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Sun Oct 26, 2014, 10:14 AM

Why is the American left not as effective as the European left?

Whenever I ask this question, there are always a torrent of responses that attribute the American left's relative weakness to external causes: Mainly the wealth, power, and ruthlessness of the (pseudo-)American right. But such explanations only illustrate the real answer - the left in the US has an almost entirely negative self-definition, as a political space where the destructive ideologies of the right are rejected without necessarily having any unified vision of what to do with that space.

This is why the multi-generational failure of the American left to establish lasting foundations of governance in this country is almost universally excused as a product of Enemy Action: "They won't let us do the things we should do!" And for some reason it's usually just left at that, with no further examination. The laziness and childishness of this attitude should be immediately obvious, as well as the fact that it's an excuse for failure rather than a productive thought process toward achieving better results.

It also can't escape notice that it's essentially false: Contrary to myth accepted by both the left and the right, principled left-wing politicians are not rare in America. What's rare are principled left-wing legislative accomplishments, because the American left doesn't reward leaders who do things - it punishes them, because action intensifies attention, which (under the previously mentioned negative self-definition) causes unreasoning and unprioritized obsession on flaws.

A left-wing legislator who just sits quietly between symbolic speeches, but never once passes or in any way tangibly affects a bill that actually does anything, will not be punished by the left for their laziness. But a legislator who fights actual battles, and causes legislation to be passed that moves the country in some tangibly leftward direction, will not be rewarded for it - they will be tarred with the difference between that legislation and a perfectly ideal conception of what it should be, as if that ideal were a real thing and the bill they passed were a movement to the right for not living up to it.

This is an illustration of the quixotic, monkish, fantasy-based solipsism in American left-wing politics. It's a mentality that is self-satisfied with inaction - because inaction doesn't disturb the tranquil contemplation of ideal absolutes - while the rigors of actual governance are resigned to right-wing politicians and moderates. Think about this scenario:

Let's say that only 40% of the people have healthcare. The left says 100% of the people should have healthcare. Every once in a while, left-wing politicians introduce legislation (that never leaves committee) providing healthcare to 100% of the people. The fact that these bills never pass does not register with them or their base - the mere symbolic act of advocating them is considered an achievement in itself, sufficient and perfect, because the reality that no one is actually getting healthcare because of them is considered immaterial. None of these politicians are penalized by their base for doing nothing to actually create healthcare for real people - in fact, they're rewarded for "standing firm" in the face of reality.

Now suppose a pragmatic liberal politician gets a bill passed that increases the percentage of people with healthcare from 50% to 80%, and this is the first time in, say, thirty years that anyone has significantly increased the proportion of people with healthcare. Any remotely sane progressive would be over the Moon at this accomplishment, doubling the provision of healthcare to the American people, right? But in the negative psychology of the American left, that's not what just happened: That bill did not just double healthcare, it cut it from 100% down to 80%. And thus the liberal politician who just saved millions of lives is not a liberal at all, but some kind of Republican Lite or corrupt Betrayer who "sold out" the remaining 20% in some kind of smoke-filled backroom deal with cigar-smoking Mayflower descendents.

And...this is not an exaggeration of how left-wing politics in America thinks. It's the exact picture. I'm not saying that everyone on the left is guilty of this, or guilty to an equal extent, but it is the general environment. The American left operates like a set of monastic orders, not a political movement. It retreats from the world and from messy reality, content in impotence, seeing it as preferable to guard ideas from the dangers of practical trials than to participate in a "profane" and "corrupt" system that can't possibly do them justice. Needless to say, this is a perfect recipe for self-inflicted under-representation and irrelevance - more perfect than anything the other side could possibly design.

It is, in essence, a Loser Factory: A set of attitudes and cultural prejudices that turn humanistic ideals against themselves, and make people who could do the most end up doing the least. It takes away vital public support from politicians who try to achieve things, making them instead targets of the very people they try to serve, and make useless rhetoric machines incapable of political accomplishment into heroes. There seems to be no analytical ability to distinguish between real liberal achievers and people who legitimately deserve the title of "sellout," and the result is that the latter are empowered because insultingly pitiful fig leaf accomplishments still feed more people than Noam Chomsky monographs recited to empty committee rooms.

While the left is characteristically fractious everywhere, in Europe it actually has an interest in governing. Relative to our version, it definitely rewards its leaders for winning elections and passing legislation, instead of treating these accomplishments as grounds for suspicion. There are all the same ideals and kaleidoscopic interest groups, but except for the most impotently and irrelevantly radical of them, they don't jealously withhold their ideals from practical politics like some kind of sacred idol - they try to demonstrate their ideals in practice so that other people can see the benefits, and build networks of political support to continue and grow their programs.

When a left-wing leader is elected in Europe, their first order of business is coalition-building to navigate their agenda into effect. They find out who's who and what's what, and figure out how to make something happen. In the United States, it's more like "Well, I'm going to be a tireless advocate for thus-and-such, and if they won't listen, that's their problem." There's no recognition that being a politician (they despise the very word, let alone the concept) is their job, not being a motionless totem pole to symbolically represent their agenda. If you added 20 exact copies of Dennis Kucinich to the House of Representatives, they still wouldn't do anything, because zero times twenty is still zero.

That's why in America the issues we support, that have the backing of huge majorities of the people, are treated in politics like a radical agenda: Because our left doesn't merely disbelieve in the union of ideals and practical achievement, it won't allow it. Achievement, for all intents and purposes, is the enemy. Achievement is a distraction from basking in moral perfection. So leaders who want to achieve cannot count on support from the left. It can be had briefly, but it cannot form a stable base. There is nothing to gain over the long-term by trying to form a solid political alliance with the left in America - it doesn't reward those who serve it, and does reward those who sabotage it. Like a battered wife, it only feels at home in utter powerlessness, and resents anyone who challenges its comfortable resignation.

The worst part isn't that the American left likes to elect weaklings - it's that they turn against leaders who prove to be strong, almost like clockwork. If you go to any of the more stridently ideological discussion forums and tell the people there that President Barack Obama is a liberal progressive, they're absolutely scandalized by this statement. In their world, opening up healthcare to tens of millions of more Americans, opening the military to gays, preventing war with Iran, using Executive Orders to advance all sorts of labor and environmental objectives, etc. etc. - these things are not liberal achievements because (as with the 100% vs. 80% example above) there is some divergence with a perfect, ideal system that never existed.

Obama halted the march to war with Iran in its tracks and opened up diplomacy, but because the US still wages war somewhere, on some level, he's Dick Cheney. We have Obamacare, but because it involves mandates and private health insurers rather than a purely public system, it's the same as doing nothing and letting millions die from lack of healthcare. Then there's the ever-present "What has he done for us lately?" which never seems to acknowledge the existence of the other two branches of government, like if Obama were a true liberal President, he would magically overcome a bottomlessly corrupt GOP Congress by the sheer force of his progressive piety.

The attention paid by the American left to a subject tends to be inversely proportional to its own influence over it, so Congress - which we can affect much more quickly and effectively than any other aspect of the federal government - gets short shrift in these conversations. When it decides (usually erroneously) that the White House is failing to meet its obligations, does the American left then say "Hey, there's a midterm election coming up, let's take over Congress and force the Executive branch to the left from another branch"? Of course not. Because achievement is the enemy.

An achievement-oriented, left-dominated Congress would be extremely effectual - far more so even than having a liberal President - and yet that goal makes a vanishingly small element of political activism and conversation on the left. It would be so effectual that the other two branches, even if in the hands of the radical right, would be constantly on the defensive: A right-wing Republican (but I repeat myself) in the White House would have to practically automate the process of vetoes, and would frequently be overridden; and the Lawless Five on the Supreme Court would have to be in session 24/7 to strike down all the progressive legislation, probably resulting in some Constitutional amendments passing to override them or at least check their radical judicial abuses of power.

So, in summary, this is why the American left is far less effective than the European left:

1. Self-absorbed and insular, waiting for the country to come to it rather than acting as bold missionaries for its values.

2. Flighty and abstract, obsessing on symbols and feelings while treating objective judgment and logic as profane.

3. A negative self-definition that unjustly concedes the moral substance of American culture to false right-wing definitions.

4. Rewards dereliction by political leaders who fill the void of accomplishment with ineffectual symbolic advocacy.

5. Punishes leaders who produce tangible achievements by obsessing on flaws as measured against nonexistent fantasy programs rather than against the preceding state of affairs.

6. Virtually ignores Congress - the most effectual branch of government to control - in favor of obsessing on the Executive Branch.

7. Instinctively prefers the personal freedom of being inconsequential over the moral dangers of governing effectively.


If you see any of this in yourself, address it and you will - by however small a measure - make the country a better place, make better decisions as a citizen, and probably be more effective as an activist.

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Reply Why is the American left not as effective as the European left? (Original post)
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Response to True Blue Door (Original post)

Sun Oct 26, 2014, 10:26 AM

1. tl;dr

 

"America" has a left, now?

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Response to leeroysphitz (Reply #1)

Sun Oct 26, 2014, 10:30 AM

3. Go back and read it, then comment. Or do neither.

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Response to True Blue Door (Reply #3)

Sun Oct 26, 2014, 12:30 PM

35. I scanned it

Tl,dr: "I don't like the left and have made up reasons why that could have come from Pox News."

"The left" are not who you think they are and don't stand for what you think they stand for.

The reason the left has been "ineffective" in economic matters can be summed up in two words, "corporate media." We are the greatest threat to the 0.1% and they know it.

In the meantime, we've been fighting the good fight in other ways.

This thread will go into the proper receptacle. Left bashing, like red baiting, is passe and serves only the plutocracy.

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Response to Warpy (Reply #35)

Sun Oct 26, 2014, 12:40 PM

46. It's not War and Peace. Read the OP like a grownup, then get back to me.

Your statements are already covered in the OP: You're passing the buck, making excuses for all possible failures by fantasizing about an all-powerful right-wing that in reality is run by incompetent degenerates.

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Response to leeroysphitz (Reply #1)

Sun Oct 26, 2014, 11:31 PM

193. Answering th OP question

but I didn't read the whole post. Please don't punish me, please.

One reason that France's left is effective is they didn't mess around listening to speeches. They had beheadings and the royalty that caused their rightwing-sponsored suffering had to flee the country...

Some European countries who had and have royalty still must have learned by watching France and preferred not to learn by experience.

I still remember A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens that we were assigned to read in High School.

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Response to leeroysphitz (Reply #1)

Mon Oct 27, 2014, 12:48 AM

201. You didn't miss much.

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Response to True Blue Door (Original post)

Sun Oct 26, 2014, 10:28 AM

2. america is a country that desperately wants to believe in fairey tales.

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Response to KG (Reply #2)

Sun Oct 26, 2014, 10:33 AM

4. Belief isn't the problem.

All the people behind great progressive accomplishments in our history believed in fairy tales, to some extent. The difference is that they weren't content to believe - they wanted to see it brought alive, and were bold enough to put in the work.

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Response to True Blue Door (Original post)

Sun Oct 26, 2014, 10:43 AM

5. What a pantload.

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Response to 99Forever (Reply #5)

Sun Oct 26, 2014, 11:15 AM

6. Any substantive criticism, or did you just want to confirm my point?

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Response to True Blue Door (Reply #6)

Sun Oct 26, 2014, 11:31 AM

9. You got all you deserve.

Since you have already decided you know everything on the subject.

I don't suffer fools.

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Response to 99Forever (Reply #9)

Sun Oct 26, 2014, 11:39 AM

11. ...

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Response to 99Forever (Reply #9)

Sun Oct 26, 2014, 12:01 PM

18. you get a rainbow!

thread winner.

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Response to 99Forever (Reply #9)

Sun Oct 26, 2014, 12:12 PM

22. You've said nothing.

Other than it is upsetting for the left to be criticized.

Do you think you will see single payer in the US in your lifetime? How will it happen? Election of the right POTUS is all we need to do, right? Who is the latest Messiah? I know Bernie could convince any Congress to pass single payer, regardless of its make up. So what are we doing to get Bernie in - oh wait, we don't have to do anything. He'll do it himself. He's that persuasive. Surely he has the balls to become POTUS and force Congress to enact single payer? Why has he waited so long?

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Response to treestar (Reply #22)

Sun Oct 26, 2014, 02:57 PM

104. Your President, from the Left, is what we would think of as Centre-Right.

 

And closer to the Tories than what constitutes our Left Wing over here.

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Response to mr blur (Reply #104)

Sun Oct 26, 2014, 06:25 PM

139. In the USA I am to the left

but not in Sweden. My opinions are moderate and average in Sweden. Obama would be considered a center-right leader.

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Response to mr blur (Reply #104)

Sun Oct 26, 2014, 08:27 PM

183. And oh look, *crickets*

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Response to mr blur (Reply #104)

Sun Oct 26, 2014, 11:35 PM

194. non-responsive

to my questions.

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Response to 99Forever (Reply #9)

Sun Oct 26, 2014, 12:30 PM

36. You have nothing to say. Your comment is a perfect example of my point.

Arrogant beyond all measure, totally self-absorbed, a negative mind with no ideas and incapable of taking responsibility for anything that happens. Concerned only with trashing those around you who want something more.

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Response to True Blue Door (Reply #36)

Sun Oct 26, 2014, 12:45 PM

49. aggressively attacking posters does nothing to improve your OP

maybe a re-write?

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Response to nashville_brook (Reply #49)

Sun Oct 26, 2014, 12:55 PM

57. Can you suggest a more constructive response to someone

responding to a lengthy discussion with "This is all bullshit, you're a moron who doesn't deserve any substantive response"?

The comment is unmitigated arrogance and trolling.

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Response to True Blue Door (Reply #36)

Sun Oct 26, 2014, 12:47 PM

52. Your post is entirely self describing

 

nt

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Response to AgingAmerican (Reply #52)

Sun Oct 26, 2014, 12:56 PM

58. And you just said "I know you are, but what am I?" Thanks for playing.

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Response to True Blue Door (Reply #58)

Sun Oct 26, 2014, 12:58 PM

61. And you react negatively to, and lash out at, all criticism

 

OP FAIL

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Response to AgingAmerican (Reply #61)

Sun Oct 26, 2014, 01:06 PM

66. The OP is criticism that you can't handle. Irony fail.

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Response to True Blue Door (Reply #66)

Sun Oct 26, 2014, 01:09 PM

67. The OP is a pantload

 

...of easily debunked nonsense.

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Response to AgingAmerican (Reply #67)

Sun Oct 26, 2014, 01:16 PM

71. Then why haven't any of you even tried to "debunk" it?

You seem to think that just copping a shitty attitude and being petulant is a rebuttal.

There is, at this point, no difference whatsoever to the kind of responses I get when I criticize conservatives on their own websites. It's eliciting the same smarmy, face-chewing hostility, the same childish insults, the same total lack of substantive thought or reflection.

