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Saturday: Setting the Record Straight

I’m a big believer in natural selection in the blogosphere.  Blogs will come and go according to their characteristics.  The ones that fit the zeitgeist will succeed.  In this respect, the successful blogs change the nature of the blogosphere itself over time until new environmental pressures present themselves.

The key to surviving a stress is not changing, but to possess the characteristics that allow the blog to survive in a new environment. Evolution doesn’t mean changing with the system.  It means the SYSTEM chooses YOU. This blog is reaching a inflection point of sorts.  Does it have the characteristics to survive going forward?  Or will it latch on to some current trend, flame up with it and die away?  If history is any guide, it will survive.  This blog came into being 3 years ago, give or take a few days.  This is The Confluence’s 3rd anniversary.  We survived the primaries and we survived the PUMA movement.  PUMA was a moment in time.  It flamed up in response to stress and died away.  Oh sure, there are remnants and we spawned a lot of descendents but they will be an artifact, an echo in the left blogosphere’s DNA.  Whether it ever gets activated again or activated under a different name through recombination with something else remains to be seen.

Nevertheless, survival of this blog relies on it having a radically reduced form.

In the past, I have invited others to blog here as well.  There are two reasons for this.  First, I believe there are others on the left who resonate with the idea of a working class liberal.  These people were Clintonistas and identify themselves as FDR style Democrats and Democrats in Exile.  They have clear ideas about what has worked for this country in the past and they have a vision of what it will take to move forward.  Secondly, I work for a living.  For most of the day, the blog is inaccessible to me.  I can’t post and the only way I can read what goes on here during the day is if I go out to the parking lot during a break to catch a signal on my iPhone.  (AT&T is nonexistent in my building)

But keeping a blog together, focused on what you believe and pointing in  a specific direction is harder than it seems.  My management style is very flexible.  Front pagers will tell you, if they’re being honest, that I very, very rarely exert any editorial direction on them.  They were free to post pretty much anything they pleased at any hour of the day.  I especially liked the flexibility of responding to breaking news events as they happened and not on a timetable.  Blogs need to refresh content to retain their relevance.

I also think it’s important to keep relations open with those former Clintonistas who have defected from their Democratic principles to join the Tea Party.  I understand that they are motivated by anger and frustration.  Who among us here doesn’t understand anger and frustration?  18000000 of us were cheated out of electing the person who we thought was the right candidate for the job at a time when the right person was crucial.  And we were right about everything that was happening during the primaries and everything that happened afterwards.

But my big mistake was in taking the “Mi casa es su casa” approach to communal blogging.  My aim is true when I say I don’t want to hog the spotlight and I don’t want to tell people what to do and when to do it (Jeez,  don’t EVER put me on a schedule.  I *HATE* that).  What I envisioned my role as was a sort of heavy who would make the final call in any blog disputes with outside forces.  But what happens when the disputes are internal?  I never figured that part out.

Imagine this scenario.  You have to leave your house and you give the keys to people who you think you can trust to keep the place in shape and not break the furniture.  Sure, you can have guests over, do what you please.  No big deal to me.  Everything is ticketyboo for months and things get hectic at work, requiring a lot more time in the lab and a lot less time at the blog.  One day, you catch a break and head on home for some extended time at the house.  But when you walk in, you find that the place is chock full of people you don’t know and some Klown is throwing a rave in your living room with lots of Tea Partyesque types bumping and grinding in some trancelike frenzy to the sound of the TV tuned to a red-faced, furious left or right wing gasbag.  There you are with the takeout bag of sushi grasped in your hand, staring at this mess and when you tell someone to shut off the TV and leave, the Klown starts to protest.

What would YOU do?

For the record, there has only ever been one person who was specifically asked to leave this blog.  That was Shtuey.  The others took their dishes and left when I began to make noise about the tone of the blog deviating from its founding sensibility.  I hate to say it but in many cases, it’s a matter of ego.  Some frontpagers get it into their heads that their contributions are so valuable and they aren’t getting enough credit and deference and they need to take a stand and try to divide and conquer.  Some of them want to impose more structure on the blog.  A LOT more.  So much that I would have to check in with them to get a time slot to post- on my own blog.  Many, many of them complained over and over again about the Klown.  Some of that complaining was instigated by outside forces who never blogged here but were around in the comment section.  No matter how many times I tell people that this is not an exclusively feminist or female blog, some commenters seem determined to throw the Klown off come hell or high water.  And with the Klown, I can truly say, he *can* be taught, so, if he’s not spewing insensitive sexist crap all over the place, what’s the big deal?  I liked the way he thought and wrote and his appreciation of country music and the fact that he wasn’t a fricking snob like some other frontpagers I’ve had to deal with when it came to average working class people and those of us who don’t have time to edit our posts and our grammar in the morning because we WORK for a living, instead of taking time away from teaching our classes in order to pontificate on atheism or the incivility of the comment section at The Confluence {{sniff!}} (not that I’m mentioning any names)

In the past several months, I can say honestly that it was me.  All me.  A chunk of people left a few months ago who I thought were buying into the left memes too much.  I’m not into the left’s buzzwords about corporatism and triangulation and gratuitous bashing of big pharma.  That last one is significant because I work for big pharma and I know that the left is cutting its own throat with its relentless attacks on the industry without a true understanding of what pharma is going through right now.  My industry has shed over 100,000 jobs in the past couple of years.  That’s not an exaggeration.  But I have had frontpagers tell me that it’s not as bad as I make it out to be.  How would they know that?  Have they worked for big pharma?  Ever spent time in a lab?  Watched the devastation wrecked on the lives of their friends and family whose prestigious PhDs in the hard sciences can no longer get them jobs?  No, of course not. And their ignorance of the industry and how it works shows in what they write about it.  As long as you don’t understand an issue, you’re going to get swayed by the opinions of people who you identify with most closely.  If that is the left, well, they have a history of puritanism when it comes to a whole host of issues from genetically modified crops to nuclear energy to pharmaceuticals.  And you know what?  I’m just not into that.  I want to think for myself and not let the members of my tribe to do my thinking for me.  I especially don’t want to adopt wrong attitudes and assumptions just so I can stay on their good side, make some money off of the tribe rank and file or get linked to memeorandum on a regular basis.

