Cowboys of the Progressive Persuasion

It’s hard to keep my mouth shut.

But I have. For good reason.

Anything I say is going to be taken as a “Yes -(wo)Man” argument.

You see there’s this.

And also this.

There’s this.

And also this.

Which leads us, to this.

You don’t have to like it all. You don’t have to die on the sword. But NOTHING will get done if you continue your grandstanding.

Remember compromise? Remember how change takes hard work? Remember how we’re working with each other and everyone else?

Yes, I said everyone else.

I didn’t vote for President Obama so he would act like President Bush. I never expected him to take his SuperMajority (which should come with a cape) and shove things through – other side, rest of the country, be damned.

That’s not the man we elected. If you somehow missed that message perhaps you were too busy looking at your own agenda while the rest of us were paying attention.

But…I digress.

I heard ‘you’re either with us or against us’ once before. It sounded arrogant then and it sounds just as arrogant coming from the ‘cowboy’ left now.

You can’t change the game unless you’re playing it, and you…my brothers and sisters…are pushing us all to sit on the bench. There’s plenty of blame to go around, sure. We all, White House included, shoulder some. However let’s learn to point those fingers elsewhere.

I’m not asking you to shut up, I’m just asking you to be smart. Take your liberal, elitist, Prius driving, college educated, latte’ sipping mouth and use it to critique while standing strong with your party.

Unless, of course, you really think that 3rd party thing is viable. Then by all means…don’t let the door hit you in the ass.


  1. (standing ovation)
    Brava, Erin.
    .-= David´s last blog ..Massachusetts is red-faced =-.

  2. Sorry, I don’t buy it. Centrism doesn’t work. If we on the left don’t make noise there’s no opportunity to move the center away from that corporate-Dem/DLC paradigm. Which seems to be mostly concerned just with getting re-elected.

    Another thing – Obama didn’t campaign as the guy he’s acting like now. He took progressive stances and made progressive promises during the campaign that have been all but forgotten. I had a bad feeling when he picked Rahm as his COF, and that feeling has been confirmed.

    And you think you don’t need the base? Why do think Brown won in Massachusetts? The base stayed home!

    Oh my God, how dare we demand to be represented by our leaders?! You’d almost think we lived in the United States or something! Oh wait.

  3. Really JC? At what point does demanding the President implement your agenda mean throwing hissyfits so the Right swoops in? Is that really smart politics? Will your agenda EVER even get a compromised chance in hell with a Republican in office?

  4. With all due respect, JC is flat wrong. Centrism is what *does* work. Polarizing, demonizing rhetoric might feel good, but it’s worthless and counter productive (see Emanuel, Rahm). You govern from the middle, not the fringe, whether it’s whackjob right or cowboy left. And I’d like to correct you on what happened in Massachusetts last week. The base did NOT stay home. It was overwhelmed by the many fluid, uncertain independents we have who opted for the candidate that had something to say. Martha Coakley was an utterly incompetent campaigner, devoid of a coherent message. Scott Brown made his case, and the voters bought what he was selling. He won the right AND the middle.
    .-= David´s last blog ..Massachusetts is red-faced =-.

  5. First, applause for Erin. A standing ovation, even.

    David, in fairness…some of the base did stay home in Massachusetts…the young voters didn’t report. and of the independents who voted, 18% of them were Obama voters who lodged a protest vote against Coakley. I would argue they’re walking around without noses this week and feeling the spite on their faces, but that’s their right. There was a call for Obama voters to vote for Brown as a protest vote. Some heeded it.

    What the Republicans get and the Democrats don’t is this notion of party discipline. If progressives expect their agenda to be implemented, they need to count the votes and figure out if they’ve got them. In the Congress. If they don’t, they need to come up with a better plan. Here’s a bad ‘better plan’: Blaming the one dude who actually could listen and get it done if he has the votes in Congress.

    The votes were never there in the Senate for a robust, workable public option. I was told this back in August. I kept fighting up until the day Lieberman was forced to take the political hit as cover for the fact that there weren’t enough votes to support it. No one deserves it more than Lieberman, of course, who now understands that he ended his career on a whimper and a whine rather than a bang. He’s a lame duck now.

