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Popcorn Deux - Electric Boogaloo!

okanogen's picture

Hamsher's "Gonna Shake that Primarez/Man Right Outta My Hair", "My Blog Traffic Es Mas Macho Que Sus" Edition:

"We’re witnessing a deeply emotional response to that kind of critique among those who support party or a personality first.

And the rationalizations necessary to justify that allegiance in the wake of the extreme corporatist assault on government represented by the health care bill sounds an odd note in the liberal blogosphere, which came of age developing an internal narrative in direct opposition to that (as Armando points out).

While I’m delighted with the new visitors and the vibrant conversation that’s happening at FDL, we’re not doing anything different than we’ve always done. As people emerge from the primary haze, they’re finding we’re right where we’ve always been – fighting for a progressive agenda regardless of who is in power."


And it's all about the emotions. Poor things, just can't seem to reason!

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vastleft's picture
Submitted by vastleft on

Through an untransparent and little-explored process, a few popular personalities (including Jane Hamsher — as well as Howard Dean and Chris Bowers) were enlisted as promoters for an obviously poor policy.

On the strength of their reputations and personal connections, that policy almost fully replaced more legitimate policy alternatives in "progressive" discourse.

So, it's rather ironic to hear Jane decrying the politics of personality and claiming policy acumen.

okanogen's picture
Submitted by okanogen on

"...over the last six months, when the number of people engaged in online politics on the left have dropped and most of the big blogs have either seen traffic flatline or decrease year-over-year, ours is up by 40%."

Her foremost goal is still achieved!

Submitted by Anne on

And frankly, there just wasn’t much difference between the leading Democratic candidates when it came to issues. The voting records of Clinton and Obama were almost identical, and although Edwards voiced more concern over the issue of poverty, it was hard to know if he represented a real difference or just a slightly modified marketing campaign.

Really? Not much difference?

You'd think someone who can't stop patting herself on the back for being so smart and prescient might have taken the time to look beyond what Candidate Me-Too! was saying, and how he was being marketed, and might have questioned whether there was a real commitment to issues over and above his easily-identified commitment to winning. What I saw was someone who, once he won whatever it was he was running for, quickly lost interest and bullshitted his way to the next contest. Her disingenuousness is stunning.

I also have a bit of difficulty understanding how Jane could be so self-congratulatory about FDL's efforts on behalf of health care reform, when one aspect of it was completely embargoed from the conversation - and as we all know, it was because SHE decided it was not feasible politically. I wonder if she ever asks herself what the effect would have been had she gotten FDL behind single-payer, lobbied to get single-payer advocates into hearings, sounded the clarion call on whatever media outlets would have her, BEFORE taking the conciliatory fallback position on "the public option." Her reaction to the comments in the Tasini fundraiser were perhaps a little more revealing of the real Jane than she might have liked; she may claim to be a long-time sinlge payer supporter, but if that's the case, what happened to it after that fundraiser? Anyone seen any signs of it? Anyone? Bueller?

She's right that you have to go to the people who actually have the power to change things, but I still do not understand why it was such a brave and wonderful thing for her to have accepted that she could not change those people with forceful single-payer advocacy. Jesus, any fool can set the bar low enough that it can be stepped over - where's the courage in that?

I really, really just need to stop reading her; she may be tickled pink to have a booming blog, but I don't trust her motives and I don't trust her tactics. There's a reason for the general obsequiousness in the comments there, and it's because she can rip people's heads off, chew them up and spit them out in a heartbeat if she doesn't like what you've said, and no one wants to get the Jane treatment.

It's obvious why the post was written: she's being beaten up in parts of the blogosphere and her counter to it is that if she's so wrong, how can she and her FDL empire be so much more popular now than ever before? So much bigger, so much better, so much more traffic? It totally avoids discussing whether her positions and methods are the right ones, and instead veers over into psychobabble, wherein she divides people into issues v. personality, claims issues as her high ground, and dismisses everyone else. Does she read her own comments sections?

Jesus Christ on a crutch.

Sorry for the rant.

