Smedley Butler
Crusader, Contrarian, Curmudgeon

I see a lot of people laying the blame for the events in Wisconsin at the feet of the voters whose low turnout at the polls is said to have brought Scott Walker and his ilk into power. This is very wrong and in fact a very good case can be made for reaching a very different and diametrically opposed conclusion.

I believe the a strong connection can be made between the events in Wisconsin and loyal Democrats voting in candidates that represent neither themselves or what most believe to be the ideals and principals of the Democratic Party.

Blaming rank and file Democrats for not showing their support for a party they feel is not representing them is the flip side of a page right out of the GOP playbook.  Who’s responsible for today’s economic misery and chaos? The GOP says blame homeowners, union members and schoolteachers. The Democrats say blame homeowners, union members and schoolteachers…they should have voted for the lesser of two evils.

Neither pins the tail on the ass in charge both lay the blame on the citizens they purport to represent. The blame in both cases is squarely on failure of leadership to represent their constituencies.

I think it’s fairly safe to say that many Democrats and at this point likely a growing number of Republican voters feel they didn’t get exactly what they thought they were voting for in recent elections. Many who voted did not do so out of support for their candidate party’s candidate but out of fear of a worse alternative to an unsavory choice.

The wellspring of our troubles is clear, Corporate cash and influence exerting a tidal pull to the right on both the GOP and Democratic Party.  Democratic Party leaders have failed to resist the lure of corporate largess. Can you say the same to an even greater degree of the GOP? Of course but at this point in time the GOP doesn’t even pay lip service to the notion of representing little other than corporate concerns.

Any sort of non-violent political change is easiest with party representation. Progressive labor and liberal policies are majority viewpoints. The first step to regaining some measure of political control of our own country is to allow and promote progressive representation in the Democratic Party.

The rightward drift of the Democratic Party is not the fault of unmotivated coach potato progressives or the petulant “professional left” demanding standards and accountability it’s a failure of leadership to take the high road keep their hands out of the cookie jar. The result is that the Democratic Party asks its constituency to engage in a never-ending cycle of vote right to go left, rinse, repeat.

Has this helped or hurt the progressive cause? The entire country has swung violently to the right not only because of an aggressive insurgent T-party but because up until possibly the present there has been no organized identifiable progressive movement to counter corporate influence within the Democratic party or without for the disenfranchised to rally around.

The most promising opportunity for political representation is the possibility that Progressive-labor will form an identifiable faction within the Democratic Party to challenge the status quo. This seems a strong possibility at this time. Someone’s going to realize that instead of the usual starting point of a politician seeking a sizable constituency there is a majority constituency seeking representation.

Reform will not be brought about by denial. Seeking to shift responsibility for a concerted national attack on labor rights, civil liberties and Democracy to “folks who should have voted” is not the answer. The answer is found by questioning what went so horribly wrong in 2008. How did a sweeping progressive public mandate, majority in both houses and control of the executive branch turn into a dispirited route in two short years? The very short answer is that people discovered they’d elected DINO’s and voiced their displeasure by choosing not to support them.

The Democrats have come so far right the GOP platform of Eisenhower’s time seems far left in many respects so far in fact there is an identifiable conservative wing “Blue Dogs” within the party yet no progressive analog. The cold truth is failure to pass progressive legislation and in fact passing a GOP wish list has more to do with conservative Blue Dog’s than obstructionist Republicans.

Just trying to motivate people to come to the polls in a show of party support isn’t enough and in fact may be counter productive. A progressive faction within the Democratic Party would provide a mechanism to facilitate a Republican return program so Blue Dogs can be successfully repatriated to their homeland in the big tent by providing support for progressive candidates at the primary level and beyond.

If your views represent the peoples they will come and vote. If your actions tell them you’ve aligned yourself with the will of the people they will return to vote again. .

Previous articleThe Daily Planet, Vol. 22
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I wasn't always Smedley Butler and frankly quiet surprised to discover my true identify after reading an interview with JZ Knight (Who "channels" Ramatha the spirit warrior.) and getting in touch with the "inner" Smedley. I haven't changed much over the years since the great depression and still believe it's my calling to support the causes of truth and justice by informing the public. I'm well qualified to write on almost any subject and provide documentation to this effect via virtually any Photoshop-able Diploma. Please feel to contact me with any story you have to tell, axe to grind or offer of employment in return for cash or trade*. *Discount meal coupons may be acceptable as trade depending on how hungry I am.