    One of the most destructive narratives to emerge over the past few years is this idea that Republican presidents, beginning with Reagan, strongarmed Congress into voting their way. No. They counted the votes, and got the job done. Democrats typically believe in playing fair, so they would actually have good-faith negotiations and try to score something for themselves.

    But one of the reasons that we have to keep revisiting CHIP, the Patriot Act, and other controversial measures (like the Bush tax cuts) is because they were pushed through via budget reconciliation acts. Those require renewal by Congress every 5 years or so. The idea here was to make health care reform stick. No one wants a public option that comes up for debate every 5 years. that’s self-defeating nonsense.
    .-= karoli´s last blog ..Stop. Breathe. Read. =-.

  6. How can David say that centrism works when Obama is now in the process of alienating people on the left AND people in the center? If you want to ignore your base, you better make sure you have the center, and right now it doesn’t look like Obama does. And do I understand correctly that you’re using Rahm Emmanuel as an example of how not to conduct business? I couldn’t agree more, but then that’s a big problem for Obama because Rahm is his Chief of Staff! They’re thicker than thieves. Rahm’s fingerprints have been all over this healthcare process.

    Erin, you’re basically saying that I should support Obama because he’s better than the alternative. I’m a lifelong Democrat, so saying that Obama is better than the alternative sounds like a no-brainer. But is he really? Guantanamo is still open. Wars in Iraq & Afghanistan are still underway. There’s been no change to our healthcare system. Don’t Ask Don’t Tell is still in place. I think we’re probably better off economically than we would’ve been under McCain because I think that without the stimulus things would’ve been worse, but the stimulus got watered down too. The proposed tax on employer-provided health plans that Obama now endorses was actually something that McCain supported during the campaign and which Obama was explicitly against! I know it’s “fightin’ words” for me to say that there isn’t much difference, but from a progressive standpoint there really isn’t.

    As far as Massachusetts, I agree that Coakley didn’t seem to be a good candidate, but I still think a big problem was that a large portion of the base either stayed home or cast a vote for Brown. From all reports young voters in particular stayed home in Massachusetts. Disenchanting young voters would seem to be a disastrous strategy for long term electoral success. I know, I know, young voters have never been a bloc to count on, but they were a key part of Obama’s success in 2008. Without them he’s got a tough row to hoe.

    I think it will be interesting to see where Obama goes from here, because after the Brown election he is starting to ramp up the populist rhetoric with respect to the banks. But I know for sure that I’m in Missouri mode now – “show me”. I know that Obama can say the right thing, but so far he hasn’t shown me that he can actually put those words into action. I’ve been taking him at his word until now, but I can’t anymore. As Shrubya said: “Fool me once, shame on me, fool me twice……………..won’t get fooled again!”

    Right now I’m struggling with what the answer is, because I agree that a third party has no chance. I hated that Nader voters most likely gave the 2000 election to Bush. I doubt I will ever vote for a Republican, and I realize that not voting could be pretty much the same thing. And Palin? Never, never, never, never, and never in a million years would I vote for her. But I can no longer just sit back and hope that Obama will do the right thing. How do people know that you are dissatisfied unless you speak up? Didn’t Obama even say something like the onus was now on us to hold his feet to the fire? I think in the long term the answer may be to start at the grassroots level like the Fundamentalists on the Right did and build from there, but that’s going to take a long time. I’ll admit it’s a real pickle. For those of us without lobbyists in DC, though, electoral pressure is the only avenue available to register our dissatisfaction.

  7. I am just discovering your blog and the great conversation. Unfortunately the third party thing isn’t yet viable. But a majority of Dems and Obama voters also don’t seem even capable of standing strong with the party, even in the worst of circumstances. We need a story to stand behind. Seriously, we need help.
    .-= Camille Bright-Smith´s last blog ..Disaster =-.

  8. I don’t disagree that some people are trying to take the party down, but I think it’s important to view Obama realistically. He’s more conservative than he wanted us to believe. I’m all for standing strong with the party, but I want to believe that the President is standing strong for us and I just don’t get that feeling. I don’t think the grandstanding thing is good, but we should also not be discouraged from being able to hold Obama accountable for what he said he was going to do. He’s listened to Wall Street apologists Geithner and Summers on the economy (until he recently added Volcker). He’s not been vocal at all on updating the Fair Pay Act (yes, we got Ledbetter, but that doesn’t give us equal pay — only the right to sue when we catch the discrimination). It really is time for him to think outside of the box on how to get the economy back in shape.

