The Professional Left is Killing Us; Example #1

Okay, if you want an illustration as to why the left can’t win an election, this is one major example. This post, from Daily Kos, received more than 1300 comments, so I assume that it was read/seen by a lot of people, although not enough to swing an election. But the complete and utter horseshit contained therein points to an understanding of politics that is so vapid, it’s killing us. And by killing US, I mean the progressive movement.

Now, I’m not picking on “MinistryofTruth” in particular; he/she/it is far too typical. But our side has to win elections, and we can’t do it if the loudest segment of our political side keeps on whining and pissing and moaning, and refusing to understand how to win elections.

The post can be found here. I pulled this, in its entirety, from the site this morning (August 29), and I’m not sure when the update was added. Follow along. As always, my comments are in RED.

Dear Hippy-Punching fanboys, this is BULLSH!T, if you want me to work to re-elect Dems, knock it off

by MinistryOfTruth

I hate to, but let’s start with the title. Really? You think us pragmatic progressives think of you as hippies? Really?

Let me disabuse you of something. We KNOW that most of you people are white, self-absorbed narcissists who probably have no real contact with minorities or the poor. In fact, most of you probably wash your hands every time you shake the hands of the “great unwashed.” You wear polo shirts, shop at the local organic market because you think it makes you healthier to overpay for food. Most of you have college degrees, but don’t seem to understand that no amount of classroom time studying Locke and Hobbes gives you more knowledge about BEING a minority, poor and/or a woman than those actually in that position.

As for the “fanboy” crack, that condescending tone is why our side can’t win elections. If you want to know why neocons have largely run the government for the last 32 years, it’s because of that sort of condescension. 

And that is why most voters hate the left as much as the right. If you want to know why Obama runs from you assholes, it’s because he has to. No one likes you very much, really.

UPDATE:     I want Obama to win. I need Obama to win, but if centrist Democrats keep telling the left to STFU and just vote without addressing their main issues it makes it harder to make them feel "voter entusiasm." That is my main beef. I hate what sold out Republicans have done to America. I want it to stop. My biggest problem is a Democratic party that tells Progressive critics to piss off while the agree with 98% of what Republicans want. I will vote for Obama, make no mistake. Last year I helped raise $30,000 for Democratic candidates. I worked my ass off, and I'm tired of being told to STFU. It's as simple as that. Obama is not my boyfriend, and when I can't criticize an American President because it makes his supporters scared my question is why are Obama's supporters fucking with me and Progressive critics like me instead not Republicans?

Given that the update contains the same bullshit as in the rest of the post, so I’m not sure what the author is updating, exactly.

I know this person likes to be called “MinistryofTruth,” but come on; there isn’t much “truth” in the above. Let me list them:

  • The people complaining about this shit are NOT “centrist Democrats.” I, for example, will put my progressive credentials up against anyone’s. I have been fighting for progressive causes all of my life, and I have found that people like this put up more roadblocks than those on the right side of the aisle.
  • He complains about not being able to criticize Obama on “main issues,” but I never see them complain about “main issues.” The FACT of the matter is, on the main issues most people care about, Obama and the Democrats were stellar, until the far left poisoned the well and helped give Congress back to the right wing.
  • There are few “sold out Republicans” in the Democratic Party, let alone in the progressive movement. We’re pissed off because we keep losing elections. For fuck’s sake, folks; this article was written nearly 10 months after we GAVE AWAY one of the most crucial elections in our history. The only part of the government that can actually make laws was given over to the rightest-wing Republican Party in our history, and all you can see fit to do is whine and cry about Obama?
  • NO ONE is saying you can’t criticize Obama. But politically speaking, you can’t ONLY criticize him. And if you refer to him as a “disappointment,” be prepared for a couple of things to happen, which I will discuss later on.

And let's make something clear here; this person does NOT want Obama to win. 

This in response to snark and to all those who bemoan the "professional left."

I'm fucking sick and tired of being told that if I criticize this President I am a bad person who is undermining him. It pissed me off when Republicans said it when Bush was President and it pissed me off when Democrats say it. I am sick and fucking tired of being told that any criticism of Obama makes someone an equivalent of a Republican. You know how stupid this is? Are you going to go Rahm and me and then expect me to do all the volunteer work necessary to actually re-elect Obama? I want Obama to win, but you make it suck when you hippy punch me and tell me if I don't clap louder tinkerbell will die.

Why is saying Obama=Bush bad but saying Progressives=Karl Rove is acceptable? Especially when you need those die hard progressives to work their asses off, or a "voter enthuisasm gap" will screw us all and end with the Republican you fear the most

QUIT TELLING ME THAT PROGRESSIVES WHO CRITICIZE OBAMA ARE THE PROBLEM.

