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Hope I'm wrong. But when I see progressives clinging to threads of hope (e.g. "Democratic early voting higher than expected") it reminds me of the empty confidence exhibited by Fox News and Red State (etc) prior to November 2008.

This country is driven by emotions, not facts. And the emotions currently do not favor us.

Of course the main culprit is the Bush economy, but I also blame the widespread abandonment of Obama by his base. Because, wallowing in our righteous indignation, we have utterly failed to do our job.

Why am I inviting flames now of all times?

Because the impact of the nihilistic narrative that we've helped create is dire. It affects real people who are suffering. And it won't get better until the narrative changes. I have little doubt that, sooner or later, big majorities will appreciate who Obama is and what he's done. But if that day doesn't arrive for five or six more years, we will have sacrificed great opportunities for progressive change. And that would be a travesty.

Just like we did in junior high, we Americans function by piling on, by casually endorsing the dominant narratives out there.

If you, as a blogger, don't admit to your role in fashioning these narratives, you are not just letting yourself off the hook for damage done, you are also disempowering yourself. If you limit your job description to sniping in the service of "holding his feet to the fire" you are ignoring the greater role you play in shaping the big picture and regulating the flow of political capital.

My perspective is grounded in the real world. I am regularly around "ordinary" folks of all political persuasions, and I hear the way they assimilate conventional wisdom. I see the origins of their skin-deep convictions.

You know it, and I know: most Americans care nothing about details. They are content to pile on -- with less personal investment than they allow for their favorite football teams.

Steven Pearlstein is right:

Most voters - particularly the swing voters - aren't as well-informed as they might be on major policy issues. What they do have are experiences and instincts and emotions that politicians play upon in order to win elections.

What I'm hearing from "ordinary" voters these days is purely emotional. This emotionalism parrots the media narratives that are informed by us. If we weren't so damned intent on proving what a sellout Obama is, the polls would look different, the pundits would talk differently, and spineless Dems up for election wouldn't be running with their tails between their legs.

The dirty little secret is that most Americans don't really know what they think about the issues that so animate the political conversation in Washington, and what they think they know about them is often wrong.

So, of course, you blame Obama for not communicating better.

But Axelrod had it right on Countdown last night. He pointed out that the administration's time has been monopolized putting out some pretty major fires.

We were faced with a series of crises we haven't seen since the great depression.... If we're guilty of something I would say we're guilty of focusing on the job we were elected to do. And perhaps not focusing enough on how we got credit for the job. But that was perhaps a consequence of the times in which we were elected to govern. We didn't have the luxury of having a great deal of time tooting our horn and doing victory laps. We had one after another serious issues, and we've dealt with them, and we want to continue moving the country forward.

Sure, messaging is important, but when you're trying to keep the country from going down in flames, you hope and expect other messengers might just have your back. Axelrod gently suggested to fill-in host Cenk Uygur that people like Uygur -- people in the messaging business -- could pick up some of that slack, especially in emergencies.

But people in the progressive communication business -- people we might describe as the "professional left" -- have decided it's more important to prove how right they are about this or that issue, strategy, or tactic. (I suspect many in the business are still trying to prove they were right not to support Obama in the first place.)

Obama may have made some mistakes. How could any president not? But the professional left has, indeed, utterly failed this administration, this country, and, especially, those of us who are most in need.

Critics accuse me of believing we should blindly support everything Obama does, and never hold his feet to the fire. They say I must not think unresolved issues are important. That I don't care about gay rights or civil liberties. This is the farthest thing from the truth. And our president has made it clear he welcomes pressure. All I'm saying is that we should be MUCH smarter about our tactics. FAR less reactive, and FAR more productive. Just as the administration recognizes there's a time and place for getting each thing done -- everything simply cannot happen at once -- we should recognize there's a time and place for productive opposition. And there's a way to do it while still nurturing the big-picture narrative that this absurd country feeds on hook, line, and sinker.

Originally posted to Petey2 on Wed Oct 20, 2010 at 08:52 AM PDT.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Cenk's "This is no time for griping" (5+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    kalmoth, malharden, ETF, marabout40, Deep Texan

    a few days ago will be forever burned in my memory.

    lols

    I'm gonna go eat a steak. And fuck my wife. And pray to GOD - hatemailapalooza, 052210

    by punditician on Wed Oct 20, 2010 at 09:08:50 AM PDT

  •  Thank you for this. (7+ / 0-)

    I too have the perspective to know greatness when I see it, and this president is great. Which is not the same as being perfect. The people on the left who rant against him today will regret their actions as the passing of time shows them that their anger was misplaced. I, for one, will be able to tell my grandkids that not only was I fortunate to live during Barack Obama's time, but also that I was a loyal supporter of the man against his foes on both the right and the left. I am damn proud of Barack Obama, and thank him (and his wonderful family) for sacrificing so much to try to lead us out of this morass.

    I'm in the I-fucking-love-this-guy wing of the Democratic Party!

    by doc2 on Wed Oct 20, 2010 at 09:10:58 AM PDT

  •  You talk about the importance of media narratives (22+ / 0-)

    and I can't disagree. They are what drive our emotions.  But then you pick right up on the derisive "Professional Left" meme.

    I'm part of the "Professional Left" insofar as my profession, in real life, is to help the disadvantaged, to try to right some serious structural wrongs.  But whatever punditry I engage in, here and elsewhere, is simply an attempt to grapple with what I perceive to be the truth.  And that truth is nuanced.  Democrats aren't my knights in shining armor.  Nor are they my enemies.  They are, most often, my best hope for change.  I let people know that without falsifying the record.  Because I'm not in the business of political advertising.  I'm just trying to figure out what's going on.

    •  Fabulous comment. (6+ / 0-)

      I wish I could tip this a billion times.

    •  Excellent comment. (5+ / 0-)

      I work with B2B PAC, and all views and opinions in this account are my own.

      by slinkerwink on Wed Oct 20, 2010 at 09:29:36 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Yes, you're not an advertiser (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      snout, Larsstephens, Deep Texan

      but you want to help affect progressive change. So my question has to do with how smart you are in choosing your tactics. In shaping your narratives.

      I certainly don't condemn everyone who criticizes. Just those who prefer an "I'm-right-damn-the-torpedoes" approach.

      Like it or not, if you're lucky enough to be fully employed and insured and secure in a home, you run the risk of intellectualizing your fights. It's crucial when you're in a position of power to always remember the actual people and things you want to accomplish. With every action please ask yourself how it contributes to the big picture. That's far more important than whether or not you're right.

      •  The narrative you've chosen here (7+ / 0-)

        is that the left -- the "Professional Left" -- is divisive and counterproductive.  In general, and certainly with some exceptions, I don't agree.

        What I see is a remarkable maturity in the left in this country.  Think about it: The left has been very actively participating in mainstream electoral politics in ways we haven't seen in generations.  And not by backing spoiler candidates (the left can't afford to vote it's conscience the way the center can.  It just sends us further away from our goals.)