    I do agree that at some point we Democrats have to come together on whatever message we’re going to use — the Republicans are so good at it and we are not. But I also can’t sit by thinking that it’s not OK to criticize whoever is in office is we think it’s warranted. I don’t do blind loyalty.
    .-= PunditMom/Joanne Bamberger´s last blog ..Game Change — Sexism at its Worst =-.

  9. I’m a little late to the party on this one, but might I suggest that calling younger voters part of “the base” is a huge and probably incorrect assumption. Obama was inspiring and thanks to the the SOTU, continues to be. Coakley was not inspiring, she was a politically connected party hack who won the primary on connections and name recognition. Out-of-staters would love to pin the Brown win on some kind of “message” the voters were sending, but that’s purely political spin.

    Brown’s supporters were motivated, they used every possible avenue to insert his name into the conversation even when he wasn’t getting much formal press. Independents went with him – he was clean-cut and personable and he worked hard.

    Coakley actually said it was too cold to stand out and shake hands at Fenway Park. Outside of the debates, she never spoke to the voters, let alone listened to them.

    I’m a mostly moderate Democrat, so I’m with you on the compromise and the pragmatism. I understand the need to hold Obama accountable to his campaign promises, but left-handed attacks are not going to help him further that agenda. Not helping at all.

    Here’s a thought. Let’s go after the Republicans. Why aren’t THEY afraid of the voters? Why aren’t they afraid of denying health insurance to a pregnant mother? Why aren’t they outraged about people losing their homes? Why aren’t they worried about what voters will say about corporate money in elections? Why aren’t we disproving their claims about competition in healthcare and education? Why is selfishness still somehow a moral imperative?
    .-= Lisse´s last blog ..Laundry Weekend =-.

  10. Interesting. Neither Obama’s “base”, Independents, nor the right are well impressed or satisfied with how he is handling the Presidency. Perhaps for different reasons, but it is still interesting.

    He speaks well. Desperately dependent on a teleprompter and still making errors that would have been front page news if it was Bush making the error, but he’s a great speaker. My issue with that is:

    (1) He talks TOO much.

    News flash: I don’t want him TELLING me about my value system, telling me to shut up & get out of the way or thinking I don’t agree with him simply because he hasn’t explained it well enough to me. I get it. I’m not ignorant. I just don’t agree with him.

    (2) I don’t see real solutions. “Do as I say, not as I do” doesn’t fly with me. He doesn’t seem truly knowledgable about what he is doing. I mean no disrespect, but he appears more concerned about self-image and is VERY easily offended when others criticize him and strikes back either himself or via his admin. Very catty, very unprofessional, and very unbecoming of a U.S. President.

    I understand that the liberal side really believes in his health care agenda and other items on his / the liberal agenda. I respect that. I don’t agree with it, but I respect some believe in it. It is beyond amazing to me to hear the name calling and outright HATEFULNESS that comes from the left towards those that simply have a different viewpoint. I applaud your plea for more respect and tact (I hope I’m reading your message right in that.). It really takes air out of the liberal balloon when regular hardworking Americans are attacked and anyone from simple American to those in office that have a different viewpoint are torn apart on everything except the issues. Palin wrote a few words on her hand? Who cares? Really? Is that all you got? That’s my thoughts when I hear such nit-picking nonsense. It is ironic that for all the hatred of Palin, the left is VERY passionately obsessed with her & it all benefits Palin in the end. Obama, as Commander In Chief, does not know how to pronounce Corpsman. Great. Let’s move on.

    As much as I love you imploring your liberal comrades to be smarter with the criticism (unless I misunderstood completely), such advice needs to go all the way to the top to be effective. Liberal everyday Americans, tv/print media, new media, and elected officials all the way up to Speaker of The House, White House Admin, and the President himself.

    Oh, and about the blame game? I totally get that everything is Bush’s fault. Cool. (Slight sarcasm there). Get over it. He hasn’t been President in over a year and Mr. Current President? It is all yours now baby. Like it or lump it, quit with the blame game and move on.

    Here’s to more respectful dialogue and less name calling and degrading, all the way around.
    .-= Christy´s last blog ..Is Your Partner A Snorer? Plus Coupon From Sleep Number =-.

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