In Their Image

I disagree with thecrack dealer here, because I don’t think the helpful Democrats he talks about want to remake the party in their image.

I think their constant offering of helpful advice is more about avoiding actual hard work and looking sexy to the crowd than anything else.

They’re the national political equivalent of the pain in the ass on the PTA committee who calls you up the day after your Christmas craft fair or whatever and says, “What we needed to do was THIS.” And by “we” she means you. Course, should you actually take her suggestion for the decorations or the invitations or the whatever, come to actually ask her to help, she’ll be nowhere to be found.

Every single organization on earth, every office, every school, every church council, every single association of more than two people includes at least one person like this. They don’t want to help, they just want to be superior to you. If you carried out every suggestion they ever had to fabulous success, they’d still call you up on Day Two post-victory and say, “What you should have done was THAT.” And you’d want to smash their heads in with a hammer, because it’s hard to respond to smug superiority in any way that derails it without resorting to physical violence, but it’s comforting, in a way, once you realize that’s what they’re good for, and can mine them for ideas and spare yourself the frustration of actually expecting them to work.

It’s not about improving the party for the “What Democrats need to do is THIS” set. It’s about appearing on the talk shows as the guy with the answers and counting on the peons to blame themselves, put on their hair shirts, and atone for not noticing how smart you were. Winning’s not a solution to this because it’s not about the contest, it’s about the egos of those giving the advice, and there isn’t enough salve in all the world to soothe those gigantic things.


2 thoughts on “In Their Image

  1. Once again, spot on, A. You’ve tapped into the Miss Marple School of Political Analysis to great effect.
    Oddly enough, I think you’re onto something here with regard to the leadership thing, as well. Every committee I’ve ever been on, if it’s run well, there’s always someone who complains (more or less) that the chair didn’t do enough to make them feel valued. Oftentimes, that’s true–the chair was working to make sure stuff got *done*, not to make sure everybody was happy about things. It’s very hard to do both, especially when you’re under time constraints. The most effective groups I’ve worked with have been those that had people in place to make sure the “feelgood” stuff happened, and left the leader to make sure shit got done.
    Personally, I’d rather have the guy who got stuff done running things, but when it’s an elected position, you usually get the guy who makes people feel good. Right or wrong. (Note: I think the Clenis was one of those who could do both to a certain extent–he knew the policy stuff really well, but could turn around and make people feel good about it, too.)
    Obviously, the other option is to have the feelgood guy ostensibly in charge, but have the get-stuff-done guy really running things. That’s kind of what we were sold with Bush/Cheney. That doesn’t mean it’s a bad system–like any, it depends on who you have doing it.

  2. Every committee I’ve ever been on, if it’s run well, there’s always someone who complains (more or less) that the chair didn’t do enough to make them feel valued.
    Oh, GOD, it’s all I can do not to scream, I know that syndrome well.

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