I also don’t want to be dragged to the right.  My protest vote for McCain in 2008 was just that- a protest.  It wasn’t a racist statement.  It wasn’t a rejection of my Democratic principles.  If anything, it was a reaffirmation of those principles.  I was not going to reward the Democratic party for throwing away my vote and substituting Obama for the more qualified candidate who was overwhelmingly selected by the biggest, most Democratic states in the nation.  Nope.  Nah-gah-happen.  It will be a cold day in Hell before I ever let someone steal my vote and get away with it.  The Democrats are going to pay for that until the last dog dies and I’m not the only one who will never forget.  This recession and how Obama dealt with it in spite of all of the experience he had to draw on, will live with this country for generations.  The Democrats helped to that to us.  But just because I despise the Democrats for their stupidity and fraudulent behavior does not in any way mean I endorse the Republicans.  In fact, I have no respect for the Republican party.  It is an extremist and dangerous organization.  Its goals are to win at all costs and impose a neo-feudalist system on the rest of us.  And anyone who is going to Tea Party meetings, thinking, “Oh, but they’re different”, should get their heads out of their asses.  The Tea Party is a front group for the Republicans and I want nothing to do with the Tea Party or its leaders.  If you lean to the conservative side, do not expect me to “feel your pain” or give you a pass on any nonsensical idea you get from the Tea Party or Glenn Beck or right wing pundit of your choice who somehow “speaks” to you on an emotional level.  I completely reject movement conservatism in all of its guises.

I also don’t much care for media gasbags.  You can’t trust the news.  You can’t trust people who talk about the news.  You can’t trust the idiots who are on cable news channels.  That means people like O’Reilly and Olbermann and Glenn Beck and any other spokesperson from either party that goes on talking head shows on Sunday mornings.  I’ll make an exception for Krugman who doesn’t seem to have a policeman between his brain and his mouth and who tends to say things that are impolitic.  Like telling George Will that he doesn’t know what he’s talking about.  But to listen to Krugman on TV means putting up with the other guests and I’ve got better things to do with my time than listen to the bunch of them repeat finely crafted memes like “politicizing” and “competitiveness” and “cut and run”.  Since there is nothing useful to be gathered from TV and radio punditry except psychological manipulation, I don’t watch it anymore.  And I don’t like it when commenters bring that propaganda to the blog.  If I see commenters discuss the latest outrage in the comments or see it posted about way too often, I’m likely to say to knock it off.  Buzzwords get put into the moderated list and commenters will be forced to discuss issues without access to words that serve only to identify their tribal affiliation and stop their thoughts.

So, I’ve gone on way too long and I have a power steering system that needs my immediate attention.  I will end here.  The bottom line is this: the integrity of this blog was being compromised.  It was no longer representing a coherent point of view.  There was too much degeneracy, and by that I mean too many voices taking the blog in directions away from its original sensibility.  If I wanted this blog to become more puritanically left, a direction I don’t want to go in, what would make it unique from other lefty blogs who reflexively repeat lefty beliefs?  If I wanted this blog to become more Tea Party friendly, I would be violating my most cherished principles to do it.  That’s not me and I don’t want to become another manifestation of Balloon Juice.

I see this blog as being a place where the technologically savvy, smart, FDR Democrat can keep in touch with his or her working class roots because that is where I think America’s strength is.  We’re not better than our blue collar parents.  We ARE the working class.  We’re also the creative class but we’re not looking down our noses.  We’re grounded.  We live in the real world.  We see the past and the future at the same time.    The blog will rise or fall on its principles, which we will never deviate from.  If that’s what the blogosphere wants to read, good for us.  If not, we fade away.  But there is a reason why my tag line when I was Goldberry at DailyKos came from my favorite poem, Choose Something Like a Star by Robert Frost.  Here it is in its entirety:

O Star (the fairest one in sight),
We grant your loftiness the right
To some obscurity of cloud —
It will not do to say of night,
Since dark is what brings out your light.
Some mystery becomes the proud.
But to be wholly taciturn
In your reserve is not allowed.

Say something to us we can learn
By heart and when alone repeat.
Say something! And it says “I burn.”
But say with what degree of heat.
Talk Fahrenheit, talk Centigrade.
Use language we can comprehend.
Tell us what elements you blend.

It gives us strangely little aid,
But does tell something in the end.
And steadfast as Keats’ Eremite,
Not even stooping from its sphere,
It asks a little of us here.
It asks of us a certain height,
So when at times the mob is swayed
To carry praise or blame too far,
We may choose something like a star
To stay our minds on and be staid.

I won’t let this blog be pushed and pulled about by the mob.  I intend to stay focussed.

Right now, *we* are me and Katiebird.  That doesn’t mean we’ve fired anyone or told anyone to leave permanently.  But before I turn over the keys of my house to anyone again, they are going to have to earn my trust and prove to me that they are willing to exercise control over themselves and the people they bring to the party.

Party on.  This is an open thread.


119 Responses

  1. I’m resting and reading a book by one of my favorite Romance authors. I just got to this paragraph and discovered your post when I jumped up to share this paragraph:

    She listened to wacko radio shows as she worked, shows that proved Hillary Clinton had once eaten the flesh of a newborn child and that PBS was entirely funded by left-wing movie stars bent on giving homosexuals control of the world. Like they’d really want it.

    Imagine my surprise when I discovered (that open thread aside) it’s not even off-topic!.

    [Edited to add] The book is Call Me Irrestible by Susan Elizabeth Phillips

    • Oh my goodness! Love it! Who is the author?

      • I just edited my comment to add the title/author info.

