I Will Listen to the Frustrati When

After a few years of listening to the general screaming, moaning, bitching, whining, and intermittent chest-beating of the so-called progressives, I’ve decided to give a list of things that would actually cause me to pay any serious attention to them.  It’s not by any means a comprehensive list, just a fairly short list of things they should have been doing to get serious attention by anyone, including politicians.

I will listen to you when you:

  • Demonstrate the ability to successfully lobby for and shepherd through Congress a bill meeting your standards.
  • Identify and recruit primary challengers to members of the Blue Dog caucus, and provide them with the financial support, campaign staff, and field support needed to win that primary.
  • Demonstrate that you can get local candidates on the ballot and win in a number of areas around the country.
  • Can turn out a reliable block of voters who make a difference in an election, in more than just a few select urban areas that were going your way anyway.
  • Start acknowledging when the President does something right, and stop blaming him for things he had no control over.
  • Start going after Republicans with the vigor you’ve been using on Democrats.

None of them are particularly “unusual” if you plan on being a political force.  They’re all standard things that any politically influential group does as a matter of course.  It’s the way they became political forces in the first place.   Which is exactly what the various “progressive” complainers who call themselves “the netroots” haven’t done.   For all the noise they make, they’ve never once demonstrated an ability to do any of the above.

They want to be listened to?  To be taken seriously? The above list is a beginning.  I’ll listen when they show they can do more than talk.   I’m not going to be holding my breath, though.

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48 Comments

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48 responses to “I Will Listen to the Frustrati When

  1. That’s the thing that gets me-these idiots in the PL have NEVER been able to turn out the vote for one of their candidates in a purple or red state EVER. Their candidate always gets their butt kicked in the primary by a Blue Dog Democrat or in the general election by the GOP. The only places a far left candidate ever wins is in places like Vermont or California, and even then, only by the skin of their teeth. So, until they can do that, they can STFU about President Obama.

    • Yup. Heck, they were unable to recruit primary opponents for their “worst offenders” in the House, and even after jumping on the bandwagon of a Senate primary opponent, still lost. That’s not even looking at their pathetic record in general elections.

      I’m also remembering their performance as the ACA moved through Congress. Although they had their “wish list,” :roll: the “lobbying” they did was inept as hell, they made a lot of threats but were unable to back them up, they had no alternative plan to succeed, and in the end, they failed miserably.

      It’s always been interesting to see just how … sparse … they are on the ground when it comes to the nitty-gritty of local politics. So despite their claim to be – or represent – “the base,” one has to wonder why there aren’t more of them moving up the ladder in political office. ;)

      • The reason they can’t back up their threats is that they don’t have the voters. They have SOME voters, but not enough to back up their threats. That’s why I suspect President Obama will be re-elected. Besides, WHO do they have to primary him? Kucinich? Sanders? Please.

        • D.Z.

          Gore wouldn’t be a bad choice.

          • Nathan Katungi

            Do you mean the same Al Gore, a member of DLC, they told us was no different from George W. Bush in 2000? Or do you mean Gore Vidal? If you mean Al Gore, then I have completely had it with the idiocy of the so called pure progressives. I suppose ten years from now they will be in love with Pres. Obama, though they are savaging him today.

          • D.Z.

            He wasn’t any different, but at least he wasn’t an idiot like Bush.

  2. I wouldn’t say they have never demonstrated the capabilities you describe. The Lamont/Lieberman race was probably the highpoint of Netroots Progressive effectiveness. Of course, Lamont went on to blow the general election, but their ability to defeat Lieberman on a campaign running against the Iraq war gave other Democrats the courage to run against that war in 2006 and probably contributed substantially to their retaking Congress that year.

    Since then it has all been downhill.

    • Yes, but it was also in a state where there’s a heavy Democratic – and considerably more liberal – presence, within easy commuting distance of a major media/population center, NYC. What I noticed a lot in ’06 and ’08 was that they were quite willing to claim responsibility for the wins after the fact, but when I started looking more closely at the races, they were more often than not just a small – and not very effective – part of it, instead of being the major players they claimed. What really tips that off is when you look at the ’10 election, and exactly how many primary challengers they turned out against the members of Blue Dog Caucus in the House. Not “didn’t win the primary,” but “Hey, you said this one was a big target and had to be removed. Where was the challenger you promised?”

