Reading the front pagers and the rec list is at best a mixed pleasure for me. However, the last two days have seen absurdity cranked up to a new level. So in honor of the original pledge of this site to elect more and better democrats I would like to point out some IMHO downright trivial, but obviously not well known points.
The first obvious observation to make is that those considered The Professional Left are way to much concerned with giving grades to Obama, wanting his love, carping about being looked down upon by him, finding ways in which the evils of this earth can be pinned on Obama, etc. In other words, they are way too much focused on a person (Obama) for being able to achieve the progress they wish to have.
Just to put names here, the professional left would include Hamsher, Greenwald, Uygur, Olbermann, among others. I have sometimes seen Jon Stewart and Rahel Maddow included in the list, but I do not think they fit. Stewart makes fun of everybody, and Rahel is able to recognize wrong assumptions and publicly correct them, not to mention lookig at the big picture. That pretty much excludes her from the definition of PL.
The professional left likes to yell (sorry that is how it appears to me) about how Obama has thrown xx under the bus, how Obama has betrayed yy, etc. Since they are usually intelligentsia, they are good at finding what I consider secondary rationalizations for what they are doing. I would urge them to stop, take a step back, and see what they achieve with their unhealthy obsession on Obama and their urge to pile on him. Not because I think they are unfair (which I do think, but this is besides the point I am trying to make), but because of the effect they are having.
In the best of cases the professional left is relatively powerless outside blogistan and cannot do much damage therefore. Sometimes the PL gloatingly mentions that, when called out by the pragmatic progressives. It seems a sorry justification to me, though. In the worst case the PL has some influence. So what would the influence be:
1. Depress voter turnout by increasing frustration
Pl counter argument: Obamas policies depress turnout already.
pragmatic left response:
Assume that is true, how does your actions do anything but aggravate the problem?
2. Help the MSM pushing the false equivalency meme
Pl counter argument: Obamas policies are same/worse than Bush.
pragmatic left response:
Roll eyes in unbelief. Then post links to achievement lists.
3. Damage peoples ability to see and correctly interprete shades-of-grey
with their fixation on black and white. Thereby dumbing down the populace.
PL counter argument:
What do you mean, shades of grey? This is a black and white issue.
Pragmatic left: You always look for the lesser evil. If the lesser evil turns out be
good on an absolute scale, it is an added bonus. You always look to broaden
your coalition, because it makes you more effective. In a democracy and without
lots of money you need to have a broad coalition to win.
The pragmatic left knows what they want, and who are the potential coalition partners out there who could help achieving their aims. They know the difference between good, mediocre, somewhat bad and really awful, and they are able not to blab out their first thought, if it plays into the hands of the really awful guys.
A good example of the pragmatic left is Al Giordano, who has called out the professional left (then also known as chicken littles) repeatedly. He is a successful organizer and he knows what he is talking about, when he explains the difference between an activist and an organizer. Another one is booman, who usually can be counted on to give good analysis.
That is why the pragmatic left has been successful and the professional left will never be. Sometimes I feel the PL likes it that way. Being really pure and righteous against the archevil (hint this would be the person starting a war of aggression which cost about one million human beings [admittedly no US citizens] lives) probably felt better to them than the current shades-of-grey situation. Now they compensate by throwing around the most implausible assumptions in a hope to shore up their 'theories'. I will not disprove these assumptions (Obama naive, stupid, etc) because this diary is not about the President. Anybody interested can check out his CV, which is public knowledge.
11:29 AM PT: Update:
I realize from the fight in the diary that I was not clear enough. I use the label 'professional left' to describe a certain way of thinking which I consider problematic. I wanted to discuss this way of thinking and used the handy label 'professional left' to designate it. I could care less about what the actual word is to describe the thinking. I do worry that the thinking itself is counterproductive to left aims.