One of the features WordPress gives blog owners is the ability to see incoming links to your blog. Most of the time, I don’t really pay attention to it, except as something I note in passing. I do look when it there’s a sudden spike in traffic coming from one place, or it’s coming from an unusual place. Which is what happened in my second post on Politics 102. There was an incoming link from a Yahoo mail group, which caught my attention because it didn’t seem to be about politics. After looking at the thread that resulted, I realized that the points I’ve been making went whipping right over some people’s head. So, let’s go to Remedial Politics.
What was the comment that made me realize this?
I agree it looks like the underlying message is to get involved. So I guess that is what progressive disgruntlement is all about. Rather than pat Obama on the back for all the wonderful things he has done,the disgruntled progressives are literally pushing him to do more! We all see so many things that are broken, corrupt, unfair and down right disgusting that we do indeed expect the man to step up and deliver some hope and real change!
Nope, wrong, not even close, missed the point entirely. This writer gets an F. There was no “underlying message.” It was a clear, blatant, right out in front of them message. I say what I mean, so stop trying to read something more into it. What I said was:
It’s not enough to talk about how the party should recruit “real progressives.” It’s not enough to just write blogs about how wonderful “X” progressive candidate is, and throw some money at them. It’s doing the hard work of politics.
In my post on “rules”, I made this point:
It’s one thing to advocate for an agenda, or changes in government. It’s another thing entirely when the first things you say in that advocacy show that you don’t have a clue about implementing it, or whether it’s even possible.
Yes, that’s what that writer showed me. Let me correct this. The idea that “disgruntled progressives” are “pushing him to do more” misses the point entirely. They’re more often than not demanding the President do their work for them, and ignoring the fact that the President is unable to do what they want, because it’s Congress that has the responsibility. While I know they think the President is a dictator, he’s not. There are limits, whether they like them or not. Whether they like it or not, Republicans control the House, and this is the result:
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.
Now, remedial politics: You want the President to “produce more change?” Then you need to control Congress. You see, Congress is the one that introduces and passes legislation, not the President. You have to pressure Congress to pass the bills you want, not pressure the President. So screaming at the President to “do something! ” that he can’t is a complete waste of time and energy. You want to be able to pressure Congress? Then you need to do the work yourself, that’s Lesson #5. That means you go out and get the required number of Democrats to control Congress, and you go out and find progressive candidates who can win, increasing the number of progressives in Congress. The President isn’t going to do that for you, no matter how much you scream at him. It’s your job, not his. Trying to pass it off onto someone else doesn’t work.
The next part of remedial politics were lessons #2 and #6: You don’t vote, you don’t count; and You don’t win by losing. That means that you get out and vote, and if you think you’re making “a statement” by losing, all it means is you lost. The recent screams over the Plan B decision are a good illustration of what that means. There are some women’s rights groups who are threatening to “sit out” or “stay home” in 2012. Right, good idea – for the Republicans. It’s one thing to disagree with this particular decision, another entirely to threaten everything they’ve supposedly been working for. What is a primary plank in the Republican Party’s platform? Banning abortion. What’s going to be the number one thing that Republicans are going to do if they control Congress and the Presidency? Get rid of Plan B, and start working on banning abortion. So, by all means, stay home and let them win, and let them do that. My reaction?
The only people I feel sorry for are the ones who realized this, and voted against these people in the primaries and the general election. They have every right to complain. They told you what they wanted to do. If you didn’t believe them, or thought that it wouldn’t affect you, that’s your problem. If you voted for them – or didn’t vote – you’ll be getting exactly what you asked for. So if it happens, shut up and take it.
I’m tired of people who gripe continuously, and do nothing effective to change things. The statement the President made was “we are the change” not “He” is the change. If you can’t understand basic politics to begin with, and where to effect change, then you have no business griping. Thus endeth the lesson.