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ntoddpax's picture

Rolling Stone:

It wasn't until 10 days before the election, after OFA finally woke up to Coakley's cratering poll numbers, that the group sent out an urgent appeal to members, asking them to help turn out Massachusetts voters from phone banks across the country. But after having been sidelined by the White House for most of its first year, OFA discovered that most of its 13 million supporters had tuned out. Only 45,000 members responded to the last-minute call to arms.

In the final week, volunteers organized 1,000 phone banks and placed more than 2.3 million calls to Massachusetts. OFA also scrambled to place 50 staffers in the state to gin up a door-knocking operation. But it was too late: In a race decided by 110,000 votes, 850,000 of those who voted for Obama in Massachusetts failed to turn out for Coakley. "The relationship-building process we did with Obama for America," concedes Stewart, "is not something you can manufacture in three weeks."

In the wake of Coakley's loss, I saw triumphalism online--bloggers are smarter than Dem leaders!--and tweeted that if the Netroots wanted to be in the game it had missed an opportunity to prove itself in MASEN.  A number of folks on Twitter, Facebook and blogs took issue with my remark, saying it wasn't their fault, there was nothing they could do, some bloggers did phonebanking, etc.  Yeah, that's a compelling argument for us to be in charge.

If the Netroots is indeed a great force--I have always acknowledged we have some real assets and potentials--why didn't we self-organized a larger response to the need in MASEN, especially when OFA dropped the ball?  Shouldn't there have been more phonebanking earlier in the process?  Shouldn't there have been caravans to MA from at least neighboring states like we saw for marriage equality in NH and ME?

OFA didn't mobilize until it was too late.  Same with us Netroots, who shouldn't need top-down marching orders from what is essentially a mainstream political vehicle that has a grassroots paint job.  Grassroots is about doing it ourselves, not waiting for leadership.

We learned at Obama Camp (training to be Deputy Field Organizers aka Glorified Volunteers With A Fancy Title) that on average a dozen doors knocked translate into one (1) vote for your candidate.  Canvassing those 850k Obama voters would have thus netted over 70k for Coakley, turning the election for her.  Imagine if instead of impotently stomping our feet on blogs and opining about how Obama and the Dems were failures, the Netroots--notably A-list bloggers, MoveOn and DFA, who have large platforms and mailing lists--had actively filled the void left by the "leadership".

Mind you, I'm not blaming us for the lost Magical 60th Senate Vote That Still Never Seems To Help The Majority Pass Shit.  I'm simply suggesting that we cannot lay claim to being a New Awesome Force For Change and expect a seat at the table when we haven't really done all that much to change things.  Yes, there's been a lot of furious online activity--fundraising, petitions, one-off e-mail campaigns, virtual phonebanking, blogging about strategy--but we've yet to translate that into tangible offline action and anything more than background noise the powers-that-be cannot hear over lobbyists' voices in close proximity.

Fear not, Netroots!  We still have an opportunity to do some good for HCR.

MyBarackObama.com has reached out a bit to ask us to pledge our support to Members of Congress who "fight for reform".  I know from where President Obama sits that means "vote for the Frankenstein bill so we can declare 'Mission Accomplished' and move on," but that doesn't mean we have to limit ourselves to his political myopia.

I suggest we pledge our support to incumbents and challengers who will stand for HR676, and persistently tell the President and Congress that we will settle for nothing less.  We should also phonebank and canvass to get our fellow citizens on board with real reform and mobilize them to apply more pressure for single-payer.  And, of course, I'd love to see some direct action but let's cross these bridges first.

So how about it, DFA, MoveOn, and A-listers?  How about it, Netroots?  Think we can get our collective asses in gear?  Think of all the fun self-congratulating and navel gazing we can do after we win...

ntodd

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DCblogger's picture
Submitted by DCblogger on

I have been thinking of Corrente holding as recruiting day to ask our readers to sing up to help Healthcare-NOW!. For a blog as small as Correntewire I think it makes more sense to support an established organization rather than attemp to build anything of our own.

As for Coakley, as a reader of this blog you know some of our posters were unethusiastic about her.

ntoddpax's picture
Submitted by ntoddpax on

Great idea. Maybe we can get a blog swarm to funnel people to HC-NOW.

