Heading towards irrelevance.

Saturday, Deaniac had a post up titled  “With Friends Like These” where he discussed his disillusionment with the direction several of the “establishment bloggers” of the Left have taken.

It’s a moment of truth.  A truth about where the establishment Left bloggers stand in this battle.  Do they stand with these people causing these firestorms and calling Obama stupid, dangerous and a Republican?  Do they stand with race baiting against the first African American president?  Do they stand with calls for radicalization?  Do they stand with calling the President a coward?  The old “I’m not responsible for what’s prominently featured on my site” excuse will no longer do.  President Obama once said that free markets were a good idea but wild markets were not.  The same applies to free-wheeling discussions.  This is no longer about free-wheeling conversations but about ginning up a wild virtual mob to destroy Barack Obama, and thereby irreparably harm the modern progressive movement’s ability to make progress.  This is hate speech being condoned, promoted and made money off of on the big blogs.

Having looked at what these site owners are writing themselves – not just what they’re tolerating – I have to say that they stand with those people causing the firestorms.  Markos, Jane Hamsher, et.al. have made a decision.  It’s ideological in good part, but it’s also financial.  Ginning up the outrage drives hits to their sites, it creates more ad revenue, and they can use the frustrati as a reliable source of donations to their PACs.    All well and good for their pocketbooks,  but they’d better enjoy it while they can.

Why would I say “while they can?”  Because they’ve set themselves on a path towards irrelevance when it comes to political influence.  They’re figuratively reenacting the cliche movie scene of the car without brakes heading down the curving mountain road.  One of the commenters over over at The People’s View pointed it out – that they are in a “lose-lose” situation.   They’re already seeing – or will in the next year – the pushback.  Many of their  respected regulars who were there through 2008 and into 2009 have packed up and left.  The “quiet exodus” which began early this year has turned into a stampede as more and more decide that they don’t need the outrage and venom.  That, in and of itself, will impact their revenues eventually – but their answer will be to increase the outrage level.  That’s a pocketbook hit, but the main reason they’re potentially facing a lose-lose situation is: 2012.

Here’s the reality of the situation.  If they keep up their actions, and President Obama wins re-election, he will have proved that he – and Democrats in general – don’t need them.  They’ll be irrelevant as an interest block.  If, on the other hand, he loses, Democrats are going to be handing out blame – and guess which group makes a handy target for their ire.  This is the what I call the Nader effect.   Ralph Nader went from being a fairly respected consumer advocate and liberal voice to being a pariah with many.   Rightly or wrongly – and there’s competing analyses on both points – he was blamed for Al Gore’s loss in the 2000 election.  The result of that was that for the most part, his standing as a significant voice on the left, someone who is relevant in the policy debates is virtually non-existent.    That’s the cliff they’re heading towards.

I pointed out earlier that they’ve been attacking for a long time.  It’s one thing to criticize a specific action or policy, and promote a specific solution, another entirely to write off an entire presidency.   Which, as TiMT over at TPV pointed out, is what they’ve done.   Right now, they still have a choice.  They can return to – or switch to – a measured approach, promoting specific policy agenda items, and focusing on the real obstacles to them – the Republicans.  They can promote candidates for office in congressional districts that Democrats lost, and focus on redistricting battles.  In other words, constructive efforts.  That’s how you continue to build influence and make yourself relevant.  Sadly, I don’t think they’ll do that.  They’re locked into their stance, and, after all, outrage sells.    So enjoy it while you can, Markos, Jane, Glenn, Cenk, and the rest.  After November 2012, you’re going to be irrelevant.

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15 Comments

Filed under Politics

15 responses to “Heading towards irrelevance.

  1. majii

    I can say without a doubt that I deleted FDL and TYT from my list of bookmarks during the HCR debate. I also spend a lot less time on DKos these days. Constructive criticism of the president I can deal with. I cannot deal with those who demand that things be done their way or not at all. The one thing that some progressives could learn from the conservatives is how not to tear their politicians apart for the sake of promoting one’s own personal agenda.

    • I suggest visiting BlueWaveNews – we’re having serious discussions about what party-building we can do, and so on. Just because I write for it, too is not the only reason I recommend it. 😀

      I’ve never been one to demand absolute purity in a politician. I’m experienced enough in real life – and through observation – to realize that I’m not going to get it. What I do see is these people have squandered their opportunity to become major influences within the party. They fooled themselves into thinking they had more influence and power than they did, and when reality bit them, they couldn’t take it. Like I said, in the 1990’s Ralph Nader got listened to. These days, he’s an object of scorn for the most part . I can see the FDL and DK people in the same category in 2013.

  2. Great post. It will be interesting to see how those folks react to the deal the President has apparently cut to extend unemployment benefits for 13 months and get a few other good things in exchange for extension of the Bush tax cuts for two years and a compromise on the estate tax.

