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Jane Hamsher revisited

jeffroby's picture

"I am Oz, the Great and Terrible. Who are you, and why do you seek me?"

"I am jeffroby, the Small and Meek. I have come to you for help."

"What do you wish me to do?"

"Keep to your principles. Before the healthcare bill passed, you quoted a poll that said, “A full 79.7% think it's ‘important’ or ‘very important’ that the health care bill contain no restrictions on abortion coverage, and 82.3% think that any member who casts a vote to restrict abortion coverage should face a primary. You approved. Now I beg you to use your power to make it happen.”

"Why should I do this for you?" asked Oz.

"Because you are strong and I am weak; because you are a Great Wizard and I am only a little blogger."

Or so it felt.

The great and terrible wizard, of course, is Jane Hamsher. An often principled and occasionally courageous progressive. On March 10, she came out in favor of primarying any Democrat who voted for a healthcare bill containing Nelson or Stupak anti-abortion language. I was impressed.

Was Hamsher serious?

For years the progressive blogosphere has squawked and screeched and yammered as each Democratic Party sellout loomed, and then has howled and yowled and caterwauled when it happened. Yes, they’ll go after a few of the worst offenders. Get Wynn, get Lieberman, now get Blanche Lincoln and Stupak. Or more pathetic yet, we’ll get you the next time -- somehow. Always next time, like the angry drunk thrown out of the bar only to replay the same scene the next night.

the Exchange

Hamsher’s support for primarying what would in effect be most of the Democratic congressional delegation was striking. So I commented that day, in part:

So Jane, how about the Full Court Press? You’re talking big here, and I appreciate that. But are you bluffing or aren’t you? Will healthcare be a fond memory in 2012 and you’ll have other fish to fry? After all, at one point you were talking about opposing anything that didn’t have a ‘robust’ public option. Then any sorry excuse for a public option was good enough, and you didn’t give a damn about Stupak or Nelson amendments being part of it. Now you’re talking tough again, and the abortion restrictions are big again because they give you leverage.

Note that by “give a damn,” I mean actually taking action, not a state of mind.

No response, of course. Now congressional Democrats have cast their “vote to restrict abortion coverage.” Time to check in. In Pelosi: Health Care Bill a Conservative Bill (Time to Go Back Under the Bus, Veal Pen), Hamsher wrote on March 23:

It’s no surprise that Pelosi and others are trumpeting the bill’s conservative underpinnings today: now that they no longer need liberal veal pen validators to whip Democrats in order to pass it, they are anxious to insulate themselves from GOP attack by distancing themselves from progressives once again and trumpeting the bill’s Heritage Foundation roots. The question is why anyone was ever hoodwinked into thinking this was a “progressive” victory simply because the Republicans were against it. It was a Democratic party victory.

That’s a strong statement, one I fully support. But the devil is in the details. So I commented:

Jane, a while back, you said any Democrat voting for a bill restricting abortion rights should be primaried.

Was that just big talk, or did you mean it. Now it’s the clear light of day. Are you going to run a post entitled, “Primary them All”? Are you going to start raising a fund to put it to them in 2012?

Or is your good rhetoric trumped by your friendships with the ActBlue folks who went along with the abortion-restricting bill?

Inquiring minds want to know.

That’s a serious question. Hamsher responded:

... You’ve sent me many emails about your own project to do just that. You spam links in our comments to your site all the time.

I didn’t realize it had been a failure so quickly. That’s too bad.

We have an organization to recruit primary challengers in all parties, it’s called Accountability Now. I know it’s a hard task to recruit Democratic challengers in this environment, but if you can’t do it, chiding others to do the work for you because you’ve failed doesn’t seem productive.

Maybe a diary about all your efforts, and how they didn’t work, would be helpful so others can learn from your mistakes?

Ouch! I answered:

... Thank you so much for your response ...

I recognize that I am small and meek. But since the Full Court Press plan has been aimed at 2012 from the very beginning, because we are aware of the difficulties of lining up candidates, calling it a failure might be a bit premature. How many candidates has your group lined up for 2012? See?

At this point, we are explicitly focused on winning others to this perspective. Call it chiding? Whatever.

Accountability Now is recruiting challengers in all parties? Great. On what basis? That is my gripe with ActBlue. They find candidates a whisker to the left of a Blue Dog, and then we wonder why we end up with just another liberal who votes for a bill containing Nelson ...