As for Coakley, I agree with folks who say she was a lackluster candidate and was a poor choice for Senator. I really can't say I'm sad she lost because the Dems did fuckall with 60, and I understand why MA rejected her (too bad the Dems don't understand it's because they haven't gone far enough).

But she certainly demonstrates the haplessness of Dems, and the lost opportunity for the Netroots to help in the lead up to the election. One hopes we can learn from it.

Valhalla's picture
Submitted by Valhalla on

here, until she reversed on Stupak. (and some after).

But the whole bad-candidate spin (below), pushed like crazy by Obama and his fan base, so that no one could in any way blame him or his crappy health care plan for her loss isn't one of them. I really wish people would stop parroting that crap, which they pick up at places like Kos for freaksake.

Some had very legit reasons to oppose Coakley, primarily the health care monstrosity Dems where whipping through, and her flip on the abortion language. The campaign and election, including the merits or disadvantages of voting for her, was discussed extensively (in no particular order) at Corrente, here, here, here, here, here (had to laugh at this one, it's where I predicted Coakley would coast to victory in Democrat-laden Mass.), here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, and here, and with commentary on the netroots rhetorical efforts in this regard here.

Although the mobilization argument is a good one, the Brown-Coakley contest is not the best example for reference. Mass voters were inundated with gotv efforts before the election with all methods. Certainly, more mobilization by OFA wouldn't have helped, since all they did was tie Coakley specifically to Obama's health care plan as vote 60 -- which was exactly what strongly mobilized the Unaffiliateds and Republicans to gotv against her. The 1/10 stat is an average, and I doubt it can be legitimately applied when such a large part of the voting public is already polarized on key issues.

As for DKos on the election, I just found this quite interesting on-the-ground perspective on Coakley there, which I missed during the election (mostly because I never visit Cheetoville if I can help it). As for gotv, there were a few very enthusiastic posters involved in gotv for Coakley, before the OFA got involved, but Kos himself took the what a horrible candidate tack right after Brown's win.

Submitted by jawbone on

suggestion.

Think we could get great choirs of people out to stand up to Wall St banksters, BHIPpers (Big Health Industry Players), even war mongers?

As the Estonians did with their Singing Revolution?

How would our authorities react? The usual gas and batons, mounted police pushing us into packed corners? Or get out the big microwave weapons?

Imagine: Thousands actually singing! Then the storm troopers...very bad optics for the Establishment and Corporatists.

Fredster's picture
Submitted by Fredster on

Let's put on a show! We can put it on in the old barn. I bet we can get Mickey, and Judy and rest of the gang!

madamab's picture
Submitted by madamab on

I LOVE THIS IDEA!!!

I will happily sing up for Medicare for All! And it will be LOUD, too.

Valhalla's picture
Submitted by Valhalla on

I can't carry a tune to save my life, but would gladly bang a drum or tamborines, wave a sign, etc!

Submitted by lambert on

I saw them in Augusta, and thought they were great.

ntoddpax's picture
Submitted by ntoddpax on

Really, you thought I would believe that about the Grannies? They're my heroes.

I mock--dare I say 'snark'--the attitude that theater such as theirs or CP's sets the movement back. Astonishing that people think this.

Submitted by lambert on

Mockery isn't the same as irony which isn't the same as snark.

I missed the irony in your response. Ooops!

DCblogger's picture
Submitted by DCblogger on

and saw all those quotes by Moulitsas. Wow. I don't read Daily Kos, so I have no idea what, if anything, big orange did for Coakley. But you are quite correct, there was never any need for netroots to wait for marching orders.

the way I see it, blogs are more about messaging and the distribution of information. As a way of moving people to action we suck. We are to mass movements was PR is to Procter and Gamble. Without a manufacturing plant, workers, and product, no amount of messaging and distribution of information will get you anywhere.

