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Below is a diary that I published here back in January of this year.  I have copied it in its entirety.  I think the message I was hoping to send then is even more germane now.  I truly believe that, in order to be a successful political force in this country, progressive must stay committed to the political process with the understanding that we are in this for the long haul.  Here it is:

I've written here before about the small industry group meetings I had last year with Jim Inhofe, our crazy Senator from Oklahoma. He assumed that everyone at those meetings was "friendly to the cause" as he likes to say. Some of the things Inhofe said were truly amazing. The guy is nonsensical, anti-science, misogynistic (context in which I wrote about this before) and overall, just crazy. Worse yet, and contrary to my prior thoughts on this matter, I don’t think he’s putting on an act or that he is just saying this stuff to get a rise from the rest of us rational human beings. He truly believes what he says.
Anyway, in these meetings, he constantly talked about "the country needing to just hang on until November 2010".   According to Inhofe, it is then that the GOP will take back control of the House and make significant gains in the Senate.

As support for this belief, Inhofe cited to a metric he had formulated under Clinton which he called the "libral dissatisfaction quotient" or number or something.  He said this number was higher than it ever was under Clinton and that its trajectory all but assured that a significant portion of "librals" would simply abandon the political process prior to 2010, "like they always do".   With a devilish grin and an evil laugh that would give Pat Buchanan goose bumps, Inhofe explained how easy it is to demoralize "librals" and make them disillusioned.  He then went on to add that "librals" will never accomplish anything in this country politically because "they don't have the guts for it and just like to cry about things all the time".

I'm a "libral" progressive and Jim Inhofe is not right about me.  Also, I truly belief he is not right about the vast majority of progressives in this country.

I understand that political success is measured in decades, not years.  Politics is a long-term process and victory goes to those who understand the value of diplomatic outreach and the ability to influence the long-term trend of a Party.  In this regard, it's my goal to get true progressives elected as the Democratic candidate and I work my ass off trying to do that (I’ve succeeded twice in a very conservative red state).  If I fail, I'll support the Democratic candidate as best I can 99 times out of 100 (I won’t do it if the Dem candidate is clearly more conservative that the GOP) and I will stay engaged in the political process.  I know my efforts within the Party will engender loyalty and respect which will further enhance my ability to make the Party more progressive.

I've had some glorious progressive victories within the Party over the years.  And yes, I've also had some setbacks that have been so painful it physically hurt.   I'm nonetheless going to continue to work my ass off to get more true progressives to run as Democrats.  If they win, that’s great.  If they lose or if I'm not entirely happy with the policy objectives of the current Democratic leaders, I'll strongly but respectfully voice my objections.  I'm not, however, going to piss in the water and cause internal strife within the Party.  Simply put, the last thing I'm going to do is whine and cry about how the Party has failed me and threaten to take my ball home - absolutely nothing constructive results from this.

Jim Inhofe is not right about me and don’t let him be right about you.

Again, I say, Jim Inhofe is not right about me.

I’m excited about this election.  I think the Obama administration has done more for progressives in its first 18 months than most administrations are able to accomplish in 4 or even 8 years.  I think Pelosi has done a masterful job in navigating some very difficult legislation through the House.  Reid, on the other hand, has been something far short of masterful in terms of leading the Senate but that's not going to sour me on the Democratic Party as a whole.  I'm not going to be that kind of political weenie.

I understand that in order to have any chance at political success in the long term I must work with progressives and moderates to move our agenda further.  Inch by inch, day by day, and one race at a time.  I'm not going to nitpick my Party and foment discord and conflict among my fellow progressives and within my party - especially during this election season. I'm going to get out there and support my candidates with my all energy and all my available resources.  I'm going to do everything I can to defeat this crazed right-wing hoard.  I hope you do too.  I hope Jim Inhofe is not right about you.

Originally posted to JCPOK on Thu Sep 02, 2010 at 08:01 AM PDT.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Yes. And the whole mission of the GOP (10+ / 0-)

    the last two years has been to demoralize the libruls.  Filibuster everything and grind Government down to a snails pace.  Force the 60 vote threshold, enforce party discipline and that gives all the power to Ben Nelson.  Ben Nelson is writing the bills coming out of the Senate.  

    "Obama is an ineffective sellout and a terrible President and all his accomplishments are shit." Hey look at me, I'm moving the Overton Window!! High Five!

    by Jonze on Thu Sep 02, 2010 at 08:07:15 AM PDT

  •  This could be about the GOP in 2008 (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Philpm, 5x5

    Conservatives were demoralized, and their turnout was down across the country.  They had a lot of infighting during the primaries, and even more after Palin was chosen as McCain's VP.