        We vote for Democrats -- in huge numbers.  We come out and work for them.  We give them money.  We celebrate their accomplishments.  We publicize the disgusting misdeeds of their political foes.  We do.  Many people on this board think the left is out to get Democrats, but nothing could be further from the truth.  But we're not centrists.  Most Democrats in office aren't us.  They don't usually share our values.  That's the truth of it.

        I'd like to see, in this tedious ongoing conversation about how damaging the left has been, someone stand up and say: "Thanks you guys.  You've really come in from the cold.  You've stopped with the stupid Nader bullshit and you've decided that mere street protests aren't effective and you've supported these electable candidates with your time and energy and money.  You're a vital part of this coalition, and you're helping to make history here even though you're still not particularly well represented in our representational democracy."

        I like being in coalition with people further to the middle.  I love keeping the Republicans from power.  I'm not crazy being told to STFU.

        •  I'm too fed up to say Thank You right now (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Larsstephens, Deep Texan

          Nevertheless, I've never accused the "professional left" of being wrong at every turn. I've never accused them of not offering some real truths.

          But one fact is clear as day to me: constant righteous condemnation of a damn-good president has undermined the pace of progressive change.

          I accept that it's not consciously malicious, but it's not intelligent. I accept that it comes often from smart people. But they have blindspots.

          Some of these blindspots, perhaps, come from paychecks, some from strong identities. But I'm fed up. Because it affects my welfare and security in real ways.

          •  Suppose Someone Disagrees With You (3+ / 0-)

            that Obama is a "damn-good president." Isn't that point debatable? We have to make a stand. The political zeitgeist is constantly being shaped to favor the right-wingers with the help of many people who label themselves "Democrats."

            My back is spineless. My back is yellow. I am the American non-voter. -The Simpsons, Episode 2, Season 3, "Mr. Lisa Goes to Washington"

            by Aspe4 on Wed Oct 20, 2010 at 10:28:13 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  That it's debatable is not the point (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Larsstephens, Deep Texan

              Obama is who we have. The question is how to respond most productively and responsibly.

              When you "make a stand" how is your stand contributing to the "political zeitgeist"?

              Of course I can't comment on your particular contributions to the national conversation, but I can say (for example) that polls showing only 30 percent supported "Obamacare" helped, not hurt, the right wing. Bloggers like you and me contributed greatly to such headlines.

              •  I Think You Argued the Importance of (3+ / 0-)

                media narratives. Lets suppose Dems lose both houses of Congress. Predictably, the media narrative will be that Dems tried to hard to pass a liberal socialist agenda. Repugs will point to so-called Obamacare as evidence of that. Let's say that I was a famous blogger who got invited to all the cable news shows, except Fox. I would push the narrative that Dems lost congress because they weren't liberal enough and these are the mistakes the Obama Admin made that caused people to wonder what's the difference between political parties that eat at the same corporate trough.

                Dems always fall for the trap that the reason they lose elections is because they're too liberal. To create the narrative that Dems didn't fight hard enough, it seems to me that I would have to argue the specific tactics and concessions they wrongly used/made and if they want to regain power.

                On another note, a poll that shows that only 30% support Obamacare doesn't ask why the person doesn't support it does it?

                But one fact is clear as day to me: constant righteous condemnation of a damn-good president has undermined the pace of progressive change.

                From this quote it seemed to me you were saying that Obama is such a good president that we shouldn't criticize him. Isn't that a fair reading?

                My back is spineless. My back is yellow. I am the American non-voter. -The Simpsons, Episode 2, Season 3, "Mr. Lisa Goes to Washington"

                by Aspe4 on Wed Oct 20, 2010 at 11:33:40 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  No, I've said again and again (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  Deep Texan

                  to critique intelligently, productively, responsibly.

                  I know you don't intend it, but your narrative comes across as a self-fulfilling prophesy: Dems aren't progressive enough is what the pro left has been arguing all along.

                  Yes, we have to fight the idiotic socialist narrative, but consider spending more air time defending the progressive initiatives that are on the table as sensible, and less time excoriating our leader as inadequate.

                  We approached these first two years in such an undisciplined manner (because of our unbridled righteousness) that all that's left of "the narrative" is noise.

      •  they don't understand that they (0+ / 0-)

        don't have an effective strategy.

    •  The truth IS nuanced. (5+ / 0-)

      I don't think anyone here wants to see it whitewashed.  What we'd like to see is a level of thoughtfulness when we must criticize those who are doing battle in our name.

      I note that slink and shiz were the first two to endorse your excellent comment.  I'll endorse it too.  But I want them to understand that the acrimony hey get from a segment of this community is not a result of their commitment to truth, but rather their frequent unwillingness to allow for the full complexity of the issues when they criticize this administration and Dems in general.

      •  You've hit the nail on the head (4+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        snout, Larsstephens, ETF, Deep Texan

        The argument among us is not about what's true, or what's right and wrong.

        My critique of what I broadly recognize as the profession left is not about their commitment to truth. It's whether they are placing their identities as truth-tellers above the real and urgent needs of suffering people.

    •  Good form...rec'd happily. nt (3+ / 0-)

      "Taxes are the price we pay for a civilized society" -Oliver Wendell Holmes

      by APA Guy on Wed Oct 20, 2010 at 09:55:22 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  The disconnect is obvious. (5+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    malharden, seanwright, Petey2, ETF, Deep Texan

    One one hand folks feel like they are making a statement of value in terms of "holding feet to the fire' when they blog critically of Dems.  But point out that in doing so, they are having a negative effect on the Dem brand and they pretend that what is said here is of no impact at all.

    I don't expect folks to clap louder, just yell smarter.

  •  As Brecht wrote (3+ / 0-)

    when the East German government cracked down on protests in 1953:

    The people have lost the confidence of the government, it is time for the government to elect a new people.

    American business is about maximizing shareholder value. You basically don't want workers. ~Allen Sinai

    by ActivistGuy on Wed Oct 20, 2010 at 09:23:49 AM PDT

  •  It's the responsibility of the White House (4+ / 0-)

    and the Democratic Party to coordinate their message and get it out. Where are the Democratic representatives on talk shows? Especially on the Sunday talk shows?

    I work with B2B PAC, and all views and opinions in this account are my own.

    by slinkerwink on Wed Oct 20, 2010 at 09:29:10 AM PDT

    •  The tax-cut comparison says it all (5+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      snout, malharden, Larsstephens, ETF, Deep Texan

      Axelrod reminded us of the difference between Bush's sending us checks -- which wasted time and money -- and Obama choosing the most effective, patriotic approach even though it would get less attention.

      The fact is, Obama is asking us all (including institutions like the media and Congress) to grow up a bit and step up to the plate. While the admin spends its limited time and resources trying to right the ship of state, it makes perfect sense it would remind the cultural messengers amongst us that we too could choose our priorities. That we too could play a bigger part in shaping the dominant narratives.

    •  I is certainly an area of fair critique... (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      malharden, Petey2, Deep Texan

      ...for this admin.

