The Peril of the Shiny Keys

The reason I started this blog in the first place, and called it “Please Cut the Crap” was because I wanted to do something a little different, and I will (hopefully) continue to do something different with the network I have planned. Instead of screaming about the “outrage of the day,” my goal is to present strategies for getting liberals and progressives a seat at the table, and to even get more of us elected.

shiny keysOur discourse is stuck. It’s not actually getting us anywhere, let alone where we need to be. And the main reason is that we’re always screaming at the screamers. For example, I am a huge supporter of President Obama, and I feel like I have to apologize for supporting him so strongly. And given that I would never apologize for anything I have said to a right wing Republican, guess who is making me feel apologetic. I expect heat from the right, but the amount of heat I take from the left is appalling.

President Obama is enormously competent (not perfect, PUBs) and his caring and compassion for the underdog is unmatched by any politician in my lifetime. In six years, with an opposition that is unprecedented in its willingness to stop progress, he has gotten more done than anyone could have imagined in 2008. The stock market is up more than 250% and the unemployment rate is at 5.5% after a peak of 10% at the height of the Bush Recession. The number of uninsured is down more than 35%, and medical inflation is at its lowest rate in a half century. And he has completely changed the way we conduct foreign policy after the Bush debacle, and the United States is again looked at as a leader.

Is everything perfect now? Of course not, but we’re moving in the right direction for only the second time since 1981. And it will take a lot of time to reverse 35 years of Republican political dominance; a hell of a lot more than 8 years. And yet, the professional left and PUBs (Progressive Unicorn Brigade) in general gave him TWO. Why? Well, it’s because, just like the right wing, PUBs and professional lefties do two things that undermine us; they lie and they try to distract you with issues that really don’t matter.

For example, they lie when they claim Obama doesn’t “fight,” and that he “gives in” to the Republicans too often. He does that all of the time, and has for six years now. He’s subtle, and pro lefties and PUBs have a difficult time with subtlety.

Why don’t they get this? The vast majority of the American people want bipartisanship, and not the Republican definition of it. Voters don’t want bickering, they want progress. And when there’s no progress, they get discouraged and want to give up. That’s why they don’t vote. I don’t know where people developed these delusions, but if you think most voters want to see brawling and ass-kicking, think again.

One problem with the professional left and PUBs is, they are absolutely obsessed with personalities; they personalize everything and attack it, which is really bad politics. I mean Ted Cruz and Louie Gohmert are fun to make fun of, but the other day, when Cruz announced, the professional left media was full of dire warnings of what the “Ted Cruz Presidency” could bring. As if he has more than a snowflake’s chance in hell of becoming that.

On the other side, there’s Elizabeth Warren. Every time she says something smart, the pro left and PUBs want to anoint her president. They don’t even seem to notice that she has exactly zero chance of becoming president. And I mean zero.

Ironically, one of the main reasons for that is, she has no record in the Senate to point to, and it’s primarily because these same PUBs and pro lefties who coo over her now spent four years “purging” Congress of Blue Dogs, thus putting Republicans in charge and making her time in the Senate superfluous. Same with Bernie Sanders. Bernie has no chance of winning, in part because he has nothing to point to as far as a record. See, here’s the thing; if you want your heroes to do great things, you have to make sure they have the tools. What was the point of working to elect all those liberals if you weren’t going to give them the majority they need to get things done?

This is the problem in a nutshell;

While the far right is guilty of playing to their base and simultaneously trying to prove government can’t work, in order to depress turnout and making their fanatical base’s votes worth more, our side is mostly guilty of focusing on certain people rather than ideology. Think about it; we’ve been successful at getting rid of nearly every odious right winger we focused on over the last 30 or so years, and yet the Republican Party keeps getting worse.

The reason is simple. People like Cruz, Ryan, Boehner, McConnell, et al are not the problem. The idiot-ology ideology they profess to believe in is the problem. As long as we keep picking off individuals who follow bullshit ideology, we’ll never actually rid ourselves of our Republican pest problem. In insect-fighting terms, our problem isn’t one cockroach, it’s an entire cockroach ideology.

We have to start going after what they believe, but not by screaming at it and stomping our feet. We have to present an alternative viewpoint that competes with it and which makes more sense. That means, instead of pointing at their nonsense and screaming that it’s nonsense, we need to start presenting sense and work to make it common sense.

The problem we have is that our side is too easily distracted by “shiny keys.” The only reason Fox News has any influence is because they piss liberals off, and there is nothing a right winger likes more than pissing off liberals. The only reason Rush Limbaugh has any power outside of rural areas is because we happily bring attention to him. If our side spent as much time promoting progressive talk radio and television as we do trying to bring down Limbaugh (which will never happen, by the way), progressive talk would be the number one format and Free Speech TV might have higher ratings than Fox.

While Republicans employ violent and hateful rhetoric to fire up their “base,” we give them more power by engaging the violent and hateful rhetoric and by arguing with them.  The more we engage right wing cranks, the more people notice them and the more credibility they gain. Worse, it makes us look like them.

There are many ways to “fight” in the political arena, and most of them don’t involve screaming and name-calling. Also, it’s always more productive to fight for a cause than against an individual or even a group. There’s no point in fighting Mike Pence on this new Indiana anti-gay law; the key is to work against the attitude and the idiot-ology ideology that leads to it. That means enlightening and teaching people, not screaming at them.

When we focus our “fight” against personalities and individuals, we won’t be successful, because there are always many idiots available to replace them. We got rid of Newt, but tell me John Boehner doesn’t make you nostalgic for Newtie in some ways.

We must stop emulating right wingers, stop bickering with them, and start fighting for the issues we care about. Our arguments about the TPP, for example, make us sound like idiots. First of all, there isn’t one yet, so we’re arguing against air. But just as importantly, the argument that it’ll send jobs overseas rings a bit hollow right now, given that we couldn’t lose more jobs than we’ve already lost. Here’s an idea on the TPP; instead of rejecting it outright, sight unseen, how about advocating for a provision that would open up markets and increase jobs in the U.S.? Don’t you think that might be more effective than constantly whining about a non-existent treaty?

The same is true with our side on the climate change debate. Why in the hell are we still trying to convince cranks to “believe” in it? That’s not a goal.  We want to live in a country full of wind turbines, solar panels and electric cars and where oil and gas are distant memories. That is the goal, not “defeating the right wing” and getting them all to believe in climate change.

We have to become more positive about everything, even if it hurts at times. Being negative is what they do; we have to become the opposite.  Right now, we’re seen as just as negative as the right wing and we’re depressing people. People don’t like liberals any more than they like right wingers, mainly because they perceive us as a bunch of negative whiners.

Stop reacting to everything the right says and does. Have you ever tried to stop a baby from crying by pulling out your keys and waving them at him? Have you ever stopped to think that the idiots Republicans parade in front of the cameras are their version of the “shiny keys,” and we’re the babies who are easily distracted by them? Has it ever occurred to anyone that John Boehner brought Netanyahu to speak to Congress because he knew it would piss off liberals and get the GOP base even more fired up?

I keep saying; a major component of the Republican strategy is to get as many voters as possible to feel too depressed and angry to even show up at the polls. When we react to it by whining and bitching about it, we play into their strategy, and they keep getting elected.

When will the professional left ever learn that they’re not as smart as we think we are, because they keep on being distracted by the shiny keys.

Our discourse has to change. We are all in this together, and we really do have to start charting a positive course for a change. I’m sick of fighting with these idiots; it’s time we ignored them and started plotting our own course. Stop fighting against them, and FOR something.

In other words, we have to train ourselves to stop looking at the shiny keys.

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