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Where are we?

You betcha!

You betcha!

Now that the election is over I thought I would scout out some of my old stomping grounds to see if it was safe for the Kool-aid free to roam Left Blogistan again.  I popped into The Smirking Chimp and was delighted to discover I still have an account there.

Then I saw this in an article by Cenk Uygur (don’t ask me to pronounce it) titled “The Center-Right Myth” and I realized we have a lot of work left to do:

What is it going to take to get through the dunderheads in DC — this is not a center-right country! In the last two elections the Democrats picked up over fifty seats in the House. They also took commanding control of the Senate and have now taken the White House. How much clearer did the American people have to be?

Do you see the logical fallacy in that passage?  I’ll give you a hint:

A) All fish live in water.

B) Dolphins live in water.

C) Dolphins are fish.

Here’s what Chris Cilliza had to say today:

But look more closely, and you see a heavy influx of moderate to conservative members in the incoming freshman Democratic class, particularly in the House.

Democratic gains in the last two elections are more of a referendum on George W. Bush than a triumph of liberal/progressive ideology.  Hillary has always been considered a moderate and Obama ran to her right in the primaries and then ran farther right in the general election.  So far he has given no indication that he will govern any farther left than the center.  Things aren’t looking good for my personal liberal wish list (UHC, LGBT rights, end the war, stop global warming, campaign finance reform, sentencing reform) and I’m even worried about losing some stuff we already have. 

Now I tend to agree with Cenk Uygur that the nation isn’t center-right, but he frames his argument illogically and in partisan terms.  While the GOP is conservative, the Democratic party IS NOT LIBERAL OR PROGRESSIVE.  The leaders of the Democratic party are infected with High Broderism and are corrupt.  They follow what Arthur Silber calls “Digby’s Credo“:

“We’re 2% less shitty than Pure Evil! It’s all we’ve got!”

Riverdaughter gave us a homework assignment:

So, how do we get the unParty to go mainstream?  That’s where the book comes in.  I’m proposing a book club to discuss the concepts presented in The Tipping Point.  As you read it, ask yourself whether you are a connector, maven or salesman.  Think about what it is about PUMA that makes it “sticky”.  Think about structure, organization and size.  Think about the coolness factor.

I’m gonna add something to that:

Think about the message, about what we should stand for.  People are hungry for a new vision of the future, so let’s give them what they want.  Principles before party.

Sunday: Tipping the unParty

Me, before the accident

Me, before the accident

Last summer, just after Obama sold his soul on the FISA bill, Markos Moulitsas shook his tiny fists and wailed:

Like all retreats, this one came with a price. Much of his veneer as a transformational politician has faded. He’s a gifted and inspirational politician, no doubt about that, and he will make a great president. But at the end of the day, he’s a politician, with all the triangulating goodness that’s become a hallmark of our presidential candidates. That has cost him some intensity of support, some bad headlines, a new avenue of attack for Republicans (even though McCain didn’t even bother showing up for the vote), and … renewed energy and sense of purpose for the ridiculous PUMAs. That last one is really fucking annoying.

OooOOooo!  We f&(*ing annoyed him.  Well, I can die now.  I have fulfilled my mission in life.

Or have I?

PUMAs, we’re not done yet.  We came into being during this past election season and now that its over, there’s a bit of a lull.  It’s a perfect time to regroup and determine how to go forward.  We don’t have a lot of time though.  The mid-terms are only 2 years away.  Plus, we’re going to be plunged into an economic crisis the likes of which we, and possibly our parents, have not ever seen before.

But we have already laid the groundwork.  The reason Kos was so annoyed with us is because the concept of PUMA swept through the blogosphere like wildfire.  It was viral.  In a week, seven short days, we went from concept to media appearances from people we didn’t even know about.  Groups started popping up like mushrooms.  Joanniebone started her own little group in Washington,  Janet in South Jersey.  The time was right, the elements were there, the message was clear.  We “tipped”.

The Tipping Point, a book by Malcolm Gladwell, describes the phenomenon of social epidemics.  There are certain elements that need to be in place for a concept or product or message to reach that critical mass where it spills out of the local environment and into the mainstream.  Sometimes this happens in stages.  What annoyed Markos so much was that for the PUMA movement in early June, the tipping point was rapid and widespread.  It was astonishing.  To those of you who have looked on the past election with dismay that you were unable to influence it, give yourself some credit.  David Axelrod had already studied the nature of social epidemics before we got there.  And what he devised took him years and research while it came to us naturally.  His was contrived and was only saved by the incredible criminality and incompetance of George W. Bush.  Ours is organic, well intentioned, inclusive. We made noise.

Right now, we are an endemic.  But do not kid yourself.  There are a lot of potential PUMAs out there.  The Democratic voters who pulled that lever for Obama will give him a much shorter honeymoon than the media will.  He’s going to have to produce and quickly.  And don’t think they are not paying attention to the way women are being treated.  The Obamaphiles who sold every Democratic principle for Obama and who voted for the personality of Obama are a very small fraction of people.  The rest of the Democrats are up for grabs.  And don’t forget the independents and disaffected Republicans.

So, how do we get the unParty to go mainstream?  That’s where the book comes in.  I’m proposing a book club to discuss the concepts presented in The Tipping Point.  As you read it, ask yourself whether you are a connector, maven or salesman.  Think about what it is about PUMA that makes it “sticky”.  Think about structure, organization and size.  Think about the coolness factor.

Then, next Sunday, come back with your ideas and we’ll get this unParty started.

Paula Cole

Supertramp

Hide In Your Shell

Natalie Merchant

Beautiful music for a Sunday morning.

(comments closed)

Late Night: This song does not endorse any organized religion

i heard this song many years ago on an album by Scott Miller and the Commonwealth.  It’s hard to find a good video for it but I found this one of a small venue appearance by Scott.

When I hear this song, I think about the parable of the Pharisee and the Publican.  Are there only a chosen few?  Or is the time come upon us when we have the power to include gay people, women, the poor and the old?

Whether you are a believer or not, you will find redemption in this song and in the support of the community you have helped to create.  May our gay members find triumph over Proposition H8.

Sic Semper Tyrannis

Saturday Late Night Open Thread

wishes

Didja know the Mayan calendar ends in 2012?

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