Jane, let me keep it simple. Do you think Nancy Pelosi, who strong-armed this rotten deal through, should be primaried in 2012? Yes or no.


... I think every single politician should be primaried in every single election, especially in heavily gerrymandered districts with strong one-party leaning. I’ve said so about a million times and started an organization based on that principle.

Think about that diary on all your failures. People could learn a lot from it. I imagine that using google first before you demand people declare things that they’ve said over and over again for years might cut down on them.

Sez me:

... Jane, allow me to clarify. You may say you have an organization to have a primary in every race. That is laudable. You say it is difficult to recruit candidates, and indeed that is so.

My difficulty is that I am small and obscure, and apparently have wracked up an impressive list of failures since December 2009 ... How about your failures? Such as failing to stop the healthcare bill from containing abortion-restricting language?

In any event, I believe your difficulty in recruiting is very different than mine. Mine is at least in part that a candidate should stand for a certain set of principles to be a Full Court Press candidate. Not particularly running to win. And that 2012 is a long ways off.

Your difficulty is that you are recruiting to win. You want candidates who are marginally better than the incumbents and have good reputation and can attract money, and can win. Such candidates would almost by definition be part of — or become part of — the regular Democratic Party machinery. You might call your slate “Future Blue Dogs of America.”

As for Pelosi, it’s nice that you would support there being a primary candidate against her. Allow me to sharpen my question to account for your dodge. Do you think that Nancy Pelosi should be defeated by this hypothetical challenger? Would you actively support a challenger from her left? Yes or no.

To this, there was no further response.

I don't mind if you don't like my manners, I don't like them myself. They are pretty bad. I grieve over them on long winter evenings.
-- Philip Marlowe, the Big Sleep

So let’s strip away the snark and summarize:

(1) Hamsher supports primarying any congressperson who votes for an abortion-restricting healthcare bill.

(2) I question her commitment given her past waffling on whether a “robust” public option was a requirement for supporting any healthcare bill, at a time when the bill was already abortion-restricting.

(3) No response from Hamsher. Some are offended that I would question a progressive of her stature.

(4) After the healthcare bill passes with abortion-restricting language, I ask Hamsher whether she still advocated primarying any congressperson who voted for it.

(5) Hamsher complains about my advocating the Full Court Press on her site, points out that I am a self-proclaimed failure, “chiding others to do the work for you because you’ve failed doesn’t seem productive,” essentially tells me to quit bothering her and instead dwell on my own failures. She does not directly respond to my question, but she does counterpose her own organization for recruiting primary candidates, Accountability Now, and says recruiting primary candidates is difficult. This is a genuine response which I appreciate. Really.

(6) I point out that since the Full Court Press is geared towards 2012, calling it a failure is premature. I press Hamsher on what political basis Accountability Now recruits its candidates, and suggest that they end up supporting candidates similar to the ones who just sold us out.

(7) Hamsher gets slippery, says she supports primaries for every politician in every election, and has an organization dedicated to that. She again urges me to dwell on my failures.

(8) I point out Hamsher’s failures, such as failing to stop the healthcare bill, and note that mine are quite different from hers. I would recruit candidates to push certain principles, she recruits candidates who can win, and therefore has to run a much more mediocre bunch. Then I try to nail her down. Her March 10 post clearly implied that politicians like Pelosi should not only be primaried, but defeated for their misdeeds. So I put it straight, should Pelosi be primaried, and if she were, would Hamsher support her challenger to try to defeat Pelosi. Yes or no? From here on out the only response is silence.

I’ll take her silence as an emphatic no. Her March 10 statement was campaign bluster, but now we have to get realistic.

This was a valuable exchange, in part because it actually happened. I have a lot of respect for Hamsher as a progressive leader. On the healthcare bill, SHE DIDN’T FOLD! She also stuck to her guns over the letter she co-signed with Grover Norquist going after Rahm Emanuel. Credit where credit is due. A similar discussion with Bart Stupak or Conrad Nelson or Anthony Wiener would be meaningless because frankly, when they sell out, nothing better is to be expected. But since Hamsher is one of the best of the left wing of the Democratic Party, her statements pinning her down is significant. Just as where she refused to be pinned down is significant.

The discussion makes two points: (1) it makes clear that the strategy these folks pursue is embodied by Accountability Now (AN), and (2) it is a splendid demonstration of how this brand of Democrat responds to any criticism from their left.

Accountability to what?