        SEP is one of my favorite authors, She decided about 5 years ago that she couldn’t crank out a book a year and announced to her fans that she was going to take however long it takes to write them.

        That was a pretty brave decision because there is A LOT of pressure on popular authors to get another book out ASAP.

        But, she’s always worth the wait.

    • {{snort!}} That’s hillarious!
      OMG, they actually used to say that about Hillary.
      Thanks for the book rec. I’ll look her up.

      • Isn’t it funny how it fits your post?

        • Yes, exactly. Now the left is acting like a bunch of right wing nutcases. But what’s funnier is that Hillary has pretty much lost her monstrous nature with the right nowadays. She really impressed them when she faced her enemies on Fox. Heck, I was impressed.
          Too bad her real enemies were on NBC, and the other media outlets.

          • Someone reminded me yesterday that GE bought NBC …. do they still own it?

          • I think so. Which is one of the best reasons to not watch NBC. Unfortunately, I just subscribed to Comcast internet, because the other option in my neighborhood was a crappy 512bp DSL. I use comcast internet to get all the weird netflix movies that I like that I know will NEVER show up in a cable or satellite package. The merger makes that a lot less likely to continue because Netflix is a serious threat to Comcast programming- probably because they only schedule movies that appeal to 14 year old boys. Do you know how hard it is to find a decent movie on PPV these days?
            So, it’s probably back to ordering DVD’s from Netflix, I’m afraid. I like the streaming option because, after all, this is the 21st century and if Korea and Romania can have streaming movies, why can’t we? But the big media companies want to market us to death and categorize us into age groups and genders and socio economic groups, like we’re some kind of caste system and our tastes are fixed by where we live and what we do.
            If you want to know who I really, really hate, it’s marketing people.
            LOATHE them.

          • if Korea and Romania can have streaming movies, why can’t we?

            Because they don’t have the advantage of “bought and paid for” government and regulators yet? 🙂

          • Ralph–Hammer, Nail, Bang! :mrgreen:

            Romania–that kinda says it all. I’m 47. I don’t know Ralph’s age, but I’m guessing he’s older. I wonder how many of the countries we remember as having been Communist dictatorships when we were kids are now both freer and more egalitarian than the USA? 😡

    • I have to read that book. LOL.

  2. Two comments:


    Thank you.

  3. Well said. We should all have a moral and ethical compass that helps keep us on our path forward. Never forget the twists and turns along the way but don’t ever forget your basic principles.

    Pharma and the educated, dedicated employees have produced some of the most amazing advancements for our health and well being. I think anyone who has every taken a medicine that has made it to over-the-counter should reflect on the years of study and experimentation that got it there.

    I have an engineering degree and am constantly amazed at how simple some people think science is to do. This is especially true when we try and figure out just what the *&^&** someone meant when they wrote a regulation that made absolutely no sense from a scientific perspective and actually caused more harm then good.

    Thanks for all you do.

    • Yep, 99.9% of the country can’t do what I do. Heck, I can’t even do what I do. The learning curve is hard and steep. It’s definitely not for sissies.
      Anyone who thinks the Biological sciences are a cakewalk should really try it sometime. One day in the lab and you’ll either love it or run screaming for the exit.
      And I work with e coli and a lot of other nasty things- so YOU won’t have to.

      • I too am in the biological sciences – stem cell research at the University of California.

        I appreciate your post as it brings me up to date on the soap opera and I have a clearer picture of your philosophy. I particularly agree with your ideas about the trusting the media and repeating buzzwords. I try to think for myself, and I like to get various points of view. But, you are right on when you warn of adopting wrong assumptions. It takes a lot of work to think for ones self.

        I think you’ve done the right thing in putting your foot down.

      • “And I work with e coli and a lot of other nasty things- so YOU won’t have to.”

        Scientists elsewhere will do it for you at half price, so YOU won’t have to. 😉

        Can you fly a plane?

        • Nope, can’t fly a plane. But I think you’re wrong about scientists elsewhere being able to do this stuff. Maybe in a couple of years this will be an automated process but for right now, it’s not as easy as it looks and much of it is still a mystery.
          So, the rest of the world’s scientists are no better off and no farther ahead.
          For now.

      • RD- I work for a CRO that likely does safety tox work for your company. Your experience with the reaction from some on the left echoes my own. I’ve been accused of being a “Big Pharma” shill anytime I defend evidence-based medicine on my blog.

        • It’s really kind of childish when you think about it. They don’t like pharma because some people are making money from pharma and drugs are expensive. Yeah, drugs ARE expensive. And so is research. What does the left propose to do? Here are the answers I always get: make everything generic, make everyone in research work for the NIH, make the companies negotiate so that the drugs are cheap or sue the bastards for all they’re worth. And by the way, big pharma wants to kill everyone.
          You know, if you want to make research less expensive, why don’t you convince the guys in charge to stop moving everyone to the most expensive places in the country to live? Even on my nice salary, I’m barely middle class in NJ. It’s ridiculously expensive to live here.
          There are whole states that have employment problems and have lower costs of living. Like Michigan and Wisconsin. But what did big pharma do in the 90’s and 2000’s? They merged like crazy and shut down their research facilities in Kalamazoo and Cinncinnatti to move us all to the East coast. So, now here we are and everything costs a fortune here.
          The next big thing is Cambridge. Everyone and their brother has to go up there. I don’t mind moving. In fact, I’m getting sick of NJ. But it’s like these executives have never heard of a thing called the internet where you can have second life style meetings and collaborations. They don’t need to relocate their entire research staff to Massachusetts and if all the companies decided to leave Cambridge, the talent would have to follow.
          It’s a no brainer which just goes to show that some management people have no brains.

          • This happened in my former big (and I mean it had its own zip code) military base. There was a proposal to move a goverment bioterror research center there, but politics had it rerouted to Boston. I had heard later that the people who would be working there preferred the “culture” in Boston as if there were a bunch of elitists working there.

