The Professional Left Needs To Stop Digging

An old saying is “If you’re in a hole, stop digging!”  Back in March, I wrote that there was a serious element of racism in the Left’s criticism of the President.  The past few days have reminded me of that, as I’ve watched the reaction to Melissa Harris-Perry’s response to Joan Walsh’s article in Salon.  Watching their reaction to Professor Harris-Perry’s article, and to other commenters and bloggers,  has been an exercise in watching them continue to dig, while denying they’re in a hole to begin with.

One of the reasons I came to the conclusion that race was behind much of their attacks on this President was:

But you know why I think that?   The Republicans are working to roll back women’s rights, unions, environmental protections, social programs, and education.  Social Security and Medicare are being targeted.  The programs and protections that progressives spent decades getting into place are being removed or weakened with startling speed.  Do you see a real focus on this from the Professional Left and the Frustrati?  Have they decided to spend most of their time going after Republicans?  No, they’re still spending most of their time attacking the black President.

You see, I was around when Bill Clinton was President.   What I don’t remember was the vituperation directed at him by the Left that has been directed at this President.  The Right?  Sure, I saw that, and I expected it with this President.  I didn’t expect it from the Left.  It’s been a litany of disrespect, dog-whistles, and unreasonable expectations.  Think I’m kidding?  Town, over at Pragmatic Obots Unite had this in a comment:

Bigotry

He’s an INADEQUATE BLACK MALE!!

I thought I was voting for a black guy, but got a white guy instead

Barry is a p*ssy, he’s not a REAL black man bussin’ caps up in Republicans’ azzes

My dear brother Obama is scared of real black men b/c he’s not one

Building a fake Oval Office set and mock Obama’s SOTU speech to show him how it should have been done

Those are all things that the Professional Left and others have said, excused, or applauded.  They claim that their attacks on this President are based on “policy differences,” yet somehow their “policies” are never fleshed out in detail, just an amorphous wish, and never with a plan of action on how they’re going to get it through Congress.   They attack – and no, it’s not criticism – even when the fault lies elsewhere.  Reading their diatribes, you’d think that Congress doesn’t exist, or if it does, it’s simply a rubber stamp for an imperial President.

Now that someone they pay attention to called them out, and they’re twisting themselves into knots to argue that no, really, they’re not racist!  But everything they say keeps digging them deeper into that hole.  They need to stop digging, and start listening.  Here’s what John Cole had to say:

As a general rule when a black person or persons tell me something is racist or bordering on racist, particularly people I respect like ABL and TNC, I don’t argue. If I disagreed with them initially or just didn’t notice the racist aspect of something, what I try to do is just be quiet for a minute. Then I try to figure out what it is that made me not recognize something as racist.

Which is what should have happened.  They should have stopped and examined it, and themselves.  Instead, they protested, denying it.    I don’t buy the denials.   As I said in my March post, they’re protesting too much.   Too many people are pointing it out, and we’re not all doing it just because we’re “overly sensitive.”    Then again, I know when I’m in a hole.

29 Comments

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29 responses to “The Professional Left Needs To Stop Digging

  1. Absolutely right, Norbrook. These idiots don’t have a clue what they have in this President. And I doubt they’ll figure it out, either.

  2. Nathan Katungi

    Another excellent post, Norbrook! Once again, you zeroed in on the Truth. There is a difference between reasoned criticism and ranting generalized attacks. The biggest problem, of course, is that the media loves to amplify ranting attacks on the President, even though those attacks are based on lies or exaggerations.

    Isn’t it interesting that most African Americans who are prominently presented by the media are those who are bashing the President? Does any one remember Rep. Maxine Waters being the darling of the media during the Clinton or Bush years? It’s really amusing to see how a congresswoman, who has ethics issues that have not been resolved, being paraded by the media to attack the President. How convenient? With Maxine Waters, Cornel West, and Bob Johnson as the star bashers of Obama, no one dare suggest that the attacks on the President, coming from the “PL/frustrati” blogs, and the MSM, have any thing to do with racism.

    It’s so gratifying to know that there are blogs, like yours, that are fiercely determined to tell the TRUTH! It’s always a joy to read your posts.

