganda advantage. Obama was elected on good policies even more urgent and important now than they were in November 2008. If he leaves behind an org like OFA that continues to support those policies independent of further coordination, that's not government propaganda simply because the two (now) independent teams coincide with their values. It's still propaganda coming from OFA, but legitimate, just as the propaganda coming from, say, the American Enterprise Institute is legitimate: they're not official, so Americans will rightly question their source and content even more than we question official government pronouncements. And it's even propaganda coming from the White House, or even from coordinated messaging from White House and Congressional Democrats, but Americans know how to distinguish between "what the Democrats/president are pushing" and, say, the Surgeon General's Warning (eg. "cigarettes cause cancer").

        Government propaganda is bad. It's not necessary, and its costs are too high.

        BTW, that "antipurity" angle is nonsense. I'm making the case from the actual merits, not from any claim to "purity". That might or might not be "pure" - "purity" is irrelevant. In turn, I am against the purity of those who condemn right action as "purity". I'm just not into the purity of "antipurity". Antipurity trolling is just as specious as purity trolling. We either consider the legitimate costs, benefits and risks of action, or we're just catapulting the propaganda.

        "When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro." - HST

        by DocGonzo on Sat Jan 31, 2009 at 09:17:15 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  Yes - propaganda is bad (0+ / 0-)

        From Wiki:

        Propaganda often presents facts selectively (thus lying by omission) to encourage a particular synthesis, or gives loaded messages in order to produce an emotional rather than rational response to the information presented. The desired result is a change of the cognitive narrative of the subject in the target audience to further a political agenda.

        Your presentation of the rolling over people who don't agree, ie. the with us or against us thing, and now your suggestion that Obama should sink to the level of engaging people on an emotional rather than rational level all put forward in support of a "grassroots movement" originating from Obama's camp taken as a whole are rather chilling to say the least.

        The whole idea in getting rid of BushCo in the minds of many, the poster you're responding to obviously being one, was that we don't want this kind of leadership.  In his own words:

        So long as OFA, Obama, or anyone else supports those policies, I therefore support them. Except if one of those policies turns out to be a secret one of coordination to produce government propaganda. That I cannot support. That I oppose.

        The more you talk in this thread the more uncomfortable I become with the whole idea of OFA to be honest.  You aren't doing the group any favors by suggesting they are, or should be, propogandists.

        "The time for justice is always right now!" - Samantha Booke, Wiley College debate team, 1935

        by Edgewater on Sat Jan 31, 2009 at 10:37:35 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Then don't join (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          peraspera, PalGirl2008, taiping1

          ...and go organize the kind of project that you think will be more effective toward your goals.

          But sitting around bitchin' and moanin' about other people taking initiative is silly.

          •  You are sadly mistaken (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            thethinveil

            if you think that what I, DoGonzo, brainwave, papermoon, stevej, and notquitedelilah  are saying here amounts to bitching and moaning about other people taking initiative.

            It is blind unquestioning behavior of government that has lead so many societies into trouble.  The most recent example of that was BushCo who had almost complete blind and unquestioning behavior from his followers.

            Your absolute refusal to grant that there is a legitimate wondering going on basically suggests that the concern raised by notquitedelilah is absolutely well taken.

            We've all been treated to the Obama can do no wrong crowd and it grows tedious.  Your posts here have simply been more of the same.

            There are some of us who don't want to deify the man.  We want to follow his advice and ask questions every step of the way.  And you know what?  It's our right.  

            Trying to shout us down or put words in our mouths doesn't answer the questions we're asking and doesn't further productive discussion of the topic.  

            "The time for justice is always right now!" - Samantha Booke, Wiley College debate team, 1935

            by Edgewater on Sat Jan 31, 2009 at 11:16:12 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  Democratically choosing someone to lead (4+ / 0-)

              ...and then liking it when he does exactly what we elected him to do, is not "deification."

              So the next time you argue against the use of "straw men," check your own use of them at the door.

              I'm certainly not trying to shout you down. But if anytime anyone disagrees with you, you think they are trying to censor you, at a certain point reasonable people will conclude that it's not a discussion you're seeking, so why waste time on it?

              •  Deification. (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Edgewater

                Democratically choosing someone to lead and then liking it when he does exactly what we elected him to do, is not "deification."

                People vote for a person for many reasons and hardly ever is it the case that they are going to agree with them on everything.

                Obama has already broken numerous campaign promises, Anyways.

