Why The Progressive Blog Movement Succeeded

I couldn’t disagree more with this whine about the alleged failure of progressive “netroots.” Here it is in a nutshell:

So progressives have no power, because they have no principles: they cannot be expected to actually vote for the most progressive candidate, to successfully primary candidates, to care about policy first and identity second, to not take scraps from the table and sell out other progressive’s interests.

The Tea Party, say what you will about them, gets a great deal of obeisance from Republicans for one simple reason: they will primary you if they don’t like how you’ve been voting, and they’ll probably win that primary.  They are feared.  Progressives are not feared, because they do not believe enough in their ostensible principles to act on them in an effective fashion.

That is why the progressive revolution of the early 2000s failed.  If you want the next left wing push to succeed, whatever it is called, learn the lessons of the last failure.

In other words, this writer is envious of the Tea Party which has stunningly low approval and has, according to most people, denied the GOP recapture of the Senate at least once through these very primaries.

I remember this story very differently. I remember the “netroots” being dedicated at the beginning to “the Democratic wing of the Democratic party” and being very conscious of the power of the gavels in committee chairpersons’ hands. That succeeded fantastically in 2006 when Democrats, led by Howard Dean who coined the “Democratic wing” party’s “50-state strategy,” regained control of both houses of Congress.

To Welsh, that doesn’t matter because neither Clark nor Dean (neither of whom were left-liberals) didn’t get the 2004 nomination and Joe Liebermann didn’t get ousted in 2006. And then he goes on some rant about paid Internet trolls taking over the Internet in 2008 for Obama. Huh? The failure to take a few scalps is irrelevant to, you know, actually doing good for people.

Where were the “progressives” supposed to go in 2008? They hated Hillary and not because she had an individual mandate in her health proposal and Obama didn’t. Some were for Edwards, but he didn’t last and thank god. No, this is a revisionist history of the worst kind.

The “progressive” movement fell head over heels for Obama because they simply didn’t believe what the man himself said. They convinced themselves if he was elected, he would make the United States into Sweden overnight. When he started actually doing what he said he was going to do, they felt betrayed. In fact, it started almost instantly upon his election. The “progressive” movement shat themselves when Rahm Emanuel got named his chief of staff. It just went from there. They cared more about Rahm than SCHIP.

And this continues today with the double-Hofstaedteresque paranoid style of the firebaggers who are convinced that if the Republicans are doing something and Democrats aren’t, it means Democrats are being weak. This is odd for a party that has won 3 out of the last 4 elections and retained the Senate in the election they lost. It was different in 2002 when it seemed as if Gephardt and Daschle were leading the party down the drain and wouldn’t stand up to Bush.

In fact, it seems to me that the progressive blog movement is owed some thanks for all of these victories. But apparently, the failure to enact Sweden makes it a failure for some. We are not going to turn America into Sweden, ever. Just like the Tea Party knows it has to rely on procedural tricks and not popular support to try and turn America into Galtland.

Being more concerned with the scalps of Joe Liebermann and Rahm Emanuel than in tangible policy victories is puerile, futile, stupid, and useless politics.

Why They Hate Krugman

It’s all in this post. Basically, he outs most economists and “serious” economic policy people as apologists and agents for wealth. Most of our high priests of the economy are only minimally concerned with growth and maximally concerned with wealth.

You can say this is a corruption of capitalism or whatever, but until it stops taking a depression to compensate for the differences, I fail to see how it’s a corruption and not just an inevitable outcome of a wealth-concentrating system.

Inflation makes people with tons of money and no debt a little bit less rich all the time, but it makes most of us—probably even close to the proverbial 99%—richer by putting upward pressure on wages, where we actually get our money, and reducing the real value of our debts, which most of us have.

It should go without saying that this isn’t a call for “hyperinflation” where we are using the money we earn before lunch to go buy toilet paper that ends up being worth more than the money we bought it with by dinner time according to the Weimar Republic myths. That would be a disaster too. But the whole point is that you have to tune this and not bias it one way or the other so far that you wreck things.

But doing so is the point of most Republican/Libertarian economics. But yet the fawning enabling media takes them seriously.