    • I find the embrace of those people by the media – and in particular the people who claim to “speak for the Left” – to be a desperate, and frankly pathetic, attempt to hide from self-examination. It’s a variation of the “I have a black friend” routine. Obviously, if they can point a black person who says what they want to hear, they can’t be prejudiced. At least, obviously to them. If they ever looked at the motives of the person, it looks more like an ulterior one, or an aggrieved sense of entitlement. Just because you can find someone of a given racial/ethnic group who agrees with you doesn’t mean that you’re not bigoted or indulging in racist behavior/language.

  3. The only thing they could be said to be accomplishing is to help make President Obama a one term President (which I find improbable due to the poor field of conservative candidates).

    Maybe the practical left should start asking the frustrati how much they like supporting and working with the right in accomplishing that goal?

    • It’s been asked … a lot. There are several groups: Those who would be just fine with it, thinking that there will be a popular uprising which will sweep a new progressive utopia into being :roll: ; those who think that they can elect an alternative progressive; and those who don’t care because they’re making money off of it, and they’ll continue to do so if there is a Republican are in the White House. That absolves them of any responsibility for doing … work.

      • Fonsia

        As to that “new progressive utopia,” argument–it reminds me of the Berlin Communist party circa 1932: they said, “Nach Hitler, uns.” (After Hitler, us.) The idea was that people would be so disgusted by Hitler that they’d swing in the complete opposite direction. They weren’t saying it in 1933, however, because they were in Dachau.

        Norbrook, you’ve mentioned the media a couple of times in your replies here. To me, they are the real villains. The radical Republicans would never even have tried something as insane as the debt ceiling crisis without the media constantly covering up for them.

        We have an actually insane, completely radical movement in the country that is being not only enabled, but actively pushed forward, by our mainstream media.

        They are, methinks, the true danger to our democracy.

        • There are a couple of reasons for that. The first is that the media was stung by the accusations in the Reagan years that they were “too liberal” and “out of touch,” along with not wanting to be perceived as “unfair or unbiased.” Which meant, to them, treating everything as “equally valid” even when it was patently insane. Over the past decade, another trend arose. Instead of “your local paper and the network news” as your news source, you have a range of options in competition with each other, dividing up a fixed audience which is tending to “self sort.” That’s led to binary thinking: Yes/No; Either/Or; Win/Lose; Good/Bad, and presenting everything in that light as a “competition.”

          • Fonsia

            Agree with most. Also, they want a horserace to bump their ratings, so they have to portray everybody with false equivalency. Same thing when they pushed the Iraq war.

            It’s grown to epic proportions, though. How do you go through the debt ceiling crisis without ever explaining to your audience just what the Rs were trying to do? Actually deliberately crash the entire world economy? That wasn’t relevant?

            CNN is pushing a new “in-depth analysis” of what’s wrong with Congress.

            Um, kinda easy answer to that. It actually might be fascinating to watch how they spin it.

            But this is the major danger to democracy right now, as I see it. Most busy voters can’t see through the media fog. Most don’t even know there is a fog. How can they make decisions? It really scares me because I don’t see how to fight it.

  4. What these so-called white elite Professional Left types don’t understand is that black folks KNOW that we can always count on folks like Smilely, West, Johnson, Waters and their ilk denigrating a person of color who has reached certain heights. Their criticism is more than finding fault with policies. It’s personal. “He didn’t send me an inauguration ticket; he didn’t return MY phone calls – West”. He didn’t come to my black conference” – Smilely. “He’s not Hillary Clintion” – Johnson and the rest of them. The Professional Left needs to understand that they do themselves no favor aligning themselves with the likes of West, Waters, Smiley and Johnson. Maybe you heard West say he’s being demonized for criticizing the President. West is an idiot. He’s being demonized for getting down in the mud and calling the President racialized names like “a black mascot” and saying that the President “is afraid of real black people” – whatever the hell that means. He and Tavis are being demonized because they are hypocrites. Taking money from Wells Fargo for their own benefit knowing that Wells Fargo was instrumental in bilking 10′s of thousands of dollars from unsuspecting black homeowners. Johnson was a Hillary supporter. He is a Puma of the worst kind. These people make themselves look more and more foolish everyday. Somebody needs to tell the Professional Left to get a clue. Black folks are watching and many of us don’t like what we see.