So let’s look at AN. According to their website

The group first brought together representatives from organizations including SEIU, DFA, Daily Kos, MoveOn, the United Steelworkers, Color of Change and Blog PAC in early 2009 to discuss the recruitment of primary challengers.

SEIU celebrates the passage of the bill. DFA, Democrats for America, was founded by John Dean, who was all militant for the public option, then folded completely, and NEVER made abortion an issue. Kos went heavy for the bill, and went ballistic when Kucinich tried to hold out against passage. MoveOn, solid behind the bill, Color of Change, foursquare behind the bill.

To summarize these groups, they fought hard for the public option. They generally didn’t make a peep about the Stupak/Nelson anti-abortion provisions, and they all caved in when healthcare was considered a done deal. Although AN was founded by Hamsher and Glenn Greenwald, Hamsher stands out courageously as one progressive who fought the bill to the end on principle.

I think it safe to say that, when push comes to shove, these are the people Hamsher lives with. In other words, these are the people who threw women under the bus, at the very moment she was taking a stand for women’s abortion rights. That contradiction makes the discussion worthwhile.

Corporate Dems and Surrender Monkeys

But who are these people relative to the Democratic Party as a whole? If we eliminate the fringe elements right and left, such as Stupak and Nelson and Sanders and Kucinich, we are left with two groups, the old-line Democrats such as Harry Reid and Joe Biden, the outright Corporate Dems, and those who fought for the public option and then folded, whom I’ll call the Surrender Monkeys. You can get a very, very rough feel for this is you look at the Democratic votes for the 2005 bankruptcy bill, for which 18 Senators voted with their Republican comrades, and 25 voted no, and 73 Representatives voted yes while 125 voted no. The borders are fuzzy and shifting (Lieberman and Schumer voted no) but give some outlines. Regardless of the numbers, the Corporate Dems hold the stronger hand because of their willingness to openly ally themselves with the Republicans in a pinch.

AN states:

Any rising local political star is certain to incur the wrath of the national Party establishment if they challenge an incumbent. Potential challenges are promised all sorts of benefits if they refrain, and are bullied and threatened if they actively entertain running in a primary.

Good point. Their challenges are constrained, since they:

do need to be certain that our organization’s resources and efforts are directed only to challenges that will be credible and meaningful, mounted against incumbents who are both nonresponsive and vulnerable.

Aha! Thus Chuck Schumer can do anything -- anything -- and they wouldn’t go after him because he is not vulnerable. They are reduced to going after a few outliers like Blanche Lincoln, whom the party can spare. They don’t touch Harry Reid, and, by the way, he is vulnerable.

Why does this matter?

So if this is a discussion or a debate, what is the other side? I was first talking about the Full Court Press. I believe its specificity was valuable in provoking a response that a more general plea would not have. That’s tactical. But I was not seriously seeking an endorsement. What I wanted to nail down -- or not -- was whether Hamsher was going to follow through on her own words, to primary Dems who sold out abortion rights. Cross this line and you get punished. So let me strip down the Full Court Press into its essence: violate certain principles, you get punished. Regardless of whether or not we can beat you, we go at you with what we’ve got.

If there were broader movement along these lines, FCP would be glad to negotiate. Different 5 points? Let’s discuss it. Go after 100 Dems instead of 435? That might -- might -- be more realistic. But the essence is this. Cross these lines, we go after you with what we’ve got, win lose or draw.

Accountability Now’s essence is that we’ll pick off the easy seats of the worst if we think we have a good shot at it.

I argue that this guarantees the slippery slope that has been the fate of Democrats from before I was born, and that the criteria of credibility -- reasonable at first glance -- guarantee the need for big money and reputation that ensures that the candidates won’t be too radical at all. I argue that the FCP approach or any variation thereof guarantees us a real fight, a fight that must be had.

The issue isn’t merely what’s the smartest maneuver, it’s what do the American people need? That’s left out of Accountability Now’s accounting.

Don’t question your betters

I can’t let this go without talking about how Hamsher responded to me.

Step 1: Ignore me.
Step 2: Point out that I am small (and thus a failure by definition).
Step 3: Point out the legitimate organization she already had.
Step 4: Excoriate my appalling bad manners, which I do grieve over on long winter evenings

She could not directly answer my point without conceding me some legitimacy. I believe that’s the bottom line. Her remark, “I think every single politician should be primaried in every single election” without going into whether the Surrender Monkeys should actually be defeated in these primaries, was a deflection no more meaningful than saying every voter should vote without mentioning what or whom they should vote for.