      But absent their coordination, I'd say it was in our self-interest to take up as much of the slack as we can.

  •  i still have no idea who the Professional (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    ETF, T100R

    Left are?  To me it's more of people wanting to get on the teevee machine and the only way on the teevee machine is to fit the MSM's storyline...and they love to see a dem president take it from all sides...so they get some libs up there to bash the president for not being lib enough...it's something i didn't see in 200-2008...i didn't see many on the right being on the teevee bashing bush...my guess is they were never invited.

    •  I think of it as an ego thing (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Larsstephens, Deep Texan

      Yes, in many cases it's about careers and money. But mainly it's about whether or not one's ego is invested in being right about one's politics.

      When righteousness becomes more important than results, results become unimportant.

      •  i don't know about ego...i think it's more about (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Larsstephens, ETF

        the opportunity given by the media...they wanted and continue to want the story of obama getting bashed by the left...so they went out and got it...they never really wanted that about Bush so they never really got it...i also think that even though MSNBC has more of a liberal slant to it...it is bad for cable news because they don't try to report on the political climate...they try to create the political climate...and the more controversy there is...the more exciting they can make their channel.

  •  Do you think (5+ / 0-)

    Had the stimulus been of adequate size and not hobbled by siphoning off a third of it to tax cuts, and had unemployment not inched up towards 10%, and had the Administration made any progress at all on reining in the banks' ostentatious salaries and bonuses after they nearly crushed the economy that we would be facing such a dire mid-term election despite griping from blogs and lefty talking heads?

    Seriously?

    Our only power is to point out where we think our allies are going wrong.  If those allies choose to ignore us and make a political mess for themselves, it's hardly our fault.

    The messaging has been so incompetent that people have come to blame the October 2008 bailout on Obama.  It is the lack of jobs and the Administration's coddling of Wall Street that is the cause of this debacle.

    This Administration had all the power it needed to avoid this slow-moving train wreck and for some incomprehensible reason, they chose to barrel ahead in deference to their buddies at Goldman Sachs and their mindless pursuit of bipartisanship.

    Sorry if I can't play cheerleader to that.

    Some people say the glass is half empty. Other people say the glass is half full. I say the glass needs some Scotch.

    by PaulDem on Wed Oct 20, 2010 at 09:48:33 AM PDT

    •  I think we'd still be in this position. (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      rockhound, Larsstephens, ETF, Deep Texan

      The problem with a stimulus of any size is that we were essentially paying for a negative - to keep something bad from happening.  So when people see the size of the bill and perceive themselves as having gotten nothing for it, they are pissed.  It is like paying the exterminator to keep bugs out.  Who feels good about that money?  We feel entitled to live bug free.

      If the money we did spend kept us from a depression, the admin gets no credit for that because people don't really see the value.  They just see that hings are worse than before and it cost a lot of money to make it so.  So if you got your wish and we had a much larger stimulus, people would  still be angry because 9+% unemployment would not be real to them.  They'd be pissed that so much money was spent to stand in place or perhaps just fall a little behind.  

      No matter how you slice it, it was a politically impossible position to be in.  We ought not be adding to the futility.
         

      •  The Problem With Obama's Baby Steps (4+ / 0-)

        on the stimulus is that it's the worst of both worlds. They did it half-assed by cutting it in half from the 1.8 trillion many economists were calling for. So Obama gets the label from repugs, regardless of the amount, of being a big-spending deficit-loving liberal. But the stimulus isn't big enough for the average person to see it helping her. It seems like classic Dem behavior--hold back on policy for fear of what repugs will call them when, predictably, they're gonna call Dems the same names regardless.

        It's the same as with health insurance reform. The Dems passed a republican plan from the early 1990's and they still get attacked for being freedom-hating socialists. The Overton Window continues its right-ward lurch.  

        My back is spineless. My back is yellow. I am the American non-voter. -The Simpsons, Episode 2, Season 3, "Mr. Lisa Goes to Washington"

        by Aspe4 on Wed Oct 20, 2010 at 10:09:06 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Also (4+ / 0-)

          They seem not to understand that no matter what they did they were going to get burned in effigy by the haters on the right.  In that case why not swing for the fences and try to actually make some lasting change that will really make them howl.

          Instead we aimed for a kumbaya moment and are getting our asses handed to us.  

          Some people say the glass is half empty. Other people say the glass is half full. I say the glass needs some Scotch.

          by PaulDem on Wed Oct 20, 2010 at 10:15:53 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Glass needs scotch = luxury (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Larsstephens, Deep Texan

            One definition of the "professional left" could be those who have the luxury of cynically giving up when they feel they're not getting their way.

            Those of us whose asses are actually on the line -- those of us who can't afford to drink scotch -- are interested in getting things done with what we have. Far more important than being right.

            •  also using something like (3+ / 0-)

              high unemployment to bash Obama/Dems is just shooting yourself in the foot.

              it would have been worse.  republicans blocked every effort and stalled unemployment insurance.

              to attack Dems and Obama because say they aren't moving fast enough or are not making your issue, say gay rights a top priority is again cutting off your nose to spite your face.

              the other option isn't an option.  

              •  Tell me what we should do (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Aspe4

                The fact is that unemployment is indeed near 10%.  Because of that fact the Democrats are going to be slaughtered.

                Sorry to be the one to point that out but that is a fact.  People are voting for the GOP because they are scared about their bottom lines.  The GOP is successfully using to this their advantage by adopting a faux-populist persona.  

                We, on the other hand, are letting them run with it because we are terrified at pissing off the banks.  Meanwhile we are trying to blame our inability to reduce unemployment (and are therefore are about to be slaughtered) on the ramblings of Rachel Maddow and Glenn Greewald, failure of people like me to clap louder.

                You seem to disagree.  So tell me what I should be doing to prevent us from getting slaughtered?

                Some people say the glass is half empty. Other people say the glass is half full. I say the glass needs some Scotch.

                by PaulDem on Wed Oct 20, 2010 at 12:19:02 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  accept reality (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  Larsstephens

                  and stop hurting our party.

                  vote for more Dems then better Dems.

                  be patient and don't slander our party with speculative bullshit.

                  •  So (1+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    Aspe4

                    I was powerless to get Democrats to take a more successful strategy but now I am all powerful in my ability to take down the party?  

                    I am sorry, but what will happen in the elections next month has considerably more to do with Obama than it does with me.  

                    I don't know why that concept is so controversial.

                    Some people say the glass is half empty. Other people say the glass is half full. I say the glass needs some Scotch.

                    by PaulDem on Wed Oct 20, 2010 at 12:40:56 PM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  if you want power, run for office (2+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:
                      Petey2, Larsstephens

                      please.

                      maybe then you'll understand political realities and consequences of the decisions you make.

                    •  You ask what you should do about unemployment (2+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:
                      Larsstephens, Deep Texan

                      You should be realistic -- as you are -- about the fact that the problem is stubborn, as it comes from years of economic/political malpractice.