You wanna know why we have so few progressives in office? It’s because the majority of voters see progressives/liberals as whiners. Look at the above, and you can see why.

See, the right wing and the left wing have one thing in common. Okay, they have more than one thing in common, but this is the one relevant to this article;

They think free speech only applies to them.

See, he wants the freedom to say whatever he wants about Obama, Democrats and actual progressives like me. But look at what he’s asking for. He wants no criticism of himself. What he’s actually asking for is the right to say whatever he wants, without criticism. He wants the rest of us to STFU about telling him to STFU.

One thing I’ve noticed about narcissistic extremists; they think freedom of speech means the freedom to say what they want without criticism. They view opposing opinions as a violation of their freedom to spout whatever crap they want.

As for his other assertions, let me assure him, the rest of us don’t give a flying fuck if he/she/it volunteers for Obama or not. In fact, let me say it first; given this person’s stupidity about actual politics, we’d prefer them to stay home.

When you say “Obama=Bush,” we object because it's simply a stupid statement. IT IS A LIE. There are ZERO similarities between Obama and Bush, and I mean NONE. Why are these people incapable of considering the possibility that many people may object to such a statement because it’s a LIE? Bush left a huge mess, and Obama’s cleaning it up. His leadership style is far more inclusive than Bush ever dreamed of. Obama admits mistakes, while Bush was preternaturally incapable of doing so. And HERE is a list of Obama’s accomplishments as president, with citations. Feel free to come up with a similar list for Bush; I’ll look forward to seeing it. Until then, when you say “Obama=Bush,” you are either flat out LYING or you’re flat stupid. And we don’t really care which it is, because either is unacceptable. 

And no one says “progressives=Karl Rove.” In fact, people like this are not actually progressive. See, the root word of “progressive” is “progress.” And the only way to make “progress” in our system is by winning elections. I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but we don’t win elections. We stopped winning elections, except in small pockets, in the early 1970s, primarily because of big mouths like this, who hold their opinion as so much more sacred than everyone else’s that no one can stand liberals. (More on this later on.)

And the FACT is, with phony faux liberals screaming negative crap like “Obama’s the same as Bush” to everyone who will listen — crap that makes them sound more like right wingers than progressives —  it makes the majority of voters not like us. And while I know some faux progressives think voters should vote for us because they agree with “us” on 98% of issues, the fact is, no one wants to vote for an asshole.

Wanna know why Kucinich can never be president? Well, now you do.

And if you are going to tell progressives and people with justifiable complaints about this President to fuck off, don't blame me when we all get screwed.

My problem with centrists is simple, they agree with Republicans more than I do.

But if you want a spineless, gutless party of corporate whores who will sell you out to the highest bidder but are less racist, sexist and homophobically Jesusy and stuff than the scary Republicans of 2011, a party where no one ever complains and we all think happy historic thoughts, then fine, they have a great one they used to call the moderate wing of the Republican party of 1992, but that ain't me hoss.

What does this asshole think? That by insulting people and lying about them, he’s somehow going to get them to STOP criticizing him?

Again, we’re not centrists. Read this blog for a clue. If you can call this a centrist blog, then you’re an extremist, not a progressive.

I would also point out that most of the "complaints" (whines) about Obama coming from this quarter are in no way "justifiable," unless you think you're justified in peddling lies as "facts."

And politics is the art of compromise. It’s not “spineless” or “gutless” to work with the center to get as much of our agenda passed as possible. Always demanding what you want, without even considering what you can get under the circumstances is about the politically stupidest stance anyone can take.

I am an FDR Democrat.

No, the author is not not. He/she/it doesn't know what that means. FDR did not enter office as a flaming liberal. He was a pragmatist. He did a lot of things because he had to; the Depression was nearly four years old, and he had to take desperate measures.

Of course, FDR also had a MUCH larger Democratic majority in Congress than Obama had, and a portion of the Republican Party at the time was actually quite liberal. Here's the truism that a number of these faux progressives don't understand at all; a president can't do anything without Congress. The solution to the impasse in 2009-2010, which led to the blockage of 375 bills was 2-3 fewer Republicans in the Senate. Politically speaking, that should have been our rallying cry. Instead, the "spineless" label stuck, and we now have a right wing Congress that prevents any significant progress at all. 

But FDR wasn't a liberal miracle worker, anyway. The Depression went on for another eight years, until we entered World War II and spending went through the roof. In truth, Obama has been bolder than FDR in many ways. Sure, FDR ushered through the Social Security Act, and several public works programs, but until we entered World War II, he never brought unemployment down to below 12%, let alone 9%.