            I will admit my city is pretty suburban. You can park next to just about every business. We have Broadway shows a half hour away and an airport less than an hour away. Heck, we have a major entertainment venue nearby. Plus, it’s dirt cheap to live here.

          • Well, I live in the suburbs 36 miles from NYC and if I want culture, I have to take three trains to manhattan and spend a fortune on NJT. Otherwise, I’m stuck in this suburban hellhole with the rest of the pod people who drive minivans and dress alike.
            Even on my salary, Manhattan is a special treat. In Cambridge, it’s really not going to be a whole lot different. Very few people can afford to live in the Boston or Cambridge on a scientist’s salary. So, off to the burbs we go to commute in. Culture will be once every two months when we have the energy and money saved up for a special occasion.
            I don’t know who it is they are attracting with the culture aspect but if that’s the draw, the new hires must be demanding and getting a small fortune. The rest of us are just struggling to pay our mortgages and property taxes. culture is a pipe dream

  4. Interesting ….. still processing.

    Honestly, I come over here every day and read the blog. Not always do I believe in the view point and i don’t need to, I love the writing, the different points of view.

    Thanks for writing, I appreciate it.

  5. Trying to think of something profound to write, but basically it just always boils down to thank you, and I’m grateful that there’s an eloquent blogger out there with a large audience who seems to share my principles (and I even say that as a sometimes-pontificating atheist who often shakes my head in disagreement on your thoughts on education policy). 🙂

  6. Perfect.

    Thank you.

  7. I’m not technologically savvy but I’ve read this blog every day since I discovered it late in the 2008 primary season. I will continue to do so.

    I can’t imagine the emotional toll this has taken on you, RD. I’m sorry for that.

    SEP is one of my favorites, too. If you like her, read Jennifer Crusie’s early works.

    • Oh, YES … Crusie is another of my favorites (I was a little disappointed in her most recent book but, I know she’s trying to get back in the groove)

  8. Well, I found this blog to be a great oasis in the echo chamber of blogs. It saved me in some ways after a sh*tty time.

    You allowed a place for respectful difference of opinion.

    By coming here, I might have an opinion and find myself swayed by something compelling someone else might have to offer…. and sometimes my own thoughts were just reinforced.

    It was thrilling to wonder how the next discussion might challenge me – or others.

    So, Thanks for all that…

  9. This is sad, like Mommy and Daddy talking about divorce, or like one of your tent poles falling down. I hope after you all get your personal spaces sorted out, the Klown will back for a guest post. It doesn’t help to be right if you don’t have the time to persuade people you are right, and quite frankly, there is no political party right now that is attentive to the economic realities women face. Yes, there have been a lot of right-wing types around here lately, and dancing with Republicans feels slimy, but the Obots are even slimier. Sitting out the dance doesn’t seem like an option.

    About the blue collar thing–isn’t that a bit narrow? I remember when HHH forged the Democrat Farm Labor party in Minnesota, progressive issues resonated with a huge number of middle class people of varying backgrounds who had their feet firmly planted on the ground. The only union left these days seems to be AFSCME.

    • Blue collar? What’s the problem with blue collar?
      It’s time the middle class woke up and realized that to the people running the show right now, we are all blue collar, no matter what we do or how many degrees we have. Instead of running away from people who do manual labor, better to join with them in solidarity. Their problems are now YOUR problems. Once you join with them, you have a much bigger bloc of people and an unmissable force against the rich and well connected.

      • yep! I’ve always been glad that you saw that.

        Writing code or building cars – we all get our bread “buttered” by the same folks while they tell us it’s butter and the damn tub keeps screaming “Parkay!”

      • I agree. I’ve been calling our current social/political structure “feudalism” ever since the Bush family vassals on th Supreme Court carried Prince Shrub over the line in 2000. Now we’ve seen the same thing happen with the Dems. It ain’t pretty, and it’s all a function of the increasing concentration of wealth (spelled p-o-w-e-r) in an increasingly small class of “lords” at the top of the heap. This has gone hand-in-hand with the exponential growth of the imperial presidency over the last ten years.

        But “demotion” to the working class is not necessarily a bad thing. In my own community, I’m seeing art, traditionally an “elitist” area of activity, become the province of working–and working-class–artists instead of a hobby for Country Clubbers. This is partly due to an unusuallly strong art department at the local community college and the large number of emerging artists they’re training, most of whom come from a less privileged background. It also has a lot to do with chicanismo and feminism in art both of which challenge the existing power structure. The upshot is more creativity, not less.

      • The problem with “blue collar” is that some of us cannot talk about “our blue collar parents” because we don’t have any. We come from a different background. In my case, a farm background. Green Acres, not Archie Bunker.

        If you’re going to talk about how women should be included in a participatory democracy, or about FDR Democrats (not that I’m old enough to remember FDR), a lot of women are going to listen (and men too). But if you exclude anyone doesn’t come from the same background as you, and especially if you look down your nose at middle class women because they “run away from people who do manual labor”, your world (and your blogging audience) just got very small indeed.

        • Also, if you look at the numbers, this country’s “working class” now lives in India, Vietnam, Bangladesh, Mexico, El Salvador, etc., where people aren’t so fussy about child labor, 16-hour work days, or shooting potential union organizers.

        • The problem with “blue collar” is that some of us cannot talk about “our blue collar parents” because we don’t have any. We come from a different background. In my case, a farm background. Green Acres

          Huh? You think Green Acres was a farm?

          I grew up on a real farm. Blue collar under blue overalls, but mostly no color to be seen except dirt and oil grease off the tractor.

          FDR/Truman Democrats, all of them. No unions, though.

          • Cleanliness next to godliness, at least on a Swedish farm. Try GOJO for the grease (yes, I know how to sand rust off of brake disks and how to clean up afterwards). And leave your manure-encased boots and coveralls in the mud room before you come in the house.

