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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.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Tip Jar (6+ / 0-)

    He who can make you believe absurdities, can make you commit atrocities.

    by Sophie Amrain on Fri Aug 05, 2011 at 09:54:46 AM PDT

    •  A clarification: this diary is meant for the PL, (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      psilocynic, bubbanomics, lordcopper

      not for the Obama supporters, with whom I have no beef at all. I just think that as a supporter one gets drawn into these fights defending the President against rather unreasonable complaints. But this game can go on endlessly and our request to support the President and the Dems does not rely on Obamas qualities - it only requires that he is better than the R alternative. That alone is enough for a clear-headed person to chose him over the Rs.

      And sitting on the side-lines means rewarding the stronger team. So if that would turn out to be the Rs, it would mean supporting the Republicans. Which IMHO is a despicable thing to do and unethical for any progressive, liberal or left person.

      He who can make you believe absurdities, can make you commit atrocities.

      by Sophie Amrain on Fri Aug 05, 2011 at 10:08:41 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Lesser of two evils is still evil. (4+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        TheUnknown285, waztec, banjolele, PhilK

        or to put it another way, we're still moving toward the same endgame regardless of party.  It depends on if you feel it should be delayed as much as possible or we should just get it over with now so future generations have a chance to rebuild.

        Obama is "a good man" to many democrats like Bush was "a good man" to republicans.

        by The Dead Man on Fri Aug 05, 2011 at 10:30:15 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Self-preservation instinct should give you (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          highacidity

          the answer. Many things can happen on the way to the forum:-)

          we should just get it over with now so future generations have a chance to rebuild.

          What makes you believe there will be a rebuild? The US position of Nr.1 is not a law of nature, you know. Future generations of Americans may live in a second class country, if the current generation allows itself the luxury of not pitching in.

          He who can make you believe absurdities, can make you commit atrocities.

          by Sophie Amrain on Fri Aug 05, 2011 at 11:03:43 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

  •  I always simply thought it meant people who (10+ / 0-)

    got paid to opine from the leftward portion of American political thought.

    then, every AMATEUR who typed two words on this blog that were the least bit critical of the administration decided to jump in front of that arrow, which I found hilarious.

    I've noticed recently an attempt by those same people who claimed the description and owned it (enough to be offended that the pressec called "them" that, anyway) to try and back away from that and use the meaning I took from it in the first place, when the term is used by a supporter.  it's super hypocrticial but it's happening.

    whatever names we're calling each other, I did have a back-and-forth with a prominent critic the other day that brought this to mind:

    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?

    never did get an answer to my assertion that the critic wasnt' helping, and was probably HURTIING Democratic messaging.

    "I'm Black and I'm proud, I'm ready, I'm hype, plus I'm amped/ most of my heroes don't appear on no stamp!" ~Carlton Ridenhour

    by mallyroyal on Fri Aug 05, 2011 at 10:05:10 AM PDT

  •  The professional politicans suck. (17+ / 0-)

    Professional left my ass.  

    The attacks on progrssives by this adminstration show a high degree of political malpracitice.

    People insult progrerssives and then want money and votes.  Dumb.

    The American people must wise up and rise up!

    by TomP on Fri Aug 05, 2011 at 10:06:52 AM PDT

    •  I try to explain in this diary that your type of (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      psilocynic, lordcopper

      reaction is actually somewhat unprofessional. Even if what you say would be true (the admin dumping on you etc) you still have to consider unemotional the options. If Dems are somewhat better than Rs (which I think you would agree too, as I consider you a relatively reasonable voice around here) then you should vote for them, whatever your pique, because it is in your self-interest to do so.

      With respect to money or time it of course matters, where exactly you see the admin relative to the alternative.

      He who can make you believe absurdities, can make you commit atrocities.

      by Sophie Amrain on Fri Aug 05, 2011 at 10:31:43 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  professional driver. closed course. do not attempt (5+ / 0-)

    doncha reckon the vocal majority here comprises more amateurs than professionals?  If not, where's my Soros check?

    "To sing the blues you got to live the dues and carry on" --S. Stills

    by bubbanomics on Fri Aug 05, 2011 at 10:18:53 AM PDT

    •  You need to register with sorosrulestheworld.com (4+ / 0-)

      and use the password "professionalleftagitator"

      Too bad you missed out on last month's bonus and free steak!

