Monday, February 21, 2011

Quote of the Day


"I've never really been clear about the endgame for this gang. What do they intend to achieve? If it's accountability at all costs, do they recognize the repercussions -- if successful -- in taking down the most liberal president in generations? I think they do because, despite being kneejerk opportunists, they're smart. And if they're willing to destroy progress, whatever the speed, with their 'everything is a scandal' approach, can they really call themselves 'progressives?'"

-- Bob Cesca on Saint Glenn Greenwald and the perpetually outraged children at Firedoglake

20 comments:

Eric said...

I don't read Firedoglake and barely follow Greenwald anymore, but Cesca's annoying me, too. I understand the President is as progressive as we're likely to see in office and has accomplished more than he generally gets credit for on the left. But I also understand the frustration over here, where a lot of us are feeling like we keep selling ourselves out, supporting center-right candidates because we've internalized the ideas (which may be true) that our side can't win and moderates are better than extremists.

In a nutshell: we're damned if we do, damned if we don't. If our principles can't win, should we just abandon them as the lesser of evils? I can understand Greenwald being a jackass about it, because those choices both suck, frankly.

I'm not a Democrat, is the thing, and while I pretty much always vote for the Democrats as being closer to my politics than their rivals, I don't actually care if Democrats win except insofar as they're a useful tool towards promoting a progressive agenda or at least blocking a reactionary one; if they can't do either of those things, then I have no really good reason not to throw my votes and money away on hopeless candidates or just stay home on Election Day and cower until the apocalypse finally happens. So if I'm annoyed by Greenwald's tendency towards petulant quixotism,, I'm also annoyed by Cesca's tendency towards... I dunno--pungent endorsements of tepid moderation and appeasement as a lesser of evils, maybe? The lesser of two evils is still, you know, evil, and just because I usually hold my nose and pick up the evil with a pair of tongs, it doesn't mean I ought to gleefully open the toaster oven door and grab the steaming chunk of evil with both hands, which Cesca sometimes sounds like he's advocating.

Chez said...

In addition to being good friends with the guy, my appreciation of Cesca is his stand on demanding "smart accountability." He's firm in his beliefs, but he understands that reality is reality and cutting off your nose to spite your face doesn't get you anywhere.

Anonymous said...

Cesca is a pure sycophant. He can't ever, ever, get himself to be critical of O in any capacity. It is pathological. The man is simply not capable of objectively viewing the good ,and the bad, of our current prez, through any spectrum other than his absurd notion of having faith or as he laughingly calls it "smart accountability." His strawman is that you're either against O or for him. Nothing in between. You couldn't possibly be trying to simply push O left, nope, for Cesca you are only damaging his perfect prez and preventing him from completing his game of 11 dimensional chess, that no one understands except O and Cesca. Cesca is a dangerous fool.

Chez said...

Thanks for stopping by, Lee.

drater said...

Eric, you saved me a lot of typing. +1

Anonymous said...

Thanks for guessing wrong, bub. I'm not Lee. But whatever, that's your simplistic way of dismissing me, oh well. I'm just anon, someone who has become increasingly critical of so called pragmatists that are only capable of blaming others while perpetuating the status quo. Oh yeah and the current level of progress is just stunning; wallstreet is scot free, income inequality is only getting worse, labor and the middle class only get squeezed and the USA gives my tax dollars to ship more jobs over seas, while O helps to perpetuate some of the worst economic memes that the right loves to spew. Yup, real progress right there.

Mart said...

Back in the day progressives were outraged by Bush funding endless wars,the Patriot Act, tax cuts for the rich, threats to dismantle social security, no jail sentences for corrupt banksters and regulators, indefinite detention of US citizens without files being charged, etc.

Now that Obama continues the same wars, expands the Patriot Act, continues tax cuts for the rich, has cut social security funding for the first time ever, there are no bankster criminal charges, thinks it is OK to assassinate an American citizen without charges, etc. we should all be singing his praises? I say thank God for folks like FDL and some of MSNBC that points this duplicity out.

If a policy is wrong, it should not matter who is presiding over it. Always felt a strength of lefties to criticize their own, not a detriment. Would you rather blindly follow the neocon media complex?

Chez said...

Relax, it was a joke -- that said, that's the problem you run into when you don't put any sort of name to your comment. But I've bitched enough about that before.

I see your point, by the way, I just happen to think that some progress is better than none at all -- and what the other party is offering right now is precisely the opposite of what I want for the country. But, once again, I've bitched about this enough. Feel free to go back through the archives if you want a more articulate argument.

Chez said...

By the way, who the fuck says "bub?"

ntx said...

Plenty of Firedoglake dilettantes are the same smug, self-satisfied, self-righteous assholes that voted for Ralph Nader in 2000.

nicole473 said...

Eric said:
"if they can't do either of those things, then I have no really good reason not to throw my votes and money away on hopeless candidates or just stay home on Election Day"

That kind of thinking is part of what got us Dubya in 2000, when so many voted for Nader rather than cast a vote for Gore.

You have to deal with the reality of the world as it is. Throwing away your vote to make a point that doesn't matter is just childish or naive.

Izar Talon said...

Only someone who thinks they're Wolverine, Chez.

Chez said...

Oh please, Mart. First of all, Hamsher and the FDLers' whining is overly pious, largely self-serving horseshit. There are plenty of things I'd like to see accomplished by Obama that haven't happened yet and may not happen at all. Does it bug me? Yeah, of course. But the difference is that I wasn't expecting Obama to deliver the Great Progressive Utopia to my doorstep; he's a fucking centrist Democrat and always has been. It was ludicrous to expect much more from him. Once again for the cheap seats: He's pushed through an agenda that's, for the most part, been pretty damn impressive. For the liberal intelligentsia to rip him to shreds for every little thing -- and seriously, read Greenwald, Sirota, Hamsher, even Harry Fucking Shearer and that's exactly what they do -- is just self-defeating; it's doing the work of the Republican strategists for them. You're never going to get everything you want; you're just not. With respect, get your head out of the clouds.

