Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Quote of the Day

A word-for-word transcript of the entire comment left by "Too Many Jimpersons" over at Balloon Juice -- specifically a post called "Caution: Geniuses at Work" which laments the short-sighted, self-defeating sanctimony of the Hamsher/Greenwald/Sirota crowd (whose patron saint, egomaniacal jackass Ralph Nader, has returned to the public eye to demand a primary against Barack Obama):

"Dude, if you don’t like something Obama has done—or hasn’t done—then by all means call him on it. He said as much way back while he was still running. Nudge him further the way you’d like him to go.

But for fuck’s sake, do it in a way that helps rather than hinders. Don’t start screaming about primary challenges because he hasn’t done everything you wanted. Don’t go all over Fox and screech that he’s a sellout and as bad as Bush was.

Those were a few handy 'don’t's. Here are some 'do's:

Go out and work for the candidates in the primaries who fit your bill. Show up at their offices and do shitty, dull work for them. Trudge through the rain canvassing on an October Saturday when you’d much rather be at home. Send them some money. If you don’t like who’s running, run yourself.

Those are helpful tips. But before you do all that that I suggested, here’s another 'don’t':

Don’t work for some Democrat you love above all else if it means you’re likely to badly weaken the Democrat in office who votes as you’d like 9 times out of 10, or even only 7 or 8, or even only 6 or, yes, even only 5 out of 10, if—and here’s the thing—the 5, 6, 7, 8, or 9 out of 10er is the best you can get. Examples: O.K., we all know Mary Landrieu and Ben Nelson are irritating assholes. But before you go out and work your ass off for Louisiana or Nebraska’s version of Dennis Kucinich, bear in mind that Landreiu and Nelson are the best we can hope for in those states. Yeah, I’d love it if Louisiana sent somebody who speaks and votes like Al Franken to the Senate. But that isn’t going to happen. The choice isn’t Mary landreiu or Al Franken; it’s Mary Landreiu or some dickwad who votes like David Vitter. There are reasons Minnesota sends people like Franken to Washington and Louisiana doesn’t. Those reasons are called 'voters'.

I live in Virginia. In 2006 and in 2008, I worked for Jim Webb and Mark Warner when they ran. If Virginia were a place where somebody like Franken or Sanders or Sherrod Brown could win statewide, I’d happily have worked for them. But it isn’t, and no amount of wishing by me will make it so. So I worked for the best I could reasonably hope for. And much to my delight, I got two Democratic senators in the last two elections we had here. They aren’t as liberal as I am; they aren’t as liberal as I would like them to be. But none of that matters. I live in Virginia in the early 21st Century, not some fantasy world where everybody thinks the way I do.

Now as for Obama, well, you know what? I would like it if he were more like Al Franken or Sherrod Brown. I’d love that. But right now, it’s hard to get somebody like that into the presidency. It isn’t going to happen right now, however much you might want it to. So, yes, maybe Obama does what I’d like 8 or 9 times out of 10. Guess what? I lived through 8 years of George Bush, who did what I would have liked 0 times out of 10. And Rick Perry and Romney would also do what I’d like them to 0 times out of 10.

0. 8. 10. Those are the numbers to keep in mind next year, 0, 8 and 10. There are, to be sure, fantasy candidates who would give me what I want 10 times out of 10. (Nader sure as hell isn’t, however many people wrongly think of him as some kind of liberal crusader; he’s only an egoist who wants to throw fits and show everybody how wrong they were. If he got in, he might well appoint somebody like Palin just to stick a thumb in our eyes. I don’t trust him or anybody who works with him.)

Anyway, 0, 8 and 10. Keep those in mind. Maybe President Franken would give you what you want 10 times out of 10. But that means nothing. He’ll never be president, not in this country, not as it is. This is a country that chose George Bush 7 years ago, knowing fully what it was getting. So 10 is an important number because it’s what you—we—won’t be getting. That leaves 8 and 0. What we have to choose from is getting our way 8 times out of 10 or no times out of 10. Maybe you don’t like that. Tough shit. That’s what you have, and whether you’re happy with it has nothing to do with the world as it is.

