I just feel like punching some hippies

One of the complaints you’ll hear on various liberal blogs whenever they get criticized by politicians is that the politicians are “hippie punching.”  It’s more often a case of “you can dish it out, but you can’t take it” on their part.    Having taken a swing through some of the self-described “progressive” blogs, the ones where the posters describe themselves as the “democratic wing of the Democratic Party,”  I can say – they need to be punched.  Hard.

Yes, even with an election in full swing, with control of Congress up for grabs, they just can’t help themselves.  The whinefest about what they haven’t gotten – or more realistically, gotten their ideal – is still going on, as my friend Deaniac83 pointed out in a recent posting on his blog. They’re still harping about the “public option” over at Firedoglake.

From all the bitching and moaning, one thing stands out to me.  They’re still deluding themselves about their influence and power within the Democratic Party.  Everything they’re complaining about not getting comes from their firm belief that they are major players within the Party, a base.  Hence their wounded screams when they don’t get their way.

I’ve said before, objectively they’re not the base.  Or even a base.    When they talk about it, it becomes very clear that they don’t understand it.  It’s even more clear, having watched them attempt to get their ideal solution written into the law, that they don’t have an understanding of basic legislative processes – or how to leverage their influence.  I spent much of the health care reform debates watching in horror as various “progressive activists” botched one thing after another, all the while running around on the blogs telling everyone how “effective” they were – and to please send more money so they could continue to do their “work.”

Here’s the reality for them.  First, you’re not a political force.  Real political forces are able to mobilize voters.  They can get candidates to run.   They’re active locally, and in many areas of the country.  They’re able to swing a primary vote their way.   While the “progressive netroots” may have some sway in small portions of the country, as a whole, most people have never heard of them, and I guarantee you the Democratic Party in most congressional districts haven’t.    Contrast that with what the Tea Party did.  You don’t have to like them or their agenda – because I certainly don’t – but it’s a contrast.  They ran candidates – or several – around the country in primaries.  They turned out to vote, and in a number of races, swung the primary their way.  Now look at what the “progressives” did.  They ran a primary against Senator Lincoln of Arkansas.  All the “Blue Dogs” and other “ConservaDems” who had attracted their ire?  Were there lots of candidates challenging them in primaries, as was threatened?  No.   In other words, you people were making threats, not promises.  You didn’t back them up.

Second, real activists know the rules of the game they’re playing.  For supposed “political junkies,” they demonstrated a remarkable inability to understand the rules of Congress, and the basics of political leverage.  They spent a lot of time “lobbying” congressional representatives who were already on board.  They weren’t getting after the “undecided” ones, or attempting to pressure the ones who were supposedly against them.   When a member of Congress they thought was on their side bowed to reality, they ranted and sent threats of primaries about them.    It was embarassing.  It was counter-productive.   To make things worse, when the final draft of the legislation was out, they decided that it had to be killed.  Which might have been understandable, except that they had no fall-back plan for getting their “ideal legislation” introduced or passed, and they joined with groups with which they were philosophically opposed in that effort.

Now they’re still complaining.  They don’t like it when the Administration points out that they’re less than supportive.  They moan about their “morale,” and the “beatings” they’re taking.   Here’s my message for them:   You’re not the base, you’re not effective, and you’re an embarrassment to the progressive cause.  If it takes more beatings to make you figure that out, then I’ll be happy to do it.  I could care less about your morale.  I want you to either get a clue or shut the fuck up.  Either one works for me.

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14 Comments

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14 responses to “I just feel like punching some hippies

  1. Eric

    Translation for the ‘netroots’: Don’t write checks your ass can’t cash.

  2. TrumpDog

    AMEN!

    Every time I see Jane Hamsher on TV, I roll my eyes. Same with Arianna Huffington. Or that Adam Green. To be honest, I don’t know who I dislike the most.
    All seem to have been given the title of speaking for progressives. Yet none represent my view. Still, the media gleefully parades them on TV to be the liberal voices that bashes Obama. But omg, it’s the apocolypse if anyone critique them!

    Since they know so fucking much, why don’t they run for office?

    GIBBS WAS RIGHT.

    • I don’t care if they run for office or not. What bothers me – and I agree with you – is that they really don’t grasp the fundamentals of being effective.

      Criticize the Administration? Sure, I know there are things going on that I’m not particularly happy with. At the same time, I don’t blanket shotgun it as the administration being a “failure” or scream about being “betrayed.” I state my objections clearly, with what I think should be the course of action, contact my congresscritters and politely explain that to them. If I don’t get everything, or I don’t get my way, then I go back to work. But then again, I’m not a member of the professional left, and I’m not getting paid by the number of hits this site gets by ginning up the outrage.