Mart said...

I voted for Obama after studying his voting record and concluding he was essentially a blue dog centrist democrat (i.e. right of Nixon). Of course I will vote for Obama in 2012 over any "R" on the radar; and agree he has done a lot of good. (The thought of Democratic reform taking place in the middle east and bomb bomb bomb neocon McCain/Palin in charge gives me chills.)

That said, Bob Cesca can be rather shrill about the Dem's leadership...

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/bob-cesca/im-really-pissed-off-abou_b_394943.html

"I'm pissed off that President Obama "thanked" the independent senator from Connecticut even though the senator nearly killed health care reform this week... I'm pissed off that even though we finally have a 60 seat supermajority, it's dysfunctional and Harry Reid is in charge of it...I'm pissed off at Rahm Emanuel and I'm pissed off at the "scary profane a-hole" mythology that's built up around him, and how he only seems to use his powers of intimidation to bully the left."

Cesca ends his rant with yes we need to take what we can get, but he is still pissed about taking the health care reform option just to the left of do nothing.

That Cesca rant seems to me to be pretty similar to the tone at FDL. I do blame Obama (his handlers) for a lot of this. He ran on fairly progressive campaign promises, and has presided as the centrist/corporatist blue dog he is. Suppose that was needed to get elected. It really hurt the folks who were wearing rose colored glasses, and has forced others to wear blinders.

Anonymous said...

Fuck, everytime I'm outraged and want to dislike you, you come back with a quip that makes me laugh. And so now I declare my love for this here blog. Well except for the naive court jester named Cesca. Thanks to his absurd stance on how I should gauge "progress" and my neurotic and spite filled dislike for any and all sycophants, I usually manage to cause some trouble. What can I do?

Btw, Izar has it mostly right, it was Wolverine I was channeling momentarily, but really I'm just a fat middle aged dad trying to keep my rage in check.

Thanks for the chuckle.

'Nuff said.

Mart said...

More Bob Cesca...

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/bob-cesca/why-exactly-is-president_b_790819.html

"...I've attempted to see the wisdom and pragmatism behind the president's choices.

But this week I have no blessed clue what the hell he's up to. I've tried to look at this from every angle and each one leads me back to weak, weak, weak." "He looks like a very smart and very serious...(no cut text - Cesca's dots) wimp."

All this over federal worker pay freezes. Why doesn't Cesca get his head out of the clouds? Why is he doing the work of Republican strategist's framing Obama as a "weak" "wimp"?

It's in Dems blood, we can't help damning ourselves.

This Will Rogers quote is about 100 years old and still 100% applicable, "Democrats never agree on anything, that's why they're Democrats. If they agreed with each other, they would be Republicans."

(I promise no more Googling Cesca.)

Chez said...

Jesus, Mart -- there's a huge difference between getting pissed at Obama on occasion and voicing that and literally pounding him over and over again for everything. I've made my disagreements with Obama known more than once, but I generally do it with the caveat that he's still light years beyond what the Republicans are offering these days. And you know something? I wouldn't be too proud to trumpet that Will Rogers quote if I were you. I've said before but it bears repeating: the inability of the Democrats to stop overthinking every little thing just to prove how deeply powerful their liberal brains are is exactly why they have so much trouble winning elections, pushing through an agenda or generally staying on point -- and the Greenwalds and Hamshers of the world, who seem to genuinely delight in tearing down a Democratic president, are a flawless example of that kind of own-worst-enemy bullshit.

Chugga said...

American politics are insane no matter which way you cut it, but for my 2c, is there anything wrong with criticizing the president of the united states as long as you vote for the lesser evil at the end of the day?
I don't see any problem with discourse and people voicing their disagreements as long as they don't cut off their nose to spite their face on election day.

Anonymous said...

Here's the problem with cesca's premise: that too much, or not the right criticisms of a president will "tear him down"-- and that those that do so, do it only to delight in his destruction. I think that's pretty harsh, I mean it could really just be ideological differences. Really it could, but whatever. Anyway, just look at the repubs. They have done just fine with their extreme right wing factions pulling the party further right every consecutive year. My guess is that they've achieved that shift by employing various tactics, and which I'm guessing likely include more than simply praising and supporting whoever happens to be Prez at the time. Just because you call yourself a pragmatist, a realist, whatever, doesn't mean that your tactics are superior. My contention is that the Cescan/realist method is simply the blandest and weakest form of saying, "Okay, he's in. Now keep your head down and don't rock the boat, cuz those other guys really suck." Which is completely true, and yet the level of apathy required to pull that one off is mind boggling. And the fucked up thing is, if you're ever going to convince anyone to sort of lean in your direction, it's never, and I mean fucking never, going to be a Bush, a Reagan, a Gingrich, etc...I could go on forever. But with an Obama, or any Dem really, who has to listen to at least part of his base. It's beyond lunacy not to use all your factions, and help the prez lean a little more left, especially when you might have someone sympathetic to your cause. And, it won't hurt him. In fact I guarantee it won't hurt him, just look at how fucking insanely far to the right repubs have been pushed. And they somehow managed to elect the smirking chimp, W. Anyone telling you differently needs to reexamine their facts. Just pushing and criticizing doesn't make you a Nader traitor. And this voting has consequences line and then invoking this bullshit about how only the great Cesca knows how to promote and support progressive/incremental change, is pure bunk. There's only one way to answer that one, "Who the fuck died and made you king?"

Sheriff Bart said...

I'm gonna get my kicks before the whole shithouse goes up in flames...