It's Not Mere Cynicism or Demoralization - More Likely, It's Humiliation and Alienation

by: David Sirota

Tue Jan 19, 2010 at 21:37

Let me interject something in the midst of all the finger-pointing about the unfortunate results of the Massachusetts senate race tonight - something that I think has been missed in all the media punditry, activist Twittering and netroots blogging.

Various polls (here and here, as examples) have shown that a good chunk of the opposition to and/or frustration with the health care bill that played such a central role in the Massachusetts race comes from a progressive perspective - namely, a perspective that says the bill doesn't go far enough. How much that precise kind of opposition/frustration played a role in the Massachusetts race is anyone's guess - but among those that it did, my guess is that the feelings of demoralization are particularly intense, because those feelings are rooted in the most powerful emotion of all: humiliation.

David Sirota :: It's Not Mere Cynicism or Demoralization - More Likely, It's Humiliation and Alienation
After a 2008 campaign that saw Democrats promise to genuinely take on the health care and financial industries, we've seen a 2009 that has asked Democratic voters to fight for extremely small, extremely modest scraps. We've been relegated to having to mount fierce campaigns to keep things like the public option in the debate and not to stop trillion-dollar bailouts - but just make sure they have one or two flimsy strings attached to them.

We've loyally mounted these campaigns. They haven't been fun, and worse, they haven't been legislatively successful (at least not yet). But beyond the substantive failure is the embarrassment that comes with even having to mount such campaigns in the first place.

There is something deeply embarrassing about Democratic voters/groups having to fight with Democratic leaders to get those leaders to even seriously try (much less pass) even the smallest, most modest shreds of their promises. Having to do that evokes feelings of genuine shame - shame in front of the other voters we told to vote for Democrats because it supposedly "mattered," and shame when we look in the mirror at a self that may have allowed itself to be unnecessarily duped.

I feel this sense of humiliation every day I am talking to regular folks here in Colorado on the radio. As a longtime single-payer guy, I feel embarrassed that I've been relegated to fighting for the fulfillment of as modest a campaign promise as the public option. Likewise, as a person who opposed the bailouts from the get-go, I feel embarrassed to be relegated to simply asking for a bit of transparency and regulation from a party that promised tough New Deal-like measures against Wall Street. And my guess is that - whether consciously or not - many people who voted for Democrats in 2008 feel that same sense of shame as well.

Again, I don't know if this deep sense of humiliation is what drove down Democratic performance in Massachusetts tonight, or is driving down President Obama's numbers as a whole. But my bet is it has at least something to do with it, especially because the 2008 campaign had so much to do with raising people's expectations.

That wasn't a normal election - many of us who had stopped believing in the possibilities of American democracy said we'd be willing to believe one last time. And now, seeing that perhaps we shouldn't have relented in our (rightful) cynicism, we are completely mortified.

Undoubtedly, Democrats and progressive media will attempt to make us ignore these feelings of humiliation by simply vilifying the extremism of Republicans (predictably, we are already seeing this rather pathetic tactic from various Democratic voices - save the always honest Howard Dean - on television tonight). And it is all but guaranteed that in typical blame-the-victim fashion, some lockstep Democratic activists and Obama supporters will find a way to blame progressives - rather than the politicians who broke their progressive promises - for the Massachusetts loss and the Democratic Party's flagging poll numbers. Those are the tried and true formulas to stir up the base and manufacture a supposed "united front."

But I don't know if it will work this time, unless it is coupled with - finally - a serious effort by Democratic lawmakers to legislate their promises. And even then, I still don't know if it will work. I don't know because maybe it's too little, too late - maybe the humiliation has already transformed cynicism into total and complete alienation.

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I'm happy that Obama and Friends.... (4.00 / 2)
had a message sent to them tonight.

Sign me "Ex Lifelong Democrat".  If I had been in Mass. tonight I would have left the Senator spot blank just to make sure that they understood NONE OF THE ABOVE.  Not even a "Democrat".

Couldn't agree more (4.00 / 1)

[ Parent ]
No deliverables (4.00 / 17)

 That's been the problem. As an officer in my local Democratic Party, I've expressed plenty of times in the last few months that the Democratic party has given me NOTHING to sell the voters for the next election cycle.