In fact, add that to my list of criticisms at the bottom of the OP: Have to walk on eggshells to even constructively criticize the left without them losing their shit and acting like you're The Enemy.

And that's why the rest of the criticisms in the OP happen. Some of you guys just don't...fucking...listen. Can't have a conversation, can't note any fact you find inconvenient, can't form a political relationship of any kind. Everyone is either with you or against you 100%, like George freaking Bush.

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Response to True Blue Door (Reply #71)

Sun Oct 26, 2014, 01:18 PM

72. You are doing a fine job of it yourself

 

With your overreaction to even the slightest criticism of it.

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Response to AgingAmerican (Reply #72)

Sun Oct 26, 2014, 01:27 PM

76. Dismissing it in its entirety without explanation is "the slightest criticism"?

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Response to True Blue Door (Reply #76)

Sun Oct 26, 2014, 01:31 PM

80. You mean flushing it?

 

nt

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Response to AgingAmerican (Reply #80)

Sun Oct 26, 2014, 02:17 PM

93. I mean trolling. I.e., what you're doing.

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Response to AgingAmerican (Reply #72)

Sun Oct 26, 2014, 01:29 PM

77. Centrism will always fail

 

...because there is no center in the left right paradigm of American politics.

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Response to AgingAmerican (Reply #77)

Sun Oct 26, 2014, 02:28 PM

96. Centrism isn't relevant to this discussion.

We're talking about how the left tends to approach things.

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Response to True Blue Door (Reply #96)

Sun Oct 26, 2014, 08:38 PM

185. If your position is neither Centrist nor Leftist, what is it?

 

??

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Response to AgingAmerican (Reply #185)

Mon Oct 27, 2014, 06:12 AM

212. Rational.

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Response to 99Forever (Reply #73)

Sun Oct 26, 2014, 02:22 PM

94. LOL!

Somewhere, on some planet in a galaxy far, far away, Jimmy Carter was a "centrist." Apparently you are a resident of that planet.

As are the teabaggers who insist Richard Nixon was a centrist.

The left can never fail, only be failed by impious betrayers!

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Response to True Blue Door (Reply #94)

Sun Oct 26, 2014, 02:34 PM

98. I have zero idea what you are babbling on about ...

... or where you pulled it out of.

You clearly have no clue as to who "the left" is or what we stand for.

Perhaps you should step away from the computer for a bit.

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Response to 99Forever (Reply #98)

Sun Oct 26, 2014, 07:12 PM

160. Umm, I'm "babbling" about the article cited in the post you linked to.

You did read your own link, didn't you?

I realize that reading a two-page post written in their native language is an intellectual Labor of Hercules where some people are concerned, but I'd call it reasonable to expect that someone at least reads their own links.

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Response to 99Forever (Reply #98)

Sun Oct 26, 2014, 08:43 PM

186. My guess

 

Is that the poster is babbling on in reaction to that very thread that you posted! I would say that thread is precisely what sparked the op.

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Response to True Blue Door (Original post)

Sun Oct 26, 2014, 11:17 AM

7. sounds like it was written by somebody who came into office as a youngish progressive

moved to the right to "stay elected," and wonder why all his progressive college buddies don't trust him anymore.

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Response to nashville_brook (Reply #7)

Sun Oct 26, 2014, 11:40 AM

12. Then how come the left doesn't get anything done?

They are right. The left waits for the country to come to them and complains. complains that the leaders don't do enough without supporting the leaders. Constant complaining about not having enough in a country with Fox News to shill for the right. It honestly makes no sense.

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Response to treestar (Reply #12)

Sun Oct 26, 2014, 11:59 AM

16. i've been seeing "the left" get LOTS done -- paid sick time, raise the wage, and GOTV

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Response to nashville_brook (Reply #16)

Sun Oct 26, 2014, 12:09 PM

20. In the 60s?

And how about GOTV in 2010?

Why don't they support the politicians who were part of the progress to get more? The right has had a lot of power since 1980.

What's with all the complaining about the ACA and failing to support Obama and the Democrats because they didn't get single payer? If they'd done that in the 60s, no further progress would have been made. Come to think of it, maybe they did do that. That's how Reagan got elected and the right managed to get its crazies into the House.

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Response to treestar (Reply #20)

Sun Oct 26, 2014, 12:26 PM

33. i don't know about where you live (maybe you're all online)

but where i live we've increased ABRs by historic numbers.

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Response to treestar (Reply #20)

Sun Oct 26, 2014, 01:38 PM

84. No, that would be here and now by lefties, at least on the 'left coast.'

Still have to work against being undercut by the centrists though, as happened with our WA state legislature.

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Response to nashville_brook (Reply #16)

Sun Oct 26, 2014, 12:33 PM

38. I've seen the liberal leaders whom the left constantly trashes get those things done.

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Response to True Blue Door (Reply #38)

Sun Oct 26, 2014, 12:48 PM

53. So you are a right winger?

 

There is no center in American politics.

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Response to AgingAmerican (Reply #53)

Sun Oct 26, 2014, 01:02 PM

62. Non sequitur.

If you think criticizing the left is evidence of being right-wing, that pretty clearly suggests the left isn't doing much if any self-criticism. And that's not a recipe for success, is it?

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Response to True Blue Door (Reply #62)

Sun Oct 26, 2014, 01:05 PM

64. You loathe the left

 

And there is no 'center' in American politics. Where does that put you?

Your OP is a load of easily debunked crap.,

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Response to AgingAmerican (Reply #64)

Sun Oct 26, 2014, 01:09 PM

68. I loathe individual people who care more about their egos than about other people.

Anyone who on the left who wants to achieve things, will recognize the truth of my criticism.

You can stow the slander.

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Response to True Blue Door (Reply #68)

Sun Oct 26, 2014, 01:10 PM

69. Reacting to the reaction

 

= drama

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Response to AgingAmerican (Reply #69)

Sun Oct 26, 2014, 01:13 PM

70. Exactly. The OP is a reaction to present circumstances, and argues for changing them.

Rather than reflecting on themselves, or attempting to argue with the premise, or the conclusions, or anything at all, some people here obviously see themselves pretty clearly reflected in the OP's criticism and it drives them berserk.

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Response to treestar (Reply #12)

Sun Oct 26, 2014, 12:17 PM

25. What do you think the LGBT rights advances came from, the right? Centrists who nattered about

 

how impossible marriage equality would be and kept demanding we settle for civil unions? How about reproductive choice? Medical Marijuana laws, legalization in some States. Not the right, not the center, them dirty hippies again.
Harvey Milk spoke about your attitude in 1978:
"What we must do is make sure that 1978 continues the movement that is really happening that the media don't want you to know about. That is the movement to the left. It's up to CDC (California Democratic Committee) to put the pressures on Sacramento--but to break down the walls and the barriers so the movement to the left continues and progress continues in the nation."
http://www.danaroc.com/guests_harveymilk_122208.html

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Response to Bluenorthwest (Reply #25)

Sun Oct 26, 2014, 12:32 PM

37. precisely. there's no "there there" in centrism.

we (the left, DFHs) actually stand up and fight for shit that matters. these are the values that make us relevant.

horsetrading and amorphous non-ideological bullshit (i'll bring "both sides together" never works. never has (Carter), never will.

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Response to Bluenorthwest (Reply #25)

Sun Oct 26, 2014, 12:53 PM

56. Here's the problem.

A lot of times the left rhetorically takes a position, then sits on its ass until pragmatic liberals whom they constantly berate and dismiss make tangible progress on it, then try to take credit for the result.

Here, I'll do it too: "I think dolphins should have legal rights."

Now if dolphins ever obtain legal rights through the long, hard-fought efforts of organizations and individual leaders worldwide - while I sit on my ass backseat driving at them - I'll just dismiss them as centrist imitators who co-opted my oh-so-progressive agenda.

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Response to True Blue Door (Reply #56)

Sun Oct 26, 2014, 01:48 PM

88. Well, first time I've seen a straw dolphin.

Blue NW gave specific examples of tangible gains proposed, pushed for and won by leftists and you set up a straw dolphin to knock down.
Pretty clear whose arguments have merit here.

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Response to suffragette (Reply #88)

Sun Oct 26, 2014, 02:26 PM

95. My point was that these things had been "pushed for" by the left for decades. Ineffectually.

They were only won when liberals took up the causes and tangibly advanced them.

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Response to True Blue Door (Reply #95)

Sun Oct 26, 2014, 03:03 PM

106. The state senator I vote for every time is consistently the most progressive one in my state.

She has campaigned on and followed through in creating progressive legislation even when that has been challenging and continues to do so consistently. And she wins in landslides, showing how strongly we in her district support the work she does.

From a blog in another part of her district:
http://www.myballard.com/2013/06/12/sen-jeanne-kohl-welles-named-most-progressive-member-of-washington-state-senate/

Sen. Jeanne Kohl-Welles named most progressive member of Washington State Senate
Posted by Meghan Walker on June 12th, 2013


Our 36th District Sen. Jeanne Kohl-Welles has been named the most progressive member of the Washington State Senate by the Progressive Democrats of America. Her title is based on a combined score drawn from four legislative scorecards: results from the Washington Conservation Voters Legislative Scorecard 2011-2012, the Washington State Labor Council 2012 SENATE Voting Record, the Facing Race: 2012 Legislative Report Card on Racial Equity, and the 2012 Washington Conservative Union Ratings of the State Senate.

Kohl-Welles has been well known for her work on issues such as medical marijuana, gun violence, education reform and gender equality. For the title of most progressive senator, Kohl-Welles won with a score of 276 points. Each senator was awarded points for positive positions but also penalized for negative actions.

“This score confirms that I am accurately representing my constituents’ priorities, and I’m proud to be working on their behalf,” Kohl-Welles said in a release. “I consider it a privilege to represent our district and its progressive values to move our community and our state steadily forward.”

We vote our conscience and she does her job. And she is very effective at her job.

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Response to suffragette (Reply #106)

Sun Oct 26, 2014, 07:23 PM

163. That's great. Promote her to higher office.

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Response to nashville_brook (Reply #7)

Sun Oct 26, 2014, 11:46 AM

13. Yep.

Real leftists love Romneycare!

Um, no.

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Response to QC (Reply #13)

Sun Oct 26, 2014, 12:00 PM

17. if you don't love republican policy from a "progressive" label,

then what do you stand for, really?


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Response to nashville_brook (Reply #17)

Sun Oct 26, 2014, 12:12 PM

23. It's still progress.

So what if even the Rs were once progressive means we shouldn't do it?

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Response to QC (Reply #13)

Sun Oct 26, 2014, 12:18 PM

27. Do you not give the slightest of shits about the millions of Americans

who now have healthcare because of Obamacare?

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Response to True Blue Door (Reply #27)

Sun Oct 26, 2014, 12:37 PM

43. FYI, they have health insurance, not health care.

 

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Response to truebluegreen (Reply #43)

Sun Oct 26, 2014, 01:05 PM

63. And food stamps are not food.

Shall we end food stamp programs and berate their supporters as right-wingers?

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Response to True Blue Door (Reply #63)

Sun Oct 26, 2014, 03:42 PM

115. Are you claiming the two are equivalent?

 

If so, you need more study time.

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Response to truebluegreen (Reply #115)

Sun Oct 26, 2014, 07:26 PM

164. I'm claiming that "x is not y" is not a logical argument that "x < y".

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Response to True Blue Door (Reply #164)

Sun Oct 26, 2014, 07:30 PM

167. I am overwhelmed by your erudition

 

and ability to totally miss the point.

Tchau.

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Response to truebluegreen (Reply #167)

Sun Oct 26, 2014, 08:27 PM

182. Can't help missing what isn't there.

We attempt to meet the need for food with food stamps; we attempt to meet the need for healthcare with health insurance.

Saying that the means is not the ends is trivial, and actually argues my own point. We don't endorse Obamacare because there's something inherently great about the way it works - what matters is that people have healthcare because of it.

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Response to True Blue Door (Reply #182)

Sun Oct 26, 2014, 08:32 PM

184. *sigh*

 

Food stamps are free food. You have to go buy it with them, but it is otherwise free to the recipient.

The right to purchase health insurance, even at a greatly reduced rate, is not the same thing as actually receiving health care.

Sure, the ACA is better than nothing. Outlawing the pre-existing condition jive is a huge improvement by itself. But health insurance does not equal health care, while food stamps do equal food.

Do you understand now?

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Response to truebluegreen (Reply #184)

Mon Oct 27, 2014, 06:18 AM

213. The distinction is just a matter of degree.

Why shouldn't the government just deliver actual food directly to people's houses instead of imposing the odious burden of making them go to a store? Clearly the people who introduced and continue to support food stamp programs are right-wingers and centrists conspiring to sabotage America's safety net.

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Response to True Blue Door (Reply #213)

Mon Oct 27, 2014, 09:55 AM

225. Um, no.

 

One thing is equivalent (food stamps equals food), one thing is not (health insurance does not equal health care). That's it. Not a matter of degree.

And what are you on about re: odious burdens? That sounds idiotic and has absolutely nothing to do with what I said. But your concern is noted.

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Response to truebluegreen (Reply #225)

Mon Oct 27, 2014, 10:21 AM

227. It's not equivalent. It's a means.

Food stamps are a means to acquire food, health insurance is a means to acquire healthcare.

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Response to True Blue Door (Reply #227)

Mon Oct 27, 2014, 11:00 AM

231. This really shouldn't be so difficult to understand.

 

Answer me this: can someone, anyone, with an insurance policy costing maybe $300 a month, take said policy to a provider and be entitled to receive exactly $300 worth of care, every month? No more and no less? Because if not, then health insurance is not in the same relationship to health care as food stamps are to food.

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Response to True Blue Door (Reply #27)

Sun Oct 26, 2014, 12:42 PM

47. They have health insurance, not health care.

That's a key difference that eludes those determined to shake their pompoms for the president no matter what.

Has the ACA improved some people's lives? Sure, and that's a great thing. But what of the people who cannot afford to use the corporate health insurance they are being forced to pay for? And what about the precedent we have set in requiring people to buy corporate health insurance, thus giving the Rick Scotts of the world a captive market?

I'm OK with arguing that the ACA is an improvement for many people, but it's just dumb to argue that progressives should be ecstatic over a 1990s Heritage Foundation proposal.

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Response to QC (Reply #47)

Sun Oct 26, 2014, 01:29 PM

78. Then accomplish something better.

But while in the process of pursuing that something, acknowledge that what Obamacare is currently the furthest step toward what we want that's yet existed in this country.

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Response to QC (Reply #13)

Sun Oct 26, 2014, 12:36 PM

42. I love the fact I finally got my teeth taken care of thanks to Obamacare. Too bad you only care

 

about your own personal ideology.

