The past week and half has been an interesting one in politics. An agreement was reached regarding the budget, and the President made a major speech on his budget priorities, particularly regarding long-term deficit reduction, and highlighting the difference between his administration’s ideas and the Republican House’s ideas. What made it interesting was not so much the actual budget agreement and the President’s speech, but just how badly the Professional Left and the Frustrati got it wrong. If you were to read Daily Kos, FireDogLake, or several other “progressive” sites, you’d have seen full-throated ranting about the budget deal, just before and after it was announced. It was horrible, terrible, a “sell out,” etc. Turn on the television or open up the newspapers, and you’d have Very Serious People like Paul Krugman telling you it was bad. There were analyses of how the President was “losing liberals” with it. Before the speech, you had any number of diaries thundering against the President, as well as people like Adam Green showing up on television, to tell us how awful it was, and how he was “losing the base.” Yes, if all you saw was that, and you were a liberal, you’d have been seriously disturbed. The problem is that they weren’t right. To make it worse, they were lazy.
I’m surprised that there wasn’t a sudden run on various orthopedic clinics for the number of sprained ankles that must have occurred during their leaping to conclusions. You see, they “knew” what the budget agreement did, they “knew” what the President was going to say in his speech, and were out there attacking. The problem? What they “knew” was wrong. They didn’t know what was in the budget agreement, they hadn’t bothered to sit down, go through it and see what was actually cut. They just started attacking it based on what they’d “heard,” and of course, the fact that they don’t like this President to begin with just was even more incentive. It was only after more reasoned people started going through it that it came out that … it was actually not that bad. Yes, there were a few things that weren’t good, but overall, it wasn’t as bad as the frustrati and the Professional Left had been making it out to be. The speech the President gave bore no relationship to the speech they “knew” he was going to give, and were busily attacking. During and shortly after it, the attack diaries appeared, and the fund-raising e-mails from various “progressive” groups were fired out to their mailing lists, begging for money to help in the fight against something that … wasn’t what the President was proposing or bore any relationship to what he said.
This left them with a large amount of egg on their faces. Not that they’d admit it, though. The entire performance of the Professional Left and the frustrati who inhabit the sites like FDL and Daily Kos has been intellectually dishonest, sloppy, and just plain lazy. They’re so locked into an attack mode on the President, they refused to consider anything else. They had their “canned responses” ready, and regardless of reality and being willing to put the work into modifying them, they went ahead with them.
The sad part is not that they got it wrong and won’t change. It’s that the frustrati, and the Professional Left, really think that their take on things matters in the Democratic Party. It comes through in all their statements, that they are “The Base” of the Party, that they represent liberals, they are the influential thinkers that drive the Party’s platform. You see it not only in their statements and publications, but in some of the news stories. That “liberals” are upset with Obama, that “Democrats” are drifting away, etc. Yes, you’d think there was a real problem, except that’s not what the polling shows. In the real world, where people actually show up at the polls and do all the actual work of the Party, it shows a remarkable solidarity. The real bases of the Democratic Party are firmly behind the President.
Which just demonstrates that they’re not living in reality, or actually doing much to drive the Party to the left … or anywhere. They’re a fringe group who exist in a bubble, where they talk only to each other, and mistake their status within that group with actual status outside of it. They’re the ones who are driven by a fantasy of what candidate Obama ran on, not what he actually ran on; those whose egos were hurt when the President didn’t come to them or follow their policy prescriptions; and those who are motivated by racism. While the people in the Professional Left’s bubble think that the circle they talk to – other members of the Professional Left – matches “reality,” it doesn’t. That’s why they’re so often “surprised” by polls. The Frustrati? The members of Daily Kos, FDL, etc.? The ones who spend a great deal of time telling you how critical they are? The people out in the field, the ones who do the work of the Party, the ones who consider themselves Democrats have never heard of them. If they have, and it’s a small number, they’re not considered a factor at all. They’re talking in their own little circle to each other, and thinking that it’s important, but in terms of what’s actually important, they’re not. When it comes time to work, to deliver on their rhetoric, they’re conspicuously absent.
Tthey’re not progressive, and they’re most definitely not the – or even a – base of the Party. They’re the descendants of the coffee house revolutionaries, who sat around talking about revolution, but never actually did anything. It was meaningless then, and it’s meaningless now. They rant and rave, and talk enough, but end up with egg on their face more often than not. They never get tired of it, I guess.