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Ha ha, only serious

[I'm stickying this because RL calls, and I must answer. Maybe it's the rain, but I'm at the end of my tether with the Democrats. --lambert]

As Lord Eschaton's celebrity fill-in, John, says: Funny; it's a marked up copy of Palin's resignation speech. Lots and lots of red marks. And I know what all the editorial marks mean, and it's a damn fine job of editing. And damn funny. But.

It also reeks of the "creative" [cough] "class," and the class-ist attacks on Palin, which were all of a piece with the attacks on the unterbussen by the same "creative" Obama supporters in the primaries, who threw so many of us out of their party (Hi, Donna! [waves]).

None of which would matter in the great scheme of things, at least not very much, were it not for this scenario:

1. It's clear that the Republicans will run a populist campaign in 2012, based on the usual resentments. (The purpose of their lackadaisical 2008 campaign, which they might as well have thrown to the Democrats, was to annoint Palin for that role. If the Palin attempt failed, and it's by no means clear that it has, that doesn't matter; the hour will produce the man, or the woman, possibly on a white horse.)

2. The usual resentments are going to be a lot, lot worse this time, because the O-Pression -- and, by 2012, The Big FAIL will be Obama's Depression -- hits the working class especially hard. (See under The Wire, wider implications of.) And the Republican appeal will be even more vile this time than usual, given that they'll be able to stoke all the economic resentments with their own brand of classism ("urban" is code for black, gay, and Wall Street), their own vile racism, and when you throw into the mix the fact that "Goldman Sachs" -- which really is a huge donor to the Obama campaign and Democrats, and really is looting running the finances of the country right now through the Treasury and the Fed -- is a Jewish-sounding name... Things could get ugly. Birthers with guns, see? And given the performance of the Democrats so far, they might even win.

3. The "creative" [cough] "class," and hence a large portion of Obama's base, can't see the problem here, let alone address it.

4. None of this would matter if the Democrats were building an actual, functioning policy bulwark against the economic pain that's washing over all of us. But they're not. (The lack of ideas in the "progressive" blogosphere is the opportunity cost of the intense focus on Palin and the "progressive" version of celebrity politics --sex scandals. Since the "progressives" dropped the policy ball, it's been picked up by the econoblogs.*) What the Democrats are doing is collecting boatloads of money from health insurers, the banksters, and all the usual suspects, and doing the absolute minimum to ease people's pain. Housing and the complex, unproven, and Rube Goldberg-esque "bait and switch" operation that is the Democrat health care "reform" contraption are the most obvious cases here, but encouraging the same vampire squid banksters who sucked all the blood out of the economy to suck even more blood by growing larger and more powerful is probably the most important case. This is not the party of FDR or even LBJ. It's dead, Jim. As dead as any zombie. As dead as the Whigs.

5. So I would say that a transfer of power back to a Republican administration even more vicious than Bush in 2012 is quite possible.

6. If the Democrats would stop sucking, we might be safe. But as a party -- despite some fine individual exceptions -- the Democrats will not stop sucking. To stop the suck is neither within their abilities nor in their interests.** The Democrats suck even though we gave them the Presidency, the House, the Senate, and 60 votes in the Senate. Since the Democrats suck when they have every advantage voters can give them, they suck, and will continue to suck, and power will continue to flip back and forth from them to the Republicans, who will then proceed to suck, although in different yet no less unpleasant ways. And the mutuality of the parties' massive suckitude is self-reinforcing: Republicans as abusive drunks who piss away all the money and wreck the car; Democrats as enabling spouses who clean up the vomit, find a new second-hand car, and hand the keys and some cash back to the drunk. After an utterly ineffectual scolding. A merry-go-round called the electoral cycle!

We need a new home. Soon. 2012, in terms of content and organization development, is really quite close. I don't know where that home is, and I leave it to people smarter than I am to build it, or show me where it is, or take me in.

When you see home, you know it. You know where you are.

NOTE * I mean, you've got former IMF economists saying the United States has turned into a Banana Republic run by oligarchs. That's the slightly-to-the-left, hippie view; it's practically mainstream! You'd think that our tribunes of the people in the blogosphere would be using that as an analytical tool, thinking through the policies, polishing the memes, working up the jokes, doing the takedowns, hammering on it day after day -- everything they (or was it "we"... ) did during the Bush regime. But no. Look! Over there! Sarah Palin! Wait! Is that Rahm on line 2??

NOTE ** I was wrong, wrong, wrong to ever have advocated the half-a-shit sandwich approach. I apologize.

NOTE Via Eschaton. Hundreds of comments.

UPDATE The racist smears continue. Quelle surprise. Another teeny wienie spikelet from the usual suspects.

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BDBlue's picture
Submitted by BDBlue on

It's funny to me, in a tragic way, that people who seem to not understand the most basic things about politics mock others for being dumb. There are a lot of different kinds of stupid, including the "educated" kind.