The only reason she abandoned Step 1 is that she was caught at a key moment when her supporters were still angry over the healthcare debacle and rage was running high. One week later and the exchange above could not have happened. Moving on, they say in business circles after stepping in your face.

Clearinghouse, gatekeepers, validators

If you go to the ActBlue (AN’s cousins) site, right with the name are the words, “The online clearinghouse for Democratic action.” In other words, they are the gatekeepers.

I attended a conference for independents once, which featured a panel of media folks, including a representative from the New York Times. He was asked why the Times didn’t report on independents and -- at that time -- didn’t even report independent vote totals the day after the election (this was some years ago). He proudly stated that the Times needed to act as the gatekeepers of what was legitimate news, lest the public be confused. I guess we can thank Accountability Now and ActBlue for keeping us from getting confused. Ironic, as Hamsher states above: “It’s no surprise that Pelosi and others are trumpeting the bill’s conservative underpinnings today: now that they no longer need liberal veal pen validators.” So is this the real quarrel between Hamsher and the Corporate Dems, who gets to be the validators? Who gets to be the gatekeepers?

Yet Jane Hamsher is sometimes better than that. While I may seem harsh, given the massive pressure any Democrat faces who dares not toe the line, she has often proven courageous. She is responsive to her followers. Many adore her, and I don’t call them fools for doing so. But the system is indeed broken, the pain is growing, and choices will have to be made.

Addendum on the Unemployed Thinktank:

The Union of the Unemployed Thinktank has run into similar brushoffs. It was formed in response to the lack of communications with the International Association of Machinists UCubed Union of the Unemployed, and its failure to call for WPA-style jobs creation, as opposed to encouraging hiring through tax breaks. To my surprise, the Thinktank now has 201 members and is still kicking. Despite the fact that it offers no actual benefits, its very presence as a place where the unemployed can come together and tell their stories and keep tabs on UCubed has been sufficient to keep it still slowly growing.

The first response from UCubed’s acting director was a friendly brushoff: “complaining about the UCubed petition/letter to Bunning isn't very useful. Senator Bunning put millions of jobless Americans at risk. And his reckless approach is simply unacceptable.

”If you really want to help end this Grave Recession, get more folks to join your Cube. Urge them to send a WARN notice to their elected officials.”

I was surprised and pleased to notice this week that their first item under Legislative Action was to write letters demanding a WPA-style jobs creation program, almost exactly what we had been asking for. I wrote to thank them, and to state that the new unemployment extension bill had nothing to offer for the really long-term unemployed who were exhausting their Tier 4 benefits. I received an e-mail from Sloan stating that they had been supporting a WPA-style jobs program since February (despite the fact that none of the Thinktank’s members had heard of it), and:

Congress is still toying with the jobless. Short-term extensions may be political expedient, but they're counterproductive. They add to the uncertainty facing the unemployed. And they don't solve the underlying problem.

The method is similar. We are the gatekeepers. We’ve got it all covered. We only need you to go along with the program. But they are definitely feeling pressure from the membership to have moved our demand to number 1.

The membership is pissed.

No votes yet


mass's picture
Submitted by mass on

to primary every sitting Democrat is going to pay off. I wish activists would get back to pushing issues, rather then Parties or pols.

jeffroby's picture
Submitted by jeffroby on

When a social movement adopts the compromises of legislators, it has forgotten its role, which is to push and challenge the politicians

Indeed. And how does one push and challenge the politicians? Primaries are one way. Exposing Hamsher is another.

Submitted by lambert on

If a blog is serving as a conduit for memes or talking points developed by a faction of the Dem party or its consultants, it's giving those talking points credibility ("laundering" them) by lending them its reputation (for "independence" or whatever).

The talking points would have a lot less credibility if they came directly from the party.

jeffroby's picture
Submitted by jeffroby on

-- and see comment below ("So you're referring to Hamsher"), should have been a reply -- what I am doing is stripping away the facade (by taking a closer look at Accountability Now) and showing that what she is doing is in fact coming directly from the party, at a moment when she is caught in a major contradiction -- fighting for abortion rights with the very people who just threw abortion rights under the bus.

At times I may seem a wild leftist, but I'll get muddy in the trenches when needed.

jeffroby's picture
Submitted by jeffroby on

The reason I'm giving so much effort to Hamsher in what -- in some lights -- is a rather banal argument has to do with her specific location. The left wing of the Surrender Monkeys.