      • D.Z.

        It’s not the progressives’ fault the Dems sold them out by stumping for the Blue Dogs, even though they *knew* the Blue Dogs were a lost cause. Also, are the progressives to blame for Feingold losing *his* seat?

        • Bullshit. Feingold lost his seat because he ran to the right, and to be honest his constituents were pretty tired of him, and unsure of just what the hell he had done. Let’s get real, if you look at his voting record the last couple of years he was in office, you’d think he was a Blue Dog or moderate Republican.

          The Party stumped for the party’s nominee, whether or not they were Blue Dogs or not. Now, I refer you to the second point I made up there. It is not “someone else’s” responsibility to find and run “progressive” candidates against Blue Dogs, it is the people who are complaining the most about them. I watched all through 2009 as various idiots bitched, moaned, and threatened various Blue Dogs, including two of them in Congressional districts next to mine. You want to know what happened in the primary? I’ll tell you: There wasn’t one. In other words, two congressmen “progressives” painted big ass targets on didn’t get primaried. Which is a good measure of just why no one pays attention to you.

        • Nathan Katungi

          So Who is to blame for Feingold losing his seat? Which seats (House and Senate) did “PURITY” Progressives win in red states, purple states, and the not so blue parts of the blue states, to show us, the not so pure progressives, how it’s done? The “purity” progressives need to be honest: Your bark is more ferocious than your bite.

          • D.Z.

            “Feingold lost his seat because he ran to the right”

            From Wikipedia: “Feingold’s second 2010 television election ad attacked Johnson for alleged support for offshore drilling in the Great Lakes.”

            “Let’s get real, if you look at his voting record the last couple of years he was in office, you’d think he was a Blue Dog or moderate Republican. ”

            McCain/Feingold was a Blue Dog/moderate bill? Also from Wikipedia: “In May 2006, Feingold voted in favor of bill S.2611,[18] an immigration reform bill that, among other things, would almost double the number of H-1B visas. As one of the strongest opponents of capital punishment in the Senate, Feingold co-sponsored, along with Jon Corzine (who would later, as Governor of New Jersey, sign an abolition bill in his state), the National Death Penalty Moratorium Act in 2002.[19] In the 111th Congress, Feingold introduced the Federal Death Penalty Abolition Act of 2009.[20] On January 26, 2009 Feingold, Tom Harkin and Robert Byrd were the sole Democrats to vote against confirmation of Timothy Geithner to be United States Secretary of the Treasury (Independent Bernie Sanders, who caucused with Democrats, also voted against Geithner’s confirmation).[21]
            Feingold has supported various measures to assist veterans. He cosponsored the Veterans Health Care Budget Reform and Transparency Act, which was enacted in October 2009. In 2010 he was named “Legislator of the Year” by the National Association of County Veterans Service Officers.[22]”

            But I guess by your logic, he wasn’t as “progressive” as Blanche Lincoln.

            “The Party stumped for the party’s nominee, whether or not they were Blue Dogs or not.”

            Yeah, and they stumped for a nominee they knew would lose.

            “It is not “someone else’s” responsibility to find and run “progressive” candidates against Blue Dogs, it is the people who are complaining the most about them.”

            And the people who complained most about them got attacked by Lincoln and Clinton.

            “Which seats (House and Senate) did “PURITY” Progressives win in red states, purple states, and the not so blue parts of the blue states, to show us, the not so pure progressives, how it’s done?”

            Well, they won in a red district of New York, for one. Oh, and then there’s the Franken win.

    • gc

      I’m from CT, and the people I met at Lamont HQ never even heard of the Netroots. They simply had had enough of Lieberman and were intrigued by Lamont.

