The Widdershins

Beware of fringed surreys…

Posted on: December 17, 2013

Good Tuesday afternoon Widdershins.

This past weekend there was an amazing in-depth article in the New York Times Magazine entitled Inside the Power of the N.R.A. It was quite enlightening about the pressures of only listening to those whispering in your ears. I highly recommend the article to those who might not have yet read it.

The article details how the N.R.A. was kowtowed by the more rabid radicalized groups where any compromise is Tea Party and Occupy Wall Street talkingverboten namely the “Gun Owners of America” and the “National Association for Gun Rights.” I happened to see one of the leaders of the “Gun Owners of America” interviewed over the weekend and his remedy for the thirty people killed each day was, “Not fewer guns, but more guns for everyone.”

There’s a lesson there for progressives. Let me try to explain this kangaroo-on-steroids logical leap.

We on the Left feel pretty comfortable thumbing our noses at the Right. We look at their positions of “the only thing that will stop a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun,” or “the legislatively mandated assaults upon women prior to receiving certain forms of reproductive health care,” or “making it difficult for people of color to vote by making it difficult for everyone to vote” as assurances our policies will always win by default.

Liberal vs Conservative StreetsBeing the winner by default is not the same as governing through sane policy. Being the one left standing isn’t the same thing as being a champion. Relying on the other side to implode leaves us open to the vagaries of, “What if they wake up and do something quite radical like deciding not to implode?”

Simply put, Democrats had better raise their game.

I’m sensing something quite troubling. Maybe you are sensing it too. I’m sensing the far Left fringe of Progressives are ominously circling and looking for a cause celebre around which to coalesce that isn’t Hillary. I sense any vessel will do for opposition. The far Left is pining for an alternative — any alternative.

The 2008 primary season is still painful to many of us. We still feel the bitterness of having been robbed by those on the far Left who ran roughshod over the process and foreclosed any possibility of Hillary’s nomination at that May 2008 Democratic Rules and Bylaws Committee meeting. The ostensible reason: Barack Obama had made a speech as a State Senator against the war in Iraq while Senator Clinton had voted in favor of a bill which arguably authorized force.

My point is a simple one: Those who whisper the loudest are also the most fickle. Listening to the fringe, whether they be Left or Right, is a tortured exercise in “what have you done for me lately?” Every issue for a fringer spawns a new litmus test of “how much do you love me today?”

Because of Obama’s misplaced belief he could hypnotize and charm the Right into cooperation, the country has spent five years in an agonizing paralysis of watching the jobless flounder, homes being foreclosed, infrastructure crumbling, and soon unemployment and food stamps benefits will be drastically cut.

If there was a coat-of-arms for Progressives it would be emblazoned with, “The perfect is the enemy of the good.“ Donkey and Elephant BrainToo often Progressives lose sight of the possible by foregoing the pragmatism of incremental improvement. There is no sin in accepting the possible while still having a vision of the perfect.  That vision of perfect is reason enough to get up and rejoin the battle.

At the end of the day it is still about governing with time-tested, data driven policies. Call me crazy, but good government has always been good politics.

What we have seen with the Ryan/Murray budget compromise is the Right waking up to the fact it feels so much better when you stop hitting yourself over the head with a ball peen hammer. It shouldn’t take a similar epiphany for us on the Left.

This is an open thread.

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12 Responses to "Beware of fringed surreys…"

A well deserved amen, Brother Prolix. The chatterers have already begun to start the anti-Hillary drum beats, attempting to draft Elizabeth Warren kicking and screaming if needs be. As far as the gunfolk go, they tend to have no answer when I apprise them that my first amendment right to life is as important, if not numerically superior, t their second amendment gifts. ,

I have been getting more and more emails from the “progressive” wing of the party pushing each and every little thing that Elizabeth Warren has recently done. I’m waiting for the email that trumpets: “Elizabeth Warren breaks wind and it was a perfectly pitched Bb” Now they are hawking t shirts that read “I belong to the Elizabeth Warren wing of the party”. It’s gotten to the point I have a canned reply I copy and paste in and send them:

I’ve been watching this stuff go on now for the past couple of weeks and am becoming more and more…shall we say “concerned” over it.

