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Obama is an easy target.  And that's the problem.  Folks aren't thinking through why they're bashing him, to what end.  They're just bashing him because he's there to represent all the compromise and the failure we don't like about the last few years.  He does not, though, represent the sum totality of the problem.  He doesn't even represent a key problem whose removal would get us what we want.

We are the problem.  Or rather, we have been the problem, over the last few decades.

Oh, am I saying this to defend Obama?  No, Obama's caved to his share of pressure.  But much of that pressure comes from the fact that over thirty years, we've helped shape a Congress that doesn't work for our interests, or for our politics, but instead merely moderates the other side's politics and pursuit of interests.  We have a Congress that is essentially a braking system for Republicans, rather than an Acceleration System for Democrats.

We helped shaped it that way, when it seems the politics of the rest of the country demanded it.  We shaped it by who we voted for, and who we did not, by the fact that many of us simply dropped out of the political process, and even now find it hard to muster the enthusiasm to be motivated to be part of our party.

In short, we've gotten used to being losers.  Whether we're folks who find it necessary to apologize for politicians who disappoint, or folks who decide there's nothing worth supporting, and drop out of things, we've gotten used to getting the short end of the stick, and the mentality shows.

For me the decision is plain.  I've decided not to depend upon current conditions for encouragement.  I've decided that what I want for America's future is what will motivate me to do what has to be done.  No mediocre politician, no bitter compromises, no election defeat will convince me to give up on that future.

It's time to stop fighting the rearguard action we've been fighting for the last few decades.  Those battles are lost, and past, and the consequences of those defeats will continue.  But if we fail to muster the motivation to fight back, it won't stop, it will only get worse.

So much of what people say is soaked in cynicism and pessimism, and not without reason.  But what will the cynicism and pessimism gain us?  Will it solve a damn thing, or will it act as a salve on our conscience for deciding not to fight anymore, or simply become impotent critics, sitting on the sidelines, only rising to our feet for the sure things?

When it comes down to it, we have to make the decision to fight, to resist, to bring to mind that single object of our efforts, which is bringing this country back to sane policy and responsible governance.  Power will put up a fight, no matter what we do, and if we take resistance and setbacks from these people to heart, we'll never do any better.

If we decide, if the people we reach out to decide to push back, to insist on what they want, they cannot win.  They win at the sufferance of the people.

We can't motivate people on the politicians we have alone.  Those are the products of years of defeats and setbacks, of party policies that had us, as I said earlier, as a brake on the Republicans.  No, we have to get people looking past the politicians to our ideals, and taking those to heart.  That is what we have to sell.  If we sell that, then the public will naturally select for those who do better for us, those who pass progressive policy.

It's not a question of passively waiting for it, either.  No, we must organize, organize the politics, organize to bring forth the candidates who won't be the product of a legacy of defeat, but instead of a new spirit of success.

I've spent half my life a Democrat, and nearly all of it watching the Republicans deconstruct the protections and rights of our people.  I have seen the cynicism and pessimism grow, but have never seen that malcontent help a soul.  In fact, it's just resigned our nation to things getting worse, weakening our resistance to the elitist Republican leadership's efforts to undo the culture that supported better government.

It's time to insist on better.  It's time to stop learning helplessness, and start learning how to get our way and wrest power from the Republicans.  it's time to stop waiting for the public to come to its senses, and time to start actively persuading and campaigning to do so.  It's time to stop waiting for somebody to come along and rescue us from mediocrity in our party, and start being our own salvation, our own redemption.

After all, we let the party become what it became.  Having the power to let our party decline, we have the power to revive it, to end the self-destructive behavior of a party of people who expect to lose.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Tip: The beginning is always the worst time... (31+ / 0-)

    ...for a political movement, when the most resistance is in the way, when the most disappointments will be had as you first try to change things.

    But if you fight your way through, you can make a difference, and never let anybody tell you otherwise.  That's your power, your strength as an American liberal.

    Simple question: In the years since Republicans successfully urged the disempowering of workers and unions in the Midwest, what has happened to those states economies?

    by Stephen Daugherty on Wed Mar 30, 2011 at 05:05:03 PM PDT

    •  Not wishing to jump your tip jar (6+ / 0-)

      But if you look downthread at the way a load of backslapping neophytes have hijacked your diary, and made it all YOUR fault, and tried to exculpate themselves with vacuous quips, all one can say is...

      QED

      Don't be discouraged. It's just that time of night when they come out to play.

