Despite Numerous Clues, The Frustrati Still Don’t Get It

I took an accidental spin over to Daily Kos  on Monday (darn bit.ly!) and got a look at the new DK 4 while I was at it.  What really  struck me were diaries  griping about the Blue Dogs in the Democratic Congress, and how they didn’t get it.   Which were just  repeating the same gripes I’ve heard for the past two years.   My problem with that?  It just shows how little the lessons of the past few months have sunk in with the frustrati.  The clue train pulled into the station and left without them. They’re still griping about things that no longer matter.

You see, in January, the Republicans took over the House of Representatives.  They have the majority, and they’ve shown a willingness to vote the party line.  So the Blue Dogs really don’t matter in the overall scheme of things, except as an occasional way to show some “bipartisanship” on the part of the Republicans.   They’re just a part of the minority party.   If anyone hasn’t been paying attention to the news, the Republicans in the House are on a tear.  They’ve tried to repeal the health care reform legislation.  They’ve tried to redefine rape.  They’ve just rolled out their own budget proposals, which involved seriously cutting funding for environmental enforcement, food safety, alternative energy, high-speed rail funding, education, Medicaid, and the food stamp/WIC programs.  Those are just a short list of the various programs that they want to take an axe to.

Virtually every program and protection which progressives have fought for in past decades is now under attack by the Republicans in Congress.   Why are they even getting this chance?  Because the Democrats lost control of the House of Representatives.  Which, not so coincidentally leads to  what the frustrati miss:   That those Blue Dogs also enabled the Democratic Party to have the majority in the House, and for progressive legislation and programs to advance or be protected.  You see, it was all well and good to complain about Blue Dogs when Democrats controlled the House.  Heck, I even shared a good deal of the frustration with them, and did my share of ranting about them.  There was a point to it then.   Now that the Democratic Party doesn’t control the House, there’s no point in it.

That’s why there’s more than a whiff of futility coming from the frustrati.  They’re still locked into attacking the administration and various “less than pure” members of Congress for their failure toe a mythical line, and ignoring the real problem.    It might be because this was what they wanted.   Yes, I’m serious.  They whined, moaned, and bitched enough about how “disappointed” they were, and made threats about primarying them.  Which they didn’t do.  When they weren’t making idle threats like that,  they were saying how it would be so much better for the Democratic Party if the Republicans won.  Which is what happened, and they tried to paint it  as a ‘good thing’.   Now that reality has struck and it’s worse than any of them ever dreamed, they’re retreating further into their fantasy world of “purifying” the Democratic Party.

I’ve said it before, and I’ll repeat it.  The harsh reality is that any chance of advancing a progressive agenda, pure or not, went out the window when the new Congress took office.  Bitching about ideological purity is a waste of time, and totally meaningless.  The real problem is trying to keep the damage that the House Republicans want to do to a minimum.   None of the attempted rollbacks of LGBT rights, women’s rights, environmental legislation, food safety, and education among many others are because of  the Blue Dogs.   It’s not because of anything that the President is doing.  This is the reason:

Jolted to action by deficit-conscious newcomers, the Republican-controlled House passed sweeping legislation early Saturday to cut $61 billion from hundreds of federal programs and shelter coal companies, oil refiners and farmers from new government regulations

Get it? It is because of the Republicans.  All that continuing to complain about various Democrats  shows is that they don’t get that.  Maybe the next time the clue train pulls around, they might decide to get on it, and spend some of their outrage on the real problem.  It’d be more useful than they what they’ve been doing.

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30 Comments

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30 responses to “Despite Numerous Clues, The Frustrati Still Don’t Get It

  1. overseasgranny

    Norbrook, they are so into me, me, me over there with no sense of “us” that they are hopeless. Add to them all of Luntz’s trolls that have come in and DK is one nasty deep bog of depression. I go in quick to rec Eclectablog and This is my Time just for their stubbornness in staying there and trying to show the other side, but then I scoot right out again. Icky place now. Luckily most voters don’t know it exists. I heard a funny line – that more people have ferrets as pets than watch Fox, and I’m sure the same is true about some other pet and DK.

