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Politico's theory: Liberal bloggers don't care if Dems sustain large losses this fall

I'm probably a sucker for biting on this attack on the liberal blogosphere from Poiltico top-dog editors John Harris and Jim VandeHei, but this is so divorced from reality that it really shouldn't go unanswered:

The liberal blogosphere grew in response to Bush. But it is still a movement marked by immaturity and impetuousness -- unaccustomed to its own side holding power and the responsibilities and choices that come with that.

So many liberals seem shocked and dismayed that Obama is governing as a self-protective politician first and a liberal second, even though that is also how he campaigned. The liberal blogs cheer the fact that Stan McCrystal's scalp has been replaced with David Petreaus's, even though both men are equally hawkish on Afghanistan, but barely clapped for the passage of health care. They treat the firing of a blogger from the Washington Post as an event of historic significance, while largely averting their gaze from the fact that major losses for Democrats in the fall elections would virtually kill hopes for progressive legislation over the next couple years.

In private conversations, White House officials are contemptuous of what they see as liberal lamentations unhinged from historical context or contemporary political realities.

I'm no blog triumphalist, and some of the debate about Weigel was overblown, but the claim about blogospheric indifference to the midterms is just laughably false. The liberal blogs I read have spent months now engaged in deep debate about the midterm elections, the best ways to limit losses, and what the consequence for the progressive agenda will be if Dems don't figure out how to pull themselves out of their doldrums.

Indeed, amusingly enough, the very argument VandeHarris are criticizing liberal blogs for making -- that the White House has remained captive to a Beltway culture that fetishizes bipartisanship and has failed to seize this historical moment's potential to dramatically expand the boundaries of what's politically possible -- has been central to the liberal bloggers' debate about this fall's elections.

It's one thing to criticize liberal bloggers for having unrealistic expectations, given whatever we're supposed to agree represents "reality" in Washington. I don't happen to agree with that argument. Many liberal bloggers are advocates and activists. They are supposed to push the White House and Dems in a more liberal direction, even if it doesn't always pay off. That's their function as they've defined it. But reasonable people can disagree about how realistic the liberal blogosphere's expectations have been.

However, to make the argument that liberal bloggers have their heads in the sand about Dem losses this fall is just flat out false. All VandeHarris are revealing is that they don't regularly read liberal blogs -- and that they know they can count on the fact that the Beltway insiders who will snicker knowingly about this article don't read liberal blogs either. And that's fine: Don't read them! But please don't make stuff up about them and call it journalism.

As for the anonymous White House attack, I'm not biting on that one, and I hope others also refrain from doing so.

By Greg Sargent  |  July 15, 2010; 9:59 AM ET
Categories:  2010 elections , House Dems , Political media , Senate Dems  
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Next: GOP strategist: FinReg easy to attack because bill is "so complicated"

Comments

This is OT, but imho, this is by far the biggest story of the week. By far. Nothing comes even close. Not the oil spill, not jobs, nothing comes even close.

Basically, the GOP is admitting that they are playing American public for fools. The giveaway was by John Feehery, GOP strategist.

Check this out:

"This bill, in the minds of most Americans, is just a big amoeba," said John Feehery, a Washington-based GOP strategist. "Because this bill is so complicated, it makes it easier for Republicans to oppose it, and by opposing it, call it a job killer."

...but the sentiment is also summarized by this narrative in the same story by the AP:

"The GOP is betting that the bill's ambitious goals will be lost on voters and instead feed an election-year narrative that Democrats stand for bigger, more intrusive government."

http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20100714/ap_on_bi_ge/us_financial_overhaul

IT'S SO COMPLICATED, IT MAKES IT EASIER FOR REPUBLICANS TO OPPOSE IT.

This is the first time I've seen them admit that they don't even care what's in the legislation. It doesn't even matter what's in the bill. The GOP is playing America for fools, lying to the American people about jobs for political gain and nothing more, and they are so arrogant that they are fine with letting the world know that THIS cynical, devious, destructive path that they have chosen bears NO REGARD WHATSOEVER to substance and facts. It is SICKENING.

This story MUST be covered in depth by the media.

MUST.

Greg? Anyone? Thoughts?

Posted by: Ethan2010 | July 15, 2010 10:18 AM | Report abuse

I actually agree with their larger point -- the liberal blogosphere is wasting a chance at having a meaningful impact on the beltway narrative, and Democratic politics, by their constant, and increasingly boring, screeching moralizing and their failure to move beyond the echo chamber of writing about what each other has written. And writing sneeringly about people outside the tightly-knit group that may have something heretic to say about the liberal blogosphere.

You say "All VandeHarris are revealing is that they don't regularly read liberal blogs" but that's exactly my point. Please explain why they SHOULD read liberal blogs. Please explain why anyone should read liberal blogs. There's really nothing very interesting or newsworthy there. Another screed, another high-horse outrage, another day.

Who should they be reading, really? That's a serious question.

Posted by: TomBlue | July 15, 2010 10:19 AM | Report abuse

"The liberal blogs I read have spent months now engaged in deep debate about the midterm elections, the best ways to limit losses, and what the consequence for the progressive agenda will be if Dems don't figure out how to pull themselves out of their doldrums. "

IDK. Go read openleft, firedoglake, huffingtonpost. It's bash Obama all day long every day and the drum beat never ceases. He's the leader of the party and is the most trusted Democratic leader according to all polling. If you pull down the leader with the base, who's left?

Pushing for a more progressive agenda and bashing the President for clicks or trying to make yourself feel like a liberal hero aren't the same thing. Unfortunately, spectacular headlines to drive traffic have taken the place of even handed analysis.

Posted by: mikefromArlington | July 15, 2010 10:24 AM | Report abuse

Sucker. ;-)

Posted by: hfl2001 | July 15, 2010 10:30 AM | Report abuse

@TomBlue - reading your post above and the prior one and the generalized dissatisfaction you express just what sort of political analysis or commentary you might find useful. Could you give me examples of where you turn for analysis/commentary that is useful or educative or whatever term might fit your criteria?

Posted by: bernielatham | July 15, 2010 10:35 AM | Report abuse

sorry, bad edit.... "express, it is difficult to discern just what..."

Posted by: bernielatham | July 15, 2010 10:36 AM | Report abuse

dunno Mike, that strikes me as a pretty serious over-generalization...

Posted by: Greg Sargent | July 15, 2010 10:37 AM | Report abuse

I felt that things were coming to a head and they are. Contrary to my earlier predictions I see a dramatic losses for the Democrats in November. The Democratic Establishment is already laying the groundwork to blame this on Liberals and Progressives. That portends an even deeper shift to the Right for the Democratic Party. Whether any of this is desirable (clearly I think not) is irrelevant because it appears inevitable.

I have two words for Liberals and Progressives: Third Party. If that happens I will be interested and motivated. The current Democratic Party, however, has lost my trust and my support.

Posted by: wbgonne | July 15, 2010 10:38 AM | Report abuse

@Greg - good post, good target

Posted by: bernielatham | July 15, 2010 10:39 AM | Report abuse

This headline from TPM provided my morning laugh.

"Minuteman Founder: Ex-Minuteman Bounty Hunter Chased Me After He Slept With My Wife"

Most women do tend to desire more than A Minute Man!

Have a good day all.

Posted by: Liam-still | July 15, 2010 10:42 AM | Report abuse

thanks, Bernie, also like the way you asked Tom for actual facts.

and wbgonne, that is a deeply disconcerting thought. And a good reason for you not to retire from blogging..

Posted by: Greg Sargent | July 15, 2010 10:42 AM | Report abuse

@wbgonne - in that direction lies wcomeback

Posted by: bernielatham | July 15, 2010 10:43 AM | Report abuse

Hi Liam! Have a good day.