 Perhaps the silver lining is that this election happened now, rather than in November, and we lost one seat instead of 50. So there's time for the Democrats to get serious and actually produce some RESULTS.

 But I'm not holding my breath. The blue dogs seem to think that they'll get re-elected by doing nothing. And they're the only ones the White House listens to.

 Oh well. I'm sure Rahm and Carville are high-fiving right now...  

"We judge ourselves by our ideals; others by their actions. It is a great convenience." -- Howard Zinn

here's a glimmer of hope that Obummer will respond correctly (4.00 / 3)
at 5:03, Hamsher says,

Eugene Robinson is reporting that the White House is responding by saying that we need to go in and we need to change the healthcare bill to be less corporatist and to really  stand up to the corporations on this.

435 Dem Primaries 2012
Coffee Party Usa

[ Parent ]
Well, I hope that's real (4.00 / 7)

 But honestly, shouldn't such an approach be the default position for a Democrat? Did we have to lose a Senate seat in Massachusetts for Obama to get this?


"We judge ourselves by our ideals; others by their actions. It is a great convenience." -- Howard Zinn

[ Parent ]
Jeez, I don't think you'll find a single person no OpenLeft who disagrees about the "default" position (4.00 / 3)
The fact is, obviously, that it hasn't been the default position, which is part of the reason I thought disgusted Democrats should have voted Republican in Mass., but make it perfectly clear why they were doing so.

If Obama had faced vociferous opposition from prominent lefty media and organizations, instead of the 'veal pen', that might have been sufficient to "make him do it". As it were, there was next to no help from them, nor was there much pressure (that made it to the public arena) from progressive lawmakers.

The last big chance to "make him do it" before the 2010 special elections was this election, and that required a resounding loss in the Mass. general election. Mission accomplished.

At this point, Obama understands that he can't just "get over", relying on con-man Rahm's sage advice, coupled with his own ability to tell smooth-talking lies. Whether he chooses to fight for his campaign pledges, or not, remains to be seen, but the message has been delivered.

If he responds correctly, he will some day thank his lucky stars that he was given a message that even his obtuseness couldn't obstruct.

435 Dem Primaries 2012
Coffee Party Usa

[ Parent ]
Oops (0.00 / 0)
I should have written,

The last big chance to "make him do it" before the 2010 general elections was this election, and that required a resounding loss.

435 Dem Primaries 2012
Coffee Party Usa

[ Parent ]
I see maybe a 5% chance of this happening... (4.00 / 1)
If they are going to change the bill now that means reconciliation... and Democrats are just going to run for the hills... Even though it's counterproductive they don't want to have to deal with this for another 6 months during an election year...

And I think that HCR will go down in popularity, not up, no matter what's in it... this was basically always the danger of having it drag on for so long, as we've seen.  And honestly, the Village probably won't even let him do this... if he starts moving to the "left" on HCR, the Village will completely freak out and we'll be hearing non-stop about how Obama is a crazy communist... Yeah, we already hear that from the right-wing crazies, but it'll transfer over.

[ Parent ]
I don't know whether they will or they won't improve HCR (4.00 / 1)
But if they don't try, tonight will just be a warm up for what happens in November.   The independents left because he sold out to the corporate interests.  He can't exactly change that by acting like a Republican.  People want a change, not the same crap we've been getting for the last 30 years.

"Oh. My. God. .... We're doomed." -- Paul Krugman

[ Parent ]
well said (4.00 / 3)
nice post david

yes (0.00 / 0)
this was a very well thought out and measured post--unlike a lot of other stuff on here and other blogs right now.

[ Parent ]
Abusive Democratic leaders (4.00 / 10)
Shame and outrage at being taken advantage of by representatives we not only empowered and trusted, but leaders that used that power and our trust to abuse us.

It makes my skin crawl to think of it in these terms; never in my life have I felt so abused as I do this last year by the party I've voted for since Carter, the candidates I've contributed money to and worked for. To put it bluntly, never have I felt so fucked over.

The feeling is outrage first, then, like you say, shame. And finally, more than a little bit of wanting revenge on  Obama's White House. I'd like to see them discredited, to see them lose their power; to suffer in kind for the suffering they inflict by their deceit and arrogance.

Shame on them.

Amen! (4.00 / 1)
The shame belongs in the White House.