                      And you should be realist -- as you seem not to be -- of the very real political constraints Obama has been juggling in his approach.

                      And you should do your best to contribute to a cultural narrative that fights against the facile notion that Obama should have waved his magic wand better and faster.

        •  You're stuck in arguing strategy (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Larsstephens

          Obama is our leader, like it or not. He's the decider guy. Your critiques may be right, or they may be wrong. There are actually rational arguments on both sides.

          The relevant question is how to respond most productively. Not whether or not you are right.

          •  Are You Asking What's the Best Way (2+ / 0-)

            to respond to the leaders in Washington to make them more progressive?

            My back is spineless. My back is yellow. I am the American non-voter. -The Simpsons, Episode 2, Season 3, "Mr. Lisa Goes to Washington"

            by Aspe4 on Wed Oct 20, 2010 at 10:34:51 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  How to respond in the public sphere we share (4+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              rockhound, Larsstephens, ETF, Deep Texan

              When we pretend our primary goal is to lobby the administration we ignore the much more significant impact we have on national conversations.

              The president has to juggle a lot of factors. Polls showing only 30 percent of Americans support healthcare reform is a much bigger factor to him than whether or not Jane Hamsher is trashing him again.

              I'm saying we need to be much more responsible for the impact we have on prevailing narratives.

          •  Let's not (3+ / 0-)

            "Let's not bicker and argue about who killed who".  Monty Python and the Holy Grail

            Our decider guy seems to have made a string of lousy decisions.  How do we get him to stop?

            Some people say the glass is half empty. Other people say the glass is half full. I say the glass needs some Scotch.

            by PaulDem on Wed Oct 20, 2010 at 10:35:38 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  surround him with a more progressive (4+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Aspe4, Petey2, Larsstephens, Deep Texan

              congress.

              •  I'm All for That, Except (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                mos1133

                the decider guy campaigned for/endorsed more conservative Dem candidates in primaries, i.e. Lincoln and Specter, for example. Of course, the latter was a cynical fair-weather Dem.

                My back is spineless. My back is yellow. I am the American non-voter. -The Simpsons, Episode 2, Season 3, "Mr. Lisa Goes to Washington"

                by Aspe4 on Wed Oct 20, 2010 at 10:46:06 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  agree with both you and pauldem (2+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  Aspe4, Deep Texan

                  that the dems...and obama's treatment of rouge dems is baffling and counter productive...and the reason why we don't see the discipline on the dem side that we do on the repub side.  There are no consequences for grandstanding or bullshit behavior...so the behavior continues.

                  That being said...I think one of the major disappointments has been Obama's lack of liberalism...which I'm not convinced is something we shouldn't have seen coming.  I'm not convinced he is much of a liberal in his beliefs...and I think he's shown that with his governance.  What I think the legacy of Obama could/should be is all the liberals/progressives/minorities that he brought into the electorate.  His candidacy/presidency inspired so many more people to get involved than ever before...the danger of course is the letdown that could (some argue is) occur.  I only hope that all those who were Fired Up and Ready to Go in 08...don't forget that this is literally the beginning of what I see being a generational fight.  I believe libs/progressives have reality on their side...and can turn this country to the direction it needs to go..but we're going to get fought hard from all sides and we have to stick together and keep fighting.   We have to remember that we can change the system from the inside a lot easier than we can from the outside...and the majority of the people in this country are on our side and share our beliefs.  I do believe the Obama presidency will go down as the turning point for this country, whether we turn for better or worse is up to us.

                •  You're still debating strategy (2+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  Larsstephens, Deep Texan

                  Okay, fine, but too often that debate devolves into vilification of the man.

                  And too often a critic's righteousness prevents him/her from acknowledging that there are actually rational reasons for most of these decisions. When we don't acknowledge that, we too easily take the next, deeply wrong, step of treating him like he's not generally on our side.

                  •  But losing the congress in the mid term (2+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    Aspe4, Colorado is the Shiznit

                    But losing the congress in the mid term is an entirely rational response to their failure to either

                    (1) stimulate the economy to the point where unemployment falls dramatically; or

                    (2) effectively sell a political message demonizing the Republicans as the cause for their failure to accomplish point (1)

                    That was always the ballgame and they booted it.

                    Some people say the glass is half empty. Other people say the glass is half full. I say the glass needs some Scotch.

                    by PaulDem on Wed Oct 20, 2010 at 11:24:30 AM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  The loss is a rational response to (3+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:
                      Larsstephens, ETF, Deep Texan

                      the failure of progressives to step up to the plate when we were most badly needed. Very sad.

                      From the way you describe it, Obama had infinite time and resources -- in the midst of learning a pretty big new job, in the midst of putting out the fire that was swallowing our country -- to concentrate on marketing, which the professional left should have been doing like gangbusters.

                      Yours is a stunningly unrealistic, unempathetic, and unhelpful analysis.

                      •  and republicans weren't blocking (1+ / 0-)
                        Recommended by:
                        Larsstephens

                        everything...

                        it's just disconnected from reality..

                        •  You're right (1+ / 0-)
                          Recommended by:
                          Aspe4

                          A lot of it was Democrats wanting to punch hippies and get their ten minutes on Meet the Press.  It should have been even easier to get them in line but we didn't even try.  

                          The man had 70% approval and the biggest congressional majorities in decades.  He had a national crisis to address and the rapt attention of the nation.  

                          Instead of going for sweeping change he decided to play small ball and now he's reaping the results.  Our failure to "market" the actions of the administration are insignificant next to its own the failure to adequately address the economic crisis.  They kept us out of a depression but that's cold comfort for people unemployed and underemployed right now.

                          Some people say the glass is half empty. Other people say the glass is half full. I say the glass needs some Scotch.

                          by PaulDem on Wed Oct 20, 2010 at 12:03:24 PM PDT

                          [ Parent ]

                          •  "They kept us out of a depression" (4+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            rockhound, Larsstephens, ETF, Deep Texan

                            That's pretty big.

                            That deserves some support, some kudos, some cheerleading -- even if we wish he had done it somewhat differently.

                            It's partly our fault that the public doesn't recognize what was accomplished, that they think their taxes went up, that they don't know the financial sector has been (imperfectly) reformed, that most of the bailouts have been paid back, that they don't stop to really imagine what this country would look like right now under John McCain.

                            Obama can only say it so much. The rest is up to us.

                          •  no hippies have been punched (1+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            Larsstephens

                            that's just a meme.

                            "The man had 70% approval and the biggest congressional majorities in decades."

                            The Republicans with the help of a FEW Dems set the threshold at 60 and stalled his agenda.

                            That's on Obama's fault.

                            Your other choice is waiting.  I hear Sarah Palin is running in 2012.

                          •  "Grab a shovel..." (2+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            Larsstephens, Deep Texan

                            has been a message from the White House to progressives from time to time -- stated pretty gently I think.

                            It's the closest thing I've seen to "hippie punching." And it's spot on.

                            Obama has said all along he "can't do it alone."