                But that your point is still true in-itself, it still doesn't have a true effect in the context. So say I voted for him to end the Iraq war, so he works on that and does it, does that mean that I should agree with everything else simply because he promised to do so?

                Many will justify Obama's vote on FISA even though they disagree with him. Many will alter their positions and "principles"  only so they can continue to deify him.

                That is where the criticism of deification comes from.

                Good Frames Won't Save Bad Paintings.

                by thethinveil on Sat Jan 31, 2009 at 11:50:07 AM PST

                [ Parent ]

                •  It's your portrayal (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  highacidity

                  Of those that disagree with you on this matter or others as somehow meaning we "agree with everything else" or "deify" Obama or anybody else.

                  So while you accuse others of "deifying," you're merely "defecating."

                  •  oh, Out the window goes (1+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    Edgewater

                    your contention that attacks against others on the left who do not share enthusiasm for Obama isn't productive. That we leave preaching to the choir when it is better to argue for for a more all inclusive left - which is what I am sure you meant by me  "defecating."

                    I never BTW argued that everyone who supports Obama is deifying him.

                    It was you who left the interpretation that if you support him in something you don't agree with you are deifying him open.

                    I wanted something that included legitimate claims of deification in your analysis because not making it clear left it open for misinterpretation which I think was your intention.

                    Good Frames Won't Save Bad Paintings.

                    by thethinveil on Sat Jan 31, 2009 at 02:00:13 PM PST

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  Wow - out the window it did go (1+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:
                      thethinveil

                      you  got the implication that you're full of defacatory material while I got miserable, paranoid Chicken Little who is dressing my concern trolling up in fictions and calling them fact.    

                      This isn't what is meant as a more inclusive left and it definitely isn't something I would elevate to the level of argument.  

                      IMO, you've been making great points by the way.

                      "The time for justice is always right now!" - Samantha Booke, Wiley College debate team, 1935

                      by Edgewater on Sat Jan 31, 2009 at 02:19:13 PM PST

                      [ Parent ]

              •  None of the people who I mentioned (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                thethinveil

                as wondering how OFA will work out has brought up any straw-man here.  I am not bringing up any strawman either.  

                Your absolute refusal to grant that wondering about how OFA will turn out is legitimate reinforces noquitedelilah's  point if your posts here are indicative of how OFA will behave.

                I hope that your behavior in this thread is not indicative of how OFA will turn out and I hope it is not illustrative of how most people in OFA treat others who want to learn more about how it works.

                Again, asking questions is something Obama himself has encouraged people to do.  

                "The time for justice is always right now!" - Samantha Booke, Wiley College debate team, 1935

                by Edgewater on Sat Jan 31, 2009 at 12:05:17 PM PST

                [ Parent ]

                •  Your paranoia doesn't serve you well (2+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  highacidity, taiping1

                  I'm not a spokesman for Organizing for America. And you're assignment of such powers to me or others reveals severe paranoia on your part.

                  But you can damn well bet that there are growing numbers of us that laugh in the face of you Eeyores and Chicken Littles and see through your concern trollish BS of claiming you're just "asking questions" when you're making up fictions and calling them fact.

                  I'm not sure what you think you're accomplishing, because you're not succeeding in spreading your misery to others, not to me, or to anybody else as far as I can see.

                  •  No fictions - just reasonable questions (1+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    thethinveil

                    People here have raised reasonable questions and your "reasonable" response is this fact-free vitriol.

                    There's really not much more to say - your words illustrate why a reasonable person would raise these questions far more clearly than anything else I could add.

                    "The time for justice is always right now!" - Samantha Booke, Wiley College debate team, 1935

                    by Edgewater on Sat Jan 31, 2009 at 01:58:24 PM PST

                    [ Parent ]

    •  private (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      highacidity, Alohilani, taiping1

      Is the operative word here....

      worst crimes of Bush and his Republican Party were rooted in exactly that kind of perversion of government and its coordinated private "allies".

      Where the Neo-Cons were exclusionary, dictatorial, purposely deceptive and determined to keep the public blind, deaf and dumb – OFA is an inclusive, interactive opportunity for ALL citizens to participate and understand exactly what is happening in their government.  Sounds a WHOLE lot like, "Government of the people, by the people and for the people" to me. To claim a "frightful" resemblance between these two polar opposite approaches seems beyond paranoid.

