Progressives have been largely sidelined politically for more than 40 years, and one of the major reasons is our tendency to play politics in much the same way as the Right Wing Republican party. And one of the most ridiculous tendencies progressives have developed is our tendency to be purely reactionary about too many things.
Take this week’s story on Alison Lundergan Grimes. All week, my Twitter and Facebook feeds were inundated with progressives complaining about the fact that the Democratic Party was pulling out of her race to focus on other races. There was reactionary screaming coming from progressives of all stripes, and all they managed to accomplish was to encourage a few more voters to stay away from the polls. You’d think the Democratic Party was killing their dog.
Let me explain this for you, reactionaries…
The race to beat Mitch McConnell is not the only one Democrats have to win. It would be symbolic, at best. I mean, if they beat McConnell, but they lose the Senate majority, what’s the point? There is a finite amount of cash available, and Grimes still has $6 million in her war chest, as of the beginning of October. How much more does she need? Also, the chances of Grimes winning have always been slim. I hope she wins, and I have no doubt her people will work their asses off, but if she wins at all, it will be a squeaker.
Of course, there’s another factor the reactionary left doesn’t realize. Earlier in the week, Grimes made a calculated decision not to say she voted for President Obama in 2008 and 2012. When she did, the professional and reactionary left factions beat her up over it as much as the GOP did. There is a great likelihood all of the screaming coming from the left caused a drop in support that caused the DSCC to put their support elsewhere.
This is the problem with reactionary politics. It’s thoughtless, by definition, and it bring unexpected consequences.
First of all, Grimes’ strategy on admitting having voted for Obama is actually quite rational. First, she lives in Kentucky, so there’s that. But more than that, McConnell is so obsessed with Obama, her strategy brought out that obsession. As she said during the debate earlier this week, Obama’s not running, and how she voted is not an issue. And it really isn’t. But now, the reactionary far left has once again demonstrated that they don’t have Democrats’ backs, even as they call themselves “the Democratic base.” They scratch their heads over why Democrats don’t kiss their asses. This is why.
Once again, if you want to be part of the Democratic base, you have to have Democrats’ backs.
And seriously; how childish is it to whine and cry because she seemingly “dissed” President Obama? I didn’t see him all over the place crying about it, so why were the reactionaries?
Pavlovian responses to Professional Left stimuli does not make for a successful “movement.” The DSCC cutting off funding to a well-funded candidate is not something that should be concerning to rational progressives. We need to win a majority in the House and keep the one in the Senate; that’s a lot more important than one race.
Being reactionary is always a bad practice, in every part of your life. I know this because I used to be the king of the reactionaries. I make a lot more sense since I learned to calm down and take a long look at the entire playing field.
Politics is a game. I know some folks think of politics as some sort of “noble enterprise,” the sole purpose of which is to advance society for the betterment of mankind, or some like nonsense. It’s not. Politics in a democratic republic is the art of finding a way to get a majority behind the issues you find to be most important. It is a clash of 317 million “special interests,” with the result being, hopefully, a consensus that all can live with. If you’re a progressive who thinks our government will ever be a fully progressive enterprise, I have this bridge to sell you…
Many of the loudest voices coming from our side of the political aisle seem to have no concept of the gamesmanship that is politics. Some of it is ignorance, but I suspect some may be doing it solely to try to make a living with their blog. Many are purposely obtuse because they know you want to hear/read outrage, and it maximizes clicks and donations. Unfortunately, it makes us look like “them.” And let’s be clear; the right wing doesn’t win because it’s reactionary. They win because they’re able to make us look like them, and depress turnout.
Have you ever really examined how the GOP keeps their idiot “base” in line? They do it by mining the reactionary zeal contained in those millions of tiny brains. Seriously, does any rational human being truly think the biggest problems in this country are abortion, gay marriage, gun registration and high taxes? Have you seen the teabaggers? Here; take a look at them. Do these look or sound like rational people to you? If you agree they do not, then why would you want to look like them? Why would you think to be just like them would be a net plus for the progressive movement?
To win elections, we need a majority, and that means we need to work with Democrats, not against them. Berating Alison Grimes for not being far left enough is asinine. She’s running in KENTUCKY. She’s running to beat MITCH MCCONNELL. In what alternate universe do you imagine that state will elect a Senator who will be a bookend to Elizabeth Warren? It could happen in the future, but not without a whole lot of hard work.
To make matters worse, the reactionary crap is almost always just plain WRONG. Facts have a liberal bias, but reactionaries rarely have facts to back them up, because they haven’t taken the time to consider them. As I noted above; Grimes wasn’t dissing Obama, she was trying to show that McConnell is obsessed and irrational about Obama, and reactionary progressives attacked her for it. Intelligent people sit back and wait to see what happens in order to discover actual facts; reacting precludes that process.
And for those of you who suggest we can’t wait until they actually vote on the proposal, no one is asking you to. But at this point in time, the Democratic proposal is just a notion. It is not a bill, it is not a debate, and frankly, it’s in no danger of becoming law, anyway. So the next time you decide to pour righteous indignation onto an “issue,” think a little. If it can’t possibly become law, why would they propose it?
There is not just one possible reason Grimes may have refused to answer how she voted. There are many. Perhaps she’s trying to get McConnell to discuss issues, and to note that Obama isn’t an issue. Perhaps she’s trying to prevent the GOP from running her answer as a sound bite for the last three weeks of the campaign. Yet, the narrative was about her refusing to “be a Democrat” and embrace the President. There is also more than one reason why the DSCC decided to cut off support, as noted above, and one of them may have been a sudden drop in support from the far left.
Why is it necessary for every Democratic candidate to kiss far left ass to get support from the professional left, the PUBs (Progressive Unicorn Brigade) and the reactionaries? There are TWO candidates in that race; why would any aupposed “progressive” equivocate on their support of Grimes over McConnell?
Politics is the art of compromise. It’s not about winning 100%, or even 75%; it’s about winning 51% or, if you’re really good, 55%. You’re not going to get much more than that without a lot of work that makes our issues mainstream. And “mainstream” seems to be an insult to many on the reactionary left. To get to that 51%, sometimes you have to play the game, and that means playing poker a little bit better than the other guys. That’s what Grimes was doing, and that’s what the reactionary wing of the progressive movement is unable to see.
Let’s stop the reactionary BS, and get better at politics, please. This election shouldn’t even be close.