This Wasn’t Just Our Failure

This has been making the rounds, mostly approvingly, and I think some of it’s goat shit:

Unlike the Tea Party, most left wingers don’t really believe their own ideology. They put partisanship first, or they put the color of a candidate’s skin or the shape of their genitals over the candidate’s policy. Identity is more important to them than how many brown children that politician is killing.

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.

Things the Tea Party had that the “progressive blog movement” did not: An entirely approving 24-hour news network, plus a compliant network of “centrist” pundits all too willing to bow to pressure from that 24-hour news network to be less horribly liberal and consider “both sides” to issues like the fundamental humanity of women and morality of hideous torture and pre-emptive war.

Also a publishing network which made people who otherwise would be screaming on soapboxes into “bestselling authors” who then received fawning profiles in national “news” magazines. Magazines, too, which supported such leading lights of modern thought as Jonah Fucking Goldberg, and a syndicated columnist base consisting of such brilliance and fierce compassion as Kathleen Parker. All of this was set up during the Reagan and Clinton years, while Democrats were still cowering in fear of having their pictures taken with Jane Fonda.

All that existed before the first progressive blog ever lit up, and well before the Tea Party became a Bright New Light in American Politics. Their message gets reinforced every day, every hour, every minute, from a goddamn MEGAPHONE. It’s overwhelming, especially to low-info voters, which is most voters, because in case you hadn’t noticed this country is fucked and everybody’s working hella hard just to stay in cereal and hand-me-downs.

And even more overwhelming than the conservative message is the apathy in the opposite direction, which is reinforced by every media outlet that is not overtly conservative: That none of this matters, that it’s all too exhausting, that all politicians are horrible and destined to break your heart and why even fucking bother because boring, and here’s something we can report that someone tweeted.

Look, I’ve noticed the blog audience cratering and my own efforts at publishing stories that should matter to progressives going nowhere, and I’m as pissed as anyone that I can’t support a staff after nearly a decade of doing this, and that Ned Lamont isn’t in Congress, and that John Kerry won’t be Mr. President for the rest of his life, and that Howard Dean got fucked over, and that Obama isn’t more liberal.

But I fault Obama voters and progressive “principles” in general much less than I fault the people who had the money to build a media empire of their own and focused it on vanity projects intead, or kept their powder dry so as to appease moral monsters at dinner parties. A failure of money and a failure to understand media infrastructure (miscasting the NYT as liberal and thinking that would be enough, for example) is not a failure to “believe your own ideology.”

A.

9 thoughts on “This Wasn’t Just Our Failure

  1. Dugglebogey says:

    IIRC, a large portion of the Tea Party are seniors who are against “socialized medicine” but will murder you if you try to take away their medicare.
    But yes, liberals don’t believe their own ideology.
    Sheesh.

  2. MichaelF says:

    I don’t buy Welsh’s argument either. Progressives aren’t lacking in principles. What’s missing is pretty much what you describe…plus the fact that for, well … shit … for as long as I’ve been old enough to vote (1984) and even before that (e.g., Jimmy Carter, the original neo-liberal), liberalism was basically abandoned.
    Conservatives get to vote for who they want. Liberals have to vote for the lesser of evils…

  3. Maplestreet says:

    The quoted link doesn’t agree with itself.
    First paragraph: liberals put partisanship first.
    Second paragraph: liberals can’t be depended on to vote for the most progressive candidate. (conflicts with paragraph 1 as Liberals can’t be depended on to vote for the party candidate).
    Third Paragraph: unlike li-brawls, the Tea Party will primary you out if you don’t vote according to their narrow definition. (Conflicts with 1st paragraph as this is the definition of hyperpartisanship among the Tea Party. Not just partisanship, but partisanship for a highly select, small percentage of the party).

  4. pansypoo says:

    the media is still keeping zombie reagan’s flame alive. PUSHING it. they are to blame for pimping the neo know-nothing teahadists.

  5. gratuitous says:

    I’ll decline to drive any traffic to this dimwit’s website, so I’ll have to leave it to those of you made of sterner stuff who actually read the whole thing to help me out. Based on the excerpt, I’m guessing that a couple of national forests were missed while inspecting the bark on one tree.
    Does dimwit detail the progressive analogs to Limbaugh, Savage, Larson, the entire family of Fox outlets, the print and e-publications like National Review and Politico? Are there such things? Are there progressive fatcats bankrolling the propaganda catapults like Sheldon Adelson, Rupert Murdoch, and the Koch brothers? Because if these major gorillas in the room are ignored whilst dimwit is sifting through the lint under the couch cushions, I’d say his analysis is flawed, and that right mightily.

  6. Dorothy says:

    The main thing that the Tea Party folks have is the complete and total lack of self awareness, as well as the willingness to burn their houses down rather than invite an “other” in…

  7. My take on the subject… I am a former left-of-center blogger turned paleoconservative.
    http://thoughtsandrantings.com/2013/10/29/interesting-reading-a-brief-note-on-why-the-progressive-blog-movement-failed-by-ian-welsh/
    MSNBC is a liberal network, right?

  8. blue says:

    Excellent points on the media. I think I feel differently about Obama. Feel free to lay blame at his feet. He’s had his two terms. As for progressive principles, let me say this: the word ‘fighting’ goes with the word ‘progressive’. Always has.
    To Patrick in Michigan, a Democrat is not equivalent to a fighting progressive. MSNBC is a network that can have a bit of fun on the edges but it can not and does not cross Obama — a corporateer with the veneer of liberalism. Cenk from The Young Turks had to leave when he wouldn’t support him, for example.

  9. blue says:

    Feeling compelled to add a brief dispatch on the WI progressive scene where progressives unify both online AND offline independent of Dems:
    We are in constant communication. We didn’t win the recall. OK. Well we ain’t dead yet so don’t write our fucking obituary. We are enough of a threat that
    1) We are trolled night and day by Dems about how we are supposed to shut up about how we don’t like their ‘pick’ for Guv, Mary Burke. Dems trolling Progressives seems to have 2 purposes: Discourage progressives who aren’t hardened yet. Frames the Dem as a centrist. The discouragement part doesnt work so well. We already got trolled by the best (righties) for a few years.
    and
    2) We have a progressive candidate who many hope will run – Vinehout. At the moment she polls exactly the same as Burke does against Scott Walker despite having only one tenth of the press exposure in recent weeks.

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