          • Mud room? We just called it the back porch (first screened in then with plastic window film but no glass). And kept it lined with newspaper at all times.

            Maybe it’s Green Acres you’re not familiar with. 😉 Need to keep far away from that teevee stuff.

          • Was your farm actually in Sweden?

            Mine was in West Texas. South from Kansas.

          • @bl
            Yes, we called it the back porch too, they call it a mud room on This Old House.

          • Mud room? Good lord, there aren’t any “mud rooms” in Texas farmhouses, or any I’ve seen in the west or south. In fact, I’ve never seen an actual “mud room” except in a city house. When Grandpa and my uncles got particularly grimy, grandma just made them strip off and wash outside. Or in the barn if the weather was nasty.

            Step away from the TV. Now.

        • I can’t please all people. Something I say is bound to offend someone if they’re looking to take offense. As it happens, I was referring to the Whole Foods Shoppers who look down their noses at Bubbas. Chris Bowers wrote an infamous post in it in 2008. I can’t imagine he’d ever want to be associated with the working class.
          I’m not afraid of that association. I work for a living. I LIKE working for a living. And I am comfortable being called a working class person because to the top 10% of the pyramid, that’s all I am. Fortunately, there are a lot of us and we vote.
          So, my goal is not to avoid offending people because, frankly, I can’t. It’s not part of my personality. My job is to tell it like it is from my point if view and with reference to my values and principles. If other people find this compelling, good. If not, let them try to do it better.

        • If “Archie Bunker” is your idea of blue collar and “Green Acres” your idea of a farm, then you don’t have much acquaintance with either.

          My maternal grandparents were farmers. So were my great-grandparents and their ancestors as far back as the Cherokee removal. Great-gandpa lived long enough to vote for Roosevelt the first couple times, and my grandparents voted for him every time. My dad’s first summer job was riding fence on the King Ranch. The family is so FDR Democratic on both sides I wondered if I might be genetically programmed to self-destruct like one of Star Trek’s befuddled androids when I bubbled in the oval next to McCain’s name in the one and so far only Republican vote of my life. (I’m not going to chance it a second time.)

          Get over it. Unless you own your own business and are wealthy enough as a result to belong to the investor/capitalist class, you are working class, and neither party at this point sees you as more than a walking vote, useful on the first Tuesday of November. The other 364 days of the year, you’re not even that to them. You’re a serf.

          If you don’t like that, then make the commitment to shake things up in whatever way you can. If you want to hold onto your lace-curtain status at the cost of denying reality, you’re part of the problem.

          • Honk! Honk! Honk!

          • Get over it.
            If you want to hold onto your lace-curtain status at the cost of denying reality

            So now I’m being trashed (and honked) for not being rustic enough. Or something. This type of cattiness and personal attack is becoming way too commonplace here.

            But the whole foods thing I had never heard of. Whoever this Chris person is, I don’t think you can generalize about all middle class women on that account. I have no problem with someone referring to their own experience as background for a political stance, but when you start attributing negative thoughts to whole groups of people, based on what, some litmus test of education and income level?–you have to ask first if it’s even accurate, second if you want your movement to exclude people based on purely sociological characteristics. I understand that’s not what you were trying to say, and I didn’t think you were that sort of person, but that sure is what it sounded like.

          • You’re not being trashed. You’ve been given a dope slap.
            Your identity is too tied up with a label. Middle class means nothing to the guys on top. They make so much money that you can’t even breathe their atmosphere. As long as you continue to distance yourself from the blue collar workers and Bubbas and unwashed hands on working people, you will be chasing an ever more elusive American dream. Your destiny is with the working class because a) you are a member and b) there is strength in numbers.
            Whenever the politicians start making you feel sexier and smarter than you thought you were, remember that they are trying to separate you from the rest of your critical mass. Resist it.

  10. I’ve always appreciated the lefty nature of this blog without the purist pissing contests (for the most part) and I lurk daily and comment sometimes. Most of the time smart people say what I would say and I don’t need to echo.

    So now you are back to where you were when I arrived, well, except RonK isn’t here. I’ll still be around quietly – or maybe I’ll talk sometimes.

    • Yep, I miss RonK. Don’t know where he’s gone. Sure wish he’d come back. He was a prophet. He was the one who pointed me in the direction of what Obama was really up to. And he was 100% right about that.

      • I’ve seen him at TalkLeft now and then

        • I think he must have objected to PUMA. And he didn’t like the LaRouchians who were hanging out in the beginning. I didn’t like them either but then, I didn’t know anthing about LaRouche. Very interesting education. Anyway, we’ve always had to be very vigilant about the comment section. There are all kinds of bad actors hiding behind perfectly normal looking usernames.

          • I think he realized the PUMA ratf@ck operation quickly when some of us (me) didn’t see that we were infiltrated. I believe he was on board with some of the protest but when it leaned rightward…

            You are right – he is a prophet and I miss him too.

          • Ratfucking happened pretty quickly with PUMA. To me, that meant we were a genuine threat. Neither the left or the right wanted us to gain legitimacy.
            Oh, well, I’m fine with just walking away from either party. Sooner or later, those of us who have been locked out will coalesce and someone is going to want to run for us.

          • Meanwhile, we continue to be Cassandra.

          • I’d rather be right and dissed than stupid and popular.

          • Yours truly was the one and only “LaRouchian,” as far as I know… banned mid ’08. Only used one handle to post, and, simply stopped when banned.

            Was the term “FDR Democrat” used on this blog before my using it in my comment copied below? A too quick search just now suggests to me it was not.
            _ _ _ _

            Gary McGowan, on March 29, 2008 at 4:28 pm said:

            Her policies sound like an FDR Democrat. No wonder the corporatists are throwing everything they have against her.
            _ _ _ _

            I have not, nor shall I, do any sneaky things or be a bother. RD and KB have enough to do without giving that a second thought. Should I post again, I’ll use this “alias GM” handle, and not mention nor allude to the “L”.