      "It is only for the sake of those without hope that hope is given to us." Walter Benjamin

      by Brit on Wed Mar 30, 2011 at 07:01:33 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  It's far more interesting... (9+ / 0-)

    to believe in sinister plots by the Bavarian Illuminati and believe that if only Dennis Kucinich could somehow only get elected (after he's done wrestling with olive pits) the world would be safe for democracy and we'd all live happily ever after.

    Now that Barack Obama has gone over to the Dark Side, there really is nothing else left to do but resign ourselves to our cruel fate.

  •  And by "we" I assume you (8+ / 0-)

    place equal blame on we peons who largely populate this website and the multibillionaires who have taken over the media and are shoving propaganda down our throats 24/7?

  •  Thanks (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    notrouble, jan4insight, ParkRanger

    We are each (individually) responsible - at some level. If we don't figure out how to save ourselves, the plutocrats will destroy us all - while we are bashing the officeholders of the day.

  •  I just want everyone here to know that (4+ / 0-)

    I am surrounded by Cheetos, dry roasted peanuts, and Premium Orchard pumpkin seeds.

    And ya know what? It wasn't even intentional.

    No matter how cynical you become, it's never enough to keep up. -- Lily Tomlin

    by Colorado is the Shiznit on Wed Mar 30, 2011 at 05:31:58 PM PDT

  •  Yes, I have my share of responsibility (4+ / 0-)

    as one of the members of the Democratic Party.

    According to wikipedia, there were 72 million registered Democrats in 2004, the first year I voted in an election, so I will assume 1/72,000,000th of the responsibility for what has happened in the party since then.

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

    by James Allen on Wed Mar 30, 2011 at 05:33:23 PM PDT

  •  Leaders and representatives... (7+ / 0-)

    share a disproportionate share of responsibility, by design and in fact, for the state of the Democratic Party.

    To think otherwise is far fetched.

    •  Okay., (0+ / 0-)

      Who put them in place?

      This is a cultural problem, not just an Obama problem.  When he goes away, our problem doesn't leave with him.  The cultural problem will reinforce whatever you see as wrong with Obama in the next leader, and the next, until the culture changes.

      Simple question: In the years since Republicans successfully urged the disempowering of workers and unions in the Midwest, what has happened to those states economies?

      by Stephen Daugherty on Thu Mar 31, 2011 at 05:10:19 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Do the people decide who runs for office... (0+ / 0-)

        or are we just afforded a stamp of approval on election day.

        I understand your point, but we are so far removed that all we are good for is to be manipulated.

        We have problems as a people, but the leaders are the ones that own the shovels dig the holes.

        •  You're stating much as facts... (0+ / 0-)

          ...That are better regarded as opinions.

          We are as removed as we care to be, and no more.  You must believe that there is something about this Democracy they cannot take from you, that they shall not pry from your fingers.

          We can complain about political realities, or we can yield the balance of our effort to helping reform it.

          Simple question: In the years since Republicans successfully urged the disempowering of workers and unions in the Midwest, what has happened to those states economies?

          by Stephen Daugherty on Thu Mar 31, 2011 at 09:28:33 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

  •  We are the problem? (4+ / 0-)

    Great campaign slogan.

    “If we let people see that kind of thing, there would never again be any war.” ~ Pentagon official explaining why the U.S. military censored graphic footage from the Gulf War

    by SpecialKinFlag on Wed Mar 30, 2011 at 05:53:31 PM PDT

    •  Maybe not the best (4+ / 0-)

      how about "Vote Democratic - 37% Less Evil than The GOP"

    •  You could set that (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      SpecialKinFlag

      to some Queen music and play it at rallies.

      We are the problem? (4+ / 0-)

      Great campaign slogan.


      •  It's not a campaign slogan. (0+ / 0-)

        It's the truth.

        But it's not just us now.  We're dealing with thirty or forty years worth of the people we elected.  That's my point, if you weren't so quick to think I was just blaming everybody for not being a good Democrat.

        Until they change, we don't get much better than we got after 2008.

        Simple question: In the years since Republicans successfully urged the disempowering of workers and unions in the Midwest, what has happened to those states economies?

        by Stephen Daugherty on Thu Mar 31, 2011 at 05:12:19 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  It's not a campaign slogan. (0+ / 0-)

      I've presented plenty of them.  There's plenty of rhetoric an propaganda we can through at folks outside the party.

      But we have to face facts: we elected the folks who were the majority in the House, and are the majority in the Senate.  We elected the Evan Bayhs and the Baucuses, the Liebermans and the Nelsons.

