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What Weinergate has shown me is that we cannot rely on leaders to get our work done for us.

Our general MO has been to elect "more and better Democrats" with the implication that getting them into positions of power will enable them to get our work done for us.  I'm not saying that we shouldn't continue to get people elected.  But I am saying that the strategy of electing "more and better Democrats" has had a disturbingly low ROI.  A great deal of arguing has gone on here on DK about why that is, and who is to blame for the astoundingly poor returns, with a great deal of the debate centering around "It's Obama's fault/It's not Obama's fault," or "The Democrats suck/You must stick with the Democrats or we're stuck with the Republicans." Clearly, though, the most important fact here is that the returns are poor.  We're not getting what we want.  We're not getting even half of what we want. On the rare occasion where we have a progressive champion, or an effective leader, he or she gets targeted by the RW propaganda machine, which at this point includes most of the mainstream media, whether by ideological design, or because they simply gravitate toward sensationalism.

And something like Weinergate happens.

We all know why this happened.  Weiner had been attacking the right uncompromisingly for years, and he got too close to one of their golden boys, Clarence Thomas, and one of their centers of power, the Supreme Court.  He actually had some grounds that could enable him to pressure Thomas into recusing himself from participating in cases regarding healthcare, and the Affordable Health Care Act in particular.

Now, either Weiner, like Clinton before him, did something unbelievably stupid and then compounded that stupidity with a lie, which essentially gave the scandal fifty times more power, or somebody found an excellent way to twist Rep. Weiner's arm for him and produce a "confession."  I tend to believe the former rather than the latter, but I put the latter possibility out there simply because it's hard for me to believe, post-Monica Lewinsky, that any Democrat would be so incredibly stupid as to deliberately and unequivocally lie about sexual misconduct, especially when the misconduct doesn't even involve any nekkidness.  

What this has done is 1)take all the air out of the attempt to hold Thomas accountable, 2)fed Breitbart a big hunk of credibility that he doesn't deserve, based on all the other crap he's done, and 3)reduced Rep. Weiner's credibility just about forever. (Not that it should, since in a sane world this should be a tempest in a teapot, but we don't live in a sane world).

So, in this war, we have lost one of our few remaining champions.

Two things are clear:

First, to elected Democrats:  You need to stop doing stupid things, and especially you need to stop lying about them.  Lies are your enemies' chosen weapon.  Only a fool faces a swordsman with a sword.  If you lie, you will fall.  Of course, it's better if you don't do the stupid things to begin with, but the stupidest thing Weiner did--just like Clinton before him--was to lie.

Second, to us:  IMO, we need to stop being supporters and start being change agents ourselves.  We need to act less often through these Democrats, who are vulnerable,  and we need to spend more time acting ourselves.  We need to spend less time writing diaries lamenting the bad actions or inactions of Democrats or the media and more time using the media to shape the stories we want.  We are still in the mode of thinking that voting, working on campaigns, and getting the truth out is all we need to do, because those are the jobs of good citizens.  But the political world we inhabit eats good citizens and spits them out.  When we try to work through leaders, our leaders either turn their backs on us or are taken down before our eyes.

Being good citizens and waiting for our reward is not working.

Anonymiss/Anonymous may be wrong about Weiner, but they're not wrong about the fight we're in.  We are never going to win if we keep being good citizens and expecting to get representation in return:  whether that's in the halls of Congress or the echo chamber. We must be active, and we must use the media rather than expecting truth from them--and, if necessary, we must make them irrelevant.

Details on exactly what we should do obviously can't be worked out in a completely open, online diary.  IMO, the most important thing now is that we can no longer wait for politicians to lead us, help us, or take action for us.  The longer we try this, the more losses we take, the more powerless we feel:  and this site gets closer and closer to becoming an elegy for all we've lost.

Originally posted to SouthernLiberalinMD on Mon Jun 06, 2011 at 03:09 PM PDT.

Also republished by A Perfect Conversation.

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