Posted by: bernielatham | July 15, 2010 10:45 AM | Report abuse

The Republican Party ADMITS -- to the Associated MF-ing PRESS -- that their strategy this fall is to lie to the American public...

...AND NOBODY F-ING CARES!

Posted by: Ethan2010 | July 15, 2010 10:46 AM | Report abuse

@MikeFromArlington

"IDK. Go read openleft, firedoglake, huffingtonpost. It's bash Obama all day long every day and the drum beat never ceases."

Why stop at those?

The DailyKos rec list is almost always half-full of Obama-bashing diaries at this point. The other half are "meta" whining about how you're either an Obama-hater or an Obamabot.

Even TPM had the headline "Dems give up on Economy after weeks of GOP Obstruction" on their front page yesterday and part of today. Misleading and hyperbolic from what used to be one of the best news outlets on the net.

MyDD's Jerome Armstrong constantly talks about a freain' Primary Challenge to Obama in 2012 -- talk about going around the bend.

Seriously, the only two liberal sites that I've seen any sort of consistant, reality based form of both support and constructive criticism: BooMan Tribute, and The Field.

Posted by: TheBBQChickenMadness | July 15, 2010 10:53 AM | Report abuse

Ethan, I agree that's an interesting admission...good catch.

Posted by: Greg Sargent | July 15, 2010 10:55 AM | Report abuse

@TomBlue
I have to run now but I'm hoping you'll address my question to you. I'll come back to check. I can't make sense of your complaint nor find it convincing unless you present some standard met elsewhere.

Posted by: bernielatham | July 15, 2010 10:56 AM | Report abuse

TomBlue

Please let all of us ignorant liberals know exactly which liberal blogs you find worthy of your consideration. You have dismissed most of the blogs I read regularly, and I tend to agree with much the criticisms of Obama as a center-right corporatist. Obviously I don't meet your intellectual standards.

Posted by: msmollyg | July 15, 2010 11:02 AM | Report abuse

@bernie,
sorry, I'm at work and can't post very often. I didn't mean to throw a bomb and then leave. I read Greg of course, Andrew Sullivan, Jonathan Bernstein, Peter Baker and David H. at NYT for WH and Congress, AFP for hard news, TPM for general Dem news, CJR, I read Frum and Bartlett for some sanity on the other side, Huffington Post for the skin and gossip (hides face in shame) NYT for general American news, and NYTRB, per your recommendation, for the good stuff. That's pretty much daily -- but there's a lot of links in there that make up the rest of the readings. I've just simply stopped reading most of the liberal blogs, because, well, for the reasons I laid out. They are boring, with nothing new to say, stale. Just screaming, footstomping, head-exploding outrage at any and every little slight.

Posted by: TomBlue | July 15, 2010 11:04 AM | Report abuse

@msmolly,
You don't need to meet my standards. It's just exactly that kind of little snit that I'm talking about, childish, immature, boring. Grow up.

Posted by: TomBlue | July 15, 2010 11:06 AM | Report abuse

@wbgonne

"The Democratic Establishment is already laying the groundwork to blame this on Liberals and Progressives."

I've seen nothing beyond the standard hippie-punching we normally see from DC. Maybe a little less, in fact. I'm not seeing any "groundwork" being laid. To do that, they'd have to start arguing that Dems have done "too much" or "overreached". Even the GOP has stepped back from that argument because they know that inherently people want government to take action right now.

What "groundwork" to you see being laid, exactly? Because I haven't heard anything beyond the minor/normal Lincoln and Nelson griping about liberals.

"I have two words for Liberals and Progressives: Third Party...The current Democratic Party, however, has lost my trust and my support."

In that case, you've done exactly what the GOP has been pushing you to do for the last 18 months. That's been their plan behind obstruction this whole time, as noted on this blog and many others.

No, the GOP is swinging wildly. There's a reason they are obstructing at unprecedented levels...they have nothing left. They are painted into a corner, so their only hope is to do what they can and the hope Dems fracture.

But the problem is that they are a hair away from fracturing themselves. They are embracing the craziest of the crazy just to keep it from happening. You think the GOP establishment wants to back Angle, or Paul? Of course not...but they have no choice. They are in a corner, and they know if they don't embrace the extreme right-wing, they'll break off (like you are threatening to do). They'll start voting libertarian or tea-party, and the GOP won't be able to win anything ever again.

You're seeing the GOP throwing the kitchen sink, from their foreclosed home. They are "this" close to breaking apart, and that's why they are pulling out all the stops -- they know if they fail, it's the end of the Republican party as we know it.

Lots of individual Dems suck. But the entire GOP is bad for this country right now...purposefully. Don't let them get away with it.

Posted by: TheBBQChickenMadness | July 15, 2010 11:10 AM | Report abuse

A step back, perhaps: liberal bloggers (and conservative bloggers and unbloggers and people who can't even spell blog) absolutely care about this fall's elections. Why else would citizens be pushing so hard for fair election reform? For lobbying disclosure?

Look at what the CT 2nd Circuit did earlier this week: http://bit.ly/c3RkHq and tell me that people all over don't care.

Posted by: Nikki4CC | July 15, 2010 11:19 AM | Report abuse

Good post Greg. Your point about pulling the WH and the Dems to the left where it's most needed is a salient point and one that ought not get shuffled out of the larger argument.

But THIS argument, as you paraphrase Politico -- "that the White House has remained captive to a Beltway culture that fetishizes bipartisanship and has failed to seize this historical moment's potential to dramatically expand the boundaries of what's politically possible" -- is both accurate and inaccurate. The WH has failed in some respects but succeeded in many others. The PROBLEM is not that this is or isn't lamentable (it was bound to happen) but that we have a national political discourse, enabled by the very media Politico represents, that has made THIS the issue rather than the consequences of a broken system.

We argue about the optics and not root causes and ignore the consequences of not having an opposition party that believes government is a legitimate force in our society.

Posted by: BGinCHI | July 15, 2010 11:19 AM | Report abuse

I recall the 2006 mid term elections.

I spent more money on political contributions than ever before (or since). Mainly through ActBlue candidates who would appear on FireDogLake on Tuesdays or Saturdays to talk about their campaigns.

Howard Dean was running a 50-state campaign for the Democratic party. It exceeded expectations.

What was Rahm Emmanuel doing then? He was working to recruit DINOs. After the successful results, he loudly claimed credit (with helpful messaging supplied by the notoriously liberal WaPo, of course).

http://downwithtyranny.blogspot.com/2008/01/so-which-house-democrats-did-rahm.html

I have a question for you,

Posted by: TomBlue | July 15, 2010 10:19 AM

Are you seriously going to claim that liberals are insignificant and boring, but also blame them for the Democratic Party's vulnerable position going into 2010?

How is this argument any more logical than Republican claims that Obama is a wimpy terrorist appeaser, but also a fearsome Socialist/Islamofascist?

You can't have it both ways...remember the floor wax that is also a delicious dessert topping was a Saturday Night Live joke, not a real product.
~

Posted by: ifthethunderdontgetya | July 15, 2010 11:19 AM | Report abuse

"You don't need to meet my standards. It's just exactly that kind of little snit that I'm talking about, childish, immature, boring. Grow up."

Now THAT'S a reasoned and mature response. Because I disagree with you, I am childish, immature and boring. Thanks for clarifying. This discussion is not worth continuing. I will go read one of the other blogs you sneer at.

Posted by: msmollyg | July 15, 2010 11:19 AM | Report abuse

"So many liberals seem shocked and dismayed that Obama is governing as a self-protective politician first and a liberal second, even though that is also how he campaigned."

What's even more shocking is that most conservatives don't realize Obama is governing as a self-protective politician first and liberal second, even though that is how he campaigned.

