If you have "no place to go," come here!

Look! In the Senate! It's...A "Progressive Pony" Fallacy!

madamab's picture

I have a question for you, O Corrente Community. Have you, perchance, received an email like this recently?


As you probably know, the White House and Democratic Senate leaders caved to Joe Lieberman and took both the public health insurance option and Medicare expansion out of the health care bill.

That means no competition and no choice -- just a bailout of billions of dollars to the same insurance companies that caused our health-care crisis in the first place.

We have one more chance to change this bill. Progressives in Congress can say they will block any bill without a public health insurance option.

Can you sign our new "we need a hero" petition today? Click here -- then ask others to sign.

We'll deliver it to top progressive senators Russ Feingold (WI), Bernie Sanders (VT), Sherrod Brown (OH), and Al Franken (MN).

Without a public option, this bill doesn't change the structural, long-term problems with our health care system. Instead, it's a raw deal that the insurance companies love: mandating that millions of Americans buy their junk products.

All it takes is one hero.

If just one brave senator says they will block a final bill without a public option, that will force President Obama and Senator Harry Reid to make a choice. They can either force Joe Lieberman and other corporate Democrats to accept the public option OR they can pass the bill through "reconciliation," a Senate procedure that only needs 51 votes.

Joe Lieberman will become irrelevant -- and generations of Americans will thank the brave progressive Senator who fought for fundamental change.

All it takes is one -- one hero to step up and change history.

Oh, dear.

I really cannot believe that some of my liberal brethren and sistren still haven't clued themselves in to what is really going on in the Democratic Party. Here, let me explain.

You see, when Obama took over the DNC in 2008 (he was not even the nominee at the time, and it had never been done before, but hey! who cares about such petty technicalities), he did so in order to gather all the Democratic Party fundraising into his own coffers and consolidate the ideology and power into his hands. As dedicated Obama cheerleader Ezra Klein co-wrote in the American Prospect:

...some feared the Obama phenomenon--the millions of young people passionate about his campaign, the thousands who have lined roadsides just to wave at the Illinois senator's motorcade--had become a force unto itself, indifferent to the fortunes of the traditional Democratic Party, unbound by a commitment to progressive ideology, and wholly dependent on the character of Barack Obama. As blogger Matt Stoller writes on, "Power and money in the Democratic Party is being centralized around a key iconic figure. [Obama] is consolidating power within the party."

This was a new critique of Obama: not that he was beyond parties but that he had personalized them. That rather than building the Democratic Party, he was building an Obama Party, with all the good and bad that that centralization entailed...

Of course, since this piece was co-written by Ezra Klein, the rest of the article pooh-poohs the very real and obvious problems that a personality-based Obama Party, beyond "progressive ideology" (whatever the hell that's supposed to be), could cause.

And here we are, thanks to millions of "progressives" like Klein and Bowers, in an era where the President controls not only the bully pulpit, but the coffers of the Democratic Party as well. We saw in the primaries how willing he was to use strong-arm techniques against Hillary's delegates. Do we really think that a Chicago Machine politician like Obama would fail to use these tactics on our "progressive" Congresscritters in order to force them to do his Reaganite will?

Of course he wouldn't. And of course, somehow, for some reason, they have all caved on the Senate bill. Every. Single. One. Of. Them - even those who said they believed in the Public Option Sparkle Pony and the rights of women to control their own bodies, like Massachusetts Senate nominee Martha Coakley, who has already thrown away her supposedly steadfast support for women's reproductive rights in order to support the bill.

But don't blame them. What choice did they have? Do you know how much MONEY it takes to win a Senate race? Some say at least $10 million. Where in the world would they get that kind of cash if not for the DNC and the DSCC?

So let me sum up. There is no chance IN HELL that any Senator or House Member, no matter how "progressive," is going to be able to stand up to Obama's agenda. The Democratic Party is now thoroughly bought, paid for and strong-armed, in the best Chicago tradition.

If we are ever going to break the stranglehold the corporatists have on both parties, we need to stop believing in "heros" and start doing things ourselves. We need to ally ourselves with groups that are outside of politics entirely and receive no funding from the DNC; groups like NOW, or PNHP. Perhaps we can even start our own Party, as Violet Socks and many others (including yours truly) are talking about over at Reclusive Leftist.

But for Goddess' sake, stop talking about how what we need to do, is elect more "progressives." Because once they get into Congress, they're going to be stuck doing exactly what Obama wants them to do - or they won't be back.