      If we simply blame Obama alone for this, we neglect the fact that he, or any other Democrat who becomes President, will have to deal with them.

      We will also neglect the stark reality that until we get people elected who agree with us, or at the very least keep those who strongly oppose us in the GOP out of power, our policy goals aren't going anywhere.

      So, I've spoken my peace about what we need to say, the messages we need to project.  This is about the behind the scenes and above the line changes we need to initiate.

      But hey, you can keep praying for miracles, if you want to, the sudden coming to their senses of a bunch of folks who started their political careers as GOP lites, but  really, I think you should consider what I'm asking more seriously.  Obama's a red herring in terms of the compromising of our party's strength.  He's at worst a symptom of the problem, not its originator.  If you want him and others to do better, you got to shake up the system something fierce.

      Otherwise, expect the status quo, even if we win.

      We have to change the culture in Washington to change the outcomes in the wider world.

      Simple question: In the years since Republicans successfully urged the disempowering of workers and unions in the Midwest, what has happened to those states economies?

      by Stephen Daugherty on Thu Mar 31, 2011 at 08:14:29 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  We. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    SpecialKinFlag

    That mouse still in your pocket?

    "Faced with what is right, to leave it undone shows a lack of courage." - Confucius

    by IndieGuy on Wed Mar 30, 2011 at 06:04:09 PM PDT

  •  I think the problem here lies in a (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    IndieGuy, bozepravde15

    misunderstanding of politics.  Real politics comes from organizing in the street.  That's how you push the bourgeois state.  You generate a movement of revolutionary resistance and struggle and force them to try to keep up.  Working to elect the slightly less bought-and-paid for hack with a D next to his name in Alabama is not real politics.  It's a simulation of politics, it's what fills the lack of politics.

    Don't tell me what you do. Tell me whose interests you serve and I'll tell you what you do.

    by GiveNoQuarter on Wed Mar 30, 2011 at 06:05:25 PM PDT

    •  Oh hell (4+ / 0-)

      I am 64 years old and I am sick and tired of Democrats bitching about their leaders.

      Democrats kill their own. They are the problem.

      And in the 60's I was one of the Democrats bitching about LBJ. I really regret that. I think domestically he would have widened the Great Society.

      So I have little hope Democrats learn. They haven't.

      •  But Both Times We Had Rich Dynasty Sons (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        joanneleon

        playing pivotal roles --one Kennedy in LBJ's time, and the other one in Carter's time. However problematic the left was at those times, they didn't have the muscle to threaten the party in the absence of candidates who did.

        But LBJ wouldn't have been able to build on the Great Society with that war going. I haven't seen any evidence that he was envisioning a wind-down soon after we began to fight directly.

        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 Wed Mar 30, 2011 at 06:20:41 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  We're Not to Blame But We Can Be the Solution (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    jan4insight

    Your solution is in line with what the rightwing did to take over the Republican party --organize independently, and create the messages and the issues and the candidates to feed into the party. Howard Dean and Thom Hartmann both advocate this.

    The rightwing has a strong conservative economics movement but we haven't had one for progressive economics. Progressive taxation, financial regs, anti trust regs, some of social safety net were such such obvious common sense that we got much of this from our party leadership generations ago.

    With both parties embracing basic Reaganism the only block that solidly stood behind the past advances of our own party was the left wing. I wouldn't want to guess the proportions but certainly a significant fraction of this community supports rollback of much economic policy to before Reagan --which the party leadership has not for the past 2 Democratic Administrations.

    Now that everyday Americans are being hurt quickly and directly by conservative policies of both parties, it may become possible to build a progressive movement big enough to change the direction of the party.

    But you're right, it won't be by suggestions or demonstrations, it'll have to come largely by replacement.

    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 Wed Mar 30, 2011 at 06:16:57 PM PDT

    •  I'd say work on the problem.. (0+ / 0-)

      ...from all fronts.  Demonstrate, to build a physical presence, to put the politicians on edge, to build popular momentum by the subtle consequences of crowd psychology.  Suggest, and do so over and over again so your voice are heard often, insistently, not just in occasional furtive whispers.

      And then Replace, as you can.  Replace Republicans with Democrats, and Bad Democrats with better.  Make improvements wherever you go.

      Simple question: In the years since Republicans successfully urged the disempowering of workers and unions in the Midwest, what has happened to those states economies?

      by Stephen Daugherty on Thu Mar 31, 2011 at 08:16:50 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  I guess blaming "we" is easier than (5+ / 0-)

    expecting anything out of our elected representatives.

