While I don’t know that this is directed as me, I will respond to it anyway.
It’s been a bit of mystery to me why there’s this narrative about blogreading newsjunkies not being enthusiastic enough to vote. Those people vote. It’s somewhat disconnected people who might be a bit too worried about their lack of employment to head out to the polls that Dems should worry about…
This is a misreading of my narrative and the narrative that I think is important. The people who read the progressive blogosphere’s product are indeed political newsjunkies, and are going to vote in extremely high numbers. Some of them may vote for third-party candidates because they’ve been told over and over again that the Democrats suck, but the overwhelming majority of them will vote for the Democrats. The problem lies elsewhere. We’re not just preaching to the choir. We’re helping to set the narrative. No one on the right is going to defend the Democrats’ record. The corporate media isn’t going to defend it or even report it accurately. That’s why most of the country is completely wrong about whether their taxes have gone up or down, or whether or not we lost the money that Bush gave to the banks.
I understand that progressives want to advocate for progressive policies. But, in my opinion, we lost sight of the fact that there is literally no one else in the media who can or who will defend the Democrats if we won’t do it. What most of us did was the opposite. And, because our critiques were factual for the most part, and because we had no political incentive to lie, our critiques carried a lot of credibility with our own base and with the media at large. And, so, no one defended the health care bill, no one defended the stimulus, no one defended TARP, and no one defended the Wall Street reforms. Is it any wonder that people are misinformed about those programs and policies?
And I am not saying that people were wrong to advocate for better policies or that people should have STFU. I am saying that people need to think about what they are trying to accomplish. If you are trying to influence the administration or the Democrats in Congress to do something differently, I don’t see a problem. But if you are just tearing them down, day after day, focusing relentlessly on their shortcomings and consistently failing to highlight their accomplishments, then you are driving a narrative that is going to help keep people uninformed and hostile to progressive aims.
Anyone remotely objective acknowledges that this past Congress has the most progressive record of accomplishment of any Congress since the 1960’s. In fact, the mainstream media is more consistent about reporting this fact than the blogosphere. We certainly haven’t pushed that narrative on the corporate media. They’ve reported it because it’s inarguable. Yet, they haven’t reported it enough. They haven’t reported it in a way that it sunk into the thick skulls of an American public that is being saturated with bullshit.
And the last point is that all this concentration on the plank in our own eye has led to us letting our guard down about what we’re facing from the opposition. If you can name me one area where the current crop of Republicans will be better, let me know. Are they going to be better on refinancing mortgages? On civil rights and privacy? On gay rights? On foreign policy? On health care policy? On regulating Wall Street? On women’s rights? On immigration? On climate? On science? On campaign finance reform? On judges? On process?
So, my narrative is not about depressing the readers of the blogosphere so they won’t go out and vote. It’s about the lost opportunity, the misdirection of focus, the lack of perspective, and the failure to do the one job that only we can do.