I’m almost 46 years old. I completely cop to the fact that I did *not* pay very close attention to politics until I was in my 30s. Still, I have known from a very young age that Democrats are known to be spineless & scattered. As I started paying attention and developing my own political identity and realized as I am, indeed, much more aligned with Democrats, I hoped that the reputation I’d absorbed somehow was wrong.
Some 15 years later however, I am not so sure.
Certainly the contrast when viewing the Democratic a party vs the Republicans is quite stark. And I don’t mean in policy! Tactically, the GOP has been remarkably disciplined whether in power or in the minority. Their caucus is rock solid in lockstep with whoever the leadership may be. Even if it means supporting a policy in one session (when it is their idea) and then blocking it the next when the same policy is presented by a President from the other party. Yes, they will even contradict themselves with unity! It’s quite impressive really. One decade the sky is green, the next decade it is yellow and stunningly they get the media and a large portion of the electorate to believe them either way. When they have the White House, even if their President is doing things they would not typically support – such as proposing deficit inducing tax cuts or a completely unfunded Medicare drug plan, or funding a war “off the budget” again blowing up the deficit – they follow along without a peep of protest. In the 8 years Bush was in the White House, there was NOT ONE WORD from Republicans in office about the debt or the deficit. NOT ONE WORD. Did you ever hear anyone one of them go on the Sunday morning programs and say anything remotely critical of Bush? Even as the GOP lost support and then lost the house and the senate, did anyone on the right ever call his Presidency a failure?
They stick together, their loyalty is blind and they almost NEVER criticize anything said or done by any of their leaders.
Some would call that dangerously blind devotion. But it worked. And it continues to work.
They speak with authority, even when they are being hypocritical. They bargain from a position of obstinacy, unity, and again, authority because they just *know* they are right.
By keeping their messages bumper sticker simple and managing to get their spokesmen on TV at a much higher percentage and more consistently than Democrats, the GOP message dominates the airwaves and political maneuvering day after day no matter how much in the minority they might be.
On the left, we do the exact OPPOSITE. We have real factions in both the House & the Senate. Caucuses the regularly vote against Democratic proposals supported by a Democratic President. Often not in ANY predictable way or for any obvious reason that other Democrats can understand. It’s the proverbial ‘herding cats’ mentality. Leadership is equally lacking in authority. There seems to be no one who can put their foot down and get the House members and senate to agree on any policy. Even for the two years when Democrats controlled all three houses, it was never enough to get across truly Progressive policies. *Everything* has been watered down. And with each failure of policy, progressives start whining. Criticizing. Complaining. Even though Obama has gotten a LOT done – something I’ve always seen on my own that was just reinforced when I read The Promise last month – he has been literally peppered all along the way with criticism from his own party. Only two years in and there are already cries for a primary opponent in 2012 and activists on the left labeling his Presidency a failure. Not flawed (which it is), but an all out FAILURE!
I’m sorry, but what the ever loving fuck?
Eight years of Bush screwing things up all over the place and not one GOP writer/activist/official called HIM a failure. Two years into Obama? Worst President Ever! Useless! Spineless! Getting nothing done! Closet Republican!
And if you are someone like me who still supports Obama? Who is willing to defend such ludicrous proclamations? Who might actually enjoy the weekly videos from the White House and the photographs that are released showing the Obama Presidency in action from day to day? Well, apparently I am Nazi-like. An apologist. An Obamabot. The insinuation being that *I* am the blind loyalist! Really?
Well how frakking stupid is that? What….all that rage against the Bush admin was not really just rage at the Bush admin was it? It’s just blind rage at *anything* that does not meet your needs 100%. Bush is gone so now they have focused their anger on Obama and anyone who supports him. The blogosphere that was my sanctuary through 2008 has now become a harsher environment for someone like me than to be surrounded by Republicans (as I am within my family and community).
Look, I get why there are many on the left frustrated at Obama. I understand and respect your right to feel that way and to push the President and hold him accountable (as he requested). But why attack those of us who don’t see things your way? What purpose does that serve?
And a primary opponent? Have you learned NOTHING from history? When the hell has THAT ever worked? Do you have any idea what that could mean to this party? You want to see failure? That would do it as my twitter friend highlighted so perfectly on his site.
Stop being so damn afraid and unwilling to see the President in a positive light. He’s flawed. NOBODY is perfect and there will be NO messiah leading you to the promised land of Progressive nirvana. But he HAS accomplished a lot. He HAS given us things we would never have even sniffed with a President McCain. You want a Progressive President? Then build the groundwork. Start, as the GOP did in the 80s, with local races. Groom Progressive candidates. Obama is getting out of Congress and the Senate exactly as much as he possibly can. Don’t attack him. He’s the best we can do right now. He’s the best we can do in 2012 and maintain the WH for the party. Attack the congresscritters and senators who are tying his hands behind his back. Attack the Republicans who are blocking EVERYTHING even when it is their own damn idea!! Attack the GOP as they posture about ‘listening to the American people’ and push the extension of tax cuts on the wealthy even when polling shows that voters overwhelmingly do not support that.
And for gawds sake do NOT attack each other! Just because I AM pragmatic & a realist about what the limitations are does not mean that I am not a True Democrat or Progressive. I am not Nazi like or a closet Republican. I am a proud Democrat and I will help you move the party from the bottom up, but I will NOT cut off our head to spite ourselves.