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.