They think he's a socialist when he's so centrist it hurts. Republicans did not hold Bush's feet to the fire when he failed to do all those things he led conservatives to believe he would do. Liberals might be awkward about it, but they expect Obama to be a liberal, not a centrist.

Posted by: arancia12 | July 15, 2010 11:21 AM | Report abuse

And Ethan, that's a good catch and a major point.

But who's ready to point out that the emperor GOP has no clothes?

It would ruin the horse race for the lazy journos.

Posted by: BGinCHI | July 15, 2010 11:21 AM | Report abuse

Thank you Greg.

It's not even so much the lying. We KNEW that.

It's the admission that the Republican Party thinks the American people are TOO STUPID TO UNDERSTAND FINREG.

They may be right.

But that's why you EXPLAIN it to them and tell them what is good and what is not good in your opinion. You don't fricking LIE and say whatever is in YOUR best interest (wahhh job killer)!

If the MSM isn't smart enough to dig into this story, then whatever, politics, America, the public good, NONE OF IT MATTERS.

Here's the link to the article again if anyone missed my first post:

http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20100714/ap_on_bi_ge/us_financial_overhaul

Here's my version of the headline:

* GOP: We Will Lie About FinReg Because Americans Don't Understand It *

Posted by: Ethan2010 | July 15, 2010 11:22 AM | Report abuse

Greg: Politico is predictable and the Allen-Harris-Hei triple are really good at blowing smoke. Allen is shameless in his pandering to the WH and the GOP leadership.

As for the Beltway I can understand their anger at the progessives. They have had to put up with the contempt that has been poured, with scorn, on the "lamestream" media. One tidbit: have you noticed Chris Matthews routine in recent days: he's going after the GOPpers and Limboff.

Posted by: bitterpill8 | July 15, 2010 11:28 AM | Report abuse

@tb: A waste of 1's and 0's. Listening to Politico about influencing villager pundits is like trying to meet people by looking in the mirror. Most of politico's reporting is a diary of villager conventional "wisdom".

I don't have time to do chapter and verse on how wrong you are about Klein, Atrios, Benin, etc. but most of the liberal blogosphere is firmly inside the reality based community, as opposed to say Politico which orbits the village taking snapshots and calling it "news".

Greenwald is shrill because he won't allow the fact that WE LET TORTURERS, NOT ONLY WALK AMONG US, BUT ARE QUOTED IN THE VILLAGE MEDIA WORLD. We didn't even get a truth and reconciliation commission to shame those monsters into silence. This would be the great shame of the US in this century, if not for the even more vile Iraq debacle and the undersourcing of the Afghan invasion.

Atrios is allowed to sneer since HE WAS RIGHT ABOUT THE HOUSING COLLAPSE, THE FINANCIAL MELTDOWN, THE IRAQ WAR, ETC MONTHS OR EVEN SOMETIMES YEARS BEFORE THESE ISSUES WERE DISCUSSED CRITICALLY BY VILLAGERS. Look for the first uses of the "the big sh*tpile" to see how far ahead of the curve he was at the time.

Digby continues to be one of the most insightful commenters on the web. You must not read her much if you think that she is "stale."

If washington elites and congresscritters aren't influenced by ACTUAL REPORTING AND ANALYSIS THAT IS NOT A VILLAGE CIRCLEJERK, it is their own stupidity that keeps them willfully blind.

Posted by: srw3 | July 15, 2010 11:29 AM | Report abuse

"Have the "progressives" distaste for Obama so overwhelmed the internet that this is now the dominant meme, infecting even more mainstream democratic blogs like this? If so, that cynicism will become a self-fulfilling prophecy for a November loss."

From my comment at yesterday's "Happy Hour" post. It doesn't take Politico, or any genius, to see exactly what's happening. Those who support this whiney nonsense by abandoning Obama, or calling for the creation of a third party, will live to regret it. You thought W was bad? Think harder.

Posted by: converse | July 15, 2010 11:31 AM | Report abuse

The Left is tired. The only ideas are more government and more defecit spending. The majority of Americans don't want to listen to what the left has to say. They have missed the boat completely with voters. The Democrats are SOLELY responsible for the Health Care Bill and the other big ticket items. They will receive the voters verdict in November.

Posted by: bobbo2 | July 15, 2010 11:33 AM | Report abuse

Sorry Greg, but I will bite.

Yes it is anonymous. But I am yet to figure out why people in the WH continue to take shots at the very people that could provide them with reams of support. Instead, they continue to give folks like Politico blind quotes instead of being willing to "say it to our face". They are scared, petulant, and incompetent. The fact that they continue to try to blame the blogosphere for the failures just reinforces that.

What a waste of an opportunity...and excuse my french, forget Rahm and friends and the political blindness. I wish they would go run for mayor or something.

Had to get that off my chest.

Posted by: justmy2 | July 15, 2010 11:38 AM | Report abuse

@ TomBlue:
You said:
"You say "All VandeHarris are revealing is that they don't regularly read liberal blogs" but that's exactly my point. Please explain why they SHOULD read liberal blogs."

If Vandeharris are going to write an article in which they characterize liberal blogs as not caring about losses, then they certainly SHOULD read liberal blogs. Don't you think?

That's fine if they don't want to read them. Just don't write an article about them then.

Posted by: ashotinthedark | July 15, 2010 11:39 AM | Report abuse

This sure is frustrating. I read all the blogs that Tom mentioned as being worthy plus all the ones he finds boring. I tend to stay away from reading too many comments because they are so high strung from almost everywhere. Although I admit to reading comments at Sarah's facebook page, very interesting.

Basically, I want the Dems to be better at what they're trying to accomplish, because I believe it's in their interest electorally and also in the best interest of the country. It's the reason I am critical sometimes. If we weren't having this discussion I'd be mentioning that the WH very quietly put Liz Fowler in charge of implementing the new health care legislation. Hello, isn't she the Wellpoint executive who helped kill the PO and basically wrote the darn bill for Baucus? Whatever, seems like a bad idea to me.

I recognize the frustration with the weakened bills, but also recognize we at least got bills, plus student loans revamped and energized and a new and better EPA, etc. etc. My biggest fear of turning the keys back to the far right trumps everything else.

Normally, I believe progressives are important to the debate, not just because I consider myself one, because it's a way to keep our elected officials connected to the middle class. Unfortunately, many have simply made up their minds that this Administration will not address our concerns and issues, and in some ways they're correct. It's easier I think to dismiss the "hippies" than maybe admit we have a valid point or two or three. I thought we were supposed to be a team of rivals.

All I can do is keep fighting for more progressive candidates, highlight mistakes (in my humble opinion) by the Administration or Congress, and keep calling out the Republicans for their hypocrisy and failures.

wbgonne, I almost always agree with you but the idea of a third party spells defeat, I've been doing this for forty + years and it never works. Keep up the fight for progressive issues and force them to listen to us, our voices are getting louder and they're bound to need us again. In the meantime, I wish our President wisdom, courage and success.

Posted by: lmsinca | July 15, 2010 11:39 AM | Report abuse

...aaaand, msmolly kindly makes my point for me about orthodoxy in the liberal blogosphere. Isn't that interesting and intelligent commentary, moral high-horseism, and then flouncing away in a huff? God forbid anyone say anything "wrong" about the sacred cows of the liberal blogosphere. We saw this kind of echo chamber groupthink with the freepers, and with the AIPAC/ADL crowd, with the teabaggers, too. Now it's happening to you. Think about it.

Posted by: TomBlue | July 15, 2010 11:40 AM | Report abuse

arancia12: "Liberals might be awkward about it, but they expect Obama to be a liberal, not a centrist."

Obama was a centrist, is a centrist, and will be a centrist. He never ever ran as a progressive, or really, even as a liberal. He is a left-leaning centrist. The sooner people understand this, the better. Anyone who studied Obama's positions and record prior to the election knew they were voting for a centrist. Time to wake up already.