Fine, Angela. Make Obama apologize for Bush spying on you. Maybe that shoulder grab incident was because he knew you liked that from staying up late nights with his iPod listening to your dirty cell phone calls. Eww. Cannot unimagine.

But, ok. Here’s the deal. “New Rule,” if you will: if you don’t want the United States to spy on you, then never ever ask us for any intelligence we get off of someone else. No dirt on Putin. No dirt on Egypt. Nada. Nichts. Rien.

It’s one thing for citizens to feel a bit weirded out that they are the subject of electronic intercepts. It’s another for Merkel and heads of state. Was she just talking on a regular cell phone?

Update: Heh, indeedy, Josh.

Greedy 2014

I’m all for pushing to regain the House, and the polling seems to suggest that may happen, but it’s easy to forget that that won’t solve all the problems if we lose the senate. That chamber still is the one that votes on nominations which makes it just a bit more significant. There are some tough races there too.

Pryor in Arkansas is toast. 54.
Landrieu in Louisiana is probably toast. 53.
Montana is going to be a tough hold. 52.
Kay Hagan in North Carolina is going to be a tough hold. 51.
We’re not holding South Dakota. 50.
We’re not holding West Virginia. 49.

I wouldn’t be so sure of Alaska either, but ok. Let’s say we need 1 or 2 pickups.

Pickup opportunities? Kentucky is a possibility if McConnell gets primaried out. I don’t think Maine wants rid of Susan Collins since she has them believing she’s really not so radical, and I guess she’s not, but she’s an enabler. The rest of the map is very, very red. We’re talking Alabama, Georgia, Idaho, Kansas, Mississippi, Nebraska, Oklahoma, two in South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, and Wyoming. Georgia and Nebraska have retiring incumbents, but there isn’t even a candidate in Nebraska yet for the Ds.

Basically, the strategy has to be to hold Landrieu and Hagan and pray for some kind of tea party disaster candidate in one of these red states and maybe finding a way to hold Montana and without Schweitzer who is apparently going to try to be the anti-Hillary in 2016. But it’s going to be tough. It’s worked the last two times, I guess.

And of course even if it’s 50-50, that’s awfully tough because senators tend to be old.



I always thought that Cheney, not Bush, should have been impeached. Impeaching Bush would have put this even worse man in charge, to the extent that he already wasn’t. Having to play footsie with a Democratic Congress, Bush would have had to name a second Nelson Rockefeller to replace him or leave the office vacant.

With new revelations coming out this week, I’m even more convinced that was what should have happened.

Means Testing

Again, I don’t think pyrrhic victories really exist in politics. This deal is an unmitigated win for the President. But the one “concession” Reid granted on Obamacare is bad for two reasons (this isn’t to say they shouldn’t take it):

(1) It hits them where it should hit them, making implementation more difficult. Someone needs to think of a slick way to implement this or it’s going to suck. But this just underscores the point that they’re not interested in fixing the system, they just want to break it. If you can’t roll out a website, it gets tougher to argue this.

(2) Reid didn’t think there was time to get into an argument about this. It’s the same basic argument with Voter ID: people’s reaction tends to be “if you’re not lying, what’s the problem?” But, as Republicans are keenly aware when it comes to paying taxes or getting development permits, every form you have to fill out makes it that much more costly and tough. In fact, it probably will end up costing the system money in that more man-hours will be spent checking this verification than it would take to root out fraud. Of course, the trouble is, if you say this then people think it’s a green light to rip off the system, both the people who want to rip it off and its critics.

So, policy-wise this isn’t the best even though the broader policy of not letting a veto point be turned into a control point is good.

Politically, this appeared to drive a real wedge between the pro-business wing of the GOP and the tea-party arsonists. And then there are the poll numbers.

To the extent both of those things make it more likely that more progressive policies get implemented, it’s good.

I still don't believe in political pyrrhic victories, but…

It is the case that the teanuts will be able to say they fought the good fight and if they only had more people in Congress, they could have won this, so they can fundraise.

Of course the more money they raise the more people like Christine O’Donnell end up losing winnable elections for them and the grift continues. These are people who buy gold because of messages they hear on their talk radio telling them “inflation” is going to get them when there hasn’t been much inflation in 30 years.

They are going to send their money for freedom to these idjits and the cycle will continue.