      Obama is "a good man" to many democrats like Bush was "a good man" to republicans.

      by The Dead Man on Fri Aug 05, 2011 at 10:27:38 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  There are two understandings of the term (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      bubbanomics, psilocynic

      As Catte Nappe explains upstream:

      I have always related the term to comparable long standing tems of someone being a "professional victim" or "professional complainer", etc. Not that the person is paid, but that they have taken on as a major function of their life to appear victimized, or to complain, (or to be "left") in all things.

      He who can make you believe absurdities, can make you commit atrocities.

      by Sophie Amrain on Fri Aug 05, 2011 at 10:33:12 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  indeed. (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Actbriniel, Sophie Amrain

        however, inferring blog activity as a "major function of their life" is risky.  Some folks, you can tell they're on here all day.  Others offer a daily dose of ... well... shall we say writing... and go on with their lives.  

        Also, professional victim does have a second meaning in terms of earning a living through activities such as insurance fraud.  

        Maybe the appropriate analogy is with certain collegiate and olympic athletes who are not being (directly) paid to conduct their activities.  

        At any rate, I'd be willing to bet that most here view themselves as "left." I'd say the problem has more to do with defining the left than the use of professional.  But that is just me.

        "To sing the blues you got to live the dues and carry on" --S. Stills

        by bubbanomics on Fri Aug 05, 2011 at 10:54:04 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  The coiner of the phrase (14+ / 0-)

    meant it to be derogatory and its use is derogatory.

    As do you. I deny you are pragmatic.

    I am positive the only way to consider Al Giordano pragmatic is to assume that he is a liar about what he really believes. Al has been silent for months now on US politics hasn't he? I do not think that is coincidence.

    •  I also wonder (6+ / 0-)

      if you could explain, in concrete policy terms, "The pragmatic left wants."

      •  Yep I wondered that too. (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Armando, TomP, TheUnknown285

        The pragmatic left wants a process with an outcome.....

        •  Some in the "pragmatic left" here are (5+ / 0-)

          less concerned with particular polices and more concerned with defending Barack Oibama.  Pragmatism is a tool in that defense.  Were Obama to move left, the defense would change.

          The American people must wise up and rise up!

          by TomP on Fri Aug 05, 2011 at 10:35:47 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  I disagree. I don't appreciate the "back seat (0+ / 0-)

            driving" (using 20/20 hindsight) that occurs routinely on this site.  If you want to make policy, then submit yourself for leadership, run for office and win an election.  But hanging around on a blog making derisive comments is not worthy of a great deal of respect.  I would defend any "leader" who puts up with the bullshit of trying to shape the direction of this country, especially when he/she is making the best decision they can under difficult circumstances, and with imperfect information.

            "Because I am a river to my people."

            by lordcopper on Fri Aug 05, 2011 at 01:03:25 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

      •  I think that for example people working on the (0+ / 0-)

        Wisconsin recalls would qualify. You know, having a concrete objective and thinking/organizing/working to achieve that.

        And of course, left people working on the Presidents reelection, also.

        The main point is to have concrete goals and evaluate how to reach them - not giving grades and being finicky on blogs.

        He who can make you believe absurdities, can make you commit atrocities.

        by Sophie Amrain on Fri Aug 05, 2011 at 11:09:59 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  If you would read the link or (0+ / 0-)

      go to the newest entry, you would find out the reason easily. Al Giordano is spending his time organizing and he considers it a waste of time to give grades to the President. In particular he considers it a waste of time to engage in online activism. And as far as I recall old posts he thinks that organizing became much easier under this admin.

      He who can make you believe absurdities, can make you commit atrocities.

      by Sophie Amrain on Fri Aug 05, 2011 at 10:37:05 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Al Giordano (0+ / 0-)

        believes it is a waste of time to engage in online activism.

        He's probably right.

        Making all the wailing about the Professional Left ridiculous.
        Frankly, I find that to be a convenient retreat by Al to be honest.

        Funny he never thought that before.

        •  He has steadily had this position. Read the link. (0+ / 0-)

          He who can make you believe absurdities, can make you commit atrocities.

          by Sophie Amrain on Fri Aug 05, 2011 at 11:10:58 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Nah (0+ / 0-)

            Not at all from 2004 to 2009.