    • Way back when I was in the military, one of the soldiers I was in charge of came to me to complain that the other students in his class didn’t like him because he was “half-Sioux.” My response to him was “Oh. I didn’t know that. I thought the reason they didn’t like you was because you’re an asshole.” Which actually was the reason his fellow students didn’t like him. That’s my opinion of West. He’s not being demonized for criticizing the President. He’s being demonized because he’s an asshole.

      • Nathan Katungi

        Indeed! What is also amusing is that these so called courageous people can’t take criticism. It’s o.k. for them to demonize the President. But if people push back by honestly examining their motives then they start crying that they are being demonized. Reminds me of Clarence Thomas who had been so vocal in accusing blacks who supported affirmative for wanting special treatment because they were black. The moment his ethical behavior were challenged, his defense was that he was being mistreated because he was black: hence the invocation of “high tech lynching!” Some how, questioning the ethics of a black person, who had been arguing for quite some time that taking into account the nature of institutional discrimination was the same as giving AA special privileges, was now regarded as racial discrimination. People like Smiley, Waters and West, love to dish out attacks on the president, but then they act like cry babies when honest people call them out about their despicable behavior.

  5. Dancer

    This may not be the post to make this comment on and I have to admit to beating this horse nearly to death…but everytime I hear one of these ill-prepared and often uninformed pundits in our media talk about Congress, the president, certain groups of people I want to SCREAM that what is needed as much as financial reform and getting money out of campaigning, is an HONEST DEBATE/DIALOGUE/DISCUSSION on how awful our media is overall…not just Faux News but all of them who repeat the first story out of the box each morning. TDS did a brilliant take down on the commentary after Christie sent folks to POLITICO’s website to see the compilation of his previous responses about running. One would think even these fools might finally realize how dumb they come off…not to even consider the harm they do and the opportunities missed to actually educate and inform. We are huge fans of Melissa and find her to be insightful and articulate…which, sadly, in today’s world may be to her detriment at times…

  6. Another excellent post, Norbrook!

    Cesca is right. The proper response to MHP’s article should have been active listening followed by and open dialog, but that would have meant self-introspection. Walsh, Lyons, and the others reacted to MHP’s article the same way they’ve reacted to everything PBO has said/done: they skipped analysis and reflection and went straight to emotional outrage. Even Talbot @ Salon chose to avoid acknowledging that any problem exists and went straight for PBO’s jugular. I was around when Carter was president, and I clearly recall that it was the actions of these same kind of people on the left that cost him a second term in office and the U.S to end up in its present state of decline. Yes, they need to stop, but they won’t. What do they care about the poor and those struggling middle class people? They’ll be okay no matter who controls Congress and/or who is in the WH. This, imo, makes them as selfish and destructive to our democracy as the nutty tea partiers.

    • The difference between what they did with Carter, and what they can do now is that they don’t have a Ted Kennedy. Even when they did, they managed to cripple the Democratic Party when it came to the Presidency for over a decade.

      The viable Democratic candidates – that is, the ones who could mount a credible campaign – are aiming at 2016, not 2012. They are not going to challenge a sitting President of their party, and any fevered dreams of the frustrati along those lines are just that – fevered dreams.

      As I said in my earlier article, they protested too much. One of the things that’s backfired on them is that because they did that, it’s making their protestations ring hollow, and I think that you’ll see they’re going to start losing even more credibility than they already have lost.

    • “active listening” What a concept! Most of those folks only listen to the voices rattling in their own heads. Problem is that hole they are digging could bury all of us if they don’t stop.

  7. pancheetah

    Right you are. I’ve been making a similar point. Some progressives are turning good Dems into Republicans with all their whining and complaining. At the mnimum how about some balanced coverage. I don’t see any credit where it’s due in the reporting. What about the Lily Ledbetter Act, ACA, credit card reform, DADT. They just keep on digging even when you call them on it.