[ Parent ]
Are you just pissed, or do you want to do something? (4.00 / 2)
The Full Court Press is quite modest, filing in 435 Democratic primaries in 2012, perhaps a few in 2010, demanding that incumbents support:

WPA-style jobs program
Medicare for all
Repeal the Hyde amendment, oppose Nelson/Stupak
Repeal DOMA, DADT, support gay marriage
U.S. out of Iraq and Afghanistan

Do we expect to unseat anyone soon?  Guess not.  But we will build infrastructure, and by filing in House primaries without the burden of so-called "credibility," we have a tactic that is accessible to rank-and-file Dems who are mad as hell and aren't going to take it anymore.

Outrage is cheap, shame is debilitating, and revenge is only meaningful if it also builds something.  We keep saying we're gonna someday if ... we're gonna someday if ...  Well, they've done the if, and someday is now.

Full Court Press!

[ Parent ]
I'm no longer asking where George W. Bush is hiding. (4.00 / 1)
I rather asking why was he permitted to hide? Could it really be just this notion that Obama has been trying to bring the country together, thus avoiding the past eight years? Wasn't it possible for him to see that the House and Senate Republicans were a solid group of adversaries ready to stick it to him at every chance.

Was this all about inexperience after all?

No, methinks not. (4.00 / 6)
Having the GOP and the media constantly sticking it to Obama merely serves as agitprop to help him move the Democratic Party ever further to the right.

That's not inexperience. He's playing for the other team.

"More than any other time in history, mankind faces a crossroads. One path leads to despair and utter hopelessness. The other, to total extinction. Let us pray we have the wisdom to choose correctly." -Woody Allen, My Speech to the Graduates

[ Parent ]
Telling comment at the BlueMassGoup (4.00 / 7)
This is a big preview of the 2010 gubernatorial race. Emotion beats reason. I know gays, teachers, and anti-corporate types voting for Brown. He was able to get people to vote beyond their interests.

And "gays, teachers, and anti-corporate types" are probably the groups who had most reason to be disappointed about Obama's performance so far. Anybody surprised they didn't vote Dem? Not really, right?

I also think that there was a racial undercurrent going on. (0.00 / 0)
But that is not to say that Obama has fucked up.

[ Parent ]
"not to say that Obama has fucked up"? Is this a typo? (4.00 / 8)
His politics, his lame performance, his officials, all total failures! Of course he fucked up. The buck stops at Barack!

[ Parent ]
has not fucked up but I wouldn't go so far as (0.00 / 0)
saying he is failure.

[ Parent ]
has not fucked up but I wouldn't go so far as (0.00 / 0)
saying he is failure.

[ Parent ]
There definatley was a sexist one going on... (4.00 / 1)
Coakley was being savaged by Brown supporters for being female...

REID: Voting against us was never part of our arrangement!
SPECTER: I am altering the deal! Pray I don't alter it any further!
REID: This deal keeps getting worse all the time!

[ Parent ]
Oh, please. Stop that. (4.00 / 1)
Where in the world was there a racial undercurrent?

[ Parent ]
Brown worked on resentments of the white working class. (0.00 / 0)

[ Parent ]
do you think it is stupid strategy for black leaders (0.00 / 0)
to unite with the interests of upper class rather than the hated and despised white working class?  Were the guy who owned slaves workin class?  Did wall street not attempt to stay neutral during the civil war, because of owning cotton stocks?  Some stock brokers, even tried to succeed from the union.

My blog  

[ Parent ]
A racist is a racist regardless of class. (0.00 / 0)

[ Parent ]
A racist is a racist regardless of class. (0.00 / 0)

[ Parent ]
Stop the racial undercurrent (4.00 / 1)
Only two states have elected a black Governor, Virginia (Douglas Wilder) and Massachusetts (Deval Patrick).  Only two states have elected a black US Senator, Illinois (Carol Mosely Brain and Barack Obama) and Massachusetts (Ed Brooke).  Mississippi' state legislature selected two black Senators during Reconstruction.

I've lived in Massachusetts and there were some problems but if any state has shown that a racial undercurrent is not an issue, it is Massachusetts.

Address the real issues.  Don't insult the voters.  

[ Parent ]
So that doesn't mean anything. (0.00 / 0)
One person can have positive view of a particular person while still having a negative view of that person's race or ethnicity.  

