• Tips gratefully accepted here. Thanks!:

  • Recent Comments

    tdraicer on We want answers from the pols:…
    katiebird on Word Crimes
    Sweet Sue on Word Crimes
    katiebird on Word Crimes
    Sweet Sue on Word Crimes
    katiebird on Word Crimes
    r u reddy on Obamacare subsidy rules overtu…
    quixote on We want answers from the pols:…
    Sweet Sue on Word Crimes
    Propertius on We want answers from the pols:…
    katiebird on Happy Pioneer Day
    riverdaughter on We want answers from the pols:…
    katiebird on We want answers from the pols:…
    riverdaughter on What’s in my Instapaper…
    riverdaughter on Obamacare subsidy rules overtu…
  • Categories


  • Tags

    abortion Add new tag Afghanistan Al Franken Anglachel Atrios bankers Barack Obama big pharma Bill Clinton Chris Christie cocktails Conflucians Say Dailykos debate Democratic Party Democrats Digby DNC Donna Brazile Economy Elizabeth Warren feminism Florida Fox News General Glenn Beck Glenn Greenwald Goldman Sachs health care Health Care Reform Hillary Clinton Howard Dean Joe Biden John Edwards John McCain Jon Corzine Karl Rove Keith Olbermann Matt Taibbi Media medicare Michelle Obama Michigan misogyny Mitt Romney Morning Edition Morning News Links Nancy Pelosi New Jersey news NO WE WON'T Obama Obamacare occupy wall street OccupyWallStreet Open thread Paul Krugman Politics Presidential Election 2008 PUMA racism Republicans Sarah Palin sexism Single Payer snark Social Security Supreme Court Terry Gross Tim Geithner unemployment Wall Street WikiLeaks women
  • Archives

  • History

    July 2014
    S M T W T F S
    « Jun    
     12345
    6789101112
    13141516171819
    20212223242526
    2728293031  
  • RSS Paul Krugman: Conscience of a Liberal

  • The Confluence

    The Confluence

  • RSS Suburban Guerrilla

    • And your bird can sing
      I still remember how excited I was the first time I really heard the intro guitar riff with EQ! (And how my shithead ex-boyfriend made fun of me when I called to tell him about it.) Beatles:
  • RSS Ian Welsh

    • Some actual serious sanctions proposed against Russia by the EU
      Not shabby: EU diplomats will weigh sweeping Russian sanctions on Thursday that include a proposal to ban all Europeans from purchasing any new debt or stock issued by Russia’s largest banks, according to a proposal seen by the Financial Times. The sanctions measure, contained in a 10-page options memo prepared by the European Commission and [...]
  • Top Posts

Saturday: Misdirection

Melissa McEwan also wakes up and smells the coffee (HT ugsome):

But as I read Feingold’s words—not the right guy—a not fully formed thought that has been hanging around the edges of my consciousness suddenly came sharply into focus: Obama is not the right guy.

It’s not (just) that his policies are insufficiently progressive, or even insufficiently Democratic, and it’s not (just) the arrogance, the hippie-punching, the bipartisan blah blah, the 12-dimensional chess, and it’s not (just) his tepid, half-assed, pusillanimous governance and his catastrophic ally fail. All of these things are just symptoms of this basic truth: Obama’s not up to the job.

I don’t mean he’s not up the job of being president; I mean he’s not up to the job of being presidentright now. I’m sure he’d have made a fine president some other time, some decade of relative peace and prosperity, where the biggest demand on his capacity was “don’t fuck it up.”

But that is not the time in which we live.

We live in a time of crumbling empire and crumbling sidewalks, of failed wars and a failing economy, of social conservatives versus social justice, of a race between the middle class and the ozone layer to oblivion. We balance precariously on the brink of America and America 2.0, where hard decisions must be made about whether we are going to use our resources to keep giving gold-plated bootstraps to the already-privileged or start reinvesting in our fraying social safety net and brittle bridges.

We don’t need a steward; we need a leader. Not just any leader, either. We need the second coming of FDR. And Obama just isn’t the right guy.

I don’t pretend to know who the right guy, or gal, is—but I know with a clarity that rings like churchbells that it ain’t Obama.

This is correct.  It is not racist to say so.  It is simply an observation based on a careful evaluation of the data.  Melissa could have reached this same conclusion three years ago, and I and thousands of other R&D professionals might still have  jobs, but we’ll put that aside for now.