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Response to KittyWampus (Reply #42)

Sun Oct 26, 2014, 01:30 PM

79. That must mean your teeth are right-wing sellouts! :D

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Response to nashville_brook (Reply #7)

Sun Oct 26, 2014, 12:19 PM

28. Yet another comment that has nothing whatsoever to do with the OP.

You sound like someone who's so used to dishing out criticism that you can't take it in turn.

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Response to True Blue Door (Reply #28)

Sun Oct 26, 2014, 12:52 PM

54. You are describing your own reaction

 

...to the criticism of your op.

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Response to AgingAmerican (Reply #54)

Sun Oct 26, 2014, 01:33 PM

82. Once again, "I know you are, but what am I?" is not a rebuttal.

And sticking your fingers in your ears and saying "lalalalalalala" because you don't like the OP's conclusions is not a rebuttal to the OP.

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Response to True Blue Door (Reply #82)

Sun Oct 26, 2014, 01:57 PM

91. Again

 

you are describing your own reaction to criticism of your OP.

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Response to AgingAmerican (Reply #91)

Sun Oct 26, 2014, 07:06 PM

157. And again, you're trolling childish retorts because you have no rational arguments to make.

I don't even believe at this point that you read the OP.

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Response to True Blue Door (Reply #157)

Mon Oct 27, 2014, 01:51 AM

205. Again

 

...you are describing your own reaction to criticism of your OP. You are becoming a parody of yourself. If you had a thicker skin and stopped insulting everyone who disagreed with you, people might take you a tad more seriously. Until that happens, not so much.

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Response to AgingAmerican (Reply #205)

Mon Oct 27, 2014, 06:21 AM

214. But you haven't disagreed with me, just insulted me.

You couldn't handle the criticism in the OP, so you just insult, dismiss, and project.

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Response to True Blue Door (Reply #214)

Mon Oct 27, 2014, 09:17 PM

234. The OP is a fact free load of crap

 

Not worth noting.

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Response to AgingAmerican (Reply #54)

Sun Oct 26, 2014, 07:01 PM

151. I noticed that, too.

 

It's weird.

I'm not worked up. I'm happy to have a discussion with people I disagree with-- even the ones who dislike me. But they have to actually offer something. If it's nothing but vague insults and silly ranting, who cares?

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Response to True Blue Door (Original post)

Sun Oct 26, 2014, 11:31 AM

8. There is no 'American Left'

You're asking why corporate centrist politicians and their followers don't do more 'lefty' things

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Response to leftstreet (Reply #8)

Sun Oct 26, 2014, 12:06 PM

19. Exactly.

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Response to leftstreet (Reply #8)

Sun Oct 26, 2014, 12:20 PM

29. You don't consider yourself American?

Last edited Sun Oct 26, 2014, 01:34 PM - Edit history (1)

I'm American, and I'm on the left. Ergo there is an American left.

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Response to True Blue Door (Reply #29)

Sun Oct 26, 2014, 03:54 PM

118. LOL n/t

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Response to leftstreet (Reply #118)

Sun Oct 26, 2014, 07:05 PM

155. Well, which is it? Do you not consider yourself American, or do you not consider yourself Left?

At least one of those two has to be the case if your claim that there is no American left is true.

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Response to True Blue Door (Original post)

Sun Oct 26, 2014, 11:38 AM

10. Excellent. A lot of the left needs to hear that.

They really don't like progress because it means they can't complain and play the victim as well. And it is true about the 80%.

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Response to treestar (Reply #10)

Sun Oct 26, 2014, 01:51 PM

89. A lot of people on the left demand to be ignored.

They broadcast it to every politician: "Do not listen to us! We are fickle friends and impotent enemies! We will dismiss, ignore, and forget everything you do for us, and magnify or straight up invent reasons to hate you! We are happy to be on the outside, and consider powerlessness the greatest vindication of our morality!"

And that's fine as a personal choice, but it's hard not to draw the conclusion that some of these folks seriously do not give a flying fuck about other human beings. It's all some kind of game to them, or art project. The existence of other people, and the messy practicalities of helping them, are inconvenient intrusions into their perfect vision or their fun little game.

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Response to True Blue Door (Original post)

Sun Oct 26, 2014, 11:47 AM

14. Less than 100% equals 0%

No surrender. No compromises. Take no prisoners.

America! Fuck YEAH!

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Response to FrodosPet (Reply #14)

Sun Oct 26, 2014, 12:21 PM

30. The first part is indeed their attitude.

But "no surrender" sure as hell isn't. Absolute, perpetual surrender is more like it.

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Response to True Blue Door (Original post)

Sun Oct 26, 2014, 11:57 AM

15. Because Europe's media isn't owned in its entirety by five billionaires, like it is in the US.

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Response to PSPS (Reply #15)

Sun Oct 26, 2014, 12:22 PM

31. Because they have a government that wouldn't allow it.

Which is in turn because they have a government where the left participates.
And they have that because they have a left-wing base that participates instead of just impotently whining all the time.

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Response to True Blue Door (Original post)

Sun Oct 26, 2014, 12:11 PM

21. I would argue that the "American Left" you describe never existed...

...you seem to associate bloggers and pundits with "the left". I don't see the behavior you describe in any Party organizations, unions, or advocacy groups with any significant involvement in the political process. Just the folks who like to vent online or hopefully get their screed published.

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Response to brooklynite (Reply #21)

Sun Oct 26, 2014, 12:13 PM

24. As long as they are completely without influence, fine

But then what is wrong with criticizing them?

It would also involve admitting that the voters are not far enough left, since we don't get Congresses that would pass single payer.

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Response to brooklynite (Reply #21)

Sun Oct 26, 2014, 12:25 PM

32. That might be.

I do know that many of the bloggers and pundits who claim to represent us tend to promote dubious or even utterly false narratives that harm our political effectiveness. Plenty of that insanity is on display in some of the comments right here.

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Response to brooklynite (Reply #21)

Sun Oct 26, 2014, 12:57 PM

60. How many mechanics; how many factory workers; how many miners

are on DU? The American Left had its birth in the American labor movement which perhaps started in the mid-Nineteenth Century and was in full swing by the turn of the 20th Century. The left had icons like Mother Jones and Teddy Roosevelt. These were "mud, blood and guts" leaders of people who actually fought and died for better lives, the right to vote for some.

There was an American left. It's remnants are intellectuals.




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Response to LuvLoogie (Reply #60)

Sun Oct 26, 2014, 02:16 PM

92. That's a fair and important criticism.

The left in the past could form around working communities because the deprivations experienced by major proportions of the population were exposed - their kids would go to school without shoes, they were skinny and hungry, they didn't have electricity or hot water, etc. And it was more obvious because the poor lived among other classes much more homogeneously instead of being segregated in almost entirely separate cities like now, so the poor were confronted with their poverty, and the middle-class at least were confronted with their good fortune. It wasn't as easy to disappear into a bubble and forget what you stand on.

Now, because American life is so profoundly economically segregated (I had posted something about that a while ago), people disappear into their circumstances, and don't necessarily in their daily lives see anything to either give them hope in bad times or excite their sympathy in good times. If you're poor, then America is a wasteland; if you're rich, then it's a playground; if you're middle-class, it's a treadmill with some pleasant entertainments playing on the screen.

But from the wasteland, you don't really get to see enough of the playground to feel outraged that it's denied to you, not enough to realize there's no inherent reason why it should be - it's just some distant fantasyland on TV. From the playground, you don't see enough of the wasteland to know that there is nothing but luck standing between you and it - it's just something to avoid, both physically and mentally. And the middle-class are too damn busy to think about either except to be grateful they're not poor and idly hope that something happens to make them rich.

And even in the wasteland, the deprivation is hidden in so many different distractions and destructive pleasures. You're taught by circumstance not to plan for the future, but to use every opportunity to enjoy whatever you can get. So an ignorant rich man might visit the apartment of a grindingly poor person and be amused or disgusted to see an Xbox, and really not understand how the two facts fit together.

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Response to LuvLoogie (Reply #60)

Sun Oct 26, 2014, 05:03 PM

123. This is very true. Thanks for bringing it up.

We've lost our labor history, heritage and unions. In 1980 the US had about 30% unionized workforce, now around 11% and shrinking. Germany still has about 70%.

Mother Jones was a workers warrior. The 'children's march' to TR's Long Is. home Sagamore Hill to demonstrate against child labor. Her work with unionizing and TR's efforts for food safety, environmental conservation. Since then, A Nation of Sheep, Ruled by Wolves, Owned by Pigs as one DUer wrote.

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Response to appalachiablue (Reply #123)

Sun Oct 26, 2014, 06:23 PM

138. My history professor a few semesters back had never heard of Blair Mountain.

What does that tell you?

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Response to Brigid (Reply #138)

Sun Oct 26, 2014, 06:50 PM

146. Pretty bad. This is takeover of education/history by RW in 35 yrs., corporate media, dumbed down.

This article finally obtained some value when the poster I replied to mentioned the loss of mechanics, blue collar workers in the Dem. Party. Also the OP writers post above is worthy -our very increased economic segregation of groups who never encounter each other, or their neighborhoods anymore.
But we have to keep it up, and remember, 'United we stand; divided we beg".

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Response to LuvLoogie (Reply #60)

Mon Oct 27, 2014, 06:55 AM

219. It's not "the left" here that most often trashes blue collar workers

As a blue collar worker myself I'm pretty sensitive to who calls me "white trash" and other assorted epithets, I don't hear that sort of thing from the strongest left advocates here, it's the mushy middle, the pragmatic centrists, who likes to run me down and call me names.

You think I don't notice who denigrates me because of the color shirt I wear?

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Response to True Blue Door (Original post)

Sun Oct 26, 2014, 12:18 PM

26. No backing from the established party. Zephyr Teachout, Barbara Buono who were Both sound contenders

and got Squashed by corrupt big money. The republicans aren't the only ones with Koch habits and ties with Wall St gangsters.

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Response to adirondacker (Reply #26)

Sun Oct 26, 2014, 12:29 PM

34. So you're saying they didn't know they would be fought by big money?

It came as a complete shock to them that they would be opposed like that, despite the fact that it happens over, and over, and over? Whose fault is it that candidates like that never seem to learn from failure, and learn even less from success?

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Response to True Blue Door (Reply #34)

Sun Oct 26, 2014, 12:34 PM

41. Yes, silly candidates - they ran on issues, not ass-kissing.

 

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Response to djean111 (Reply #41)

Sun Oct 26, 2014, 02:29 PM

97. And to you that's enough, but not to anyone who actually needs help from the government.

They need people to actually get elected.

That's the difference between progressives and fauxgressives.

But you're welcome to console the poor and struggling families of America that these candidates feel good about themselves for losing nobly.

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Response to True Blue Door (Reply #34)

Sun Oct 26, 2014, 12:40 PM

45. "If it's all about money and return on investment and stock shares and all that,

instead of what kind of society works best for those who don't have such "goods", we're finished as a democracy, because some people will be able to buy anything they want and vast numbers of others will be unable to afford what they need. " Bill Moyers

http://www.democraticunderground.com/1016105284

Who's running the show? Why isn't THIS the topic of discussion Non Stop?
I hear a Lot of clamour that "It's Too Far Left"
Bullshit.

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Response to adirondacker (Reply #45)

Sun Oct 26, 2014, 12:46 PM

50. The bullshit is only going to get heavier and heavier and more voluminous when the 2014

 

voting is over and done. I honestly think there is a wish to herd everyone into Hillary's Third Way tent NOW so that there are no primary contenders to challenge her.

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Response to djean111 (Reply #50)

Sun Oct 26, 2014, 02:39 PM

99. If there are no primary contenders, whose fault would that be?

Whose fault would it be if we can't find someone better to run on the Democratic ticket than Hillary Rodham Nixon?

Everyone else's fault, of course!

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Response to adirondacker (Reply #45)

Sun Oct 26, 2014, 02:42 PM

100. I agree with Moyers, but I don't see how this relates to what we're discussing.

How do we expect to control the emphasis of the political debate if we treat participation at all as an act of betrayal?

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Response to adirondacker (Reply #26)

Sun Oct 26, 2014, 12:34 PM

40. the OP displays a conveniently limited view of contemporary politics.

thanks for reminding us where the REAL problems lie.

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Response to nashville_brook (Reply #40)

Sun Oct 26, 2014, 12:46 PM

51. Another recent thread explains who to Blame when the shit hits the fan...

Senate Democrats Not Running Or Already Retired Sit On $52 Million
http://www.democraticunderground.com/10025717566

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Response to True Blue Door (Original post)

Sun Oct 26, 2014, 12:33 PM

39. Mmmmm - Lefty punching - it's what's for breakfast!

 

The multi-party systems in Europe make it a lot easier for the European Left to make a difference. The entrenched Red vs Blue setup in America makes it almost impossible - the Left is now just scorned and scapegoated.

What is exactly the purpose of this OP - to turn the Lefties into Third Wayers or Blue Dogs and yelp happily into the polls? I don't see many people saying they won't vote, just people saying what we have is shit on a shingle in a lot of cases, and no, we are not going to eat it and pronounce it delicious. Looks like the OP is very tender about criticism, to me, not the Left - we are quite used to it, really, and excoriation and exhortation to praise Third Way stuff does not work.

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Response to djean111 (Reply #39)

Sun Oct 26, 2014, 12:38 PM

44. also, watch what happens when left congress folk try to form coalitions with libertarian Rs

RE civil liberties or war spending. the party apparatchiks freak the fuck out.

OP thinks it wants a European style coalition environment? then pony up, mister.

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Response to nashville_brook (Reply #44)

Sun Oct 26, 2014, 01:32 PM

81. Good point

We do have some common ground with Libertarians is areas of civil liberties and some other areas. But it is generally not used by our leaders because it would seem "impure."

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Response to djean111 (Reply #39)

Sun Oct 26, 2014, 02:48 PM

102. Ludicrous accusation. Constructive, rational criticism = "lefty punching." Sheer insecurity.

Also, why would multi-party systems empower the European left more than the right? They still have to form coalitions to govern, which just happens within the two parties in this country. What is the practical difference?

"What is exactly the purpose of this OP - to turn the Lefties into Third Wayers or Blue Dogs and yelp happily into the polls?"

Again, truly preposterous accusation. The level of insecurity that would produce such a reaction is staggering. Or maybe you can explain to me how the points I make at the end of the OP would indicate what you're suggesting? Being less insular and self-absorbed would lead to being Third Wayers and Blue Dogs? Placing greater emphasis on Congress rather than the Executive Branch would do that?

Did you even read the OP?

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Response to True Blue Door (Original post)

Sun Oct 26, 2014, 12:44 PM

48. What a load of crap

 

Every advance this country has seen in the last 100 years has come from 'the left' that you loathe so openly.

