Good Intentions And Good Policy

Booman revisits his theory that the "some" Left blogs are too mean to Obama. This stood out to me:

As a general rule, White Houses defend themselves against criticism, regardless of whether it is coming from the right or from the left. [. . .] I don't think the White House adviser's remarks were aimed at us. They were aimed at other bloggers who have extremely negative interpretations of the president's motives and policies.

I could not care less that the White House took a shot at bloggers. That's just words. What I care about is policy. Booman argues for "favorable" interpretations of policy. What does that mean exactly? Obama is gonna escalate in Afghanistan, imo. I SUPPORT that policy. What "interpretation" should I apply to that? Obama seems poised to embrace the Snowe triggers on health care reform. I vehemently oppose that policy. What "interpretation" should I apply to that? Is Booman's point that we should all concede Obama is a good guy? Conceded. So what? WHY Obama does things is irrelevant. WHAT Obama does is the issue. I return to my constant refrain, pols are pols and do what they do:

As citizens and activists, our allegiances have to be to the issues we believe in. I am a partisan Democrat it is true. But the reason I am is because I know who we can pressure to do the right thing some of the times. Republicans aren't them. But that does not mean we accept the failings of our Democrats. There is nothing more important that we can do, as citizens, activists or bloggers than fight to pressure DEMOCRATS to do the right thing on OUR issues.

And this is true in every context I think. Be it pressing the Speaker or the Senate majority leader, or the new hope running for President. There is nothing more important we can do. Nothing. It's more important BY FAR than "fighting" for your favorite pol because your favorite pol will ALWAYS, I mean ALWAYS, disappoint you.

In the middle of primary fights, citizens, activists and bloggers like to think their guy or woman is different. They are going to change the way politics works. They are going to not disappoint. In short, they are not going to be pols. That is, in a word, idiotic.

Yes, they are all pols. And they do what they do. Do not fight for pols. Fight for the issues you care about. That often means fighting for a pol of course. But remember, you are fighting for the issues. Not the pols.

Booman seems disconnected from the issues. He seems to be all about the pol he admires - Barack Obama. I think that is the cause of the divergence he sees.

Speaking for me only

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    Anonymous Advisors (5.00 / 2) (#1)
    by kaleidescope on Thu Oct 15, 2009 at 08:36:17 AM EST
    I thought Brad de Long had the best take on the whole White House Advisor -- Internet Left drama.  

    And Joe Trippi on the Rachel Maddow show exhibited the best attitude about the Republican trumpeted polling on "Showman Obama" -- Mr. All Talk -- that Maddow tried to pan as ridiculous Republican hype.  Trippi took a pragmatic approach.  He said that the polling company was respectable enough that Democrats should admit they have some work to do and then to roll up their sleeves and start working.

    And that should be our stance -- a pragmatic approach.  As BTD has said many times, Obama is just a pol. He isn't a savior.  And that means we have work to do all the time.  It's a waste of time and energy to obsess about whether someone is dissing us or is saying something ridiculous or is in the process of "selling us out."

    None of that should change our behavior.  Crying into our pillow about how we've been treated does no good at all.  We need a framework for action -- what we can do to try to steer things our way.  Candidates to back, letters to write, people to contact.

    We need to figure out how to force Democrats to act like Democrats.  And if that can't be done we need to figure out how to replace them with people who will.

    I am finding it odd (5.00 / 1) (#2)
    by Capt Howdy on Thu Oct 15, 2009 at 08:54:39 AM EST
    that so many people who I had previously thought were at least reasonably sane are completely incapable of separating criticism of Obamas policies from criticism of Obama.
    I run into to it all the time.
    maybe it is a side effect of the pathetically poisoned political atmosphere.
    and maybe it has to do with their own unreasoned visceral hatred of, for example, the Clintons.
    with them thinking every criticism of Obama is based as their criticism of the Clintons was and is on pure blind personal vitriol.

    In the same way, (5.00 / 2) (#3)
    by ruffian on Thu Oct 15, 2009 at 09:13:19 AM EST
    Booman seems to be obsessing about whether Obama likes him personally, at least in the part BTD quoted. Don't worry Booman, the pajama comments were not aimed at you, but at those other mean bloggers who care about Obama's policies.

    And What Makes It (5.00 / 3) (#4)
    by The Maven on Thu Oct 15, 2009 at 09:14:31 AM EST
    doubly ironic is that, for many of those Clinton-haters, when asked about the basis for those feelings, they would claim that it arose from (1) Bill's policies not matching his rhetoric and his triangulation from Congressional Dems, and (2) Hillary's votes on use of military force and concerns that she would represent corporate interests rather than the people once in the WH.

    The fact that they're unwilling to face up to what Obama's actually doing as president (versus the nice language in his speeches) is what now makes it nearly impossible for me to take anything they have to say seriously.  Obama's "sins" are just as bad as those perceived against the Clintons, yet these folks have willfully blinded themselves to this reality.  Most Republicans years ago became masters of political hypocrisy, and, sadly, far too many so-called progressives seem happy to follow them down that rathole.