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Abbyrose86
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I really found all the comments on this thread very thought provoking and after having read them all, I am willing to join into the conversation.

I think there are elements on the left that aren’t genuine and who are using the divide for their own personal gain. I also think that the voters, as a whole, should take most of the blame for the mess we currently find ourselves in all over the nation, AS most American voters ARE apathetic and utterly removed from the political process.
As a result there really is only a SMALL minority who are determining ALL elections and thus the legislation pursued and enacted by our leaders.

The right KNOWS they only have to gain a majority of those who ACTUALLY vote to win and thus pursue their agenda. SO, let’s use numbers as a guide. If only 40% of voters vote…in a mid term election, than the RIGHT knows it only needs to appeal to 21% of those voters to WIN. Which is VERY doable. As the far right, tend to Vote in ALL elections more so than the far left. SO they just need to get those on the fence, to join their side and THEY win.

The left doesn’t seem to be as pragmatic or as honest about the numbers necessary to win. In addition, the left too often shoots themselves in the foot, in the political process by ineffective MARKETING and sales techniques. WHILE it is admirable that they point to statistics and lengthy arguments, to try and get ALL the facts across…the problem IS the voters aren’t listening. THEY tune out most of the lengthy diatribes and factual analysis. PEOPLE want simplicity and catchy quips. They don’t want ALL the relevant details. Truly they don’t. MARKETING 101.

I’ve been a business woman for years…and I am a damn good sales woman and marketeer. I DO ascribe to the tenets of ethical sales and marketing. HOWEVER, I also understand the need to KEEP it SIMPLE STUPID. THE KISS principle WORKS, it really does. Most buyers aren’t interested in all the details…they just want the brass tacks, the bottom line. Is that right of buyers? I tend to think not…but it is reality. All business spends a FRIGGIN fortune on research and marketing to determine WHAT gets people motivated to buy. There are many different types of personality types and KNOWING how to appeal to those personality types is the sign of a good sales person and good marketing strategy.

The far left DOES appeal to those who like facts and lengthy analysis as well an empathetic appeal. THAT tactic DOES work with MOST of the base, but not all and it DOESN’T work AT all with other personality types and those on the fringes or independents.

A good marketing strategy needs to APPEAL to the masses and MOST personality types. THAT is part of the problem with the LEFT, bad marketing and lack of understanding of those with different perspectives that MAY or MAY not subscribe to the ideals of the left.

Another issue, I think progressives face, is they don’t spend enough time REALLY trying to get to know their opposition and what motives THEM. Understanding the opposition and those who don’t have a firm opinion, is crucial to effectively selling any concept.

THE left is HORRIBLE at employing business concepts in their political campaigns, both for gaining support for individual candidates AND for policy initiatives.

Now, I’m not just bitching about the the most recent election but all the elections of the last 30 years, since Reagan. I think the electorate has to take a big part of the blame, and the LEFT has to ACCEPT responsibility for its shortcomings AND acknowledge where it goes wrong in selling it’s message.

Unfortunately, as you mentioned in one of your posts on this thread, Smedley, low voter turnout IS a problem in this nation and especially for the left. The left often DOES show it’s displeasure with the system by NOT voting, which I think is a mistake. AND I’m not just talking about not voting in general elections but in primaries. THEY also don’t put their money where their mouths are…like those on the right and far right tend to do, by supporting VIABLE candidates financially.

Viable, ELECTABLE candidates are needed, and need to get the party VOTE. WE, on the left, TOO often ‘split the vote’ by not be pragmatic and playing politics well. WE often allow our ideals to supersede political REALITIES.

The far right is able to be successful in this endeavor because they play the GAME better and understand STRATEGY better. I swear, does NO one on the left, have a business acumen or play chess?

It doesn’t seem that many on the left understand POLITICS is a game of strategy. Whether WE on the left like it or not. It is a power struggle and in many ways is LIKE business, in that selling and marketing the message to the masses is KEY to a political parties long term survival and ability to win support. Politics can be complex, as it deals with many variables. There are a variety at issues at play at all times. Economics, sociology, psychology, culture, history, biases, human emotion and behavior, to name but a few. Those who are most effective and thus WIN, understand the complexities and realize it’s not just about their ideals.

