The Last Time You Trusted a Politician

John Cole:

Nothing constructive is ever built with negativity. Period. So
instead of blowing up at the first President in my lifetime to openly
advocate for gay rights, why don’t you do something constructive? Why
don’t you embrace his message? How about an ad campaign that has Obama
speaking from theHRC declaring support for
your goals, and asking Congress whether they want to join you and the
President in achieving those goals? How about going to Harry Reid, who
is in a tight election as it is, and asking him whether or not he will
join with the President and the gay community to endDADT andDOMA? How about stating that you stand in unison with the President, that you intend to work with him to achieve those goals.

I
understand that may not be as cathartic as knee-capping your own guy
while chanting “just words,” but it might be more productive. And it
isn’t settling. It isn’t telling you to shut up or relax or be patient.
It is telling you that working to change the status quo is more
productive than hurting your own team, even though throwing eggs and
making farty sounds with your armpit is more fun.

Part of working to change the status quo, though, is throwing eggs. I don’t understand the polar attitude that you can either criticize or be productive. It does not have to be “Obama sucks! We iz BETRAYED by Librul Jeezus! FINISH HIM!” or “Obama is great! He’s doing very well! Just give him time! And shut the fuck up!” It is entirely possible to hold in one’s mind the idea that Obama is the best president we’ve had in a long time, and that he’s not doing enough on X, Y or Z to move things along.

A.

18 thoughts on “The Last Time You Trusted a Politician

  1. scout says:

    Wow…I usually agree with and like Cole but totally disagree with what he is saying and the tone in which he said it

  2. Adrastos says:

    I’m sort of in between you and John and I know why: I live in a red state. There’s a ridiculous level of criticism of Obama’s visit here: he’s not playing show and tell enough for many people. Bush came here 13 times post-K and what did we get from that?
    The criticism is being stirred up by the Vitters and Steve Scalises of the world but it’s being bought into by lots of other people. I’m feeling like part of even smaller group than usual: the people who don’t expect miracles caucus.

  3. evil is evil says:

    John Cole just moved inside the beltway as far as I am concerned.
    When revoking the ban on stem cell research is the only thing that I have seen Obama do, John Cole can defend gutless Barack as much as he likes.
    That jerk pastor from California that had a say at the inauguration started my bullshit detector and, so far, Obama is strictly BS and hustle.
    I will happily swap votes for an impeachment of Obama for single payer now. I will swap votes for pulling out of the wars flat for a criminal conviction. He’s a war criminal, period. His constitutional education apparently never allowed him to read the damn constitution.
    He’s is “for sale to highest bidder on Wall Street and humongous insurance companies.” When he is peddling his position for money, let’s sell him. Sounds racist? I meant it to be. The racists will gladly trade single payer for Obama in a hot flash. Let’s really play hardball politics and sell a liability for a national asset.

  4. editor_u says:

    Athenae,
    I get Cole’s point. I also agree with you about throwing eggs sometimes — although, sorry to say, I haven’t yet properly evaluated this particular item, so I can’t say whether it’s time for the eggs yet (given how things are, though, it’s probably way past time). I just wanted to respond in general.
    In labor relations, especially in dealing with grievances, sometimes the most effective tool is ridicule. If the other guys’ position is ridiculous, immoral, out of touch, illegal (esp. in terms of the labor contract), etc., etc., and the guy (like typical Republican hacks) can’t be reasoned with, logic and patience and HOPING for incremental change don’t cut it. POLITE doesn’t cut it.
    Yeah, at the formal grievance meeting, you advance the official, legal, points; but when they sneer at you (silly boy, we own the factory), and just proceed to do the bad thing they want to do, you just put their bad manners and argument out there in the most impolite manner you can.
    The approach has won more arguments for me, and those for whom I have advocated, than being nice.

  5. The Dol says:

    Um, wow. Impeach Obama? He’s a war criminal? Let’s sell him? Okaaaaay. Not the finest comment I’ve ever seen around here. Kinda creepy, actually.
    I actually agree with Cole, and I don’t think he’s setting up an either/or (as in, either you hate Obama, like the commenter I cited above, or you gushingly adore him). I actually think it’s a brilliant strategy to use what the President has said on gay rights to put pressure on Dems in Congress *and* to put pressure on Obama. Makes sense to me. Doesn’t mean we can’t be critical, but from a big-picture strategy for HRC or other big organizations, it seems pretty smart.

  6. gil mann says:

    In Cole’s defense, he’s got the market cornered on incredibly obnoxious commenters who just happen to be on the right side of the issue, and those kinda people play hell with your head.
    Halfway through one of those DOMA threads I decided that nobody of any sexual orientation ever gets to get married ever again. Now that I’ve cooled off I’m back in “let’s kick Obama in the ass about this” mode, but if I had to live at BJ, I’d probably be in Focus on the Family by now.