Now it is possible to walk and chew gum at the same time. People who post or just read blogs can do more.

nihil obstet's picture
Submitted by nihil obstet on

I just can't see that ntoddpax, DCBlogger, Lambert Strether, or nihil obstet is ever going to be heard over Lloyd Blankstein, Ben Bernanke, or the lobbyists with hundreds of millions of dollars to slather around. Who is the most effective at delivering Democratic votes? It's the unions. How have they done? Harry Reid has positively grovelled to the White House (a deserving groveller there), but Ben Nelson's gotten his druthers.

It is the peasant dream that if we work hard enough for the lord, he will appreciate our value and grant us our wishes. Baloney. He'll ignore us as long as we know our place.

I'm not in Massachusetts, and still don't know whether Coakley would be a good Senator, but I do know that if the vote was a referendum on the Democrats, they deserved to lose.

I'm with you on working for policies, particularly Medicare for All, but not on being an armchair strategist for proving how powerful we can be.

DCblogger's picture
Submitted by DCblogger on

I just can't see that ntoddpax, DCBlogger, Lambert Strether, or nihil obstet is ever going to be heard over Lloyd Blankstein, Ben Bernanke, or the lobbyists with hundreds of millions of dollars to slather around.

Yeah, why would Churchill take notice of some half naked fakir

Why would Senator Stenis, Sam Ervin et all take notice of some black preacher operating out of Montgomery Alabama?

Why would Marcos flee the presidential palace just because some widow ran for president?

Why would the Soviet Union roll its tanks out of Lithuania just because the locals joined hands and sang patriotic songs?

No, as a copy and paste blogger I do not consider myself in their class. But there is a lesson there. If a system is decrepit enough, it will collapse with a little assistance from small time trouble makers. There is a limit to what money and guns can do for you if your system does not function.

invisible's picture
Submitted by invisible on

pretty awesome comment.

Now, when folks start standing up for the American Indian, Native American, First Nations, etc., etc., etc., I might go for it.

I know that sounds sarcastic or negative or something, but that's not my intent, just my heart.

I mean what I say and I thank you.

ntoddpax's picture
Submitted by ntoddpax on

Now, when folks start standing up for the American Indian, Native American, First Nations, etc., etc., etc., I might go for it.

How about joining in to create justice where we can, which enables us to create justice in more places? You can help spread the message, teach the tactics, tie the social justice of healthcare to the social justice of NatAm rights.

Cheers,
A Cherokee Descendant

nihil obstet's picture
Submitted by nihil obstet on

I'm missing something here. Did Gandhi canvas for the Tories, and as a result get a seat at the table on British foreign policy?

Did Martin Luther King organize phone banks for Stenis and Ervin, who were so impressed with how much he helped them that they gave him a seat at the table for their deliberations?

Did Marcos flee the palace just because some widow ran for president? I thought there was unrest in the streets.

Were the locals in Lithuania singing Soviet electoral campaign songs, which so gratified the Soviets that they gave a seat to the locals when they decided whether to keep their tanks in the country or roll them out?

I think these are all very good examples of the power of concerted action, or as I put it, working for policies. To me this is very different from working for the election of a politician whose policies you disagree with in order to show your effectiveness in a way that will lead him to give you "a seat at the table." In every one of these cases that you cite, the concerted action opposed the politician(s). I don't believe that if you just give enough to a strong opposition, the opposition will be grateful enough to reciprocate.

invisible's picture
Submitted by invisible on

I cannot determine your point. What exactly are you saying?

In other words, huh?

Naturally, I think we all understand that I am not the smartest gild on the lily, so be kind.

(Okay, this is not the original comment I made. WTF is happening, lambert? If this continues, I will be gone.)

Time passes. In fact, I am gone. GBCW.

ntoddpax's picture
Submitted by ntoddpax on

I think these are all very good examples of the power of concerted action, or as I put it, working for policies. To me this is very different from working for the election of a politician whose policies you disagree with in order to show your effectiveness in a way that will lead him to give you "a seat at the table."

You're conflating the example of how the Netroots could have demonstrated the effectiveness it claims with Coakley (and really, as I note, any time in the process before the election including supporting a better candidate) and how we might now organize for single-payer. I guess I'm just too nuanced.

Look at what I've suggested for action now: pressuring politicians and canvassing citizens to support our cause, not a person. That's exactly what Gandhi did. What King did. And Cory, and Boris.