    I am sure that many will be outraged about another “capitulation” by the President. But the reality of the situation is that the Democrats did not have the votes to extend only the middle class tax cuts or to pass unemployment benefits extensions without Republican support. And the only way to get the Republican support was to extend the tax cuts for the wealthy elite for two years. By accepting this deal, Democrats will be keeping 7 million Americans our of truly dire straits, along with getting the stimulative affect of unemployment benefits and a payroll tax holiday. This is far from perfect, but about the best we could get in this situation.

    I am mad that this deal had to be made and that we are giving even more money to millionaires at a time of economic turmoil and budget deficits. But I am focusing my anger on the true culprits here – the immoral Republicans who have held the unemployed hostage in order to provide even more money to their wealthy sugar daddies, not on a President who did what he needed to do to help 7 million Americans in need.

    http://www.winningprogressive.org

    • Thanks. I already know how they’re dealing with it – they’re going absolutely apeshit over at DK and FDL. Lots of idiotic threats and throwing out various names of people who should primary Obama. All meaningless crap.

      Like you, I am mad that the deal had to be made, but I recognize the true culprits, and I’m focusing it on them, not the President. He made a decision about what was best for a lot of people, and not what would pander to the worst instincts of those who really don’t support him anyways.

  3. I am so pleased to have found your blog and this article! I have been absolutely heartsick at the Progressive feeding frenzy upon Obama’s presidency.
    It’s about time someone told the truth — some of our Progressive bloggers and Commentators are shooting us in the face.

    If we don’t get it together, we’re gonna lose in 2012– and that would be a catastrophe.

    Again, thank you for bringing hope, and sanity to my day.

    • You’re welcome, and thanks for the comment. It’s not just us they’re shooting, they’re shooting themselves at the same time. I just wish the rest of us weren’t in their line of fire.

  4. Alan Scott

    Norbrook,

    Forgive me for intruding in your Progressive conversation. As an enemy combatant, who is pleased to see the Democrats attack one another, I will say you guys are being amazingly honest with yourselves.

    The far left has not recognized the reality of the midterm elections. Your power has been severely curtailed and Obama really did make the best of a weak hand. The deal he made will get the economy moving next year. That can only help him as 2012 gets near.

    Have no fear about the far left. They have no where else to go. They are using derogatory phrases right now to describe President Obama, that most Republicans wouldn’t dare to use. The joke is, who will be the first left winger to demand Obama’s original birth certificate. However, next year when the GOP goes after Obama-Care and the rest of your agenda, Obama will suddenly become courageous and all will be forgiven.

    The far left will all say, now this is the old Obama.

    • Thank you, Alan. I think what you’re seeing is the Left equivalent of the far-right wing when it comes to the Republican Party. The insistence on purity of their ideals regardless of whether they’re practical or not. I’m more pragmatic, and Andrew Sullivan had a great comment, that said Obama was a “cold-blooded pragmatist. So this is news?”

      Just as a heads-up, I think starting next year you’ll be seeing something very similar blowing up in conservative circles. Now that the Republicans have control of the House, they’re in the situation where they can no longer monolithically sit as “The Party of No.” They have to actually get things done, and that means that awful word – compromise. Which is going to set the right’s purity groups off in a big way, and you’ll have a front row seat.

      Popcorn? 😀

  5. eyes wide open

    I am soooo sick of that ex-republican Ed Schultz every night on MSNBC pretending to be a big’ P’ progressive whilst every night on his show he gathers guests who are constantly bashing president Obama.

    Sometimes I ask myself :is Ed Schultz wanting president obama to fail?

    Sure seem so to me.

    He goes way beyond criticism and is constantly negative,but somehow I get the feeling that the majority of average americans are on the side and thinking of president Obama.

    These pundits seem out to sea most of the time and not rooted in reality.

    • They actually are out of touch with reality. There was a recent poll done, which showed that when it comes to Democrats – and most sub-groups – the President has extremely high approval ratings.

      In some ways, the ex-Republicans who are now “progressives” remind me of new converts to a religion. They go overboard trying to show everyone how wonderful it is.

  6. Alan Scott

    eyes wide open,

    ” I am soooo sick of that ex-republican Ed Schultz every night on MSNBC pretending to be a big’ P’ progressive whilst every night on his show he gathers guests who are constantly bashing president Obama. ”

    I have a much lower opinion of Mr. Schultz than you do. Even when he is bashing Obama instead of Conservatives, he is an unabashed self promoter. He seems to think that his opinion actually matters to Obama.

    Of course he can’t hold a candle to psycho dork Olbermann. I almost felt sympathy for Obama, listening to Keithy.