Posted by: suekzoo1 | July 15, 2010 11:45 AM | Report abuse

Also Greg, thanks for giving us a welcome and friendly place to vent, and your perspective is always welcome. Big hugs from me.

Posted by: lmsinca | July 15, 2010 11:45 AM | Report abuse

Posted by: converse | July 15, 2010 11:31 AM

Posted by: bobbo2 | July 15, 2010 11:33 AM

Poiltico top-dog editors John Harris and Jim VandeHei
=============================

Converse, do you not get the slightest pause when you find yourself in agreement with the likes of bobbo2 and Drudge2.0?
~

Posted by: ifthethunderdontgetya | July 15, 2010 11:53 AM | Report abuse

justmy2: "But I am yet to figure out why people in the WH continue to take shots at the very people that could provide them with reams of support."

More support like "Kill the Bill?"

Posted by: suekzoo1 | July 15, 2010 11:56 AM | Report abuse

I'd say the truth is somewhere in the middle on this one.

But it's still no one's fault but your own if you're reading the Politico. They operate on a controversy-based business model and they're by no means above resorting to home brewing when they can't find it ready-made.

Posted by: CalD | July 15, 2010 11:57 AM | Report abuse

ifthethunderdontgetya is exactly right. Rahm is the one out of touch, not liberal bloggers. Liberal bloggers have been sounding the alarm for the administration, to no avail. They simply can't conceive of a reality outside the Village, and it's going to take them down.

And if they think they're going to gut Social Security to make Wall St. happy, those anonymous White House staffers will learn a valuable lession - which is, while the liberal blogosphere isn't great at initiating public policy, we've very, VERY good at stopping bad things.

Posted by: uberblonde1 | July 15, 2010 11:58 AM | Report abuse

BBQ & Ims:

One of the reasons I am curtailing my commenting is b/c I now feel so negative that I know it will be a drag to hear. But I truly believe that a Third Party is the only way forward now. Before Obama came along I had pretty much despaired of the Democratic Party. I saw that it had become almost as corporatist and conservative as the GOP (when it was sane). If the Democratic Party cannot be resuscitated with Obama then it is permanently ruined. I believe that a Third Party is more viable now than ever due to the ease of communication and organization and fundraising. I recognize that there is no chance a Third Party could win its inaugural presidential race but so be it. We must start somewhere and the beginning is an excellent place to do so. I also realize that a Liberal Third Party will gravely wound the Democratic Party and probably elevate the GOP. And that is most unfortunate. However, it now seems that we will not see true progress in this country until there is a major shakeup and, if it takes another 4 or 8 years of Republican misrule so be it.

As I mentioned above, I now think catastrophic losses for the Dems are inevitable in November, meaning a loss of the House at least. Clearly, the Democratic Establishment sees this, too, which is why they are turning on Liberals, setting them up as the boogie man. What that means, I think, is a yet another lurch Rightward after the elections. For those reasons, I don't expect the Liberal Party to emerge until after November.

BBQ, the fact that the EstDems are doing this NOW is quite significant since we are butting close up to election time which is when a sensible political party normally begins to close ranks and embrace its base and its ideological heart. Instead, the EstDems are distancing themselves from Liberals and elevating their attacks. I saw Rep. Lewis on TV saying the Americans expect Democrats to be Democrats. Well, the truth is that Democrats are NOT Democrats anymore; they are Republicans. That is one magic pony too many for me.

Posted by: wbgonne | July 15, 2010 12:02 PM | Report abuse

All, Republican strategist admits that public confusion about FinReg makes it easier to attack:

http://voices.washingtonpost.com/plum-line/2010/07/gop_strategist_finreg_easy_to.html

(Hat tip ethan!)

Posted by: Greg Sargent | July 15, 2010 12:08 PM | Report abuse

I think the 'liberal' blogosphere is going through the same thing that happened to conservatives and the GOP. For example, if you're a fiscal conservative in 2008 you really couldn't honestly vote for the GOP.

Right now, if you want a 'liberal' agenda then you won't be voting for the Democrats.

Posted by: tk221 | July 15, 2010 12:08 PM | Report abuse

Thank you GREG!!!

The AP buried that story so damn fast it's not even funny.

That story MUST make the rounds.

I wanna see John Feehery on Hardball worming his way out of that pathetic cynicism.

I wanna see political journalists ask GOP candidates if they agree that complex bills give the GOP an OPEN LICENSE TO LIE.

What up! Put up or shut up.

Posted by: Ethan2010 | July 15, 2010 12:14 PM | Report abuse

"Converse, do you not get the slightest pause when you find yourself in agreement with the likes of bobbo2 and Drudge2.0?"

Do you not get ulcers from lieing so blatantly?

Posted by: converse | July 15, 2010 12:15 PM | Report abuse

@WB: Political change takes time. No third party can survive in the US. The institutional advantages enjoyed by the two corportist parties in the US is too big to overcome. Obama has only been in office for 18 months. Give the blogosphere another 2 (or hopefuly 6) years to make the reality based argument to him about progressive issues. The dem party is a big ship and changing its course is going to take time.

Posted by: srw3 | July 15, 2010 12:15 PM | Report abuse

Politico's business model is to write inflammatory articles like this then wait for the hits to come in. and you got trolled.

Posted by: smallest | July 15, 2010 12:19 PM | Report abuse

wb: Third Party will gravely wound the Democratic Party and probably elevate the GOP. And that is most unfortunate."

Yeah, we can see how upset you are about it. "Unfortunate." I'm sorry, "MOST unfortunate."

Tell that to the people who will die due to uncaring republican policies that were allowed to promulgate because a bunch of computer geeks thought they knew something about politics.

Posted by: converse | July 15, 2010 12:21 PM | Report abuse

Politico wants liberal bloggers to play the game the same way conservative ones do; mainly to root for and support your party, your 'team' through thick and thin no matter if they are right or wrong.

In the immortal words of Homey the Clown, "Homey don't play that."

We want democrats to act like democrats and not republican-lites. Otherwise there are only small differences around the edges between repubs and dems and it's just like having the same party in power no matter who's elected.

George Carlin was spot on concerning this matter. Check out his video titled, "The American Dream." He sums it up quite nicely.

Posted by: cfeher | July 15, 2010 12:29 PM | Report abuse

This blog is an echo chamber. Enjoy each other.

Posted by: slatt321 | July 15, 2010 12:30 PM | Report abuse

@TomBlue
". Isn't that interesting and intelligent commentary, moral high-horseism, and then flouncing away in a huff?"

Characterize it as a "huff" if you like. I simply went to lunch.

Posted by: msmollyg | July 15, 2010 12:31 PM | Report abuse

Even the blogs here on the Post are lacking deep debate, it is mostly just zealots flogging the other side as demons. Deep debate and blogs should never be used int he same sentence it is too laughable.

Posted by: flonzy1 | July 15, 2010 12:36 PM | Report abuse

"Barely clapped for the passage of health care?" What planet are they on? After the election of Scott Brown, The White House wanted to tiptoe away from health care reform as if it were a corpse lying in the gutter. It was the liberal blogosphere the led the chant, "Pass the damn bill!" and it was the liberal blogosphere that gave the Congress the nerve to do it. No thanks to the White House. If Rahm Emmanuel had had his way, nothing would have been passed.

Posted by: Bloix | July 15, 2010 12:39 PM | Report abuse

Politico is jealous of anyone who can think independently. As the village voice they want everyone to toe their line. They hate progressive blogs because they have thinkers who dare to question Politicos "inside" knowledge. They hate it when anyone dares to see through their conventional wisdom imparted to them through Raum Emanuel.