As an aside, I actually hung out with the son of the Lithuanian Parliament's President during the Moratorium in 1990. Heady times. Know how they planned to defend against a Soviet invasion? Civilian-based defense, total non-cooperation. You know, people power.

So read the whole post to the end where I suggest we rally for single-payer, then think of ways we can make that happen.

nihil obstet's picture
Submitted by nihil obstet on

And I would make the point that it's counterproductive and rude not to read an entire post with reasonable care before commenting, so I do assure you that I read your whole post to the end, and thought I was agreeing with the later examples you gave. I've received a lot of calls to action by MoveOn, FDL for a public option, OFA, and so on, pushing me to do something to support some undefined objective, because that'll show how strong we in the netroots are. I admit to having a little trouble distinguishing your main example from those other calls, and that worried me. Sorry about any misunderstanding.

ntoddpax's picture
Submitted by ntoddpax on

I usually run into trouble when I use a tangible example and then extrapolate. You shoulda seen the shitstorm when people here thought I'd advocated for the PO!

I'd change my ways, but fuck it, I'm lazy...

ntoddpax's picture
Submitted by ntoddpax on

I just can't see that ntoddpax, DCBlogger, Lambert Strether, or nihil obstet is ever going to be heard over Lloyd Blankstein, Ben Bernanke, or the lobbyists with hundreds of millions of dollars to slather around.

It ain't just us on this blog. The point is to gather more people in a spectrum of tactical and strategic action. So I suggest starting with the millions of people online doing a little more.

Who is the most effective at delivering Democratic votes? It's the unions. How have they done?

They made threats and backed off once they got what they wanted as a bribe in the current bill. Hence, I note that phonebanking and canvassing our neighbors and other fellow citizens would be a way to mobilize.

I'm with you on working for policies, particularly Medicare for All, but not on being an armchair strategist for proving how powerful we can be.

How are we going to work for a policy if we don't exercise collective power?

letsgetitdone's picture
Submitted by letsgetitdone on

I urged her defeat, and I think it was progressive disaffection, after her commitment to vote for the Senate HCR horror, as well as her last minute fund-raising visit to health industry lobbyists that accounts for that defeat. However:

"I suggest we pledge our support to incumbents and challengers who will stand for HR676, and persistently tell the President and Congress that we will settle for nothing less. We should also phonebank and canvass to get our fellow citizens on board with real reform and mobilize them to apply more pressure for single-payer. And, of course, I'd love to see some direct action but let's cross these bridges first."

I agree with this proposal. We need pressure now for HR 676 and Medicare for All, and if there must be compromise it had better be a settlement that at least:

1) expands Medicare to those over 45, and under 18;
2) expands Medicaid to those up to 200% of the poverty level;
3) Closes the Medicare donut hole
4) Pays for it with income taxes on those making over $250,000 per year and by repealing the Medicare Advantage program

These changes must effective within one year from the date of the legislation.

Then they need a series of individual bills either passed separately or passed as amendments to bills Republicans won’t dare to vote to vote against, like defense appropriations bills. The provisions that need to be passed include:

5) removal of the anti-trust exemption
6) prohibition of denials due to preconditions
7) prohibition of rescissions
8) prohibition of discriminatory pricing against those who have preconditions or who have experienced illness while previously covered by insurance
9) limitation of premium increases to the general rate of inflation
9) A robust enforcement mechanism making it a felony to violate any of these prohibitions for individuals acting on behalf of the companies, and for the corporations themselves also, with the penalty for any corporation involved being corporate dissolution.

All the above have to be effective upon passage of the legislation. No adjustment period so that the insurance companies can jack up prices before the legislation takes effect.

The above measures involve no PO and exchange, no neo-liberal BS about the wonders of a free market that has never worked in insurance, and no reforms that are coming into play years from now so that people don’t immediately see the benefits. That sort of thing is very bad politics for Democrats since the tolerance of Americans for BS from the Congress is particularly low right now.