      "Fear not the path of truth for the lack of people walking on it." Robert F. Kennedy

      by enough already on Sat Jan 31, 2009 at 09:04:54 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  OFA Is More Private Than Is Fox News (0+ / 0-)

        No, OFA is not an opportunity for "all" citizens to participate, nor should it be. It is a private org that has the right to exclude from membership or influence people who oppose or dilute its agenda. It is relatively inclusive, compared to some other private orgs. But it is not a government org, which is what I explicitly contrasted it with. It takes a lot more than relative inclusivity to be like government of, by and for the people.

        Even Fox News, which coordinated directly with the White House to promote with propaganda partisan policies not official (without the completed due process that makes them laws), but presented as if they were, is a private org. But unlike political advocacy orgs, news broadcasters are bound by both more laws and public expectations (hence ethics) to be less selective in presenting information about policies. Fox is reviled by people of conscience (across the political spectrum, however rare they might be on the "Right") because it is a mill for political propaganda. Even though it's private, it has a public obligation that leaves it less free to just say anything. The government is even much more so constricted. Government coordination with a private org violates those constraints.

        I also never used the word "frightful", which you even quoted as if you pulled it from me.

        If you're going to use words that way, you might be right at home with unlimited propaganda. But you're not going to convince me of anything except that you're closer to the Republican propaganda model than the open and accountable one that Obama sold me so successfully.

        "When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro." - HST

        by DocGonzo on Sat Jan 31, 2009 at 12:30:49 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  It won't be GOVERNMENT propaganda (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      highacidity, thethinveil

      Not in the sense that the Obama administration orders or pays for it. The idea, as I understand it, is to turn OFA into a gigantic pressure group that helps moving the Obama agenda forward by pressuring lawmakers and influencing public opinion. OFA would basically do for Obama what Dobson and other RW evangelical leaders, the K-Street Project, the NRA, etc., did for BushCo. And just like those groups did, it would remain independently financed and operated.

      I'm nevertheless rec'ing your comment b/c I do see the danger that there won't be enough distance between OFA and the administration. Ideally - and I guess this is part of ZT's point (even though I basically agree with The Field that she's concerntrolling here) - OFA's organizing and pressure-building should be a two-way street: OFA should be paving the way for the Obama agenda, but also hold Obama to it. But that's not going to happen if OFA is going to be build and led by people from Obama's inner circle.

      An Ceiling Cat rode invisible bike over teh waterz (cskendrick)

      by brainwave on Sat Jan 31, 2009 at 09:21:01 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  re propaganda, o needs to keep on rush to draw (0+ / 0-)

      attention to the talk radio monopoly that is the real problem.

      there is no need to propagandize when you've got truth but the GOP has been using their coordinated uncontested repetition to create an alternate reality to undermine the democratic self regulating mechanisms that depend on truth.

      as long as the GOP has a talk radio monopoly for their propaganda truth will be hard to figure out in the tradmedia. the sooner the playing field is evened the better for any progress.

      ignoring the talk radio monopoly continues to be the biggest political blunder in decades

      by certainot on Sat Jan 31, 2009 at 10:46:38 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  A truly outstanding diary, The Field. (8+ / 0-)

    So well-written, informative, and thought-provoking.

    Thanks.

    "We have always known that heedless self-interest was bad morals; we know now that it is bad economics." --FDR, 2nd Inaugural Address

    by Dragon5616 on Sat Jan 31, 2009 at 08:56:20 AM PST

  •  Can we not organize a boycott of advertisers? (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    scottiex2, Tchrldy, thethinveil

    After years of listening to Rush's hate speech, I have to ask myself... can we as Americans not express our displeasure in this bloated windbag by boycotting any business that advertises on any station carrying Rush's hate speech?  Can someone not begin to compile a list of advertisers that pay Rush's salary and organize a boycott of their products and services?  I mean these reicht wing idiots are constantly spouting the virtues of the marketplace, how about we use the marketplace to flush Rush?

  •  I voted for Obama. (0+ / 0-)

    I hope he succeeds.  However, I can't see the "Stimulus Package" succeeding in its present form.

    One reason why I voted for Obama is that he learns from his mistakes.  My guess is that the Stimulus Package that passes into law will be much more focused on tax cuts, gov't spending cuts and energy development.  

    •  What is it with the insistence on tax cuts? (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Kitty, Tchrldy, thethinveil, Fuzzy Dais

      I cannot for the life of me grasp this fetish among conservatives with tax cuts? Did we not just go through eight years of Bush's trillion dollar taxt cuts and what have we gotten in return but this depression? If you want cuts in government spending how about we cut the waste in spending on obsolete military equipment?