Yes, Virginia: There's no fucking pony.

No votes yet


vastleft's picture
Submitted by vastleft on

Don't follow leaders, watch the parking meters:

This comment on my cross-post is, no doubt, a very canny glimpse into the future

And don't forget calls for party unity come spring! Ah, Jonathan Alter, Katrina Van Der Face, and the irrelevent Cokie Roberts in lock step, "You're either with us of against us!" All wrapped up and no where to go!

We're (if "we" are "progressives," Dems, etc.) on an endless bi-polar zig-zag between Ponyism and "Realism" (AKA, shit-sausage eating).

Submitted by lambert on

The opportunity cost of involvement with either of the two legacy parties is unacceptable. There is literally always something better to do.

dblhelix's picture
Submitted by dblhelix on

a stooge will be set up to run as the candidate for disaffected progressives. Probably Howard Dean, who will drop out right before IA and make his way back to his K St. office.

madamab's picture
Submitted by madamab on

That's why we have to fight this meme now. There should be a huge rebellion and an organization OUTSIDE the Democratic Party that can hold them responsible. That won't happen as long as people still think that a progressive pony will come and save them.

gqmartinez's picture
Submitted by gqmartinez on

They are going to jump on the liberal bandwagon and fuck it up like they did the progressive bandwagon. None of the big blogger boiz should be leading in the liberal revolution. None of them. They were and still are a massive FAIL.

madamab's picture
Submitted by madamab on

We can give them credit when they're right, but they have shown us they can't be trusted to lead a sci-fi geek to a showing of Avatar.

When people show you who they are, BELIEVE THEM. (I think Maya Angelou said that.) They don't deserve a million billion second chances just because they label themselves "progressive." And neither does Obama.

I won't dance; don't ask me.

gqmartinez's picture
Submitted by gqmartinez on

I've been trying to push back on the praise of Dean and I appreciate the better effort to do so by vastleft. Dean is an integral part of the current state, he was a bait and switcher extradionaire. Even if it was him being duped (as opposed to deliberate deceit), he should still be disqualified. (Not to mention his role in the sham 2008 primary.)

I'm also weary of tapping too much into the anger, as advocated by jumpjet. Anger clouds judgment and will leave us prone to easy manipulation by someone like Dean. Been there done that with Dean so perhaps that adds some perspective.

Submitted by lambert on

... you can be angry about real stuff, as opposed to fake and designed-to-distract stuff. Take the first step;

1. We admitted that we were powerless over the Democratic Party, that our lives had become unmanageable. ...

Hmm. Post here, and maybe even an organizing principle...

gqmartinez's picture
Submitted by gqmartinez on

that makes me so distrustful of using anger as a driving force for action.

Anger can be used, against reason, to justify immoral retribution (part of why, say, there will probably not be a resolution to Israel-Palestine in my lifetime). Emotion clouds judgment and can lead to bad, often unjust outcomes. Furthermore, resorting to anger, to me, seems like treating people as incapable of reasoned and deliberated actions. In effect, it dehumanizes people. This might why so many politicians resort to lies and distortions. they believe so much that they are right and need to lie to people "for their own good".

madamab's picture
Submitted by madamab on

I am not big on philosophy, but in the one class I took in college, Kant was the most appealing philosopher we studied.

I guess my process is this:

1) Get angry enough to do something.
2) Let the anger go and figure out what to do.
3) Action!

That second step is very important for me.

madamab's picture
Submitted by madamab on

please check this out. I don't know whether to laugh or cry!

House Democrats insisted Tuesday they have no plans to roll over for the Senate in upcoming negotiations on a health reform bill, even as they acknowledged it would be all but impossible to reinsert a public insurance option or force the so-called millionaire's tax on the Senate.

Either move would disrupt Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid’s no-margin-for-error 60-vote majority. But House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and her leadership team seem to have their sights set on lower-profile - but no-less important differences, like boosting affordability credits in the final bill and starting the insurance exchange a year earlier, which they did in the House.

On a conference call Tuesday, Pelosi (D-Calif.) walked the party's leadership team through differences in the two bills.

Other differences the speaker mentioned Tuesday include: replacing the Senate's state-run exchanges with a national exchange established under the House bill, adding tougher mandates to make sure everyone secures health coverage and closing a gap in prescription-drug coverage next year. Senate negotiators have agreed to close the so-called doughnut hole, but they haven't agreed on a time to implement those changes.

Did you hear the words "Stupak" or "Nelson" in there?

Neither did I.