[ Parent ]
Nobody here says there aren't still prejudices! (0.00 / 0)
But to say these had a decisive effect in this race defies logic. Both candidates are white. No racial issues played a role in the campaigns. If there is any racial component really having an impact in this at all it's that African Americans turned out in droves for Obama, but didn't remotely do that for Coakley. Sry for having to bring this up, but this seems to be one of the ugly truths in this desaster. Maybe you should think about this a bit.

[ Parent ]
it's not emotion (0.00 / 0)
it's social position and ideological brainwashing.

[ Parent ]
I don't think those folks have been ideological brainwashed. (4.00 / 2)
They voted Obama last year. And now, suddenly, they voted for a rethuglican because their ideology changed in 2009? D'oh.

No, I think there are many protest voters among that 52% for Bown. Don't forget the many OpenLefters who declared they would vote GOP next time!

[ Parent ]
i think most of the protest votes were protests against a candidate who shot herself in the foot repeatedly (0.00 / 0)
anyone who can seriously consider voting republican is socially comfortable (through a mix of wealth, race, sexual orientation, etc.) and/or completely confused about what it is they're doing.  to a similar extent, the same applies to voting at all right now.

[ Parent ]
Let's wait for the analysis, doc. (4.00 / 1)
I'm very interested in where those 52% came from.

[ Parent ]
really? now we're going to start waiting? :) (0.00 / 0)

[ Parent ]
For insight into the voter movements, yes. Got a better idea, doc? (0.00 / 0)
Do you think you can dig up that kind of data on your own? Shoot!

[ Parent ]
But (4.00 / 2)
is the answer to really vote a repube in? When people are pissed at one party, they switch to other. If more people decided to give third parties a try, (or take a chance on a crazy progressive) maybe this country would get somewhere. If people aren't gonna be loyal to their party then they need to start their own. I'll never vote Republican no matter what.

Extraordinary progressive star in the making

[ Parent ]
I said that, too, JDS, but... (4.00 / 3)
...even at OpenLeft we have folks who are so pissed of that they won't listen. I told them, too, this would be sending the wrong signal...

[ Parent ]
well then (0.00 / 0)
they are just as dumb as the redneck republicans

Extraordinary progressive star in the making

[ Parent ]
and just who seems to be winning? (0.00 / 0)

Full Court Press!

[ Parent ]
Yeah I really don't get this "this one party isn't good enough, so I'm gonna go with the party THAT'S EVEN WORSE" (4.00 / 3)
It's like me thinking that my dish at the restaurant isn't flavored right, so I throw a fit, run outside and sullenly munch on wet horse shit to "send that restaurant a message".

What exactly is the point in shooting yourself in the foot to do... what, really?  I don't know if any minor party candidates other than the Libertarian (which is NOT a good alternative either) were on the ballot, but you can always write-in.  That's why I do when I have no other choice.

[ Parent ]
A politician has to make SOMEONE happy (4.00 / 5)
The Republicans and conservatives were never going to be happy with Obama. Obama did everything he could to piss off the progressives and "move to the center". But what killed Coakley was the independents. The party leadership is 0 for 3.

We can count on this being blamed on Jane Hamsher and the left. The centrists have been building up to that, and I've already seen it tonight.

I'm a progressive and am proud.... (4.00 / 2)
if we get blamed for this tonight.

Barack Obama...maybe the worst president ever?  (And I thought GWB would always hold that title!)

[ Parent ]
Not within a hundred miles (4.00 / 5)
Obama has extremely disappointing even for those who didn't expect a lot, but you're nuts.  

[ Parent ]
You'll never win against (0.00 / 0)

Extraordinary progressive star in the making

[ Parent ]
try ulysses s. grant or warren g. harding (0.00 / 0)

[ Parent ]
Not close (0.00 / 0)
The competition is James Buchanan.  He was a real pip.

[ Parent ]
Indeed... (4.00 / 2)
I look forward (he winces as he types this) to hearing leadership tell us this election is proof positive the party has to move even farther to the right. I don't think this right-ward march of the party is going to stop until it's made to stop, although how to stop it is a big question for me.

These people will always learn the wrong lessons. Neo-liberals are predictably consistent on this count.  

