All Sound and Fury

Yesterday, my friend Spandan C. (aka Deaniac83) over at The People’s View posted a terrific article taking various progressive “pundits” – and in particular one Markos Moulitsas Zuniga to task for the way they ignore and denigrate the very real accomplishments of this administration.

He highlighted many of the points which led to my leaving that particular site, and I added my two cents to the conversation at his.  I even did something I haven’t done in a long time – I logged back in to Daily Kos to recommend his cross-posted diary there.  One point I made in the comments was that for all the noise they make, they’ve been remarkably ineffective at getting their rhetoric turned into action.

If you read through their comments, you see that they’re angry because what they thought he was when they elected was not who he is.  In many ways, it was a case of self-delusion, and in others, it was a failure to realize the realities of governing.   They really believe that they are a base – objective evidence to the contrary.  Despite that, though, they still believe it.

Back in 2009, when the health care reform debates were in full swing, I saw a lot of people there making comments about “pushing the party to the left,” along with making various statements about primarying various Blue Dogs and “ConservaDems” in Congress.   They were going to make any elected official who stood in their way realize they were a force to be reckoned with.

The results?  Besides being remarkably inept at lobbying, despite claims to the contrary, it doesn’t look like they were terribly successful at making any elected official “pay” for crossing them.  Their main effort was to push Bill Halter in Arkansas, who was in a primary battle with the incumbent Senator, Blanche Lincoln.  Despite a massive push on their part, in conjunction with others, they failed.  The large number of primary opponents for the Blue Dogs and the other “ConservaDems?”  Didn’t appear.   They made a lot of threats, but when the time came to make good on them, they didn’t – or couldn’t.

For a group that claims to be the “Democratic wing of the Democratic Party,” they’ve shown that they can’t manage to do much except make a lot of noise.  They’re very good at making it, and complaining about various Democratic Party elected officials.  It gets them attention from the media, and feeds into the right-wing media quite nicely.  In terms of actual political influence?  They don’t have it.  Real influence is the ability to  get politicians to listen to you, to be able to deliver on any consequences you promise, and they haven’t done that.    If anything, their statements lead me to believe that they don’t want it.  They’d much rather be in the minority.  They don’t want the work and responsibility of making their ideals a reality, to do the dirty work of getting people elected.  They’d much rather sit and complain.   For people who claim to be “the future” when it comes to organizing an effective political movement, of being “reality based,” they’re not very effective or based in reality.  All they are is “sound and fury, signifying nothing.”

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10 Comments

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10 responses to “All Sound and Fury

  1. I followed your link over and read your friend’s post. Very interesting to read on the views within the left-o-sphere about itself. I’ve tried reading once or twice at the Daily Kos but found the screaming more than I cared to put up with.

    While I may well disagree with some of the accomplishments by Obama and company listed in your friends post, I will say it was encouraging to read such a coherent and constructive piece about the extremists of the left. Now if only someone on the right could do the same about the right extremists.

    • I think it’s starting on the Right as well. I’ve noticed that people like David Frum, Joe Scarborough, and and Bob Inglis are starting to seriously criticize the extremists on the Right. There’s a point where they’re not going to go beyond. There’s a difference between being a “liberal” or “conservative” and being a “screaming idiot.”

  2. This right here is my biggest fear:

    “If anything, their statements lead me to believe that they don’t want it. They’d much rather be in the minority.”

    This is what scares me. It’s that they seem to prefer minority status.

    • They may prefer it, but from my perspective, they’re ineffective at everything except yelling. I think it would really shock them to find out how little they matter – because they’re unknowns – to the people who are out doing the work of the party in the field. My own comment to them a year ago about a special election was “you weren’t here before, you aren’t going to be here after, so what makes you think you count?”

  3. Diogenes2008

    Two things: I’ve written before about the bias on the left – I wouldn’t call it racism, but it is a bias where the bar is set so high for President Obama that there is no way his achievements can possibly reach it. Bias comes in many forms – one form is the outright racism that slams you into the mud… and another form is the “pedestal”. Put someone up so high that they can’t possibly succeed. Move an inch and they fall off. Sound familiar?

    The other thing is that I keep hearing people on Dkos talk about “bad messaging” without ever hearing themselves – who has the bad messaging? It’s those at Daily Kos who can’t ever recognize any of the accomplishments of this administration. The persistent negativity IS bad messaging on our part, and it needs to end. If we don’t talk up our achievements, who will??

    They say “we’re holding his feet to the fire” but it’s all stick and no carrot. And yet with all the slamming they do, all the administration has to do is say one word in return, and all of a sudden it’s “hippie punching time”. Criticism only works in one direction, evidently.

    I think it all comes back to the pedestal… a form of racial bias that dehumanizes someone – not with outright racism, but by expecting more from them than from anyone else, because the “First Black President” should be…. magical. Or superhuman. Or… whatever. Transformational. Whatever word you want to use, it’s TOO MUCH. He’s not allowed to be a human being. Ever. And that’s the real shame of it.

    Sorry for babbling on, but that’s my viewpoint, and thanks for listening.

    • Glad to see you here! I think you’ve pegged a good deal of their problem. As you said, the pedestal makes expectations too high – and they’re reacting like spoiled children who didn’t get the pony they wanted for Christmas.

      Those of us who are realists knew we weren’t likely to get the pony, but are happy that at least the stable is getting built. 🙂

      • Diogenes2008

        Agree. What don’t they get about the fact that it takes TIME to get anything done??

        I fly from Florida to Seattle every so often, and yes, it’s a long flight. Yes, the seats are uncomfortable. But their attitude, to me, is rather like saying “I’m tired of waiting! I want to get there NOW!” and walking off the plane – five minutes after it’s taken off.

        It’s a disastrous choice, whether you’re getting off the plane, or sitting home on election day. Yes, we’re uncomfortable, yes, it’s taking a long time, but patience is the only thing that will serve us at this point in time.

        And the only alternative in either case – walking off the plane in mid-flight, or giving the country back to Republicans – is absolutely not an option.

        We knew it would take time, we knew people were going to be hurting… but nobody can fix it all this quickly. Expecting President Obama to do magic is just utterly unrealistic.

        • A good analogy. One of the other things I saw them totally ignoring was that while Democrats had a very solid majority in both houses of Congress, the returning members were pretty much the same as before. I got the impression that they really believed that suddenly the Blue Dogs and others were going to turn into Kucinich clones, and the legislative process was going to be streamlined overnight.

          That divorce from reality was rather shocking to me.

  4. Yes, and strangely they try to say they are the “reality based” community.

    When it comes to their opinion of themselves, and their ability to put their ideals into real legislative accomplishments, their reality is not what most people call reality. But they’ll cheerfully latch on to other groups successes and claim them as their own.