            I know Al online since 2004. Al was an online friend of mine. You're no Al Giordano.

            •  Show me where I claimed to be him. That would (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              lordcopper

              be preposterous indeed. That is what he said:

              I am not an activist.

              I don't believe in activism.

              I think activism, as it is generally practiced in the United States, is more often than not a cop out and an excuse by some to avoid doing the heavy lifting of organizing.

              What is the difference, you might ask, between activism and organizing?

              To me, it's this:

              Activism is the practice of preaching to the choir, rallying the already converted, and trying to convince other "activists" to do your work for you (say, call your Congressman, or write your Senator for or against a piece of legislation). Activists like to make declaratory "statements," hold "meetings," invite other activists (usually fairly hegemonic of the same socio-economic demographics as them), engage in group "process," make "decisions," veto (or attempt to do so) others from taking initiative outside of the groupthink that too often happens in activist projects, declare "party lines," enforce them, and claim that one is part of a "movement" even when there is no evidence that one really is.

              Activism seeks media attention through protests and other means, errantly thinking it will draw others to its cause by doing so. This dominant tendency in "activism" becomes a circular, self-reinforcing, self-marginalizing, chest-thumping, bureaucratic and anally-retentive activity and a big waste of time with little impact on the issues or policies it seeks to change or defend.

              Organizing is something completely different: It is based on attainable and quantifiable goals (be they small, as in, "put a stop sign in the neighborhood," or be they large, as occurred last year: elect an underdog as president of the United States). Here's a simple yardstick by which to measure: If it doesn't involve knocking on doors, making phone calls or otherwise proactively communicating with people demographically different than you, it's not organizing. If it doesn't involve face-to-face building of relationships, teams, chains of command, and, day-by-day, clear goals to measure its progress and effectiveness, it's not organizing. If it happens only on the Internet, that's not organizing either.

              He who can make you believe absurdities, can make you commit atrocities.

              by Sophie Amrain on Fri Aug 05, 2011 at 12:27:46 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

    •  That's what I always thought (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      vacantlook, Jackson L Haveck, 2laneIA

      and I concur with the person who related it to professional victim and professional complainer, if it is tossed as a pejorative, then it's a pejorative.

      I don't understand the viewpoint of please be quiet or things will get even worse because you're not helping. A lot of the things people are the most passionate and unquiet about have to do with matters of actual life and death - war, torture, healthcare, etc. While we inch ahead pragmatically, who knows how many lives are lost or how many lives could have been saved? Those lives are worth volume and the sacrificing of politeness. Their lives are worth being repetitive and loud and demanding and unyielding.

      The same with the safety nets - if people think those aren't worth yelling about, then they live in a very rarefied atmosphere. Thousands of Americans live day to day ONLY because they are sustained and helped by Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security. I can't believe anyone can be blase about taking funding from them while we give billions to Wall Street.

      My personal definition of "professional left" is those who have made social justice their life's work - I would say Ghandi, Martin Luther King, Eugen v. Debs, FDR, LBJ, etc. could be counted among the Professional Left as well as unknown and unnamed luminaries who work every day in the cities in towns we live in to make someone's life a little bit better.

      What I find frustrating about the pragmatic left is their insistence on taking baby steps when the trail has already been blazed! We  created Medicare and enrolled 20 million people it's first year! Our ACA is dormant for five f-ing years before it gets up and running. Because of bean counters while people die! I find that disgusting.

      We always find the money when we want to, especially if it involves us killing people. We would mobilize and go to another war tomorrow if some jacked-up threat was sold to the masses. We could have found the money for healthcare too - we had a system in place all we had to do was enroll more people into it. How easy is that?

      No, the "pragmatic left" preferred using the uniquely horrendous American for-profit system that was in place and then implementing baby steps over five years while 45,000 Americans annually continue to die, because that's pragmatic incremental progress we can believe in!

      I throw my chips in with the Professional left every time, non-apologetically and LOUDLY.

      •  You fail to grasp (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        lordcopper

        that activist shrieking is not going to get what you wish (and more or less what we all wish).

        I was not asking for politeness, I was asking for efficience. And that is not measured by the sound volume.