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Response to AgingAmerican (Reply #48)

Sun Oct 26, 2014, 02:49 PM

103. You didn't even read the OP. You've made that clear, now stop spamming.

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Response to True Blue Door (Reply #103)

Sun Oct 26, 2014, 03:01 PM

105. Sure, if you say so, uhuh, that must me it!

 

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Response to True Blue Door (Reply #103)

Sun Oct 26, 2014, 04:45 PM

121. I read it. He's right. So, who's spamming whom?

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Response to BillZBubb (Reply #121)

Sun Oct 26, 2014, 05:37 PM

125. Sorry, I don't buy it.

I wrote, in perfectly legible English, a set of arguments and suggestions for improving left-wing politics. I can believe someone can substantively disagree with it and offer some kind of alternative reasoning, and I've appreciated comments that offered that kind of response.

But if someone just cavalierly dismisses it without any kind of attempt at dialogue, they're either lying about having read it or it went so far over their head that they just can't deal with it and would rather act contemptuous than seek clarifications.

I argue with Republicans, so I'm fully aware of every tactic used by the intellectually lazy and inadequate to hide behind posturing. It's an open fucking book.

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Response to True Blue Door (Original post)

Sun Oct 26, 2014, 12:52 PM

55. I thought you were going to tell us how the European Left differs.

all I got was American Left = FAIL

oh well

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Response to eShirl (Reply #55)

Sun Oct 26, 2014, 03:15 PM

108. I guess you stopped reading before this point:

While the left is characteristically fractious everywhere, in Europe it actually has an interest in governing. Relative to our version, it definitely rewards its leaders for winning elections and passing legislation, instead of treating these accomplishments as grounds for suspicion. There are all the same ideals and kaleidoscopic interest groups, but except for the most impotently and irrelevantly radical of them, they don't jealously withhold their ideals from practical politics like some kind of sacred idol - they try to demonstrate their ideals in practice so that other people can see the benefits, and build networks of political support to continue and grow their programs.

When a left-wing leader is elected in Europe, their first order of business is coalition-building to navigate their agenda into effect. They find out who's who and what's what, and figure out how to make something happen.

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Response to True Blue Door (Reply #108)

Mon Oct 27, 2014, 03:04 AM

207. I did miss that in my scan of that wall of text, yes.

What you seem to be describing is what I see as a natural result of the differing electoral systems. (Not that I am well-versed on the topic in any way, shape or form.)

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Response to eShirl (Reply #207)

Mon Oct 27, 2014, 06:25 AM

215. Maybe you should scan less and actually read things.

And two pages of orderly paragraphs is not a "wall of text" just because you can't be bothered to read something before commenting on it.

As to the differing electoral systems, how do you see their electoral system producing a stronger left?

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Response to True Blue Door (Original post)

Sun Oct 26, 2014, 12:56 PM

59. This is pure fantasy

Have you bothered to check out the European left lately? With the sole exception of Syriza in Greece, the rest are busy helping out the far right by supporting and implementing austerity programs. Merkel, because it's Germany calling the shots, couldn't have screwed the continent so fast without the willing obedience of your "effective" European left.

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Response to MFrohike (Reply #59)

Sun Oct 26, 2014, 03:16 PM

109. And still they're more effective than the American left.

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Response to True Blue Door (Reply #109)

Sun Oct 26, 2014, 03:45 PM

116. Uh, no?

Le Pen got a huge boost when Hollande enacted right wing policies as a way of moderating the left's position, which has been a consistent phenomenon in Europe that parallels what is going on in the U.S.

Next time when you decide to write a huge screed I highly recommend doing some actual research on what you are writing about.

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Response to BlindTiresias (Reply #116)

Sun Oct 26, 2014, 05:42 PM

126. I'm well aware of the political situation in Europe.

And once again, it remains overwhelmingly the case that the left has achieved far more, far more consistently over there than here. Their healthcare systems are deeper, better managed, more reliable, and more universal; their education systems (beneath college) are more comprehensive and beneficial; their transportation systems better maintained, etc. etc. If all you can cite to argue against that is that a left wing politician in one country made a mistake and the right won an election, that's ridiculous.

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Response to True Blue Door (Reply #109)

Sun Oct 26, 2014, 07:10 PM

159. Hell of a choice

In that contest, I'd go for more or less corrupt incompetence.

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Response to MFrohike (Reply #159)

Sun Oct 26, 2014, 07:30 PM

166. Democracy is the least awful system of government.

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Response to True Blue Door (Original post)

Sun Oct 26, 2014, 01:05 PM

65. It is TL/DR....but why do you think the "European Left" is so successful? They aren't.

Have you seen what the far right is doing in Europe? They make the Tea Partiers look like Teddy Bears.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/elinadav-heymann/sudden-rise-of-far-right-_b_5512961.html

Sudden Rise of Far Right Groups in EU Parliament Rings Alarm Bells Across Europe

Within the likely far-right bloc there are different factions that will invariably cause division within their ranks. Golden Dawn, Jobbik and the German NPD can roughly, although not completely, be placed in a similar group. Each have a racially motivated party, more or less based on Nazi ideology and an authoritarian party structure defined by racism, anti-Semitism and violence.

They pose a direct threat to Jewish communities domestically and to European unity in general. Their views on Israel like their views on minorities in Europe can be summed up in one word: hostile. But these three groups combined however make up only seven seats in the new parliament, and will largely be shunned, isolated and unable to form any larger alliance.

Next you have the Dutch Freedom Party and the French Front National under the leadership of Marine Le Pen. The Front National has a history steeped in anti-Semitism, racism, bigotry and division, much of it distilled under the leadership of Jean Marie Le Pen....

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Response to MADem (Reply #65)

Sun Oct 26, 2014, 01:34 PM

83. This may be presently true

however, the way their systems work is that when the left comes back in, they will reverse course. Because their system is much more able to accommodate big changes in a short amount of time. I hear a lot at DU how the Republicans wreck things, then the Democrats come in and fix them. However, they can only fix what the Republicans allow them to fix. In a parliamentary majority, a left wing group can not only fix what the right broke, they can also move the country forward in a short amount of time. The US system is basically stagnant. It moves forward 1/4 step at a time, whereas European (and Canadian) systems are more like 2 steps forward, 1 step back.

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Response to laundry_queen (Reply #83)

Sun Oct 26, 2014, 03:13 PM

107. The rightward trajectory in Europe isn't new--and it's concerning, I think.

I think the righties in Europe are scarier, on a lot of BASIC levels, than our righties here. And in my experience (I used to live in Europe, north and south, and I go back frequently), it is getting much worse down the years--not better.

Of course, if your skin color and language are those of the majority over there, and you aren't the "wrong" religion, you're "OK." You can pass, you can get by, even with the hatemongers in charge. But if you're dusky and/or worship in a fashion that is not the norm, you can find yourself the object of some serious, virulent hate--scary hate. Samples:

http://www.amnesty.org/en/news/france-forced-evictions-add-climate-fear-amid-alleged-hate-crimes-2014-06-17

http://www.thelocal.no/20140708/neo-nazi-convicted-of-hate-crime-in-france

http://www.npr.org/2014/08/09/339082133/hate-crimes-against-jews-on-the-rise-in-europe

http://www.nytimes.com/2014/02/14/world/europe/as-hate-crimes-rise-british-muslims-say-theyre-becoming-more-insular.html?_r=0

http://www.mcclatchydc.com/2013/12/24/212535/far-right-hate-crimes-creep-back.html

http://www.thelocal.se/20140203/afrophobic-hate-crimes-on-the-rise-in-sweden

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Response to MADem (Reply #65)

Sun Oct 26, 2014, 03:17 PM

110. The far right made gains in one election.

That doesn't negate the decades of deeply progressive policies that have been built into the European system and national governments.

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Response to True Blue Door (Reply #110)

Sun Oct 26, 2014, 03:47 PM

117. Which are being reversed!

Please, PLEASE do some research here. Maybe talk to some actual European leftists on this matter?

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Response to BlindTiresias (Reply #117)

Sun Oct 26, 2014, 05:43 PM

127. They would have to be reversed quite a long ways to become like our systems.

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Response to True Blue Door (Reply #110)

Sun Oct 26, 2014, 03:57 PM

119. Decades? Berlusconi and Sarkozy were progressive? Merkel is a rightie. Le Pen almost won in France.

She's not ready to go gently into that good night, either.

I think the grass is always greener in the other fellah's yard. It looks good from a distance. Not so nice up close.

It's not all happy families over there these days--people are pissed, possessive and pushy. And it's starting to show.

http://www.france24.com/en/20141010-ukip-britain-anti-eu-party-first-parliament-seat-/

Britain's anti-EU UK Independence Party won its first elected seat in parliament on Friday by a huge margin and came a close second in another vote, proving it poses a threat to the country's two main parties in a national election next year.



Get a load of this guy: http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/mar/06/geert-wilders-backs-new-anti-islam-party-the-australian-liberty-alliance

And in France... http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/sep/28/front-national-wins-seats-french-senate-first-time


The far-right Front National (FN) scored a historic victory in elections to the French senate on Sunday, winning its first ever seats in the upper chamber as the ruling Socialists and their leftwing allies lost their majority to rightwing parties.

The shock victory of Stéphane Ravier from Marseilles and David Rachline from Fréjus confirmed the party’s political breakthrough under Marine Le Pen, who has brushed the poisonous legacy of her father Jean-Marie Le Pen under the carpet in an attempt to “de-demonise” the FN.

The two seats are both in the FN’s stronghold in southern France, and at 26 Rachline, the mayor of Fréjus, is the youngest French senator ever elected.

The result marks a third humiliating electoral defeat for the Socialist party, which has been punished by disillusioned voters while support for the FN has surged. Le Pen’s party won control of a dozen municipalities in elections last March, including the 7th district in Marseilles where Ravier was elected mayor.


Deeply progressive policies? People have had enough of them in Europe, and they want to go the other way--they were "deeply progressive" when those "minorities" were just a few here and there; when they started arriving in numbers, it was au revoir Josephine Baker, bar the door and don't let any more in!!!! We're starting to see that Europeans are not as "tolerant" as they like to pretend, in fact, a lot of 'em are xenophobic in the extreme.

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Response to MADem (Reply #119)

Sun Oct 26, 2014, 05:49 PM

128. Believe me, I'm not a Eurofanboy.

I find those on the left who fetishize Europe while constantly insulting the US insufferable. But it is the case that their tax, healthcare, education, environment, and transportation systems are more progressive than ours and have been for a long time, and that's a result of their left being more politically competent than ours.

It's true there is a major backlash in Europe due to the subject of immigration, which is ironic since in the US that issue actually divides the right and unifies the left, but we fuck everything else up that Europe does well and is uncontroversial over there.

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Response to True Blue Door (Reply #128)

Sun Oct 26, 2014, 11:18 PM

192. There are serious cracks in that armor. They aren't new, and they are getting worse, not better.

The trend is towards reversing those progressive gains, and this isn't just happening under the imprimatur of "the right." There's not enough money to provide all those social services, and they have to get the cash from somewhere.

European overview--this is not sanguine: http://www.dissentmagazine.org/article/austerity-and-the-unraveling-of-european-universal-health-care

That swell NHS in UK? More and more people have private insurance because the NHS cannot deliver an acceptable level of care. Care is inferior in many instances and rationed in others. Private insurance is a negotiated benefit when applying for work. They are running out of money and fighting about where they are going to get enough/how to pay to keep the system operative. See:

http://www.independent.co.uk/voices/nhs/if-andrew-lansley-was-a-doctor-he-would-be-facing-disciplinary-action-for-his-impact-on-patient-care-9801764.html

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2804326/Extra-8billion-needed-black-hole-NHS-budget-Service-strain-elderly-obesity-cost-new-drugs.html

http://www.independent.co.uk/life-style/health-and-families/health-news/nhs-spends-25bn-on-agency-staff-to-meet-rising-demand-9816894.html

And in France things are going the wrong way as well:


http://www.slate.com/articles/double_x/doublex/2013/07/working_moms_in_france_the_government_benefits_are_great_job_prospects_not.html

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/10390571/france-hollande-taxes-socialist-farrage.html


There's a battle going on between sheer numbers of people needing service, many of whom aren't contributing to the tax base, and rising costs. Someone has to pay for this -- it's not free, and the taxes (see France, particularly) are getting so onerous that people are bailing out. Johnny Depp and Gerard Depardieu are only two famous examples, but there are tons more people who have voted with their feet. It's just not getting better, it's getting worse.

The overall trend--even though Europe still does a better job of delivering services--is going in the wrong direction. If this keeps up, we'll eventually meet in the middle.


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Response to MADem (Reply #192)

Mon Oct 27, 2014, 06:31 AM

216. Progress is not a straight line, so there were bound to be reversals for Europe.

I don't see anything fundamental in the trend - it's caused by economic contraction, so unless we're proposing that Europe is doomed and headed for the Second Dark Ages (in which case the entire discussion is moot), the trends will obviously reverse at some point.

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Response to True Blue Door (Reply #216)

Mon Oct 27, 2014, 07:44 AM

221. Progress may not be a straight line, but when the entire region, pretty much, screams

ABOUT FACE and starts throwing all their progressive gains under the bus, there's a reason for concern.

You can pretend otherwise, but answer this--did they ever re-nationalize the rail system after Maggie Thatcher sold it off?

The answer is hell no, and it's a big chunk out of your wallet to get into London these days.

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Response to True Blue Door (Original post)

Sun Oct 26, 2014, 01:20 PM

74. Well written. My right-wing cousin...

would refer to the majority of today's "American Left" as "slacktivists." She is correct in many ways. So are you, IMHO.

And those that sit out elections over lack of a perfect world (on either side) are the most thumb-suckiest. Elections don't matter to them!

Saw a clip of a Prince interview by Tavis Smiley where he said he doesn't vote. He's a great artist, but fuck him and his million dollar elitist disaffection. Jehova's witness indeed.

(sorry for going off on a tangent)

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Response to LuvLoogie (Reply #74)

Sun Oct 26, 2014, 03:38 PM

113. I use the term "trustafarians."

The more obnoxious elements tend to be the ones with the least personal skin in the game, and get their ideas from some seminar course rather than personal experience doing volunteer work or pursuing a career in any relevant field.

I've seen Doctors Without Borders volunteers just back from Sudan hostilely interrogated about their progressive credentials by freaking literature majors at Columbia for having endorsed Obamacare. Some people just live in their own little world.

But this OP isn't really addressed to those clowns. I'm mostly hoping to reach practical-minded people on the left who in the past let themselves be discouraged by idiots like that.

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Response to True Blue Door (Original post)

Sun Oct 26, 2014, 01:24 PM

75. Well, I read some of it

but it was pretty long. I see why you got a lot of tl;dr.