    • Let’s also remember Howard Dean’s campaign in the Democratic primaries in 2004. That also had a lot of Nutroots support. And everything would have been OK if Howard hadn’t started howling during that campaign event in Iowa during the Caucuses.

      • Nathan Katungi

        By the way, Doc, Howard Dean as Governor of Vermont was really quite conservative by Vermont’s standards. The notion that some how Howard Dean was more progressive than either John Kerry or Barack Obama is ridiculous. I am just amazed at how myths are created about leaders.

        • Democratic politicians become frustrati heroes when they lose. If Howard Dean were president today, they’d be disappointed in him because he would not make all their dreams come true.

          If Obama had lost the election, he’d be their hero now. They’d go, “If Obama were president…”

          That’s why it’s so easy for Messieurs Grayson and Kucinich to remain popular with the orange crowd: neither of them will ever be president.

          • Or if they’re long since out of office. I laugh whenever I see them swooning about Jimmy Carter, because unlike them, i was around when he was President, and the Left hated him. Then there is their wistful “if Hillary had won” routine, which totally ignores that she ran on a platform similar to Obama, even slightly to the right of his.

  3. Nathan Katungi

    Bravo Norbrook! Bottom line is until you win elections there is really very little you can do to shape public policy. To win elections you have to be prepared to do the hard and thankless work of organizing and mobilizing people from the grassroots. Sitting behind my computer, hauling vitriolic attacks against President Obama may feel good, but it is no guarantee that my preferred “holier than thou progressives” will be elected to replace Democrats like President Obama.

    Lets face reality: In 1960, JFK, considered more conservative, was elected over Hubert Humphrey. in 1960, LBJ, the new hero of the Progressives, run to the right of JFK. In 1980, Jimmy Carter was chosen over more liberal Democrats like Mo Udall. For his re-election he defeated the liberal icon, Teddy Kennedy. in 1992, Bill Clinton, a member of DLC, defeated liberals like Tom Harkin and Jerry Brown. In 2000, Al Gore defeated the liberal darling Bill Bradley. Let me confess: except for JFK’s election ( I was not of age) I supported the most liberal candidates. All of the candidates I supported lost. But, The people who won were still Democrats and I supported them wholeheartedly come general election time.

    My question is: Would the country have been better off if supporters of Hubert Humphrey refused to back JFK? Do progressives think electing Ronald Reagan, instead of re-electing Jimmy Carter was beneficial to the progressive cause? Do progressives believe that they should have sat out the elections of 1992 and 1996, because Bill Clinton was a member of DLC which didn’t endorse the progressive agenda? Are progressives who backed Nader, instead of Al Gore, proud of the fact that they contributed to electing George W. Bush over Al Gore? These are the practical questions that the holier than thou progressives must answer.

    By the way I no longer call myself a progressive though I share a great deal with the progressives. I am a Democrat. I also understand that Democrats come from diverse regions of this country which makes it difficult to have a monolithic approach to policy. I long for the House of Representatives controlled by Democrats, including blue dog Democrats, under the speakership of Nancy Pelosi. Do progressives really think that we are better off with tea baggers replacing blue dogs?

    • I said a long time ago that first I am a Democrat, then I’m a liberal. I’ve taken to calling myself a “pragmatic liberal” because it describes me much better than what has been hijacked as “progressive.”

      My overall opinion, as I’ve said many times, is that most of these people live in heavily Democratic urban areas or college towns. It’s something that’s apparent in their “this is the best way!” and “everyone likes this!” attitudes. It’s an attitude I’ve run into a lot over the years, and particularly since I live in a very rural area. A lot of the “bright ideas” that get proposed out of New York City quickly turn into “are you that stupid?” when looked at from this part of the State.

    • D.Z.

      Excuse me, but Reagan was senile and Bush Jr. was an idiot, and the son of the guy who helped wreck the economy in the first place. If you couldn’t beat them in a race, it’s your own damned fault, and you know it.

