Written by Cenk Uygur
I was just going to write about how we should rally the troops to fight for strong progressives (as I did in this video), when Obama dragged me back into the fight between real progressives and the Obama administration. As Al Pacino said in Godfather III, every time I think I’m done with it, he keeps pulling me back in.
I don’t want to bore you with the details of why they didn’t fight for real change and how they accepted Washington exactly as it was and made no effort to change its underlying structures and assumptions. We’ve been over it a million times. No, today the interesting part is why they brought up this old fight in the first place.
This was not a gaffe. It was not a slip about the “professional left” from someone who had grown frustrated. This was a coordinated strategy. Biden and Obama even used the same talking points. They hit their base for complaining and then both said it was time to “buck up.” That’s not an accident; that’s planned.
One possibility is that they think yelling at their voters before an election is smart electoral politics. Accuse them of whining and taking their ball and going home. Treat them like children and maybe they’ll comply? These are Democrats we’re talking about so maybe they thought their voters would respond well to abuse. It is after all what Republicans have been using on Democratic politicians all of these years to great effect.
But I don’t think that’s it. That strategy is hardly inspiring and honestly I don’t think I’ve ever seen a political party yell at their voters like this before an election. It’s bizarre.
There is one other explanation. They think they’re going to lose and they’re setting up a scapegoat. It wasn’t that they ran a bad campaign or that they didn’t deliver on their promises – it was their ungrateful voters and the damned professional left. Actually, Washington reporters will love this. There is nothing they enjoy more than beating up on progressive activists and the Democratic base. This strategy is tailored made for the DC elite. They’re going to eat it up!
But to what effect? Obama is so immersed in the DC bubble that he has forgotten the end goal. He is under the delusion that if he can just get the Washington media and politicians to like him everything will be fine. But that wasn’t supposed to be the end goal. As a politician, you’re supposed to get the voters to like you, not some DC media jerk.
I think they still believe that the DC media is a good proxy for the mood of the country. That is a stunning and inexcusable error. But they’re so deep in, they can’t even see that losing the election and winning over the DC establishment is not a win or a wash, that’s a gigantic loss. Do you think making David Broder happy will win you the 2012 election?
Scapegoating the professional left might send the DC crowd into orgasmic seizures, but what does it do to win the country over? What does it do about unemployment? What does do about our rising insurance premiums (remember, the ones you said wouldn’t rise)?
In a recent AP poll about the healthcare bill, people – by a 2-to-1 margin – said that it should have done more not less in reforming the system. That isn’t the professional left, that’s America. The progressive base is so much larger than the Tea Party clowns running around in Koch brother funded protests. Remember, those are the same progressives who got you elected in the first place.
So, you can shoot the messenger all you like but it isn’t going to change the message. You didn’t do too much government intervention as Fox News claims, you did too little. Too little to protect the average American, too little to help him or her get a job, too little to change the same old games in Washington. Almost everyone in Washington is there because they succeeded in this broken, corrupt system. If you make them happy, you’ve probably done the exact opposite of what you were supposed to do.
What got you elected was the promise to throw those bums out on their asses not to cater to them. But if you like, you can take another cheap shot at the people trying to help you and see if that changes the polls. My guess is it won’t. And then when you blame us again, the only people happy will be the ones in DC who hate change.
Two reactions off the top of my head: One, Obama is acting, and being blamed for, the way Rahm Emanuel plays politics. Illinoisans familiar with Rahm’s ‘style’ already know he has a penchant for yelling at the left, liberals, progressives, union members, et al, telling them to shut up and get in line. This is because Emanuel is not and never has been a liberal or progressive — he is a card-carrying DLC corporatist Dem who was spawned, unlike Obama, by the corrupt Daley Machine in Chicago. To Rahm, America, like Chicago to Daddy Daley and his gang of crooks, isn’t ready for reform, especially the kind of reform that might take corpo money out of Rahm’s pocket. Obviously, the polls show Obama has not been well-served by this corrupt little idiot. Why Obama hired him as Chief of Staff in the first place is a mystery to me — maybe he thought Rahm would help push his agenda through Congress but, in fact, Rahm was instrumental in giving up on the public option and siding with the GOP on parts of many other bills. It will be good to see him gone.
Two, Obama has repeatedly said we should hold his feet to the fire and let him know when we’re dissatisfied — how do you do that without complaining about him and his administration? It’s frustrating as hell that a dimwit professional Obama-hater like Glenn Beck can carp about Van Jones and he’s instantly fired but all the progressives on the Internet can cite insulting, stupid comments by that acrimonious, sexist old bastard Alan Simpson and the Obama Team just chuckles indulgently. Maybe Obama would actually like to lose the Dem majority in Congress; he knows the GOP will screw things up royally and he can campaign against their incompetence for two years. Not good for the country, but it’s the kind of cynical political calculation worthy of a Rahm Emanuel.
Perhaps. That would be a mistake. He might get another term, but last time the Repubs kept Congress and then the Supremes let the non-housebroken fascists out of the kennel, then Bush happened. All that time: bin Laden plotting. But getting Bill was “the most important thing.” (I believe that was Lott or Gingrich who said that, probably Newt.) Obama was left to clean up the Bush on the nation’s floor.
I suspect much the same might happen again. He’s already repeated several Clinton mistakes, including trying to forgive and forget previous traitorous actions. I suspect, if they do win big: still an open question, we will spend the next 2 to 6 years sinking in another overflowing septic tank-worth of investigations.
Yes, but those who say so don’t understand. They did whatever the hell they wanted to anyway.
It amazes me how some are so blind the the evil we are up against.
Not just evil but crazy as well. I think the Teabagger candidates are going to lose big in Nov., so that might bring the less fringe-right GOP to the fore — the big GOP money isn’t going to support the Teabaggers after massive defeats. Maybe, for once, we’ll have the GOP tacking to the center-left instead of the liberal Dems tacking to the center-right to govern.
My prediction: won’t be the “blowout” they brag about, but not as positive as some of us paint it. In the middle. However most of the media will paint it as a blowout anyway. They will have their party: like they did in 94. They will become more bold.
Unlike you I don;t believe anything positive will come of this. Even losing big probably wouldn’t modify these guys and their behavior. The only way to modify a bully’s behavior is to beat back: hard.
A good take on this bully thing can be found in Andrew Scott Card’s Ender’s Game. Card is a bit of a Religio-Con, but this series is good until you get to the side books that follows Ender’s “shadow:” another character in the series. Being a Mormon, if I remember right, Card makes it obvious he thinks he knows what’s in the mind of the pro-choicers: but hasn’t a clue.
Sounds like most of the right when they claim they can mind read us in public rants, right?