    • Most Democrats don’t know it exists. 😀 I got a wake-up call to that fact almost two years ago, when I was at a large regional party function, and I was the only person who not only knew about it, but was actually a participant in “The Netroots.” As I said, I’ve got my share of gripes about various Blue Dogs, and yes, I’d like to do something about them – or to them. 😆 But I always recognized that whether I wanted them or not, they were a key to maintaining control of Congress, and that until a good challenger could be found – one who could actually win the general election – they were going to be around. What the frustrati and the Professional Left demonstrated was that they have no real power inside the Democratic Party, as they failed miserably to field primary challengers to many – most, actually – of their “targets.” That’s besides their being welded to the belief that being a Democrat means that every member of the Party shares their agenda – objective facts and real agendas to the contrary.

      What they’re doing now is the equivalent of crying about a thorn in their foot, while standing in a house on fire. When the thorn is the only thing wrong, that’s great. When it’s the least of your problems, complaining about it is stupid.

  2. For the hardcore DKosser purist, there IS no clue train to hop aboard; there is only the bitter self-satisfaction in being Leftier than thou, proclaiming the righteous doctrine in an echo chamber that only feeds the delusion.

    • On one of the other leftier than thou blogs, I actually saw some idiot talking about how Chavez was so much better than Obama. Apparently, since he uses the words ‘socialist’ and ‘socialism’ to describe what he’s doing, he’s “better.” Never mind that from a somewhat objective standpoint, he looks like a typical dictator who seems to be busily engaging in various ventures to meddle in other countries.

      • Dorothy Rissman

        I with totally with you on this. Chavez is a dictator. He took power because he said he was going to look out for the little guy. Right. He completely controls the government and has the power to change almost anything. He no long listens to “the wee people”.

        When I was in my twenties, I thought Karl Marx was brilliant. His ideas were great, but in reality the revolution did not make things a whole lot better for others. As it is said, power corrupts.

        • My opinion of most of the frustrati is that at some point they read an abridged Cliff Notes of Das Kapital, a Wikipedia stub about socialism, watched a few movies about the ’60’s, and came up with their idea of what was “pure progressive.” 🙄 For the most part, I realized long, long ago that any number of pure political theories are great as though exercises, or workable on the small scale. It’s once it gets to real practice or has to scale up that they tend to fall apart. But there was a group of brilliant and hard-headed pragmatists who took a lot of the best ideas available at the time, put them together, made compromises and concessions – sometimes lousy ones – and said more-or-less “well, it’s not perfect, but it’ll do for now.” 220 years later, it’s still going. 😆

          A lot of the left fell “in love” with Chavez when he first started out, and yes, he was a reformer. The problem is that they never bothered to look at what he’s been doing, and really, all he is now is another rather nutty dictator.

  3. Blue Dogs also enabled the Democratic Party to have the majority in the House, and for progressive legislation and programs to advance or be protected.

    This is really important. When you look at the electoral landscape, a lot of the Democrats who lost their seats in 2010 were in seats that we were lucky to have. We will get some of those seats back and we will be lucky again. A Blue Dog Democrat is still a Democrat and that is the head counting that matters: so that we have the Speakership and the committee chairs. The frustrati call it an unholy alliance … I call it Realworldia and pragmatism.

    A lot of those Blue Dogs stuck with the majority to pass some good legislation. Some did not. Both kinds lost their jobs.

    Thanks for the reminder.

    (btw, on DK there was about a 10 hour lull when people were trying to figure out how to use the new site and were too busy to rip each other apart. the fact that it only lasted about 10 hours is telling)

    • Exactly, and even more, as I’ve pointed out several times before, not all areas are exactly “progressive.” Really, I get fed up with some idiot who lives in a city with an average Democratic margin of 30% telling those of us in rural areas who are thrilled to just get a win (rarely) that we need to run someone acceptable to them. As I said to them, we did that once, and he lost by 40 points. The next election cycle, we couldn’t even find a candidate. Get back to us when you get a clue, hmm? 🙄

      • Even in what are considered deep blue states there are districts where the only Democrat who can win is more or less a Blue Dog. Take Rep. Steve Lynch of Massachusetts, for example; anti-abortion, conservative in the Reagan Democrat mold, his district is dominated by the South Boston kind of people who would scorn a candidate adulated by the People’s Republic of Cambridge. He’s been a sometimes thorn in Pelosi’s and the Obama Administration’s side, but on the whole he’s been there when his vote was needed.