        There is an interesting diary up about Alan Grayson, which makes a similar point. Alan Grayson was very vocal. He was unashamedly progressive. And he lost. So he has no chance now in furthering the ideas dear to him (and to us). That is the point.

        He who can make you believe absurdities, can make you commit atrocities.

        by Sophie Amrain on Fri Aug 05, 2011 at 11:15:29 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  sometimes... (0+ / 0-)
          that activist shrieking is not going to get what you wish (and more or less what we all wish).

          admittedly, the tea party was funded by koch et al and organized by fox news, but they pretty much got what they wanted in the 2010 elections, no?

        •  I've lost the entire point and purpose of this (0+ / 0-)

          diary and am sorry I responded at all.

          The title was specifically about semantics and terminology which I am always a sucker for, but it's veered off into some kind of "A loud Progressive lost - so there!" territory.

          How would you factor in the far greater losses of the Pragmatic Blue Dogs to your Loud Progressives Lose theory?

          You don't have to bother explaining- I wouldn't have anything further to add if you did.

      •  Excellent comment. nt (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        lordcopper
  •  Do you want whipped cream... (4+ / 0-)

    ...on your pie?

  •  I definitely think it's time for DK to reevaluate (9+ / 0-)

    redefine and or reemphasize it's mission.  Nothing is getting accomplished.

    S.A.W. 2011 STOP ALL WARS "The Global War on Terror is a fabrication to justify imperialism."

    by BigAlinWashSt on Fri Aug 05, 2011 at 10:26:14 AM PDT

    •  Hasn't Been Since the Beatles. It's Not a New (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      BigAlinWashSt, Armando, TomP, PhilK

      situation, no matter how many people are still being surprised by it.

      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 Fri Aug 05, 2011 at 10:32:14 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  I agree. Better Dems seems to be (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      BigAlinWashSt, TheUnknown285

      a forever thing.  It seems there just will never be enough but we can play the game forever as depression deepens.

      I haver not given up on it (to do so means walking away and supporting a 3 party on none at all) but the results have not been there so far.

      I think Kos and others need to reevaluate their strategy.

      The American people must wise up and rise up!

      by TomP on Fri Aug 05, 2011 at 10:41:05 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Yep. I don't have a problem if they want to (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        TomP

        refocus on electoral politics and building up the democratic party.  Sometimes I feel out of place with my ramblings about the oligarchy and the MIC and wars, etc.  If it's decided that's not best for the site, I can appreciate that.  But right now it's all over the place with no real focus.  But as Goose said, maybe that's just the way it is.

        S.A.W. 2011 STOP ALL WARS "The Global War on Terror is a fabrication to justify imperialism."

        by BigAlinWashSt on Fri Aug 05, 2011 at 10:46:11 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  I'd like very much to see more shades of grey. (5+ / 0-)

    This ain't doing that.

    Nothing pragmatic about it.

  •  Isn't this talking point over a year old? (6+ / 0-)

    Shouldn't the new models be out by now?

    •  People still teach the alphabet, even though it is (0+ / 0-)

      3000 years old:-)

      I can see from the discussion here that many people do not get the point. Therefore it bears repeating IMHO.

      He who can make you believe absurdities, can make you commit atrocities.

      by Sophie Amrain on Fri Aug 05, 2011 at 11:17:07 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Worst Defeat in a Century. If The PL is That (7+ / 0-)

    powerful they effing need to be obeyed, not even merely courted.

    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 Fri Aug 05, 2011 at 10:31:30 AM PDT

  •  "professional left" = "paid left" (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    esquimaux, neroden

    that's the bottom line.
    "amateur left" isn't paid and therefore, not professional.
    pretty standard definition across mediums.

    "From single strands of light we build our webs." ~kj

    by kj in missouri on Fri Aug 05, 2011 at 10:34:44 AM PDT

    •  As Catte Nappe explained upstream there is (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      kj in missouri, lordcopper

      another understanding:

      I have always related the term to comparable long standing tems of someone being a "professional victim" or "professional complainer", etc. Not that the person is paid, but that they have taken on as a major function of their life to appear victimized, or to complain, (or to be "left") in all things.