    Norbrook,

    I naturally disagree with your characterization of Republicans as the Party of No. They did not have much of a choice until they got some power back. To paraphrase the great Nancy Pelosi after the 08 Democratic landslide, We won, go f**k yourselves.

    I think you are right about the battle within the GOP.. But it has to occur. The has to be a clear choice between the two parties. Any Republicans who want to be moderate can find a home in the Democratic Party.

    Do not believe that this means there will be gridlock and nothing will get done. Whatever one thinks of this latest deal the President made with Republicans, it shows that they can work together.

    • I think that asking for a pure conservative Republican Party puts them right back on the path to minority status.

      The reason they got the “Party of No” hung on them was not that they didn’t have a choice, but they made one. They would simply oppose everything on the floor no matter what – even when it was something they themselves had proposed. What got me was not just that they were opposed, they had no specific alternatives to propose in many cases. That’s besides their opposition to standard, pro forma normal business that previously sailed through unopposed by anyone. For example, right now, the START Treaty. It was started under the Bush Administration, finished up under the Obama Administration. The entire START treaty process has been a bipartisan effort across administrations – from Reagan to Obama. The Senate has had the treaty sitting on its desk for quite some time. Every Senator had plenty of opportunity for input during negotiations if they wanted, and they’ve had plenty of time to review it. So, this should be a simple, quick 10 to 15 minute vote, and gotten out of the way. But no, it has to be held up. Why? Well… “concerns.” Vague, just for the hell of it, “concerns.” Right. It’s not believable.

      Yes, this deal shows they can work together, but again, the Republicans are going to have to bend – compromise. My point is that conservative purists are going to be very unhappy with them, and are going to go absolutely nuts about it. Just like the liberal purists are going nuts about it now. As I said, you’re going to have to get popcorn.

  7. VotingPoet

    So glad to find your blog. I have been aching for some time now about the direction of the “left” blogasphere. But in my heart I knew that nature deplores a vacuum and there was a giant hole when DK and others jumped the shark and thank God there are places springing up all over. Yours is one I shall return to often to maintain my sanity. Peace, J

  8. Alan Scott

    Norbrook,

    ” The reason they got the “Party of No” hung on them was not that they didn’t have a choice, but they made one ”

    I respectfully disagree. There was no way Conservative Republicans could compromise on much of the Obama agenda because the crumbs you guys threw to us would not have kept a mouse alive. Now that we have more power expect more compromises, although from your perspective you will believe, as your left wing brothers do now, that Obama is giving away the store.

    ” normal business that previously sailed through unopposed by anyone. For example, right now, the START Treaty. It was started under the Bush Administration, finished up under the Obama Administration. The entire START treaty process has been a bipartisan effort across administrations – from Reagan to Obama. The Senate has had the treaty sitting on its desk for quite some time. Every Senator had plenty of opportunity for input during negotiations if they wanted, and they’ve had plenty of time to review it. So, this should be a simple, quick 10 to 15 minute vote, and gotten out of the way. But no, it has to be held up. Why? Well… “concerns.” Vague, just for the hell of it, “concerns.” Right. It’s not believable. ”

    Let me give you my side of this. The START treaty may or may not be good. Lets say it is good. Even then, it is an important piece of legislation. Not something you want to rush through without a thorough Congressional review. Please stay with me.

    Your party had all summer to bring that treaty to the floor of the Senate and let Democrats and Republicans debate it. I know that it was before Senator Kerry’s Foreign Relations committee in July, but I don’t know how far it got from there. Perhaps then if they had done it responsibly, my guys would have supported it.

    No, Pelosi and Reid were too busy politicking, trying to prevent their inevitable overthrow in November. Well Reid saved his power. These two clowns adjourned without even having a vote on a budget. That sure as heck was not good for the economy. Now you complain about Republicans not wanting to be rushed on START.

    Again your Party wasted an incredible amount of time on pure BS, remember the Colbert testimony. Now you are trying to get important laws done in a lame duck session.

    Be honest , everything you are complaining about was not brought up by your guys in a timely fashion. Pelosi and Reid were trying to spare your Congressional Democrat law makers risky votes before the midterms.

  9. Well, hate to break it to you, but McConnell and Boehner were busy politicing their asses of as well.

    Yes, the START treaty is important. But they’ve had since APRIL to review it, Alan. You apparently have a different opinion of “rushing” than I do.

    I might also point out that “bringing it to the floor” is not the same thing as “getting it to a vote.” Your party has been particularly obstinate on those points. It’s the same across the line. When you have one or two Senators who can “hold” legislation, or one party refusing to let it move out of committee, it’s not because their interested in the merits of the legislation. Unlike you, I’ve watched Lindsey Graham and John McCain, to name two prominent examples, go out of their way to kill legislation they wrote. That’s why I call them the “party of No.”