Sabreen60
Member
Sabreen60

Abby, I agree. Especially about marketing. Sometimes things that are right in front of you are missed. The left needs people who write short messages for greeting cards to produce TV ads. Or people who write jingles for a living. Seriously. The left seems unable to come up with catchy one-liners. Unfortunately, we do live in a time of sound bites and instant gratification. Most people are not political junkies. Unless some politician makes an extreme move as Walker did, and thousands of people protest – people don’t know about it. Ask any person on the street what they think about the law Michigan Governor Rick Snyder and the Repubs passed and they won’t have a clue.

But not only do we have a messaging problem, we don’t have Dems on the tube. Or the ones that do show up are too soft spoken. We need some fire from our Dem Reps.

whatsthatsound
Member

Smedley, I just want to say that I think you are debating extremely well here, and that is in no way meant to disparage those with whom you are debating. Though I don’t agree with everything you say (or more accurately, I acknowledge the validity of the arguments against your post – in my world both sides CAN be right 🙂 ), I admire the way you address every point, keep a level and respectful tone, and basically stand up for your thesis in a way that shows that you didn’t just come up with this idea overnight – that you are writing about this because you have THOUGHT about it so much. I learn a lot by observing how you respond to a negative critique of your ideas.

Chernynkaya
Member

I just got this email from Sen Sherrod Brown of Ohio. He sent out a survey to his constituents a while ago, asking to prioritize their concerns. These are the results:

[img]http://www.capitolenews.com/mailings/sherrodbrown/0304graph.jpg[/img]

It’s not scientific; it’s self-selecting. But I believe it is representative of most of the country. Progressives need to look around and realize that we represent about 20% if the electorate. Sorry about that–it’s depressing. But if you ignore what people like these voters think are important, and therefore believe that Obama should listen to the mostly to the Left–well, can you say President Romney?

Dbos
Member
Dbos

don’t know smed you explained but “the entire country swung right because o the tea people and no identifiable progressive leadership” I would say its more because the monied interests own all the means of communication and they control the message to lots of simplistic scared busy people;the propagandists are winning

Sabreen60
Member
Sabreen60

Absolutely the Cons control the message. I don’t watch Sunday morning talk shows, but based on what I’ve read the majority of the interviewees are Repubs – and so are hosts. There was absolutely NOTHING on the news about WI over the weekend. No video of the 100,000 protesters or the tractors. How anyone can still believe in the myth of the “liberal media” is beyond me.

Sabreen60
Member
Sabreen60

Many disgruntled progressives sat home. Ed Schultz advised his listeners NOT to vote. Who does that? The Professional Left constantly denigrated the President and the Democrats because they were not moving fast enough or they didn’t move far enough to the left. Like it or not we have Blue Dogs in the Congress. These folks represent conservative districts or states. Granted, if appears that some Blue Dogs didn’t listen to their constituents on at least one issue – the public option.

I visit several “far left” web sites and frankly the immaturity of the comments is astounding. They ascribe simplistic solutions to complex problems. It appears that all they know is that they want what they want and they want it NOW.

You didn’t mention President Obama by name, but your inference was more than clear. President Obama never sold himself as “far left”. I’m not going to go into everything that may or may not be disappointing about President Obama. Personally, my feet were firmly planted on the ground in the voting booth. I didn’t put him on a pedestal and I understood that the very real possibility exist that what a candidate says and what may transpire once they have to govern can be different.

We’ve had this conversation here before and I won’t repeat what I’ve said in the past – except to state that major legislation usually occurs incrementally. Too many progressives seem not to understand this is how it happens in a democracy. It’s messy.

KQµårk 死神
Member

Great points.

“Who does that?” LOSERS who will never understand what it takes to move the political center of this country.

escribacat
Member

What a great post, Sabreen. I don’t watch Ed Schultz and I am really surprised and disappointed to read that he advised his viewers (listeners?) not to vote. What a jerk.