      • Nathan Katungi

        D.Z. people don’t vote for themselves! The so called “PURITY” PROGRESSIVES chose to abandon AL Gore because of this false meme that there is no difference between Democrats and Republicans. No the fault belongs to the “holier than thou progressives.” who all the time pretend to be Democrats and then attack Democrats more ferociously than they attack right wing Republicans.
        In the meantime, the “purity” progressives’ record of successfully electing people to make policy is almost ZERO! Given this record, why should we take t”purity” progressives seriously? I used to, but no more. The debacle of the 2000 election, and the subsequent horrible regime of G.W. Bush and Dick Cheney, taught me a very important lesson. I will never again take the “purity” progressives seriously because they are absolutely clueless about history, politics, and the diversity of our country. I repeat they are utterly CLUELESS about the reality of governing an ideologically divided country!

        • A good example of their “power” was when they all jumped ship when my congressional district had a special election. Yes, they were pouting their behinds off. You know what? We elected a Democrat anyway. Not only that, but without any help from them, we re-elected him. This is in a district that was considered to be – and designed that way – “safe Republican.” I noticed that a lot of the candidates they touted the most in 2008 and 2010 did not win. If you can’t win, even given some of the most egregious Republican opponents, then you don’t get a seat at the table. That’s simple politics. If anything, it appears that their support of a candidate is one of the better indicators of “going to lose.”

          • D.Z.

            Nathan: “The so called “PURITY” PROGRESSIVES chose to abandon AL Gore because of this false meme that there is no difference between Democrats and Republicans. ”

            If it’s false, then what have they really done for us in the last five years which disproves that theory?

            “who all the time pretend to be Democrats and then attack Democrats more ferociously than they attack right wing Republicans.”

            That’s because right wing Republicans are a joke, and it’s a bigger joke to think you campaign as kinder, gentler versions of them. Even “compassionate conservative” Dubya had to campaign on the Southern Strategy to get as far as he did.

            “In the meantime, the “purity” progressives’ record of successfully electing people to make policy is almost ZERO! ”

            So the Roosevelts=zero now?

  4. treestar

    The frustrati expect the candidate to be handed to them. The best they do is cast about and look for people who aren’t interested, like Feingold or Grayson, or even Sanders, who is not even a member of the party to be able to run in the primary. As to doing real work, they have no idea of that.

    That is why they expect the President and other Democratic elected leaders to just listen to them. They don’t care if they are a minority – they are “right” and feel entitled to be obeyed.

    • Exactly. They’ll jump a bandwagon like nobody else, but when it comes to identifying someone and getting a campaign staff and field team together, they’re notably absent.

      I often laugh at their selection of “heroes.” If you look at Feingold’s record the last few years he was in the Senate, his voting record looked more like a Republican than a Democrat. Grayson got booted to the curb by his constituents because he sucked as their representative. They also manage to forget that some of them (Hamsher) were going to primary Sanders if he voted for the ACA. :roll:

    • Cha

      Hey treestar~ If you’re the treestar I know. And, even if you’re not.

      The Professional Whiners lie and make up crap as they go along..not a good foundation for getting anything accomplished other than filling the coffers of those like greenham, huffington, and puffington..oh yeah, and Adam Greed..is that his name?

  5. One diarist on the orange thingy gets it: http://www.dailykos.com/story/2011/08/05/1003553/-Some-Bad-News-About-Alan-Grayson?via=siderec

    Of course the frustrati comments spew the usual crap: “Alan lost because Obama let him down.” Huh? Alan Grayson lost because his constituents didn’t vote for him. It is Mr. Grayson’s job, not President Obama’s, to convince the people in his district to send him back to Congress.

    Mr. Grayson emails me more often than all of my friends put together — and I don’t even live in Florida. In none of his emails, though, does he tell his prospective out-of-state donors how his re-election campaign is coming. All I get is his comments on what’s going on in Congress right now and how he feels about it.

    Wonderful, but what is he doing to get his behind elected? What kind of commercials does he intend to buy with the money I’m supposed to send him? “Taliban Dan” 2.0? Until he lets me know what his plan is, he won’t see a penny from me.

