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.