But what is good politics is passing the above just as I’ve stated it. It will begin to change the impression that Democrats have sold out to the corporations, and unless they change that impression, they are goners in the Fall.

ntoddpax's picture
Submitted by ntoddpax on

what is good politics is passing the above just as I’ve stated it. It will begin to change the impression that Democrats have sold out to the corporations, and unless they change that impression, they are goners in the Fall.

Yup. And from where I sit, they're goners anyway: I might try to do some work for Rep Peter Welch, who's mostly on the right side and with whom I've built a good working relationship, but our family's activism focus is now on state campaigns and issues, alternative parties, and fuck the national Dems. Not enough time and money for us to keep trooping down to DC when we have a better shot at single-payer here. All y'all are welcome to move to VT and partake in our healthcare and gay marriages. Just don't eat up all the syrup.

Submitted by jawbone on

prefer area with real winter and lots of snow, so Vermont sounds mighty fine.

I'm already at the lowest cost actual health insurance here in NJ -- will probably have to drop it soon as the $1100/month is tough to come up with. (Yes, that is for individual; famiies much higher.)

My property taxes have gone crazy here in NJ and will be going up as the new Repub governor just took back funding for school systems. For the rest of the year, any school system with a rainy day fund will have that amount held back from state aid. So, if the furnace goes, tough titty, kiddies. Either close the school and drain the plumbing, or have electric heaters to offer some warmth in the class rooms, restrooms, etc.

He's also making cuts to NJ Transit. He is telling both schools and NJT to take it to the greedy unions and force them to take pay and benefit cuts.

And, Obama? What does he do about the looming cuts in state budgets? Oh, right. Pittances.

madamab's picture
Submitted by madamab on

for example, a great, WPA-type jobs bill with no tax cuts to anyone, would also help dispel the image Dems now have as hypocritical corporate sellouts.

In your otherwise excellent list, I have to ask why you left out "no abortion restrictions" and lowered the age for Medicare to 45, the age at which women by and large stop having abortions.

It won't be "good politics" if abortion restrictions are still part of the bill. It will make women go Lysistrata, and stop voting for Democrats entirely. And personally, I will never support any "compromise" that throws women's health care under the bus.

Fredster's picture
Submitted by Fredster on

We learned at Obama Camp (training to be Deputy Field Organizers aka Glorified Volunteers With A Fancy Title) that on average a dozen doors knocked translate into one (1) vote for your candidate.

So you worked to elect teh One? If so, pardon me for being a bit snarky but to paraphrase someone, how's that workin' out for ya?

ntoddpax's picture
Submitted by ntoddpax on

So you worked to elect teh One? If so, pardon me for being a bit snarky but to paraphrase someone, how's that workin' out for ya?

I was a Kucinich supporter who worked my ass off for the Democratic nominee because I didn't want McCain/Palin. Taught me a lot, and gave us what I still think was a better chance to effect change long-term.

He was never my Savior, and I knew there would be plenty of setbacks and lots of work to do after he won. I went to DC to protest at his Inauguration, was back in March and May, and continue to try pressuring him and Congress, as well as educating people about their power to effect change.

There are no guarantees in life, and Obama and his party squandered a lot of momentum and opportunities. As did we progressives.

So how's your work during 2008 and snark workin' out for ya? Gotten us single-payer yet?

madamab's picture
Submitted by madamab on

If many of us hadn't been consistently and sometimes snarkily calling out Obama from the left for the past two-three years, a lot of "you progressives" would still be as clueless as Booman. At least we have helped contribute to a progressive awakening, and some people in the blogosphere have been able to bring themselves to acknowledge that.

ntoddpax's picture
Submitted by ntoddpax on

It's much better to snark at somebody who did a lot of work in 2008 and is trying to find solutions than to, you know, talk about solutions. If only there had been more snark on blogs back in March, we'd have HR676, proving once again they're the big game changers! Bravo.

madamab's picture
Submitted by madamab on

rather than going into a defensive sarcastic crouch?!

I never said that snark would get us HR 676. Nor did Fredster. I know him, and I think he was probably just astonished that someone as left as you obviously are would go for Obama. Clearly, voting for him didn't get us HR 676 either.