      "What the cynics fail to understand is that the ground has shifted beneath them." -- Pres. Obama (1/20/2009)

      by zizi on Sat Jan 31, 2009 at 09:41:31 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  If I had my choice (0+ / 0-)

        Seriously . . . if we are talking about throwing to support to Obama voters I want the ones who are interested in building a more interactive democratic party and leaving the ones who just want tax cuts and private-public partnerships( i.e. more privatization and government outsourcing) behind.

        Good Frames Won't Save Bad Paintings.

        by thethinveil on Sat Jan 31, 2009 at 10:44:30 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  screw the tax cuts (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Tchrldy

      tax the rich, and loan the poor and middle class what they need to get through this mess.

  •  Looks like (0+ / 0-)

    the republican party has to decide who best represents their ideals. Frankly, they're not that bright a group. I'm betting they'll continue on with Limbaugh.

    "Men never do evil so completely and cheerfully as when they do it from a religious conviction." --Blaise Pascal

    by lyvwyr101 on Sat Jan 31, 2009 at 09:31:19 AM PST

  •  Excellent analysis here Al. (8+ / 0-)

    Beautifully done sir.  Much respect.

    Eeyores, Chicken Littles and buzzkills oh my!  :-D

    "The truth shall set you free - but first it'll piss you off." Gloria Steinem

    Iraq Moratorium

    by One Pissed Off Liberal on Sat Jan 31, 2009 at 09:38:14 AM PST

  •  Thanks a lot Al (11+ / 0-)

    I to read Zephyr's piece yesterday and I too wondered what she was all riled up about. The one FACT that many progressive purists fail to realize is that Obama's coalition consists of people who are all NOT all interested in joining the Democratic party. We forget that when Obama began his run for the party nomination the Democratic party establishment in many states was firmly ensconced in the "incumbent" Hillary camp. In my state Kentucky, only two  - Yarmouth & Chandler supported him in the primaries. Obama had to recruit people OUTSIDE the DNC.

    Zephyr defeats her own argument by not realizing how staid and resistant to change local party structures are.

    If OFA is folded into the local Democratic party structures you'll see people flee in droves precisely because it would lose its innovative and pliable people-centered core.

    Zephyr seems to have forgotten that all that the Obama campaign supplied on mybarackobama.com was simply tools to organize in whatever way people deemed fit. Shepherd Fairey was not commissioned by the campaign to create his now famous posters, he did it by his own initiative and then brought it to the attention of the Obama campaign. Will.i.am was not asked to make his famous "Yes we can" song. He did it by himself. Where in the Democratic party structure is there room for improvisation?

    To achieve what Zephyr wants the Democratic party itself needs to transform into a real grassroots entity, which it is not in many places currently. I live in Kentucky which, like many southern states, has more registered democrats than republicans but we consistently vote  Republicans into office. That should tell you something.

    Zephyr is wrong , OFA will not fail.

    "What the cynics fail to understand is that the ground has shifted beneath them." -- Pres. Obama (1/20/2009)

    by zizi on Sat Jan 31, 2009 at 09:38:44 AM PST

  •  Updated list of The Field bloopers (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Edgewater
    1. Rush Limbaugh = Zephyr Teachout!
    1. Caroline Kennedy for NY-Sen.
    1. Hillary Clinton for SoS was a media creation.
    1. Defenders of Wildlife are evil for poaching funds from Obama.
    1. The Veep pick would be a DC outsider (the famous "three-point shot").

    Am I missing any biggies?

    "Rove's job, and by extension McCain's job, is to basically nuke reality and leave everything open to question." - dday

    by itswhatson on Sat Jan 31, 2009 at 10:30:59 AM PST

  •  Zephyr you clueless wonder. You either ogranize (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Kitty, shpilk, churchylafemme, PalGirl2008

    as WE THE PEOPLE, together, with a little push from a good leader that WE THE PEOPLE put in place to administer OUR government (nice circle of freedom, eh?).  OR, you are organized as WE THE SHEEPLE, seperated from YOUR government, divided and conquered, raped and robbed by the Corprotacracy for their masters, the Oligarchy. the "owners".

    Take your choice, Libertarian like fantasies of everyone does their own thing with no sense of community or common purpose are just that, FANTASIES!

