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I see more energy here today in Eclectablog's diary than I did during election season 2010. For months the quietest places on this blog were in election posts. The ones that did catch interest weren't in Wisconsin, Florida, Ohio, Pennsylvania or Illinois they were in Arkansas to unseat a Democrat and replace her with a (mildly?) better one.

We had a late and slow fundraising drive and GOTV efforts, by the time this site got in the game we were playing defense. We had little to no impact in the media and didn't come close to defining a message for why people should vote for Democrats. On this site many couldn't even determine the difference between the parties, let alone find a reason to put shoes on and talk to their neighbors about it. In 2008, I was able to convince a lot of you to support a pro-choice Dem for Congress in Alabama, and we almost won. And your help meant a lot and made a difference down there. This was election central in 2008, you can't say the same about 2010.

The President deserves blame for this too. I actually think motivating this group wouldn't have been difficult.

Most of the criticism around here doesn't boil down to the fact that President Obama negotiated for compromise legislation. The focus seems to be on the way he negotiated and the communications involved. It seems to me all the President had to do was add liberal talking points to his message. I'm doing X, What I really wanted to do was Y, but Z happened. It's just one more variable, but it would have meant the world around here.

Example: "We're doing a market-based healthcare reform, I believe life or death decisions about your healthcare shouldn't be subject to whether or not it's profitable for business, but we just don't have enough votes in the Congress for that right now. A public insurance option is the type of thing that slashes costs in western Democracies around the World but alas the way things are right now we can't have it."

It would have allowed the hope and change message to carry on rather than underwhelm.
And what would it have cost?

We've proven that our support is elastic, so how does this President get us back? And I mean back in the form of organizing, activists who do nothing but hold their nose and vote isn't enough.

President Obama needs to channel Harry Truman circa 1948 for his next campaign. Esoteric change isn't going to cut it this time around. He should call for a Constitutional amendment to reverse Citizens United and a Wall Street tax. He needs to call out the do-nothing 112th Congress, do-nothing but take away rights for the powerless, heating oil for the cold, food for the poor. This Congress leaves people freezing and hungry to pay for Wall Street's mistakes. They'll pay for contractors in Iraq but not in your town. This stuff writes itself. Truman had it just right we also need to be pushed to vote every 2 years so regressive forces can't roll back progress.

"You know this Congress is interested in the welfare of the better classes. They are not interested in the welfare of the common everyday man... Educate yourselves. You don't want to do like you did in 1946. Two-thirds of you stayed home in 1946, and look what a Congress we got! That is your fault, that is your fault." Truman then went on to remark to a reporter that the 80th Congress was the worst in history.

We got our asses handed to us in 2010 and there is plenty of blame to go around. The damage from that election will be with us for quite some time, we won't have as many Dems in Congress until Jan 2015 at the earliest. And as you can tell at the state level we're struggling. What all can we do to take care to not repeat the mistakes of last year?

Poll

What would get you to support Dems in 2012 like you did in 2008?

13%4 votes
3%1 votes
3%1 votes
27%8 votes
13%4 votes
20%6 votes
0%0 votes
10%3 votes
6%2 votes

| 29 votes | Vote | Results

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Comment Preferences

    •  Obama did not "Fail" (5+ / 0-)

      Losing the House was totally intentional.  He sent Gibbs out to announce it in July 2010.

      Losing the House took the pressure off Obama to lead and fulfill his campaign promises to bring progressive change to this country.

      Now he can continue to govern as a center right Republican and "battle" the right wing who, as we witnessed again today with King's absurd hearings, are moving this country closer and closer to full-blown fascism.

      Kabuki at its finest.  

      Send your old shoes to the new George W. Bush library.

      by maxschell on Thu Mar 10, 2011 at 04:54:22 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  11th dimensional chess! (3+ / 0-)

        But only for evil, naturally!

        Progressivism, like conservatism, cannot fail. It can only be failed.

        by tomjones on Thu Mar 10, 2011 at 05:06:02 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Right, what kind of leader bashes his supporters? (0+ / 0-)

          Either he (a) intended it as a "Sister Soulja" approach or (b) he genuinely wanted to demoralize and divide so he didn't really have to fight for change.  Rather he can just "fight" against Republicans and call it victory when he "wins" a negotiation like the one last Nov/Dec where he gave the rich tax breaks while raising taxes on the working poor.  

          Given what has transpired since the election, we can conclude that (b) is the correct answer.

          Send your old shoes to the new George W. Bush library.

          by maxschell on Thu Mar 10, 2011 at 05:39:46 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

  •  It's a constant battle against the dark side.. (5+ / 0-)

    the Forces of All That is Reactionary. They are on the march, and they aren't shy about their intentions.

  •  that's fair. (6+ / 0-)

    missliberties said something similar earlier.  

    "Wake the town and tell the people!" ~Ewart Beckford, O.D.

    by mallyroyal on Thu Mar 10, 2011 at 04:40:58 PM PST

  •  We failed in 2009, which made (4+ / 0-)

    2010 impossible.