Also, when FDR was handed a universal health insurance proposal, he rejected it out of hand. And what about civil rights? If he was such a flaming liberal, why didn’t he take steps to end Jim Crow? Why was Brown v. Board of Education still years away? Hell; why did it take TRUMAN to begin desegregating the Armed Forces? Why was abortion illegal during FDR’s entire term? 

In other words, if this guy is an FDR Democrat… naw, it's too easy… 

If you are trying to convince me that there is no place for me in the "Big Tent", that questioning the dear leader is forbidden and that I should keep my head down or things will get worse then you aren't selling me "hope", you're selling me cynicism.

So when Matt Taibbi writes of Obama's cover up of Wall Street's crimes . . . a LEGITIMATE COMPLAINT ( and complaint is saying it very, very lightly for your oh so sensitive ears )

Why? My theory is that the Obama administration is trying to secure its 2012 campaign war chest with this settlement deal. If Barry can make this foreclosure thing go away for the banks, you can bet he’ll win the contributions battle against the Republicans next summer.

Which is good for him, I guess. But it seems to me that it might be time to wonder if is this the most disappointing president we’ve ever had.

Bold text added by the diarist

Again, why do they have to LIE to make a point? And if you’re lying, and someone calls you on your lie, how is that violating your right to “criticize” in any way.

Matt Taibbi’s article is an opinion piece. It is Taibbi’s opinion. That’s all. If you read the facts, they can be taken one of several ways. It is a fact that it would cost billions, if not trillions, of dollars to prosecute everyone involved for mortgage fraud, so a settlement is a desired approach.

To illustrate why an opinion piece should NEVER be paraded as fact, here’s an example directly from Taibbi’s piece:

To give you an indication of how absurdly small a number even $20 billion is relative to the sums of money the banks made unloading worthless crap subprime assets on foreigners, pension funds and other unsuspecting suckers around the world, consider this: in 2008 alone, the state pension fund of Florida, all by itself, lost more than three times that amount ($62 billion) thanks in significant part to investments in these deadly MBS. (Emphasis in original)

This is one of those lines that sounds really good at first, except for the fact that we’re talking about a BUBBLE. By definition, the bubble was pumped up by money that didn’t actually exist. We all saw our 401(k)s grow at a feverish pace for a few years, but it was all FAKE MONEY. Therefore, the $62 billion “lost” by the Florida state pension fund was mostly money that didn’t exist, because the pension fund invested in mortgage-backed securities, that were over-inflated because home prices were over-inflated. The entire economy lost $12 trillion in value; is he suggesting we replace all of that money? Not only that, but it's a settlement; if, as Taibbi suggested, the banks balked at that amount, how much does he think the government would get? They would have to sue, which would cost billions of dollars, take many years to litigate and many more years of appeals. This is $20 billion NOW, to get people into better mortgages NOW. 

See what I did there? I agreed with the facts in the Taibbi article. His conclusions, however, are pure conjecture, and open to interpretation. I also happen to think he's wrong. But that's just my opinion, as the article is his opinion.

If you want to make progress politically (which means winning elections), you have to understand several things. You have to acknowledge that opinions vary, but facts do not. You have to stick to the facts as much as possible. You have to understand that no one is "stupid" simply because they have an opinion different than yours. But most of all, you have to understand that to make progress, you have to attract the most voters to your side, and making extreme declarations about a candidate or politician doesn’t endear you to very many people.

This author’s attitude is the attitude that prevents progressives from winning elections. 

When you bemoan the "Professional Left" you are making the case for MORE CONSERVATIVE POLICIES. Your centrism is pushing the Overton Window to the right, which makes me wonder, if Republicans are so scary to you why do you agree with them that the "Professional Left" is the problem? You couldn't help them frame it better if you held the nail while they swung the hammer.

When I take issue with this President it is because he agrees with Republicans more than I do. On Bush/Cheney's torture program and the prosecution of it's chief architects to  the most recent hostage crisis where Boehner got 98%, there are legitimate arguments against this President's policies and the policy agreements that the Democratic Party has made. If your response to my legitimate policy differences is to tell me to STFU and eat what looks to me like shit sandwich because it is that or nothing, then you don't get to bitch about low polls and voter enthusiasm gaps and shellackings and the like.

Now, with the above, this person just certifies his/her/its stupidity.