    The 4 boxes of Democracy: The soap box, the ballot box, the jury box and the ammo box. The 4 G's of survival: Gold, Grub, God and Guns.

    by FightTheFuture on Sat Jan 31, 2009 at 10:34:23 AM PST

  •  Listening to Limbaugh now, are we? (0+ / 0-)

    I have no time for anyone or any diary that would even dignify his remarks with a response.

    •  Keep your friends close, but your enemies... (6+ / 0-)

      Al's discussion of Rush is not about the acridness of his remarks. Al is talking about what Rush understands about Pres. Obama. Love him or hate him, but Rush knows something about our president that many of us running around these liberal blogs chicken littling have no effing clue about.  Rush knows what the "charm offensive" towards republicans is intended to achieve LONG TERM.

      In the liberal blogosphere starting with the David Sirotas etc, we are thinking short term seeking to cut off our noses to spite our faces.

      If anything at all be glad that Al has listened to Rush so you don't have to, plus Al does a fine translation of what Rush is up to. I wouldn't look a gift horse in the mouth.

      "What the cynics fail to understand is that the ground has shifted beneath them." -- Pres. Obama (1/20/2009)

      by zizi on Sat Jan 31, 2009 at 12:32:00 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Oh right (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      highacidity, peraspera

      Let's never collect any intelligence or opposition research on our enemies!

      And obviously you "have time" for it, as you wasted it, apparently, commenting here about it. Ha ha.

  •  I am hosting a house party (6+ / 0-)

    not because I am a lemming who falls for propaganda but because I believe in the power of our democracy.  I can't count the number of times in the past that I have written to my congressmen when John Warner, Macacca Allen, the late JoAnn Davis and now the Republican wonderboy, Rob Witman were in control.  None of them ever listened to me.  None of them cared about the things I care about.  They blindly followed the Republican agenda allowing Wall Street financiers and the Bush cadre of criminals to steal our money and trample our civil liberties.  I know I won't agree with everything President Obama proposes.  But I also know that his Economic Recovery plan is better than anything the Republicans have offered.  And I believe that he cares about the things I care about.  

    My local Democratic party was split during the primaries--most of them supported Hillary CLinton and it took a while for many of them to come around.  But we worked together for President Obama's election. Like many others across America we thought our job was done once he was elected.  The rhetoric of the windbag in chief, Rush Limbaugh, and the actions of the clueless, spineless Republicans in congress who bow to Limbaugh's every whim have awakened me to the challenge of seeing the agenda for which we worked so hard enacted.  

    My congressman is a Republican, unfortunately, and until we can elect a progressive Democrat to replace him, he is part of the problem.  I am not going to sit back and allow him to block this agenda because he does not represent me or the 42+ percent of his constituents who did not vote for him.  I have to depend on myself and others like me.

    I also don't see either Senator Webb or Senator Warner in the forefront of the fight on these issues right now and it appears to me that they have adopted a sideline stance.  I hope they vote in favor of the Economic Recovery plan but I am not counting on them doing so unless I and others like me make sure that they hear our voices.  

    That is what OFA is about for me.  Our country has been in the thrall of a minority who care only about themselves for too long.  I learned something about grassroots organizing during this campaign--the first in which I was ever active--and I am going to put it to use.  

    How someone who says they support President Obama can say they hope OFA fails is quite beyond me.  As far as I am concerned, the greatest threat to our country is not Al Quaeda, or terrorism, it is what will happen if we allow ourselves to become complacent again. Yes, the Bush administration bears the primary share of responsibility for what has happened over the past 8 years.  I could add to that the Democratic leaders in Congress, Wall Street, Big Oil, Auto manufacturers and the like.  But we also share responsibility for it because we were complacent and had a top down mentality.  

    One of the great things about the Obama campaign and the emphasis on grassroots organizing is the power that it has given us to make our agenda happen. We have been connected again--not just in our small groups wringing our hands and impotently shouting at the television.  "Yes We Can" is much more than a campaign slogan.  We can tell the Republicans that we will no longer stand for their failures to represent the people of the United States.  We won this election and we can't afford to let the momentum stall now.    

    OK, I feel better now.  I had to get that rant out. Peace everybody.

    •  Thank you (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Kitty, peraspera, Tchrldy

      You are absolutely right, it is insulting for some to think that people who have voluntarily decided to organize under OFA are lemmings.  Obama does not have a think tank like the Heritage Foundation or talk radio amplifying the decibels on his agenda like the repugs have.