            Best wishes on the new tack.

  11. Spammy is really working overtime today.

    • Did you say a banned word? The moderatio list includes the pig latin versions as well, just to let you know.

  12. Myiq’s mail drop:http://crayfisher.wordpress.com/2011/01/22/im-semi-retired/#comment-71
    Rangoon78, on January 22, 2011 at 8:55 am said:
    Your’s is a great mind . Trying to follow the back and forth at RD over your refusing to trash Palin left me feeling like there must be something better I should do to waste my time. Fishing: That’s it! I was looking for that “Too drunk to fish” quote and found a better one:
    “Do you know why it’s so hard to solve a Redneck murder? ‘Cause there’s no dental records and all the DNA is the same.”

    • I think you misunderstood my issue with she-who-must-not-be-named. I wasn’t trashing her like the left is apparently doing (I have no way of knowing because I don’t watch TV news). I was holding her to a higher standard.
      Big difference but hard to detect when there is a lot of smoke being blown in your eyes.
      She didn’t need defending. She made that pretty clear when she posted that video. That was her itching for a fight.
      Fine, whatever. The media wars over SWMNBN (another thing to add to the moderation list) can go on in a vacuum for all I care. I’m surrounded by unemployed people. I haven’t got the time or interest in tribal warfare. All I wanted was for people who WERE interested in that to take it elsewhere.

    • I like Myiq2xu as well as TC. I will continue to comment here as well as at Myiq’s new blog. I think sometimes Myiq’s defense of she-who-must-not-be-named comes on a bit too strong. It might not be a good fit for this blog or perspective of most liberals. I still respect his opinion and wish him the best.

      • Yeah, as hard as it is to say it, I just couldn’t get on board with the defense of she-who-must-not-be-named all of the time. And I really didn’t like the feeling of being forced into it.
        Myiq is a very good, logical, entertaining writer. But he needs to broaden his topic list.

        • To take a different example. Suppose people are agreed that there are too few women/Blacks/whatever in a field. One approach is to make one’s own little corner of the field 50/50. Another approach is to try to balance the whole field by making one’s own corner 100% women/Blacks/whatever for the duration, till the field as a whole comes nearer to balance. Or till the enviroment becomes less, woops, ____-rich.

  13. Hi, I left your site early last fall and have really missed your essays, RD. Sometimes you seemed to have plucked them right from my subconscious.
    I read on H44 that there are changes going on here and came back to check it out.

    I like everything you wrote, except I don’t believe the tea party is a republican front – and that is all I will ever say about that. So with that ground rule would I still be welcome?

    • As long as you don’t pushing Tea Party memes here, I don’t have a problem with it.

      And yes, there is plenty of evidence that the Tea Party was started and funded by the Republicans. It was either Mitch McConnell or Dick Armey that provided seed money. It is a front group for movement conseratism and a damn clever one. If only the Democrats had seen the potential in the people they threw away in 2008.

      I wouldn’t be your friend if I didn’t warn you so consider yourself warned.

      Also, you owe it to yourself to listen to this podcast from This American Life about what happens when the Tea Party and Republicans meet.

    • I find it so impossible to think that anyone would NOT realize the Tea Partiers are conservative Republicans? My entire family is conservative (they call me the black sheep) and they are ALL bag-carrying Tea Party supporters.

      Betty, do you think Beck and Palin are NOT Republicans? If you don’t, could you please explain your logic?

      • That’s what they said about PUMAs. From before the beginning. From when I and others on TM were talking about voting for McCain because he’d be easier for Hillary to beat in 2012, among other reasons.

        This was weeks before the term PUMA. When we individuals first started talking about not voting for Obama if he got nominated, we got called Republicans.

        • That’s where the rarfucking came in. We’re not republicans. We’re not RACYSTS. We’re not old, uneducated women. But so what if we were? Aren’t old, uneducated women voters too? Shouldnt they have a say in the way their government should be run? The Democrats said apparently not it 2008.
          But who cares what other people think? That’s the biggest problem in American politics. People are Afraid if what other people will think of them. So, turn off your TV and stop listening to what and who is in or out. If they can’t reach you, they can’t Hurt you.

          • So let’s not believe ‘Them’ when ‘They’ say all TP’s are Republicans, either. ‘They’ say anyone against Obama is really a Republican.

            Iirc, a random telephone poll found 65% of TP supporters were Republicans, quite a few Independents, few Democrats. Probably didn’t distinguish recent ex-Dems from other Independents.

          • well , I am old. At least my back pain makes me feel that way. Plus being old in my early fifties gives me cover for not being the least bit cool, which is a status that I have been fighting for all my life. I have never wanted my children or their friends to mistake me for one of the cool Moms.

            I think we lose sight sometimes of all the blue collar MEN, all those Joe six pack democratic party males who were supposed to hate Hillary, but voted for her over Obama. There were also thrown under the bus and called ray-cist. I have a feeling a lot of them stayed home in 2010. Serves my party right.
            I blame SP for 2010, but I also blame Dean and Brazille and the DNC.

      • I said on this blog once before and I will say it again. I was a democrat, I worked, called, sent money to get democrats elected. After we got them elected I worked, called and stopped sending money to try to get them to pay attention. Remember Harry Rieds fake filibuster? Remember all of sudden a majority wasn’t enough, they needed a super majority. And then look what they did with it – sold us out every way they could think of or squeeze in the last two years.

        Remember the big rubber stamp, all the coordinated phones ins? Remember how naive we were? Remember calling and emailing super delegates as if we could impact them in any way. Do you remember any of that? I went to Denver not with any group but because I had to protest. I met you there RD and felt honored.

        Do you remember the frustration? In the short time the tea party has existed they have accomplished more then all the symbolic rubber stamps and fake filibusters in the world. I am tired of symbolic s**t and if I have to look for things I can live with in the tea party or even conservatives I intend to do it

        I will listen to your recommended pod cast RD.