KillgoreTrout
Member

Smedley, I don’t disagree completely, but I simply cannot give the dems who stayed home on election day a pass. I remember debates (arguments)about this very same thing in the several months prior to the midterms.
Those who were dissatisfied with Obama said they would not vote, or they would vote independent, as a way of showing Obama how disappointed they were. I never understood that position. Did they actually believe that GOP/TP candidates would be better? The midterms were not even about Obama and I tried to get these people to see that. They wouldn’t.
Much of what you say is quite true, but the spoiled, recalcitrant childlike attitude of these non-voters did help these GOP/TP creeps regain many seats and some governorships.

coveark
Member
coveark

I have to totally agree. You need to smart enough to realize who the possible winners are if you DO NOT vote and what they represent. Now as you say the creeps stepped up and anyone who did not vote because they were in a snit, or voted against incumbents just because……..worked for the GOPTP whether they thought so or not. I tried to tell them also. These ‘people’ and I use the term loosely, that came into office are Socially Vicious and now they supposidly represent us. They do not even know us.

KillgoreTrout
Member

You’re right coveark. They have no idea how the middle class and poor people live on a day to day basis. Either that, or they just don’t give a shit.

jkkFL
Guest

‘Don’t give a shit’ resonates with me.
Why should they?
Nothing about our lives impact them in any way. Until it does, they won’t care.

jkkFL
Guest

SmedleyButler!
You took the words right out of my mouth..had they been there!
For a year or so, I’ve been wondering why liberal/progerssive has been equated to leper.
I get email from ‘Bold Progressives'(3or 4 times a day some days-grr) and they don’t seem to have any trouble rounding up support, or money, to support causes.
Why have so called ‘progressives’ gone underground? If someone calls me a lib or liberal- I thank them! You’d be surprised how many of them shut up and leave me alone.
I am also glad to hear people get over the meme of ‘you get what you vote for’
Not true. Scott took FL by barely 1%. No fight- no mention of recount- no dismay over thousands of voted being disqualified in West Palm- a poor, ethnic suburb that votes Democratic historically.
This week the AG of FL revoked all repatriation of felons- setting up difficult standards for repatriation- because prisoners historically vote Democratic!
None of this has anything to do with how we voted, but everything to do with the guys with the money.
Progressives need to stand up and reclaim their ground.

Marion
Member

Funny enough, on this week’s Real Time, the most apt assessment of this situation was given by a Republican ex-Congressman: People aren’t voting with their wallets; they’re voting (or their not voting) on cultural issues. Right or Left, that sucks.

Khirad
Member

I was surprised at his candor when he said that.

Oh, and Keith Ellison was on. Co-chair of the Progressive Caucus. Analog to the Blue Dogs, albeit less influential (at the time).

Chernynkaya
Member

Marion, that is too simplistic. Voters act on any number of reasons–“reason” aside. Every day, some Repub tells us what they insist the voters “want”–and the same can be said for the self-proclaimed pundits in the Left. Funny how they all see The Voters in their own image. And for their own agendas.

choicelady
Member

I’m not sure he’s right – the GOP claimed that people had their knickers in a major twist over “the Deficit”. Now that the GOP is actually NOT interested in the deficit, they are back to their old sibboleths – VALUES. The leadership cannot bring themselves to defund things THEY want (they have more pork than almost anyone) so we’re back to hitting DOMA, de-financing family planning, etc. in the hope that the Baggers will get on the traditional train.

People who observe the win see that the GOP gain was very broad and very shallow, so it’s NOT a mandate but a streak of luck that the pissy liberals sat it out. I think Baggers who are now hearing about “cuts to Medicare” and “cuts in Social Security” from both the old farts such as Simpson AND the Baggers are suddenly scared.

Being angry is not a policy. It’s an emotion. In the Midwest and across the country with US Uncut, there is now a policy: “Chop from the Top not Mom and Pop!” I think we will see two things – mobilization of the sniffily indifferent AND recruitment of Baggers who REALLY did not know what they were voting for. Maybe not a lot of them, but “buyers’ remorse” is clearly present, and it may just turn the tide!

We have NO need to work on the extreme right. We are working on the wobbly but good-hearted, well-meaning middle. Those are the folks who get lousy info, who get scared, who get upset, and who can vote EITHER intelligently with good outreach and information OR stupidly with rhetoric and fear tactics.