    Liberals were energized, we were confident we'd take back the White House after our successes in 2006, and we were taking the fight to all corners of the country.

    The party in power generally loses seats in midterm elections.  The party in power generally gets blamed when economic times are tough.  These phenomena aren't restricted to liberals or conservatives.  

    Inhofe's narrative is convenient for him.  But it's based on having a very short memory.

    •  Conservatives didn't lose in 02. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      JCPOK

      Also -democrats lost big even when the economy was recovering back in 1994.

      Let's face it, this is a rather conservative country. In order for us to win we need to be firing on all cylinders. We can't win when half our party expects manna to fall from the sky once Obama steps into office.

      •  I disagree (0+ / 0-)

        that this is inherently a conservative country. what we have is a very vocal conservative minority. But you're correct, we won't win if half our party is sitting in the corner outraged because it turns out that it's kind of hard to clean up the Aegean Stables.

        When the hell is the rapture getting here?

        by fourlegsgood on Thu Sep 02, 2010 at 10:34:36 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  GOP Strategy and the Progressive Vote (5+ / 0-)

    One of the things that Karl Rove and other Republican consultants have developed over the years is a set of campaign strategies that are not based on rational debate, but a strategic sense of what drives some people crazy.

    The strategic purpose is to cause people who find politics insulting to their intelligence to not vote.  The beauty of it is that, at the same time, it brings out the emotionally reactionary types who vote conservative without thinking.

    It really isn't rocket science.  The average 7 year old knows how to get under the skin of siblings or adults in order to manipulate them.  

    Progressives tend to forget that adult society is still the playground, and that rational debates about considered policy alternatives is not necessarily what gets the attention.  

    So, it is true.  Democrats can lose to Republicans because "librals" gave up too soon.  If we are aware of this, we can work on it.  That is the real "Achilles' heel" that trips us up.  

    hope that the idiots who have no constructive and creative solutions but only look to tear down will not win the day.

    by Stuart Heady on Thu Sep 02, 2010 at 08:15:33 AM PDT

  •  The conventional wisdom here is Bush... (6+ / 0-)

    Got everything he wanted ,which of course isn't the case at all. However the difference is that whatever was passed was trumpeted as a big win for the Bush Administration by the right wing propaganda machine.  There was no focus on what he didn't git or the overall sausage making - as long as the bill passed it was a big win.  

    "Obama is an ineffective sellout and a terrible President and all his accomplishments are shit." Hey look at me, I'm moving the Overton Window!! High Five!

    by Jonze on Thu Sep 02, 2010 at 08:16:59 AM PDT

    •  Not altogether true (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      glitterscale, Philpm, papicek

      the relationship between the Right and Bush was a whole lot more complex than that. The Right kicked up like crazy if they only got 90% of what they wanted. Unlike the Sit Down and Shut Up Brigade here they understood the concept of leverage in politics.

      Bush was not a wingnut - he was a country club Republican, even his wars were about channeling money to his buddies in the club. The Right is not country club it is movement, and that always caused friction.

      Bush did just enough to molify the Right on socila issues which iswhatt hey are all about but little more.

      He did become a newly minted Neocon after 9/11 and that complicates the dynamics slightly i.e. it did muddy the waters a bit as most of the RWNJ wing hate foreigners and this gave an illusion of agreement.

      •  nice analysis... (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Philpm

        I remember reading something back in the 70's (I think it was in The Atlantic) which we witness playing out today: the GOP is made up of two wings, the cultural conservatives and the pro-business wings, and they were bound to clash someday.

        Your "newly minted Neocon" comment is pretty much spot on as well. I forget who it was that Rachel was talking to as he described the "Clash Of Civilizations" crowd that Bush surrounded himself with after 9/11. We've learned since then that Bush wasn't the only newly minted (CIA director Tennant) Neocon either.

        What has a "political realist" done for you lately?

        by papicek on Thu Sep 02, 2010 at 08:56:02 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  Inhofe is an idiot (6+ / 0-)

    I don't think Inhofe has a big enough brain to formulate a method to predict the outcome of elections.  

  •  Progressive Activists are Indicators Not the Real (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    citizen k, Philpm

    issue. The real issue is the ordinary rank and file voters who rise and fall with government policies.

    Big enough blocks of them have been known to stay home because the party underperformed and/or governed conservatively and/or lacked motivational messaging, so the voters didn't see either choice as helping them up.