        • Which is the sort of representative I have – Bill Owens. He’s (and I know this the hard way) “not acceptable” to the netroots. But he is the only Democrat who has won this district in decades – and some parts of it, the first in over 150 years. But on every major “make or break” vote, he’s been with the Party. Yes, I disagree with him on a number of occasions, but I’ll take him over the alternative. Most of the bloggers I see babbling about the “deep blue” state of New York don’t look at a map. Yes, NY City is, but that’s so heavily Democratic you could run the corpse of Lenin on the Democratic ticket and it’d win by 25 points. The rest of the state is pretty conservative, although not quite into the Tea Party definition.

  4. Aqugranny911

    In my Red State, any Dem we can get is a precious asset. Most of our Dems are on the conservative more pragmatic side. BTW, I really despise that term “Blue Dog” don’t know who made it up.

    I have no stomach for DK anymore and won’t visit even to support some of our bloggers. I give them my support and encouragement in other ways.

    A lot of the frustrati are clueless and won’t get a clue because as my Hubby crudely says: “Their heads are so far up their own asses that they are kissing themselves on their own mouths.”

    • Actually, the term “Blue Dog” is the description they came up for themselves – there’s actually a “Blue Dog Caucus” (or was) in the House, which were the more-or-less conservative Democrats.

      • Aqugranny911

        Thanks, I didn’t know that. I thought it was something from the DK lexicon. It must be some out take from the old “yellow dog Democrat” label used to describe a Dem who would vote for a yellow dog if it ran on the Democratic ticket. My parents called themselves that even though they weren’t quite that extreme.

        Since you were at DK recently, I have a question. Did you see any real practical support for WI and their pro-union demonstrations?

  5. majii

    IMO, neither we, the dems in the House, nor the president is the problem. The PL , the frustrati, and the republicans are the problem. The PL and frustrati are unable to distinguish between the reality of governing and their ideology. They can’t get a clue, because they are a case of the blind leading the blind. They don’t even have a canine companion to help them because they have closed ranks, run off any moderate voices that would visit these sites, and have made helping the right to de-legitimize the president, democrats, and sane progressives/liberals one of their major goals. Because some of them had access to the media in 2009 and 2010, they were provided with a platform to give the general public the idea that the democrats and their policies were “bad” for the country and the idea that they spoke for all members of the Democratic Party.

    I’ve been estranged from them since 2009 when it became clear to me that the purpose of the blog owners wasn’t to promote progressive policies, but to gain national celebrity, increase traffic to their blogs, and make enormous amounts of money. Currently, their sites are toxic bastions focused on very harsh, generally ad hominem-based criticism of any/everything having to do with democrats that bill themselves as “islands of progressivism.” They’re the main reason I’ve called myself an unabashed liberal since 1972. I have no use for their emotional outrages, hive behavior, and their failure to recognize that it is the republicans they should be spending the majority of their time attacking for their outmoded policies intended to return America to the 1800s. Norbrook, they’ll never see themselves as being out of step with progressivism because they have sealed themselves in a dark, dank echo chamber where every individual voice sounds like all of the other voices. If they could step outside of the echo chamber, they’d see that they have no grounds for criticizing republicans for marching in lockstep to the beat of a drummer that only they can hear, because they are doing the same thing.

    • Dorothy Rissman

      thanks Majii.

    • Exactly, exactly, exactly!

    • Aquagranny911

      Majii, you totally rock! That comment was so excellent. 1000 thank yous for saying my own thoughts so much better than I could. Imho, they are busy working themselves into obscurity, unfortunately they are doing damage as they sell out to corporate interests and lose the real people who matter. We have a fight on our hands and fighting on two fronts is difficult but not impossible since both fronts are practically interchangeable.

  6. Bobfr

    They can’t ‘get it’ because if they did two things would happen: 1. They’d have to find a different source of income; and, 2. They’d have trade their narcissistic, self-impoverished perspective for a functional personality.

    • Most of the frustrati, unlike the professional left, aren’t getting paid for being clueless. They’re more the “me too!” brigade for the professional left. rootless_e over at The People’s View has a snippet from FDL which shows it. As much as I point out the inherent racism as a motivation for much of the Right, there’s a pretty good chunk of it for the PL and the frustrati.

  7. Aquagranny911

    “As much as I point out the inherent racism as a motivation for much of the Right, there’s a pretty good chunk of it for the PL and the frustrati.”