"More than any other time in history, mankind faces a crossroads. One path leads to despair and utter hopelessness. The other, to total extinction. Let us pray we have the wisdom to choose correctly." -Woody Allen, My Speech to the Graduates

[ Parent ]
Wow. This certainly expresses much of my own angst rather well! (4.00 / 2)
I just can't escape this notion of, "We're on our own now. We don't have any friends in power. We're not going to get the government we want or need." Of course, this is precisely how the neo-liberals want us to think...

I also think Ian's earlier post is spot on. Either this "movement" starts thinking and acting more independently, or it will perish right along with the rest of the party. Perhaps progressives should think about running really hard against the status quo and it's champions in the White House.

"More than any other time in history, mankind faces a crossroads. One path leads to despair and utter hopelessness. The other, to total extinction. Let us pray we have the wisdom to choose correctly." -Woody Allen, My Speech to the Graduates

perhaps those particularly disappointed should stop thinking about running altogether (4.00 / 4)
and instead concentrate on building unions, ngos, community organisations, and the other institutions that are going to funnel the enormous and vibrant social energy of people into real change.  it doesn't work by depending on a slogan and a party affiliation with no backup.

[ Parent ]
I'm with you on this one. (4.00 / 1)
I keep coming back to a thought that the federal government is basically broken. If so, then expecting change there is probably a pipe dream. Well, positive change, anyway. There's always lots of bad changes happening.

It seems more and more likely the best venues for progressive change is local. Resilient communities and such.

"More than any other time in history, mankind faces a crossroads. One path leads to despair and utter hopelessness. The other, to total extinction. Let us pray we have the wisdom to choose correctly." -Woody Allen, My Speech to the Graduates

[ Parent ]
i think the distinction i'm drawing is not national vs. local (4.00 / 2)
though that's related - it's really social vs. electoral.  and another - people vs. funding (whether of elections or NGOs).

if you don't want a fascist populism, then your only choices are progressive (elitist) populism or social democracy.  

[ Parent ]
Two sides of the same coin from my POV (0.00 / 0)
So I still basically agree. On the more local level, the social and electoral aren't all that separable--at some point they intersect. Where will these orgs pop up? Locally, certainly at first, networking to follow....

I'm basically in the social democracy camp, so that's my bias.

"More than any other time in history, mankind faces a crossroads. One path leads to despair and utter hopelessness. The other, to total extinction. Let us pray we have the wisdom to choose correctly." -Woody Allen, My Speech to the Graduates

[ Parent ]
"Change you can believe in" was a disastrous slogan.... (4.00 / 8)
.... for someone cynically planning to run to the center and change as little as possible. Obama's campaign was slogaln-driven, and the slogan was like it was designed to disillusion people.

"Hope!" "Change you can believe in!"

What goes around comes around! (4.00 / 1)

[ Parent ]
Like I said, you're nuts. (4.00 / 1)
Nothing for anyone to be thankful about except creeps.  

[ Parent ]
Go read Ian Welsh. (0.00 / 0)
Then tell me I'm wrong.

This will be our last chance to save this country from itself.

Obama will be a one-term president.  Thank God!

[ Parent ]
What is the hopeful alternative? (0.00 / 0)
Seriously. I'm extremely pessimistic about the Democrats, but none of the anti-Democratic leftists have anything to show that I know of. You seem to enjoy venting, but I don't see anything more than that.

[ Parent ]
You haven't seen the Full Court Press? (0.00 / 0)

Critique it if you will, but don't act like it's not there.

Full Court Press!

[ Parent ]
you have nothing to show either. (0.00 / 0)
.  You have made us work hard for politicians that are going to screw us in the end.

My blog  

[ Parent ]
I haven't made anybody do anything (0.00 / 0)
Where'd you get that? I've done what I've done and I've said what I've said. Nobody has to obey me.

[ Parent ]
quit calling people crazy because they have (4.00 / 3)
no hope in the democrats.  I stupidly voted for gore in 2000, Kerry in 2004 and then O'bummer in 2008, and I deeply regret having not voted Nader.  The dems don't represent me. I can't afford the premiums for mandates.  I am lower middle class and over 40, with aging parents.  I am deeply deeply grateful to massachusetts for trying to kill the bill, with Brown.

I care about issues, not the party.  I joined the greens two weeks ago. I've had it with the dems.  If they don't learn they can lose more and hopefully the green party will take their place.