The same discussion with Chris Bowers would be meaningless, as he makes no pretense of standing for anything but his career.

Her blog has people to her left, and it covers a mix of cultural issues and electoral tactical issues. It is large and well-read, but is smaller than Kos, so one is less likely to get lost in the shuffle.

And the moment is important. People can see things like when the Hindenberg healthcare bill went down, that they cannot see in "normal" times. In a week, their eyes will be closing. Seize the time!

Normally, these people operate as though they are accountable to no one, or those challenging them have no tactical specificity, and thus they can get away with generalities.

That she responded to me was actually a concession on her part, and we need to make the most of it.

DCblogger's picture
Submitted by DCblogger on

Netroots went after Lieberman with everything they had, they threw him out of the Dem party, but not out of the Senate. Well, you can but try.

It is better to target one of two and show that you can deliver on a threat before you start talking about primarying people.

And even if you can, let's see how the primary challenge to Lynch (not endored by Hamsher) goes. I am guessing won't go anywhere.

One of the reasons this blogger has never tried to do anything other than lend support of the work others were doing is that I knew this little blog never had any more power to be anything but a help to others. And really even the very big blogs cannot do it. You cannot move people to action online, only distribute information.

jeffroby's picture
Submitted by jeffroby on

But the compromises that have to be made to "deliver on a threat" -- including being "credible" and attracting big money -- render these Target the Worst campaigns meaningless. All they do at best is pump just enough fresh blood into a dying party to keep it on life support.

You cannot move people to action online, only distribute information.

If that information doesn't move anyone to action, why bother?

three wickets's picture
Submitted by three wickets on

If the Dems in Congress today were positioned 10-20% more left, do we think HCR in its predetermined current form would not have passed. Maybe, maybe not. The bigger leverage may be with Obama. If he knew he would get a third party challenge from the left that would peel votes away from him in the next general, he might actually pay some attention to the left.

jeffroby's picture
Submitted by jeffroby on

And he is going to get a 3rd party challenge from the left. I take that as a given. Sometimes you can't go directly after the head honcho, though, you've got to pick off the underlings first.

MoveThatBus's picture
Submitted by MoveThatBus on

he might actually pay some attention to the left.

If we learned nothing else, Obama is a "say anything to get elected" politician. We have to play this like a game of checkers. We have to clear the board to win.

letsgetitdone's picture
Submitted by letsgetitdone on

Jeff, I think this is really the definitive analysis of where Jane stands. Unfortunately for her, I think she's going to have to make some choices soon, because I don't think you can stand outside the veal pen and be vaguely with this Administration. Either you're in, or you're a part of the external movement. But I don't think that's where Jane wants to be.

jeffroby's picture
Submitted by jeffroby on

... since I'm not Tarzan.

There are all sorts of scoundrels out there. But if the fence is too high, you go after the gatekeepers. They are few in number.

Submitted by hipparchia on

jane hamsher is not here to help you, you are here to help jane hamsher.

she is basically a professional activist. as such, she has to keep full control of whatever activism projects she participates in, and those projects have to result in several small gains achieved in a relatively short time frame, otherwise her resume as activist is empty. this is why she had to focus on 'improving' [with her po campaign] a small part of the hcr legislation that was likely to get passed, rather than working on the more difficult and long-term project of advocating for single payer.

part of keeping control of her projects is to belittle and denigrate others' projects, refuse to help them, and purge her following of dissenters. the flap over some of her readers asking her to support single payer, when jane had carefully crafted a strategy for the po, is a telling example. fdl is very definitely a top-down organization.

any alliances she makes will only be with those who can bring her more power, visibility, and/or income. she won't be making any alliances with lesser beings/organizations who might need help increasing their own power, visibility, or income, even if they are ultimately working toward the same goals.

fortunately for the country, she is bent on taking our politics in a leftish direction, so if anybody doesn't mind being one of her minions, then working on any of her projects will at least be on the side of the angels in the end.

jeffroby's picture
Submitted by jeffroby on

I have too much gristle. There has been some hot and heavy discussion of this over on Docudharma. People can rave there all they want about dumping the Democrats and marching on Washington and calling a general strike. But criticize Hamsher and I have meddled with the primal forces of nature.


Ian Welsh's picture
Submitted by Ian Welsh on

accurate summary, and closer to how Jane thinks than most I've seen.

sporkovat's picture
Submitted by sporkovat on

they picked a good name, but as usual they leave major "accountability" off the table, because they would never support a splitter or wedge campaign that would cause a (D) to lose, even a terrible (D).

they limit themselves to "winnable" primary campaigns within the legacy party structure, as you note.