ClareA's picture
Submitted by ClareA on

Are there any other progressives picking up on this? or do they all live in a bubble where they don't hear any of the resentment. If you don't know any actual people who have these concerns, if you think they are all of an inferior sort, you can mock and ignore them.
I do NOT want Sarah Palin to represent me. I want an actual progressive to pick up the ball here. Right now, I don't hear that happening.
Right now, where I live among the lowly, I hear a whole lot of cynicism and resentment due to the worsening economy and the perception of the Health Care Reform as just more bullshit.
It's not the gop who gets the resentment. It's the democrats or progressives who are seen as mocking the "little guy."
What I also see, which really frightens me is the merging of the rightful anger of the working class with some really nasty anti-other rhetoric. I mean people I knew to be the classic working class democrat are now saying things about immigrants that they never would have approved of anyone saying 10 years ago.

It galls me that people don't know or recognize the fact that most WHITE people of income under 50,000 voted for Obama. The "creative class" continues to stereotype them as ARchie bunker and "knuckledraggers" and "mouthbreathers".
It makes me sick to read this stuff.

Susie from Philly's picture
Submitted by Susie from Philly on

And Hardball was on. The white working-class elderly women were sitting there mumbling about how the blacks "always have to make a big drama about everything."

I thought to myself, these women watch Fox News - probably because it's the only place where they see people to whom they relate. Not Ivy League trustafarians, not high-falutin' PhDs. And as long as we keep putting people like that out in front, we will lose the support of the working class.

This isn't rocket science. That's why I was hoping to get picked for a Media Matters program where bloggers will be groomed as progressive media spokespeople. Instead, I got turned down yesterday - by an unsigned email.

It probably wouldn't bother me so much if I wasn't convinced that the usual elites were chosen. Hey, call me a cynic!

Submitted by lambert on

Boy, I'm, like, totally sad now.

NOTE Susie, two words: "Cell phones." Two more: "Local radio." The Internet is not the appropriate organizing medium for all purposes...

gqmartinez's picture
Submitted by gqmartinez on

Because using the right lingo (and cultural reference gestures) is just as important as who you are mocking.*

Here's how I see it: the "creative" Pibbers don't like the working class. How much do they have to say and do before we realize that-they wanted them (us?) out of the party.

I think liberals can "use" Pibbers in the same way we can "use" libertarians: with us on a few issues, but otherwise toxic.

Submitted by lambert on

See here. Then see the NOTE here. IMNSHO, technical aspects are important!

TreeHugger's picture
Submitted by TreeHugger on

and your tether is a hell of a lot longer than mine! I marched into my elections office the day after Kerry acknowledged blowing the election in 2004 and changed my registration to Independent. After the election of 2008 I marched back into the same office and changed my registration to Green...even though in my heart I know this too is not the "home" of which you so passionately speak.

And kudos for a dead on accurate description of the two party merry-go-round of repubs on a bender and dems as the enabling spouse. David Brooks said something similar but much less colorful a few years back...one of the few times he has gotten it right.

Everytime "She Who Must Not Be Named", as the local AA affiliate has dubbed Palin, becomes the focus of ANY radio show, right or left, I tune over to the classical station. Needless to say, working at home, I listen to a LOT of classical music these days.

gqmartinez's picture
Submitted by gqmartinez on

That's very important.

I was seriously contemplating a career in politics after grad school. Then I noticed this merry-go-round like behavior. Disappointing and heartbreaking. Glad there are still local issues, like the Seattle Housing levy I can still get excited for.

Submitted by Anne on

grates on my nerves the way fingernails on a chalkboard grate on my ears.

I have come to hate it. I am a liberal, and damn proud of it.

Time for a Liberal Party, because with "Obama Era progressives" taking over the Democratic Party, it is coming to resemble mush - bland, wishy-washy, and thick.

So there.

MOBlue's picture
Submitted by MOBlue on

an Obama supporter that I wasn't a true or good progressive. It became a badge of honor once I realized that I really, really didn't want to be part of their group.

I, too, am a proud liberal.

a little night musing's picture
Submitted by a little night ... on

but I'm really torn about relinquishing the once-proud Progressive label to those eedjits who tarnish it with their lies.

And I still subscribe to this - one of only 3 dead-tree subs I still renew each time.

basement angel's picture
Submitted by basement angel on

And whether we vote for Palin or not, we recognize the rhetoric that we are hearing about Palin is completely unrelated to Palin because it's the same rhetoric that was used against Clinton. In my building, Obama has lost 3 female supporters over the age of 50. They're all relatively affluent and were all big volunteers. Two of them contributed the max to him. So, he's pissing off one group of people with what he is and isn't doing, and his fan base is pissing off a whole 'nother group of women with their constant class and gender attacks on Palin.

What we need to keep in mind is that Palin made it from mayor of a town of 7000 to the governor of a state with neither a family name, personal wealth, or a prestigious academic background. That puts her in a fairly small group. It blows my mind that the left makes fun of her educational background.

Agreed that this is not the party of FDR or LBJ, but it's not even the party of WJC.

Submitted by lambert on

Ready to try...

CMike's picture
Submitted by CMike on

I disagree with the prescription. We live in a two party system and we have a much better chance of taking over the Democratic Party than taking over the government by building a third party.

