Friday, November 09, 2007

Progressives are now STUPIDER than Republicans (with an added autobiographical note)

From TPM's report on the Mukasey vote:
According to sources inside and outside the Democratic leadership, Harry Reid allowed a vote on Mukasey because in exchange the Republican leadership agreed to allow a vote on the big Defense Appropriations Bill, which contains $459 billion in military spending but doesn't fund the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Response from a "progressive" reader:
Great: so the rationale is, the Democrats made a deal to let Mukasey in, so long as they were allowed to keep funding the Iraq War.
(Emphases added.) Whenever I read recent commentary from progressives, I'm reminded of the usenet commentary offered by Bush supporters circa 2003. (Remember? "All Librulz are TRAITORS who should be SHOT! In closing, John 3:19 in the Bible.")

ADDED NOTE: I shouldn't mention this. Might get me into trouble. But as I scanned further down the reader response section of that same TPM page, I noted some commentary from an old friend/enemy -- a guy I knew back in high school and college.

Time to confess: When I rant about how much I can't stand progressive purists, half the time I'm visualizing that guy's odd, curly-topped mug.

Back in the day, he was an (alleged) Marxist and an (attempted) founding member of the local Greens. He was forever chiding me for my attempts to make a living using my training and talent. Using talent to acquire dollars was, in his view, a rape of the Muse. I must admit that his Muse was never in danger of being deflowered.

When last I spoke with him, I cheerfully announced that -- after months of scrimping, and after years of dealing with L.A.'s bus system -- I had purchased a new car. (By "new," I mean used and barely operational.) He immediately launched into the familiar enviro-jerk lecture on how I was ruining Mother Earth and MUST get rid of the vehicle IMMEDIATELY; indeed, my acquistion only solidified his suspicions of my "reactionary tendencies." (His very words. I'll never forget them.) Never mind the 20-mile commute I faced each day: Only bicycles were permitted. Rome had spoken.

He, of course had no plans to sell the 8-cylinder monster his Mommy had bought him. He fancied himself a leader in Da Movement; rules meant for others did not apply to him.

We never spoke again.

Years later, I found that he had started a short-lived blog supporting Bush and the Iraq war. He was now a self-proclaimed neocon. Mickey Kaus (swoon!) had even linked to his site!

At present, he seems to think that the "surge" has improved matters, and he accuses Harry Reid of selling out to the far left. Yeah. Right. The far left just loves the guy...

And there you have it. Today's "progressive" is tomorrow's Perle.

Mark my words: The current supporters of Cynthia McKinney and Cindy Sheehan will one day follow the Curly Kid down that very same path.

Well, I'll leave such indulgent games to rich kids who grew up (as we say here in the Valley) "South of the Boulevard." I grew up poor. The programs put in place by FDR saved my suddenly-widowed mother from utter destitution. I am not a progressive, not a far-leftist and certainly not a Marxist: I am an old school liberal, and my loyalties will always go to the Democratic Party.


Bilby said...

Heh. I noticed that in the comment thread, too. But what has me wondering is how they think they'll be able to fend off attacks from Republicans claiming they don't want money for the troops by passing a military spending bill that specifically leaves out funding for the war in Iraq and Afghanistan, where the troops are. It doesn't makes sense.

One key reason Dem leaders wanted this defense approps bill passed, sources tell me, is that they wanted to be able to argue that they had sent a bill to the President funding the military, if not the war itself. The idea was that doing this would allow them to protect themselves in the days ahead when the battle over Iraq funding heats up and Republicans inevitably charge that Dems are refusing to fund the troops.

"This lets us argue, `Hey, we just sent $450 billion to the military," one leadership source tells me.

See what I mean?

Anonymous said...

could it be that simply the elected Dems in Congress and the Senate are just plain scared, i.e. intimidated, (afraid?), to stand up to Bush's neocon agenda should some "trigger" event happen in the next 6 to 12 months in which we become engaged in a war with Iran?

Some people do see the complete wipeout of Sen Wellstone and practically his entire family and campaign manager as an unstated threat: If you fall out of line, this is what will happen to you and your family.

Rove's strategy is brillant: if the Dems are divided then are weak and won't be able to martial the effort needed to work together to support a single candidate for president. so he's seeding the blogs with these damn progressive purists, nader sympathizers and other types and getting us to do a point the finger at each other instead of uniting and all of us pointing the finger at Rove and the bad guys who in office and ruining this country ("worst president ever" sound familiar?)

they've declared a covert psych war against the left, the dems, anyone who might even think of voting for anyone except for Romney or Guiliani next year. They are the ones who are tearing this country apart and getting rich, actually wealthy pocketing from all the off the books money being paid to them.

United we stand, divide we fall.

Anonymous said...

This bill?
HR 1585

Section 1615, page 672 (of 794)




(a) DETERMINATION OF REQUIREMENTS---- The Secretary of Defense shall determine the military-unique capabilities needed to be provided by the Department of Defense to support civil authorities in an incident of national significance or a catastrophic incident.


(1) PLAN----The Secretary of Defense shall develop and implement a plan, in coordination with the Secretaries of the military departments and the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, for providing the funds and resources necessary to develop and maintain the following:

(A) The military-unique capabilities determined under subsection (a).