Posted by: cartercamp | July 15, 2010 12:44 PM | Report abuse

The Politico never was in the business of reporting any sort of objective reality. All they try to do is cover the "horse race" perspective of US national politics. This approach necessarily diminishes any sort of reporting on the relative merits of any candidates' policy intentions or bona fides.
More than anything they evoke the feel of an amalgam of NY Post-Natl Enquirer-People magazine, all devoted to the various evolutions of spin, denouements, deflections/defections, pandering, faux populism and sundry leaking, sneaking, freaking by the various beltway denizens.

As time has passed and the Politico staff and management has awarded itself a patina, a thin veneer if you will, of the sagacity due to elder statesmen, high priests or even divine prophets. In their new self assumed status they rule as the new voice of what is supposed to matter in today's political arena. They take an issue, item, incident and proceed to frame it and maim it before proudly displaying the grisly scalp of whatever real world concern happened to get drawn into their pit of punditry.

Read them at the risk of your valuable time. Those minutes lost will not be reimbursed by any worthwhile gleanings. If you are seeking a clue, Politico doesn't have one to give. There is no need to look for one there.

Posted by: PatD1 | July 15, 2010 12:50 PM | Report abuse

The article's main point is well taken. Too many times, Poltico comes across as a kindler, gentler version of the RNC. Their reportage of all things Cheney and Palin in breathless purple prose, and their elevation of the Tea Party are but two examples. And they dead on love being dismissive of liberal policies and accomplishments.

Third party talk is simply a way to ensure more alienation from electoral power. The fact is that in this duopoly, there is no electoral reward for finishing a strong third in an election. It just guarantees that the conservative third of the country, the angry motivated base, will grow in influence. If progressive do not fight and motivate their base to move the Democratic Party BACK to the left of center, the DLC will dumb it all down into Republican Lite. If the blogs want to rip on the Obama inconsistencies that is all well and good, but take the time to think about the alternate universe we'd be in had the Republicans won. His reforms have not been trivial and they need to be celebrated, and we need to at least TRY and match the enthusaism of the wingnuts.--I heard a talking head today excoriate Obama for governing in a "partisan" manner, and it made me wonder to what balloon she tethered her political intellect. When you face an opposition party that will vote "no" NO MATTER WHAT--think health reform where they got 107 amendments added and still voted no---what, exactly are your choices? If it turns off "independents" then those people really haven't been watching, they've been lost in sound bite heaven. If they really believe the Republicans will solve any of the mess THEY left Obama, they aren't "independent" they're delusional. It's up to progressives and liberals to point that out--and that's what the blogs do.

Posted by: bklyndan22 | July 15, 2010 12:50 PM | Report abuse

We want democrats to act like democrats and not republican-lites. Otherwise there are only small differences around the edges between repubs and dems and it's just like having the same party in power no matter who's elected.

Posted by: cfeher | July 15, 2010 12:29 PM | Report abuse

============

The problem is that your definition of "democrat" may not fit right with my definition of the term. And your idea of small differences may differ vastly from mine (I don't think, for instance, that even moderate Republicans would have considered the Lilly Ledbetter Act or HCR, not even the moderate HCR bill that we ended up with, and certainly their Recovery Act would have been vastly different or possibly non-existent). I may be further to the right OR to the left of you (I know socialists who are Democrats--incidentally, they find it hilarious that anyone would call Obama a "socialist"), which means that one of us may not pass the litmus test.

Do you really want to get into DINO debates? We've seen what RINO debates have done to the GOP, Northeastern/moderate Republicans basically have no clout anymore and get Scozzafava'd at every turn. Then the anointed Tea Party heroes falter and fade in races that should have been easy. Not that I mind that happening to the GOP, but I'd have issues if the same thing happened to us.

Posted by: dkp01 | July 15, 2010 12:54 PM | Report abuse

@wbgonne

"If the Democratic Party cannot be resuscitated with Obama then it is permanently ruined."

Ok. Here's the deal...how many NEW Dems came into Congress with Obama in 2008? How many Dems are in the Senate that have been there over the last few decades?

The idea that Obama could utterly change the face of the Democratic Party immediately, I'm sorry I have to be so blunt here, is just flat out idiotic. The new blood on the left in Congress is fantastic...Grayson, Franken, Sanders, Weiner, etc. Not only are they much more progressive than "liberals" of the last 30 years, but they do something people like Kusinich can't - they get stuff done. Audit of the Fed (even a limited one) would never have happened without Liberals. You think that would have happened with 90's Dems? Heck no.

The core of a party doesn't change overnight, and especially when the vast majority of the PEOPLE representing that party haven't changed yet either. These are people, with their own opinions and interests...the Dems aren't lockstep idealogues like the GOP.

You really need to have more patience than 18 months. Take a break or something, move back and really take a look at what Obama has accomplished in the last 18 months. He's done more for progressive causes in 18 months than we've seen in the last 30 years combined. It might not be "enough" by some standards...but how on earth does that kind of progress make you want to walk away?

"Clearly, the Democratic Establishment sees this, too, which is why they are turning on Liberals, setting them up as the boogie man."

Again I ask...show me some examples. Thinking about it, I do recall some pundit (maybe Fineman or Alter - ie not an EstDem) trying to argue that if Lincoln loses, it will be Halter's fault. That was on the primary-election night, and I haven't heard it since...likely because (due to her poll #s) you'd have to be politically brain dead to think she was going to win before Halter announced.

But that was ONE line, right after the election results came in. Nothing since. And, like I said, I haven't seen anything beyond the normal griping from "centrists" (which we always hear, election or not). Other than that, I haven't seen anyone "turning on liberals" in any coordinated way. Heck, I heard many more attacks on liberals last year, during the HCR debate, than I've heard in this election cycle.

Posted by: TheBBQChickenMadness | July 15, 2010 1:00 PM | Report abuse

Bliox: "It was the liberal blogosphere the led the chant, "Pass the damn bill!"

It was the reality-based blogosphere that did that, like this blog. A significant portion of the left went silent, after having gone several rounds of "Kill the Bill."

Posted by: suekzoo1 | July 15, 2010 1:00 PM | Report abuse

I imagine if the Democrats were ever able to come up with a bill that was less than 2,000 pages they would have an easier time defending them on substance. But according to Democrats, we need to pass their bills to even find out what's in them. It's sort of like Christmas at gunpoint.

Posted by: zippyspeed | July 15, 2010 1:05 PM | Report abuse

I think that the liberal blogs are RACIST RACIST RACIST just like anyone else that disagrees w/ Obozo and his left wing kleptocrats.

Posted by: j751 | July 15, 2010 1:14 PM | Report abuse

This referred to as "intrusive" government was obviously thw reponse to a corrupted, self-indulgent and agrandized, egregious public violations and ethics abuse of the GOP. The actions of the previous administration had no accountability or restraint. The effects of the War and economy from job losses and surplus to hurendous deficit continue to resonate. Well, the analysis of responsibility is quite clear. Go figure on the intrusive government -- your call.

Posted by: solid3 | July 15, 2010 1:15 PM | Report abuse

@suekzoo1, it wasn't just the bloggers. Here's Howard Dean's thoughts on the health care bill.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/12/16/AR2009121601906.html

And check out this partial deconstruction of Rachel Maddow's fake-president speech after Obama's real one concerning the oil spill.

http://www.tnr.com/blog/jonathan-chait/75643/liberal-despair-and-the-cult-the-presidency

Liberal traditional media has a hand in all this, too.

Posted by: dkp01 | July 15, 2010 1:22 PM | Report abuse

Suggestions for more ways to waste valuable time reading vapid, partial, yellow journalism.