Do you want to get your way 0 times out of 10 as long as you can happily, smugly tell us all about how pure you are and how devoted to The Cause—whatever it may be—you are? Are you willing to live with that? Or would you rather have somebody who does what you like 8 times out of 10? That isn’t as good as 10 out of 10, I know that. But what if these are your only choices? Then what? Are you going to work to get Rick Perry voted in so you can feel like you’re one of the few who are really, truly committed to doing what’s right, even though you might have to take a few lumps for it? (Keep in mind that you are unlikely to get any lumps; it’ll be some other poor losers, but, hey, eggs and omelettes and all that, right?) Or will you take the 8 out of 10 and be willing to be let down once in a while for the sake of all of us? Because these are your choices. These two. Forget about 10. Forget about President Franken. Forget about President Sanders. Forget about President Kucinich, and for the love of God, forget about President Nader. Can you do that? I hope so, since you’ll never get them. Understand that: You will never get them. It won’t happen. You get to choose between President Obama and Governor Perry, or between President Obama and Governor Romney. That’s it. That’s all.

And if you work for Nader or some other asshole in the primary, all you will do is weaken President Obama and make the likelihood of President Perry or Romney that much greater. That’s what primary challenges to sitting presidents do. It happened in 1992. It happened in 1980. It happened in 1968 (Humphrey was running more or less for Johnson’s third term). It happened as far back as 1912. Each time—each time—the challenging party got the advantage and each time it won. That’s what happens when you run a serious primary against a sitting president: you help elect somebody from the other party. We can’t afford that.

Now, before anybody weeps and wails about 'Don’t I have the right to vote for whomever I want? Isn’t this a democracy, don’t you believe in democracy?' let me just say: Yes, you have the right to vote for whomever you choose. Yes this is a democracy. And yes, I believe in democracy. Yes, yes and yes. Nobody is telling anybody else, 'You have no right to vote for Nader,' or anything like that. What we are saying, what we are asking you people who have legitimate criticisms of Obama, is to put your own feelings and your own egos and your own need to feel holy or to feel like martyrs to the cause to the side. That’s all we’re asking. We’re asking you to take a good look at what’s going on here in this country, and to swallow your pride for a little while, and to get over the bruise Obama gave your ego when he didn’t do everything just the way you wanted him to.

We aren’t telling you; we aren’t ordering you. We aren’t shooting you or threatening you or jailing you or hosing you down with fire hoses or beating you. We are asking you. Yes, sometimes you (collectively; people like you) piss us off and we call you mean names and say intemperate things to you. But, Lord in heaven, get over it. If you can’t even take a few nasty comments without crumpling up and whining about how this is just like what Martin Luther King or somebody had to go through—and there are manic progressives who go on that way; I am not saying you are one of them—then you really aren’t the fearless liberal warriors you like to think you are.

So, again: Please do not work for or encourage primary challenges to President Obama in 2012. If you do, you greatly weaken his odds of winning next year, and if you do that, then lots of other Democrats will get highly pissed off at you, and we withhold the right to call you mean names. If we do that, then live with it. It’ll be the least you’ll have to worry about."

0. 8. 10.

I swear to Christ, that's gonna be my new battle cry.

(via Angry Black Lady)


ntx said...

Amen! Damn, that was excellent.

How small would the font have to be to fit it on a bumper sticker?

LK3 said...

Bravo! I am passing that around.
I'd buy that bumper sticker.

Steven D Skelton said...

I don't think a primary challenge from the left would be as bad for Obama as conventional wisdom seems to think.

Feingold isn't going to run. Nobody like Feingold (to the best of my knowledge) is going to run.

The challenge would come from some Dingbat like Nadir or Kucinich. It won't be much of a fight, and what fight there is will strengthen Obama with the swing voters as it will make him look "un-extreme" (for lack of a better word.)

Imagin said...

Yep. Obama's all we've got, and whining lefty purist douchewads need to deal with that reality. I wish they they went after the teatards even half as hard as they go after Obama. They're all still pouting because Hillary lost, as if she'd be faring any better than Obama in the current political climate.