    • One of the things the otherwise excellent diary missed was a very simple one: Alan Grayson had higher negatives than the President in polling in his district. His constituents didn’t particularly like him. That was based on a few things: First, he ignored constituent service, the bread and butter of any congresscritter. Second, his ads (the Taliban Dan deal) hurt him. His opponent, while a Tea Party “favorite” was actually a fairly well-respected former state representative, and even the local papers called Grayson out on those ads. Instead of backing down, Grayson upped the ante, and just succeeded in further irritating his constituents. Finally, he had (I heard it from one of his constituents) a really bad habit of lecturing his constituents, not listening to them. That’s why I said that Grayson sucked as their representative. There’s certain things any Representative – particularly a freshman – has to do in order to keep being a Representative. What Grayson did was mistake the adulation of the frustrati for approval of his constituents. Getting kicked to the curb by 15 points is a pretty strong message in my book, particularly when he had one of the largest reelection bankrolls in the the House.

      • “What Grayson did was mistake the adulation of the frustrati for approval of his constituents.”

        That is so very true. I supposed being on the orange wreck list went to his head. What he didn’t get is that his constituents couldn’t care less.

        • Exactly. While the wreck list stuff was all well and good, and getting them to contribute to his campaign coffers, it doesn’t matter if the people who vote for you don’t like you. Grayson had one of biggest – if not the biggest – campaign funds in the House. That should have meant he’d be a winner, or close to it. Instead, he lost – and lost badly. It’s when you look at what he actually did for his district that the reasons stand out.

          Contrast that with my Congressman, who won re-election in what was a “safe Republican” district. He has focused like a laser on constituent services, and you can’t turn around without seeing him asking if he can do something for you. He’s turning out to be quite well liked, and while redistricting might make things interesting in 2012, he’s got a good chance. You won’t see him making the rounds on the national television or writing blogs for the the orange place, but on the other hand, this district could care less about that stuff.

  6. Dancer

    On this blessedly rainy morning I’m HAPPY, HAPPY to have found this site…(thanks C&L for the link). Living in another NYS rural area (southern tier) we needn’t worry about those calling themselves PLs cause it is hard enough to find Democrats! Over the past months I’ve become more and more frustrated by the likes of Digby and FDL and HUFFPO and completely agree with the observations stated here. Sick and tired of the bashing of our president and so pleased to know there are folks out there who realize how this country was set up to work! I do object when there is mocking and criticism (mostly deserved) of the wingnuts and then the same tactics are suggested for us…how is that “progressive”? GO SATELLITE radio and streaming (albeit with slow internet) cause otherwise we’d be stuck with only conservative opining…

    • Welcome. :) I know the feeling, because I live in one of the most “solidly red” areas of this state, and the saying has been “if you throw a rock in a random direction, you’re more likely to hit a deer than a Democrat.” :lol: There’s a number of us who are “pragmatic” (see my blog roll), and we’re not really in the mood to put up with the people who claim to be “the base” of the Party. They’re not, and it’s obvious they’re not once you get out of their little safe havens.

  7. Cha

    Excellante, Norbrook! I will definitely be passing this on. Thank you~

  8. Cha

    Ooops, I spelled Excelente, a little wrong. :)

  9. Great post, Norbrook. The Frustrati are a legend only in their own minds. It is a good thing that it is easy to avoid them … their color is often Orange.

  10. D.Z.

    I have acknowledged when Obama did things right. But there’s a difference between doing the right thing and doing the politically successful thing. I appreciate that he ended DADT and re-funded stem cell research. But those are situations where he acts when he can distract the Repubs and Blue Dogs, rather than confront them head-on. I’m not going to call watered-down legislation with a few perks a win.

    “Can turn out a reliable block of voters who make a difference in an election, in more than just a few select urban areas that were going your way anyway.”

    Um, you didn’t get the memo. We just did that three years ago. It’s not our fault that the Dems pissed that once-in-a-lifetime win away.

    “Start going after Republicans with the vigor you’ve been using on Democrats.”

    Were you asleep during the Bush years or something?