    The policy making time is ended. All that's available now is GOTV and messaging.

    Which means GOTV, because elected Democrats just will not talk.

    We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for victims of our nation and for those it calls enemy.... --ML King "Beyond Vietnam"

    by Gooserock on Thu Sep 02, 2010 at 08:24:17 AM PDT

  •  I'm not gonna bash 'progressives'. (6+ / 0-)

    not anymore.  I'm gonna bash republicans.

    I know thats not necessarily a response to this diary, but I don't know what else to say.

    Black Kos and Sistahspeak represent my "voice" on this site.

    by mallyroyal on Thu Sep 02, 2010 at 08:29:57 AM PDT

  •  That's not what wins general elections (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Philpm

    Although less true in off year elections, it is vitally important to appeal to the nonideological independent voter while at the same time keeping the base of true believers in line. That's what won it for Obama in 2008.
    It's not an easy thing to do, because these voters often are low information, and hold a lot of conflicting, nonsensical views.

    Just another day in Oceania.

    by drshatterhand on Thu Sep 02, 2010 at 08:30:13 AM PDT

    •  Translation: (0+ / 0-)

      Independents that disagree with my lofty and pristine progressive positions are stupid.

      This is one big reason  progressives are  about to get their asses handed to them in November.

      •  And when haven't we had our (0+ / 0-)

        asses handed to

        us?  (at least since Carter).  You are a progressive, right?

        •  No, (0+ / 0-)

          I'm a Democrat.    Democrats are in trouble because Obama, in his ineptitude,   let progressive morons like pelosi run the agenda and of course they over reached and will  now  get the expected pushback.      Somehow,  progressives got the idea that they had this big mandate of the people after 2008  when in actuality they were a loudmouth minority pushing too much too fast.

    •  that's not why Obama won the election... (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Philpm

      Obama won for 2 reasons:

      He had the strongest anti-Iraq war credentials of any candidate, and voters were convinced by the magnitude of the crime of the Iraq war, and about all the other crimes which came to light, that republicans should be punished. No republican was going to win in 2008, and they knew it long before the first vote was cast.

      Obama also had a well-run, well thought out, mistake-free campaign, unlike those prima donna morons of the Clinton campaign, who were all too happy to make themselves the story instead of the candidate. Even so, Clinton beat Obama in the primaries, while Obama won the caucuses, and the caucuses put him over the top.

      What has a "political realist" done for you lately?

      by papicek on Thu Sep 02, 2010 at 08:48:35 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  well, we'll have to just accept the fact... (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Philpm, FeDhu, blankportraits

    that we disagree on the performance of democrats in Washington these past 18 (plus) months.

    This is very a reasonable (and much appreciated for its tone) variation of the lesser-of-two-evils theme bandied about here for a long time. And that's fine. You're certainly entitled. If you want to vote for a bad or mediocre democrat, please do so. Understand, though, that I see things differently, and will withhold my vote from some democrats (Obama and Kerry) on policy grounds. I will, however vote for Tierney, because, undistinguished though he is, I like his voting record.

    The difference between you and I is that I feel "putting the party ahead of reform" doesn't actually get us reform, and may actually do us worlds of harm. Clinton is a good example of this.

    Furthermore, that "decades long" trajectory of reform (which I think is accurate) that you mention is a huge weakness in your argument. We can't possibly keep the rethugs out of office while waiting patiently all this time, but what we can do is try and mold the debate. Own the issues, get the message out, and keep hammering on this until voters "get it."

    Which they will, eventually.

    Because evidently, much of the electorate hasn't yet learned the lessons of republican misrule that we here take for granted. They may need a speaker Boehner handing out bribes on the floor of the House for it to really sink in. They may need another Tom Delay money laundering operation exposed.

    So why support the status quo (i.e.: conservadems) if it only delays the inevitable? Will you swallow a 1% cut in Social Security just because it is not a 2% cut? Where do you draw the line? And do you really believe that they can maintain support for the pie-in-the-sky party all those decades while we're waiting for real change? Do you really think this is even remotely possible?

    Or do we simply insist on reform now, and hold those accountable who don't support it?

    What has a "political realist" done for you lately?

    by papicek on Thu Sep 02, 2010 at 08:34:09 AM PDT

    •  2% cut? You're not paying attention to the Angles (0+ / 0-)

      Rubios and Rand Pauls. If the teabbagger CONs take over, you'll have no social security left. a few more years of this teabagger sh*t and you'll be back to legalized segregation, OSHA being revoked, EPA being disbanded, and public schools being sold off to the highest bidders. You'll be lucky if they allow you to breathe air without paying Halliburton.