My opinion? Don't agree. At all.

1. The country ALREADY has its values. It just doesn't know it because of corporate control of media.
2. Have never seen this. If anything, this is a problem on the right not the left.
3. This is an issue among corporate dems, but almost never the true left.
4. lol wut? If you mean that they pretend to support stuff but never pass anything - and that this only happens on the left, um, haha. I see this as an issue with the 'pragmatic' wing of the party, not the left.
5. So, criticism is out? This is what I hear, "The left needs to shut up and be happy with the crumbs we give you." That impedes progress rather than forwards it.
6. That is what the third way does. The left wants a 50 state plan.
7. huh? I don't think so. This, again, is the right wing of the dems that does this. I see the leaders on the left actually fighting and trying to pass legislation, while those on the right of the party become Debbie Downers "Oh, the republicans will NEVER go for that, let's water it down" without going to the PEOPLE and fighting for their stance.

I think "it's the system, stupid". The way the American system is set up compared to European systems (which, from what I understand, are almost all parliamentary set ups) inherently favors a conservative stance. It's difficult to get anything passed without almost unanimous agreement and so is set up in such a way that change is ridiculously slow. This favors conservatives.

Where I am, here in Canada, the system is set up so that if a party gets a majority(coalitions only happen in a minority situation), generally they can put their entire agenda through in a short amount of time. Progress and change happen quickly. So, what ends up happening is when the Liberals get into power, they are able to do everything they said they'd do. Then when the Conservatives get into power, they can try to roll it all back but inevitably, there is backlash against certain things (for instance, the Conservatives here would never dare roll back Abortion rights, Marriage equality or Health care, because once the people had it, they wanted to keep it). From what I understand, European systems are the same way. The US eventually will get all of these things - but because the way the system is set up, it moves at a snail's pace. Especially recently. The system is set up in such a way that it relies on human goodwill TOO much. We all know that the Republicans have figured this out - all they have to do to thwart any progress is refuse to participate. That would be impossible in a majority parliamentary situation. This is why the left in America cannot move forward. Not because of the left, but because the right has figured out how to game the system. It's the system that needs changing. The only way to get things through is to take it to the people. However, this has been difficult because the media has been taken over by right leaning corporations. Instead, Democrats are still trying to get Republicans to cooperate in the same way a parent tries to get their child to eat spinach. "Please? Just one bite. You'll like it! You can have dessert if you eat it. C'mon, I know you can do it." It's not working. Until the system changes, or the parent can convince the child to eat their spinach, nothing will change. It has nothing to do with how the left supports the Dems or not. Nothing.

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Response to laundry_queen (Reply #75)

Sun Oct 26, 2014, 01:42 PM

85. Thank you. Excellent post. (nt)

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Response to laundry_queen (Reply #75)

Sun Oct 26, 2014, 02:48 PM

101. Excellent points.

Our winner takes all system of elections is a huge impediment. What we have is a state of the art democratic system, if by "state of the art" you mean circa 1780s.

A parliamentary system would be much more amenable to progressive change.

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Response to laundry_queen (Reply #75)

Sun Oct 26, 2014, 05:02 PM

122. So should there be restrictions on the media?

I can see blaming the media, but we have all kinds of media available to us. What people choose ends up mainstream.

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Response to treestar (Reply #122)

Sun Oct 26, 2014, 11:43 PM

196. Well, generally

the more money the better able to promote yourself. If you own 1 channel, you can promote yourself on that channel. If you own 10 tv channels and 40 radio stations, the cross promotion means you are more likely to get watched. People choose mainstream because it's what they know. You have to make a real effort to find 'real' news and not everyone has that time. Now that I'm working f/t and I'm a single parent of 4, if it wasn't for me already knowing about DU and alternate news sources I probably wouldn't be able to find the time to stay informed. So people don't really choose mainstream media, it chooses them.

Should there be restrictions? I think so. But I'm Canadian and we have hate laws and a clause in our constitution that states we can have reasonable restrictions on rights if it's for the better good that I agree with so my opinion is probably no where in line with where most Americans are. I think the fairness doctrine and restrictions on what can be called 'news' is a good idea.

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Response to laundry_queen (Reply #75)

Sun Oct 26, 2014, 05:15 PM

124. I don't know where those conclusions come from.

1. I agree the country has liberal values, but there's no shortage of left-wing commenters who will loudly and angrily insist otherwise. There are even examples in this thread - look at the folks insisting that "there is no American left." This group finds it somehow personally vindicating to pretend they're voices in the wilderness, and to act as if this country is hostile to their values. Because that's a more ego-enhancing narrative than the reality: They're so ineffectual in advancing their own agenda that a multitude of people who agree with them on every tangible question, don't even know it. We've known about the right-wing cant of the corporate media for decades, but still somehow that's the excuse for why core left-wing values aren't communicated to the general public.

2. You've never seen left-wingers obsessing on symbols over substance, and feelings over logic? Because I've seen it in this very comment thread, repeatedly. If you can't spot the sucker at the table...

3. It's both corporate Dems and the left. Both of them have different motivations for conceding the moral definition of America to the right. The former because they're nihilistic and fear any moral definition as inherently aggressive, and the latter because, as mentioned, far too many people on the left feel vindicated by pretending that they're voices in the wilderness to cover for their lack of tangible results. In some cases, they clearly want a right-wing America where they're embattled and can focus on the simple task of berating the country for its sinfulness like a sermonizing priesthood, because it's easier than taking responsibility for leading the country to better results. The left shouldn't let itself be defined by that kind of mentality.

4. Feel free to talk about the legislative accomplishments you feel I'm discounting, that were further to the left than pragmatic Democrats preferred and yet were passed due to the diligence and political acumen of left-wing legislators.

5. We both know the difference between "criticism" and the way the left talks about Democratic Party accomplishments. The demented screeds we see so often are criticism like The Great Santini is a parenting guidebook. Criticism is objective, or at least intended to be helpful for the people or programs being criticized. There is criticism from the left for Democrats, but it often gets lost in a sea of drunken demonization and alternate-universe narratives that reduce the entire human species into two groups - 7 billion "right-wingers" vs. The One True Progressive, who is of course whatever idiot is talking.

6. Really? The left didn't seem too happy with the results of Dean's 50-state plan - a major increase in the number of Blue Dogs. Also didn't seem especially impressed with the legislative results of that plan, namely Obamacare and the 2009 stimulus package. And discussion of the 50-state plan is pretty unusual in left-wing conversation. A far more popular subject is what an awful betrayer Barack Obama is for signing the aforementioned legislation.

7. The problem is that the phrase "fighting to pass legislation" is purely rhetorical - you persuade other legislators to vote for legislation. Left-wing legislators in this country by and large fail to do that. They preach to empty committee rooms from their high horses, and then treat the fact that they're ignored by their peers as proof that they're morally superior. That's not moral principle, it's just incompetence. If someone's job is to pass legislation or at very least mount effective defenses against bad legislation, and they don't do that, they're not doing their job and should be replaced. But we never, ever mount primary challenges against left-wing Democrats from the left because the incumbent is inept and unaccomplished. Never. We demand absolutely nothing of them other than to act like trophy wives - look pretty and don't do anything.

The system does indeed favor inaction over action, but that doesn't explain why it also favors right-wing action over left-wing action. Right-wingers are fucking degenerate morons. There is simply no excuse for our collective failure to completely dominate them in politics. Our failure to do so is exactly that - our failure.

Yes, the right-wing has figured out how to game the system, but that's not an excuse either. We know that's what they do. We've known since the beginning of modern political thought. They are what they are, and do what they do. So we can choose to use their intransigence as an excuse to do nothing forever, or we can follow the example of centuries of progressives who accomplished great things despite far greater obstacles and just get on with it. Republicans, conservatives, etc. are not relevant. They do not determine what we do or limit what we can do. They are an environmental hazard, like swamps or wild animals. Letting them stop us is our fault.

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Response to True Blue Door (Reply #124)

Sun Oct 26, 2014, 11:47 PM

197. Well, I have no idea where your conclusions come from.

You seem to be utterly confused between the self-proclaimed left and the actual left.

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Response to True Blue Door (Original post)

Sun Oct 26, 2014, 01:44 PM

86. I would agree, and take it further

 

Let's look at Gun Control issues for a moment. Initial polling after Sandy Hook showed that roughly speaking 90% of the people supported the idea of Universal Background Checks.

The Right killed us on the issue so now it barely rates an asterisk on polling of important issues. The reason, they started to mis-quote the Federalist papers. They created doom and gloom scenarios of people being unable to inherit grand dad's rifle that was manufactured before serial numbers were required. They pointed out that this would not have prevented Adam Lanza's mother from buying guns, nor from him taking them and using it to kill her and then go to the school.

We did zero research. We didn't bother to answer any of that. All we did was smile smugly and sneer and say 90% baby, what more do you want?

We didn't do the homework. We didn't point out that they were misquoting or taking things out of context from the Federalist Papers. We didn't go back to Columbine and point out that they would have been noticed if the purchase of weapons had been done by a background check. We didn't do anything but smile and grin and cheer that we had 90% of the people behind us.

Then we blew it. While I personally support the idea of banning guns, I know that a majority of people do not. I know I am in the minority. But we saw the tide and decided now was the time. We tried to attach gun control to the universal background check, and got our asses kicked. The people saw it as an effort to go for the brass ring, and the support evaporated like a shallow puddle on a hot dry day.

We should have gone for what the people wanted, and we should have answered the arguments of the Right. Instead, we coasted, and got our asses kicked. We need to start doing the homework, we need to come up with cogent arguments not pithy talking points. We need to familiarize ourselves with the issues. European Leftists can do all of that. They can quote the great speeches in history, they can quote the information from the tops of their heads.

In short, they work for it, we don't. You are right in one thing, we wait around and assume that people are going to come join us. We do nothing about convincing them. If they disagree with us, we denounce and denigrate them, we don't debate and destroy them.

When you do that, you look like a bully who doesn't want this person to talk, and people get curious. It is a well known adage that the things that make you the most angry, are the things that are true. By not taking the Right seriously, and not engaging them in debate and discussion, we let them make the points, while we roll our eyes and call them stupid.

This is why we lost Gun Control, why we're losing support on Global Climate Change.

We have to defeat them in the arena of debate, and not just once. Time and time again. There is no such thing as a decisive victory in a debate of ideals. When we don't do that, when we let them make their points unanswered, and unchallenged, we lose the argument by default.

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Response to True Blue Door (Original post)

Sun Oct 26, 2014, 01:48 PM

87. 1200 hate radio stations owned, run, and staffed by the looniest of the loony right. Complete

 

media control and saturation. 25 years of nothing but Republican propaganda in every TV, radio, newspaper, and magazine in the entire US.

Very simple. We will know when the US left (meaning the sane 70%) mean business when lots of very newsworthy events start happening at Fox, CNBC, CNN, and all of those radio stations.

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Response to Doctor_J (Reply #87)

Sun Oct 26, 2014, 05:57 PM

130. We complain about all that propaganda, but what do we do about it?

A left-wing Congress could be the most effective in addressing it, but since nobody seems interested in creating one - least of all the left - I guess we'll just continue eating the right's shit forever.

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Response to True Blue Door (Reply #130)

Sun Oct 26, 2014, 06:52 PM

148. It was self-described Centrists who sat out the last election.

 

Sorry to cite an actual fact here-- I know you took great pains to avoid doing so in that epic tale you posted, but still.

Anecdotally, I've been volunteering for political campaigns since my college days... 20 years ago now. I've never noticed an abundance of self-described "centrist voters" in the mix, and judging from the way they sat out that last election, it seems to me that your venom ought to be pointed at your own little cadre.

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Response to Marr (Reply #148)

Sun Oct 26, 2014, 07:01 PM

153. Just stop with the slander already.

If you are so completely destitute of rational arguments that the best you can do is to laughably accuse me of being "centrist," you might as well just concede you're wrong at this point.

And what are you even talking about with respect to elections? What point are you even trying to make?

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Response to True Blue Door (Reply #153)

Sun Oct 26, 2014, 07:02 PM

154. Slander? lol-- ok, I just realized you're trolling.

 

Have fun, kid.

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Response to Marr (Reply #154)

Sun Oct 26, 2014, 07:33 PM

168. Which one of us accused the other being a centrist

for offering constructive criticism of the left?

Your accusation of trolling is a lame joke.

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Response to Marr (Reply #154)

Sun Oct 26, 2014, 07:51 PM

171. AUTOMATED MESSAGE: Results of your Jury Service

On Sun Oct 26, 2014, 07:12 PM an alert was sent on the following post:

Slander? lol-- ok, I just realized you're trolling.
http://www.democraticunderground.com/?com=view_post&forum=1002&pid=5719225

REASON FOR ALERT

This post is disruptive, hurtful, rude, insensitive, over-the-top, or otherwise inappropriate.

ALERTER'S COMMENTS

Personal attack

You served on a randomly-selected Jury of DU members which reviewed this post. The review was completed at Sun Oct 26, 2014, 07:43 PM, and the Jury voted 3-4 to LEAVE IT.

Juror #1 voted to HIDE IT
Explanation: No explanation given
Juror #2 voted to LEAVE IT ALONE
Explanation: lol
Juror #3 voted to HIDE IT
Explanation: And you just attacked the op...pot kettle?
Juror #4 voted to LEAVE IT ALONE
Explanation: Skin. Grow some.
Juror #5 voted to LEAVE IT ALONE
Explanation: No explanation given
Juror #6 voted to HIDE IT
Explanation: This poster's interlocutor is posting in good faith. The trolling accusation is unwarranted.
Juror #7 voted to LEAVE IT ALONE
Explanation: Please, why alert on this? The two people involved aren't even that far apart ideologically. If disagreements aren't allowed on political sites, the why have responses allowed at all?

Alerts should be used for Nazis, racists, Youtube children and the like, not simple back and forth comments.

Thank you very much for participating in our Jury system, and we hope you will be able to participate again in the future.

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Response to LostOne4Ever (Reply #171)

Sun Oct 26, 2014, 09:13 PM

189. Thanks for posting that.

 

I think these alerts are being abused.

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Response to True Blue Door (Original post)

Sun Oct 26, 2014, 01:53 PM

90. This may be the best post that I have ever read on DU.

I will add more later.

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Response to Yavin4 (Reply #90)

Sun Oct 26, 2014, 05:58 PM

131. Seems to have pissed off quite a few people who see themselves reflected in it.

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Response to True Blue Door (Reply #131)

Sun Oct 26, 2014, 07:01 PM

152. Yep. And now that you realize that, take the insults (because there was no discussion

just taunts and insults) exactly for what they are.

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Response to Number23 (Reply #152)

Sun Oct 26, 2014, 07:35 PM

169. Oh, I do.

But when someone talks shit, I make sure they taste it. Intellectual corruption gets my goat.