Withnail said...

Honestly, it's more like 0.6.10, but yeah, I see your point...

Chez said...

I was actually gonna split the difference and say 7.

Jester said...

It's a good rallying cry for Democrats.

For Independents such as myself, and assuming Romney holds off Perry (which I think he will), the numbers are closer to "3. 4. 10." And given Obama's abysmal negotiating skills, it's increasingly hard to tell which of the two would give us "3" and which "4".

Steve said...

Frankly I'm just amazed anybody listens to Nader after 2000. If that didn't teach these mutts about the danger of going on ideological purity suicide missions, nothing will.

I think my new battle cry is "What's wrong with you people?"

Anonymous said...

And I think anytime people fantasize about Obama going all super progressive, they forget he is essentially facing a world of Ned Beattys from Network.

dcflush said...

Jester, you're very wrong. Possibly on foreign policy is it 3.4.10, but on domestic issues. Think about it. tax policy, financial reform, health care reform, dozens of others, but just those 3 biggies would each have many issues that Romney would fight against.

Health care he already said he would issue waivers for all 50 states. Financial reform would be repealed, meaning not just eliminating regulations on derivatives and regulations on the legalese and complexity of contracts, but also on the CFPB.

Tax policy, Romney wants to continue lowering taxes for the wealthy.

The list goes on and on. And even foreign policy I would argue Obama has shifted from more of the lead role to one of support (Libya), and it has shown success with fewer US troops and money involved.

Anonymous said...

Here is what I don't understand...

Why are you all so damn afraid of Perry? Or Oven Mitts...or shit, even Ron "EAT THE POOR!!!" Paul?

What I mean is that just as President Obama has utterly and completely disappointed me, I recognize that the same damn thing is going to happen to whatever republican that potentially wins. Its fucking hilarious that you all are acting like Rick Perry is going to turn this nation into 1984 or some shit. He can't do a damn thing without the support of Congress. Hell, Obama had Congress and barely accomplished anything. Presidents don't matter anymore. The bureaucracy is too damn strong. Obama couldn't even get pushed through closing Gitmo.

The bureaucracy in this country, for better and worse, prevents any meaningful change. So yeah...I get annoyed being preached to that I have to go through the motions of voting in the same clowns (oh I am "sure" there would be differences between Obama and Oven Mitts) into office.

I can't just bring myself to give a shit anymore. I can't.

This is not to say y'all can't have your opinions, and I honestly say this that I am jealous that of people that honestly thinks it matters. I wish I had that kind of passion.

Nate said...

Let's do some accounting:
Things the President has done for liberals:
1. End DADT
2. Decline to defend DOMA
(And I'm being generous by counting this as two things)

Things the President has done that fly in the face of his liberal supporters:
1. Fail to close Guantanamo
2. Decline to prosecute Wall St. fraud
3. Decline to prosecute torturers
Health care reform which did the bare minimum to rein in insurance company abuses and never even considered a single-payer system
4. Keep the US embroiled in two foreign wars plus three bombing campaigns
5. Refused to fight for an end to the Bush tax cuts, even for the wealthiest 1%
6. Delayed the much-needed improvements to clean air standards
7. Passed a 'Stimulus' which was mostly tax cuts (which are mildly stimulative) but made no real Keynesian effort to reduce unemployment
8. Has utterly abandoned the unions, remaining silent throughout the Wisconsin protests
9. Chose as his Treasury Secretary, Timothy Geithner, one of the very cheerleaders for deregulation who helped crash our economy

So: a generous 2/11. I will not donate money to his campaign; I will not volunteer for his campaign; I will likely not vote for him 13.5 months from now.

To anticipate some of your objections: 1. You can't blame Republicans for all of this; President Obama had a friendly House and Senate and still refused to move on ANY of these issues with a liberal strategy, choosing instead to offer up formerly-Republican solutions such as the health care plan based on old Dole and Romney plans. 2. This is not 'self-defeating liberalism'; liberals have defeated themselves exactly by continuing to vote for the most-liberal conservative candidate (i.e. Pres. Obama) and never pushing for a candidate who shares their goals and philosophy.