I had some back-n-forth with Jane Hamsher about that awhile ago, before she banned me. I pointed to their mission statement, at the top:


Accountability Now is an organization built around a single guiding principle: challenging the institutional power structures that make it so easy, so consequence-free for Congress to open up the government coffers for looting by corporate America while people across the country are losing their jobs and their basic constitutional rights while unable to afford basic health care.


and she pointed to some fine print at the bottom about only working within the primary system.

they are a front, and a well crafted one.

selise's picture
Submitted by selise on

spork, i saw your name at fdl recently. what do you mean banned? what happened? when? please fill me in!

three wickets's picture
Submitted by three wickets on

FDL or Accountability Now? So the whole Veal Pen business is BS? Figures.

Submitted by libbyliberal on

... she had an opportunity there and she blew it. For great leadership if she had pulled together the single payers and the public option folk. If she really admitted we were on the same team ... but ego brought her down I think. She was like Alec Guinness in Bridge on River Kwai... she kept building up her creation of the public option ... and she lost sight of the true fight. She didn't get she was working hard for the enemy and getting the troops to do the same. They divided us to conquer us and Jane was played. And I don't think she is strong enough to get it even now, let alone admit it. And her community was drinking the ..let's call it the "jane juice" and they got lost in her thrall apparently.

There is bravado and real courage. I'm thinking she has the former more than the latter. She is smart and has intuition, but not that important vision and heart. Courage has serious heart. Open heart. And courage is not about rallying anger and pointing it and shooting, either. It is about savvy and risk and exploration not circle the wagons self protection and attack from there.

Kucinich had an opportunity for greatness, too, and he caved with Obama. I thought he had the right stuff.

So they do good things, they just are not great reformers cuz they need the moral vision. She needs an us vs. them team base camp.

Jane forgot how to be kind. Everybody in, Nobody out. That's a humanist progressive.

I wonder irf Rachel M. is going through some Jane changes, too.

jeffroby's picture
Submitted by jeffroby on

I wonder if Rachel M. is going through some Jane changes, too.

Haven't followed her lately. What's with that?

Submitted by libbyliberal on

Rachel busy illuminating the dirty rotten Repubs ... and doing a very good job of it... but cronyism of corporate media ... she's not calling out the Dems for their selling out. Pushed Obamacare as though best thing since sliced bread. Dems can feel good about themselves in context of rascally Republicans when the Dems have been such bribed and willing betrayers of universal health care and the public good?

GE big sponsor of MSNBC. GE a lot invested in health care.

KO spoke out but Larry O'Donnell was a closer for Obamacare on Keith's show and Rachel was on hers. I hope it is her belief.. or is it her cronyisitic belief after some high stakes kool aid?

jeffroby's picture
Submitted by jeffroby on

while Olbermann seems to be happy where he is.

It's why I've pretty much stopped watching her. I already know the Republicans are bad.

john.halle's picture
Submitted by john.halle on

One less reason to log on to OL.

I suppose one or two token leftists (e.g. David Mizner) will be allowed to remain.

It would be better if they wised up. They should stop providing window dressing for what has become nothing better than Kos lite-with increasingly Stalinist tendencies.

Maybe a personal appeal to them is necessary.

What do you think Lambert?

Submitted by lambert on

The "progressive" Internet changed because access bloggers like Bowers were funded. "Better arguments" my sweet Aunt Fanny. What a tool.

Personal appeal? Why? What terms do you think would succeed, and what would success look like?

john.halle's picture
Submitted by john.halle on

I mean a personal appeal direct to the remaining leftists at Open Left to desert the site and stop lending it credibility it doesn't deserve.

The way to do it: a quick hit posted by a sympathizer, e.g. Selise who just now got gently slapped down by Bower's spouse.

Success would mean an exodus/boycott of those few commenters who are still worth reading-followed by (maybe) a significant drop in site traffic.

jeffroby's picture
Submitted by jeffroby on

I posted this on Docudharma

Please weigh in here!

My initial comment, the first on the thread, now has 16 recommends. Not everyone there is thrilled about this.

However, no one on the thread knows that RoseRoby was also banned. Only for her association with me. It would be helpful if people made their opinions known about this.