My blog  

[ Parent ]
? (4.00 / 4)
"As a longtime single-payer guy, I feel embarrassed that I've been relegated to fighting for the fulfillment of as modest a campaign promise as the public option. Likewise, as a person who opposed the bailouts from the get-go, I feel embarrassed to be relegated to simply asking for a bit of transparency and regulation from a party that promised tough New Deal-like measures against Wall Street."

Well why are you doing it?  I mean this seriously - I don't understand this, given that you yourself are aware that you're doing it.  If you're a long-term single payer guy, then why won't you stake out a more radical position than any that's out there, be called 'marginal' or whatever (like rightwingers were for decades while they made their opinions mainstream) and put yourself out there.  it's always a compromise between principle and power and for those of us who don't actually have to get elected and have different kinds of social/political/cultural captial, it's a little easier to say - "No, this is f"£ked up, do this instead."  In fact, it's almost an obligation.

I won't get into the third party argument again, but the poitns you're raising - about how demoralising it can be to surrender your soul for the sake of a welcome - are exactly the reasons why overcompromising is not just unhealthy but dangerous for a progressive movement collectively.  whether inside or outside the democratic party, it's so important for progressives and individuals to have independent voices that are framed by their own worldviews, not in reaction to developments in congress or the whitehouse or 'the mainstream.'

What is especially demoralising is that none of this is news.  it's not like noam chomsky et al started producing material yesterday.

Speaking for myself, I've tried that (4.00 / 2)
It's not like third parties or sniping from the sidelines have had any success. It's funny how the only ones who have to produce anything are the ones working through the Democratic Party.

[ Parent ]
everyone has to produce something (4.00 / 2)
and most people do.  everything from posting on facebook to commenting on blogposts to doing union organising to organising pro-lgbt church groups is building social and political capital for a progressive movement.  but it's when we allow ourselves to be dictated to by a media or political agenda that is not of our own making that we get screwed and then we suddenly wake up one day and find some result like this.  why is this surprising?

i'm glad that you try to do this - noam chomsky does and amy goodman does but beyond that and a lot of people i know personally do and they're the people that i look to and think of as the bedrock of a progressive movement.  i wish they got as much respect or a hearing as a politician.  let alone funding.

[ Parent ]
I spent several decades in the 2% fringe (0.00 / 0)
I understand that point of view, but I don't see it going anywhere.

[ Parent ]
"several decades"? "2% fringe"? (0.00 / 0)
I guess Nader didn't run for president for decades? Hmm, did the communists have a candidate on the ballot?

[ Parent ]
You and I shouldn't talk, Gray. (0.00 / 0)
Nothing good ever comes of it.

[ Parent ]
Well, I thought that was a good joke! (0.00 / 0)
Your mileage may vary, of course.

[ Parent ]
It doesn't go anywhere (4.00 / 1)
because we don't have the organization to MAKE it go anywhere.

[ Parent ]
I really hate to get repetitious ... (4.00 / 1)
... but the Full Court Press has a plan to build organization off of our discontent.

You may have better ideas, you may critique it all you want, but there it is.

Full Court Press!

[ Parent ]
see you there [eom] (0.00 / 0)

[ Parent ]
Great! (0.00 / 0)
e-mail me at and we can talk further.

Full Court Press!

[ Parent ]
i'm not talking about an outlet for netroots people's discontent (4.00 / 2)
i'm takling about having union density of 60% on average nationally.  i'm talking about churches being progressive.  i'm talking about teachers teaching boys how to not be sexist.  i'm talking about local planning boards ensuring that solar energy is used in building heating.

that's going to take serious work to get to, and a lot of it isn't going to happen on the internet, though the internet has a place to play.  it's certainly not going to happen through elections, though those too are important (especially organising-friendly legislation).

[ Parent ]
can we get beyond the radical vs. pragmatist debate? (4.00 / 7)
it's pointless and it's obvious that the two need to work together (ideally in the same person).

there are things that need doing - there are hundreds of millions of people in the united states, and there are people who have articulated quite well exactly why thsoe people are screwed over (among the billions of others who are).  and there are a lot fo people working to change that in small and large ways.

but for some reason, the netroots, DC-based policy NGOs, and many others believe themselves to be a grassroots movement when by any definition it's not - and it's certainly not populist.  it needs to reacquiant itself - as open left commendably has from time to time - with real world organising.  both on the personal-is-political level so that indidivudal people who are not inclined to think of themselves as political will do little things (like maybe sending money to haiti or donating a few bucks to a working families party candidate in new york) and people who are will be willing to spend more than two years doing community organising rather than heading off to law school (or wherever).

there's too much talking "about" people and not enough working with people, from what i see.

