Now some of you might like to think that I give you a hard time. I think of Harry Truman, when people shouted at him “Give’em hell, Harry!” he would respond: “I just tell the Republicans the truth, and they THINK it is hell!”
Just to give you an idea that I am not JUST picking on y’all. I was at a breakfast meeting of various Dem operatives this morning, discussing an election up and coming, and how to sponsor a series of debates among the candidates.
Invited and attending would be none other than Eric Bauman, Los Angeles county Dem party BOSS.
Eric is nobody to mess with. He is one tough motherjumper. He is in fact Los Angele’s answer to Harvey Milk. Yes. He is gay. And yes. He is a nurse. An emergeny room nurse. And yes, he has a Napoleon complex. But I’ll tell you now, I don’t think there is any man short of a pro NFL Linebacker that this guy would not go after physically. I think he is what the gay culture would call a top, and then some. I’d think twice before taking a swing on him.
I walked into the meeting, not knowing that Eric would be there, and I have had a bit of a beef with Eric for a while. He was one of the first officials of the party to be invited to my club’s activities. You need to understand: I have had a state senator sit in my living room to give a graduate level seminar on how legislation happens in the capitol.
I have had an assemblyman give three hours of his time in my back yard during a BBQ explaining how things were going in the Capitol. AdLib and his wife attended that one, if you are curious.
But Eric came to essentially our first event many years ago, and was astonished that we did not know him on sight. There is a certain frostiness from us toward him. Not that he could give a rat’s pitoot. And why should he?
So there we are at this meeting. In this rather unsatisfactory restaurant with deplorable service. The man who had organized the meeting wanted to get it going, but Eric quite reasonably asked that we wait until we all had ordered breakfast.
Then Eric revealed himself to be rather a Clintonista. (I knew is views) That is OK. Urrrrr. OK. Urrrrr.
You need to try to understand. Here is this perfectly self-possessed guy. Short but well built. Close friend of the new Assembly Speaker. Long time boss of the Los Angeles Democratic party. Attending a meeting, and trying to explain how it is that Obama and his crew had fucked up, on HCR, in Mass. Clinton’s people would have handled it!
In front of, BTW, 12 activists that he has had a long and effective relationship with. Plus me and my colleague from our club. And he is saying that the Obama admin is a failure.
I’m sorry. But I don’t like to hear that from anyone who holds an office in the party. It is not so bad in this situation, where the only audience is long-time-activists, and me and my friend. But this sort of talk has no place coming from an officer before membership. You want to talk that way? Resign your office.
So Eric is going on about how effective BushCo had been, and how ineffective ObamaCorp is. And there was talk about how well ObamaCorp had run their campaign but could not legislate. This point is slightly out of order, but I made the rather telling point, that the room admitted was correct: ObamaCorp had nearly full control of their electoral stategy, that the Senate was not telling them what states to campaign in and what issues to emphasize. Governing is very much campaigning, but still, the two are different.
Let me take it back a few minutes. Eric has had the floor for quite a while, six minutes perhaps. He is after all, the eight hundred pound gorilla in the room. But all he has said is that Obama missed this and he should have done that.
You have seen this from me before: I got the floor and delivered it to him, right to his face: Dude. We are progressives. We try to get things done. The other guys are Reactionaries. They try to prevent things getting done.
It is damned easier to obstruct than to do. That is my current thesis.
Eric conceded my point on that (try explaining HCR. Hell, I don’t understand it. If Quark can live with it, so can I) we as progressives have the harder row to hoe.
(And one toes the line, not tows the line!)
The long and short of it is: I went eye to eye with a guy who could have dismissed me and suffered no consequences. I am happy to say that I escaped the meeting with my equipment intact, and positively impacted the direction of the meeting.
People. Politics is one dirty fucking game. To be able to have impact in it, one needs to be prepared to give, and to take. Stand and goddamn deliver. To do otherwise is to be an amateur. Armchair quarterbacks never get a broken leg. Woopie. And when an as absolute anti-Hillarist as I am goes against as powerful a Clintonista as Eric, one can expect fireworks.
But I held my own, and now the Vice-Chair of the California Democratic Party will be able to pick me out of a crowd.
I am working on my club’s 2010 political stategy. Our new slogan will be: Participation is Patriotism!
Which brings me to this: anyone who wants to tell me that Democrats are not Patriots can kiss my fucking ass.
And anyone who wants to tell me that America is not a pretty goddamn good country can kiss my fucking ass.
Just a few thoughts from a guy who is trying to move things forward on the ground, in the real world.
For anyone who feels the need to whine. Knock it the fuck off. There is far more work to do than there are hands to do it. Stop your sniveling. Go to work. Find a way to move forward.
If this admonishion does not apply to you, then you don’ t need to tell me how mean I am. Krist, am I tired of that shit.