Wednesday, December 08, 2010


Kevin Drum on the tax cut deal:

Anyone who doesn't like it needs to spend the next two years persuading the public not just to tell pollsters they don't like tax cuts for the rich, but to actually vote out of office anyone who supports tax cuts for the rich. That's the only way we'll win the replay of this battle in 2012.

Well, exactly. A new poll from the Bloomberg news service shows that Americans, yet again, say they want tax cuts for the rich repealed (details in this PDF) -- but if that's how they feel, why don't they vote against the Republicans who endlessly defend rich people's tax breaks? Congressional Democrats wimped out in September and chose not to put the issue in relief by holding a vote -- that, as I said at the time, was when the battle was lost -- but even in the absence of a vote, what does the left, professional or otherwise, insider or outsider, ever do to make the governing philosophy of the GOP clear to the broad general public, in a way that will get the public mad?

Related to this is what mistermix says about the angry left voices out there now:

It is beyond parody that these idiots can experience the last two years of legislative gridlock and conclude that the proper response is to launch a primary challenge in 2012. You don't have to be an O-bot to see that the biggest challenge to progressivism in this country is the Senate. Though it’s always given rural, conservative states a bigger voice in Congress, the aggressive use of the filibuster has turned it into the place where progressive legislation goes to die.

Most of the drama we experienced in the 111th Congress is directly related to the anachronistic rules of the Senate. If progressives need a windmill to tilt at, why not pick filibuster reform? Is it because it would take time, patience, subtlety and political cunning?

That's harsh, but I think there's truth to it -- that and the fact that we seem to believe that all we have to do is pick a hero (or set of heroes) and an enemy (or set of enemies), and if we can achieve victory for the good guy(s), everything will just fall into place. We won't have to keep fighting and keep persuading. All good will flow from a rider or riders atop one or more white steeds.

I saw this mindset in 2000 among Naderites. The two-party duopoly is hopelessly corrupt! Elect Nader! And if you had elected Nader, my Underpants Gnomes, what's Step 2? Wouldn't he be working with 535 legislators who were all (or nearly all) from the two-party duopoly? I also saw this mentality, with less pure heroes, in the great Netroots/50-State Strategy/Ned Lamont moment of 2006 and, needless to say, with Obama in 2008.

Of course, Obama did very little to disabuse supporters of the notion that he was, in fact, a messiah -- a good electoral strategy, perhaps, but it gets you in trouble when you can't deliver. Not that he tries very hard to engage the public. Atrios yesterday:


I guess that's my reaction to the budget Deal Or No Deal. The economy does need more stimulus and it does provide more of that than expected (recognize expectations game). But if the economy needed more stimulus, why haven't they been making it the case? I understand that stimulus has become a dirty word because, well, I have no idea why, but they could have called it Magic Ponies or whatever.

"Stimulus" has become a dirty word because Republicans never stop messaging and Democrats never start.

It's odd that we now have the sneering term "the professional left" because, literally, there is no professional left -- no set of institutions that effectively promotes progressive ideas (rather than liberal or people-we-hope-are-liberal politicians). There sure as hell is a professional right; every day it grinds out effective propaganda and gets right-wing ideas even more deeply embedded in the national consciousness. This is what progressives have to do -- sell the ideas. Sell them to people who aren't Democratic Underground commenters and Kos diarists. And think of electoral victories as won battles, not won wars.

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