    • How about now you jackass? Wow, you went after Bush. Color me unimpressed. In case you haven’t noticed, the Republicans control the House. That means all your bitching about Blue Dogs is totally meaningless.

      You know why I had the first point? It’s based on experience. Back when screaming Jane Hamsher, grifter extraordinaire, and her idiot minions Slinkerwink and nyceve were busily screaming “kill the bill” regarding the ACA, I asked a very simple question. Matter of fact, it made the Rec List at Daily Kos. All I asked was “OK, if the bill is killed, what is your plan for getting your ideal bill introduced and passed?” You know what the answer was? Crickets.

      Now, in case you’ve been missing it, and it’s obvious you have, this President has done more legislatively, and gotten more progressive initiatives passed than any other president in the same time. That’s despite a huge set of barriers on the way, and all he’s gotten from people like you is a constant stream of bitching.

    • Nathan Katungi

      Correct me if I am wrong, so you are saying that because you voted for Democrats in 2008, and the Democrats did not give you 100% of everything you wanted, in just two years, then you got pissed and didn’t vote in 2010. And because the Democrats pissed you off, and you refused to vote them, then it’s all President Obama’s fault that we have this insane right wing Congress intent on ruining the country? Are you an adult? If you are, do you teach your children that they will always get everything they ask, and if they don’t then they are justified in throwing tantrums and making life hell for the rest of the family?

      By the way this statement of yours really baffled me:
      “I have acknowledged when Obama did things right. But there’s a difference between doing the right thing and doing the politically successful thing.”
      How in the world can you do the “right thing” as President if you don’t have the votes in Congress to back you up? Let me ask you some questions: Do you think FDR was doing the right thing when he excluded agricultural and domestic workers from Social Security, in order to gain the votes of Southern racist Democrats? Should Congress have refused to pas the 1935 Social Security Act because it was not about “doing the right thing” but was instead about “doing the politically successful thing?” Do you not know that, though it took 35-40 years to finally include the agricultural and domestic workers respectively under SS, that at least FDR had laid a valuable and important foundation?

      Why is it that all of you “holier than thou progressives” miserably fail to understand that, except in war time, Presidents rarely get 100% of what they want? Why is it that the so called progressives, who claim to be smart, fail to understand that we have three branches of government that share power? Why is President Obama all of a sudden expected to deliver 100% of every wish items on the progressive’s list before he can be given any respect for all his progressive accomplishments that are quite historical? WHY?

      • Had there been frustrati blogs in 1939, the Social Security Act would have been called a “shit sandwich.”

        • D.Z.

          Norbrook: “Now, in case you’ve been missing it, and it’s obvious you have, this President has done more legislatively, and gotten more progressive initiatives passed than any other president in the same time.”

          Really, now? http://hollywood-elsewhere.com/2011/08/old_lefty.php

          “That’s despite a huge set of barriers on the way,”

          Those are barriers he created for himself, because he chose to waste a super-majority.

          Nathan: “Correct me if I am wrong, so you are saying that because you voted for Democrats in 2008, and the Democrats did not give you 100% of everything you wanted, in just two years, then you got pissed and didn’t vote in 2010. ”

          Please. They didn’t even give me 10% of what I wanted.

          “And because the Democrats pissed you off, and you refused to vote them, then it’s all President Obama’s fault that we have this insane right wing Congress intent on ruining the country?”

          Pretty much. Those righties will use the same argument, too. The difference is that when Obama will kow-tow to them once again, you’ll spin it as him acting rationally by acknowledging them, but portray progressives as the nut-jobs for demanding more, but in the other direction. Amirite?

          “Are you an adult? If you are, do you teach your children that they will always get everything they ask, and if they don’t then they are justified in throwing tantrums and making life hell for the rest of the family?”

          Well, those tea-baggers got everything they wanted by doing the same thing. Or, as Boehner phrased it, “98%”. But somehow, we’re the bad guys? Should Freedom Riders have just settled for desgregating businesses and institutions which were willing to take payoffs to let black people share the same resources as white people? Should women have only slowly been allowed to vote in local elections before being allowed to decide anything major? Because thats essentially the same type of argument you’re advocating for legislation which essentially enables HMOs and banks to scam people a little less than usual.

