Matt Yglesias and, I suspect, the rest of the Obama Movement “intelligentsia” are having a fit because some Americans have decided to sit out the elections next year. He shakes his tiny fists and wails at Think Progress:
So it’s also worth sparing a few words for the potentially demoralized voters who are considering staying home. To wit: Grow up. Nobody ever accomplished anything in politics by not participating. Going to vote on Election Day is not a monumental demand on your time, and there is not a single problem in American public policy that will be made easier to solve if liberal stay home on Election Day. If you contribute money or time to political campaigns and you’re disappointed with people you’ve given to or volunteered for in the past, you should of course feel free to decline to offer your cash and services in the future. But you shouldn’t just get depressed and stay home, you should probably write a note and send it in the mail explaining exactly why you won’t be donating this time and laying out which other, more progressive member you’re choosing to support instead. And on Election Day you should go vote for the better candidate and hope he or she wins. Successful from-the-left primary challenges can do good, but letting the worse candidate win a general election isn’t going to make anything better.
I hope Matt and I never meet in a dark alley.
Let me take this on in a few crucial sections.
First, Matt tells us to “Grow Up”. I’m not sure that he’s actually referring to me specifically because I may vote next year, though I will probably never vote for one of the two major parties ever again. I am certainly not apathetic but I understand the people who are. Matt and his friends forced Obama on us in spite of 18 million primary votes that showed we preferred someone else. And it’s not like we didn’t desperately need a Democrat. Presumably, those 18 million of us had to put up with eight f%^&ing years of George Bush and his vengeful, authoritarian, cold, heartless administration. There is no love lost between Bush and us. We hated the Republican bastards. But Matt and his friends HAD to have their way. And they weren’t nice about it. The primaries were nasty, alienating and separated the party into two parts: the triumphant ones, of which Matt is a part, and the LOSERS, that would be us. Then, the triumphant ones stomped all over us. They called us racists. Well, they still do. And they think we’re old, female and stupid. They took our votes and trashed them. They humiliated our candidate at the convention and denied her a roll call vote. What we witnessed at the convention looked like a hostage crisis not an exercise in democracy. Then, just to put the cherry on the sundae, they had Jon Favreau pose with a cut out of Clinton where he’s grasping her breast. I’d be naive if I believed that that photo wasn’t staged just so the rest of us women got the picture- literally.
And Matt is telling US to “Grow up”? Do these actions sound like the behavior of adults? And now Matt and his buddies are having a hissy fit because those of us with real jobs who are about to lose them and families whose kids need braces and houses that are about to go into arears look back on the past year and despair. We were not Obama’s favored ones. The bonus class is. While we watch as our jobs are outsourced to India, Obama refuses to crack down on the bankers who are sitting on our money so we can create new businesses. As we watch our 401K’s barely recover and tenuously stabilize, we anxiously await the next crisis that will wipe our savings out and yet we have to worry about some idiot commission removing the last barrier between poverty and social security. We watch helplessly as our instructions on health care are ignored while Joe Lieberman threatens to filibuster anything that will decrease the profits of the insurance industry. And the president is asking Harry Reid to give into Holy Joe? What the hell is going on here? What is Obama’s real motivation? To have “health care” as his signature issue even if it’s meaningless so it can’t be challenged by Hillary? Is that what this is all about? Stopping a Draft Hillary movement in its tracks?
Let’s talk about Joe Lieberman for a moment because Matt says that if we don’t like a politician that is getting in our way, we can always vote him out in the primary.
In 2006, I went to Connecticut at Jane Hamsher’s invitation. I walked the streets of Meriden and all those little towns in the weekend before the primary for Ned Lamont. Lamont won that primary, remember? We were the little people who could, We made a difference and changed the narrative of 2006. Suddenly, the war was on everyone’s mind. That was what helped anti-war Democrats get elected to Congress and changed the dynamic in DC. Or so we hoped. They let us down, but I digress.
But Joe Lieberman wasn’t done. No, he had help from Chuck Schumer and others to mount a campaign as a third party candidate. Joe Lieberman with the help of the Democratic party nullified the primary result. Joe Lieberman took the party’s money in the primary and then did not abide by the primary results. It was foreshadowing. Because the party did a similar nullification of the party faithful’s votes in NJ, NY, PA, MA, CA, TX and a bunch of other states who voted for Hillary in 2008 by suppressing her victories in MI and FL.
Here’s the thing, Matt: you can’t tell people to spend their electoral and emotional capital on candidates who they like and then pull the rug out from under them without consequences. You can’t insist on an empty suit for President and promise Change! and transformation and then not deliver for the electorate after you’ve made them abandon who they really want without some of those people giving up on you. And you can’t tell a country that they have no choice and expect them to feel like they are still free.
The Democratic party has engaged in a process of teaching their constituents learned helplessness. It has over and over again raised expectations and then dashed them. It has asked for our input as a formality and then ignored it. It has belittled and demeaned and made inconsequential the lives of average voters and their families. Now, those same voters, seeing no reason to expend any more energy on a pointless game they cannot participate in has decided to sit it out.
Your buddies are in deep trouble now by their own doing. Don’t blame the electorate for not caring whether you stay in power or not. They don’t exist for your wish fulfillment. They’ve got more important things to do with their time, like figuring out how to make a living without your help. Your party, which *used* to be my party, has a leadership vacuum. You quashed the one leader you had and now, who among your ranks has the moral authority to lead us through this mess of a recession? There is no one. The electorate is just responding to the grim reality of the situation you and your childish enthusiasm have created for them.
Grow up, Matt. You reap what you sow.