We were not heard because WE did not speak. That’s over. New messages, new and authentic voices, new day. Our 40 years of passivity is over!

Buddy McCue
Member

Wow. And some people say that progressive ideas would never fit on a bumpersticker…

“Chop from the Top not Mom and Pop!” is great. Short and to-the-point.

choicelady
Member

I hasten to say I did NOT make that up – it was part of yesterday’s chants. The real people of WI made that up! Isn’t it GREAT?

We CAN fit these things on bumper stickers! We do not HAVE to submit 41-page papers with footnotes…

choicelady
Member

Many moons ago, G. William Domhoff, author of “Who Rules America” also wrote “Fat Cats and Democrats” noting the shift toward monied interests in both parties. His wife coined the term, “limousine liberals”, and it’s as true today as then.

That said, there is NEVER a time when votes don’t outweigh money. Never. But to make that work, people have to be engaged. It is not enough JUST to vote because by that point the parties have picked the candidates, and ‘hold-your-nose-and-vote’ becomes what remains. What is required BEFORE hand is to make people’s voices heard, loudly and strongly, to both office holders AND the party. We, the so-called “progressives” don’t do that nearly enough.

We CAN “blame” people for staying home. There is no way around the fact that decision by indecision is a statistical fact of electoral politics. The broad but shallow victories of the GOP show very clearly what happens when people don’t vote. It’s not their mandate, it’s our capitulation.

Lest one think that a Blue Dog is NOT better than a Bagger, allow me to point out (stay with me, long timers or skip this section) that a small group of activists in the 1st CD of CA got themselves together and leaned on Mike Thompson, a Blue Dogger, to support health care reform WITH the public option that was in the House bill. It was a group of faith community people who went in force day after day, in person and by phone, FAX, and email, to his offices, all pretty remote, and told him he HAD to vote for the bill, it was the only moral position. Three weeks later, he had a front page story in the Sacramento Bee saying he’d changed his position and was supporting the bill. Up and down the state and across the country this happened. Votes were changed, views were changed. They were the only group targeting Thompson, and they WON. That’s the power of democracy in action.

I don’t care what the issues are, the only way you change leadership is by actions at the ground level. Voting is what follows, but until people make the commitment to their own wants enough to ACT on them, nothing will change either in the actions of the office holder OR the nature of the candidates.

Too many progressives think because Bush was an imperial president that Obama should be one, too. They think the same of congress and the senate. It’s lazy and disengaged. We cannot tweet our way to democracy – we have to show up in person, somewhere, somehow, daily.

Think how much more could be done with coalitions, with larger groups, with concerted and united strategies and messages. That’s what the Tea Party did, and there is NO evidence of an alternative on the progressive side until now. NOW we’re cooking! And that’s why all of us who are active have not only the right but the obligation to call out armchair whiners and grumpy no-shows at the polls and on the lines.

You claim democracy ONLY by showing up. Always have, always will.

Chernynkaya
Member

C’Lady, I give you a world of credit. I wish I had your patience and your eloquence. Most times–like this– I want to just say, “Bah!” (Or, the Yiddish equivalent: “Feh!”)

choicelady
Member

Feh! One of my fave words, but I NEVER learned to say it with the right nuances. WASPs lack the zip for the elegance of languages not their own. Please keep saying it FOR me!

No matter what, it is SO useful – especially for me dealing with allies who keep re-inventing the wheel to save their own power but not to advance the cause. Feh!

Thank you. I feel better already!

Chernynkaya
Member

To paraphrase KQ– L’Chaim! 🙂

escribacat
Member

My understanding of DINOs are that these democrats were elected in what are usually red districts, and that it was only a shift to the left that gave us a democrat there instead of a republican. Your assertion that the DINOs were elected by progressives who thought they were voting for an extremely liberal candidate doesn’t ring true to me.

I am sure that a “progressive faction in the Democrat party” would serve only one party’s purpose — and that is the republican party. My greatest hope for the 2012 election is that some teabagger will run — thus splitting the conservative vote and ensuring that the democrat gets into office again.

Khirad
Member

A progressive would never get elected here. The Arizona GOP is batshit insane. Yes, I’ll keep my Blue Dog, may she continue to recover.