                      •  How do we market 10% unemployment? (1+ / 0-)
                        Recommended by:
                        Aspe4

                        Don't give me this "being president is hard" crap.  That is beneath Obama who is among our most intelligent and capable presidents ever.

                        There were voices in the administration saying that the stimulus was half the size necessary and the tax cut portion was an unhelpful sop to the blue dogs.  Many of us outside the administration were saying the same thing.  Turns out we were right.  This isn't rocket science.  

                        Then they pivoted around and started adopting a deficit hawk rhetoric that basically killed any hope of passing a second stimulus.  

                        What exactly are progressives being asked to do other than shut up and clap louder?

                        Some people say the glass is half empty. Other people say the glass is half full. I say the glass needs some Scotch.

                        by PaulDem on Wed Oct 20, 2010 at 11:58:28 AM PDT

                        [ Parent ]

              •  He had (3+ / 0-)

                He had the most progressive congress in my lifetime.

                The problem is that we couldn't use our numerical superiority to actually pass our agenda without negotiating away the actual progressive bits to please obstinate Democrats, and of course the all powerful President Snowe.

                Many of our problems stem from an inability, or more probably unwillingness, to enforce party discipline.  There is no way that Joe Lieberman should still have retained any party privileges in the Senate, same with Mary Landrieu, Ben Nelson, and the soon-to-be-unemployed Blanche Lincoln.  

                What is even worse, in adopting Republican frames (deficits are bad, etc.) we missed an opportunity to actually show some leadership and change people's minds about the nature of government itself.  Without that there is no hope at replacing Blue Dogs with true progressives.

                Some people say the glass is half empty. Other people say the glass is half full. I say the glass needs some Scotch.

                by PaulDem on Wed Oct 20, 2010 at 10:48:19 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  repugs Know How to Deal With Traitors (3+ / 0-)

                  They stripped Lisa Murkowski of her committee assignments because she's running against the repug nominee in Alaska. Lieberman campaigned for the repug presidential candidate, which can be seen as a repudiation of the entire Dem platform, and nothing happened to him. The Dems needed a rotating villain I suppose. So that's my question, which of the Dems actually fire fighters, to borrow Petey2's metaphor below. And if they are fire fighters, why are they using vodka instead of water to extinguish the fire?

                  My back is spineless. My back is yellow. I am the American non-voter. -The Simpsons, Episode 2, Season 3, "Mr. Lisa Goes to Washington"

                  by Aspe4 on Wed Oct 20, 2010 at 10:55:26 AM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  Without coddling Joe Leiberman (3+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    rockhound, ETF, Deep Texan

                    (it could easily be argued) we might not have gotten anything passed.

                    We've already proven Dems lack the discipline of the GOP. It seems clear to me Obama knew what the reaction (from Ben Nelson to Dennis Kucinich) would have been had he tried to come riding in like Teddy Roosevelt or FDR.

                    You may disagree with this, but to treat Obama like he was just too uncaring or stupid to do the obvious is simplistic and unproductive.

                    •  I don't (2+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:
                      Aspe4, Colorado is the Shiznit

                      I don't think Obama was either stupid or uncaring.  

                      I think he was hamstrung by a combination of an unfortunate chumminess with Goldman Sachs and an unrealistic idea that he could usher in an era of post-partisan Broderlicious cooperation.

                      In the process he lost the forest for the trees and did himself in.  He could turn it around if he fires the bankers in his administration and re-fashions himself as the Wall Street and banking nemesis.  I don't see it, though.

                      Some people say the glass is half empty. Other people say the glass is half full. I say the glass needs some Scotch.

                      by PaulDem on Wed Oct 20, 2010 at 11:29:44 AM PDT

                      [ Parent ]

                      •  There's So Much Populist Anger to Channel (0+ / 0-)

                        too bad the right-wingers are doing it instead.

                        My back is spineless. My back is yellow. I am the American non-voter. -The Simpsons, Episode 2, Season 3, "Mr. Lisa Goes to Washington"

                        by Aspe4 on Wed Oct 20, 2010 at 11:41:31 AM PDT

                        [ Parent ]

                        •  Yeah (1+ / 0-)
                          Recommended by:
                          Aspe4

                          Look at the difference in how the two parties treat their fired up bases.  On the Democrats' side you get hippie punching.  On the GOP side you get the veneration of the Tea Party.  Let's check back in November to see who had better luck.

                          Some people say the glass is half empty. Other people say the glass is half full. I say the glass needs some Scotch.

                          by PaulDem on Wed Oct 20, 2010 at 11:44:02 AM PDT

                          [ Parent ]

                      •  But does it ever occur to you (3+ / 0-)
                        Recommended by:
                        Larsstephens, ETF, Deep Texan

                        what the consequences might have been had Obama chosen to run roughshod over Wallstreet, the military, and every other conservative, powerful institution in the country? Not to mention Congress and the courts?

                        Sure, you'd be praising him, but his presidency would be over -- with absolutely nothing accomplished.

                        Okay, disagree, but don't pretend there aren't rational considerations in play.

                        •  Instead (1+ / 0-)
                          Recommended by:
                          Aspe4

                          Instead his presidency is basically over with very little accomplished.  The difference is they're trying to blame the debacle on me.

                          Some people say the glass is half empty. Other people say the glass is half full. I say the glass needs some Scotch.

                          by PaulDem on Wed Oct 20, 2010 at 12:04:32 PM PDT

                          [ Parent ]

                          •  Ah... THAT'S where you're wrong! (4+ / 0-)

                            This presidency is far from over.

                            And when you ignore all the lists of the very real accomplishments so far -- imperfect as they may be -- and ignore the historians who remind us that, even in this horrible climate, this presidency has already accomplished more than any other president in recent times... then you are falling back to your nihilistic scotch persona.

                            This presidency is far from over. Lots left to accomplish in six years. The reason I write diaries like this is because it's NOT too late, if we accept our own responsibilities better. I'm far from reaching for the bottle.

                        •  Well, Running Roughshod Over Wall Street (0+ / 0-)

                          would have been pretty popular I think. I don't know what you mean about running roughshod over the military. You mean defense budget cuts? I will give Obama credit for cutting the F-22 Raptor fighter plan program early in his presidency. A lesser pol would have gone forward with the initial order number and they cost $200 million each.

                          Just in general, don't we have to try to challenge these institutions even though we may fail? How can you get any progressive change with such a defeatists attitude of "oh well, it's too hard, better not try." repugs have no problem challenging progressive institutions like Soc. Sec. or the Dept. of Education. It's this timidness at challenging the status guo that's killing Dems.

                          My back is spineless. My back is yellow. I am the American non-voter. -The Simpsons, Episode 2, Season 3, "Mr. Lisa Goes to Washington"

                          by Aspe4 on Wed Oct 20, 2010 at 01:10:23 PM PDT

                          [ Parent ]

                •  agree with both you and Aspe4 (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  Aspe4

                  that the dems...and obama's treatment of rouge dems is baffling and counter productive...and the reason why we don't see the discipline on the dem side that we do on the repub side.  There are no consequences for grandstanding or bullshit behavior...so the behavior continues.