Posted by: solid3 | July 15, 2010 1:25 PM | Report abuse

Wow, liberal bloggers are as detached from reality as conservative bloggers. News alert! Sun rises in the east and sets in the west. More on this developing story from Fox news. "

Fox news alert. "Conservative think tank debunks liberal theory that the sun rises and sets on the coasts because more liberals live on the east and west coasts. In fact the Cato institute can prove the sun rises in Alabama and sets in Texas. To debate this monumental issue and present all sides equally are ex-Pres. Bush (whose house the sun actually sets on), a non-partisan chimpanzee to represent liberals from Hollywood, and an independent commentator, Karl Rove."

Posted by: kchses1 | July 15, 2010 1:29 PM | Report abuse

For arguments sake lets say the GOP takes over in Nov. what are their plans? Ryan's medicare vouchers capped at $9800 will kill grandma more quickly than administrator cuts. Privatizing social security leaves nothing there for people that have paid in for decades. More tax cuts to business will only find it's way into a new call center or factory overseas taking away more jobs (S&P gets over half it's income from overseas). More drilling with the same conditions, more exploiting by mining/gas interests and more corporate welfare beyond the over 140 billion in tax breaks currently on the books is what the GOP offers. Budget cuts are in the mouth service to be determined category by Boehner and Cantor. The Polish missile defense, no agreement to arms reduction with Russia, invading Iran have all been proposed by GOP members. Trickle down, no regulation got us into this financial mess and gulf oil spill and the GOP has offered more of the same. Apologies to BP, birthers, Obama's weak on terror without a major attack in the west worldwide, stimulus did nothing pumping 500 billion into a sales and service economy, 2nd amendment takeouts of the opposition, taking away your gun when you can now have them in National parks, hates Israel have all be said by members of the GOP. Texas has had a change in textbooks reflecting GOP talking points, not actual history. If that is their solution, they can't have my support.

Posted by: jameschirico | July 15, 2010 1:34 PM | Report abuse

This is OT, but imho, this is by far the biggest story of the week. By far. Nothing comes even close. Not the oil spill, not jobs, nothing comes even close.

Posted by: Ethan2010
______________________

Are you insane? The last Government job this guy had was for Dennis Hastert. Just because he's a talking head on TV doesn't mean his view is mainstream, or that you can even translate it to the rest of the Republican party. This guy is only relevant in DC, the rest of the country has likely never heard of him. And to call this a bigger story than the oil spill or jobs is blindingly idiotic.

It's a shame that it was picked up by Greg as a real story, when even he admits that it is only, as he put it ".. an independent GOP strategist talking , and I don't have any idea if Republican officials agree with him". But of course that doesn't stop speculation.

I could care less what some guy in DC says. When it is someone relevant that says it, come back here and talk to us. Otherwise keep it to the daily kos.

Posted by: Bailers | July 15, 2010 1:40 PM | Report abuse

Greg Sargent wrote:
"But please don't make stuff up about them and call it journalism."

-- Please don't call Politico material "Journalism" - they are nothing but a blog with a larger staff than most!

Posted by: jsmith021961 | July 15, 2010 1:53 PM | Report abuse

Just a bit of gossip not being reported ...
in the WP..
Who is Chelsea marrying?
Chelsea Clinton is engaged.

The only child of the former president and current secretary of state is engaged to be married to the son of a former congressman from Iowa and congresswoman from Pennsylvania: Investment banker Marc Mezvinsky.

The two were friends as teenagers and studied together at Stanford University.

The two live in New York, he employed by Goldman Sachs, she attending graduate school at Columbia University's School of Public Health.

Matt McKenna, a spokesman for former President Bill Clinton, confirmed the engagement today, the Associated Press reports.

Mezvinsky is a son of former Pennsylvania Rep. Marjorie Margolies-Mezvinsky and former Iowa Rep. Ed Mezvinsky, longtime Clinton friends. Ed Mezvinsky was released from federal prison last year after pleading guilty in 2002 to charges of bank and wire fraud.

Two crooked families joining forces.

Posted by: cburbank | July 15, 2010 2:01 PM | Report abuse

Follow up Re: Politico - all "horse race" and no substance.

Posted by: jsmith021961 | July 15, 2010 2:01 PM | Report abuse

"the liberal blogosphere is wasting a chance at having a meaningful impact on the beltway narrative"

How out of touch can you be? What portion of the population reads blogs, much less writes on them?

Regardless of "narrative". individuals will mark ballots for individual candidates.

In my Cong. district, the incumbent is Schrader and the challenger is Bruun.

If there were no blogs, that would still be true.

BTW, I'm over 60, was a campaign volunteer on and off for roughly 3 decades, once a campaign volunteer coordinator.

I sometimes read local blogs, but don't have time for Huffington Post, Daily Kos, and other national blogs unless someone sends me a link to a specific story.

One of my friends was even more involved--once a paid staffer for a congressional candidate, and a volunteer (until she got totally burned out and quit politics completely) for probably longer than I was.

It is rhetoric like "meaningful impact on the beltway narrative" which caused her to quit politics cold turkey.

Maybe 5% of the population volunteer every year, work on campaigns, blog, and care about what a "campaign narrative" is. The others who vote are too busy with their own lives to care about such stuff.

What my friend said as she quit politics was,
"5% of the population are involved directly with campaigns and think they decide elections. Actually, it is the other 95% who may do nothing more who vote who ACTUALLY decide elections!".

So keep on talking about the "narrative" while folks like me will concentrate on asking candidates specific questions and looking at their voting records (Incumbent Schrader was a legislator previously, Bruun is a current legislator).

Posted by: GHDEL | July 15, 2010 2:09 PM | Report abuse

Liberal Democrats even by Washington Standards do not have anywhere close to a majority in either House in Congress, so how on Earth was President Obama supposed to do all these amazing things? The Republicans refused to play, and the moderate and right wing Democrats were reluctant to go even as far as President Obama. Its was impossible to do what the left wanted him to do, and BTW He never said he as going to do in most cases. All Presidents govern to the center from their campaign positions whether they want to or not, its a fact of life.

Start with closing Gitmo, Congress voted overwhelmingly against allowing any money for the closure, effectively making it illegal. So how exactly was President Obama going to make himself king so he could do it.

Posted by: Muddy_Buddy_2000 | July 15, 2010 2:19 PM | Report abuse

vanderhei is married to a wingnut and Harris became a hack in the Lewinsky era. Although Politico is allegedly part of the electronic media, it's really stuck in the old media/political culture with its print edition being support by ads from lobbyists. In a wierd way, they probably feel triumphant that their old paper fired this semi-independent upstart. because they are all about horse races and other content-free stuff, anything that crowds their concerns off the front page is a bad thing.

Ironically, I would think that a new media venture like this would support Wigel, particularly given that the Post could have had Politico but chose to pass and now has a sorry group of plitical reporters who couldn't live without talking points from GOP Hill staffers. But tehn again, that's the Politico game, too.

Posted by: thebuckguy | July 15, 2010 2:52 PM | Report abuse

"Unfortunately, many have simply made up their minds that this Administration will not address our concerns and issues, and in some ways they're correct."
------------
Imsinca, I see stuff like this a lot on the blogs and I wonder what exactly is being referred to when they say that the administration has not addressed their concerns.

My question is, what concerns has the administration not addressed? Every thing that the President campaigned on has been addressed in one way or the other. I have never seen a President try to keep more promises than this current President. But he can not do it all. He has to work in an environment where he has to convince more people than normal that his agenda is the right one.

The republicans are operating as a block. They have consistently held all of their votes both in the house and senate away from this president. many Democrats who care more about the next election than doing what is right have skated to right in order to satisfy a perverse public that thirst. Sometimes you have to do what is right even if it isn't popular.

Posted by: justonevoice | July 15, 2010 3:03 PM | Report abuse

A Politico article about the Democratic Party's bsae just wouldn't be complete without a White House official, afraid to reveal his name, telling the base they're idiots.