    A big AMEN squared to that thought, Norbrook. That’s what finally drove me out. The sanctimonious: “I can’t be a bigot or a racist because I’m a progressive. Some of my best friends are……” made me want to puke. I’m still angry about some of the comments posters were allowed to get away with and the treatment some of the AA diarists got.

    • Oh, exactly. One of the other excuses that drives me up a wall is “I can’t be a bigot or racist because I’m a (fill in an ethnic/racial/religious group) and I’ve experienced that!” Which is just an excuse, because I’ve seen some remarkably bigoted or racist behavior/statements out of every kind of person. Belonging to one currently or formerly persecuted group is not an excuse.

  8. Nathan Katungi

    You’ve done it again Norbrook with another gem of a post! You just know how to call a spade a spade instead of pussyfooting around: “The Frustrati Still Don’t get It.” Everything you wrote is just so spot on; but I particularly like these two passages:
    “You see, it was all well and good to complain about Blue Dogs when Democrats controlled the House. Heck, I even shared a good deal of the frustration with them, and did my share of ranting about them. There was a point to it then. Now that the Democratic Party doesn’t control the House, there’s no point in it.”

    And:

    “They whined, moaned, and bitched enough about how “disappointed” they were, and made threats about primarying them. Which they didn’t do. When they weren’t making idle threats like that, they were saying how it would be so much better for the Democratic Party if the Republicans won. Which is what happened, and they tried to paint it as a ‘good thing’. Now that reality has struck and it’s worse than any of them ever dreamed, they’re retreating further into their fantasy world of “purifying” the Democratic Party.”

    All I can say Norbrook is: Thank you for your honesty, your humor, and your courage to challenge not only the insanity of right wingers, but also the naivety of all those who claim to be principled progressives.

    Speaking as some one who is getting there in age, I am really appalled that so many smart people, especially those who claim to be the real liberal/progressives, do not fully grasp the way the American political system works. As I am sure teabaggers will soon find out, it is only in rare instances, that the American system, of divided government and “Checks and Balances,” ever allowed pure ideological positions to be enacted in public policy. This is true of policies of both the heros of progressives (FDR, and LBJ) and the heroes of Conservatives ( Calvin Coolidge and Ronald Reagan). Any one who says otherwise is indulging in myths.

    • I realized that Jane, nyceve, slinkerwink, and the rest of the frustrati didn’t understand the political system when they were supposedly “lobbying” during the HCR debate. It was one of the most inept wastes of effort I’ve ever seen. Among the low points was Jane’s threatening Senator Sanders with a primary if he didn’t vote the way she wanted. If you ever wanted a demonstration of a someone that has no clue about politics, that’s it right there. You can’t threaten an independent with a primary. 🙄 What they showed in 2010 was that they all they were doing is making threats, not promises, because they didn’t deliver on the threats they’d made.

  9. fleetadmiralj

    The thing that really makes me facepalm is that they gnash their teeth about blue dogs, and then turn around and demand that the 50 state strategy be brought back…when it was Dean’s 50 state strategy that resulted in so many blue dogs in the first place!

    If you’re going to contest every seat, that, by necessity, means you have to run people who can win in those seats. That may very well include some very conservative Democrats. However, in their fantasy world, not only should Democrats contest every seat, but Alan Grayson should be running in every election as well (and they genuinely think that he could win in any district, if only the candidates stood for something).

    Of course, nevermind that candidates that did that, like Grayson and Perriello, still lost this past time.

    • Exactly. You can add Maffei in NY-25 to that list as well. Which is why I’ve been saying that most of them come from solidly Democratic areas, where you could run anyone on the Democratic line and win. In that situation, you can afford to be “more liberal than thou.” In the rest of the country, you’re either going to have to go middle of the road, or some that are right of center. One might note (although they won’t) that while Grayson was posturing and throwing out tons of red meat to them, he was irritating the crap out of his constituents and ignoring the rules of Rookie Congressman 101: Focus on constituent services, and make damn sure that you look like you’re listening to and working for them. That’s why he got shown the door.

      I also note something else from what you said. They expected the Party to do it for them, instead of doing it themselves. Instead of getting their asses out to the field, recruiting candidates themselves and backing them with money and people (like the Tea Party did), they just sat behind their computers whining about the Party not doing it.