      You are the one who hasn't yet learned the lessons of republican misrule. I don't care if I had to vote 50 Mary Landriues into the senate, as long as it blocks the republican lunacy I'm fine with that.

      When you can't attack then defend. Don't give up.

      •  you're handing me the same old, same old... (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        FeDhu

        and if they take over then we deserve whatever we get, and if the worst occurs, the lessons learned about the worth of government in society will be relearned. This is only pragmatic, because if what you describe occurs, we'll be back, stronger than ever, and the argument won, for good.

        So, you want me to wait thirty, forty or fifty years for real reform? You think they won't win back majorities in Congress and the Oval office in all that time? As for defense, you're asking me to defend the likes of Bart Stupak and Blanche Lincoln.

        Good luck with that. We couldn't have saved them if we tried, nor should we.

        Back on May 6, twenty-eight democratic senators voted against the inclusion of the Brown-Kauffman Amendment in the Finreg bill (roll call 3733). It was a simple, easy-to-understand and effective way of dealing with TBTF banks, which still pose an enormous systemic risk to the global economy. Almost all the party heavyweights joined hands and insured the dominance of a handful of banks and reaffirmed their capacity to loot the global economy. Kerry lost my support with this vote, where he proved that he cannot be trusted to do the right thing. (I've known this for quite some time, for instance, his support for the war in Iraq was a huge warning sign, among others.)

        It's a perfect illustration of the larger pattern of fatal compromise which is killing the party. You may say that compromise is in the nature of democratic governance, and you'd be right, except that there's one blatant example of a hugely disastrous case of compromise I always remember: the failure of the founding fathers to deal decisively with slavery. Sometimes, and I think climate change is another issue with equally horrendous ramifications, compromise isn't nearly good enough. Only a win will do.

        I want a fighter representing me. I want someone there who brings the issue front-and-center, because I can write all I want (present project here and here), but I'm just part of the background noise. Only our elected officials can control the agenda, and we need people who are willing to try. If you don't stand up and demand it with your vote (or lack of), then it'll never, ever, happen.

        What has a "political realist" done for you lately?

        by papicek on Thu Sep 02, 2010 at 10:53:15 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  "will be relearned" are you sure? (0+ / 0-)

          Also , while we are in the relearning process, the conservatives will dismantle all the institutions we have built up in the last 80 years. It took > 60 years to build up SS and Medicare. The cons can tear it down in 1 year. Then what are you going to do while you are 'relearning'? Likewise the EPA, OSHA, the schools, the universities, Medicaid, Clean Air, Clean Water, etc, etc. We have a huge liberal leagacy to defend. Even if we are not advancing, we still need to defend what we've achieved so far.

          •  if they are not relearned... (0+ / 0-)

            if we go back to the days of 89% of seniors living in poverty, and find out it's not that bad, or if we find out that the market, on its own will lower medical costs while providing the same level of care, because of unregulated market discipline, if we learn that living in a society where the super-wealthy 1% of the are free to control what we know, and to order society for their benefit because we are at least given the chance of serving-fries-with-that shake for minimum wage, then I guess those republicans are right after all.

            However, I have more faith in the electorate, and I'm tired of fighting rear-guard actions. Go take a quick peek at this (the first "here" link above) where there's a pretty good illustration of just how futile this strategy has been. Mind you, Reagan got where he was and did what he did because he could count on enough help from democrats. This must end.

            It's time to step it up, and this is one thing that I'm going to try. I don't know where to post this when it's ready - I need to find someplace with a wider ideological reach than the echo chamber of dkos. As I say at the end of that short essay, my intended audience lies elsewhere. I wish I could publish it on HuffPo and crosspost it elsewhere as well.

            What has a "political realist" done for you lately?

            by papicek on Thu Sep 02, 2010 at 12:09:53 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

  •  I can believe it, the apathy seems high (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    citizen k, papicek

     
    A shame, really. I'm just glad I don't live in a state with Republican governance. It's bad enough being under the Tories! (UK 'Republicans', though fairly sane)

     

    Liberals see George Orwell's 1984 as a cautionary tale. Conservatives see it as a blueprint.

    by DiegoUK on Thu Sep 02, 2010 at 08:58:11 AM PDT

  •  He's right that it is easy to demoralize liberals (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    marina, Tam in CA, evangeline135

    In that it is easy to appease corporate interests, and since both parties do it, it is easy to demoralize liberals. Because we're not the mindless right-wing base that would gladly vote against our self-interests and ideals. He thinks he's being clever, but he's obliviously showcasing how Washington works and is really just one big party for rich people.

