Posted by: Rick | Monday, July 26, 2010

Netroots Blues

If a journalist from another planet were to observe the goings-on in America today, he would surely be astounded. 

On paper, the Republican Party looks like something out of a Marx Brothers movie.  Its most influential figure is an ignoramus and a quitter.  Its likely 2012 presidential nominee is a spineless corporate errand boy whose every word drips with blow-dried phoniness.  Its “base” consists largely of extremist xenophobes who hate “big government” (only in theory, of course — keep your hands off their Medicare!) and who equate taxation with tyranny.  And its recent record while holding the reins of power may be summed up as follows: 1) Let’s pick a fight with Iraq. What’s the worst that could happen? 2) The rich shall get richer. 3) “Deficits don’t matter” (Richard B. Cheney, 2002).

An intelligent extraterrestrial would doubtless be amazed that such a collection of fools and scoundrels hadn’t gone the way of the dodo bird.  Yet here we are in 2010, and Republicans are poised to give Democrats (who actually have a decent record to run on) a good ass-whupping in the next election.

And people wonder why progressives aren’t happy with Barack Obama and Company! 

Republicans may not give a shit about governing, but they sure as hell know that they’re engaged in a permanent political war.  And it’s not as if their strategy is complicated.  You could write it down on a cocktail napkin: 

No one in this world has ever lost money by underestimating the intelligence of the great masses of the plain people.  Nor has anyone ever lost public office thereby.

I quote H. L. Mencken here not to denigrate independent voters (although many of them really should try to step up their game a little) but to point out that there’s no excuse for Obama’s Democratic Party to not to be on offense all the time.  Democrats should know by now exactly what the enemy is going to say.  Republican politicians have been spouting the same discredited nonsense every day for thirty years, only now they’re spouting it louder and nastier.  Holding hands with Olympia Snowe (who’s not on our side) isn’t going to make them shut up and cooperate.  It’s only going to make Democrats look weak when the Faire Olympia goes back to Mitch McConnell’s lap.

It’s nice for Democrats to have a few legislative achievements to talk about, but those represent battles.  The political war — the long-term struggle for the hearts and minds of voters — goes on daily.  Indeed, it goes on hourly.  What strides have we made on that front in the past two years?  None that I can see.

Barack Obama’s idiotic strategy of partnership with Republicans blew up in his face a long time ago.  Have White House operatives learned anything?  Apparently not, judging from the way they behaved in the Shirley Sherrod debacle.  Cowering before Glenn Beck and the liars at Fox News is never a good idea.

Democrats need to find a way to walk, chew gum and kick ass all at the same time.  It’s way, way, way past time to start taking control of the political battlefield.  24-7, 365.



  1. When will progressives learn that the change you hope for is not what the majority of Americans want?

    Obama won the election because we wanted a change from the war-mongering of Bush and instead get the war-mongering and over spending of Obama. So now we have to look for politicians that will run in the Republican party to off set Obama’s power and stop the theft of American freedom.

    Americans are taking back America, get used to it.

  2. “No one in this world has ever lost money by underestimating the intelligence of the great masses of the plain people.”

    What’s to be underestimated? The “great masses” in this country, like in other countries, are idiots. Only a fraction of the general public engage in any sort of dialogue around the issues, and only a fraction more actually do something to take ownership of their lives and situations. The rest go after mortgages they couldn’t have possibly afforded, handouts they think they are automatically entitled to, and insurmountable debt in order to satisfy every creature comfort they desire. When it all goes south, they then turn around to find someone to blame and then cry to the government to “fix” it, when it’s their own ignorance and lack of intelligence that has been at the source of almost every problem this country has faced.

    I think the general public wants to be led by a government which gives them the least amount of personal responsibility, and I think that’s what they were truly hoping for when they elected Obama.

    I think Hillary would have had way more cahones than Obama, and combined with her experience she would have had the ability to manage the Pelosi’s and Reid’s in her party properly.

    Why is it so hard for this country to put the BEST candidate from each side in the ring, have them duke it out, and let the best person win?

  3. “Why is it so hard for this country to put the BEST candidate from each side in the ring, have them duke it out, and let the best person win?”

    Unfortunately I do not think it is up to the people to decide who get to pick from.

    The other thing is that the best people to lead this country do not want to lower themselves to the level of being a politician. There is no honor in Washington DC and honorable people avoid that place at all cost.

    I agree with your assessment that a majority of Americans want to be left alone to pursue their “wants” and let the government cover their “needs” if things go wrong. Unfortunately the current administration encourages this mind set and does nothing to encourage people and companies to take responsibility for their own futures.

    I am optimistic that we are seeing a change in this from a grass roots movement. I am not talking Tea Party either, all though some are using the tea party to get noticed. I am seeing common Americans reading history and congressional bills in their free time and educating themselves to what is going on. I think starting in November we will see a new breed of politician being elected, not enough to make a huge change, but enough to put the old boys network that the people want a change. We want public servants in office, not leeches.

    • Call me a cynic, but my fear is that this renewed interest at the grass roots will be short-lived. I don’t think our attention spans are that long to really see all this through!

      I think it’s true what you say about politics no longer attracting the best. There seemed to be a much higher and stronger degree of patriotism that compelled the forefathers to serve in office. We heard great speeches and attacks against the cabals, cartels, and things like the military-industrial complex where they were struggling to put America ABOVE these institutions, and now all we see is legislation enacted which continues to make America subservient to them.

      The Democrats may flame Wall Street and the banking industry, yet look at who sits in the Administration’s key positions. All they do is pay lip service for the only purpose of soundbytes and headlines. The Republicans are no better that way.


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