      • Eric

        Nor, are you flogging the media on your next book.My thing is, for all their talk about being the ‘base’ they’ve got very little to show for it. Screaming about hippie punching and shit sandwiches are not gonna necessarily endear you to people in office, nor getting the unions to commit large sums of money to primary your stated bete noir, Conservadems, only to go down to defeat(see Halter, Bill). But watch them claim credit: if the Dems hold both houses, they will state with all degree of certainty, that it was their screeching that won the day, not the folks doing the dirty work while they keyboard away.

        • Which is why they’re not a base. I looked at their actual numbers, and actual fundraising, and it’s a small percentage of the Party. My rude awakening, so to speak, about their “reach” came when I was at a regional Party function, and the number of Party officials who had heard of any of the “progressive” sites was – Zero! By regional, I mean 4 counties in a Blue state. The number of people there who actually belonged to one of them? One. I was it.

          You’re right about their grabbing credit – I saw that constantly. Yes, I did point out that their numbers weren’t impressive in any sense, and they’d turn around and point at another organization that was doing something, and claim it was part of their progressive movement, ” so there!” They were basking in reflected glory, even though they weren’t doing anything.

      • TrumpDog

        You’re right and that’s what frustrates me. Constantly berating the administration yet sitting quiet when some good is done is not constructive criticism.
        Calling someone a sellout is not constructive criticism.
        Suggesting Obama is stupid and insisting he is a failure is not constructive critiscism.

        I still harbor some ill feelings towards Carville after his behavior regarding the bp spill. The guy is smart enough and has been in politics long enough to know how his words on CNN would be relayed, and damn sure it was. There is a way to talk to/about someone that is helpful, but these peole have not been able to grasp it for some reason. I think some of the people who claim to be with us and on our side have interests that are less about policy and more about how to make a quick buck and advance their own self interests.

        If I were trying to lose weight, I sure as hell would not want someone standing on the sides, calling me names, saying how that’s not the change they saw from me, calling me a failure , comparing me to another overweight person, etc.You can point out problems without resorting to the things they are doing.

  3. Well, I was an original Deaniac, in the real sense, and from the “Democratic wing of the Democratic Party.” But the people who use it as merely a rhetorical device understand neither the meaning nor the implications of that phrase. It was first coined by Paul Wellstone, the firebrand Democratic Senator who stood up for working people and fought back hard against corporate interest. But he did not do it by never compromising or by making the perfect the enemy of progress. He did it not by disparaging the Democratic party but by being a part of it.

    When Howard Dean took up that mantle, most of us Deaniacs understood what he was talking about. Yes, he was talking about standing up for one’s principles. But he wasn’t talking about clawing the chalkboard if you didn’t get your way 100%. In fact, as governor, Dean was known as the consummate compromiser to get things done. He signed health care reform legislation in Vermont that wasn’t single payer and didn’t cover everyone but sure as heck brought the state a lot closer to universal coverage. Vermont had their own version of lefty ideologues during Dean’s tenure that took great offense at Howard Dean’s emphasis on balancing the Vermont budget (as he said, you cannot have social justice without fiscal responsibility), when Vermont is not Constitutionally obligated to do so.

    So when Howard Dean re-popularized the phrase “Democratic wing of the Democratic Party,” he wasn’t talking about a purist fringe. He was talking about Democratic values and explaining those values to the voters, but never to let the perfect be the enemy of progress. It got co-opted by these screamers.

    • The purist fringe is why I stopped calling myself a progressive – they’ve co-opted that as well. Pragmatic Liberal suits me much better. 🙂

      • TrumpDog

        Same here. I don’t even know what to call myself anymore because I can’t relate to them. Besides, they’d probably say I’m not a “real progressive” since I don’t spend my days bashing the president or blaming Rahm for my dishwasher no longer working.

  4. Note – after long consideration, I decided to delete the comment from bitemehard132 that this one responds to.
    My goodness. You just posted a frothing, knee-jerk comment attempting to insult my parents – and not very well – and calling for my assassination. It wasn’t even very original or literate, reading like something I’d see over on Free Republic. Not very “left” of you.

    bitemehard132, here’s a helpful hint for the future: This is my blog. That means that every comment that goes in here goes through me at some point. I have no problem with disagreement, I rather expect it. Personal attacks or threats like yours, on me or other commenters, will be edited out, if not deleted on sight.

  5. kittypat

    Nope they aren’t the base, most of the voters I speak to on a daily basis have never heard of them. We have a little divisiveness going on in our local party because of a contentious primary, the “progressive darling” who was irl a moderate Dem with a history of compromise with Rs, succeeded in ginning up a lot of ugly emotion and has now disappeared from the scene. This person left behind some disgruntled supporters who believe they got cheated, what actually happened was the true Democratic base turned out for the primary and voted for the other candidate. BTW agree with everyone about the progressive label, don’t want to be called that, I’m a liberal, end of story.

    • I’ve found that in terms of falling in love, the so-called progressives tend to be a fickle lot. They go through a lot of politicians, because they’re always disappointed about something. They’d disappoint themselves if they ever ran for office and got elected.