It Was Always Gonna Be Up To Us


When the White House met with bankers after the AIG scandal and they said theydidn’t want to be criticized for getting huge bonuses paid for by taxpayers,
the White House complied and “cooled their rhetoric.” The President
told the public that Timothy Geithner had been instructed to do
everything in his power toclaw back those bonuses, and the House passed a bill doing just that. But it died in the Senate.

You remember all those campaigns by the unions, by the online
groups, by liberal economics and finance organizations pushing the
Senate to take it up?

Yeah, me either.


CAP’s John Podesta is also a partner in the Podesta Group, his brother’s lobbying shop that isrepresenting WalMart against the Employee Free Choice Act. This morning on Fox & Friends, Podesta wouldn’t say a word in Jones’ defense
for doing something no worse than what elected Republican members of
Congress do on a daily basis. The message is loud and clear: incur
the wrath of the right wing, and you’re on your own.

Wow, is that a way to encourage your team or what.

If there is going to be a serious progressive movement in this
country capable of standing up for health care against an industry that
spends $1.4 million a day on lobbying, we can’t just look to the
members of the Progressive Caucus and say “hey, you, get something
done.” They need cover. They need to know that they will be
supported. And people like Van Jones who have given their lives to
causes we say we value like prison reform and environmental advocacy
need to know that they will be defended, and not handed over to Glenn
Beck as an acceptable casualty in the battle for K-Street dollars.

So to all you liberal organizations in the “veal pen” — this is
your moment of truth. I get all your emails. And the next Common
Purpose meeting is probably on Tuesday. If you can’t get it together
to at least put out a statement of support for Van Jones and condemn
the White House for using him as a sacrificial lamb to right wing
extremists that will devour us all if left unchecked, it’s time to add
“proudly liberal only when it doesn’t matter” to your logo and be done
with it.


I confess that I never felt that connection, but I readily admit that
I’m probably not the audience for which these emotional appeals are
intended. (I’m dead inside.) But the fact that these emotional appeals
were powerful is absolutely true. I know many people who were
profoundly affected by them and who felt connected to politics in a way
they had never felt before because of it. I think it’s bordering on
indecent to kick these people in the teeth in order to appease a bunch
of establishment scolds who require Democrats to “stare down their own
party” in order to be acceptable leaders of Real America. (Meanwhile we
have Republicans performing various metaphorical sex acts on the likes
of Beck and Limbaugh on a daily basis and nobody says a word.)

She asks, what now?

First link via Scout, second via Virgo. We will be crack-vanning Obama’s speech Wednesday night, so come on by. We will either be cheering or throwing rotten fruit, as the speech deserves.

1. If we’re hoping for liberal institutions to stand up for liberal ideas and principles, that’s gonna be a long wait for a train don’t come. The entire fucking reason a new liberal establishment was built, primarily on the Internet, in the past 8 years is because the one we had sucked balls. The one we had couldn’t keep us out of a war most people thought was batshit insane from like minute three, and it couldn’t stand up against that war honestly even when it was running a war hero candidate for president, and it couldn’t defend something as simply American as the rule of law, and it allowed the discussion of torture to be one of “how much torture is okay if Jack Bauer’s doing it” and so on, ad infinitum.

These people couldn’t get it together to effectively push back for John Kerry when he wastheir party’s nominee for president, you think they’re gonna stand up for Van Jones, who most of America has never heard of, and will never hear of? What happened to Jones sucked, but it was what happened to Amanda and Melissa on John Edwards’ campaign, and what happened to countless other people who had the temerity to stand up and express themselves over the years and be fucking right. It’s what happens, even, when somebody in a pink T-shirt stands up and asks a question in public.

It’s what they do. The sad fact is that as the “outsider” institutions we built become insiders, they start
acting like insiders. Which means it’s time to build all over again.

2. Heath care. Now, granted, this has been mishandled on a level even I didn’t expect and I watched the first time we fucked this up. People were surprised by the sheer insanity of the opposition and the willingness of the media to bow to their crazy, but we really shouldn’t have been. This isn’t me saying this is okay and we should sit back and eat our shit sandwich and shut up, this is me saying this is how it has worked forever and how it’s always gonna work and that kind of sucks. Winning was always going to be harder than losing. Why do you think Republicans like to lose?

We were always gonna have to push President Obama to do what he said he was gonna do. That he’s co-opted a lot of people who would rather be powerful than right is tiring and depressing and demoralizing, and people are tired and depressed and demoralized. I haven’t written about half of this stuff because I’m tired and depressed and demoralized (and my meatspace life has been bonkers) andreally, we really have to do this, “change” didn’t mean I could take a vacation from holding politicians accountable? After fighting a campaign to do this, we have to fight another one?