      But even more fundamentally I believe the OFA task is to get us to even understand what the heck is in the stimulus package first. I doubt many pundits have actually read the 647 page draft House bill. Pres. Obama the other day alluded to that point - ignorance of the bill's content -  when he urged swift action on it. These sessions will get people to know the details and debate the issues. It's a civic responsibility.

      And yet even before anything has happened  some are already bandying about the word "propaganda". What do they think the MSM and think tanks have been doing on behalf of conservatives even as we speak?

      And lest people forget, was it not on the same mybarackobama.com campaign site that a group formed to challenge candidate Obama's FISA vote? did anyone squelch that dissent?  Did the candidate not come out to respond to that group? Sheesh I wish people would give Obama's supports some credit for having brains of thier own.

      "What the cynics fail to understand is that the ground has shifted beneath them." -- Pres. Obama (1/20/2009)

      by zizi on Sat Jan 31, 2009 at 12:44:03 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  What I'd Like To Ask the Vile Pigman (0+ / 0-)

    For a guy who's so damn certain "liberalism" is the problem and all good flows from your Fascist "conservative" ideology why would you need to "hope" Liberalism fails?

    I mean if it's the problem wouldn't it follow that it can't help but fail and if that's so it follows there is no need for you to hope it will fail at all, it can't do anything but fail, right, Rush?

    So for you to express this hope of failure, it must mean that secretly you aren't so sure about the infallibility of your "conservative" beliefs then, are you? You must think therefore that Liberalism may succeed, right?

    I thought so.

    Oh, and one more question, Rush. What would you call it that's brought this country to a position where something would need to succeed in the first place. What is it again that has had its way with America these past 30+ years, Rush? How about the last 8 years? And what would you call the motivating ideology that controlled Congress for 12 years?

    Just what is it that fucked this country up, Rush?

    Asshat.

    "Much law, but little justice": Proverb

    by Dave925 on Sat Jan 31, 2009 at 02:21:08 PM PST

  •  Initially, I had the knee-jerk response of (0+ / 0-)

    "Propaganda! That's bad!" as well, but after a couple minutes of research, I've realised that the word could be used to mean many different things.  From this new perspective, all of the work that I've done politically can be defined as propaganda, not to mention some of my most cherished art.
     We ought not fear our language, but our inability to critically interpret it.

     Therefore, Al is right.

  •  One reason why this is a valuable diary... (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    carolita, zapus

    ...is that it reminds us that the right wing understands and has used Rules for Radicals in their extraordinary campaign to get millions of Americans angry enough to vote for politicians whose main goal is consolidating wealth in the hands of a tiny minority of those voters.  Rush Limbaugh's statement is no surprise; his use of the politics of grievance over the past twenty years indicates he knows what Alinsky wrote.  He's not happy about it being used against him, and understandably so.

    We have a president who has as good a grasp over the media as any since Ronald Reagan.  (Say what you will, that man was able to get his message through the media.  The love of him from some of my own unionized relatives is, well, remarkable.)  Watching Obama use his bully pulpit is a treat for me; I haven't seen a progressive figure with this platform and skills in my lifetime.

    But, too, there is the nature of that platform.  It is not entirely of the podium at the White House but also within the movement that got him there.  The infrastructure built at MyBarackObama has the potential and flexibility to get much done -- including putting pressure on the president and congress to do thing they haven't vocally supported.

    What was the largest group by membership on MyBO?  The one that started in opposition to Senator Obama's FISA vote.  This bully pulpit can project in more than one direction.  It can be used to advocate equal marriage rights. It can be used to make collective demands for universal health care.  

    I chose my sig for a reason; the potential of Obama's presidency cannot be realized without us speaking out both in support of him and -- at times -- opposing him.  He knows this; he has said as much.

    Al's diary is valuable because it reminds us that organizing -- that first word in Organizing For America -- doesn't end with Election Day.  Nor does it necessarily mean that the tools and techniques used to organize will be used in unflinching support of the president.  But it has the potential to exert all kinds of pressure on our government...pressure that our elected officials have seen from the anti-choice movement, the Howard Jarvis/Grover Norquist anti-tax movement, and the Rush Limbaugh culture warriors.  They haven't seen a whole lot of it from progressive perspectives.  But that's starting to change.

    "I agree with you, I want to do it, now make me do it." -- FDR

    by Nuisance Industry on Sat Jan 31, 2009 at 09:11:04 PM PST

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