Whatever my fate, banning Rose is a misogynistic outrage.

madamab's picture
Submitted by madamab on

I couldn't locate any during the primaries - at least, none that were fact-based. Here's what I heard:

  • Obama was...more liberal than Hillary. (Not true. Her Progressive Punch score was higher - and she had had much more time to amass her record than he did.)
  • Obama was...against the Iraq War from the beginning! This made him more peace-loving than Hillary. (Perhaps, but he changed his mind when he became a Senator.)
  • Obama outsider, not in with the Washington crowd. (Not true. He was the favored candidate of the National Party, and indeed, took over the DNC BEFORE "winning" the nomination.)
  • Obama was...more electable than Hillary. (Opinion only, and contradicted by almost all opinion polls, including post-election exit polls.)
  • Obama was...more historically historic than Hillary. (Obviously, not true.)
  • Obama was...better for women's rights than Hillary. (Not true, obviously.)
  • Obama was...just like Chris Bowers and would kick the "Bubbas" out of the Party. (Unfortunately, true, but hardly an appealing formulation for those of us classed as "Bubbas.")
  • Voting for Obama meant you were not a racist. (Not true.)
  • Not voting for Obama meant you were a racist. (Not true.)
  • After all, where else you gonna go? (TBD.)

Any informed person voting on the basis of facts, instead of a nauseating mixture of CDS, sexism, and blind self-regard, would have been forced to pick Hillary as a better candidate. For Bowers to now congratulate himself on his own awesomeness based on his supposedly superior argumentation skills is an amazing exercise in self-delusion.

jeffroby's picture
Submitted by jeffroby on

me or Bowers?

jeffroby's picture
Submitted by jeffroby on

since I do have my critics.

jeffroby's picture
Submitted by jeffroby on

The real outrage is that Bowers also purged my wife, Rose Seeman Roby. I unfortunately used her log-in to let commenters know that I had been banned (I realize that I should not have done this), and within minutes she too was purged.

She is an intelligent, independent human being with views that sometimes coincide with my own and sometimes don't. Keeps home life interesting. For her to be made collateral damage for my transgressions is a serious violation of human decency.

I am perfectly willing to take the heat for my own words. But even the Mafia keeps family off-limits.

Submitted by libbyliberal on

Boy, people who have drunk the "jane juice" really embrace the denial.

And how they can consider themselves having been on the vanguard and side of the angels for public option which got to be an ego fix for Jane and therefore for them.

It was as if universal health care was an annoying and distracting idea, and not the source of the actual compromise they supposedly were doing. They got into the drumbeat of public option and it was a PR concept... and all the PR was going to a PR illusion... and not for at least an eventual universal health care Expanded Medicare for All.. which had an actual structure and traction and which everyone knew it more or less as a concrete thing.

Public option was like Obama as a brand, you could read in all sorts of needs and apply it... and at the end of the day... it was so not there for you. But, they took their eyes off the principle of equality health care for all and got so insular with strategy and the political imagination of Jane totally overcame her moral vision and her moral imagination.

She lost early confidence that there would be single payer and she spread her lack of confidence to others, some call it pragmatism. When you have 99 Congresspeople signed on for single payer ... why pull them off it to compromise for a public option that is not even the essence of single payer.. it is something else entirely .. well, really nothing else entirely... just something the drumbeat of the media has caught and wants to say to avoid ever addressing the real frightening change we all should believe in, universal health care. And yet these Congresspeople wanted an easier softer way, too, so they went for it. Oy vey. And there was, too, that million and a half a day of bribe dollars to consider.

But Jane ... can she admit that it was wrong-headed. Can she get over her contempt for what she probably still considers us Naderite purists?

The tragedy of this mess is we got a really really serious Republican President who conned us in progressive clothing .... and with the awesome PR efforts of his handlers.. and his own acting ability... which is the safest way to term it... and we got progressives with egos lost among the trees who couldn't see the forest and kicked to the curb people who kept reminding them there was a forest ... a world that needed universal health care as a civil and human right.

And that shallow preening manipulative disinforming creature the media ... really really helped fell us all.

madamab's picture
Submitted by madamab on

as financial. After one receives massive funding for doing the Party will, it's hard to go back to bloggy obscurity for going against it.

I am stunned at some of the names I see there, buying into the idea that Jane was somehow fighting the good fight. When every single Congresscritter was swearing allegiance to the Sparkle Pony and then it didn't even make it into the final bill, isn't it obvious that the whole "good fight" was kabuki?