    •  that is what occurred to me reading the (0+ / 0-)

      Inhofe statement.  You are right, in Washington, the repub money interests basically push the herd of republicans together, while for the democrats, the big money interests push the caucus apart.

      It is just that much hard for dems to stick together because they all need so much campaign funding.

  •  No. (0+ / 0-)

    If the question starts out 'Is Jim Imhofe right about ...', the answer is no.

    If you asked him if breathing was good for people, he'd come up with some wingnut answer about how it leads to death.

    If you feel insulted by anything I've said, find out if it was intentional. I'll let you know if you ask.

    by Ezekial 23 20 on Thu Sep 02, 2010 at 09:11:59 AM PDT

  •  Sadly, yes, he is. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    citizen k

    Teabagger base makes demands, gets a little bit of movement on those demands, goes nuts with joy, and redoubles their efforts on behalf of their candidates.

    Progressive base makes demands, gets a little bit of movement on those demands, goes "Screw you, this is NOWHERE near good enough" and quits.

    "The future of man is not one billion of us fighting over limited resources on a soon-to-be dead planet. . .I won't go back into the cave for anyone."

    by Whimsical on Thu Sep 02, 2010 at 09:28:27 AM PDT

  •  There is a time & place for progressives to throw (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    citizen k

    temper tantrums. That is AFTER we've lost big. Learn from the teabaggers. When you are in the wilderness, THAT IS YOUR TIME TO SHINE PROGRESSIVES.

    When you are in power, shut up and obey Reagan's 11th amendment "DO NOT SPEAK ILL OF YOUR FELLOW REPUBLICAN DEMOCRAT".

    It's a tragedy that conservatives, as stupid as they are, instinctively understand this since they learned tihs lesson in the 2nd grade playground; but democrats need to hash this out endlessly, and some still don't get it.

  •  If Inhofe said.. (0+ / 0-)

    ..'liberals always vote, and are constantly pressuring government to do better', would you stop voting?

    If not, then what difference does it make what he thinks?

    "To pass these defendants a poisoned chalice is to put it to our own lips as well." Justice Robert Jackson, Chief Prosecutor, Nuremberg.

    by Wayward Son on Thu Sep 02, 2010 at 10:01:38 AM PDT

  •  Jack Inhofe... (0+ / 0-)

    makes a lot more sense than Jim Inhofe.  

    "There is little separating those that see cells as tiny machines from those that see the Virgin Mary on a grilled cheese sandwich". H. Humbert 2/6/08

    by JDog42 on Thu Sep 02, 2010 at 10:22:45 AM PDT

  •  nice to hear... (0+ / 0-)

    from someone who wants to actually work to effect change instead of pissing and moaning about how awful Rahm is and how Obama didn't give them a stable full of ponies.

    When the hell is the rapture getting here?

    by fourlegsgood on Thu Sep 02, 2010 at 10:30:28 AM PDT

  •  I agree with Inhofe. (0+ / 0-)

    I wouldn't label all liberals that way but he sure has a certain segment pegged dead to the rights (is that the phrase?). Anyways, I left a comment last night that basically the same as Inhofe's.  I have also come to agree with O'Reilly that some liberals love to play the victim. Yep. Wouldn't join these two for lunch but on those points I agree. It's not just my support for Obama that's causing me to say these things, this is just who I am in my personal and professional life. I don't like quitters and I don't like whiners in any part of my life. I am an eternal optimist and when things don't go right, I pick myself up, assess the situation, check myself, and continue to move on. Change is grueling work, where some days are good and some days you want to scream, but I know that consistency will get me there.

    I'm no historian, but I know and appreciate what people in the past have gone through to make this world a better place. I know that people gave given their lives, shed blood, tears and grinded for decades, centuries to make this world a better place. So I have no respect or patience for people who throw in the towel so quickly. And yes, 2 years is pretty quick, some gave up the day after. That's just weak. Very weak and lazy. I still think about that "testimonial" printed in a major newspaper TWO MONTHS after the election where some Obama supporter claimed she felt like she was punked. WTF? the hard work had barely started and s/he was already checking out? Sorry, people like that have no place in my life.

  •  Congratulations Jim Inhofe (0+ / 0-)

    keep screwing Oklahomans so your corporate friends can accumulate more wealth.

    Nice diversionary tactic!

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