    "I smoke. If this bothers anyone, I suggest you look around at the world in which we live and shut your fuckin' mouth." --- Bill Hicks

    by voroki on Wed Mar 30, 2011 at 06:22:20 PM PDT

  •  So who forced Obama to appoint the (4+ / 0-)

    deficit commission? The filibuster killed it, and he created it by Executive Order.

    It was and still is a stupid idea, done solely by the President, with nobody else to blame.

    "Only vigilance and resistance to this baby dictator, Barack Hussein Obama, can prevent the Khmer Rouge from appearing in this country." Michael Savage

    by bay of arizona on Wed Mar 30, 2011 at 06:30:14 PM PDT

  •  I don't take anything i see on this site seriously (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    flhiii88, FiredUpInCA

    anymore.

    In 2012 when all the teabagging alternatives are laid before our eyes, there will be numerous diaries from the critics telling us to vote and organise.

    Carter was bad until...., Clinton was a "corporate shill" until........., Gore no different than Bush until.........

    The activists on the ground will change the progressive movement not the chicken little on the blogs.

    •  You don't need to worry about the (0+ / 0-)

      people on this site (aka "the Professional Left") -  they're savvy enough to know that they have to turn out and (once again!!) vote for the venerable "lesser of two evils"

      The elusive moderate voter is long gone, however (as the '10 election clearly showed).  I've said it once (and very well may say it again) - when most people are given the choice between a real republican and a fake republican, they will go with the real one 9 times out of 10.

      •  "Lessor of two evils"? Tell me what democrat has (0+ / 0-)

        done or tried to do what these republicans in states like Wisconsin, Michigan etc.? Tell me what Democrat has done that? "Lessor of two evils" my a$%. What  Democrat has done what the republicans are trying to do in Washington, tell me? "The lessor of two evils" my a$%. There is no comparison. I don't like this both sides do it stuff. I think it's an attempt to dilute the nastiness of the republicans.

        •  Some of my sticking points (0+ / 0-)

          with the Democrats - at least at the Federal level - are

          1) Continuing to sell the country out to the top 0.1%

          2) Continuing (and ramping up) George Bush's idiotic GWOT

          3) Continuing (and ramping up) George Bush's moronic education policy

          4) Continuing undiminished this country's long-standing reliance on coal and petroleum as our primary sources of energy

          5) Continuing torture

          6) Doing everything needed to keep us at the top of the internation "surveillence society" rankings.

          If you consider giving 99 weeks instead of 6 months unemployment benefits when your job is outsourced to make up for all of that, well, then I guess we just fundamentally disagree about what is "evil" or not.

  •  "Folks aren't thinking through..." (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    amk for obama

    They can't think. They don't even know what thinking is like.

    They're Americans.

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

    by punditician on Wed Mar 30, 2011 at 06:44:11 PM PDT

    •  Now that's charming! (0+ / 0-)

      Oh, I think you're a complete dumbass, but please agree with me!

      Simple question: In the years since Republicans successfully urged the disempowering of workers and unions in the Midwest, what has happened to those states economies?

      by Stephen Daugherty on Thu Mar 31, 2011 at 08:18:07 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  I like the light a fire under our ass tone (4+ / 0-)

    of your diary. I agree. Some people here want to assert their political sinlessness and point to the Snidely Whiplashes controlling their destiny rather than subdue their ego for a moment and stand shoulder to shoulder with their brothers and sisters and fight. Think of  how the Japanese people are overcoming their disaster.
    Think about the brave citizens of Stalingrad.
    Nobody said it would be easy.
    It takes perseverance.
    And humility.

  •  I blame Obama for not doing his job (0+ / 0-)

    Obama is THE chief law enforcement officer in the country and he has proven to be singularly unsuited to the task. In fact, he is an abject, total failure. He has failed to prosecute torture. He has failed to prosecute the numerous frauds and assorted felonies of our TBTF banks. Jeff Immelt, Timothy Geithner, Larry Summers. Goldman executives galore. Now former JP Morgan employee for chief of staff. These appointment show where Obama's allegiance lies and it isn't with regular people. In Obama's presidency we have a two tiered justice system. One for CEO's and corporations like Angelo Mozillo and one for the rest of us.
    I had such hopes for Obama but he has been a tremendous disappointment. If the Democrats choose to re-nominate Obama, I will just stay home.