    We weren't able to persuade enough members of congress to pass what they needed to pass.  In the end they didn't do much, and the health care reform wasn't great.  Going into 2010 we were already behind.  They'd had to weather the 2009 town halls, and it made them more timid, not less, and so there was no coming back.

    Not to mention, a lot of it was moot because you can't bring back that many jobs in a year.

    "Intolerance is something which belongs to the religions we have rejected." - J.J. Rousseau -6.38, -4.15

    by James Allen on Thu Mar 10, 2011 at 04:47:32 PM PST

  •  After the Gore loss in "00, (3+ / 0-)

    and the "shellacking" of this president in '09, can we agree that Dems need to find a better way of moving their elected officials to the left other than by having Repubs voted in?

    Koch Industries, Inc. (Quilted Northern, Angel Soft, Brawny, Sparkle, Soft 'n Gentle, Mardi Gras, Vanity Fair, Dixie)

    by ChiTownDenny on Thu Mar 10, 2011 at 05:03:51 PM PST

  •  There's one problem with your argument. (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Tookish, YucatanMan, T100R, Ruh Roh

    You ask us if we will work as hard in 2012 as we did in 2008.  There is a big difference between then and now.  That is in 2008, there was a unifying message that all dems could spread.  We wanted change and this is how we were going to get it.  We had points of conversation, that dems running for office echoed.  From Obama to the volunteers on the streets, our message was clear and unified.

    After the election, not so much.  Almost everything that we worked for got watered down or discarded all together.  I'm not assigning blame or making excuses, but when the healthcare battle began, it was a democrat who took single-payer off the table, it was a democrat who threatened to join a republican filibuster if a public option was included.  The unified message got lost and understandably, we were upset.

    I should say, we screwed the pooch in 2010.  It happened, but even now, you can feel a national movement building.  We'll be there in 2012, fired up to get out the vote, but it won't be for democrats.  It'll be for the middle-class and the poor.  Of course, that means we'll be getting the vote out for democrats.  Even now as we are starting to feel the energy of 2008 again, the national democrats have been silent when their base needs them most.

    I'll be fired up to work to elect democrats to office, but it won't be for the democrats for whom I'm working.  It will be for the middle-class and the poor.  For the teachers and firefighters, the snowplow drivers and police officers, for the workers in state and municipal offices.  That's my new constituency.  Those are the ones I'll fight to defend.  As far as I'm concerned the democrats are just along for the ride.  That's all the unifying message I need.

  •  This diary is a good effort (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    jalenth, CornSyrupAwareness

    I don't think you're correct, that progressive discontent was a matter of messaging.

    I think many (here especially) simply have switched into opposition mode: Obama is now a corporatist sell out in the vein of a Bush, Clinton, etc.

    In that case, everything he does is suspect (see commenter above asserting the laughable claim that Obama planned to lose the House; if only he had been a slightly better 11th dimensional chess player, his nefarious schemes to lose the Senate would have succeeded, as well).

    All that said, I think progressive discontent was responsible for about .05% of the total Democratic defeat in 2010.

    The mood of the country was anti-Democrat. Simple as that, and it's stupid for us to be fighting so hard over that .05%.

    Progressivism, like conservatism, cannot fail. It can only be failed.

    by tomjones on Thu Mar 10, 2011 at 05:12:51 PM PST

  •  I think we need to grow up and understand that (8+ / 0-)

    change takes time.  FDR didn't get all that he wanted , but his legislation was improved with time.   I've done a lot of activist work at the local level and I will tell you just stopping crass development in an area can take years.  Stopping a Walmart from being built on wetlands on a hurricane evacuation route took three years!  People who have actually worked to effect change understand that you can't give up ...you get what you can and keep fighting ...you don't lose your focus because of setbacks.

    •  Amen (4+ / 0-)

      Spent nearly two years of intensive organizing effort to combat zoning changes that would have shut down almost all social services in one (relatively) small sector of the community.

      The "yes, we can" message didn't make clear the loooong hard slog that would be required from a larger than we've seen contingent of "we" to get the beginnings of the "change we believed in".

    •  Some People (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      jalenth, Jose Bidenio

      act like one man can change/do whatever he wants.  We don't live in a dictatorship.  Change does take time and President Obama does have opposition to deal with.  He is president of not only progressives but all of America.

    •  A penny a pound (2+ / 0-)

      That's what I always think of whenever I feel like whining that the wait is too long, or the road too hard (and believe me, I can whine with the best of them!)

      I read about this a few years ago, I hope I am remembering it right. Migrant workers, primarily Latin@s, and their unions pressed the major fast food places for years to raise the price they paid for tomatoes. If they just raised it a penny a pound, that would make a major difference in the take-home pay of these workers.

      After years of this they finally got an agreement with most of the fast food places - McDonald's, Wendy's, Carl's Jr's, etc. There was great rejoicing that finally, finally, it was going to happen.

      Then Burger King said no. And it was one of those deals where it was all or none, so it wound up being none. And so it was back to square one, trying to get this penny a pound.