IrishGirl said...

Bravo, nicely summarizes my feelings about it as well. I'll take 8 versus 0 any day of the week.

pcBobby said...

If Ralph runs again, then James Carville has my permission to be the serpent that he is and swallow Mr. Nader whole.

C'mon, really? A primary or independent challenger will make Jimmy Carter's 1980 run look like a picnic.

Rep. Kucinich thinks a primary challenger will be healthy for democracy. Thomas Friedman thinks it's time or a serious independent candidate. Either one could be a nightmare ushering in President GW Bush Redux on Steroids... er President Perry.

dcflush said...

Anonymous about not being afraid of Perry...

A few reasons your right in principle, but wrong in taking into account the likely scenarios that will play out.

First is that Dems are generally not as reprehensible at using the filibuster. Republican use during Obama's first two years is astounding. But let's ignore that for now and assume Dems decide to use it at extraordinary levels just like Republicans did.

Second is that Dems don't generally fall in line as consistently as Republicans. (Ben Nelson for instance and those like him are the reason gov option was a non-starter). But let's say Republicans don't all fall in line...

Third is that IF a Republican wins the White House, chances are EXTREMELY HIGH that he will also take the House and very possibly take much of the Senate (only 10 Republican seats are up for election in 2012 while 23 Dem seats are up for election). But let's say Republicans only take a small majority, something like 53 or 54 in the Senate....

Then it is possible Republicans will change the filibuster rule at the start of the Senate session... requiring only 51 votes to pass any legislation. Dems discussed doing just that this past January, but decided against it. Do you think Republicans will not strengthen their power if that chance arises?

As you can see, nearly ever scenario with any probability of occurring (in the event of a Republican presidential win) is terrifying.

Chez said...

Anon 12:43, if you really don't see a difference between Rick Fucking Perry and Obama, I can't help you and neither can anyone else. Perry is Bush on steroids, and this entire country is in the mess it's in because of eight years of Bush.

Nate, I rarely answer a question with one of these kinds of rah-rah links but, as expected, you're really overlooking a shitload of Obama accomplishments because your pet issues weren't catered to to your personal satisfaction, so here.

Again for the cheap seats: I haven't liked everything Barack Obama has done as president and there are times I've felt sincerely let down by him, even to the point of becoming freaking furious -- but to ignore the alternative, to ignore political reality, is asinine.

dcflush said...


Complete and utter misrepresentation of many facts.

Wall St investigations continue, but yes, we would like prosecutions, but again, these are very tricky issues to resolve.

Prosecuting past presidents is a tricky road to go down... unless the transgressions and criminality is clear and widespread, which it may be.

Health care reform: it's remarkable he got anything passed at all! Had he gone for what progressives want, we would have NOTHING... exactly like Hillary got in 1995.

He got us out of combat missions in Iraq and said he was going to continue Afghanistan. Don't blame him if he did exactly what he said he would do.

He DID fight for an end to the Bush tax cuts. In exchange for extending them 1 year, he got: repeal of DADT, START II, health care for first responders and a 1 year extension of unemployment benefits. Republicans were holding ALL of those hostage and without Obama's deal, NONE of those would have happened.

The stimulus was not 'mostly' tax cuts. It was almost 1/3 tax cuts. If you can't even tell the truth about something so clear cut, why should anyone listen to you?

Geithner was actually one that sounded alarms prior to the housing crises.

namron said...

The re-election of Barack Obama will, at least, stretch out the schedule for the process that selects the pig-shit shoveling detail at Bartertown by about four years.

Anonymous said...

All democrats and left leaning independents should vote for President Obama in 2012. Voting for ANYONE else will accomplish exactly nothing.

The only argument I accept against voting for President Obama in 2012 is the "Let Rome burn" argument, which calls for a vote for a lunatic like Bachmann or Perry(believe me, on a fair amount of days i think it's the only choice).

signed - Nero

Anonymous said...

I always feel I have to qualify the "everyone was an ideological idiot for voting for Nader in 2000" lambaste.