Posted by: AlanSF | July 15, 2010 3:13 PM | Report abuse

"Don't make stuff up about them and call it journalism." Why not, Greg? Are you worried they might be prohibited from buying a football team?

Posted by: chatard | July 15, 2010 3:20 PM | Report abuse

just, I think there are issues which surprised progressives that seemed within reach and didn't materialize. I don't want to belabor all the points, it's just too negative, but just a couple of examples in the HCR fight were both the public option and drug re-importation. It was clear that while we were all fighting hard drumming up support and arguing the merits, they were being dealt away behind the scenes. There was broad public support for both and even bi-partisan support for one. I'm not actually one to cry over spilt milk, I'd rather look forward, but I do understand the level of frustration out there with Obama. The myth of needing 60 votes for everything when there are other options available can also be infuriating, although it makes a great excuse.

Like I said though, I've been doing this a long time and I'll take progress when I can get it. Looks like we're set to pass fin/reg today and that's another notch in the belt. I think the real problem for Dems more than any internal fighting is the economy and jobs. Without improvement for the middle class, the rest is just distraction really, even HCR, who the hell can afford it?

Posted by: lmsinca | July 15, 2010 3:23 PM | Report abuse

Obama was a centrist, is a centrist, and will be a centrist. He never ever ran as a progressive, or really, even as a liberal. He is a left-leaning centrist. The sooner people understand this, the better. Anyone who studied Obama's positions and record prior to the election knew they were voting for a centrist. Time to wake up already.

Posted by: suekzoo1

------------------------------------------

Obama is not a centrist he is as hard left as it gets. He ran as a centrist because there is NO support for the hard left "progressives" in America. America is a centrist right country.

He won only because of the anti-Bush sentiment at the time, his oratory skills and the catchy Hope and Change slogan.

Obama just found out what was "really" up when he took office. The ~reality_of what he can and can not do. Like leave Afghanistan and Iraq, close Gitmo, pass single payer health care etc etc etc.

The feckless left are leaving him in droves when in reality he one of them. But...they will never again have a president as far left as Obama.

Barack and a hard place

Posted by: Straightline | July 15, 2010 3:29 PM | Report abuse

Greg, I think Politico is saying that the White House and the democratic agenda don’t have the cheerleaders the republicans have with Fox and their blogosphere. I agree with that and it is indeed hurting the Dems. Every event can be covered critically or cheerfully, it depends on your point of view. And the liberal blogosphere chooses more often than not to be critical. It is fine to perceive your role to be about pushing the Dems to the left and point to what the ideal outcome should be. But somebody needs to point out the good stuff that has been done. Every day – like the republicans are repeating everyday how scary the President is.

Posted by: Irina1 | July 15, 2010 3:29 PM | Report abuse

Only a completely ready state can permit the luxury of a liberal government.
Otto von Bismarck 'Speech [1866]'
http://tinkys1941.spaces.live.com/blog/cns!DCD7544ECCB8065F!316.entry

Posted by: edtroyhampton | July 15, 2010 3:36 PM | Report abuse

@Straightline : What planet are you writing from? If obama was such a hard leftist, why are the actual left progressive blogs hammering him for not standing up enough for liberal causes like single payer, etc. suekzoo is right on. He ran on a centrist platform HCR is more centrist than the plan repubs put up in response to the clinton HCR initiative. Its more centrist than the Nixon HCR plan. It mirrors (to a large extent) the plan outlined by those famous leftists Daschle, Baker, and Dole.

Get serious...Obama has remained a centrist, its the republicans that have taken up residence in rightwingnutistan, enjoying their death panel, government takeover, birther, Obama is a socialist, tax cuts solve everything and don't add to the deficit, fantasy world.


Posted by: srw3 | July 15, 2010 3:49 PM | Report abuse

Except as a siseshow,do these bloggers,liberal or otherwise,really matter?

Posted by: vismorge | July 15, 2010 4:05 PM | Report abuse

The Republican political/media machine is engaging in the most coordinated, demagogic campaign in my 56 years and the big problem is Democratic blogs?

Right now, every Republican outfit from the Tea Partyers to the Chamber of Commerce, including members of Congress, talking heads, etc., is sending out pieces of this message (though often not in quite so many words):

Obama is not one of us. He represents an alien religion, and may even be from another country.His policies favor blacks over whites, lazy people over hard-working Americans. He is a socialist. His policies are not merely liberal but strike at the root of, and intend to destroy, the free enterprise system. He is taking away your basic freedoms, even including the right to worship as you please.

It is being repeated so often and in so many ways that this "big lie" becomes respectable. And Politico thinks the big story is Democratic bloggers?

Wake up.

Posted by: Meridian1 | July 15, 2010 4:20 PM | Report abuse

srw3: " HCR is more centrist than the plan repubs put up in response to the clinton HCR initiative. Its more centrist than the Nixon HCR plan. It mirrors (to a large extent) the plan outlined by those famous leftists Daschle, Baker, and Dole."

Exactly! Remember Obama getting hammered before the primaries by Hillary and Edwards because his healthcare proposal was not universal coverage? Remember him saying that MOST of the uninsured would buy insurance if it was affordable? He's a centrist. I voted for him, and still support him, even though I am far to his left. He's done wonders given what he's had to work with.

Posted by: suekzoo1 | July 15, 2010 4:26 PM | Report abuse

Could anyone explain how President Obama is hard left?

Could anyone even explain how he is governing to the left of his campaign?

Just saying he is hard left, again and again may work in politics, but that does not make it true.

On Health Care, basically a Republican Plan moved to right a little, well right of any other major Democratic Plan

Environment - way to the Right of his campaign, was even willing to support more off shore drilling - major mistake to be sure, but it was move to the right.

Financial Reform - move to right

where exactly has President Obama moved left?

NO WHERE, its simply the big lie tacit, repeat the lie that President Obama is far left of center enough times, and people might believe it.

Posted by: Muddy_Buddy_2000 | July 15, 2010 4:51 PM | Report abuse

Could anyone explain how President Obama is hard left?

Could anyone even explain how he is governing to the left of his campaign?

Just saying he is hard left, again and again may work in politics, but that does not make it true.

On Health Care, basically a Republican Plan moved to right a little, well right of any other major Democratic Plan

Environment - way to the Right of his campaign, was even willing to support more off shore drilling - major mistake to be sure, but it was move to the right.

Financial Reform - move to right

where exactly has President Obama moved left?

NO WHERE, its simply the big lie tacit, repeat the lie that President Obama is far left of center enough times, and people might believe it.
Do not even try the Health Care bill as far left, the MAJORITY of Americans wanted a government option, and large percentages wanted single payer. If more than 30% of Americans are to the left of you on most issues, you can be an extreme leftist.

Posted by: Muddy_Buddy_2000 | July 15, 2010 4:54 PM | Report abuse

@TomBlue

Sorry, I'm at work too. Thanks for reply.

I don't share your response to most of the blogs you mention. Yglesias, for example, seems to me neither strident in tone nor extreme in policy preferences and the range of his knowledge and interests far surpasses my own. Steve Benen isn't so much the polymath as Matt but I find him consistently sharp in observation much in the manner of Greg though of course his blog is a different form. I could list more (digby etc) but personnal preference differences seems to be the issue. I like the choices you've listed.

Posted by: bernielatham | July 15, 2010 5:36 PM | Report abuse

Muddy Buddy 2000: "Could anyone explain how President Obama is hard left?"

Dunno. He's left-handed? :oP

Posted by: suekzoo1 | July 15, 2010 5:36 PM | Report abuse

Exactly. This is right on.