    • I don’t think they’re turning Dems into Republicans, but independents. The same phenomenon is being seen on the Republican side, except much more pronounced. While the frustrati may think this makes the Democratic Party “better,” it simply makes it smaller.

      • pancheetah

        I’ll grant you that the number of Dems becoming Republicans may be minimal but that’s not the only damage of continual complaining.
        I’m in a mixed but predominantly older Hispanic area. The 2010 campaign turned voters into non-voters and Dems got involved reluctantly and too late. That worked so well for the GOP in 2010, I see no reason why they wouldn’t continue it through 2012.
        Those of us who work at the neighborhood level find the ‘frustrati’ make our job harder – not impossible but definitely more time consuming.
        I recommend that the complainers terminate their apprenticeship in the world’s oldest digging profession and instead get out to the mall or local high school and register voters or recruit more volunteers. What are the chances?

        • In your dreams that these slime suckers would actually get out and WORK. You just described the neighborhood where I live and trying to get people out to vote in 2010 was like pulling hen’s teeth but some are having some big regrets now. The battles are uphill and you are nicer than I am. I would like to smack all the “frustrati” into the second Tuesday of next week and grind them to powder for a Dust Buster! I just wish they would all shut the ‘F’ up!

        • There are a several factors, of which the complaining had a part, but not the entire blame. First, mid-term elections are always tough to get voters to the polls. In many ways, they’re “base” elections, in that whichever side can get its base to turn out in numbers, will win. Second, the party that holds the White House always loses seats in Congress in mid-terms, for the first reason. The effect of losing “the big one” has an effect, in that the winning party’s base tends to relax, while the losing party’s base gets ambitious. A third factor is the amount of discontent. In 2006, it was the Iraq War that was causing a lot of discontent. In 2010, it was the economy. Which was where the constant complainers had an effect – they were able to blame the Democrats, and PBO for it, so the effect was to increase the discontent with Democrats that would have already existed because of the economy.

          Why I don’t think it’ll work in 2012 is that the voters ire is now being focused on the Republicans. That’s in addition to voters turning out in larger numbers in a Presidential election. What the Teapublican governors have done is to turn their states into places where there’s a lot of discontent with Republicans, and the House’s antics – and blatant heartlessness – has made a stark contrast that Democrats can definitely exploit.

  8. Sorry I’m late. I’ve been a bit involved in my local politics for the last few days.

    This is excellent analysis as usual. The racism is entrenched and double sickening since it comes from the so called Left who pretend to be “color blind.” Also, for me, anytime anyone says to me: “You don’t understand, this is how I feel or this is how I see it.” Then I have to stop, listen and try to actually get where they are. I can’t come to any real understanding if I just try to bludgeon them into coming where ever I am.

    The Repugnants are trying to eat us alive. They are slowly working to erode every social contract we have made for over 50 years and the PL fiddles and farts while the US burns. I try not to hate these people but I do pray for Karma to bite them in the ass, HARD!!!

    Great diary ♥

    • Thanks for the compliment. :D The fact that the so-called Left, and in particular the “professional Left,” is so defensive and not listening is as good an indicator as you could wish for. Back in March, I was rather hoping to be proven wrong, but looks like I got it right. :-(

      • Nathan Katungi

        You were absolutely spot-on, Norbrook! I distinctly remember your post and how profoundly honest you were in fearlessly calling “a spade a spade,” with supportive evidence, about what you regarded as racism on the left. Recent developments by the so called purist leftists have vindicated your conclusions.

  9. ArrogantDemon

    What do you expect from a bunch of self-righteous, self entitled assholes who think their opinion matters, and when you give them anything critical they go into toddler rage and shit themselves.

  10. ArrogantDemon

    By the way, these fools dont want democracy, they want daddy

    Thats why they crave a leftist authoritarian to mange their lives, they’re fucking children

    • It’s why they gush about Chavez in Venezuela, holding him up as a model to which they (unfavorably) compare Obama. Never mind that Chavez fits the definition of authoritarian dictator, who hasn’t drastically improved the lives of the people he supposedly was going to.