Well, apparently. We can sit back, let Obama and Rahm and every other supposed liberal bow to whatever Max Baucus and Chuck Grassley want done just like Democrats have knuckled under to Republicans for the past 30 years in the hopes Daddy wouldn’t hit them anymore, and talk about how we were betrayed and we will never do this again (until the next time). Or we can keep working to get done what we wanted done in the first place. The latter option, natch, means we would have to be responsible if it doesn’t work out.

But it’s the president’s fault, really. He said it. We’re the ones we’ve been waiting for. He dared us and if we all show up on his doorstep to demand what he said he’d give us, well, he’s got no one to blame but himself.



9 thoughts on “It Was Always Gonna Be Up To Us

  1. Which means it’s time to build all over again.
    Sothey can become the insiders? Dog chases tail.
    The only way we’re not going to get fucked is to get money out of politics. And short of violent revolution (which we’d lose anyway) the only people who can get the money out of politics is…the politicians who benefit from said money. (Any bets on which way the Supremes will vote after Wednesdays hearing on corporate campaign donations limits?)
    Obama was the last hope and he failed, not us. Not us who don’t have the money to buy his conscience.

  2. I kind of agree with spork, but I’m personally of the opinion that a few Goldman Sachs executive heads on stakes in some ornamental gardens on Wall Street would have done a lot to solve the economic problems.
    As it is, though, I’d say listen to Aunt Geeshie
    I went to the depot, looked up at the sun
    Cried some, train don’t come, there’ll be some walkin’ done

    and get your crying over with so you can get walking.

  3. My thought on this is that Obama is gutless.
    It should be a liberal democrat that introduces a bill of impeachment for the war crimes committed in his administration. That will pass by a huge majority.
    I watch politics quite carefully. I cannot think of one single thing, with the exception of stem cell research, that I have agreed with him.
    I don’t want Joe Biden as president but I’ve passed my limit with “gutless” Bush III.

  4. Obama and his contingent are far too worried about giving BJs to the other side. The point of “winning” is that you won the battle. We on the Left won and it’s time to capitalize on that fact.
    We Progressives desired something more than just lip-service in the Oval Office whilst something worse was happening in the closet.
    It’s time to start playing for the end of the game.

  5. The problem with most liberals, IMHO, was that so many really believed that Obama was a progressive liberal instead of a centrist corporate Democrat. I supported Hillary because I knew what she was, and I knew what we would get from her–a centrist corporate Democrat, but one with a husband who not only knew how to get us out of this mess but had learned from eight previous years of successes and failures. Instead, the majority drank the Kool-Aid and believed that Obama would bring real change, all the while ignoring the fact that he had amassed hundreds of millions of dollars in corporate contributions, as did all the other Dems who took over the “majority” in Congress. These people are behaving exactly the way the people who paid for them to be there expect them to behave–they are protecting the interests of profit, of the elite, of the owners of capital. When will we learn? We can either play in this system of corporate feudalism and hope we pick the right lord, or we can abandon the two-party system. Maybe if the Greens and Libertarians could play nice for a while, we could break the stranglehold that the corporate-owned two-party system has on us all. The late, great Molly Ivins said it best, “You got to dance with them what brung ya,” and it’s never been as true as it is with Obama. If that doesn’t turn you on, then how about Pete Townshend: “Meet the new boss. Same as the old boss.”

  6. I supported Hillary because I knew what she was
    I supported Obama because I knew what Hillary was. I assumed Obama would be lousy but I opted for the devil I didn’t know.
    As bad as I think Obama has been I can’t imagine Hillary or anyone else with a legitimate shot at the WH being any better.
    The game is too rigged.

  7. I’m going to say this again, and again, and still more times, as long as I’m alive: Until our government fears us, we have zero chance. They don’t now fear us at all, we fear them.
    We can make them fear us if we have the guts to do it. All it would take is a general strike for a couple or three days, a shutdown of a substantial portion of the business world. For example, if very few could get to work without being 4 hours late, if very few entered a retail establishment, if very few who did “go to work” actually did anything productive there, etc., the money holders would become concerned, and that would make the government fear our power. Right now they know all they have to do is say “boo” and we will cringe, genuflect, and beg for forgiveness.
    But, once plans are well underway for a general strike, the government will suddenly find out that they can hear us again. It won’t happen in my lifetime, not enough years left of that, but it will happen within 20 years. The only other option is a bloody civil war.

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