Personally, I think the House was always going to be rough (didn't have to be this rough), but the Senate could have been considerably better. That's laregely beside the point now, but it's probably still important to say to diffuse the understandable "what ifs." The instinct to go to "who is to blame?" rather than "what now?" is all too human. Yes, there is some real blame to go around (if the reports about the stimulus are accurate, Rahm Emanuel is a very harding working, but ultimately incompetent person), but there will be plenty of time to make reputations match reality on a depressing morning in November.

The job now is now to rally around the best vulnerable House members (Kilroy, Perriello, Walz, etc, -Yes; Minnick, worst Blue Dogs and New Dems, -Hell No), and the Senate candidates who are worth a knock down drag out -- Boxer, Feingold, Murray, Reid (I'd put him in this category until I know for sure that Angle is toast, which may not be until election day) Sestak, Fisher, Marshall, Hodes, Conway, Alexi, with a close eye on Conlin and Glassman... and the hope that Crist and and Rubio nuke each other and Meek evens things out.

Moving forward, I like the idea of a Lincoln Doctrine. Primary if possible and/or just walk away.

For instance, would Scott Kleeb be interested in challenging Ben Nelson in 2012? If so, then great, back him. If not, bye Ben anyway.

Right now, the incentives are perverse. And it's the worst in the Senate who have clearly dragged the entire party down. (They're also the reason why Obama Meta is so difficult.)

Posted by: michael_conrad | July 15, 2010 6:01 PM | Report abuse

I'm not a Politico fan, but I'll have to side with them on this issue. I also have to concur with the commenters talking about the incessant screeds on many liberal blogs.

Sorry, Greg, but I haven't seen much "debate" about the midterms, especially not from prominent progressives. Instead, I've overwhelmingly seen liberal blogs slam Obama and suggest, or explicitly say, that any losses will be his fault because he didn't seize his "historic opportunity" and bulldoze the Republicans. For many progressives, there seems to be nothing to debate.

It's seems that many progressives have fully embraced the notion that the Beltway culture is indeed alone in its "fetishism" of "bipartisanship." But, unfortunately, it's not. The American people, according to myriad surveys of public opinion, are enamored with the concept, and arguably, strongly disapprove -- at least in part -- of recent Congresses (even the current productive one) because they perceive that things are not done in a "bipartisan" way.

Thus, Obama's faced (as previous leaders have been) with a tricky dilemma: He cannot disregard the desire of the American people that their leaders work together. Concomitantly, he has to produce results -- results that, especially recently, seem to only be possible via partisan action.

Yet, progressive blogs, emphasizing only the results side of the problem, disregard this dilemma. Among many prominent progressive thinkers, there seems to be no need to even entertain the notion of "bipartisanship." Apparently, it doesn't matter the American people (sometimes strangely) still prefer it.

As such, Obama -- the same one that has emphasized collaboration and unity since he's been in politics

-- is harshly critiqued, and even vilified, by many progressives because he doesn't disregard "bipartisanship" and bulldoze the Republicans to implement the changes progressives have longed for. It seems that, in the mind of many progressives, Obama is a "failure" simply because he's unwilling to take this very partisan approach.

The metric of achievement has been grossly simplified to a dichotomous question of whether not any compromises were made in the pursuit of achieving the goal: Were compromises involved? No = good progressive legislation; Yes = bad legislation that is an affront to progressive ideals.

And anyone who cannot see the "evils" of compromise is not "enlightened" enough to "know the truth" or "truly get it."

As such, many progressive leaders prominently display their "enlightenment" as they trash Obama, driving up his negative ratings, making that ideal progressive legislation even more difficult to achieve.

But, hey, at least progressives don't "march in lockstep like the Republicans." That alone gives progressives a reason to hold their heads high.

Somewhere along the line it's been forgotten that politics is not all heart.

Posted by: associate20 | July 15, 2010 6:04 PM | Report abuse

About the "Obama always a centrist" meme:

Wow, there are a ton of clips from 2007 - 2008 that you'll want to avoid if you believe this.

Pick any of the later 2007 primary debates, or look for the speech in NYC in which he repeatedly uses the "End the game" message. Or his speech to Campus Progress before he officially got in.

Hell, watch his 2008 convention speech. It's straightforward progressive populism, hardly "centrism."
For what it's worth I consider myself an unabashed progressive, and I was absolutely thrilled with that speech... was tough to stop talking it up, in fact.

Is Obama the man probably more cautious... and does he have a fairly broad University of Chicago streak? Yes. But to claim he never ran as a progressive is just not accurate.

It's also far too easy to push back on. For instance, on Party Builder, other leading Dems chose "Don't Label Me." Chris Dodd chose "Liberal." What did Barack Obama chose? "Progressive."

Also, would a "centrist' have opposed the Iraq war in 2002?
And what single issue, more than any other, led to Obama's nomination?

Bottom line. Without his progressive streak, and there could be robust debate over how big it is, he would have never been nominated and then elected.

It would not have happened.

Case in point: Trade
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/leo-hindery-jr/where-is-the-2008-barack_b_644173.html

That reminds me, ad the OH and PA debates to the list.

Posted by: michael_conrad | July 15, 2010 6:19 PM | Report abuse

@ associate20

Strongly disagree.

In normal times, you would be closer to right. But these times are anything but normal.

People want results, period. The process undermines faith in the result if it drags out too long. See the health care battle, where the bipartisanship fetish (and at this point fetish is an understatement) set the stage for events that turned the public off dramatically.

Reconciliation, which was avoided early for the express purpose of being too "partisan", ended up having to be used anyway ("micro reconciliation" but still more than enough for the "shoved down our throat" metaphors) for a considerably less popular product.

A more partisan approach from the start would have likely resulted in a product with demonstrably more bipartisan support among actual voters.

Main street bipartisanship matters. It's neither accurate nor smart to say "all Republicans suck!" The difference between some GOP voters and elected officials is massive. But Beltway bipartisanship is wildly over - rated. Do you think that a stronger stimulus, even if hardball had to be played out of the gate to get it, would have been worth it? My answer: Of course.

Because voters don't go into the booth with a "centrist" score card in mind. They never have. They probably never will. Most people just don't work that way.

I'll go one step further. Beltway bipartisanship isn't just a fetish. Over the last couple of years it's been a delusion -- and a destructive one at that.

Senate GOPers think Snowe is "too liberal." So they demand a Grassley or someone like him to cross before they play ball. But Grassley has serious problems at home if he cooperates, so he ends up yelling "Death panels!" and passing out Glenn Beck's latest survivalist war porn. So now we're down to Mike Effing Enzi, from a state with less people than DC, a pompous idiot of a man, being held up as some kind of honest broker.

Bipartisanship has got to be a two way street, and that's when it's actually called for. The GOP doesn't see Dems saying "Bipartisanship" as a signal to co - operate, they see it as a signal to "roll these suckers."

Posted by: michael_conrad | July 15, 2010 6:41 PM | Report abuse

michael_conrad:

Excellent comments. I totally agree that Obama and the Dems jumped the shark on HCR. The GOP played them for fools. And that is exactly why I am so frustrated that so many EstDems insist that Rahm and the Republicrats are the "grownups" in the party. IMO, they are the chumps, living in the past, and getting their clocks cleaned by (an admittedly very shrewd) Mitch McConnell. Give us a fighter like Howard Dean as COS and watch the country wake up.

Posted by: wbgonne | July 15, 2010 7:30 PM | Report abuse

Thanks wbgone!

Greg, I can't find the link right now, but right after POTUS announced some of his cabinet picks, VandeiHai wrote something along the lines of "Their center - right credentials show Obama's team knows how to read election results." The phrase "knows how to read election results" is the part I'm absolutely sure about, because it stuck out.

My point - VandeiHai's confirmation bias is absurdly high.

Future political development: Donna Edwards wins 450 electoral votes.

The POLITICO headline: Country Still Very Closely Divided

Posted by: michael_conrad | July 15, 2010 8:23 PM | Report abuse

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