As I said in Part One, I am a proud Obamabot. He’s done a hell of a job, and he’s snookered Republicans repeatedly at every turn. If you don’t realize that, you spend way too much time with your face buried in those professional left blogs. Yeah, this is part two of yesterday’s column, because, while I may publish a book on this someday, I won’t bore you by putting the entire thing into one blog post.
I’ve been a progressive all my life. Everyone in my family worked in union shops, and I grew up in Maryland, one of the most progressive states in the union. I’ve worked for progressive candidates since I was 14, and while my views have always evolved, they have always been on the left side of the aisle. I want the same things every progressive wants. I am an idealist, just like every progressive says they are. I want peace, an end to war and poverty, and I want us to get off oil and to rely on renewable energy sources. We have to at least try to reverse climate change, or at least learn to live with it and not make it worse. On every issue, on an ideal level, there is little difference between me and the leftiest lefty that ever existed.
There is one major difference, though. I’m practical. Some say “pragmatic.” I prefer realistic. And when I say “realistic,” I don’t mean that alternate reality in which all 310 million Americans crush their internal combustion engine vehicles and switch to electric cars overnight. I also know that all gas stations will not be converted to electric charging stations in a week. I don’t mean a “realism” in which I think marching and protest will bring us all of the progressive policies we want. We also have to get rid of as many Republicans as possible. I’m talking about real realism; the kind in which progressives make up perhaps 15 percent of the population or so. The one in whch we have no choice but to align ourselves with others who are not so “progressive,” so that we can turn this into a progressive society.
When the (relatively) wealthy former right wingers who make up the professional left claim I’m not “progressive enough” or that I’m a “centrist,” I have to laugh. I worked hard to advocate to get the ACA passed, for example. And among my most formidable opponents were so-called “progressives.” A number of them advocated for killing the ACA altogether, leaving 30 million without health insurance, because the public option that was in the bill wasn’t “robust” enough. They couldn’t even define a “public option,” but they were willing to kill the entire bill for it, and leave the debate for later. You’ve seen the last four years; would we have a universal health insurance law right now, if we had just “left it”? And that doesn’t include those who maintain a fantasy that the United States, after 34 years of neocon rule, are going to ditch traditional insurance for a “single-payer” plan. Is that how they think America makes progress? By blackmailing poor people until they give us what we demand (even when half of them don’t even know what that thing is)? The answer, of course, is no. Persuasion works far better than blackmail. But persuasion is hard. Making demands that you know will never happen is really, really easy.
And that’s what the professional left does. They take the easy way out. They make impossible demands, and then blame someone else when they don’t happen. It never occurs to any of them to work toward a goal. They demnd a single payer plan and then whine when (surprise!) they don’t get one. If you really want to get one of them whining, cite the fact that almost none of the universal health care systems in the rest of the world are actually single-payer. That’s a fact. We’re 37th in the world in health care, and only two of the 36 countries ahead of us have that type of system.
One major difference between this blog and those on the professional left is, I try to stick to facts and acknowledge that everything I write is opinion. On the other hand, professional lefties quite often refer to their writing as “fact.” My favorite example is Glenn Greenwald’s claptrap on the NSA. My problem with Greenwald is, he got a bunch of documents that Edward Snowden stole from the NSA, and spent roughly zero time trying to establish context for any of them. Essentially, he posted documents and asserted that they were scary, and simply expected the rest of us to believe him because, well, he’s Glenn Greenwald. Professional lefties went crazy over his crap, even though it was crap.
This blog (which gets a level of financial support that is admittedly close to zero, although what I do get is very much appreciated) is a lot different. For one thing, I rarely discuss personalities, because I’m not interested in what happens to Ted Cruz and Rand Paul, really. Oh, sure, I like to make fun of them, but they’re pure entertainment. I go after their ideas, because it’s the ideology that’s the problem. Think about the parade of right wing idiots the professional left has been able to pick off over the years, and consider; the GOP is worse now than it was 20 years ago. Ted Cruz and Rand Paul are not the problem; they’re a symptom of the real problem. Check out this blog; there is so much ammo to use against the current Republican Party, mainly because I don’t care about individual Republicans.
Another difference is, I openly challenge my readers check my facts, and I welcome corrections. I have made corrections to blog posts, based on actual facts; I’m not perfect, nor do I pretend to be. I may seem combative at times, but look closely; I only unleash it when they state something fictional as if it was a fact and continue to do so, even after they’re told it’s untrue. My combative tendencies are calculated; designed to make bystanders go look up the facts for themselves. I’m confident that the posts I place on this blog are fact-based, because I don’t simply react to anything; I read something at least twice and make note of the alleged “facts” that seem a little off. Then, I correct the record when I find some to be false. An example is my list of President Obama’s accomplishments. I could have just listed them, but instead, I made myself cite every single one. There have actually been several dozen that I could have listed, but was unable to verify exactly, so I left them off. Unlike a professional lefty, I don’t puff anything.
Professional lefties too often act like right wingers when it comes to facts, and that reflects on the credibility of the entire progressive movement. They have a tendency to react to something that happens (usually something small), and offer up a pointed opinion about it, without bothering to add context to it. Then, they offer up an opinion based on their reaction, and not the facts, and demand that you accept their version as fact. Not opinion, but fact.