I don’t get that argument either.

Chernynkaya
Member

Do you have any proof for your assertion that the Progressives who stayed home in 2010 had no impact on the election of the Baggers and Rightward turn of the country since then? Because I completely disagree with that claim. Change my mind.

Obama won in 2008 by a large margin. Where were those voters in 2010? You can try to make a case for WHY they stayed home–but that’s an entirely different issue and you seem to be conflating that. If one stayed home for the Midterms they need to own up to their responsibility for this disaster. It’s the only intellectually honest thing to do.

Frankly, your post is just more of the same disgruntalist position of many progressives that exhibits a lack of serious analysis. And beyond that, it offers no solutions. What would you have done differently? THAT is worth a discussion. This rant–not so much.

KQµårk 死神
Member

There is little use trying to dent the progressive echo chamber on this issue.

It was a self fulfilling prophecy on the left early on to punish the Dems for not doing what progressives asked. Compound that with the media narratives of the like Teabaggers (which both left and right media played up) and historical trends and Dems stayed home.

That’s the reality what comes after are the rationalizations.

Buddy McCue
Member

When so many progressives decided to punish the Democrats by staying home, they might have predicted how the media would interpret the results.

The consensus view of the MSM is that the nation decided to turn to the Right, and that the Republicans now have a mandate to enact rightwing policy.

Even President Obama seemed to agree with this assessment.

What’s weird about all that, is that the consensus view of the media in the time right before the 2010 elections was that was an “enthusiasm gap.” There WAS an enthusiasm gap; that’s one of the few things the pundits were right about, but didn’t they wonder why?

Seems to me that the takeaway message of the 2010 results should have been that the Democrats weren’t behaving progressive enough. But you won’t find any pundits on Face the Nation or Meet The Press who are willing to say THAT.

KQµårk 死神
Member

That’s because that view is only real on the progressive side of the equation. To most of the nation I hate to tell folks here but the Dems were seen as TOO LIBERAL, especially Obama.

That’s why Obama is adjusting to that reality.

KillgoreTrout
Member

KQ, the right wing in America today is way to the right of classic conservatism. In their eyes, anybody even slightly left of fascism is seen as being too liberal. And I don’t think that is an exaggeration.

KillgoreTrout
Member

KQ, then we must work to change such misconceptions. Although, in today’s media, that is a daunting task.
We should fight any attempt to divide us and I think the demonization of the word liberal is just such an attempt.

KQµårk 死神
Member

The poll I posted said independents saw Dems as too liberal by 52% as well. We have to understand even if it’s only perception that’s the view most people have of Dems, especially those who vote.

Caru
Member

I’d refer to it as perception rather than reality.

KQµårk 死神
Member

I agree and have said that. But does it really mater? Perception = reality when someone goes to the polls.

KQµårk 死神
Member

A near-record majority of Americans believe the Democratic Party is “too liberal.” That’s according to a new Gallup poll that finds 49 percent of Americans believe Democrats have moved too far left. That number is up 10 points since 2008 and just 1 point shy of the all-time record set in 1994, when Democrats lost control of Congress. According to the poll, 38 percent now believe the Dems’ views are “about right” — a 12-point decrease since 2008.

http://news.yahoo.com/s/ynews/20100614/pl_ynews/ynews_pl2586

Artist50
Member
Artist50

What’s so incredible is that it’s Republican propaganda – we are way more center than back in the 60’s. Nixon would be a Democrat today – his health plan was more left. The center has shifted and the left always loses the propaganda war – we are terrible at it!

Chernynkaya
Member

That’s a good point, Buddy. Except from my POV, by the time of the Midterms the disgruntled Left was beyond reaching. Even after DADT was repealed in the lame duck–along with arms reduction, continued Unemployment benefits and other good stuff– I saw many on the Left dismiss all that. They were past listening. They still are as far as I can tell.

I do think Obama might have thrown the Left a bone before the midterms, but may be saw t as I did–they would only say it was too little.

choicelady
Member

Exactly – when you cannot see the RADICAL difference that these past two years made in our lives because it’s not perfect, then you give up: “Obama’s dead to me” the ranters cry.