                  That being said...I think one of the major disappointments has been Obama's lack of liberalism...which I'm not convinced is something we shouldn't have seen coming.  I'm not convinced he is much of a liberal in his beliefs...and I think he's shown that with his governance.  What I think the legacy of Obama could/should be is all the liberals/progressives/minorities that he brought into the electorate.  His candidacy/presidency inspired so many more people to get involved than ever before...the danger of course is the letdown that could (some argue is) occur.  I only hope that all those who were Fired Up and Ready to Go in 08...don't forget that this is literally the beginning of what I see being a generational fight.  I believe libs/progressives have reality on their side...and can turn this country to the direction it needs to go..but we're going to get fought hard from all sides and we have to stick together and keep fighting.   We have to remember that we can change the system from the inside a lot easier than we can from the outside...and the majority of the people in this country are on our side and share our beliefs.  I do believe the Obama presidency will go down as the turning point for this country, whether we turn for better or worse is up to us.

            •  It's not smart to trash the fire fighters (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Larsstephens, Deep Texan

              who are currently trying to save your house.

              You may have plenty of honest criticisms. But you're nuts if you take the tack that the firefighters are not on your side.

              The only logic I can see behind this approach is if you really don't have much of a personal investment in the house. Then it's okay to prefer being right to actually getting things done.

              Hence the term "professional left"

              •  To Extend the Fire Fighter Metaphor (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Colorado is the Shiznit

                I think I can rigthly criticize the fire fighters if they're using gasoline instead of water to put out the fire! LOL.

                But that's the issue isn't it? Are the fire fighters (establishment Dems) actually trying to save the house (the country)? That's a fundamental question. I'm no longer so naive as to think that just because a person happens to label themselves a Democrat, that they are serious about helping out the middle class and putting a check on big money interests and corporations.

                My back is spineless. My back is yellow. I am the American non-voter. -The Simpsons, Episode 2, Season 3, "Mr. Lisa Goes to Washington"

                by Aspe4 on Wed Oct 20, 2010 at 10:50:41 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  "LOL" (3+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  rockhound, Larsstephens, Deep Texan

                  These three letters help couch cynical hyperbole in supposed humor.

                  All I can do is shake my head when people calling themselves progressives characterize all the (imperfect) accomplishments of this administration (in the midst of horrible times to boot) as "using gasoline to put out the fire."

                  Would you prefer more regulatory cuts and lower taxes for the rich?

                  •  No I Don't Want More Regulatory Cuts (1+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    mos1133

                    Too bad a Dem president worked with a repug congress to repeal Glass-Stegall in 1999 and degregulated the telecom industry in 1996. So, you can see why I don't trust just anyone who labels himself a Dem. You can get deregulation with either party.

                    My back is spineless. My back is yellow. I am the American non-voter. -The Simpsons, Episode 2, Season 3, "Mr. Lisa Goes to Washington"

                    by Aspe4 on Wed Oct 20, 2010 at 11:47:01 AM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  You know damn well that Obama's goal (1+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:
                      Larsstephens

                      is toward better regulation. Maybe his goals don't go as far as you'd like. But what sense does it make to try to kneecap him from doing anything at all?

                      •  I Was Talking About Dems in General (0+ / 0-)

                        That's why I used Pres. Clinton as an example of a deregulating Democrat. I don't automatically trust someone just because he calls himself a Dem. So when I use the name "Dem" I'm also talking about the Mary Landrieus and Blanche Lincoln's of the world--not necessarily Obama.

                        My back is spineless. My back is yellow. I am the American non-voter. -The Simpsons, Episode 2, Season 3, "Mr. Lisa Goes to Washington"

                        by Aspe4 on Wed Oct 20, 2010 at 12:10:36 PM PDT

                        [ Parent ]

                        •  yes, but this is typical (3+ / 0-)

                          The "professional left" is HORRIBLE about recognizing Obama's accomplishments and what he's still trying to do for the country. Our modus operandi has become to focus solely on all the things we disagree with.

                          You could have posted an acknowledgment of the regulatory direction Obama is moving in -- facing an onslaught of corporate cash in opposition as a result -- but you chose to focus on how you don't trust him.

                    •  Glass-Stegall (3+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:
                      Petey2, Larsstephens, ETF

                      was a republican bill that passed the senate with only one Dem supporting it.

                      Bill Clinton threatened to veto it.  They compromised with republicans to get something out of it.  Was it a mistake, yes.  However, it had ALREADY passed the Senate.

                      trying to find a silver lining in that dark cloud was noble but ultimately a bad decision.  that's completely different than writing the bill and only one republican voting for it.

                      it was a republican bill.

                      •  You Mean Graham-Leach-Bliley? (0+ / 0-)

                        That was the bill that repealed Glass Stegall. You didn't mean to say only one Dem voted to pass Glass Stegall Act back in 1933 did you?

                        If you meant the repeal of Glass-Stegall(Graham-Leach-Bliley) that got 90 votes in the senate. No one is doubting that it was a republican bill, but did Dems have to support it?

                        http://banking.senate.gov/...

                        My back is spineless. My back is yellow. I am the American non-voter. -The Simpsons, Episode 2, Season 3, "Mr. Lisa Goes to Washington"

                        by Aspe4 on Wed Oct 20, 2010 at 12:38:28 PM PDT

                        [ Parent ]

                        •  oh my god seriously? (1+ / 0-)
                          Recommended by:
                          Larsstephens

                          it was going to pass anyways.

                          rather than not getting anything while the republicans pick off a few Dems to vote for it, thus getting the magic 60..  

                          the Dems compromised.  bad decision but it's simply not the same.

                          this is where you go off the rails..  it was a republican bill, passed by republicans in a republican congress.

                        •  your enemy is republicans (1+ / 0-)
                          Recommended by:
                          Larsstephens

                          this is a good example of how twisted some on the left are.

                          they are willing to slam Bill Clinton for a republican bill than provide the nuance required to understand what really happened.

                          it's just fodder to some and that's hurting us.

                          maybe you can't see it but lots of us do.  you marginalize yourself with such tactics.

                          just saying.

    •  I disagree with much of this (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Larsstephens, Deep Texan

      But, rather than getting mired in the weeds trying to debate you point-by-point, I ask you to consider the pragmatic consequences of your critiques -- even if you are 100% correct in your assessment.

      I see tons of wrong-headed behavior driving down the highway every day. But I have to question the efficacy of my urge to shoot my middle finger at everyone.

      •  But (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Aspe4, Colorado is the Shiznit, T100R

        If I see someone on the road driving on a flat tire, I'll point it out.  If they see me, understand what I am trying to communicate, and continue to drive on the flat tire I don't flip them the bird.  I think "idiot" and keep driving.

