Fucked if we do, fucked if we don't: do career "progressives" prefer it this way?
I'm not sure if it's a universal human thing, an American thing, or just a "progressive" thing. But most folks in the leftysphere and related real-world circles demonstrate a complete inability to acknowledge when we're being offered a choice of two hideous or meaningless options. Nor do they fuss much about the unacceptability of any process that makes such futile (or worse) choices the only "pragmatically" available outcomes.
We are easily led to believe there is a vital difference between Democrats and Republicans. Between "public option" and no "public option."*
Particularly laughable was the Arkansas Democratic senatorial primary, which pitted an Obama-endorsed candidate against one that MoveOn.org promoted as way to make "suffer" those "Democrats who side with corporate interests to block President Obama's agenda." Heads we support Obama's agenda (and what an agenda it is!), tails we support Obama's agenda. This much hasn't hung in the balance since Bud Bowl I.
Glenn Greenwald, in a generally cogent debunking of one increasingly popular excuse for Obama's continuation and expansion of rightwing policies — that the Presidency isn't really a powerful pulpit — founds his case on the latter two faux-vital issues. It doesn't make him wrong, but it's yet another measure of the fundamental pointlessness of today's "progressive" politics, where well-promoted and utterly meaningless options distract us from the fact that, and the process by which, meaningful policy options are removed from the equation.
No [no-glossary]Serious Person[/no-glossary] concerns him or herself with this problem. Not one.
No [no-glossary]Serious Person[/no-glossary] will explain why leading career "progressives" routinely distract us — and rake in donations — with advocacy for one side or other of fucked-if-we-do / fucked-if-we-don't kabuki shows. (It seems that it's usually the losing side, not that it matters in any way, shape, or form, except perhaps to keep fueling underdog energy, urgency, and donations).
Glenn does first-rate work on exposing Obama's assaults on civil liberties. But he's simply not going to bust open hoaxes like "public option" if it means putting the Jane Hamshers and Digbys** in a bad light for peccadilloes like helping deflate liberal support for single-payer Medicare for All.
Tribal elders simply matter more than policy.***
The good news (for the [no-glossary]Serious People)[/no-glossary] is that, as long as we can be distracted with one fucked-either-way horse race after another, we'll never notice.
Note: one might argue that Barack Obama vs. Hillary Clinton was such a choice. If there's anything constructive to be learned from that discussion, rock on, but let's not let that distract from acknowledging that three more-recent feverish battles were indeed fucked-either-way choices promoted with great urgency by "progressive" leading lights.
* Of course, the vital difference between "public option" and no "public option" lost its vitality when it was time to celebrate a Heritage Foundation / WellPoint authored HCR bill devoid of this placebo policy). That's the beauty part of teaching Pavlov's "progressives" to salivate over meaningless goals. It's easier to console yourself at a requiem for a phantom, than at the loss of a meaningful policy.
*** Nota bene: When she was advocating for the meaningless "public option" (at the expense of single-payer advocacy), Jane Hamsher could do no wrong in "progressive" circles. When she took a stand against the sausage the HCR process ultimately extruded, she suddenly lost a lot of blogosphere friends. Because she was now taking the unacceptable stance of prioritizing policy over the tribal imperative of supporting and celebrating Obama's historically historic "reform."