I do think that snark often has a role to play in revealing the truth about a situation. Just look at how effective Joe Biden's snark was at destroying Rudy NineEleven's candidacy. But obviously, it is not an action tool.

Some of us protest-voted in 2008, some of us went for Obama. A lot of us were lefties who were trying to make a difference the best way we could. Big fucking deal. I do think it's time for us all to try to get along if we can.

That's why I'm here at Corrente, and why I don't go to a lot of other places which still insist I'm a Nazi racist Republican for protest-voting in 2008.

ntoddpax's picture
Submitted by ntoddpax on

I think he was probably just astonished that someone as left as you obviously are would go for Obama. Clearly, voting for him didn't get us HR 676 either.

I sure as hell wasn't going to work for McKinney. The Greens don't impress me at the national level, so I worked for what I decided was our best shot, the Democratic nominee (my work for DK didn't pan out, sadly). I don't think Hillary or even Dennis would've been any more effective, quite frankly, yet all would be better than McCain.

I wonder what it would look like if Fredster asked me a question without the snark.

I suggest shit based on my experience, get snarkily responded to, now I'm supposed to somehow acknowledge the power of snark? Sorry, that dog won't hunt.

Snark has done fuckall for us. It's an impotent thing confined to blogs and great, you converted a blogger with it by calling out Obama! Color me unimpressed.

Respond to what *I* wrote at the outset instead of defending snark. Translate that into real action and maybe we'll get what we want.

I'm done with the meta distraction.

madamab's picture
Submitted by madamab on

(Joe Biden) which you failed to acknowledge. And I do think you are far too defensive as a general rule. (I've had a lot worse than that thrown at me, and by former "friends," too.) As lambert says, "Your argument is not you."

But, I do agree we shouldn't snark at each other if possible. Point taken.

I personally have tried to form a local organization with like-minded online "friends" in New York and San Francisco, only to find that they were not like-minded. People whom you meet online are often not who they say they are. So, the blogosphere is sometimes not the greatest catalyst for real action either.

I have always hoped that lefties could form a voting bloc, similar to Moveon.org, that presses the Democrats from the left. I also really like the idea of the Full Court Press, which seems to be more of your focus (pick a policy point and support those who support it).

Whatever we do, I think the action part has to be in person. I'm not convinced that writing or calling really does anything at this point. Plus, when you meet people for reelz, you can get a much better sense of whether they are on your side, or working for the opposition.

ntoddpax's picture
Submitted by ntoddpax on

Biden is not a blogger. He's a goddamned elected official, so of course his snark is going to have an impact--anything he says will. Snarking on a blog is noise. Fun noise at times, as I snark myself, but that's the extent of it.

And if somebody snarks at me, I'm gonna fucking spit back. Ooh, shocking. If one wants to express surprise at my support of Obama in the General election, there are ways they can do that to foster discussion and understanding, or they can be snarky dicks. I thought it was pretty fucking dickish of Fredster, and your immediate leap to defend snark as some great important thing when I took issue with his wasn't entirely nice or helpful either.

My point stands: snark hasn't changed a fucking thing that matters. And in this particular context, it sure as hell sounded like belittling somebody for their support of a candidate whilst then ignoring the actual points I made. I'd submit in this case, snark was actually not just useless, but detrimental to discussion and accomplishing anything.

madamab's picture
Submitted by madamab on

Thank goodness you're not defensive!!!!!!111!!!!!

Mother of God. What about "point taken" did you not understand?

I tried to move the discussion forward and out of the meta stuff by saying I agreed with you. Your response was a veritable avalanche of nastiness.

Guess what? You are not the only person in the universe who has ever done anything to try to improve life in the U.S. It would be refreshing if you got a grasp on that concept instead of throwing all kinds of condescending crap at people.

As you would say, "I'm done." (I need a cape to swirl overdramatically when I say that.)

ntoddpax's picture
Submitted by ntoddpax on

You are not the only person in the universe who has ever done anything to try to improve life in the U.S.<

No fucking shit. I'm wondering where I made that assertion. But thank god you're not being defensive.

It would be refreshing if you got a grasp on that concept instead of throwing all kinds of condescending crap at people.