      He who can make you believe absurdities, can make you commit atrocities.

      by Sophie Amrain on Fri Aug 05, 2011 at 11:20:11 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  "professional left" (8+ / 0-)

    The term, and the scorn directed at it strike me as profoundly anti-expertise and illiberal.  If professional lefites are people who are paid to analyze politics and policy and offer expert opinions on them, I say "good" and I'm inclined to listen to them as people who have more time to study this stuff than I do.

    The inclination of Obama defenders to toss out anything Krugman says because he's supposedly just a bitter PUMA is really disturbing.  Ditto Greenwald, who has been remarkably consistent in his strains of criticism from Bush to Obama.  The dude actually cares about civil liberties stuff, and Obama just isn't meeting the grade,  so Greenwald points this out, and suddenly he's some implacable foe of Obama.  

    It's fucking bullshit and makes the whole Obama defence league look like such a cult.  That so much of the "defence" of Obama is focused on ad hominems towards Obama's most vocal liberal critics tells me the critics are right, because the defenders are left attacking them personally rather than rebutting the specific criticisms.

    •  If A then B but if not A then not B :-) (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      lordcopper
      If professional lefites are people who are paid to analyze politics and policy and offer expert opinions on them, I say "good"

      The fact of them getting money (Greenwald from paying hmself handily from his own PAC, same as Jane Hamsher) does not guarantee an expert opinion. In this way you could prove the truth of O'Reilly's idiocies.

      It so happens, that Deaniac for example has more thorough analysis of health care reform and debt ceiling deal than those you mentioned, booman also generally understands politics better than them.

      I agree that being a bitter PUMA does not per se invalidate their arguments. One should always look at the argument on its own merit. I also would agree that this is not always done by Obama supporters, although certainly by those names I mentioned as pragmatic left.

      He who can make you believe absurdities, can make you commit atrocities.

      by Sophie Amrain on Fri Aug 05, 2011 at 11:26:19 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  this (0+ / 0-)

        Is the further extension of bullshit ad hominems.  Greenwald pays himself out of the PAC, and so?  So his opinions are bullshit?  Obama makes money from his books, do you think he's full of shit too?  

        I highly doubt Deaniac or Booman has a better analysis of the debt ceiling deal than Paul Krugman.  I like both those people, but let's be serious here.  As for the politics, I highly doubt that too.  The Obama critics saw 2010 coming for quite some time.  Obama's defenders did not.  That whole "being right about big things" is kind of important.  Greenwald doesn't do much politics per se, but the point about him is that he knows civil liberties stuff and has consistent positions on these things that don't change based on what partisan flavour of president is in the Oval office.

        •  You may suspect that somebody whose income (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          lordcopper

          depends on keeping people perpetually outraged - might have some not completely genuine desire to stoke the flames of outrage.

          As you can see, the argument does not apply to Obamas books, because he is not out marketing them as far as I can tell.

          He who can make you believe absurdities, can make you commit atrocities.

          by Sophie Amrain on Fri Aug 05, 2011 at 12:31:42 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

  •  Labels... bring 'em on (6+ / 0-)

    Refer to me as whatever you wish if you feel the call to pigeonhole and categorize. Uber-left, Professional Left, Socialist, whatever.

    Within our ostensibly two party system we have and, I would strenuously argue, we need those in the 2nd standard deviation on either side.

    Progressives may well indeed be more idealistic and less pragmatic than the majority of Democrats.

    I have no problem with being labeled as extreme or compared (on a relative scale of influence) with the Tea Party. It only helps illustrate the stark differences between the core concepts of Right and Left.

    From my perspective, pragmatism is an ugly concept.

    "If we want to reduce our dependence on fossil fuels, we need to reduce the number of our senators dependent on fossil fuel contributions." - Rodney Glassman

    by Darryl House on Fri Aug 05, 2011 at 10:48:05 AM PDT

    •  Good and Honest Analysis (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Darryl House, lordcopper

      You should get extra credit for mentioning standard deviations.

      What you describe is what I would call an R&D position, which is a role in taking on the challenge of bringing forth innovative thinking, which is proposed for adoption by the central portion of the normal curve, between the standard deviations.

      This means accepting a role that means never being able to attain a majority status.  

      The pragmatists are focused on winning elections.  

      In the end, the system moves forward as the pragmatists eventually see the proof of what the early adopters and the innovators have brought forth.  