Ridiculous. MAJOR accomplishments to over-turn FORTY YEARS of corruption and to confront the renewed power of corporations handed them in Citizens United, and all we have is WHINING because Obama is not a magician.

Feh!

Buddy McCue
Member

Chernynkaya – I agree with you about that disgruntled Left. They couldn’t see the good stuff that the President was doing, and many were past listening as you say. He really has accomplished a lot.

On the other hand, I can understand the “professional Left’s” frustration sometimes. They feel as though Obama is giving credence to rightwing talking points, and that he is giving important positions to Wall Street insiders (like William Daley for example.) The President seemed to support the idea of tax cuts having a stimulating effect on the economy.

Speaking for myself, I don’t pretend to be able to second-guess Obama’s strategy. He’s a complex and incredibly intelligent guy.

I have mixed feelings about it all, I have to admit.

Sabreen60
Member
Sabreen60

I don’t believe for ONE Minute that President Obama believes that tax cuts have a stimulative effect on the economy. President Obama wanted tax cuts for the middle class (which he promised)and the other tax cuts for small businesses, etc. He wanted START and he wanted DADT – I may left out some other stuff. There are progressives who would rather he had said FU to the Repubs and walked away with nothing – rather than giving tax cuts to the rich. I’m not what of those. What I’ve found in my almost 62 years is that in a whole lot of instances you have to give up something to get something. Could the middle class really afford a tax increase? Would the LGBT community really wait indefinitely for DADT? Should the President have turned away from START. Yeah, the Rethugs held these things hostage. No doubt about it. But they knew with a Rethug majority coming through the gates, they were holding the best hand.

KillgoreTrout
Member

I sincerely get disgusted with this whole idea that progressives are somehow different than liberals. Liberalism IS progressive. All the progressive/liberal split is unnecessary and actually harmful to our goals. It is simply another way to divide and conquer for the right.
I think this is a result of the very successful job that the right wing has done in demonizing the term, “liberal.”
People should never shy away from what they believe in and represent.
I am a liberal, and damn proud of it.

choicelady
Member

KT – I think the split has some resonance. “Liberal” means living WITH the power of corporations, putting emphasis on getting material goodies out of them but NOT shifting the power base of decision making. Progressives see taking BACK power over social, political, and economic issues.

Corporate liberals such as Soros would indeed provide living wages, health care – even single payer – retirement incomes, and other social welfare benefits, but they would never actually let working people participate in decisions to shut or relocate plants, what to make and how to make it, or any other such choices.

Progressives would harness the corporations in the service of their communities and the people who work in those businesses. They would curtail pollution, and not settle for JUST material benefits.

In 1901 the difference was summed up in the struggle of the liberal corporate sector grounded in the National Civic Federation to provide workers’ comp, and to deal with Gompers on better wages etc. in order to stave off the growing support for Debs. Now Debs was a Socialist not a Progressive, but the Progressives gravitated his direction to pin down more direct democracy – hence the development of referendum, initiative, recall that give people DIRECT authority over law and officials. They also supported unions’ having more say over production.

The Liberal position won out. And it has been eroded ever since.

So no, they are not identical. Today they may be seen as gradations on a scale, but they are NOT the same.

KillgoreTrout
Member

choice, I think we’ll have to agree to disagree on this one.

KillgoreTrout
Member

Without a doubt choice. I think as a liberal, I feel a bit slighted by those who refer to themselves as progressive. Somehow inferring that being a liberal is not good enough, or has less of a desire for positive change.
I’m probably making too much of a big deal about it.

choicelady
Member

Hi KT – I think it’s entirely OK for us to redeem the two words today. I’m just explaining where some of the differences originated. I have no problem with either LIBERAL (yeah – why was that an embarrassment?) or PROGRESSIVE. Either way is a good way to distinguish ourselves from the corporate/wealthy sycophants.

Artist50
Member
Artist50

But we all know that is still a four letter word in America which makes me wonder if the tried to replace it with progressive. Isn’t it interesting that AH and Ed leading the descension against Obama in 2010 are both former Republicans?

KillgoreTrout
Member

Artist, I simply DO NOT like words that blur the definitions of other words. The right is going to demonize us, no matter what we call ourselves.
We should never back down from the right or be intimidated by their definitions of us. If we do, then that means that the right has won another battle in the war of misleading commentary and truthfulness.