I would love to have you help me grasp what kinds of condescending crap I've thrown at people. Seriously.

This is the blog that requires people to back up their claims, right?

Submitted by lambert on

He's got you there, madamab; see rule 4.

I suggest, painful though it may be, that you withdraw "condescending crap," not because it's uncivil, but because it's not easily verifiable, and have at it with the real issues being raised on the thread; Valhalla and [lambert blushes modestly] I are doing that. Anger is an appropriate response to injustice, but it had better not be the last one....

madamab's picture
Submitted by madamab on

Okay, having swirled off dramatically, I'm back simply because Lambert asked me to retract my comment. Then, I will dramatically swirl off again.

Snark has done fuckall for us. It's an impotent thing confined to blogs and great, you converted a blogger with it by calling out Obama! Color me unimpressed. (emphasis mine)

Is it me, or was that condescending?

Also, I did address the "real issues" by talking about my experiences as a grassroots organizer and mentioning that I think in-person is better than e-activism. So saying that I was not addressing the issues being discussed is, I think, incorrect.

If you really think that comment needs to be retracted, please go ahead and delete it. It's your blog and your call.

Later.

Submitted by lambert on

Though I thought I'd resolved not to read comments that start out with "Sigh," since they never end well!

Submitted by gmanedit on

"I don't think Hillary or even Dennis would've been any more effective, quite frankly, yet all would be better than McCain."

Of course Hillary would have been more effective than Obama. She demonstrated her ability to work across the aisle in Congress, understands the levers of power, and would not have given the VRWC faction the opportunity to recover power that Obama so graciously extended. She would not have dragged the Democrats into disgrace and failure in only a year. She would not have given trillions to banksters without extracting concessions. She would not have stood aside on issue after issue and refused to lead. Etc.

I don't understand "or even Dennis." How could he possibly have been effective at all? Has he any experience wrangling Republicans? Good intentions are necessary, not sufficient.

I voted for McCain because I saw Obama as a Republican Trojan horse who was destroying the Democratic Party, and I wanted the Republicans to take the blame for the preceding eight years, and I thought the Democrats might stand up to him whereas they surely would not stand up to Obama, and the Republicans thought him too liberal anyway.

ntoddpax's picture
Submitted by ntoddpax on

Hillary is DLC and I don't see her as having learned Thing One from the Hillarycare disaster. She's also a militarist as much as any "centrist" Dem, so not somebody I would've been thrilled to support in the Fall, but I would still have done so. If she wouldn't have hired Rahm, it would've been some other team that likely would still have fumbled the ball.

I said "even Dennis" because he was my chosen candidate. I recognized that his weaknesses were not policy-oriented, but parliamentary. He supported everything I wanted, but would probably have ended up with about the same level of success as the other Dems.

Anyway, the speculation is all fun, as is the "I was right in how I voted" or "I knew Obama was XYZ." And does little to help us in the end if there's no action as follow up.

Fundamentally the problem is the Democratic Party overall, and the vacuum they fill that we've created through inertia and inaction. FCP promises some good long-term things, but in the meantime we've got a lot of work to do with the remainder of this session.

There's an opportunity for us to mobilize in the lead up to Obama's summit. The die is probably cast, but shall we just assume so and go down without a fight, choosing instead to debate who was the better choice in 2008?

basement angel's picture
Submitted by basement angel on

She's got a voting record one helluva lot closer to Boxer than Feinstein. Obama is less likely to vote with Boxer than Clinton is. I don't know why it's so painful for the left to admit that Hillary is an honest-to-god liberal with a voting record and a personal history to prove it. I'm not sure Kucinich is more liberal than she is. I know that what Hillary does makes life better for ordinary people and tougher for corporations and if you don't know that, you've drunk the koolaid.

I like Dennis but he's not great on women's issues. Hillary is. And she is way, way, way to the left of Obama on issues relating to corporations.

It would be nice if the left would start acknowledging it.

basement angel's picture
Submitted by basement angel on

http://www.theleftcoaster.com/archives/0...