The lessons of the disintegration of the Whig Party and the rise of the Republican Party will not be all that useful for what we face. Slavery was an issue rooted in sectionalism and that allowed the Republicans to elect a president within six years of its founding with 40% of the popular vote. The Republican Party came to dominate the Congress, immediately thereafter, as most of the elected Democrats became secessionists.

The Left needs to follow the example of Movement Conservatism. Our target base should be the working class; single women; and non-wealthy, non-upper middle class Hispanics and blacks. Despite the overlap together they are enough in number to make up a dominating plurality of a majority party but not nearly enough to make up a majority party by themselves. We just need to concentrate on a message that condemns the moneyed elite and their enablers in the Democratic Party; one that gives us common cause.

Up thread there was a comment about two women in a diner making negative comments about blacks. Hey, people like to take out their frustrations by vilifying an external cause -- sorry, but that's just human nature and ordinary group dynamics. Kumbaya doesn't get it. Though white Creative Class progressives never utter a discouraging word against lower class persons of color, they readily blame the ills of their world on working class whites.

Our movement needs to tell a tale that casts members of the plutocratic class as villains. Now it's a tricky message to present because the wealthy own the main stream media and they are reflexively admired by members of all ranks of society while members of the underclass are reflexively disdained. However, the tale had great success when employed by New Deal liberals and there's plenty of Populist and Progressive literature from bygone eras to draw on for the searing rhetoric we'll need.

BDBlue's picture
Submitted by BDBlue on

I don't think it's realistic to think we're going to just start a new party that becomes a major player. We're stuck with the two big ones we have.

But, outside movements can affect the direction of parties, putting pressure on them to move to capture the participants to maintain their own electoral viability. And, in that way, they can be powerful engines for change.

Having said all of that, I almost - almost - think it would be easier to take over the GOP.

Submitted by ralphb on

It probably would be easier to take over the GOP, but what do you do with it once you've got it? They're so firmly out of power now, and if the takeover lost their current base, it would be like starting a 3rd party with an established label.

Then again if the Dems keep committing suicide over the next 3 years, that might not be a bad thing.

CMike's picture
Submitted by CMike on

No reason plenty of GOPers shouldn't be on the same page. I believe Limousine Liberals drove a lot of working class whites out of the party. Paul Krugman insists the split was all about race but I think some of it had to do with who expected whom to make sacrifices, back in the day, to right the wrongs suffered by the minority underclass.

Krugman and Brad DeLong themselves (the latter a card carrying Limousine Liberal and academic legacy) have a different story supporting globalization these days than the one they used to tell. Through the nineties it was all about how a rising tide lifts all boats. Now it's all: sure the working class ended up losing out but it was good for GDP (i.e. the wealthy and the Creative Class) and, ya know, as much as what happened to labor pains them "free trade" is really the only way for Americans to fulfill their obligation to the deserving third world poor. Digby is a great champion of undocumented workers -- they haven't had any sort of negative impact on her wages.

(I know I should accompany this last paragraph with some links but I don't have time to hunt them up right now.)

Submitted by lambert on

I can say with confidence that the question of "who's doing the sacrificing" was thoroughly mixed up with racism.* And a right wing populist campaign would deliberately mix the two together even more, which is an excellent reason to try to prevent or build defenses against that sort of populism. (The "I'm only saying what everybody else is thinking" kind; really vile talk radio has a long history in MA.) But the resistance to being shafted by the powers that be was not all racism, and it's not only (some) working class members who were racist. It wasn't Southie that didn't put a Roxbury station on the Red Line for years and years. That decision was made a lot higher up, and not by the working class. Such a mess.

NOTE * Subject to the caveat that the system is racist. Generally, when the OFB say "you're a racist" it's just "any stick to beat a dog," and nothing to do with systems thinking. Or thinking. One of their more vile acts, since it makes racism even more hard to talk about and act against.

BDBlue's picture
Submitted by BDBlue on

A lot of the natural base for economic issues is in the GOP. Not all, obviously, and not all of the GOP is the natural base on economic issues (*cough*Club for Growth*cough*). And the recent history of GOP racism makes it all more complicated. But the GOP is decimated in a lot of parts of the country and the money is flowing to the Dems right now.

Now, of course, on a national level, they're even more evil nationally than the Dems. So you can't really work within the system, it would be more about slowly taking over the party one area at a time.

Dawn's picture
Submitted by Dawn on

I am so fed up with the suckitude of the Dems I just can't stand it anymore. I thought I was at my limit last summer, but I found a new limit when they are not only not making things better, but making them worse.

I hope to god a new Liberal Party can at least have enough influence to knock some sense into them.

a little night musing's picture
Submitted by a little night ... on

I'm glad to read someone who's an actual expert in the subject (as opposed to me, a mathematician who has been dragged kicking and screaming into learning about finance and economics in general) saying what I've been saying recently about our being too fracking dependent on the finance sector which has gotten way too big.

Only, you know, saying it better, and in more detail.

cal1942's picture
Submitted by cal1942 on

got its hooks into the Democratic party IN PART because the labor movement has been eviserated in the last few decades. Labor doesn't have the clout it once had within the Democratic Party.