Artist50
Member
Artist50

I agree and think too many Liberals haven’t stood tall and stated that’s what they were when the RW was bashing us. The more you say fuck the less shocking it is. Liberal is the same – I think we should have stood firm but many are afraid to call themselves that.

KQµårk 死神
Member

I didn’t mean to imply they were different. Sorry if I sounded like they were.

I’m really not that comfortable with any label for myself to be honest. I think there is going forward or backwards.

KillgoreTrout
Member

KQ, I didn’t mean you specifically. But just from participating on discussion boards, I have seen far too many people make the distinction and I think it is harmful.
We all (liberals) want progress and not be afraid of seeming, “too liberal.” Especially considering the fact that very few, or any of us, is too liberal.
I cringe when people refer to, “the far left.” There is no far left in America these days. Not in my opinion, anyway.

Caru
Member

Or round and round in circles.

Buddy McCue
Member

Me too (raises hand.)

Proud liberal here.

choicelady
Member

Proud Progressive here! I still love you, and hope you love me? (Though since we have never even talked, I’ll settle for respect. Does that work?)

KillgoreTrout
Member

choice, in all due respect, your comment exemplifies what I have been saying.
There should be no need for such a distinction. I don’t believe there is a real difference.
My argument may seem a bit trivial, but we need fewer lines drawn instead of more.
But, I realize the term, “progressive,” is here to stay, I am just uncomfortable that, “our side,” has been divided into two separate groups.

Buddy McCue
Member

Sure does.

ADONAI
Member

Stupid, selfish politicians are elected by stupid, selfish people. If we want a better government, we need better people.

And you are so right when you say this does not fall on the people who didn’t vote. It falls on the people who did vote. If people got “tricked” because they merely saw a (D) in front of the name and voted, I have no sympathy or understanding for them.

It’s a 2 Party system and if no one cares enough to change that, then they deserve what they get. It’s easy to “own Congress” when you know the people will keep re-electing them regardless of their success or failure, simply for the letter in front of their name.

If this country falls, if we stumble and lose our way, we will have no one to blame but ourselves. We are the ones we’ve been waiting for.

Buddy McCue
Member

You say “there has been no organized identifiable progressive movement to counter corporate influence within the Democratic party…” That’s depressing, but true.

The fact that corporate influence has so much sway over our national politics is a real disadvantage that any progressive movement must face. It’s an uphill playing field.

The Republicans seem to have few principled conservatives anymore, so their agenda has become overwhelmingly industry-friendly. One might even call them “The Corporate Party.” This gives them a built-in advantage in the mainstream media, because the media has become so consolidated that only a few giant conglomerates control the message.

That’s probably why extremely industry-friendly Democrats are almost always called “moderates” there. And the word “bipartisanship” often refers to situations where Democrats and Republicans have agreed to sell out to corporate influence.

Imagine a football field, with Democrats and Republicans as opposing teams. The field is tilted at about 30 degrees to the right. The corporate media is the television camera on the sidelines. Because that camera is also tilted the same 30 degrees, the viewer at home sees the field as level.

It’s a wonder anything progressive ever gets done.

choicelady
Member

It gets done when we INSIST that it gets done.

Buddy McCue
Member

And ONLY then, I reckon.

choicelady
Member

Absolutely!

Ask yourself – if elected officials never hear from progressives – and they do NOT – then why in the world would they even KNOW what the hell we want?

Democracy can’t operate in a vacuum. If there is an absence of support for an issue, the legislator will follow the people from whom he or she hears. Why wouldn’t they? In hotly contested issues, obviously there is growing input from all sides, but in many cases, we the liberal/progressives assume that if someone runs on that line they don’t NEED to hear, and they most certainly DO.

And click and send letters don’t substitute – they don’t make a dent in too many issues because it’s just a form of spam to most legislators. Sometimes, the sheer volume counts, but it is worth your time to write a short but personal letter (FAX it – it will get stopped for anthrax check) or email or even just a call. THAT counts!!!

If we never replied to anyone’s post, would they not think we just don’t CARE? Same with elected leaders. We have to remind ’em why we elected them!