In On meta-left discussions: no substitute for organizing people and marshalling resources – Chris Bowers replies to this article by Kevin Baker – The vanishing liberal
Whatever you perceive to be the shortcomings of the American left in affecting political change in this country, and whatever the actual shortcomings may be, there is no quick fix or gimmicky solution. Just developing better framing, finding candidates with different demographic backgrounds, yelling louder, or holding firmer to your principles or stated negotiating position isn’t really going to do much in the end. Fundamentally, it all comes back to persuasion and organizing: using your message and your current resources (volunteers, money, media, technological tools) to marshal as many supporters and new resources as possible. From that point, you apply that message, those supporters and those resources in an attempt to change the institutions you would like to see changed.
Chris’s complete post is quite a bit longer and worth a read especially if you’re a moderate – Democrats have become America’s Moderate party. When is the last time you heard two cogent cultural or public policy prescriptions from the Right. Moderation is hard to sale in an environment in which the tea nuts, conservatives and right-wing libertarians think their strange cauldron of damn “the public welfare”, conspiracy theories and muleheadedness ( tea bags show up for health care discussion and declare “We didn’t come here to listen to you!” the facts hurt our brains) are a winning direction for the country. Some how we can seat down with our number two pencils and a calculator and find a trillion dollars in wasteful spending on lazy neerdowells liv’n off welfare. It’s an entertaining fairy tale, ripe for a satirical movie. Hard choices with the required tough and adult solutions it is not. We could book the heck out of Iraq – every last American soldier, diplomat and mercenary and save hundreds of billions, but the entire beltway and four red states would than overwhelm the health care system with conservatives having spastic bed wetting attacks. Anyway liberals need to get used to the permanent electioneering mode. No one election or elected official is the rainbow after the storm. Not Obama or whoever in the Senate or your state’s governor down the road. As Chris notes Democrats still do not have the kind of permanent infrastructure that right-wingers have built up over the last fifty years. They have their own TV network and slate of radio programs. We have Rachel Maddow and to some extent Jon Stewart. Liberals are ahead on the net, but direct mail is still very powerful and Republicans use it to rev up the base. They have the billionaires and astro-turf to hammer their message every day on every issue. Republicans see victory even in defeat. Many liberals see President Obama’s continuation of some of Bush’s national security policies as reason to get pissed off and pout. Where Republicans push their leaders to carry out their agenda without giving up support. Too many liberals – though not all certainly – see they cannot get everything they want so they get discouraged. It took Republicans fifty years to drive the country off a cliff and they might actually get a chance to drive the partly repaired bus off the same cliff again. It would seem like an easy choice – rehire the negligent drunk or keep trying to push the new driver to go in a more progressive direction. As Chris also mentions – President Obama is still the man. Obama has managed to surpass even Bill Clinton as both our official spokesman and our most influential leader.
The tea nuts do not remember this because they were asleep the last ten years – America’s Sea of Red Ink Was Years in the Making
Sure Micheal Steele and the stripe club thing was another gotcha glimpse into conservative “values”, but Republicans and some liberal columnists are making too much of it – Michael Steele Ally Offers Frank Appraisal Of Chairman’s Plight. Better they’re watching strippers than throwing bricks and cutting gas lines.
Gov. Robert F. McDonnell, reviving a controversy that had been dormant for eight years, has declared that April will be Confederate History Month in Virginia, a move that angered civil rights leaders Tuesday but that political observers said would strengthen his position with his conservative base.
The two previous Democratic governors had refused to issue the mostly symbolic proclamation honoring the soldiers who fought for the South in the Civil War.
Mr Serwer at Prospect replies ,
So not only does McDonnell venerate those who took up arms against their own country, he does so without acknowledging that the institution for which they fought was the right to preserve the right to own human beings as slaves. He then papers over the horrors of reconstruction, lynching, and Jim Crow that followed.
Serwer calls on Gov. Bob McDonnell (R-VA) to be honest enough to acknowledge the truth. That is pushing the envelope. Such honesty from a Republican politician would require courage – always in short supply among Republican politicians and nearly non-existent among conservative pundits. They do have plenty of crazy gull as McDonnell demonstrates. Lawyers, Guns and Money nails it, “The conflict between slavery and non-slavery is a conflict between life and death.”
Well, sheeeeeeeeeeyit. It’s Treason-in-Defense-of-Slavery Heritage Month again, so I suppose we need to remind people like Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell what the “shared history” of Virginia’s Confederate heroes actually entailed. (emphasis mine)
Click over to read the Confederacy’s John Preston’s speech. That part ain’t so funny.
Update: I was reading an interesting post at The Booman Tribune about tyranny which reminded me of some of the whining hypocrites on the rabid right:
Yet we elect populists, like Chairman Obama, whose unaffordable promises and unconstitutional actions, after the manner of Tiberius Gracchus, Caesar, and Octavian, will be recorded in history as the beginning of the end of our republic. We slip further into a “democracy” of dependence on government and control by it. Inevitably, we too will degenerate into despotism and tyranny. – from the American Think blog – August 05, 2009, By Frank S. Rosenbloom, M.D.
And from the right’s unofficial vice-chairman and draft dodging drug addict and serial monogamists Rush Limbaugh, Discussing upcoming “Earth hour,” Limbaugh calls Obama “an extremist tyrannical president”
From the Booman post: What Would Nixon Do
Well Nixon is dead, so we can’t ask him, but we do know what he did do to unarmed antiwar protesters in Washington in 1971. He called in 10,000 military reinforcements, canceled a permit the protesters had been granted to hold a rock concert in Washington Potomac Park and in the early morning of May 2, 1971 had police attack the sleeping protesters by knocking down their tents and firing with tear gas causing most of them to scatter and eventually leave Washington….
[ ]…Of course, this was not as horrific as the events of the May. 1970 Kent State and Jackson State massacres in which unarmed civilians had been gunned down by National Guard units at Kent State and by police at Jackson State.
Has President Obama ordered any right-wing blogs shut down. Ordered any rabid right-wing radio shows hosts be stormed by the National Guard. Has he ordered the police to start knocking skulls at the tea nut events where there have been armed participants. For eight years these are the same people who formed the nationwide chorus of Chicken-Littles that said we were all going to die in our sleep at the hands of burka wearing radicals. They swore Iraq was the front of the “war on terror”. That the economy was great and Bush – our first MBA president – was doing a fine job as he redistributed the nation’s wealth to the wealthiest, laziest and arrogant top 10% of the population. Good to know they have the same keen insights Conservatives have always had.