        Some people say the glass is half empty. Other people say the glass is half full. I say the glass needs some Scotch.

        by PaulDem on Wed Oct 20, 2010 at 10:10:06 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  I have an old friend who played pro ball (7+ / 0-)

    He was raised a Philly liberal but is now a republican. It's not because he made a lot of money and most pro ball players who made the money sold their souls. He became one because of discipline. When republicans have a platform, they stick to it. As Reagan said, "Thou shalt not speak ill of any fellow Republican." During the health care debate, we became rabid dogs screaming and berating our own. We circled the firing squad and fired, and this is the result. My friend told me recently he is a republican because to win, just like in any sport, you need discipline, and democrats lack that kind of discipline. He believes in gay marriage, womens reproductive rights, universal health care and was against the wars. However, he believes in winning and says democrats do not have the discipline it takes to win.

    Think of it this way, Bill Russell hated many things Red Aurbach said and did. He disagreed with him to the point he used to throw up before most games. Yet, he followed Aurbach's coaching to the letter and won 11 rings. Your diary was an expose on our own failings as a political entity. We need immediate gratification and if we don't get it, bombs away, even if it means installing another, more conservative Congress than we had in '94. We will blame corporations, their money and their influence, but in the end, we are responsible for the drubbing we're about to take in 2 weeks.

    We are the ones who lack the discipline to see things through, to compromise, to adapt. No, it has to be our way, we have all the facts on our side. However, facts are meaningless unless you win. So everyone here will blame Obama, blame corporate money, the Koch brothers, the MSM or anyone else but ourselves.

    In the 2 years of Obama's presidency, more has been done than in anytime in my lifetime. We were a millimeter away from a full blown depression where more than 25% would be unemployed, more businesses would have folded and more people would be below the poverty level. Yet, even today, we want to blame Obama for all the ills we face. We have to have our boogeyman, whether it is Glenn Beck, the Koch brothers or Joe Lieberman. we should look in the mirror and see our own demons. For all the hate I read about Harry Reid over the years on this website, you are about to witness what that hatred will wrought when Sharron Angle takes the oath of office in the US Senate. I guess it's worth it.

    Solitude is painful when one is young, but delightful when one is more mature...Einstein

    by tazz on Wed Oct 20, 2010 at 09:59:14 AM PDT

    •  now that is a good comment! nt (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      tazz, ETF
    •  The GOP mindset is more competive (5+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      rockhound, tazz, Larsstephens, ETF, Deep Texan

      Win at all cost. Ends justify the means. Watch Donald Trump's show to see this mindset on full display.

      While I'm not in the camp that says we should mirror their strategies -- after all, empathy above competition is an attribute that belongs to the liberal mind -- I do believe we could stick to our values much more smartly.

      We could be MUCH more disciplined without selling our souls.

      •  I don't watch Donald Trump at all (0+ / 0-)

        he turns my stomach. I don't think it's about competition so much as independent voters still determine elections. Their facts are based on who they think will satisfy their goals and in the end they respect discipline.

        Solitude is painful when one is young, but delightful when one is more mature...Einstein

        by tazz on Wed Oct 20, 2010 at 10:20:34 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  You should, if you can stomach it (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Larsstephens, ETF, Deep Texan

          His values are widespread among rich and poor. Evidence his ratings and poll numbers.

          And these values are part of the cultural swamp that Obama is forced to navigate. He's doing so as smartly as he can, gently trying to chip away at Randianism without stupidly committing political suicide.

          The independents you speak of are highly susceptible to the dominant narratives. That's what I'm addressing here: how we can be more productive and responsible in shaping those narratives.

  •  The public hired the Democrats (5+ / 0-)

    In 2008 the public hired the Democrats to fix the economy.  We didn't.  They're hiring the other guys now.

    The rest is all gum flapping and kabuki.

    Some people say the glass is half empty. Other people say the glass is half full. I say the glass needs some Scotch.

    by PaulDem on Wed Oct 20, 2010 at 10:32:57 AM PDT

    •  The dog ate their homework (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Aspe4, Colorado is the Shiznit
    •  the economy was on the brink of collapse (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Aspe4, LynneK, Deep Texan

      in 2008...i think the dems have done as much as they could to help prevent another Great Depresion...it's hard to prove a negative...but I feel it's a bit naive to think that the stimulus didn't benefit a great deal of Americans, and the American economy as a whole...perhaps there could have been more money spent...and it would have been even more effective...but we are in the process of fixing our economy...it's not something that's not being done.

      •  We can discuss (3+ / 0-)

        We can discuss all day what we might have done and whether it might have worked.  The truth is that it is hard to tell someone who has been unemployed for two years (and I know a plenty of them) that we made their lives better.  Sure, it could have been much worse but "You're unemployed but not starving.  Progress!" is hardly a campaign slogan.

        It's a pretty simple equation.  Unemployment is mired near 10%.  There is no way Democrats don't get slaughtered under those conditions.

        I could have told you that in January 2009.  Anybody could.  The masters of the universe in the White House knew this too and now I sense they're looking for someone else to blame for their inability to fix it - or sell the country on the fact that it is the Republicans stopping them from fixing it.

        Some people say the glass is half empty. Other people say the glass is half full. I say the glass needs some Scotch.

        by PaulDem on Wed Oct 20, 2010 at 10:56:38 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  agreed. They should have never given (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Aspe4, Deep Texan

          a number of what we'd keep the unemployment below...that was a set up for defeat right there...the first speech should have said "the past 8-20 years screwed us royally...we could go to 20-25% unemployment if we don't act....and we can't let that happen...so we're going to do what we can....and if we're lucky we can keep this thing under 15% nationally...but remember the past 8-20 years have gotten us into this ditch...it's going to take some time to get out of it.

          •  Agreed, and I'll bet they kick themselves daily (3+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Larsstephens, ETF, Deep Texan

            for that number.

            But even the best baseball players don't bat 1000.

            And even the best players need extra team support after making unforced errors.

            The fact is, harping on that silly 8 percent number is ridiculous. We should be proclaiming that ridiculousness daily. We should not leave it all up to the White House. It's partly our responsibility.

        •  We Can Take Solace in the Real Possibility (0+ / 0-)

          that congressional republicans will get slaughtered in 2012 if the economy doesn't markedly improve.

          My back is spineless. My back is yellow. I am the American non-voter. -The Simpsons, Episode 2, Season 3, "Mr. Lisa Goes to Washington"

          by Aspe4 on Wed Oct 20, 2010 at 11:57:24 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Problem is: it WILL likely improve (3+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Larsstephens, ETF, Deep Texan

            That's history. And the GOP, with all their lies, will claim credit.

            •  And the Democrats (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Aspe4

              And the Democrats, in their incompetence, will fail to adequately counter that.  

              Actually if the GOP gets its way and go for the austerity plan, it's likely to get worse before it gets better.  

              Some people say the glass is half empty. Other people say the glass is half full. I say the glass needs some Scotch.

              by PaulDem on Wed Oct 20, 2010 at 12:07:15 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  No one is saying Dems aren't incompetent (2+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Larsstephens, Deep Texan

                But the GOP's discipline is rooted in the solidarity of lies coming from the likes of Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity.