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Response to True Blue Door (Original post)

Sun Oct 26, 2014, 03:33 PM

111. The Left has to fight a coalition (or, Devil's Brew) now of Republicans and 3rd Way Democrats.

 

Which comes down to a "choice" of 2tbs of arsenic or 1tbsp of arsenic.

The Left sometimes says, "Thanks, but I'll take neither."

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Response to Tierra_y_Libertad (Reply #111)

Sun Oct 26, 2014, 06:07 PM

132. that's it exactly. As soon as Obama and the rest of the DINOs support Sanders instead of PHARMA,

 

maybe "the left" will accomplish something.

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Response to Tierra_y_Libertad (Reply #111)

Sun Oct 26, 2014, 06:12 PM

134. Only because it refuses to form its own coalitions.

Since coalitions are for governing and the American left isn't interested in governing, it has no use for coalitions. You don't need votes to engage in Resistance Theater performance art.

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Response to True Blue Door (Reply #134)

Sun Oct 26, 2014, 06:36 PM

142. So, the Democrats should form coalitions with the Left instead of the quasi-Republican "moderates".

 

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Response to Tierra_y_Libertad (Reply #142)

Sun Oct 26, 2014, 06:57 PM

150. That depends on what the left wants to do, doesn't it?

The rest of the Party isn't going to walk on eggshells trying to court some ultra-high-maintenance bunch of ideological flotsam who don't want to govern, don't reward progress, and resent people who disturb their political slumber with doing stuff.

It would absolutely, however, form coalitions with well-organized, highly motivated, competent left-wing politicians (how contradictory those words sound together!) whose agendas provide a positive contrast with the other side.

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Response to True Blue Door (Reply #150)

Sun Oct 26, 2014, 07:08 PM

158. Unfortunately, the party seems very comfortable with it's right wing pals and beneficiaries.

 

Just as it did with the Dixiecrats from the good ol' coalition days. And, the pay's better for them from the corporations.

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Response to Tierra_y_Libertad (Reply #158)

Sun Oct 26, 2014, 07:43 PM

170. The Democratic Party leadership will align with the left

when it proves itself a reliable friend and a formidable enemy. It's neither today.

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Response to True Blue Door (Reply #170)

Sun Oct 26, 2014, 09:07 PM

187. The left will align itself with the Party when it proves itself a reliabale friend

 

and a formidable enemy to the Republicans. It's neither today.

I guess we have an impasse.

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Response to Tierra_y_Libertad (Reply #187)

Mon Oct 27, 2014, 06:32 AM

217. The left isn't in a position to cop that attitude.

Not unless, as is my point, it doesn't give the slightest of fucks about achieving anything and just wants to sit on its ass passively judging others.

It complains the Party doesn't align with it, but does nothing to make that happen.

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Response to True Blue Door (Reply #217)

Mon Oct 27, 2014, 10:31 AM

229. If the Left is so "ineffective" why does it get blamed when the Democrats lose?

 

Aren't politicans/parties supposed to appeal to voters to win their votes? If the candidates turn to the right to win "moderate" votes, that's their choice. If they lose votes doing so then they, and their supporters, should drop the hypocrisy and blame themselves for not getting the votes of the left.

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Response to True Blue Door (Original post)

Sun Oct 26, 2014, 03:37 PM

112. Best of the best,TBD and you

 

said it like it is. Working the trenches of Dem politics for over 50 years,as you say. One can not give up their ideals. Know what it's like to be whip sawed and trashed at County and State Conventions. Threw the years I've seen tons of Men and Women with the desire to help all people not just the privileged be burned at the stake by people who have some petty agenda hidden below the surface only to come to the top after they get their endorsement. The days of out reach by the Dems seems to have vanished. Social Media is probably fine in theory,but to get real positive forward thinking people issues,you have to put the shoe leather on the ground and take the message door to door. The late Senator Clinton Burdick form North Dakota and Senator Paul Wellstone come to mind as one of the last truly in touch Politicians they let it hang out and built consensus and got the job done without giving ground on their principles.

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Response to Wellstone ruled (Reply #112)

Sun Oct 26, 2014, 06:18 PM

135. Yes, Wellstone was definitely one of the last humanist titans in the federal government.

I've never lived in Minnesota, but from what I've read of his career he was very much the kind of person who listened to people instead of preaching at them from a high horse. And because he listened to them, he was better positioned to persuade them. He had this image as a small, soft-spoken guy, but he influenced the politicos around him even as they treated him condescendingly. It's only with intellectual self-discipline that I don't indulge in conspiracy theories about his death, because his loss was much more significant than it appeared at the time.

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Response to True Blue Door (Original post)

Sun Oct 26, 2014, 03:39 PM

114. You mean like the way we punished Liz Warren and Bernie Sanders for being effective legislators?

Last edited Sun Oct 26, 2014, 04:31 PM - Edit history (1)

Sorry, but I have to agree with the guy upthread. This is a really big pantload.

I'll give you credit for using the word "solipsism" in your critique. That really showed us.

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Response to pa28 (Reply #114)

Sun Oct 26, 2014, 06:20 PM

136. Can you support the claim that Warren and Sanders are effective legislators?

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Response to True Blue Door (Reply #136)

Mon Oct 27, 2014, 01:37 AM

204. Sure.

I'll point to Liz Warren's exemplary work on the banking committee and Bernie Sander's determined use of the amendment process to shape legislation. Unfortunately no major legislation has been allowed in the Senate but the engaged hands on work of these two has yielded concrete results that benefit the public despite Republican obstruction.

One of the highlights of the Affordable Care Act is the state innovation waiver amendment allowing states to develop their own single payer systems. We can thank Bernie Sanders for that amendment.

Speaking of the innovation waiver, it's set to expire soon and if the new HHS secretary has her way it won't be extended. I mention this to point out one of the places you got it wrong. We don't demand perfection or a whole loaf when only a partial loaf is possible. Neither Bernie Sanders or Liz Warren are perfect. We're bothered when Democrats oppose and work against progressive values like single payer.

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Response to pa28 (Reply #204)

Mon Oct 27, 2014, 06:39 AM

218. They certainly contribute in ways where individual work is involved.

Do we have any examples where they've been able to leverage the collaborative process and form alliances?

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Response to True Blue Door (Original post)

Sun Oct 26, 2014, 04:05 PM

120. Who owns the media in Europe? nt

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Response to valerief (Reply #120)

Sun Oct 26, 2014, 06:22 PM

137. I don't know.

But whoever does own it is probably overseen with more scrutiny by the governments because of the diligence of the left.

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Response to True Blue Door (Original post)

Sun Oct 26, 2014, 05:51 PM

129. Really, your whole argument boils down to, 'I hate you whiny, lazy hippies'.

 

Just because you took ten pages to say it, doesn't make it a compelling argument.

The Left is less effective in the States nowadays than it is in Europe for a variety of reasons, but I'd say the biggest one is that the entire political establishment has insulated itself from the Left. Our ostensibly Left party is dominated by politicians who openly talk about the importance of diminishing labor unions' influence, for instance.

Surely you've heard of triangulation. That's what it's all about-- it's designed specifically to push the left out of the political dialogue. So if you want to know why the Left is relatively ineffective, look to self-described "Center".

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Response to Marr (Reply #129)

Sun Oct 26, 2014, 06:08 PM

133. Who hates liberals more - Limpballs or the BOG?

 

this is a close call.

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Response to Doctor_J (Reply #133)

Sun Oct 26, 2014, 06:40 PM

144. Tough call is right.

 

Whenever I read their posts, I'm left wondering why they even call themselves Democrats. They seem to really despise the base of the party. It seems like it's purely a team sport for them... just cheering for their favorite stars.

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Response to Marr (Reply #129)

Sun Oct 26, 2014, 06:31 PM

141. Laughable, alternate universe accusation.

There's no rational line between what I said and the way you're characterizing it. Your response is pure knee-jerk defensiveness.

And I already dealt with and dismissed this kind of "it's everyone's fault we're powerless but ours" crap. The left is full of such experts in all the ways the right fucks them up, and yet they never seem to figure any way around it.

Either they're so dumb they're constantly outsmarted by Creationists and money-grubbing degenerates with 1-dimensional minds, or they're not trying because they don't give a fuck in the first place.

Too bad lame excuses can't feed and clothe people, huh?

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Response to True Blue Door (Reply #141)

Sun Oct 26, 2014, 06:37 PM

143. Is this really all you've got? Just grade school whining?

 

For all the verbiage, you haven't actually said anything. It's just a bunch of vague ranting.

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Response to Marr (Reply #143)

Sun Oct 26, 2014, 06:51 PM

147. Read the damn OP. Pay particular attention to the concluding summary.

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Response to True Blue Door (Reply #147)

Sun Oct 26, 2014, 06:57 PM

149. Oh, I read it. And again, you're only whining-- in the summary, too.

 

You're not citing any actual facts or data, just tossing out broadbrush insults against some cartoon stereotype of liberals. It's just dumb writing.

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Response to Marr (Reply #149)

Sun Oct 26, 2014, 07:51 PM

172. Utter nonsense.

If you can read suggestions like "Focus more on Congress than on the Executive Branch" and "Reach out beyond your comfortable ideological circle" and see "broadbrush insults," then you have a serious reading comprehension problem - or you're trolling. Either way, that needs to be addressed before I can communicate meaningfully with you.

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Response to True Blue Door (Reply #172)

Sun Oct 26, 2014, 09:11 PM

188. Let's start with that one then.

 

Why exactly do you think the Left focuses on the Executive Branch and not Congress? Do you have some information to offer that backs up that point, or is it just something you assume?

I've been volunteering on campaigns myself since my college days, which were almost... 20 years ago now. The vast majority were congressional elections, and the vast majority of the volunteers I've met were solidly Left.

I began by telling you why I think the Left is less effective in today's USA than it is in Europe, or the US of 50 years ago, for that matter. It wasn't meant to be an endorsement of apathy or attempt to pass the buck, but an acknowledgement of the major obstacle the Left faces in the US today.

Could the Left in the US do more to get Congress back? Probably-- everyone can do something more. But I don't think it does any good to put the blame squarely on the Left here and ignore the cuckoo in the nest that Third Way politics has been for the last 20 years.

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Response to True Blue Door (Original post)

Sun Oct 26, 2014, 06:25 PM

140. You nailed it. And in return you're getting very little discussion.

Oh, there are some who want to open up a secondary discussion on whether American even HAS a left. Yet, they'll be the first to allude to some secret electorate waiting to elect Bernie Sanders. Then you have the crowd who's flippant response to any questioning of the methods of the 'progressive' movement is to cry 'hippy punching.' Yet, in refusing to even consider your points, they're punching themselves. Which works out fine for the rest of us. They can continue jeering from the stands.

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Response to wyldwolf (Reply #140)

Sun Oct 26, 2014, 06:49 PM

145. Humoring idiots is the cross liberals bear for protecting the weak.

It's a lot like those "rugged individualist" libertarians who see themselves as heroic, self-sufficient pioneers as long as they're protected by ten layers of law enforcement, health codes, and public infrastructure, but are eager to do away with all of those "obstacles" to their "freedom."

Meanwhile the left feels it would make a perfect government if all those nasty crooks (i.e., every other person and inanimate object in government, the judiciary, the public, and the universe) would stop standing in their way.

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Response to wyldwolf (Reply #140)

Sun Oct 26, 2014, 07:06 PM

156. + a million

All I ever have to do is remember the DU poll that had Dennis Kucinich winning an imaginary DU primary and that lets me know that the OP was spot on, which explains the howls better than anything else.

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Response to True Blue Door (Original post)

Sun Oct 26, 2014, 07:15 PM

161. Over a half century of demonization of 'communists' and 'socialists'

comes to mind. Plus the way the left is perennially bashed and mocked even by Democrats farther to the right, who caricature the left as 'self-absorbed, insular, and flighty', and plop out BS about 'purity' whenever they feel the need to move even further to the right. Really, the party was stronger before it started absorbing all of the moderate Republicans, who are too embarrassed to call themselves Republicans these days, so now they pretend to be Democrats while still taking every chance they get to pull the Democratic Party ever farther to the right.

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Response to Erich Bloodaxe BSN (Reply #161)

Sun Oct 26, 2014, 08:01 PM

174. More passing the buck.

The demonization faced by the left was a lot stronger in past eras, up to the point of genuine persecution, and yet somehow those courageous people who faced down physical dangers in their daily lives because of their values and advocacy somehow managed to make progress on every level - local, state, and federal. That's because they were honest people who weren't completely full of shit. They actually wanted what they claimed to want, and took logical steps to achieve it. They didn't sit around making laundry lists of all the big meanies who were stopping them to justify not getting anywhere.

They talked to people of every stripe, and formed alliances wherever it made sense, and did what they did for the love of their families, their communities, their country, and mankind. I don't know what the fuck motivates people who think progressive activism consists of preening in front of a mirror while resigning politics to everyone you despise, but it ain't that.

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Response to True Blue Door (Reply #174)

Sun Oct 26, 2014, 08:05 PM

176. Uh huh. So this was just flame bait.

You get pushback on your attacks, and suddenly everyone else is 'completely full of shit'.

Well, just remember to blame yourself for any Senate losses, and don't just 'pass the buck' and claim it's 'the left's fault'.

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Response to Erich Bloodaxe BSN (Reply #176)

Sun Oct 26, 2014, 08:17 PM

179. Pure non sequitur.

And I accept my share of responsibility for everything that happens or doesn't happen. Which is automatically a violation of one of the principal shibboleths of every form of ideologue - cultish obsession with the litany of external persecutors who are responsible for their ineffectiveness, because self-examination and constructive internal reform would involve acknowledging fallibility.

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Response to True Blue Door (Reply #179)

Sun Oct 26, 2014, 08:20 PM

180. If you actually mean that

then you're a damn sight more honest than most of the people hopping up to pat you on the back here, who love to blame all electoral failures on 'the left', and screech 'Nader!' every chance they get.

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Response to Erich Bloodaxe BSN (Reply #180)

Sun Oct 26, 2014, 09:14 PM

190. The left bears a lot of responsibility for right-wing victories. Denying that would be dishonest.

I personally watched a campaign event in 2000 where Ralph Nader was asked by an audience member how he would feel about running when George W. Bush is in the White House and America is a dictatorship because of votes he lured away from Al Gore. He shrugged off the question like it was meaningless. And although he had no meaningful effect in 2004, he proved that he absolutely did not give a fuck about the consequences of his actions for the country by running that year and risking a repeat of 2000.