[ Parent ]
'reasons' for loss deconstructed rather well (4.00 / 9)
via John Aravosis

Massachusetts, that kept Ted Kennedy in office for decades because he promised to provide affordable health care to every American, thinks President Obama is going too far by passing legislation that is, at best, half a loaf of what Kennedy had been proposing. Got that?
What other "far left" agenda could Bayh be talking about? Gay rights perhaps? First off, not much of an agenda in this White House, but in any case, we're to believe that liberal views on social issues are ticking off a state that was the first in the country to have gay marriage? Seriously? How about abortion - Kennedy was pro-choice, never hurt him, and in any case, Obama is hardly God's gift to choicers.

So it's not health care reform or social issues, maybe it's economic issues. Was it the Wall Street bailout? Not very liberal there. Maybe defense issues. Perhaps the mini-surge of additional troops in Afghanistan? Again, no liberal to be found.

So what exactly is Evan Bayh talking about when he says that our government has lurched too far to the left of Massachusetts? What part of President Obama's agenda wasn't Massachusetts familiar with when they voted for him over John McCain last November by double digits? And the irony is that Obama has never moved farther to the left in office than he promised on the campaign trail -- he's only moved to the right.

435 Dem Primaries 2012
Coffee Party Usa

Bayh (4.00 / 3)
has been bought.  He's only doing what he needs to do to keep the money rolling in.  Learn the economic and history of Indiana and All Will Become Clear.  Eli Lilly has it's headquarters in Indianapolis for god's sake.

OF COURSE the pharmaceutical companies and other health care industries are promoting the "too fast, too soon" propaganda line.  Their profits are threatened.

OF COURSE the tickbird journalanamalists (Broder, Friedman, are going to fall in line.  Did you expect anything else?

I mean, fer heaven's sake, this has been going on since the New Deal.  Not like it's anything new.

[ Parent ]
oops (0.00 / 0)
"its" not "it's".

[ Parent ]
Bayh's wife (4.00 / 4)
Is paid one million bucks a year to sit on the boards of insurance companies including $598 K by Wellpoint.  That started right after he was elected.  No one has been as thoroughly bought as Evan Bayh.  Creep.

[ Parent ]
Coakley (0.00 / 0)
Was a POS candidate running a third rate campaign as if she was entitled to the position.  Doesn't work that way.

This is the third time the Obama administration has met electoral defeat by running away from democratic ideas.  

MAYBE it's time to start running candidate who don't kiss the ass of the Ruling Class and their status quo?

MAYBE it's time for candidates who think the producing class, the common people of the US, deserve to get the fruits of their labor?

We need a Malcolm X whose first instinct is to fight and we get a Barack Obama who first instinct is to kowtow.  

(But, then, I'm a PinkoCommieDFH, what do I know?)

well, this is an excellent post (0.00 / 0)

New Jersey politics at Blue Jersey.

go brown? (4.00 / 1)
I have no illusions about the DLC Democrats. They own and operate the Wall Street Lite party in America.

But when Gore lost in 2000, I cringed. And when Kerry lost in 2004, I cringed.

And when Obama won in 2008, I shelved my deeply embedded cynicism for a couple of weeks and actually dared to hope he wasn't what I knew he really was deep down inside-another fucking DLC Democrat.

But now I've got to be honest: Go Brown!!!

I know it is irrational from the neck up; but from the heart down, the anger and contempt I feel for the Rahm Obama Democratic Party is such that my fear of a BeckWorld explosion in the Fall is surpassed [here and now] by the triumphant sense that Obama and everything his betrayals stand for was humiliated tonight in Massachusetts.

Please allow me to enjoy that for a few days, okay?

I felt that way (0.00 / 0)
when Ronnie Rayguns won.

I thought the Democrats would wake up.  I thought they would realize they needed to re-think and get back to the ideals of the New Deal.

Shows what a dumbshit I am, eh?