        And you, Cate, shouldn’t you have put one of RD’s {{sniff!}} s after your first sentence?

        • I’ve heard separation of corps and state from both sides. We say tomahto, they say tomato. We say fascism, they say socialism. It’s the same spinich.

          • yes, you are right ( and by that I mean correct) it is amazing how similar the disgust is on both sides. Open mindedness, not vilifying people, except hate spewing mercenaries like Rush, Beck and their ilk, is probably a better way to live in the world.

  14. I go to TC first every time I fire up my Computer. I started reading it several years ago and have seen the evolution that you speak of. I have seen front pagers come and go, I still follow some that are on other blogs. I think diversity of thought is important on a blog, but only within limits. If the thought is too far from the spirit of the blog it becomes a distraction rather than a vector that improves the experience. I will continue to visit here and contribute if I can. Good luck to all the TCers. I would hate to lose this place.

    • Thanks for that. I feel the same about some of my favorite bloggers too, like Anglachel and Corrente and Alegre’s Corner. I check them faithfully everyday and am ususally not disappointed, although Lambert’s crew occasionally push my buttons.

  15. I found this blog during the early days of the Hill campaign when the blogs I followed during the Kerry campaign started polarizing Obama/Hillary in the same language as they had Bush/Kerry. The latter made sense to me, but the switch to attack Hillary made me question if these blogs were overrun by 14-year-old boys. Then it seemed that the same boys who loved Bush were piling on the Obama bandwagon and posting from their parents’ homes past bedtime, or from Axelrod’s servers.

    This blog was and is a haven created by RD and even Maureen Dowd who is on payroll to spew a column regularly isn’t expected to produce daily. Maybe some classic posts can be reposted, and posts can stay up until there the spirit moves one to post again.

  16. Boy, that sepia toned pic at the top of your post really captures what this past week as been like here at TC. Which one is you? Nice toned bodies abound so any of them would be fine for me; however, I think I see myself sitting back there under the two palm trees….

    • Is someone eating out of your lap? I don’t see any palm trees but the pic is small.
      It’s just that a bacchanalia is what the Klown seemed to have going on here. Hey, I like parties as much as the next person but when the obnoxious guests refuse to leave and the Klown started telling them it was ok to diss me, that’s when I took his keys away.
      He can still post here any time he wants. He has more privileges than he lets on. He just can’t bring people back from the dead without my permission. I thought I was being reasonable. He didn’t. But when it comes down to administration rights, I will win every time.
      The same thing happens to frontpagers who leave GBCW posts. “Good Bye and Thanks for All The Fish! Here’s my forwarding address.” is all I want to see. If you want to complain about how badly you were treated here, do it on your own blog. I have no obligation to provide a platform.
      On the whole, I think frontpagers seriously underestimate me in some way.

      • “On the whole, I think frontpagers seriously underestimate me in some way.”


  17. […] I figured he would pay for it. He did. It’s RD’s blog and she’s of course free to do with it as she pleases, but I […]

  18. Great piece RD. Hard to believe it has been THREE years. Damn. Three years.

    Everything you have always said about FDR Dems rings true for me. I was a Clinton supporter, and I remember the essays you all wrote on that election day when some of us had to cast a protest vote. Why did we do that? It wasn’t because we were Republicans. No way. I think we were pretty worried about the whole country and where it was going to go post-Bush.

    Well? Now we are looking at the grimmest backlash ever. Ever, that I can recall. I hadn’t been following politics so much, until Clinton and the election. I wanted the war to end, as a Dem.

    Also I think the voices who have come and gone here really represent various factions of the things that the tail end boom grew up with? But, all of a sudden we are seeing the various directions our gen went as splits? Obama is our gen. But? He doesn’t act like the Dems we have loved. He’s some kind of corporate Dem?

    What I will never understand is the male Dem fascination with Palin? Klown seemed to have that.

    What amazes me are these giant splits in cultural thought given location? You would think that our whole gen would think alike being raised on things like Beatles songs — but we don’t.

    When you write about your industry, I see that as a reflection of all industries in this country? Like the newspaper industry. When you write about “the safety net” of Social Security or way, way back to those charmers of nights with Rico…even couches, rings and marshmallows…

    it’s all been great.

    What I admire you most for RD? Is when you talked about that Goldberry deal. Why you started the Confluence to begin with. Your particular voice on the page reminds me very much of the girls I knew in Junior High who wrote politics. I just recognize the strength and honesty in your voice.

    It’s been a pleasure to read The Confluence, always. And it will continue to be, for me.

    I think that East/West Dems are very alike in their FDR-ness in our gen — it’s a matter of practicality? One thing about the Conf is that it has this “practicality” at the center. The Conf and its readers aren’t fooled by things?

    I do miss Dak, a lot. Since i don’t really hang out and chat much, I missed what happened sometimes as big rifts rolled through here?

    But, this blog is a chronicle for me of what my generation of Dems think about things?

    Always a pleasure to read…

    Hugs Conf & Co.

    • What I will never understand is the male Dem fascination with Palin?


      I take it you’ve spoken to many a “Male” Democrat to come to this conclusion.
      As a “Male” Democrat I can tell you this……I despise that woman’s politics. Just as I despise any Right Wing political smut peddler!

      To paint every “Male” DEM with that narrow minded brush is not only ridiculous but offensive!.

    • Either Moderator ate my post or it was trashed. I’m really hoping it was the former.

  19. I made a post but it might have gotten lost? it was an appreciation of The Confluence, for three years!

  20. I’m somewhat lost at all the names since I don’t who’s nickname belongs to whom– anyhooo– I agree with your stand. I wish Larry Johnson would clean-up No Quarter in a similar manner. If you don’t take action, then the professional Obots and Teabaggers will take over the comments, if not the posts, and soon all you will have is the screeching of the howlers as they swing from point to absurd point.