The left tolerates if not promotes the narrative that Democrats and Republicans are the same, that incumbent liberal leaders are invariably sellouts (FDR was a target of particularly ludicrous screeds from the left), that failure is noble and victory suspicious. It promotes the shittiest, most energy-sapping, most cynical possible attitude for anyone hoping to enact political change, and then rejects any measure of responsibility when change fails to occur. Its collective moral corruption is absolute, and the progressive pretenses it clings to while pushing paranoia, victim cultism, and Resistance Theater defeatism just puts the proverbial cherry on the shit sundae.

But I am not a perfect citizen or a perfect activist. I have plenty of excuses for that, but I don't give a fuck about my excuses - I simply accept that I have a share of responsibility for all things I can possibly affect in any way. I take responsibility for my decision to prioritize one thing over another, to ignore one thing and focus on something else, to do this much and no more. But I know this: The world would be the best possible place if the Left greedily sought every single scrap of responsibility it could take, and imposed on itself the highest possible standards of achievement instead of always excusing failure as someone else's fault. If it pushed itself more than it pushes others, instead of never pushing itself at all, and occasionally turned the eye inward that it so insufferably judges everyone around it with. If it even tried to meet the standards it cavalierly demands of everyone else, then a lot of things could be accomplished. But it doesn't.

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Response to True Blue Door (Original post)

Sun Oct 26, 2014, 07:18 PM

162. Why should anyone take this seriously? You offer no evidence for anything you say.

 

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Response to Vattel (Reply #162)

Sun Oct 26, 2014, 08:02 PM

175. Please, offer an example of something you dispute.

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Response to True Blue Door (Original post)

Sun Oct 26, 2014, 07:28 PM

165. One word: Race

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Response to Kingofalldems (Reply #165)

Sun Oct 26, 2014, 08:06 PM

177. Yes, as sickening as it is to realize.

The right gets a truly gut-wrenching amount of traction by trashing progressive programs in racist terms. A shocking proportion of white people oppose programs they would otherwise support, simply because they can't stand the idea of someone with darker skin than theirs benefiting from their tax money. I'll never understand that, and will always hate people who react like that. Such human garbage.

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Response to True Blue Door (Original post)

Sun Oct 26, 2014, 08:00 PM

173. Palmer raids, McCarthyism, political assassinations, COINTELPRO from without

Purist factionalism from within.

A new, coherent leftist vision has yet to emerge Phoenix-like from those ashes.

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Response to deutsey (Reply #173)

Sun Oct 26, 2014, 08:11 PM

178. Because it's content with the excuses provided by history and the status quo.

The left collects excuses for failure like sacred relics, never letting any go.

And I've seen how it responds when it's in a situation where such excuses are declining - it's not happy. It's anxious and aimless.

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Response to True Blue Door (Original post)

Sun Oct 26, 2014, 08:26 PM

181. This is such garbage.

The right-wing smashed the left-wing and labor movement in this country down to a small fraction of what it is in Europe. You think Europe got socialist economic programs by being "pragmatic?"

Bosh.

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Response to True Blue Door (Original post)

Sun Oct 26, 2014, 09:29 PM

191. Still nothing but a pantload.

THIS is why Democrats lose elections.

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Response to True Blue Door (Original post)

Sun Oct 26, 2014, 11:42 PM

195. Why? Simple

There are three real reasons that are interrelated. One, European countries are much more homogeneous, ethnically; you don't so much see the same sorts of splits over ethnic-group interests you do in the USA. Two, Europeans generally tend to have a sense of class-consciousness in a way that Americans don't (the European working classes don't think of themselves as "middle class". Three, unlike in the USA, socialism actually took root in Europe, and pretty much every major European country has had a fully-fledged socialist government at one time or another.

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Response to Spider Jerusalem (Reply #195)

Mon Oct 27, 2014, 12:55 AM

202. "European countries are much more homogeneous". Dead wrong.

European are not as homogeneous as you think. There are a lot of new immigrants and races of all types living there, and they have the same xenophobic/racist asshats as we have.

The big difference there is that the racist/xenophobic asshat votes their economic interests first.

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Response to Yavin4 (Reply #202)

Mon Oct 27, 2014, 02:50 AM

206. Yes, they are.

I live in the UK; the population here is 89% white, of whom 81% are "White British". France has similar demographics, as does Germany, as does Italy, as does Spain, etc. There are substantial numbers of immigrants to European countries, but non-European immigration is a relatively recent thing (in the postwar and more importantly post-colonial era) and while it's substantially changed the ethnic makeup of some urban areas it hasn't shifted the demographic balance of countries to the levels of diversity the USA has. And the white populations are pretty much homogeneous (unlike the USA where there has historically been political tension not just between racial groups but between white ethnic groups).

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Response to True Blue Door (Original post)

Sun Oct 26, 2014, 11:56 PM

198. You know...you should publish this. It speaks truth to me...if not "truth" at least reality. nt

 

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Response to True Blue Door (Original post)

Mon Oct 27, 2014, 12:05 AM

199. The European left is effective because

even though they are splintered they believe in these core principles to form coalitions (ranging from center left parties all the way to Communists):

*Universal health care
*Green energy investment
*Helping the poor

Pragmitism works if the starting point is at the left. In U.S. politics the starting point is often to the right or center right (eg ACA healthcare). Had the United States moved towards something like what Canada first did and then expanded into the rest of that country your argument for gradual improvement would have merit. But what are the chances that the ACA once modified gradually over 20 years will turn into Universal health care? It is more likely that gradual expansion of medicare would turn into universal health care.

The other thing most people don't realize is that the Europeans understand that the big green energy investors is actually the Petroleum industry. Most Americans can't, or are not, willing to make that connection. But green energy is the better long term investment which leads to the next point about cultural problem with America.

America used to be about long term vision, big goals, and investment. Now, America is dominated by vulture capitalists, traders focusing on shorting stocks, etc. American left not only rejects socialism but it also rejects capitalism with long term visions or goals. It is bad enough the Republicans have retreated from capitalism for the long haul but Democrats too?

Crist is actually an example of a big thinker and long term goals. When he was governor, as a Republican, he put forth the 2020 energy plan. And if he is elected governor as a Democrat, he will push forward with even more bolder green energy plans.

How many Democrats do you know are pushing for such big ideas but also making them reality? If it takes former Republicans and Independents joining the Democratic party to make things happen the Democratic party in the United States has a lot of soul searching to do IMVHO.

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Response to True Blue Door (Original post)

Mon Oct 27, 2014, 12:12 AM

200. To break it all down ONE reason:

Most of Europe has proportional representation in their democracies while we still cling to the "winner take all" two-party system where just TWO parties try to be "all things to all people" in a nation of 300-something million wildly diverse voters...

I could also say something about their publicly-funded campaigns as well, but that is a whole nother discussion.

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Response to True Blue Door (Original post)

Mon Oct 27, 2014, 01:08 AM

203. The American Left does not want to do the hard work of consensus building

What the American Left wants is some sort of hero figure to come along and do it for them. Be it Bernie Sanders or Elizabeth Warren or Cornell West or Noam Chomsky or Glen Greenwald or Ralph Nader. There's always some heroic figure with soaring rhetoric who will sway the masses to rise up and support progressivism.

The only problem with that list is that only two of them have ever run for and held office, and none of them have ever passed a single piece of meaningful legislation. Even more, none of them could ever win a political office outside of already very liberal states.

To get something like single payer, you need to get states like Kansas, Indiana, and Iowa to support it, and to do that, you need to win the hearts and minds of the people in those states. But, again, that takes work. Hard work. And it's easier to dismiss those states as full of rubes.

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Response to True Blue Door (Original post)

Mon Oct 27, 2014, 03:11 AM

208. Here is why the American left is not as strong as the European lefty.

Trust me. I lived in Europe some years, and I read the European press from time to time.

"opening up healthcare to tens of millions of more Americans, opening the military to gays, preventing war with Iran, using Executive Orders to advance all sorts of labor and environmental objectives, etc. etc. - these things are not liberal achievements because (as with the 100% vs. 80% example above) there is some divergence with a perfect, ideal system that never existed.

Obama halted the march to war with Iran in its tracks and opened up diplomacy, but because the US still wages war somewhere, on some level, he's Dick Cheney. We have Obamacare, but because it involves mandates and private health insurers rather than a purely public system, it's the same as doing nothing and letting millions die from lack of healthcare. "

Obama's achievements are nice. But they do very little for working people. They don't increase job security. They don't lower the retirement age. Only in the past few years has Obama strongly come out in favor of raising the minimum wage.

Obama gave his all to save the banks, appointed Geithner and Summers, et al. to carry out the bankers' policies. He showed little concern for working people. He created jobs at the deepest part of the recession -- but not really enough to create any upward wage pressure.

Worst of all, he put Social Security on the table at the same time that healtcare costs for sniors have risen. The ACA is nice but Bush's donut hole for seniors will not close until 2019.

Obama's failure to really, really support the strikers and demonstrators in Wisconsin was a watershed moment for the liberal, progressive movement in the US. Obama's silence as that movement gained momentum spoke volumes about why the left does not gain traction in the US. Who can trust a political party that claims to represent working people when the leaders of that party respond in a lukewarm way when the rights of working people are trampled?

That is the key. When the Democratic Party, the left party of America starts really taking the side of working people and the middle class and lets the press, the working people and the middle class know that they have the Democratic Party on their side, we will see the rise of the Democratic Party.

Unthinkable that a European left party would do well if it did not strongly defend the rights of working people to things like unemployment benefits, education, good schools, universal healthcare insurance in one form or another -- including dental care -- good pensions, etc.

If you want to grow a garden, you have to make sure it gets the right amount of water and plant it at a time that it will hopefully get enough sun and warmth. And you had better amend the soil if it needs it.

Democrats don't take care of their constituents. Some of them are too busy taking care of the conservative constituents -- the corporations -- to dare to show real concern for working people.

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Response to True Blue Door (Original post)

Mon Oct 27, 2014, 03:15 AM

209. This post is preposterous with the rise of the ultra-nationalists in the EU.

It is a joke. No response is required.

The US is very soon to be the most progressive country on the planet.

And people are too damned blind to see it.

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Response to joshcryer (Reply #209)

Mon Oct 27, 2014, 07:53 AM

222. I'm trying to point that out, pretty much, and getting the "Well but it's a continuum" argument in

reply...despite the fact that everyone on that continuum has reversed course and is marching--I won't say goose-stepping, but I have seen some worrying trends over the water of late--in the reverse direction, angry at immigrants, brown people, anyone with a "different" religion, and demanding that people who want to stay in their countries be "makers not takers" to riff on Mitt. They're privatizing public services, rationing them, getting cheaper with the goods and raising taxes to the point that, in France anyway, their taxpayers are crying uncle and leaving.

Pointing this sort of thing out doesn't imply cheerleading for it, but there is a case for putting open eyes on the problems instead of hiding one's head in the sand and pretending that Europe is "so much more progressive" when they aren't. .

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Response to MADem (Reply #222)

Mon Oct 27, 2014, 08:46 AM

224. The EU hasn't been "more progressive" since Brazilian beef.

Europeans buying up "grass fed beef" from the goddamn rainforests and acting as if they were superior to us evil Americans and our terrifying factory farms. Give me a break. Cutting down rainforests = good.

edit: oh, I just read the whole "their right is more left than our left" absurdities. It completely glosses over post-war social programs that were born out of absolute necessity. Yes, they have universal health care, because WWII destroyed their infrastructure, good for them, we will have it in 10-15 years. So the fuck what, they're electing literal nazi's and fascists.

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Response to joshcryer (Reply #224)

Mon Oct 27, 2014, 11:09 AM

233. Points!

And I take your point about the cows...! I was living in UK when MAD COW took off in a big way over there--on a pastoral farm, too! Talk about a few hairy moments...but I liked the cows in "the back yard" so much I wasn't eating much if any beef at that time.

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Response to True Blue Door (Original post)

Mon Oct 27, 2014, 04:59 AM

210. Three! Words!



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Response to True Blue Door (Original post)

Mon Oct 27, 2014, 05:15 AM

211. The US has a far weaker labor movement and a 99% seriously divided by racism

Much more to the point than silly psychobabble.

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Response to True Blue Door (Original post)

Mon Oct 27, 2014, 07:26 AM

220. The reasonable man adapts himself to the world..

The unreasonable man persists in trying to adapt the world to himself, therefore all progress depends on the unreasonable man.

-George Bernard Shaw



1. Self-absorbed and insular, waiting for the country to come to it rather than acting as bold missionaries for its values.

Oliver T Leftist: "Please sir, we want some more."
True Blue Door: "More? You want more? How DARE You?"

2. Flighty and abstract, obsessing on symbols and feelings while treating objective judgment and logic as profane.

Symbols like the 10 Commandments on the County Courthouse square, eh?

Anyone who is not a Christian should just grin and bear it for the cause, no?

3. A negative self-definition that unjustly concedes the moral substance of American culture to false right-wing definitions.

The left has been fighting a rear-guard action since the treason of Reagan in Iran, now you want to bash them for being on the defensive?

Hello, does the term "Reagan Democrats" have meaning for you?

4. Rewards dereliction by political leaders who fill the void of accomplishment with ineffectual symbolic advocacy.

No grunt ever went to war for a higher living standard, if symbols didn't mean anything the military wouldn't spend a considerable sum on band units for parades. Maybe part of the problem with the centrists is they don't understand the vital nature of symbols as a glue that holds a group of any sort together.

5. Punishes leaders who produce tangible achievements by obsessing on flaws as measured against nonexistent fantasy programs rather than against the preceding state of affairs.

Once again the vile calumny that the left stayed home in 2010.

6. Virtually ignores Congress - the most effectual branch of government to control - in favor of obsessing on the Executive Branch.

Assumes facts not in evidence, Congress gets discussed constantly on DU.

7. Instinctively prefers the personal freedom of being inconsequential over the moral dangers of governing effectively.

Moral dangers of governing effectively?

What does that even mean?

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Response to True Blue Door (Original post)

Mon Oct 27, 2014, 08:13 AM

223. I suppose if we simply define what would be considered center-right everywhere else in the western

democratic world and even in many cases would have been called center-right a generation ago in America - If we just call this "the left" we could claim victory. For that matter we could just call the both major parties including the Republicans "the left" - and draw up some sophisticated sounding arguments why that is so - then this newly defined "liberal-left" can be assured of winning every single election - kind of like how the traditional pro-Soviet Leninist defined capitalism as the sole source of exploitation and imperialism as the export of capitalism - thus by the creation of their own definitions - They had in fact eliminated exploitation and imperialism - at least as they defined it.

So that is all we have to do - we will call what is considered center-right everywhere else as the left - and while we are at it we can call even the Tea Party Right the left and thus be assured of victory after victory after victory.

