Tuesday, May 11, 2010


... that while I'd like a president (and subordinates and appointees of that president) to be principled progressives rather than eager-to-please seekers of common ground, I prefer eager-to-please semi-progressive seekers of common ground to the sociopaths of the GOP, who'd happily burn this country to the ground if it meant they'd be the lords of what smoking embers remained. So I'll continue to voice objections to what displeases me about the Obama administration, but I'm not forgetting who the real enemy is. I'm not going to attack Elena Kagan using GOP frames, as Jane Hamsher does. I'm not going to declare this administration indistinguishable from the Bush administration, as Glenn Greenwald so often seems to do.

Part of my frustration with Firebagging in general is that progressives simply lack the muscle to drag not just the administration but Congress and the country all that far to the left by sheer force of will, and Firebaggers don't seem to understand that. Unlike the teabaggers, we don't have a multimedia news organization at our disposal that's endlessly fed money by hit Hollywood movies. We haven't had a Wurlitzer in operation for thirty years persuading the mainstream press that attention must be paid to us because we're the really really authentic Americans. Our propagandists don't dominate AM radio on every square mile of U.S. territory. We haven't even begun the work of persuading -- not hectoring, but persuading -- heartland swing voters that our ideas aren't scary, aren't hostile to American values, and in fact are in sync with their values. We certainly haven't persuaded enough heartland voters to make heartland members of the House and Senate sit up and take notice, the way they carefully notice whether they're protecting their right flanks.

We've got a lot of work to do to get our message across. We're not going to get there by regularly joining right-wingers in Obama pile-ons.

So yeah, regarding the administration, I'll keep grumbling. But I'm not going to support any move that dilutes what little power we have (and I'm not joking when I say "little power," because even with huge congressional majorities and the White House, too much of the country is still under a Reagan/Limbaugh/Murdoch spell, and too many congressional Democrats are cowardly as a result). If you know how to get big leftward shifts to happen, really, go for it. If all you know how to do is demand them, I might take your point, but I'm going to object that you don't have a plan.

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