  21. Does this mean I can come off moderation? :0)

    I am a FDR Dem, always have been and come from a long line of them. I’ve often wondered what my grandfather would think of today’s Democratic Party. Turn over in his grave, I would think.

    I’ve enjoyed many of TC’s essays but honestly admit being perplexed of late. One day it would reflect solidly Democratic principles; the next it was Tea Party heaven.

    I try to read as much as I possibly can. From all quarters. Left to right. And I have to say that frequently, I’m intrigued by certain ideas and nuances. But I’m a Dem, even though it’s very hard being a Democrat with the Obamacrats in charge.

    So, if a change is in the wind, I’ll applaud. Even if I’m not taken off moderation! One way or another, I’ll continue to read TC and be glad it’s still here.

  22. This is the only politically oriented blog I continue to read regularly. I like the direction you’re taking TC. If anything, I’m going to enjoy this blog even more than before. Cheers!

  23. Thanks, R.D. I’ve been enjoying this blog since 2008. I’d rather read fewer posts of higher quality written by you and Katie, than the vast quantity of weirdness we’ve been seeing here lately.

    FDR Democrat here, all the way. Good to see you kicking a** and taking names. To paraphrase Stephen Sondheim, Send Out The Clowns.

  24. I can’t thank you all enough for keeping this blog alive and continually on top of whatever the day’s story is.

    The klown appears to have gone fishing and I certainly hope he’ll be back soon. No one does what he does better.

  25. Good for you! And happy 3rd anniversary. I discovered TC in spring of 2008 – it got me through the horror of the primaries and election, and I thank you for that.

    Although I continued to read TC, there was a time when I was as turned off as you seemed to have been RD – I wondered what was going on here, how did we loose our way? But it sounds like you’re back on track.

  26. I visit this blog almost daily and had a feeling there was gonna be a split after the last posts. Damn!

  27. The recent turn of events saddens me but you must do what you feel is right for you.

  28. I am and always will be an FDR Democrat. My PUMA did not die or melt away. It took up residence in my heart and leaps to life every time I hear, “Democrats have to put aside our differences and pull together.” Where were these Democrats during ’08? They were busy telling us we were not needed or wanted.
    I did not vote for Obama or McCain because I have never voted Republican and I felt that we had two Republicans running for President. Sorry, I cannot kill my PUMA as long as Obama is President.
    I have been here over 21/2 years and enjoy this blog.

  29. I really appreciate it that you set the record straight and I respect you taking charge of your blog and it’s tone.

  30. Bottom line, the more blogs the better. I read both, all. Let each topic/attitude expand in its own blog.

    I dropped in to support Coakley during the Coakley/Brown campaign and felt things had gone all Tea Party here, so I left. If I’d come during a Obot phase, I’d have left too.

    So a swing too far either way, for too long, can be a problem.

    • I think you didn’t realize that many opposed (or at least had problems) with Coakley in the general election here because they criticized her from the left. I was one of them, and to be honest I ddin’t see people here opposing her from the right.

      This isn’t a comment on what happenned here over the past few weeks, I’m just talking specifically about the Coakley/Brown race.

    • Nope, we thought Coakley screwed up by leaving her left flank.
      However, Scott Brown’s election was significant not because the tea party handed Coakley a defeat but because some if the Democratic base failed to show up to vote for her. Her defeat was not validation of the Tea Party. It was vindication for what we have been saying all along. If you throw your base under the bus, don’t expect them to vote for you or dance around singing “love Train”.

      • Coakly’s loss was a direct result of her saying she would support the health care bill, IMO.

  31. I just come in to get warm :mrgreen:

  32. I have thoroughly enjoyed Myiq2xu ‘s posts, he is funny, bright and articulate and I for one will miss him exceedingly. I read the TC every single day and never mistook him for Tea Party fan or any kind of she who must not be named advocate. I sincerely hope that he returns, he will be missed.

    • It’s funny that you would say that. I’ve always thought he was a great asset and have fought many a front pager and commenter who wanted him gone.
      But myiq can occasionally get carried away. He’s got to decide if he wants to moderate the party before it gets out of hand.

    • I agree – I just don’t get how he’s painted as a Tea Party host or SWMNBN supporter. I actually appreciated that he was taking the collective conventional wisdom and asking us all to stop flailing at those distractions (TP”er and SWMNBN). I think he was trying to point out that Tea Partiers and SWMNBN cannot succeed without the high volume of their critics – the critics just provide oxygen for them to live…. and yet we got even MORE flailing.

  33. Sunshine is the best disinfectant.

  34. I’ll keep checking in to see what sane FDR Dems are up to. But MyIQ was pragmatic not dogmatic and it was refreshing. And if Dems don’t walk back from the cliff on some of their witch burning attacks of women politicians they can’t expect to be very successful. We are 52% of the population. I do appreciate the forum you provide.

    • No one forced myiq out. It’s just that I took the keys away and now he’s pissed off. If he wants to come back, I’m all for it.

  35. Love the poem.

  36. you’re doing the right thing. when you get right down to it, it’s all about the writing – always has been. that’s what makes you – and this blog – special.

  37. I support both of you and enjoy reading both of you. I do very much appreciate you maintaining the blog and although I am not a Dem I think FDR Dems are a winning idea that would be good for the country. In fact as an Independent it really pisses me off to see the Democrat party go of the rails like they did in 2008 with the Obama-rama. It leaves me with no choices and turns me into a de facto Republican which I do not like. I hope you sane Dems are able to take the party back but there is a big misogyny problem that Dems will need to solve. Acting like it doesn’t exist might work amongst yourselves but it alienates potential voters who aren’t attached to the party.

    • Right now we do not have a nationally-established party that does not have a misogyny problem. (

      know, I know,.the Greens nominated a two-woman ticket. But they can’t even get on the ballot in some states. Until they’re actually an option in all 50, they’re not truly a national party.

    • Unfortunately the election of Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid as leaders in congress signals it will be business as usual for the time being.

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