We have a bigger problem.  Progressives can still be bamboozled.  They still have buttons that are pushable.  For example, in the same post, Melissa excerpts a portion of Feingold’s Netroots Nation keynote speech that speaks to the issue of corporations where he says:

“I think it’s a mistake for us to take the argument that they like to make that, ‘Well, what we’re going to do now is, we’re going to take the corporate money like the Republicans do and then after we win, we’ll change it.’ When’s the last time anyone did that? Most people don’t change the rules after they win by them. It doesn’t usually happen. It never happens,” Feingold said. “You know what? I think we’ll lose anyway if we do this. We’ll lose our soul when it comes to the issue of corporate domination.

I happen to agree with Feingold that people who win by taking huge sums of corporate campaign contributions or by bending the rules or cheating do not change the rules after they are elected. That’s why I couldn’t vote for Obama after he didn’t protest the way voters from Florida and Michigan were treated in the 2008 primaries.  The process was extremely unfair to them, and by extension the rest of the Clinton voters. But he didn’t lift a finger to protect their votes because to do so meant that he _might_ lose the nomination.  It wasn’t in his best interest to do that.   It wasn’t that hard to eliminate Obama from my presidential material list based on his attitude towards voters back in February 2008.  This is the guy who wrote off Appalachia.  A whole swath of the country plagued by generational poverty and rapacious coal companies.  Just wrote them off.  Don’t need those votes or voters.  They can go jump in a slag heap.

Your vote is sacred.  Once it can be taken away from you, you have no power.  This was more important than any corporate cash in 2008 and progressives missed it because they were misdirected. It wasn’t the money, it was the cheating.  Repeat after me: “I will never vote for a politician who approves of nullifying the votes of 6 million people because if I can’t trust him to do the right thing *before* the election, I sure as hell can’t trust him to do it afterwards.”

Same with congressmen and senators and presidents and *superdelegates* who sell themselves to big corporate entities.  They aren’t going to make the rules fairer for the rest of us because that might mean they will lose.  Don’t expect them to do the right thing after the election if they are willing to sell themselves for big corporate donations before the election.

The only way to change this dynamic is to change the rule makers.  You need to vote out the people who are whoring themselves for corporations and *particularly* the finance industry.  Don’t say it can’t be done because you don’t have a choice.  You must find a way.

But there is a degree of misdirection that progressives are prone to following to their detriment.  What Feingold is doing is highlighting the evil heart of every corporation.  Corporations are the problem, he seems to say.  Bullshit.  That’s like blaming the candy for being sweet.  Corporations exist for a reason.  It’s very hard for some industries to operate in any other way than a corporation.  Let’s not act like children who don’t understand the concept of the corporation.  They can’t be eliminated without harming our economy.

But they can be reined in.  There’s no reason in the world why we should let them get away with murder.  In fact, we’d be doing them a favor if we weren’t so permissive.  Corporations are out of control right now eating everything in sight like a plague of locusts.  They’re self-destructive.  Pretty soon, they’re going to run out of things to eat and we will all suffer, MBAs and shareholders alike.

We used to have rules to make sure corporations didn’t have the upper hand in every interaction with their employees.  We need to bring them back.  We used to make sure they couldn’t offshore their profits to avoid taxes.  We need to reinstitute them. You probably can’t do anything about the Citizens United ruling until one of the more conservative justices dies but for all we know, Sotomayor and Kagan aren’t a whole lot better.  They just haven’t had a case to demonstrate how bad they are.  You have to wonder why Bader-Ginsburg doesn’t retire so she can be replaced while there is still a Democrat in the White House.  But she’s the last truly liberal justice on the court.  When she’s gone, Obama may very well appoint a stealth justice.  After all, who is really pulling his strings right now?

So, Feingold’s remarks are both right and irrelevant.  This is the environment you operate in.  Some American industries need a corporate model.  Corporations pay obscene gobs of cash to easy congressional representatives and Senators who will write rules that are favorable to them.  If you want to make the rules fairer, don’t get mad at the corporations.  That’s not leading with your head and right now, you need to be cool and detached from the emotional string pulling crap. The corporations are not the ones who can change the rules.  You need to go after the rule makers.  You need to primary some incumbents with strong primary opponents.  Use the money you would have donated to the Democratic party and feed it to people who wouldn’t be able to run in a party primary without kowtowing to the party line.  Don’t donate to Act Blue or the DCCC or DSCC or what ever D org is calling you this week.  You need to set up a separate funding mechanism that is outside of the Democratic party’s control or influence and recruit your own candidates.  You need to become the progressive equivalent of the Christian Coalition.