The “professional left” is the small-but-loud group on the far left of the political spectrum who think their opinions are so precious that everyone should have them, and anyone who doesn’t must be “stupid.” In this author's case, he thinks anyone who isn't as strident as him is by definition, conservative. This reminds me of those right wingers who think Ron Paul is a liberal because he wants an end to the Iraq and Afghanistan wars. 

The reason the “professional left” IS the problem is because they are loud and obnoxious, and they portray themselves as representing liberalism and progressivism, which they do not.

The thing that pisses me off most about the “professional left” is its tendency to lie and exaggerate to the point of poisoning the debate. For example, I’m not a centrist. But worse than that, the use of “centrist” as a pejorative also poisons the debate, especially since the vast majority of American voters consider themselves “centrists.” In mean, if this dipshit thinks I’m a “centrist,” and that all of the other ACTUAL progressives and liberals who think he/she/it is an asshole are too far “right” for him, what does he think of actual “centrists”? And if he hates them so much, why would he expect them to vote his way and consider his stances on issues? And if he doesn’t care what they think, why doesn’t he/she/it just build a fucking cabin in Montana and write a manifesto, because actual politics is too much for him/her/it.

And let me assure you, the author has no legitimate policy positions. In this article, he says "Obama=Bush," which seems to imply that his policy positions are not very important to him. I mean, if he can't see a difference between them, he can't have much in the way of priciples. 

So honestly, fuck off with all the "Mean Progressives are going to make Obama lose." bullshit, because it isn't funny and it is not helping. In fact, this hippy punching bullshit is totally counterproductive if you want this hippy to work as hard as he has to in order to re-elect Democrats. In all honesty, if you want to help transform the Democratic party into the moderate Republican party of 1992 minus the racist, sexist, homophobic jesusy stuff than fine, go nuts, but you won't have hippies to blame when you lose to the Republicans who hate you as much as they hate me. FDR said "Make me do it", but I can't if you keep protecting this President from any real criticism, and you sure as hell aren't going to win elections against die hard wingnuts with a bunch of wishy washy undecideds and independents. You need the dirty fucking hippies, you can't survive without us, the Democratic party is a total joke without the Progressive movement, or liberals, or the "professional left" or whatever the hell you want to call us. So knock off this hippy punching blame the left bullshit, especially when you need the left to save your ass from the Republican wingnuts who hate us both.

Yours truly, and with love to all, even the people who like to punch hippies and call themselves Democrats. Being able to forgive is what makes being a hippy so groovy.

Peace

The key words in the above are “real criticism.”

I have no problem with “real criticism” of the president. But this guy, and most of the “professional left,” or “emo left” don’t offer any. Instead, they point to a Matt Taibbi (or Jane Hamsher or Glenn Greenwald) opinion piece as if it’s a factual news piece, most of which are based on a false premise, and they exaggerate its importance in the debate.

I told you I’d get to the “Obama’s a disappointment” thing, and it dovetails with this nonsense quite well.

If you find Obama to be a disappointment, all I can say is, I wish I had some fairy dust, so that I could send you back to Neverland.

Barack Obama is not a died-in-the-wool liberal; at least not at this time. If the electorate was more liberal, he would probably take the gloves off and propose some truly radical ideas. If self-described “progressives” did their job and started spreading our message to the masses, instead of trying to show all the other faux progressives how incredibly “smart” they were, we’d be much farther along, politically speaking, and Obama would be much freer to espouse progressive ideas.

But he's a politician; he has to deal with reality. 

If Obama is a disappointment, then your expectations are not based in the real world. Did you really think he would stop the recession from becoming a depression, end two wars without killing hundreds of thousands more people, and restore the courts, cure cancer and AIDS and fly around the world so fast it would return us to 2000, and then change history, so that Al Gore won the election, and not George W. Bush? If so, then you should be disappointed, dammit. But his real name IS Barack Hussein Obama, not Kal El, and his parents are from Earth, not Krypton.

The political consequences of the whole “Obama’s a disappointment” meme are actually quite dire, on many levels, though most who proclaim this meme are too politically stupid to know it.

For one, most voters are not “political junkies” or “news junkies” because they don’t have time to be. They only get a sense of who to vote for based on the overall meme. When they hear one side proclaiming “Obama’s a failure” and the other side proclaiming “Obama’s a disappointment,” they hear the same thing coming from both sides. Again. This does NOT cause them to vote for a right winger, necessarily, but it does make them question the point of voting AT ALL. The ONLY way the Republicans can win is through depressed turnout. That means YOU, when you criticize Obama for something stupid or untrue, or call him a “disappointment,” are actually helping prolong the suffering, by keeping the far right in office long after they should have been swept out.

High turnout, we win. Low turnout, they win.

