29 Jul 2008

Do It, Do It, Please, Do It

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Lord knows, I don’t often agree with ultra-left blogger Glenn Greenwald about anything, but what do you know? Even the most unlikely of occurrences are possible in this best of all possible worlds.

‘s Glenn responding to the recent Rasmussen Poll finding national approval of Congress to have fallen to an all-time low of 9% by concluding the democrat House majority is safe in perpetuity and it’s time for moonbats to turn on the democrat party leadership and start defeating any democrat congressmen discernibly to the right of Leon Trotsky.

That’ll learn ’em. And those democrat leaders will then start obediently toeing the Party Line (and I don’t mean the democrat party line).

Many progressives and other Democratic supporters are reflexively opposed to any conduct that might result in the defeat of even a single, relatively inconsequential Democratic member of Congress or the transfer of even a single district to GOP control. No matter how dissatisfied such individuals might be with the Democratic Congress, they are unwilling to do anything different to change what they claim to find so unsatisfactory. Even though uncritically cheering on any and every candidate with a “D” after his or her name has resulted in virtually nothing positive — and much that is negative — many progressives continue, rather bafflingly and stubbornly, to insist that if they just keep doing the same thing (cheering for the election of more and more Democrats), then somehow, someday, something different might occur. But, as the cliché teaches, repeatedly engaging in the same conduct and expecting different results is the very definition of foolishness.

As foolish as it is, this intense aversion to jeopardizing any Democratic incumbents might be considered rational if doing so carried the risk of restoring Republican control of Congress. But there is no such risk, and there will be none for the foreseeable future. No matter what happens, the Democrats, by all accounts, are going to control both houses of Congress after the 2008 election. Their margin in the House, which is currently 31 seats, will, by even the most conservative estimates, increase to at least 50 seats. No advertising campaign or activist group could possibly swing control of Congress to the Republicans this year, and — given the Brezhnev-era-like reelection rates for incumbents in America — it is extremely unlikely that the House will be controlled by anyone other than Steny Hoyer, Rahm Emanuel and Nancy Pelosi for years to come.

The critical question, then, is not who will control Congress. The Democrats will. That is a given. The vital question is what they will do with that control — specifically, will they continue to maintain and increase their own power by accommodating the right, or will they be more responsive, accountable and attentive to the political values of their base?

As long as they know that progressives will blindly support their candidates no matter what they do, then it will only be rational for congressional Democrats to ignore progressives and move as far to the right as they can. With the blind, unconditional support of Democrats securely in their back pocket, Democratic leaders will quite rationally conclude that the optimal way to increase their own power, to transform more Republican districts into Blue Dog Democratic seats, and thereby make themselves more secure in their leadership positions, is to move their caucus to the right. Because the principal concern of Democratic leaders is to maintain and increase their own power, they will always do what they perceive is most effective in achieving that goal, which right now means moving their caucus to the right to protect their Blue Dogs and elect new ones.

That is precisely what has happened over the past two years. It is why a functional right-wing majority has dominated the House notwithstanding the change of party control — and the change in direction — that American voters thought they were mandating in 2006. As progressive activist Matt Stoller put it, “Blue Dogs are the swing voting block in the House, they are self-described conservatives, and they are perfectly willing to use their status on every action considered by the House.” The more the Democratic leadership accommodates the Blue Dog caucus — the more their power relies upon expanding their numbers through the increase of Blue Dog seats — the less relevant will be the question of which party controls Congress.

The linchpin for that destructive strategy is uncritical progressive support for congressional Democrats. That is what ensures that Democratic leaders will continue to pursue a rightward-moving strategy as the key to consolidating their own power. Right now, when it comes time to decide whether to capitulate to the demands of the right, Beltway Democrats think: “If we capitulate, that is one less issue the GOP can use to harm our Blue Dogs.” And they have no countervailing consideration to weigh against that, because they perceive — accurately — that there is no cost to capitulating, only benefits from doing so, because progressives will blindly support their candidates no matter what they do. That is the strategic calculus that must change if the behavior of Democrats in Congress is to change.

Democratic leaders must learn that they cannot increase their majority in Congress by trampling on the political values of their own base.

Let’s hope the entire nutroots base, responds to Glenn in the manner of Molly Bloom:

I was a Flower of the mountains yes when I put the rose in my hair like the Andalusian girls used or shall I wear a red yes and how he kissed me under the Moorish wall and I thought well as well him as another and then I asked him with my eyes to ask again yes and then he asked me would I yes to say yes my mountain flower and first I put my arms around him and yes and drew him down to me so he could feel my breasts all perfume yes and his heart was going like mad and yes I said yes I will yes.


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