      It is, however, slower than many would like because the rate at which the entire political system moves was set fifty to a hundred years back in the past.    

      hope that the idiots who have no constructive and creative solutions but only look to tear down will not win the day.

      by Stuart Heady on Fri Aug 05, 2011 at 11:26:46 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  You do not like to see your ideas succeeding then? (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      lordcopper

      He who can make you believe absurdities, can make you commit atrocities.

      by Sophie Amrain on Fri Aug 05, 2011 at 11:27:10 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Calling Voters "Chicken Littles" = High Turnout! (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    SpecialKinFlag, PhilK, esquimaux
    A good example of the pragmatic left is Al Giordano, who has called out the professional left (then also known as chicken littles) repeatedly.

    So either you and who you champion are part of the "Professional Left" as you define in your diary for decreasing voter turnout or you think calling voters derogatory names is a winning electoral strategy to increase voter turnout.

    •  'Professional left' on these blogs are not just (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      lordcopper

      voters. For every person commenting there are about one hundred reading. Which means there is a possible multiplicator effect here. Which is why I ask the absolutists around here to re-consider. They are doing harm to the cause.

      I try to explain here, why and how it is a harm to the cause.

      He who can make you believe absurdities, can make you commit atrocities.

      by Sophie Amrain on Fri Aug 05, 2011 at 11:35:15 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Derogatory Voter Names Have Multiplier FX (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        esquimaux

        So you're part of the "Professional Left" with your encouraging derogatory names of voters and in doing so, you're having a negative turnout multiplier. Perhaps you should consider changing you absolutist professional left ways in order to not further damage voter turnout.

        •  Schoolyard tactics. (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          lordcopper

          I try to point out that it is preferable to not develop an unhealthy fixation on the President, but calmly consider the options and then decide support. That should, if anything, promote turnout if I can get somebody to re-consider.

          Why do the professional leftists always want to be coddled? Can't you do something out of self interest, and not because somebody is enticing you?

          He who can make you believe absurdities, can make you commit atrocities.

          by Sophie Amrain on Fri Aug 05, 2011 at 12:35:11 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

  •  "Unhealthy obsession with Obama" (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    PhilK, neroden

    Ok, I'll make a deal.  If he stops being president, we'll stop "obsessing with" him.

  •  All you had to write was (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    PhilK, esquimaux

    "STFU, get in line, and stand up straight," and you could have saved a lot of typing.

    •  This may be your way of thinking, certainly isn't (0+ / 0-)

      mine. You may not have noticed, but I tried to give arguments here. If you see any difference between the parties then you should vote for the better one and support the better one, however incrementally better they may appear to you.

      Even if Obama would only manage to reduce unemployment by a lousy tenth of a percentage point that would mean massive improvement for 200 000 people.

      It is unethical to pass up such 'little' changes because ones purity is offended by sausage-making.

      He who can make you believe absurdities, can make you commit atrocities.

      by Sophie Amrain on Fri Aug 05, 2011 at 04:29:07 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  A Media Culture Phenomenon (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    jarbyus, Sophie Amrain

    One of the consistent observations that seems to be as obvious as the side of a barn, but which tends to get ignored is that there is an aspect to media which is inherent in its structure.

    Anyone who has ever tried to write and to get published by submitting content anywhere has begun to feel the pull.

    You cannot succeed as a figure with something to say in the media for a day or as a career pundit without recognizing the need to be quick and sharp and to the point in a way that is at least a little sensational.  It's the PT Barnum effect.

    People who might be more intellectually clean of the need to be emphatic and thus are not too entertaining don't get selected.

    Thus, all those who get in there have a talent for being emphatic and a little more pointed than they might be if they were not aspiring to succeed in that environment.  

    This tends to heighten the drama all throughout the culture and this yet another factor in boloxing things up.  

    hope that the idiots who have no constructive and creative solutions but only look to tear down will not win the day.

    by Stuart Heady on Fri Aug 05, 2011 at 11:38:46 AM PDT

  •  For me it's simple. . . (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    PhilK

    . . .No results, no support.  The threat from Obama supporters that we will ruin things if we do not support him leave me cold.  The only tool I have to influence the president's behavior is my vote.  If I cannot withhold my vote, I am powerless.

    Obama has not, succeeded in obtaining the results that I hoped to see when I voted for him in November 2008.  I do not plan to vote for him at this time.  But, it does not matter, anyway.  He will probably be sunk by the horrible unemployment rate, which will not improve enough by the time it counts.