  7. virgotex says:

    Obama doing an ad with the HRC would only piss more people off. National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, maybe, but the HRC is a wholly a product of the Village. That John Cole is unaware of its standing in the progressive gay community speaks volumes.

  8. Geeno says:

    Actually, as a regular over at Cole’s, when I first read that, it struck me as being directed at a portion of his own commentariat as well as Andrew Sullivan. A few recent threads had had bomb throwers going crazy if you said anything positive about Obama. The whole “he sucks cuz he hasn’t done anything yet” meme that some have started to run with really seems to get under JC’s skin.
    Just my two cents.

  9. hoppy says:

    I am continually amazed that people believe that we should worship a president. Obama is clearly the best president I have seen in my lifetime, but that hardly makes him perfect. Furthermore, trying to push the last president into doing anything at all was hopeless, but pushing on this president can be very productive. We now have a golden opportunity to change our country in some very positive ways, so we need to do our parts and keep on pushing the president to try to take full advantage of the opportunity. He is a strong enough man to accept our pushing without turning against us.

  10. Sue says:

    I’m somewhere in the middle. I emailed the Prez a couple of months back noting that there might be a lot going on behind the scenes regarding health care and other issues that people aren’t aware of. I still think that’s true. But I also asked him if he was TRYING to get me to sit out the next election. Because if someone like him is going to get elected and then turn into Just Another Politician, there really is no point, is there?
    And shhh, everyone: we don’t want Brick Oven Bill drifting over here from Balloon Juice. Although it would be fun to see Athenae rip him to shreds.

  11. Ah, memories…
    Remember “Wait ’til he does something?”
    Then remember “He’s only been President __ days, give him time”?
    Well, Obama was President-in-waiting after Lehman Brothers, and President-elect after TARP. So it’s been about a year.
    And some of Cole’scommenters start saying “He hasn’t done anything…” and the whole blogosphere goes nuts?
    It’s a funny old world.
    NOTE Oh, and I have several ponies still on back order: Housing, finance reform, card check…

  12. k says:

    I quit reading Cole after he heard maybe a third speech given by Obama. All of a sudden, the man could walk on water. Cole’s been irrational ever since.

  13. BlakNo1 says:

    Hey Lambert, got something for ya. Hope you like it!
    (extends both middle fingers)
    Come to Somerville, MA and call me a liar to my face. COWARD.

  14. sharonsj says:

    I don’t hate Obama but I am disappointed. I still hope he will do something in the three years he has left. He could have ended “don’t ask, don’t tell” right away. His administration has done a few good things but the major issues are still unresolved, and I don’t trust his economic advisers. We still have tax cuts for the rich while paying for two wars. Nor do I expect the corporate whores in Congress to do much for the good of the country unless they can scam more money doing it. We need constant street protests to pressure them, but I’m afraid Americans are too gutless (not to mention ignorant).

  15. Batocchio says:

    Activism is always necessary, whether the president and Congress are doing a good job or not. The only questions are how much activism and in what style.
    Cole is criticizing the style. The selection is a bit out of context, since I’m a regular over there, and he posted several pieces on this subject. Over a few posts and threads, his main point was that some activists were much more angry at Obama than they were at Bush on DADT and DOMA, or even praising Schwarzenegger despite Schwarzenegger’s actual actions here in California on gay issues… and he found that counterproductive. One can certainly disagree with that, and I don’t agree with all of his take, but he’s not anti-activist.

  16. Lex says:

    Hey, if the “war criminal” shoe fits, Obama can damn well wear it. And unless/until we renounce torture completely (including getting proxies to do it for us) and start prosecuting people, he’s a war criminal.
    This is one issue on which I am giving, as our hostess is fond of saying, Not. One. Inch.

  17. thesmoots says:

    OH boy ‘evil is evil’ certainly is! I’ve never been on this site before but if he’s (I say He because that kind of stupid is white male fox nation thru & thru) a representative of the blogging here I probably won’t be back. I’m sure he’s not from what I’ve read but I’m just sayin’…

  18. Lupe says:

    It seems like Cole gets this tone every time the GLBT community criticizes Obama. Otherwise he seems like a pretty good and thoughtful guy. Still, it’s hard to read someone, even someone good, if he occasionally talks down to a bunch of people like a shithead sarcastic bully.
    There aren’t many American citizens left who aren’t equal in the eyes of the law, but the GLBT community is among them. I’m not sure why Cole thinks his opinion about how they should seek equality is important, nor do I think it’s appropriate for him to talk down to people like they are turds for trying to seek equality in the way they see fit. If there were an easy way to get equality, perhaps everyone would have it by now.

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