          “Do you not know that, though it took 35-40 years to finally include the agricultural and domestic workers respectively under SS, that at least FDR had laid a valuable and important foundation?”

          Yes, but FDR did things to keep those workers happy in the meantime. Obama has not. And FDR was a guy in a friggin’ wheelchair living in an era which predated television, the Internet, and high-speed trains, FFS. If you’re going to be that primitive about social policy which still puts us 50 years behind Europe and Asia, why is it a shock that people who want to make it 100 years suddenly take over, when they’re more honest about it?

          “Why is it that all of you “holier than thou progressives” miserably fail to understand that, except in war time, Presidents rarely get 100% of what they want?”

          Fine, but not trying to even get 50%, when you have the support for it, is irresponsible and counterproductive. I mean, Obama not only let a minority of Blue Dogs boss him around, but now he’s allowing a minority voting bloc, which just got lucky, do the same. A bloc which will never cross over the aisle to pick him, no matter how eager he is to fellate them on certain issues. But he pursues them, anyway.

          Maike: “Had there been frustrati blogs in 1939, the Social Security Act would have been called a “shit sandwich.””

          Actually, there were people on the left who were frustrated with FDR. http://www.calitics.com/diary/12509/progressive-dissent-and-progressive-organizing

          • Well, first off, you’re now banned. Second, to respond to some things, you apparently were too lazy to look at what he ran on in the first place. You’ve been regurgitating all the standard frustrati talking points, and reality says you’re still living in some fantasy.

            Everything in that list in the post is exactly what you and your compatriots haven’t done. You expect someone else to do it for you.

  11. trs

    Thank you, Norbrook, for a well-reasoned essay (which will be why some aren’t happy with it (it’s too thoughtful and controlled, not full of rage)). I haven’t agreed with a lot of things the President has done, but I knew what to expect from the beginning. He was honest about who he was – always has been, at least since the time I met him when he was running for U.S. Senate. I’ve been involved in local politics since the mid-70′s, and realize that what I want isn’t always what can be accomplished… at least in the short term. You take what you can get, and keep your eye on the prize. Change comes in small steps. Not keeping your eye on the long term leads us to the situation we deal with now. Thanks again.

    • Thank you for the comment. :) I can point to specific items where I disagreed with the President, things like a bill he signed that I wished he’d vetoed, or on a tactic I felt was a mistake. But I never make the mistake of saying that because of that, he “lost me.” Most of the biggest screamers have been saying that repetitively since the day he took office, so the question for them is really “when were you for him?”

      Like you, I knew what to expect from the beginning. That’s because I read what his platform was, and listened to what he was saying. That he’s been able to do as much as he has of what he ran on is the only surprise. I didn’t for one second think that he was running on my fantasy platform, but apparently there’s a lot of others who did.

      What started this post was quite simply, it’s exactly where the frustrati have failed to deliver. For all their talk, it turns out they can’t deliver on what they “promise.” As we used to say, “Actions talk, bullshit walks.” They’re walking.

      • Nathan Katungi

        “I can point to specific items where I disagreed with the President, things like a bill he signed that I wished he’d vetoed, or on a tactic I felt was a mistake. But I never make the mistake of saying that because of that, he “lost me.”

        Exactly Norbrook! I don’t know of any of President Obama’s supporters who supports 100% everything he does. Why even the President himself is consistently honest that he did not like everything he got in many of the compromises he entered into.

        Look, I am a student of history and I am appalled at the heroic founding fathers who compromised on slavery when drafting the Constitution. Imagine how African Americans feel when they know that Ben Franklin and James Madison agreed to count them as 3/5th of a person. But I am also a realist in recognizing the Thirteen states would never have agreed to form the United States without these compromises. By the way, I was equally appalled to learn that Abraham Lincoln, the Great Emancipator, issued an Emancipation Proclamation that did not free slaves in states and parts of the states that were loyal to the Union. His reasoning: (1) Constitutional restraints, and (2), probably more importantly he wanted to prevent border slave states from seceding and joining the Confederacy. In other words his actions were purely based on political and military considerations.

