Marketing gets you in the door.
Sales brings them back for more.
Delivering value is a constant chore.
Stop selling what the people want,
and you will lose your store.
If you don't like thinking about politics as a business, think about politics as a relationship.
What does it take to get kissed when you are on a date? If it's a first date and you are still wooing them, it takes a fair amount of effort. If you've already been dating and they like you, it's almost effortless. If you have already dated them and they are disappointed, you need to be a miracle worker.
Like most people, I like to get kissed. Especially when I'm getting screwed. Everyone knows progressives are getting screwed right now, so my question is, "Where's our kiss?"
Don't mistake this for a pity party. I didn't expect a pony. I didn't ask for a pony. I don't want a pony. I've got no place to keep a pony. My expectations were a lot more mundane.
I expected someone who would leave the dance with the folks that brought him. Imagine my surprise when I learned we didn't get invited to the dance. Apparently, we were just there to drive them. I guess they expect us to sit out in the parking lot and be happy we didn't get wet when they told us that was rain falling on us.
Don't expect me to be sympathetic to their complaints when they find themselves walking home. Threatening to whore themselves out for cab fare won't move me either. We had a deal. Progressives delivered on our part of the bargain. The folks we hired didn't. Right now, they are overdrawn at this bank. Their verbal assurances aren't worth the paper they are printed on. That's a real problem. Trust me, you don't want to have to deal with collection calls from the Army of the Jaded.
Call me crazy, but I believe the rich already have a party. They don't need a second one. The folks we hired to represent us agree. The problem is we define parties as Republican vs. Democratic. They define parties as Incumbent vs. Challenger. Members of the Incumbent Party, by and large, seem to be happy belonging to the party of the rich no matter what it costs. If they can't find a home in one of the major political parties, they'll create their own and call themselves "independent" senators. Unfortunately, we define "independent" as someone who isn't beholden to corporate special interests. They define "independent" as someone who isn't beholden to voters.
When the Senate Majority Leader can boldly claim "I don't work for the president" a week before the guy even takes office, don't point at me and say I'm undercutting Obama's agenda.
When Dean, the architect of the Democratic victory, got sidelined, I voiced my opinion, but didn't demand purity or even pay backs. I'm not the guy who said bring Bob Shrum back.
When Reich got sidelined in favor of people like Summers and Geithner, I shook my head but figured professionals were being chosen based on skill sets. Does Larry Summers really have to hire a former Enron lobbyist? I'm not the guy who said keep the payments to AIG secret.
When single payer was taken off the table, I lobbied my reps for a "robust public option" by phone, and email. I'm not the guy who said give Baucus months to screw over the president.
When Holder decided to slow walk the war crimes investigations, I didn't raise a stink. I'm in no rush to see a flawed prosecution resulting in criminals walking. I'm not the guy who said we should continue extraordinary renditions.
When lobbyists started showing up in appointed positions, I didn't demand slavish devotion to ideals. I recognize their are different types of lobbyists. William Corr is not the same as William Lynn. But I'm not the guy who put a top Raytheon executive in as the number two guy at the Pentagon.
When the president decided he would risk letting the dreams launched in the snows of New Hampshire perish in the snows of Afghanistan, I understood he made this decision for reasons I don't agree with due to pressures he can't ignore. But I'm not the guy who said to sacrifice our security by letting people insecure about their own sexuality decide who is fit to serve.
When the president chose a mainstream justice to fill the bench, I didn't blanch. My expectation is he would continue to protect the rights of women. I am not the guy who sold out women's rights in a failed attempt to pass watered down health care.
In the final analysis, it was selling out women's rights that crystallized my thinking about what is wrong here. Hillary's claims to the contrary, I never believed that if Obama won
"The skies will open, the light will come down, celestial choirs will be singing and everyone will know we should do the right thing and the world will be perfect."
I believed entrenched criminals would be hard to dislodge, they would fight dirty, and they would never surrender until they had no choice. But I didn't think for a moment that giving Democrats a mandate meant my daughter would have to fight the same battle her grandmother won.
We've been told that we are a "circular firing squad" because we are advocating the same things we advocated for the last 30 years. We've been told we're "undisciplined" because we have the temerity to complain about bait-and-switch tactics. We've been told to sit down and shut up. Okay. Until I see some serious customer support, the price to win back this customer just went up.
I'm not going to rush out and vote Republican. There are no John Andersons, Connie Morellas, or John Danforths in the party anymore. Hell, even Richard Lugar isn't Richard Lugar anymore. I'm not going to go Nader and waste time on vanity campaigns. But if they aren't taking my concerns seriously, why should I take their promises seriously? As long as Harry Reid doesn't work for this president, why the hell should I?
For those who want to blame the base, or the progressives for the failures of this administration and this party, I remind you we are not setting policy. We are their customers. The only question now is, "Who do they think their customers are?" If they don't recognize us as their customers, we don't have a lot to talk about.