    How very highminded of them (5.00 / 1) (#6)
    by ruffian on Thu Oct 15, 2009 at 09:21:16 AM EST
    Seemed to me instead that they had bought into every right wing attack and every dirty joke made about the Clintons. Reactions that visceral do not come from differences on NAFTA. It is emotion/image-centered politics that the Republicans mastered and Dems adopted last cycle.

    Has nothing to do with policy and getting things done for the country.


    indeed (5.00 / 2) (#7)
    by Capt Howdy on Thu Oct 15, 2009 at 09:28:29 AM EST
    its about personality cult politics

    Oh, Agreed (5.00 / 1) (#12)
    by The Maven on Thu Oct 15, 2009 at 10:14:33 AM EST
    They tend to wear their Clinton hatred as badges of honor.  I was only stating that, if asked "Why do you dislike the Clintons so much?" their responses generally take the form I'd indicated above -- at least, that's been my personal experience in exchanges I used to have with them.  Having internalized that hatred, they became equally as willing as right-wingers to embrace every negative story or rumor, while ignoring similar faults in their new hero.

    Completely emotional, completely irrational, and dangerous for both the Democratic Party and the nation.


    As Bill Maher said last week (5.00 / 1) (#5)
    by ruffian on Thu Oct 15, 2009 at 09:15:07 AM EST
    He's the president, not your boyfriend.

    funnier when he said it, but still.


    Delusional (5.00 / 2) (#8)
    by mmc9431 on Thu Oct 15, 2009 at 09:31:19 AM EST
    I don't have to like the person. As slippery as 99.9% of the politician's are, I don't think I'd want them as a friend. I hired him (with my vote) to do the job I wanted done. We're never going to do lunch.

    A lot of people in this country thought GWB was a "likable guy". Someone you'd like to sit and have a beer with. How did that work out?


    Um (5.00 / 1) (#9)
    by TeresaInSnow2 on Thu Oct 15, 2009 at 09:32:43 AM EST
    No, I think he's actually Booman's boyfriend -- or would-be boyfriend.

    "future husband" (none / 0) (#10)
    by Fabian on Thu Oct 15, 2009 at 10:10:24 AM EST
    is the term often used.

    For pols, I'm not sure what the appropriate phrase is.  The best most non-administration officials get is to participate in conference calls - and the last time I remember that happening was during the campaign, not after the election.

    The best any blog can hope to do is to drive a Media narrative.  Having the ability to directly impact any administration is a fantasy.


    Let's face it (none / 0) (#11)
    by Fabian on Thu Oct 15, 2009 at 10:12:41 AM EST
    Jeff Gannon appeared to have back door access to the White House and he was only a stenographer and a thrower of softballs at White House press conferences.

    That should illustrate what skills an administration finds valuable!


    Well (5.00 / 1) (#16)
    by DancingOpossum on Thu Oct 15, 2009 at 03:47:56 PM EST
    My (admitted wild and pulled out of my earlobe) guess is that most people who read and post here oppose the war in Afghanistan, but agree with BTD on other issues and especially enjoy his take on those issues. This site tends to attract some of the most intelligent & funny readers of any other lefty blog. So a disagreement on Afghanistan isn't a deal-killer for most of us.

    Talkleft SUPPORTS imperialist war (none / 0) (#13)
    by Andreas on Thu Oct 15, 2009 at 02:08:55 PM EST
    BTD wrote:

    Obama is gonna escalate in Afghanistan, imo. I SUPPORT that policy.

    Supporting an imperialist war is not a small matter. There is no essential difference between the wars in Vietnam and Iraq and the war in Afghanistan. Warmonger BTD and Talkleft now share responsibility for the war in Afghanistan.

    Amazing (none / 0) (#14)
    by Steve M on Thu Oct 15, 2009 at 02:32:04 PM EST
    No matter how many times BTD writes "speaking for me only," some people just can't seem to grasp it.

    "speaking for me only" (none / 0) (#15)
    by Andreas on Thu Oct 15, 2009 at 02:41:01 PM EST
    It is an editorial decision to allow BTD to promote the war here.

    Likewise (none / 0) (#18)
    by Steve M on Thu Oct 15, 2009 at 11:28:21 PM EST
    it is a choice to let you post here, but no one bears responsibility for your opinions but you.

    What a charming worldview you have, anyone who doesn't censor everyone with an opposing opinion is responsible for the war.  What-ever.


    War propaganda (none / 0) (#19)
    by Andreas on Fri Oct 16, 2009 at 12:57:54 AM EST
    Those who support the war and spread war propaganda share responsibility for that war. Do you deny that?

    If they do that as "contributers" on an allegedly "liberal" and "left" website this should be noted.


    Hmmm (none / 0) (#17)
    by DancingOpossum on Thu Oct 15, 2009 at 03:48:50 PM EST
    That sounded like I was complimenting myself on being so smart and funny :) I meant it as a shoutout to the others, by whom I am humbled.