        Do the purity progressives read the same history I read? They all talk about President Obama’s compromises with Republicans as “cave ins” but what do they think about these apparent historical “cave ins?”

        1. Must we stop honoring the founding fathers (including George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, Benjamin Franklin, John Adams) because they compromised with the evil system of slavery?

        2. Does Abraham Lincoln cease to be a great President because he tried to compromise with slavery in order to preserve the Union? Equally pertinent, should we despise Lincoln for issuing a limited Emancipation Proclamation that did not free all the slaves because he was mindful of Constitutional and political restraints?

        3. Should we stop valorizing FDR because several of his new Deal programs, like Social Security, caved in to to the interest of Southern Segregationists? Are “purity” progressives, who are also defenders of civil liberties and human rights, being honest when they declare FDR a progressive hero? The same FDR who sent thousands of innocent Japanese to detention camps, and refused to support an anti-lynching bill because he didn’t want to piss off Southern segregationists Democrats.

        4. Then of course there is Bill Clinton who signed DADT, DOMA, deregulation of Banks, t.v. and Radio, and ended welfare as we know it. He also declared that the “Era of Big Government Was Over.” Yet, Bill Clinton ( and I supported him) never earned the same toxic vitriol, from the holier than thou progressives, that has been unleashed against President Obama.

        I cite these four examples to illustrate the fact that governing a diverse country is never easy. Sometimes you enter into abominable compromises in order to push the ball forward. What you do is you lay a foundation for future generations to improve on. But in politics you also have to be mindful that if you are not vigilant things can quickly go backwards. You don’t want to make it possible for people who are vow to reverse all progress to be elected into office.

        For example: the Reconstruction period which gave us the 13th, the 14th and 15th Amendments lasted slightly over ten years. The regressive, counter Reconstruction, (aided by progressive Republicans) resulted Jim Crow period that followed lasted 90-100 years.

        Nevertheless, without the foundation laid by these Amendments, It’s unlikely that we would have had the civil Rights’ successes of the 1960′s and early 1970′s. I wish the the PL (or what I call “holier than thou progressives”) would get off their high horses and realize that in politics, there is no instant gratification. In politics progress requires a long term vision. If you don’t think so ask the veterans of the Labor Movement, the Civil Rights Movement, the Women’s Rights Movement, etc.

  12. Pingback: Downgrading America: Frustrati vs. Tea party « World in Motion

  13. I re-watched a documentary last night about the lives of Susan B. Anthony and Elizabeth Cady Stanton. Here were two woman who devoted 60 years of their lives to fighting for the right to vote and they died before the saw the fruits of that fight. But did that stop them?

    Real fighters don’t think in terms of victory today. They think about victory for their children and their grandchildren.

  14. Politics is the art of the possible. In a country like ours, with divided government the norm, and parties with a range of opinions, compromise is the only real result you’ll get on any issue. Moreover, public opinion is centrist, and people want problem solving. President Obama stared down the frustrati and is working to do what must be done — that’s leadership. John Boehner is scared of the tea partiers and trying to appease them, regardless of what that means for the country. That’s not leadership, that’s being a coward.

    • majii

      Excellent comment, Scott! In politics, you move forward toward your goal, even if it’s in centimeters. The one thing you don’t do if you expect to make progress is move to an extreme position, refuse to compromise, and end up with a disaster of epic proportions on your hands. PBO is doing what he must do to survive in a very toxic political climate and move the country forward, and he is more honest than the majority of politicians in D.C. When he signed the debt limit/deficit reduction bill, he admitted that it wasn’t what he wanted, but that he did it because it had to be done. IMO, only very young kids set un-achievable goals, refuse to work to make them happen, and then blame someone else for their inaction, and only very young kids revise history in such a way that it was all rainbows and balloons.