Valhalla's picture
Submitted by Valhalla on

the personality-driven dynamics at FDL are basically creepy and Jane's high-road claims rather disingenuous. It's such a horrible shame, since her personality-driven driven methodology is such a giant opportunity cost. It's easiest to see with SP, but I have to wonder about other issues, too.

selise's picture
Submitted by selise on

click my link that thread?

Submitted by hipparchia on

ouch. yes, the allegation that someone who disagrees with you, on anything, is still fighting the primary warz is a handy club with which to bash them, isn't it? there's just no way to refute such a charge.

vastleft's picture
Submitted by vastleft on

They were decided, with no dissent being brooked, it's hard to square why considering them an unfinished topic represents a "charge."

Being a party to the process that forced this neo-con down our throats is more of a charge in my book.

It's like when someone is "accused" of being a homosexual or a Muslim. S/he may or may not be one, but I wouldn't consider it a "charge."

selise's picture
Submitted by selise on

especially strange because i don't think i fought the primary wars (i tried to avoid them). and i certainly never supported senator clinton (sorry, can't stand bill clinton and so long as he was on the team, that was a no go) or obama or edwards for that matter. although i did plan to vote for obama in the general until the fisa lie (followed by biden and econ team concerns) -- then that was a no go too. which was all pretty clear from my comments at fdl at the time (there are very few politicians i can tolerate, let alone like). even confessed to having cast a protest vote for nader. so i have no idea where that accusation came from.

the whole thing is so strange. especially today's thread, it just doesn't fit with the historical (including very recent) context as i know it. oh well, there's lots of stuff i don't understand. no biggie.

p.s. hipp, you are very kind (about the link clicking thing).

Valhalla's picture
Submitted by Valhalla on

and it's the same mechanism underlying McCarthyism; it is entirely irrelevant whether it applies in any particular case. It's made in all cases that question the party line (or Jane's line, in the case of FDL). It would have been leveled at you even if you had wholeheartedly supported Obama.

eta: United States of Amnesia! lol, excellent.

Submitted by Anne on

Jane's re-writing history, and from what I've seen in the comments, there is a large group quite willing to go along with it. The question is, why? Why is there so little challenge to what's in that post? I honestly don't see the difference between blindly accepting what the mainstream says, and blindly accepting everything Jane's fingers tap out on her keyboard. But the message has gone out across the FDL land, and thus is it so.

But then, the WH is re-writing history on its "efforts" on the health care front; if you didn't know better, and know more, you would think this proposed legislation IS the greatest thing since sliced bread.

For me, it isn't that I'm stuck on the primaries; it's that I'm stuck on what the primaries revealed about the Democratic party. I'm sure part of that is because I'm a woman - I was appalled at the rank misogyny that showed itself, much of it with the tacit permission of a candidate who purported to be "progressive." I mean, what the hell?

And this "New" Democratic Party seems to be quite okay with how things turned out, doesn't seem to be troubled by how it all played out - will be, sadly, quite ready and willing to do it all over again, I'm sure. What I'm not sure about is if I can continue to be part of it - especially since they don't seem to want people like me, people who aren't willing to sit down and shut up, who remind them what Democrats used to be about. If they don't want me, I'm not inclined to stick around and be part of it anymore. Maybe locally, but I think the national aspect is just over for me.

I didn't vote for anyone for president; I could not bring myself to hold my nose and vote for Obama, and McCain was never an option. I started out as an Edwards supporter, and never in a million years thought I would come to be a Hillary supporter. It happened as I found myself coming to her defense with facts on a couple of blogs that were rife with Hillary-hate. And I knew Obama was a poseur from the get-go, hollow at the core and only about winning. Not the work, mind you, just the winning.

Oh, well - happy new year, and here's to a better year, the start of a better decade, and health, peace and prosperity to you and yours.

vastleft's picture
Submitted by vastleft on

The "charge" of being primary-fixated should be leveled at you of all people. (I haven't caught up with the linked item, but I gather that's what happened.)

selise's picture
Submitted by selise on

you gather correctly. and just recently too.