    •  He's not a dictator though. If you don't have the (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      jan4insight

      votes and he hasn't, If you have history making filibusters to stop anything you want to do, If you have about 7 blue dogs causing the bills you eventually pass weak, you can get very little done. If Democratic voters have short memories of how the republicans messed everything up and either stay at home or vote for the republicans and effectively weaken the president farther for his second two years, yeah, very little gets done. Dawn straight it's our fault.

      •  No permission required (0+ / 0-)

        Obama doesn't need senate approval to prosecute lawbreakers. He doesn't need Blue dog support or any vote by anyone. As chief law enforcement officer, it is his duty to enforce the laws of the land and he hasn't. This was his choice not to do right - not to do his job. That's what makes me so angry.

  •  Blaming one's car for going to wrong destination (0+ / 0-)

    ...or blaming those who built it.  Call me crazy, but somehow I think the problem is the guy behind the wheel, or those giving him directions (his picked cabinet and advisors.)  Yep, everything requires a car analogy at some point...

    However, I do agree with your call to action:  

    It's time to insist on better.

    And to do that, we need to quit worrying about being Big Tent and bipartisany, and instead focus on doing what is right, rather than putting everything up for compromise.  Believe in what your are doing and the votes will come.  Hey, the GOP does it even though what they actually want to do is often not popular with the public.

    Renewing the Bush tax cuts was the ultimate sell out of a presidency without any scruples.

    by Celtic Pugilist on Wed Mar 30, 2011 at 07:46:55 PM PDT

    •  What I'd say... (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Celtic Pugilist

      ...is that you want to do that big tent thing, but you want to make it an active recruitment of people to your side, rather than a passive failure to discourage a muddled general message.

      Simple question: In the years since Republicans successfully urged the disempowering of workers and unions in the Midwest, what has happened to those states economies?

      by Stephen Daugherty on Thu Mar 31, 2011 at 08:19:47 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Fair enough: attract to tent, not move tent (0+ / 0-)

        I think you get the gist of what I'm saying.  Believe in a set of principles and work toward them rather than sending contradictory messages.

        Renewing the Bush tax cuts was the ultimate sell out of a presidency without any scruples.

        by Celtic Pugilist on Thu Mar 31, 2011 at 07:28:08 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  I don't think we're to blame exactly (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    jan4insight

    For how corrupt the system has become -- I didn't vote for Reagan, for instance, who is the source of many of our problems. But I think that bitching about Obama not fixing everything is lazy and unproductive on our parts.  I keep kicking myself for even looking at this site lately. But I appreciated this thoughtful diary. Refreshing to see some reason amidst the vitriol and useless loser rants.

  •  Great diary. Everytime a republican administration (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    jan4insight

    has messed up, we elect Democrats to straighten it out. Then before the Democrats can straighten it out, we take a fine tooth comb to them and are manipulated into electing republicans in the midterms to weaken the Democratic president. Then elect a republican president after the Democratic president term is up. I think it's done out of fear even for the moderate voters when the republicans play the RACE CARD during their campaigns. We have very short memories and are easily manipulated by the corporate media.

    Remember Howard Dean and how the media got him out of the race? We didn't have to fall for the BS coming from the media. Remember John Kerry, remember Jimmy Carter and how many allowed the media to manipulate you into blaming the bad  economy on him. Ford left a big mess. Reagan left a big mess. Bush 2 left a big mess. But our short memories either kept us at home or too many voted for the republicans. Remember the Reagan Democrats? What bs?

    Then Bill Clinton left a projected surplus and the economy was doing good when he left. Even though they stole the 2000 election, it shouldn't have been close and Gore should have been elected. Each time people elected a republicans even after a Democrat like Clinton, had done a good job.

    With Obama, and we all know we have problems with him, people wanted ideal bills. Something that has never happened in the history of this country, left the Democrats unenthusiastic enough to stay at home or vote to put the republicans back in office again. Short memories of what happened under 8 years of Bush. Short memories of the history making filibusters to stop everything Obama tried to do.The Blue dogs who are responsible for Obama not being able to get the votes to make a bill you liked stronger. Damn straight WE ARE THE PROBLEM.

  •  And Democrats will have short memories about the (0+ / 0-)

    situations in Wisconsin, Ohio, Indiana, Michigan, New Jersey, New Hampshire, Maine, Florida and anyplace else the republicans are showing their a$%$$. When they recall them or turn them out the first chance they get, the democrats will take over and the people will use a fine tooth comb, get pissed off and elect republicans again. Short memories.

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