(B) Any additional capabilities determined by the Secretary to be necessary to support the use of the active components and the reserve components of the armed forces for homeland defense missions, domestic emergency responses, and providing military support to civil authorities.

(2) TERM OF PLAN---- The plan required under paragraph (1) shall cover at least five years.

Anonymous said...

Joseph -

I do understand your problems with the politically-correcter-than-thou.

But on the other hand, I was raised -- as a good Roosevelt Democrat, mind you -- to see the Democratic Party as something rather like a mule, that had to be walloped with a two-by-four at regular intervals just to get its attention, and then walloped a bit more to get it moving in the right direction.

I don't see a lot of walloping-room in your approach, which seems to assume that the Democrats in Congress really do know what they're doing and can be trusted to follow the true path -- as opposed to having lost their way in the wilderness and needing a fair amount of divine guidance, and a healthy supply to two-by-fours, to lead them out to the promised land.

The tricky part, I think, is to find some Democrats who when prodded from the left will respond by actually, you know, *moving to the left* -- as opposed to shitting all over the left in some vain attempt to appeal to the diehard right or the mushy middle.

The bottom line may be that there are things going on in this country that none of the old paradigms are adequate to deal with. And it may also be true that liberalism has never dealt very well with fascism -- because liberals play by the rules and fascists don't. But if that's the case, it's all the more important for us to stick by our potential allies, even if they get a bit fractious.

There is such a thing as liberal purism, too, after all. It was liberal purism that drove the communists out of the left -- an action that may have seemed necessary at the time (and my dad would certainly say so), but from which liberalism has never recovered.

We are, I think, in the situation of the classic Prisoner's Dilemma. In that game-theory problem, if just one prisoner rats on the other, that one wins big time and the other loses big time. If both rat, they both lose moderately. If neither rats, they both win moderately.

Although generally discussed from the perspective of the prisoners, that of the jailers may be more telling. The objective of the jailers is to get one or both of the prisoners doing serious time, because that's how they earn brownie points. They therefore want at least one of the prisoners to rat out the other. And their best strategy for attaining that is to make each of the prisoners think the other has ratted him out already -- or is poised to do so.

The prisoners, on the other hand, win by depriving the guards of a "kill" -- but the only way they can manage that that is if they both resist the temptation to sell out. And, since they're not allowed to communicate, the only way *that* becomes possible is on the basis of mutual trust.

Anonymous said...

Oddly, this is the Bible verse mentioned by the Bushie commentator ( is a gret reference):

And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil.

Now quickly, hands up everyone who was not thinking of Podhoretz or Cheney as you read that.


Joseph Cannon said...

Staroute, you're wrong.

"The tricky part, I think, is to find some Democrats who when prodded from the left will respond by actually, you know, *moving to the left* -- as opposed to shitting all over the left in some vain attempt to appeal to the diehard right or the mushy middle."

I'll say it AGAIN: We live in a conservative country. The middle is where it is at. I don't like that fact, but I recognize the reality that most of my fellow citizens are to my right. Moving to the left would be disastrous. The point is to attain power, without which, nothing is possible.

Look, after everything that Bush has done, Giuliani is still running even with the leading Dem. What does that fact tell you?

Nixon won, twice, AFTER the public had turned against Vietnam. What does that tell you?

I don't see why the well-walloped Dems in Congress should give anything to a progressive community which has given and will give nothing but hate.

Look, John Kerry wrote a piece denouncing torutre, and the progressive Dem-haters used his words as an excuse to spew lies and vitriol about John Kerry. Meanwhile, Reid mounts an effort to defund the Iraq war and the Dem-haters instantly accuse him of wanting to FUND the war.

The progressive community has become vile and indefensible. Progressives are the new conservatives.

Since the Democrats can never win over the Dem-hating left, the middle is the only place to go.

When Giuliani wins and congress goes red again, the progressives will be responsible. Of course, they will never admit it.

Joseph Cannon said...


""This lets us argue, `Hey, we just sent $450 billion to the military," one leadership source tells me.

"See what I mean?"

No, I do not.

The leadership sources, whoever he is (probably Reid himself) is -- literally -- right on the money.

GET OUT OF THE PROGRESSIVE GHETTO. Take a look at the country as it really is, not as you THINK it is. You'll find that the vast majority of people really are susceptible to the argument that Dems hate the military. If this congress votes against a Defense appropriations act, that viewpoint will carry the day.

Kerry -- and McCain -- voted against a Defense funding bill in the 1990s. They did so because it was laden with pork. Kerry's vote was used against him in 2004: Remember Zell Miller's big speech? Kerry was accused of voting against THIS weapons system, against THAT weapons system, as though he had given a thumbs down to these things individually.

If you think that people have changed since then, you're not reading the same polls I am.

Yes, it is important -- vitally important -- NOT to be seen as weakening the military while defunding the war. In a Senate in which the Democrats do not have a true majority, there can be no successful effort to turn off the money spigot unless it is clearly understood that the effort is directed solely against the Iraq misadventure.

Christ. Can't you SEE that?