Good grief.

selise's picture
Submitted by selise on

After one receives massive funding for doing the Party will...

fdl got massive funding? if so from who?

better yet, is there a way to track the dem party associated $$ in the political blogosphere in general?

Submitted by lambert on

... to blogs that everybody hates and nobody reads!

My impression is, that like OL, it's not direct Dem party money (I don't know the campaign finance laws). I think it's SEIU money, probably HCAN't money (for Jason (which I think is also SEIU money)).

And I think like everything else, one has to distinguish between the Versailles local, and the rest of the union locals (who went for single payer, IIRC).

sisterkenney's picture
Submitted by sisterkenney on

My banning was very special..Jane even gave me my donation back! (thank the goddess, I immediately gave it to pnhp)

Submitted by hipparchia on

i won't swear to it, but i think el duderino [fdl] is perhaps michael kwiatkowski [corrente] who is fully aware of, and afaicat, supports corrente's position on single payer, but i'm not going to search all of corrente to find his comments/posts that i vaguely remember on this subject.

also, you'll note that el duderino's first comment at fdl apologizes to blogs like corrente:

Let me just point out that if this blog does not apply to yours — that is, if you were among those who did push for something stronger and which did fight until the bitter end on behalf of the public — then please accept my apologies if you felt lumped in with the named offenders.

okanogen's picture
Submitted by okanogen on

Rereading what duderino was saying, it seems he was using the link to point to the behavior he was discussing coming from FDL, rather than the behavior coming from Corrente.

It was awkwardly linked (would have been better if he had said "as described here"), but this explanation fits better in the overall context of his diary.

jeffroby's picture
Submitted by jeffroby on

I just received the following:

You have been blocked from UCubed. UCubed was created to HELP the unemployed organize and mobilize. Your personal political agenda, as explained in your own words on Corrente on your own website, can only HARM the jobless.

Your objective is to primary every Democratic Member of Congress that does not agree with you. As you wrote on Corrente, "Jobs needs to be our number one issue. There are desperate, angry people, coalitions talking loud but acting small. Unemployment is constant front-page news. And creating a WPA-style jobs program is our number one demand. I've modified the introduction to our standard pitch to reflect that. I've copied that below my signature." The next paragraph in that Corrente post deals with solicitation of money, incorporation, opening a full court press bank account and dealing with the IRS.

So, in fact, you are simply using the jobless to promote your own personal political and fundraising agenda. But you may not use Ur Union of Unemployed or UCubed for such purposes. Nor may you use the trademarked symbols or copyrighted terms associated with Ur Union of Unemployed or UCubed.


Rick Sloan
IAM Communications Director

This coming 3 days after calling out Jane Hamsher and one day after getting banned by OpenLeft.

As Ned Beatty put it, I have apparently meddled with the primal forces of nature.

Submitted by jawbone on

Big Tent...not.

madamab's picture
Submitted by madamab on

When we heard the results of the wiretaps we put on your phone. Your thinking is doubleplusungood. You will be taken to Big Brother shortly. Resistance is futile."

Honestly, Jeff, that is some of the creepiest stuff I've ever read. So sorry it happened.

jeffroby's picture
Submitted by jeffroby on

ha ha ha ha ha ha! ha ha ha ha ha ha! ha ha ha ha ha ha! ha ha ha ha ha ha! ha ha ha ha ha ha! ha ha ha ha ha ha! ha ha ha ha ha ha! ha ha ha ha ha ha! ha ha ha ha ha ha! ha ha ha ha ha ha! ha ha ha ha ha ha! ha cackle cackle ha ha ha ha ha! ha ha ha ha ha ha! ha ha ha ha ha ha! ha ha ha ha ha ha! ha ha ha ha ha ha! ha ha ha ha ha ha! ha ha ha ha ha ha! ha ha ha ha ha ha!

Yes, in some ways, my smart self says it'll cost them dearly, and I don't have to visit their site anyway. The Unemployed Thinktank is there, and others have picked up the ball. My initial comment on my final OpenLeft thread got 18 recommends.

But it still disturbs me. And banning Rose. Even the Mafia doesn't go after family.

Thank you for your support.

Per the Incredible Hulk: "All I know is you try to kill me, and for that you must pay!"

sisterkenney's picture
Submitted by sisterkenney on

immediately..just leave you hanging while they spread the word. And I wouldn't bet against an imminent banning at fdl..give it a try. Might go a ways towards validating my theory....since I've seen a "particular element in the community" get trashed and banned in greater and greater frequency.