Using publicly published data from Congressional Quarterly, we averaged a couple of different types of scores that they published, looking at all votes going back to January 1, 1991. After going through a number of steps and gyrations, we came up with a list of six hard-core progressive United States Senators (6% of that body) and 39 hard-core progressive United States Representatives (about 9% of that body). The algorithm that we've used to come up with these progressive scores is as follows: We take ANY VOTE in which a majority of the progressives we've identified--so in the House say, if there were no absences, it would be 20 of the 39--voted in opposition to a majority of the Republican caucus and have that vote qualify for the database. The same process is used in the Senate. So, non-ideological votes such as National Groundhog Day: 429-0 with 6 absences, do not qualify for the database. ANY vote in which a majority of progressives in the progressive cohort listed just below here votes against a majority of Republicans qualifies for the database. The percentage of votes which qualify using this algorithm remains remarkably constant from one Congress to another, about half of all votes cast.

In other words, Progressive Punch eliminated strongly bipartisan votes entirely to look specifically at cases where Democrats in the House or Senate voted against the position of a majority of the most progressive members of their party, i.e., this is very much an attempt to look at whether a Democratic member of Congress abandoned the most progressive elements in their party. Based on their historical review of voting records, here is the list of Senators they used to define their benchmark for progressive voting:

Boxer, Barbara-CA
Durbin, Richard-IL
Lautenberg, Frank R.-NJ
Kennedy, Edward M-MA
Reed, Jack-RI
Sanders, Bernard-VT

In other words, if a Senator had a progressive score of 100%, that means the Senator voted with the majority of the 6 Senators listed above in every vote where the latter voted against a majority of Republicans in the Senate. But, if the majority of the 6 Senators above did not vote against the Republican majority, then Progressive Punch, lacking an objective definition of "progressive" in that scenario, defaults to assuming that the vote should not be considered in the assessment of the progressive nature of another Senator.

Ultimately, Clinton had an overall record of voting with the above senators 92% of the time and Obama 90% of the time. For comparison's sake, Lieberman voted with them 77% of the time. Clinton has a much longer history of taking action and stands on various issues important to the middle class. Obama is completely lacking on that front.

Submitted by lambert on

If you look at the (unrivalled, though I say it), single payer coverage we've done, I don't see a lot of snark, if any. It would not have been an appropriate tactic, since the subject matter ought to be policy driven.

Now, the decision was taken by the Democratic Party and the party line access bloggers at some point in summer or spring 2008 to suppress single payer as a policy option and to exclude its advocates from front page coverage, but I can't imagine that decision was at all influenced by a few blogs that everybody hates and nobody reads, but rather by dynamics internal to Versailles. Of course, for their censorship and intellectual dishonesty on health care policy, the access bloggers richly deserve every bit of snark one could hurl at them, but the snark comes after the policy and process betrayals, and did not precede them.

* * *

As far as snark in general .... Well, I'd argue -- without really being able to prove it -- that "the blogs" circa 2003-2006 slowly but steadily came to control a substantial portion of the discourse, and this made it harder for Bush to govern, and it facilitated Democratic victories in 2006. (That this turned out to be worthless doesn't invalidate the tactic.) And snark was definitely one tactic, and one that worked. (That it is seen to work in Versailles, and seen to work by the access bloggers, can be shown by their attacks on Palin). Snark is a crucible for developing talking points, I would say.

So, I'd say snark will help do for the Obama administration what was done for the Bush administration, and rightly so: Make it harder for them to govern. And I'd say the time frame, three years, would be about the same. Changing the discourse is hard work. It's only one tactic, and needs to be combined with others, though.

ntoddpax's picture
Submitted by ntoddpax on

Snark is a crucible for developing talking points, I would say.

That's fair enough. Snark directed at the opponent is fine--ostensibly guerilla theater is snark--uncovers truths, etc. However, I don't think that was the methodology in play here...

Submitted by lambert on

... it became clear to me, during the 2008 primaries, that neither the Democratic Party nor its nominee supported my values or interests, the latter, from the policies proposed; the former, because of the tactics used.

Now, whether that "worked out well" for me, or the Dems, is an open question, at this point.

A lot of us here traveled a similarly painful road; I think it's only natural that reference be made to politically formative experiences.

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