    I am a liberal. So, I should not expect any consideration from the guy I helped elect.

    by waztec on Fri Aug 05, 2011 at 12:00:19 PM PDT

    •  The question is always only about who is (0+ / 0-)

      the better choice of the available choices. You seem to be under the misconception that you reward a politician with your vote. But voting has nothing to do with rewarding. Voting is done to (incrementally) influence the way the place is run. If you see any difference between the parties then you should vote for the better one, however incrementally better they may appear to you.

      If you do not see a difference then I recommend an optician or reading the link in my point 2 in the diary.

      He who can make you believe absurdities, can make you commit atrocities.

      by Sophie Amrain on Fri Aug 05, 2011 at 04:19:20 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  No, No (0+ / 0-)

        My vote is not a reward.  It is an affirmation that I support their policies. Obama has lost my vote.  He does not pursue the issues I advocate with sufficient frequency or intensity.  I have the right to withhold my vote if all the candidates are not acceptable to me.  And that I shall do.  Choosing the lesser evil is a fools choice.  Frankly, with Obama, I see little difference between him and the Republicans.

        I am a liberal. So, I should not expect any consideration from the guy I helped elect.

        by waztec on Fri Aug 05, 2011 at 07:18:46 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  Professional Left is a perjorative (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    jarbyus, esquimaux

    and you know it.  Robert Gibbs invented the term and he did not mean it kindly.    

    It wasn't the "pragmatists" who got LBJ to retire and Nixon to get out of Vietnam, or who got the Voting Rights Act passed.  The "shut up and let the grownups handle this" approach is not one that Democrats should embrace just because the President has a D next to his name on the ballot.

    •  I made an update to explain that I am concerned (0+ / 0-)

      about the mentality usually designated with that term. I do not care about the words one way or another.

      The pragmatic President Lincoln got slavery abolished in steps. The pragmatic President Obama got healthcare reform, in steps. Alan Grayson lost, on the other hand.

      "shut up and let the grownups handle this" approach

      Reading comprehension problem. I never said that. I implore those with your position to consider their enlightened self-interest and to do what is necessary to further it. Sometimes that may include shutting up:-)

      He who can make you believe absurdities, can make you commit atrocities.

      by Sophie Amrain on Fri Aug 05, 2011 at 12:39:22 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I have no trouble comnprehending (0+ / 0-)

        the gist of your diary, which is insulting, regardless of your intentions.  If you don't want me to take your next condescending effort in the same vein, try using different vocabulary, or maybe even different thinking.

        For example, I do not think that President Obama is pragmatic at all, for reasons that Laurence Lewis explains eloquently in this diary.  The trope that he is pragmatic and I'm not, and that there is something wrong with my "mentality" because I think that, is not one I agree with.  

        He is in danger of losing his chance at reelection at this point, and no amount of excuse-making is going to help him.  Changing course and acting like a Democrat would help him.  Taking on the Republicans could help him.  Making people believe he is on their side instead of on the side of Wall Street and the elites who want to cut entitlement programs they have paid into all our lives, would help him.  

        I don't expect him to do any of that.  His inclusion of patent reform and trade deals in his "new" new pivot to jobs is beyond my comprehension as a strategy, except as a sop to the Chamber of Commerce.  

        His advisers look frazzled and exhausted, and they are not giving him good advice as far as I can see.

  •  When you label, (0+ / 0-)

    and by labeling narrow a discussion, you include error by the very nature of what you are doing.

    "Professional left" is a pretty useless category.

    I am still learning, but the teachers often suck.

    by trumpeter on Fri Aug 05, 2011 at 01:41:03 PM PDT

    •  So what about my point that people focus too (0+ / 0-)

      much on the President? That one has to look for the better of two available choices, not for the conceivable best choice?

      He who can make you believe absurdities, can make you commit atrocities.

      by Sophie Amrain on Fri Aug 05, 2011 at 04:13:31 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  A derogatory term. Diary HRed. (0+ / 0-)

    Read pp. 1-7 of Krugman's _The Great Unraveling_ (available from Google Books). NOW.

    by neroden on Fri Aug 05, 2011 at 03:46:47 PM PDT

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