[ Parent ]
C'mon, this is ridiculous (0.00 / 0)
If you wanted to send a message to Obama, write-in someone you like.  What's the point in shooting your foot and then pointing to Obama, "take that!"

And this election isn't even about Obama; it was about Coakley.  Yes she's a tepid bland establishment Democrat, but what if she was an actual liberal?  Would you vote against a Marcy Winograd or Dennis Kucinich or Ted Kennedy just to pointlessly spite Obama?

[ Parent ]
Well, looking forward to 2012 (4.00 / 1)
when we replace Scott Brown with a real liberal who doesn't have to compete in a compressed timeframe.

Maybe we can do Teddy proud this time.

The dems will probably run another centrist. (0.00 / 0)

My blog  

[ Parent ]
You sound as if we have no control over the process (4.00 / 1)
when we actually have a little bit!

[ Parent ]
We have no control of the democrats. (4.00 / 1)

My blog  

[ Parent ]
We (meaning liberal base) beat Democrat Joe Lieberman in 2006 (4.00 / 1)
It's not our fault that Ned Lamont decided to take a month off or whatever, but the point is we won the primary, which is all we have to do in MA in a normal election year. (After we win the primary the national Democratic establishment will help take care of our nominee.)

[ Parent ]
Based on what I saw on Olbermann..... (4.00 / 3)
.....what killed Coakley was the independent vote, not the Democratic vote.

That was early in the counting and so not completely reliable. But I doubt that a lot of progressives were voting for Brown in protest.

Awhile back two different polls showed that Republican voters are pumped and Democratic voters are discouraged. People tonight said that turnout was better in Republican areas (again, early and not reliable).

For decades Democrats  have been "counterintuitive" and have run against the base. It's become reflexive and automatic. But at some point the base wears out.

There are a lot of non-voters and unregistered, and they tend to be toward the bottom of the economic ladder. How many of them are potential Democrats or ex-Democrats?  

Yes, where do they stand in the political landscape? (4.00 / 1)
What the mainstream media, the effing political pundits, and most of the Dems will ignore again is that there are independent (and non-) voters to the left of the Dems, too! Simply saying those outside of the parties moved to the right is a cheap, but not proven explanation of what happened. Actually, this isn't in sync with statements from those independents we can find in the media, which indicate this has been to a large extent a limited protest vote, a vote AGAINST the corporatist, same old course of the Dems, and not FOR any rethuglican alternatives. But how to prevent the inevitable spreading of pro-rightwing distortions in the media?

[ Parent ]
"independent (and non-) voters to the left of the Dems, too" (0.00 / 0)
That's me, and most of my political allies. I started voting in 1968 after returning from Vietnam -- an intense, extensive and expensive education in politics as blood-sport from that great liberal LBJ, and that great radical Ho Chi Minh.

The most profound lessons I learned were from the people, who had struggled against colonialism, against vastly more wealthy and powerful enemies, for more than half a century before their victory.

I didn't vote for Humphrey in '68, and since then have only voted for the D nominee for prez once, in 1972 -- although I've worked for candidates within the DP in primaries (Jesse Jackson, Jerry Brown).


[ Parent ]
well said david (4.00 / 1)
I agree 100%.  people fought hard going door to door to get obama elected, and he won't fight for us.  we have to fight hard to get a sliver of scraps of what he promised.  the health care debate has been going on since june.  why?  for one republican vote that obama should have known would never come?  Jim Demint said they wanted health care to be his waterloo.  he should have just gone reconcilliation right then.  this lame excuse that they need 60 votes  doesn't fly with me.  just eliminate the filibuster!  or fight hard for real reform, don't cave to the neverending watering down by lieberman, landreiu, lincoln, and nelson.  there are 4 of them and 51 democrats who want a public option.  we shouldn't let them push us around.  stop playing nice obama.  take of the gloves and kick some ass and use the bully pulpit to call out these scumbags and demand a good bill.  jeez, so sick of this wimpy slow walk of despair.  we need more LBJ, and less bill clinton.  thats why we voted for obama and against hillary clinton because we didn't want things to play out this way.

re: obama (0.00 / 0)
Jim Demint said they wanted health care to be his waterloo.  he should have just gone reconcilliation right then.

I like that! when demint said that, obama should've immediately gone to reconciliation. instead he went to bipartisanship with grassley amd enzi and got his ass handed to him...

[ Parent ]

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