Submitted by hipparchia on

i like the 'united states of amnesia' too. and your links have always repaid my clicking.

now that jane's been on national tv a lot and gotten some notoriety for teaming up with grover norquist and so on, the audience that's reading fdl has changed in character as well as grown in size and needs to establish for them the image she wants them to have of her and her blog. she also needs to establish for this new audience the image she wants them to have of anybody who disagrees with her. hence her re-writing of history.

along with that she has to purge [or demonize, or beat back into submission] people like you who have some standing and support in the former fdl community and whose disagreements with her might somehow make her look bad in front of her new audience. might hurt her progressive cred if, for instance, longtime members of the community keep after her for her lack of support for truly progressive causes like single payer.

selise's picture
Submitted by selise on

edit to remove link. my bad (will claim lack of sleep. but really, some days i'm just extra stupid).

p.s. "united states of amnesia" isn't mine. h/t goes to gore vidal.

Submitted by Anne on

that still just blows me away:

You know, I keep saying I’m going to do some single payer organizing, but the problem always is — how do I keep people like this at bay? They won’t actually do any work, and are content to wallow in failure and victimhood. They are a cancer inside any effort and everyone who has ever tried to organize meaningfully for single payer has always said the same thing — it’s impossible. The people who support it the most are the ones who doom it to failure.

So if you’d like me to do something on single payer, let me know how to organize it so that the people who like to spend their time irritating everyone else and don’t do anything anyway will stay away. Because that’s always been my stumbling block.

This is why she can't actually do anything on single-payer? Because the people who support it the most are the ones that doom it to failure? Wow, that's some kind of logic - I wonder how the good folks at PNHP would respond to that?


Submitted by lambert on

... was fire Jason Rosenbaum and ask PNHP in. Voila, instant credibility! But n-o-o-o-o-o!

I mean, I know this is Versailles, so trusting or not trusting isn't an issue... But if it were an issue, who on earth would trust her?

Submitted by libbyliberal on

message to Ms. Hamsher: It is easier to see a flea on someone else, than an elephant (or maybe, donkey) on yourself!

I think Obama's cold-shouldering of the left, is parallel to the cold-shouldering by Jane and her pragmatic progressives of the true left.

Though I also thought Jane pulled a Ralph Nader by willfully presuming to take the path of public option when there was a serious and long-term movement for single payer. This is ironic, considering how anti-Nader she is, but they both presume with huge wills. (I trust Nader's instincts more).

There is a vast difference between having a political imagination and a moral imagination. Working with intuition and insight with the heart of a reformer. Jane's focus on public option reminded me of Alec Guinness' character in Bridge on the River Kwai. Guinness lost sight of what the enemy was doing in his morale-building construction of the bridge. Like Guinness, losing touch with the grander picture. The real prize, universal health care. Public option was used as a token and TEMPORARY marker to pacify and buy time as all the secret collusion went down. The bastids.

Losing the public option could have been what Obama calls a teachable moment for Jane and crew. And it was a genuine opening to reunite the left. But it would take a strong, ego under control, leader to accomplish this. She missed a moment of potential ... well... greatness and effectiveness if she could have made the reach and connection. And without the public option existing at all... well... why not choose principles above "projected" personalities. But humble reality check and acknowledgment had to be made. To scapegoat the very group that was astute enough not to give away the store--to demand the mega-corps NOT be part of the party, who recognized they are obsolescent but profiteering lowly vendors-- is denial and disrespectfully crazymaking.

Many at FDL can't acknowledge public option betrayals as trailing back to them. oy vey... And the faux-softer to left but still corporate media, of course, offered the spotlight to public option advocates ... it was as substantial as cotton candy ... how cruel that the corporatists wouldn't even let a wisp of it remain.

btw, demonizing Nader and hard lefters doesn't seem a pragmatic, political or morally wise decision ... and to fling such insulting generalizations against single payer people and labelling Naderites as cultists was stunning and so divisive -- not nurturing leadership. My way or the highway, patriarchal brittleness. That means power and competition prevails, not cooperation and partnership. We need a humanist paradigm shift, which means not patriarchal "we're okay and you're not" exceptionalism. Jane has guts. She can network brilliantly when she is not cruelly anti-networking. Too bad she is so intolerant for the moralists of the left.