      I don't know if what the status is now -- there's been nothing in the news over the past couple of years. I do know that if I am forced (or want) to eat fast food, the one place I don't go is Burger King.

      So yes, even infinitesimal change can take lots of time and a small step forward is still a step forward.  

      “If you have come to help me, you are wasting your time. But if you have come because your liberation is bound up with mine, then let us work together.”

      by Nanette K on Thu Mar 10, 2011 at 06:17:07 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  here is the key (4+ / 0-)
    The focus seems to be on the way he negotiated and the communications involved. It seems to me all the President had to do was add liberal talking points to his message.

    Was this our fault?  No.  This was the President's fault and it was on purpose. He is playing both ends against the middle.  But now the middle is much further right than when he ran.  I honestly do not believe that is where President Obama began, but that is where he is now.

    The bottom line is ALL of our politicians are compromised and the people are being screwed.  

    The United States is not just losing its capacity to do great things. It's losing its soul.--Bob Herbert

    by gulfgal98 on Thu Mar 10, 2011 at 05:19:35 PM PST

  •  IMHO: It is not the people's job to fire up the (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    esquimaux, T100R

    people to support candidates.

    It is the candidates' job to fire up the people with a winning message - but more than that, a winning record on behalf of the people, the voters, rather than corporate/financial behemoths.

    The failure of candidates to support people with Jobs, Jobs, Jobs leadership led directly to the defeat of the Dems in 2010.

    For the past three elections, the working people -- middle, lower middle, lower income classes -- have plead desperately for CHANGE. Not just baby-step change, but transformative change.  

    2006 - rebellion against R's at the Congressional level for Change.

    2008 - rebellion against the R's at the Presidential and Congressional level both for Change - the explicit promise of the campaign.  

    2009-2010 - agenda of economic change not delivered.  "Stimulus" was 1/2 to 1/3 as big as it needed to be.  Vast amounts of wealth continued to evaporate as the housing market was allowed to continue falling without serious support for homeowners and mortgage re-writes. All else was "nice" but useless, as voters --- particularly the vast numbers known as "independents" who are low information voters --- vote based on their economic situation.  Leadership failed to recognize the importance of "It is the economy, stupid" as it always is, but even more so in the worst recession since the Great Depression.

    2010 - voters again vote for Change. Unfortunately, since both houses of Congress and the Presidency had been Democratic, they went Republican.  Rational? No, but clearly a "normal" response easily predicted from past voting/economic patterns.

    CHANGE was promised. Big Change. Change in bold letters in Red White and Blue.  Change was not delivered. Banks were not prosecuted. Jobs were not the highest priority.

    Summary:  Leaders failed to 1) deliver or even try (pre-capitulate in negotiations) to deliver on promises; 2) Leaders failed to motivate voters to support them; 3) Leaders failed to defend their own programs and gains; 4) most of all, leaders failed to make the economy and JOBS the highest priority.

    Not the "Netroots fault."  The Netroots can campaign and assist and discuss and organize. The Netroots cannot change what people feel in their gut when starving, looking for work, signing up for food stamps, being evicted, losing a lifetime's savings as home values evaporate.... nor how much worse it feels when the abject criminals take billions in tax dollars, put it into their bonuses and laugh on the way to the party; nor how much worse it feels when financial criminals are not pursued like the scum that they are and made to pay for the damage done to society via their fraud and financial piracy.

    Progress occurs when courageous, skillful leaders seize the opportunity to change things for the better. -- Harry S Truman

    by YucatanMan on Thu Mar 10, 2011 at 05:24:09 PM PST

  •  Obama obsession is merely a crutch (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    CornSyrupAwareness

    President Obama, centrists,Fox News, the Koch's; there is always going to be some boogeyman out to mess things up.

    While we are all learning how to accept blame, I would suggest that we stop with the crutches and begin to convert favorable poll results into progressive votes at the state and federal level.

    "Most people would sooner die than think; in fact, they do so." ...Bertrand Russell

    by sebastianguy99 on Thu Mar 10, 2011 at 06:15:10 PM PST

  •  Congress more than Obama IMO (0+ / 0-)

    I have my share of criticism of Obama, but it was the failure of congresses to move our agenda far enough that really disillusioned people.

  •  I agree completely (0+ / 0-)

    The Democratic party, from the President down to, well probably me, did the worst possible sales job in the history of American politics .  From the day after the 2008 election when the Republican party was supposedly dead and buried until election day 2010 we let a bunch of corrupt, bigoted, children hating, women hating assholes take command of the political narrative and convince the majority of the American people that what was in their best interests was evil and that only by suffering at the hands of the Tea Party led Republican Party could their lives be meaningful.
    I don't know what was worse; watching it happen or what has happened since.  What I do know is that the leadership of the party, including the President, abdicated their responsibility to those of us who will vote in every election and who will always vote Democratic.  How they allowed the Republican attacks on the stimulus bill and the health care bill to have the impact that they did is absolutely disgraceful.  The effort to push back was all but non-existent and totally ineffectual.
    We can hope that Sarah Palin is blazing the path to oblivion for her like-minded party.

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