To become really successful, you will have to reunite with the part of the party you willingly jettisoned for Obama in 2008.  Make up with the working class voters of all educational backgrounds, the unions and women of all ages.  You might have to abandon the creative class arrogance and the knee jerk responses to anything that isn’t crunchy granola.  The good thing is that there are plenty of liberal values that you *can* agree on, especially when it comes to the economy.  Stick to them and you can win.  (I think Katiebird has four simple phrases that represent values that will work, where the heck are they…?)

The beast you have to starve is the party.  Yeah, they’ll still get their money from corporations but you can drop your money in a different pile.  And if other people do it and they tell two people and so on and so on, the pile of cash will get bigger and bigger and pretty soon, you can replace the rulemakers with people who vote for your interests and not some corporation’s.

The question is, do progressives have the balls to do it?  Because from what I can see, the problem is not a lack of cash, it’s a lack of courage.

*************************

Here is Katiebird’s 12 Word Platform:

1. Medicare For All.
2. End The Wars.
3. Tax The Rich.
4. Jobs for Everyone

That should do it.  Lather, Rinse, Repeat.

Friday: The Way Forward- Imitation

Question: Who is this man and what does he have to do with us?  Answer:  nothing and everything.

His name is Ralph Reed and he is the director of the Christian Coalition, one of the most powerful voting blocs in the country.  You want to know why stem cell research has been set back by eight long years?  Reed.  Faith based initiatives?  Reed.  Delay of approval of Plan B?  Reed, Reed, Reed. Oh, sure, there were some dirty, rotten, underhanded conning of Indian tribes in there that sort of tarnished his halo.  But there is no question that the Christian Coalition has been one of the most effective advocacy groups in the nation since it was founded by Pat Robertson in 1988.  Robertson’s 700 Club makes a killing by convincing fundagelical Christians to send in mucho dinero in order to keep the blastocyst sacred, Darwin unmentionable in science class and Republicans in office for what seems like forever.

Now, I’m not saying that we want to become double high authoritarians running a billion dollar industry that feeds off of fear of the end of the world as we know it.  But to paraphrase Ross Perot, if you can’t beat your competitors, copy them.  There is a successful model in the Christian Coalition that we should look at carefully to determine what kind of organization we need to be if we want to promote more moderate to left of center Democratic values that will benefit working people of all educational backgrounds.

Democracy For America (gag!) also has some online organizing tools and traveling training camps for activists.  It’s probably working with a lot less cash than the Christian Coalition but it can be just as effective in organizing events.

Now, what do these groups have that we haven’t got?  Not a whole lot, really.  We’ve got people, LOTS of them actually.  One of the latest polls of voters on election day suggests that Hillary Clinton would have beaten John McCain by a much bigger margin than Obama did.  So, there are a lot of potential voters out there of a Clinton/FDR Democratic persuasion who are interested in the same things we are: equality, social justice, fiscal responsibility, sustainability, privacy, peace through diplomacy and reward for *work*, not free market capitalism on speed. So, how do we turn this gourp of people into an effective voting bloc?  Infrastructure.

The Christian Coalition and DFA infrastructures have some of these elements:

  • An administrative branch to develop and maintain infrastructure
  • A lobbying branch to address issues with legislators
  • A PR branch to develop media, press releases, talking points
  • A fundraising branch to, well, raise money
  • A technology branch that harnesses the power of the internet to develop databases and link people
  • A community branch that creates groups from like minded people and then motivates them to action through communication and event planning.
  • A common purpose.

None of this is outside our abilities to construct.  But we have to have a willingness to do it in a concerted way.  Four dozen PUMA groups having their own conferences is a waste of time and energy.  Joining together under one umbrella group that includes groups outside of PUMA makes us a more powerful force.  We could also liaison with organizations who wish to remain independent such as The New Agenda so we don’t duplicate efforts.  An umbrella group does not mean that there will be a top down organization.  Rather, like the Jesus Movement of the 1st and 2nd centuries, cells of people in many thousands of locations could develop based on their own georgraphic or socio-economic conditions but be united in the goals in common.  We are already seeing this in the number of PUMA groups springing up and the nature of those groups are quite diverse.

The element that I see that is missing from the Christian Coalition and DFA is the commitment to community service.  So, one might imagine that our organization would have a Rotary Club branch or something along the lines of a Greek fraternity/sorority, minus the hazing.

So, what is the way forward?  Well, if there is enough interest, there needs to be a conference of sorts to pull all of these elements together and determine the legal entity that we need to be.  Online conferencing is completely doable these days.  There’s no need for everyone to meet in a big room.  It can be done through Scype or Second Life.  The question is, are we ready for this step?

It’s up to you.

idea_rat

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 433 other followers