This blog of Jane's seems based on one recently by Greenwald. From Glenn it is easy to take. Coming from Jane as said above serious re-writing of history. Glenn seems so astute but doesn't seem to call out Jane or FDL on public option destructiveness. Unless I missed it.

My IMHO 2 cents.

Submitted by libbyliberal on


I appreciated catching up on these fdl threads and your message really meant a lot. Your quiet and strong delivery of truth to power. FDL needs the voice of conscience and you provide that role. That maturity. There and here and wherever you roam. :)

there is a queen-bee dynamic going on with Jane. Maybe something similar in a way with Obama. And like Obama she has become a "brand" which has that powerful momentum of celebrity for leadership.

I am grateful she wants to kill the bill. More power to her on that one and to FDL. How surreal and crazymaking she cold-shoulders the single payers who also want that before she got there. Reach to Grover but not to single payers? WTF? Same way Obama willing to tap dance for Repubs for coalition but has irrational contempt for progressives.

I can't out of my own principles re-join FDL though I got so much from it as a forum -- though reading comments of the mature ones over there like you and a few others pulls at me and makes me respect you all, miss you and them, and enjoy your consciousness raising which I am grateful for from there in my recent history (and find so much of here now at corrente and new places such as john in sacramento's sacramento for democracy .... etc.)

But the inappropriate, irrational disrespect that Jane has lashed out with on a one-on-one basis on commenting on threads, or in her harsh generalizations in blogs, I maintain should not be minimized. I cannot minimize, that is, without some reckoning of exploration and explanation with her thereafter. And she does not have that "ability to respond" or "responsibility" re her own verbal recklessness.

Tolerance and respect for a continuum of ideas and temperaments is for me a vital ingredient for a resilient leader, and it sadly appears not to be there with JH, frustratingly since there are such other strengths, and that is dangerous and will lead to tribalism or clannishness and authoritarian-following-ness. Not an invitation to "walk with me" but to "enter my thrall". Jane is astute in many ways, but seems to be missing that dimension of emotional intelligence. Or the ego capacity to be contradicted. Communication should be like tough leather, not peanut brittle. Tough love. I read somewhere, "Love without honesty is sentimentality, and honesty without love is brutality." I guess I am using the word "love" here as basic good will and respect to another individual.

The devil is in the details, and in this case the detail is in the personal ..I think of that old adage about how you can tell the essence of a person by how they speak to a waiter, whether they share an umbrella in the rain, or how serenely they untangle Christmas tree bulbs. Now all of us can be stressed out to behave in a jerk-like way. We all have higher and lower selves. But we have to determine if one is being a "situational" jerk -- extenuating stress making us behave out of character. Or are we "generic" jerks ... this is a consistent part of our behavior. A lazy and toxic defense mechanism that shows an undisciplined heart.

Leadership is a massive responsibility. Hard to cover all the bases. The base I want Jane to cover, apparently is not a vital one to her or others. So be it. And as for me, I am sure the stress of such leadership would bring out my own ego-driven jerkiness at times .. probably many. My perfectionism. I think that perfectionism haunts Obama and Jane. I am sure most ambitious leaders. And they project onto the messengers instead of dealing.

Once again, I appreciate the slogan of the 12-step community, "principle above personality".

So glad you reached back, selise, and shared those threads and your strong voice. So appreciated. This has helped me get in further touch with my own values. Thanks for being a catalyst! :)

Happy new year, selise!

selise's picture
Submitted by selise on

libby, you are so kind. i'm afraid there is no way i will ever live up to the nice things you write. but you make me want to try.

btw, i think i felt compelled to ask jane out of my own wishes for some positive resolution -- instead of continued bullying or, as now seems the case, a rewriting of recent history. even if no one wanted to return, if jane did welcome people back it would would be a hopeful sign to me of a progressive orientation to organizing.

anyway... on to happier thoughts...

loved loved loved this bit especially:

I read somewhere, "Love without honesty is sentimentality, and honesty without love is brutality." I guess I am using the word "love" here as basic good will and respect to another individual.

a very good thought to start the new year with. thank you!

and happy new year to you too libby!