How many elections do we have to lose before you faux progressives get this?

The other problem with “Obama is a disappointment” is that it gives any Republican candidate in any race (not just for president) ammunition in his main argument, that Obama hasn’t done anything to speak of. It, especially when combined with the "Democrats are spineless" meme, gives credence to the right wing's main talking point, which is, basically, "At least Republicans have principles." 

We have to fight back against this shit, folks. NO ONE should be allowed to lie to defend his position. 

The ONLY way to create a progressive future is to win elections. I know some of you have fantasies about holding a huge demonstration or rally, and forcing the people in charge to bopw to your demands and change every law you want changed, but come on; how long do we have to watch them dismantle everything we built from the Depression on before we figure out, they're not able to do so because they want to; they are able to do so because they keep getting elected. 

And the FAR LEFT is making it possible for this actual minority of people to keep winning elections. And this author exemplifies the political cluelessness that is keeping us from making this country better. 

 

28 comments

  1. Something that you should know. I live in California. It was a lot of black folk that helped put proposition 8 over the top. The President will have to wait until a reelection is secured before his public position on that issue can fully “evolve”.

  2. I don’t do pissing contests.
    You don’t have the slightest idea how the political system in this country works.
    You know President Perry gets into office? In part it’s by people NOT voting for the opponent of his with a chance to win, and that is Barack Obama.
    If you vote for no one, or vote for a third party, because your feelings are hurt, you’re a narcissist and most certainly NOT a progressive. Being a progressive isn’t about having the right stances on issues. It’s about doing whatever is necessary to move the country forward, You obviously put your own positions on issues so high up there that you’re willing to give the RW even more power, as if they haven’t screwed up the country enough.
    That makes you something other than a progressive. It makes you a political coward.

  3. This is a pissing contest which democrats should avoid. Unfortunately, however, our leadership has brought us to this point, and therein lies the blame. Not with you or with MinitryofTruth. I note the list of Obama accomplishments, yet the list of his unilateral failures is just as important, and began as early as less than ten days after taking the oath of office.
    Having said all that, I’m going to vote who I am, and I’m about as lefty an American as we get (FDR was an elite centrist who, faced with extraordinary circumstances, did as little as possible – what was politically demanded by the circumstances – in order to save capitalism). Progressives will turn out for Obama, all the data I’ve seen supports this, but I won’t be one of them and I’ve made my peace with the notion that if America wants to put Rick Perry in the oval office, then it deserves whatever it gets, and I’m NOT the kind of progressive this author thinks I am. I came suited up to play in 2008, but was told by the the man I gave and worked for to get lost.
    So I have. All of us have this decision to make, and I’ve made mine.

  4. That’s exactly right. If you want to see the issue of gay marriage tank really quickly, just try to “shove it down people’s throats.” People are changing their minds because most people are NOT screaming about it.

  5. It takes great tone-deafness not to realize that people prefer to be introduced to new things gently. And they are not wrong to prefer this; caution protects us from unforeseen disasters.

  6. By the way, genius, how does “pro-appeasement left” work, exactly? How is making sure the complaints about Obama are actually true and fair “appeasement”? Who are we “appeasing,” exactly?

  7. This is why we call you emo.
    I didn’t say “emo prog” wasn’t condescending. In fact, I said I was. To the author. I don’t call everyone who disagrees with me “emo prog.” It’s reserved for people who undermine the progressive movement. I’d say “see the difference?” but you obviously don’t have nuance in your arsenal.
    Do you know WHY gay marriage is in favor now? It’s because the president isn’t up on the stump talking about it. For Chrissakes, genius; Proposition 8 was only a little over 2 years ago; maybe you should read some news. I would also point out, if you rely on one or two polls to tell you how people actually feel about something, prog or not, you’re quite “emo.” I suppose you’re absolutely sure Rick Perry will be the GOP nominee next year, huh? Cuz, you know, a poll says he’s at the top of the field.
    And I don’t tell ANYONE to shut up. I correct lies and bullshit. If you think pointing out lies and bullshit is equivalent to “shutting you up,” you reveal more about yourself than you know.

  8. “Fanboy” condescending. “Emo prog” is not. Got it.
    BTW: Public opinion is with gay marriage. You should read more. http://bit.ly/rbROpW
    You went to pure speculation over “energizing the bigot” vote. So the assertion that you “prove” everything you say is, how did you describe it? Oh yes, “BS”. By your own “see the difference” metric of not believing an author’s “BS”, I can now by your measure, be as condescending as I like, correct?
    Shutting up now. (As per orders of The Gestapo Faction of the Pro-Appeasement Left)

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