>This is why Democrats want Warren to run,” The Rachel Maddow Show, November 20, 2013

Let me say emphatically: no we don’t want Elizabeth Warren to run for President. We want HILLARY CLINTON to run for and win the Presidency. This notion of Elizabeth Warren running has been creeping into the shows on MSNBC with both Rachel Maddow and Chris Hayes. Elizabeth Warren does not have the experience needed to run for the Presidency. Much like Obama in 2008, she’s only been in the Senate a short time. She has not even had time to learn all of the intricacies of how the Senate operates. I do however believe she would make a great Treasury Secretary in a Clinton presidency.

All of the female Democratic women Senators, including Warren, signed a letter encouraging Hillary Clinton to run for the Presidency. While I applaud Senator Warren for standing up on the Social Security issue, I do not support her running for the Presidency in 2016.

http://talkingpointsmemo.com/livewire/democratic-female-senators-sign-letter-encouraging-hillary-clinton-to-run

If Hillary Clinton opts not to run in 2016 because of this push for Warren, I will have to rethink my position in regards to a number of political groups that I support including MoveOn.

I’ve never received a reply and I can only hope that someone at least glances over it.

Chat, I’m glad you have noticed it too. I’m a huge fan of Elizabeth Warren, her economic positions are well-grounded in middle class protection policies meaning that she is pro-growth. The difference is, her policies are radically different than what has been fed to the country for the past 30 years. She needs time to educate and bring the country along through and to her wisdom. I’d love to see Sen. Warren as Treasury Secretary and even better yet, head of a fully-funded S.E.C. — that would put the fear of all things holy into the corporate world.

There has never been anyone more prepared than Hillary to be President and as with most things, she is much more qualified than any man who has ever had the job.

@2, Fredster, that is an excellent reply. Of course, don’t expect a reply from MoveOn since there isn’t a reply to sane facts other than someone saying they have a different opinion.

I’ve been hearing Steve Schmidt use the phrase “Politics for profit,” describing FreedomWorks, Heritage Action, et al. Although I am more sympathetic to their causes, in many ways, MoveOn is also politics for profit — pushing fundraising to keep a staff employed in order to continue fundraising.

There is a lot to be said about the policy consideration of the dismantling of the election laws after Citizens United. Money has been channeled into the advocacy groups and away from the national party apparatus. That is true for both parties. The national parties had a saucer effect of cooling the steamy jets of the fringe advocates. Just another reason why the Roberts’ activist court needs to rethink Citizen United because with McCutcheon this term, they will most likely open the floodgates of corporate money to this mess.

Prolix: I think the wings of each party are both sometimes enchanted by the newest “shiny thing” that crosses their paths and so I’m trying to be tolerant of this new found love for Warren for the Presidency. I’m more than certain she would be very strong on domestic issues including trying to correct things for the middle class, however what does she know about foreign policy and what are her positions? We know Hillary’s background and early years of working for childrens’ issues. We also know she’s got strong bona fides on the international side also. You said it best: “there has never been anyone more prepared than Hillary to be President”.

You caught me with the reference to McClutcheon. I don’t know about that so I’ll have to try to read up on it. If that is going to make the money issues worse, Lord help us!

Fredster, I think it is McCutcheon v. FEC.

Essentially, it is taking on the corporate caps to political campaigns. It is very, very dangerous. This is Mitch McTurtle’s dream since he started on this little project in 1986.

Prolix@7: Diaper Dave has a new pac in La that has asked the state to remove the cap on spending in La. Currently it’s set at $100,000 under some circumstances.

Super PAC backing Sen. David Vitter says state has no choice, must lift $100,000 contribution limit

http://www.nola.com/politics/index.ssf/2013/12/super_pac_backing_sen_vitter_s.html

Louisiana had three $100,000 campaign donations in 2013, two to new David Vitter Super PAC

Pampers has decided to run for guv in La and shaking my head, he’s polling well state wide. Oy!

Someone asked on nola.com why he wants to run for guv. I replied that he’s gotten as far as he can in the Senate. Hooker gate may have disappeared from the headlines but the Repubs in the Senate don’t want Vitter in any leadership position.

@9, or perhaps Vitter has already run through all the “working ladies” in DC. Given that he is a family values Senator, he has that strong can do work ethic.

Prolix@10: Hahahahahahahhaaa!

@Darwin Lambert: I would have loved to have let your comment go through for discussion since you raised a couple of good points. However because you appear to have a link to some unknown website in Spain I could not release it. Further, the letter that was signed was not recent but several months back.

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