Take the recent “controversy” over Alison Lundergan Grimes, for example. Grimes is the candidate who is attempting to pull off an election win that most thought was impossible before; defeating Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell. A couple weeks ago, she was asked whom she voted for in 2008 and 2012, and she refused to answer the question. The pro left went crazy immediately, and took her to task for “insulting” and “dissing” the President. Some even went so far as to call it “racist.” They complained mightily, without even noting the irony, that they had spent the last six years insulting and dissing the President (without the quotation marks). I said nothing at the time, because I suspected she was up to something. Sure enough, several days later, during her debate with McConnell, she was able to make the case that Mitch was a little bit obsessive about Obama, and she was able to do so because she could make the case, credibly, that Obama wasn’t an issue. And he’s not, of course. He’s not running for office this year. On the other hand, because of the caterwauling from these far left media types, Democrats are in a position where they could possibly lose the Senate in January, and we need every Democratic seat we can get, including this one. The professional left didn’t make many voters switch sides from Grimes to McConnell, but they probably made a lot more voters decide to stay home, which could mean six more years of Mitch McConnell. There is no scenario under which Grimes isn’t a major improvement.
For some reason, this small, loud cadre of progressives has decided that the best way to make liberalism successful is to “fight” the way the right wing does. That sounds great, but it doesn’t work, and I can prove it. For 34 years, the minority GOP has been able to reverse much of the progress we made during the previous 34 years. If that’s not proof, what is? Attacking others is not an effective political strategy for rational people. The current “base” of the Democratic Party is rational; why would you adopt the irrational style of the right wing?
When it comes to positions on issues, progressives are right, and the far right is wrong. Period, end of story. However, the professional left doesn’t care about that. They care (again, ironically, given their self-image as mavericks who abhor popularity) about being popular among other like-minded progressives, who envision their brand of progressive politics as ideologically pure, as if such a thing is even possible. Who are these people to tell us what everyone else should or should not believe? Liberals are a very diverse lot, which should be our strength. Yet, how many times has a pro lefty or a PUB (Progressive Unicorn Brigade) told you we should all be together and united on every single issue? Happens to me daily, and I suspect it happens to everyone on a regular basis.
The Republican Party has been running the country into the ground by right wingers for 34 years. The only thing we all have to agree on right now is the need to get rid of these people. It’s as if the entire country has a huge hole in its roof, and professional lefties and PUBs are trying to get us all to agree on what color the new carpet should be after the hole in the roof fixes itself.
The political naiveté demonstrated by the professional left and the PUBs is both mind boggling and mind-numbing. They have no clue how the average voter thinks, yet they demand that we accept their expertise on the subject as fact. Look, progressives, it’s our job to advocate for issues, but we also have to be anchored in the real world, which means we have to realize that nothing will ever happen as long as Congress and numerous state houses are occupied by the radicalized GOP. Democrats have to win elections, because they have to be a majority everywhere. And the only way to do that is to not be negative about anything but Republicans.
The reason Republicans are negative is because their main goal is to depress election turnout. They do this because they know their “base” will show up at about 90%, and the more people stay home, the more valuable their votes are. Over the past 40 years, the GOP has been winning because of who has stayed home, not because of some brilliant strategy of appealing to all voters. The way to win is to counter that, by being the opposite of the right wing, not exactly the same with a different message. How many of you actually listen to someone when they’re shouting at you, telling you how stupid you are?
Our overall goal has to be to make “progress.” After all, it’s in our name. We’ve allowed the professional left to hijack the movement. They have pretended to speak for us for far too long, and we’ve had 34 years of neocon government as a result. The professional left is the reason we had to deal with a President Reagan (Carter wasn’t “progressive enough.” They’re the reason Dukakis lost in 1988. They’re the reason Bush v Gore was close enough for Bush and the Supreme Court to steal (that’s right, blame NaderI) and the reason Kerry couldn’t get over the hump in 2004. They are overwhelmingly negative; they are quick to label who is a “good progressive” and who’s not, and they have a tendency to deride people in the political center. That’s politically brain-dead, since the political center represents about 70% or more of the electorate. We need a majority to win, and we’re not a majority. I’ll leave it to you to figure out why putting down moderates is a losing strategy.
When turnout is high, Democrats win, and when turnout is low, right wing Republicans win. In the post-war period, when Democrats were dominant, turnout was always around 50 percent in midterms and at or above 60 percent in presidential years. In recent years, turnout for midterms has been around 37 percent, and in presidential years, it’s struggled to make it to 50 percent until recently, when Democrats have been winning the presidency. The 2008 election that swept Barack Obama into office featured the highest turnout in any presidential election year since 1968. Why? because the election was largely positive and hopeful. As soon as Obama won, however, the negative crap started again, and the 2010 election turnout was again around 37 percent, which put the GOP in charge of Congress.
It’s the negativity, stupid. Voters want to vote for something. They know the GOP is incompetent, but when the left tells them Democrats are just as bad, it forces people to stay home. Yes, I know Congress has a 9 percent approval rating, but that doesn’t serve as an advantage when the rhetoric coming from the left is that Democrats will represent no improvement.
Democrats would be a MAJOR improvement over what we have now. And the Democratic Party can be improved, as long as they can keep winning. Not only that, but the progressive movement is stalled, and will remain stalled, until we get the right wing out of a position of power. The way to do that is through positive reinforcement of Democrats as an antidote. Stop listening to the professional left. They’re killing us.