                I'm not saying we should be lying the same way. But I'm pointing out the unintended consequences of failing to recognize our true power in the public conversation. Maybe it comes from our greater faith in government. But we're being unrealistic to expect all messaging should come from the White House. It also needs to come from Cenk Uygur. And Cenk Uygur reads your blog. And his salary is dependent upon being in tune with you....

                BTW, the GOP won't get it's austerity wishes met. Not with Obama in the White House. But the (imperfect) steps Obama has already taken are very likely to turn unemployment around substantially during the next two years. Or so I predict.

    •  Wow, you sound like Fox News (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      LynneK, Larsstephens

      Maybe you didn't intend it, but you sound like you're supporting the notion that Obama simply missed some sort of easy opportunity to clean up all Bush's messes.

      My point: as an alternative, consider contributing something more productive and responsible to the public conversation.

      We prioritize what we choose to harp on. And it makes a difference.

      •  It's Fox News (3+ / 0-)

        Pointing out the painfully obvious is being like Fox News?

        Just so you are aware of where I stand, here is what I think we should have done:

        Temporarily nationalize the entire banking industry (without mark to market they are all basically insolvent), fire all the people who got us into this mess and tax trades to pay for it.   Then use the extra revenue to address the crumbling infrastructure.

        Then pass a Medicare buy-in effective immediately and start down the road to putting the health insurance industry out of business.  

        I'd finish it off by passing EFCA, DADT repeal, DOMA repeal and an inclusive ENDA.

        Were we able to get all those things done, I could guarantee you we'd have a fired up base heading to the polls in November

        Still sound like Fox News?

        Some people say the glass is half empty. Other people say the glass is half full. I say the glass needs some Scotch.

        by PaulDem on Wed Oct 20, 2010 at 11:03:22 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  mis-wrote (3+ / 0-)

          should have been "without suspension of mark to market they're all basically insolvent"

          Some people say the glass is half empty. Other people say the glass is half full. I say the glass needs some Scotch.

          by PaulDem on Wed Oct 20, 2010 at 11:07:57 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Okay, so Obama had a different perspective (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Deep Texan

            with more information, higher stakes, and the responsibility to make sure his decisions did not have unintended consequences.

            The point is: what do we do when we disagree with our allies? What are the consequences of proclaiming our ally a sellout?

            Too often, I think bloggers (for example) don't realize the real power they have in shaping culture. My hope is that with a growing sense of that power, a sense of responsibility will grow as well. That's the reason for this diary.

            •  So how do we stop our allies (3+ / 0-)

              how do we stop our allies from selling out?

              Well funded primaries are typically the best vehicle but that sort of talk will get you HRed around here.

              Some people say the glass is half empty. Other people say the glass is half full. I say the glass needs some Scotch.

              by PaulDem on Wed Oct 20, 2010 at 11:31:39 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  what's bothered me about some (0+ / 0-)

                of those who did a lot criticizing during the Health Care debate was that it was during primary season for a lot of states...there were a lot of good, progressive, candidates running against establishment dems...a lot of energy went towards the Health Care debate when it could have gone to get more progressives in elected office...that is about my only issue with those who criticize from the left...it seemed like a lost opportunity to me.

    •  Yup, It's the Economy, Moron! (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Deep Texan

      Not calling PaulDem a moron, I just wanted to modify Carville's famous saying. Firstly, the public doesn't know what the hell it wants. They feel they only have a choice between a repuke and a Dem--that's out 2-party system. If repugs win both houses, I won't take it as a repudiation of progressive policies; I'll just think we got dealt a bad hand. We'll have better luck next election cycle. People are afraid because of the bad economy and they don't know what to do. When people feel they only have 2 political party choices, I don't think we can definitively say they're ready to dabble in conservatism nor liberalism again. Now, if there were 4 major parties and one of their prez candidates got over 50% of the vote in a 4-way race, then you can say the voters are of the philosophy that party represents.

      My back is spineless. My back is yellow. I am the American non-voter. -The Simpsons, Episode 2, Season 3, "Mr. Lisa Goes to Washington"

      by Aspe4 on Wed Oct 20, 2010 at 11:55:01 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  When considering tactics, we need to remember... (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    LynneK, Colorado is the Shiznit

    ...the power of nonviolence.

    And our president has made it clear he welcomes pressure. All I'm saying is that we should be MUCH smarter about our tactics. FAR less reactive, and FAR more productive.


    "We are the ones who we have been waiting for."

    Less fearmongering, more hopemongering

    by banach tarski paradox on Wed Oct 20, 2010 at 11:23:41 AM PDT

    •  I applaud this civil demonstration (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      ETF, Deep Texan

      I do not applaud member of the professional left who fashion their identities around "telling the truth" about our supposed uncaring, unintelligent, sellout of a president, instead of pressuring him productively as the ally he is.

  •  How is this our fault? (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Aspe4, Colorado is the Shiznit

    the widespread abandonment of Obama by the base? Don't you mean the abandonment of the base by Obama? There is only so far that we can go when the guy who makes the decisions makes bad decisions.

    Call me a narcissist or a nihilist or whatever, but I only voted for the guy, I didn't sell my soul to him or to the party. Maybe I am looking at the big-picture, the one that includes everyone, even those that would prefer I sit down and shut up already.

    •  The Irony is that Obama Doesn't Have (0+ / 0-)

      the time of day for us lowly bloggers. Just like a person who has had a bad day and takes it out on family, people who write diaries like this lash-out at the people closest to them, i.e. other kossacks. We're the only ones who will listen and have to "live" with the diarist. Obama and his advisers don't give Dkos members a second thought. Fellow kossacks are easier targets since we don't have true access to Obama.

      My back is spineless. My back is yellow. I am the American non-voter. -The Simpsons, Episode 2, Season 3, "Mr. Lisa Goes to Washington"

      by Aspe4 on Wed Oct 20, 2010 at 12:04:06 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  No, you do much more than vote (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Larsstephens

      You contribute to culture's conversation. I ask that you do so as smartly and consciously and productively and responsibly as possible.

  •  Well argued. You will be flamed of course but (5+ / 0-)

    don't worry too much.Some of us are prepared to hold on to the truth no mater what until one day the way politics is done in Washington changes. The left blogistan and professional left went on an orchestrated crusade to create a narrative that Obama was a failure even before the ink dried on the inauguration scroll. We will never fully know what was behind this orchestrated wingnuttery; some have said it was the primary wars, some racism and some maybe that people didn't get the recognition they expected from the administration etc etc? But it definitely created a toxic environment for the President and for the Dems and the result is what we see currently. A President and Congress with historical legislative achievements are fighting to keep a majority that, if polls are to be believed, they are about lose. This can only happen in a messed up Democracy.

    scientia potentia est - Francis Bacon "...knowledge itself is power."

    by factPlusContextAlmostTruth on Wed Oct 20, 2010 at 11:50:53 AM PDT

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