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Response to True Blue Door (Original post)

Mon Oct 27, 2014, 10:09 AM

226. Because the right wing here in America is in charge,

no matter who we elect. The right wing controls everything, whether it be by stealing elections, temper tantrums in Congress, or using the MIC and CIA to get whatever else they want. They have the majority of the money and power and have had for a long time. Their brand of idiocy is reinforced in schools, churches, and in every facet of our lives. Try to think for yourself in any church or school in America and see how fast you get your ass handed to you.

Imagine what we were told during the Cold War. The USSR controls everyone's thoughts, beliefs, speech, actions, etc. Their citizens do not know freedom exists outside of the USSR.

Sounds like the USA to me.

I just hope America is smart enough never to vote to allow a monarchy. In the US, we'd end up with a King Bush and nothing but a Bush royal family for eons, because that is how the power structure in the US works. Everything is perverted to satisfy the right wing assholes with all the power.

That is why we can't have nice things. The citizens of America are brainwashed to never rebel, never rise up against the tyranny, never hold our government accountable when they act like 2 year olds pitching temper tantrums, never do anything to change the country for the better.

In reality, we don't even belong anywhere near the civilized western world as long as we have filthy, greedy, nosy, bossy Republicans in control of everything, no matter who the president is at the time. If they had their way, America would run exactly like Saudi Arabia or some other country that gives no rights to certain citizens and routinely stones women to death for shits and giggles.

Well, you asked.

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Response to True Blue Door (Original post)

Mon Oct 27, 2014, 10:23 AM

228. Wanna buy a bridge to nowhere? 50 grand down, with a no money back

guarantee.

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Response to True Blue Door (Original post)

Mon Oct 27, 2014, 10:48 AM

230. Your op and responses show.....

 

Your op and your responses show you don't have a firm grasp on the left in the US or Europe. You definitely don't have a firm grasp on the political systems. Your anger is the only thing that is clear and consistent in your op and your replies. Legitimate criticism has been shown and it has been met with nothing but anger from you. Why take the time to put together such an op if you are just going to scream and put your fingers in your ears as the discussion ensues. Seems like a waste of time.

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Response to True Blue Door (Original post)

Mon Oct 27, 2014, 11:00 AM

232. Got it almost completely right

Here the perfect is not just the enemy of the good but the absolute, leather clad, whip cracking, ball-gag-stuffing dominatrix of the good, allowing the good not a nanometer of control or freedom.

The one gap may be the underlying motivations for the difference in approach. It's been 2-3 generations at the very least, and more in most cases, since Euro populations were indoctrinated from birth into the "you're on yoour own, rugged individualist - go forth and create Galt's Gulch" bullshit. Many never were, going instead straight from "your place in society is natural, just and irrevocable - deal with it" to "you are part of a state which is collectively responsible fo all". By a quirk of history and demographics, the US instead absorbed the mantra of self determination and hence self loathing that the worthy succeed and the less successful by definition are unworthy.

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Response to True Blue Door (Original post)

Tue Jun 30, 2015, 12:37 AM

235. K&R

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Response to True Blue Door (Original post)

Tue Jun 30, 2015, 01:45 PM

236. Well it seems you insist on pushing your agenda on what you think a liberal/leftist is so..

Why is the American left not as effective as the European left?
Whenever I ask this question, there are always a torrent of responses that attribute the American left's relative weakness to external causes: Mainly the wealth, power, and ruthlessness of the (pseudo-)American right. But such explanations only illustrate the real answer - the left in the US has an almost entirely negative self-definition, as a political space where the destructive ideologies of the right are rejected without necessarily having any unified vision of what to do with that space. 

This is why the multi-generational failure of the American left to establish lasting foundations of governance in this country is almost universally excused as a product of Enemy Action: "They won't let us do the things we should do!" And for some reason it's usually just left at that, with no further examination. The laziness and childishness of this attitude should be immediately obvious, as well as the fact that it's an excuse for failure rather than a productive thought process toward achieving better results. 


"They won't let us do the things we should do!" The problem is not that the Right-wing won't let us do the things we should do, because liberals often do the things that we should do. We get things passed, judges make good decisions like Roe-v-Wade, and the ACA gets passed. But, then the fight is far from over, conservatives do everything they can to undermine progress and even worse than that the American public is complacent for whatever reason, even on issues that affect them directly, waking the sleeping giant is a huge effort, but that is as important to the success of liberal ideals as is electing people that will help us achieve those ideals.

It also can't escape notice that it's essentially false: Contrary to myth accepted by both the left and the right, principled left-wing politicians are not rare in America. What's rare are principled left-wing legislative accomplishments, because the American left doesn't reward leaders who do things - it punishes them, because action intensifies attention, which (under the previously mentioned negative self-definition) causes unreasoning and unprioritized obsession on flaws. 

A left-wing legislator who just sits quietly between symbolic speeches, but never once passes or in any way tangibly affects a bill that actually does anything, will not be punished by the left for their laziness. But a legislator who fights actual battles, and causes legislation to be passed that moves the country in some tangibly leftward direction, will not be rewarded for it - they will be tarred with the difference between that legislation and a perfectly ideal conception of what it should be, as if that ideal were a real thing and the bill they passed were a movement to the right for not living up to it. 


I would like some actual evidence of this I will even take anecdotal evidence. I want evidence because I have never seen this in my lifetime. I vote for liberals whenever I can and when that isn't an option I will vote for Democrats and when a Democrat works hard to fight the good fight I will send them a letter of thanks and I will vote for them again. I have seriously never seen so much as even mild criticism of a politician from the left or from liberals when they do the right thing. I have however seen the exact opposite of this on DU. I have seen people very critical of Hillary for giving lip service to the causes of the left, but not actually doing anything to advance the causes or fight for the actual liberal principles. And I do believe that for only offering us symbolic gestures Hillary is going to lose the support of Liberals.

This is an illustration of the quixotic, monkish, fantasy-based solipsism in American left-wing politics. It's a mentality that is self-satisfied with inaction - because inaction doesn't disturb the tranquil contemplation of ideal absolutes - while the rigors of actual governance are resigned to right-wing politicians and moderates. Think about this scenario: 

Let's say that only 40% of the people have healthcare. The left says 100% of the people should have healthcare. Every once in a while, left-wing politicians introduce legislation (that never leaves committee) providing healthcare to 100% of the people. The fact that these bills never pass does not register with them or their base - the mere symbolic act of advocating them is considered an achievement in itself, sufficient and perfect, because the reality that no one is actually getting healthcare because of them is considered immaterial. None of these politicians are penalized by their base for doing nothing to actually create healthcare for real people - in fact, they're rewarded for "standing firm" in the face of reality. 


Are you serious about this illustration? I mean really serious serious. I was thrilled and many many people at DU that I know as far left were also thrilled about the ACA passing. Sure we recognize it doesn't go near far enough, but that is a far cry from punishing anyone who supported it. So, again I would like to see who has been rewarded for getting nothing done and who has been punished for giving us at least a small victory?

Now suppose a pragmatic liberal politician gets a bill passed that increases the percentage of people with healthcare from 50% to 80%, and this is the first time in, say, thirty years that anyone has significantly increased the proportion of people with healthcare. Any remotely sane progressive would be over the Moon at this accomplishment, doublingthe provision of healthcare to the American people, right? But in the negative psychology of the American left, that's not what just happened: That bill did not just double healthcare, it cut it from 100% down to 80%. And thus the liberal politician who just saved millions of lives is not a liberal at all, but some kind of Republican Lite or corrupt Betrayer who "sold out" the remaining 20% in some kind of smoke-filled backroom deal with cigar-smoking Mayflower descendents. 


So you still are on this and still no proof of assertion not even a little proof just more screed.

And...this is not an exaggeration of how left-wing politics in America thinks. It's the exact picture. I'm not saying that everyone on the left is guilty of this, or guilty to an equal extent, but it is the general environment. The American left operates like a set of monastic orders, not a political movement. It retreats from the world and from messy reality, content in impotence, seeing it as preferable to guard ideas from the dangers of practical trials than to participate in a "profane" and "corrupt" system that can't possibly do them justice. Needless to say, this is a perfect recipe for self-inflicted under-representation and irrelevance - more perfect than anything the other side could possibly design. 

It is, in essence, a Loser Factory: A set of attitudes and cultural prejudices that turn humanistic ideals against themselves, and make people who could do the most end up doing the least. It takes away vital public support from politicians who try to achieve things, making them instead targets of the very people they try to serve, and make useless rhetoric machines incapable of political accomplishment into heroes. There seems to be no analytical ability to distinguish between real liberal achievers and people who legitimately deserve the title of "sellout," and the result is that the latter are empowered because insultingly pitiful fig leaf accomplishments still feed more people than Noam Chomsky monographs recited to empty committee rooms. 


Well now we are getting somewhere it's people who admire Noam Chomsky that are the problem, am I right or am I right people. Of course, if we admire Noam Chomsky we can't possibly be fighting the good fight and feeding people, caring for the homeless, fighting for the LGBT community, because we are far too busy reading about his views on Anarchism.

While the left is characteristically fractious everywhere, in Europe it actually has an interest in governing. Relative to our version, it definitely rewards its leaders for winning elections and passing legislation, instead of treating these accomplishments as grounds for suspicion. There are all the same ideals and kaleidoscopic interest groups, but except for the most impotently and irrelevantly radical of them, they don't jealously withhold their ideals from practical politics like some kind of sacred idol - they try to demonstrate their ideals in practice so that other people can see the benefits, and build networks of political support to continue and grow their programs. 

When a left-wing leader is elected in Europe, their first order of business is coalition-building to navigate their agenda into effect. They find out who's who and what's what, and figure out how to make something happen. In the United States, it's more like "Well, I'm going to be a tireless advocate for thus-and-such, and if they won't listen, that's their problem." There's no recognition that being a politician (they despise the very word, let alone the concept) is theirjob, not being a motionless totem pole to symbolically represent their agenda. If you added 20 exact copies of Dennis Kucinich to the House of Representatives, they still wouldn't do anything, because zero times twenty is still zero. 


I am really starting to think that this screed is more about attacking actual liberals than about anything a liberal does or doesn't do. Seriously, it looks like someone is calling Dennis Kucinich a zero, it seriously looks that way. I don't even know Dennis Kucinich that well at all, I like what I know about him, I know he is an advocate for liberals and he stands up for us. Even if he doesn't get us much or even if he gets us a lot, he is still a liberal and I would not call him a zero his place on FOX “News” withstanding.

That's why in America the issues we support, that have the backing of huge majorities of the people, are treated in politics like a radical agenda: Because our left doesn't merely disbelieve in the union of ideals and practical achievement, it won't allow it. Achievement, for all intents and purposes, is the enemy. Achievement is a distraction from basking in moral perfection. So leaders who want to achieve cannot count on support from the left. It can be had briefly, but it cannot form a stable base. There is nothing to gain over the long-term by trying to form a solid political alliance with the left in America - it doesn't reward those who serve it, and does reward those who sabotage it. Like a battered wife, it only feels at home in utter powerlessness, and resents anyone who challenges its comfortable resignation. 

The worst part isn't that the American left likes to elect weaklings - it's that they turn against leaders who prove to be strong, almost like clockwork. If you go to any of the more stridently ideological discussion forums and tell the people there that President Barack Obama is a liberal progressive, they're absolutely scandalized by this statement. In their world, opening up healthcare to tens of millions of more Americans, opening the military to gays, preventing war with Iran, using Executive Orders to advance all sorts of labor and environmental objectives, etc. etc. - these things are not liberal achievements because (as with the 100% vs. 80% example above) there is some divergence with a perfect, ideal system that never existed. 


Oh please, I have seen all kinds of support for President Obama on the good things he has done. I have been very complimentary myself on the issues of opening up the military, getting DADT struck from the military, I have been a huge proponent of the ACA even if it doesn't go far enough, and I don't even criticize the use of drones, because far fewer people are killed by them than airstrikes on cities that contain a few people who are shooting at our soldiers.


Obama halted the march to war with Iran in its tracks and opened up diplomacy, but because the US still wages war somewhere, on some level, he's Dick Cheney. We have Obamacare, but because it involves mandates and private health insurers rather than a purely public system, it's the same as doing nothing and letting millions die from lack of healthcare. Then there's the ever-present "What has he done for us lately?" which never seems to acknowledge the existence of the other two branches of government, like if Obama were a true liberal President, he would magically overcome a bottomlessly corrupt GOP Congress by the sheer force of his progressive piety. 


I think it would be much better to talk to the individuals that are singing “what have you done for us lately” and who scream that Obama hasn't done enough, gone far enough, rather than attack everyone or a large segment of people who call themselves, leftists or liberals. I have seen this, I have addressed that issue with individuals that do this. I never thought I should write a diatribe aimed at all liberals and leftists because 5% of them are never happy no matter how much progress is made.


The attention paid by the American left to a subject tends to be inversely proportional to its own influence over it, so Congress - which we can affect much more quickly and effectively than any other aspect of the federal government - gets short shrift in these conversations. When it decides (usually erroneously) that the White House is failing to meet its obligations, does the American left then say "Hey, there's a midterm election coming up, let's take over Congress and force the Executive branch to the left from another branch"? Of course not. Because achievement is the enemy. 

An achievement-oriented, left-dominated Congress would be extremely effectual - far more so even than having a liberal President - and yet that goal makes a vanishingly small element of political activism and conversation on the left. It would be so effectual that the other two branches, even if in the hands of the radical right, would be constantly on the defensive: A right-wing Republican (but I repeat myself) in the White House would have to practically automate the process of vetoes, and would frequently be overridden; and the Lawless Five on the Supreme Court would have to be in session 24/7 to strike down all the progressive legislation, probably resulting in some Constitutional amendments passing to override them or at least check their radical judicial abuses of power. 


Oh this is so rich with fail, I don't know where to begin. It strikes me as more victim blaming as there are so many on the left who have been directly abused by our system. Anyone who isn't a straight, white, christian, normal weighted, male who is middle to upper class and owns a home is likely to have suffered some kind of discrimination and everyone who doesn't fit into that narrow category has been in some way or another been disenfranchised from the political process and this is a majority of the people in the United States, we who don't fit into those narrow catagories are the largest part of the 99%, yet our voices are rarely heard. We are the majority in this country if we all voted together things could happen for the good of us all. But, for so many reasons we remain disenfranchised. Poverty is probably the biggest reason. Poor people have been kicked around so much and have so many more issues on even being able to vote that many give up and I can't blame them. It is convenient for some to do so, it is convenient to blame the victims of the political process rather than invite them into the process. It is a lot less work to blame the victim and it takes a lot few resources to blame the victim rather than spend time and money getting them to the polls, knocking on their doors and giving them a direct invitation to the process. I can see how that is a more attractive prospect, because making allies with people who have been shut out is much harder work, bashing them for being victims is easy.


And as much as I have written in response, nothing I have written is as eloquent as "What a pant load".


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