Just remember that back in November 2000, the economy was strong, we all felt we were headed towards a great new world of potential and prosperity - driven by the fabulous internet, Bush Jr was an ineffectual daddies boy with whom no one saw a threat, and there was NO 9/11 tragedy.

... so there was absolutely nothing wrong with using your vote for the idea of a three party system.

That said: VOTE FOR OBAMA IN 2012!!

Anonymous said...

The results of the 2010 midterms should be evidence enough for what would happen if one of the current Republican candidates got into the White House. On a local scale we see nothing but anti-union bills, voter disenfranchisement, purging of benefit roles, slashed corporate regulation and responsibility, cut taxes, but raised “fees,” appointment of independent overseers of local municipalities, removing rights of women, etc. Until progressives can back their representatives the way many conservatives take for granted, we will never see the reforms many of us want.

Eric said...

Anonymous @5:10--

Exactly, and I'd add that you also had the pre-bearded-eco-warrior version of Al Gore, i.e. the milquetoast centrist who was tied through Clinton to the Democratic Leadership Council, an organization whose whole raison d'etre was to marginalize the Democratic left, plus running-mate Joe Lieberman, who even before his complete turn for the douche was well-known as a conservative-leaning Democrat.

Sure, if we'd all known then what we know now--about 9/11, that Gore really had a pair of cojones and a liberal heart hidden under that stuffed suit somewhere, that Nader really was an opportunistic choad, just how shallow a thinker Bush was and what lousy advisors he'd surround himself with--a lot of us who voted for Nader would have voted differently. (Though in my home state, it also wouldn't have made a damn bit of difference.) But knowing what we knew at the time, it didn't seem unreasonable to say that the difference between Gore and Bush wasn't worth spitting at and a vote to strengthen a third party was a worthwhile cause.

Blaming Nader for Bush's election in 2000 irritates me for all sorts of reasons, not the least of which is that if Gore had run a halfway decent campaign and/or run as a liberal, I would have voted for him. Maybe if Gore hadn't run as a putz, the margins wouldn't have been close enough in some states for Nader to make whatever difference he might have made in the first place.

Ref said...

I'm not happy with Obama. I had considerable doubts about him in 2008, but would vote for anyone running against a ticket with Princess Dumbass of the Great White North on it. I will reluctantly vote for Obama in 2012.

That said, I would still like to see a responsible progressive light a fire under his ass for his continual attempts to be "bipartisan" instead of being a principled Democrat. I just don't want to see a douchebag like Ralph Nader anywhere near such a campaign.

Alex said...


I'd like to add to your list, that closing Gitmo didn't and hasn't happened is more the fault of the majority of congress shooting down even the suggestion of it. Obama can't just, in some Superman-esque swoop, fly over to the prison and throw some switch that closes it for good. If congress won't back him up then there's little he can do.

John Foley said...

This is the same Ralph Nader who called Obama an "Uncle Tom," right?
Just checking. Because that sure was an awesome moment in progressive politics.

L. said...

I think a lot of the problems liberals (and conservatives, frankly) have with Obama boil down to the fact that as a nation we forget that the President is not the King of America.

Yes, he is powerful, but he doesn't single-handedly get to make things happen or stop them from happening whenever he wants. He's not the only one we elected into office who has a say in these things, so he shouldn't be the only one people on either side of the political spectrum blame when things don't go their way.

I'm not saying everyone does this or that he hasn't made missteps, but it just feels like there are many people who need to remember the limitations of the executive branch.

Ref said...

Please, people. I'm not mad that Obama hasn't produced progressive ponies. I am angry and disappointed that he has, too often, not even tried.

Jibari Washington said...

I was a student at Howard University when I campaigned with thousands of others for Barack Obama. The man gave me and a generation hope and inspiration. That is no longer. Today, we need a candidate with a true vision for the jobless, the homeless,the dispirited, the lost, the downtrodden. I am hoping for a candidate like Vermont's Bernard Sanders. We need choice in this upcoming presidential election. Choice will send a message to President Obama that he needs to challenge big corporations, big oil, big pharma, environmental rapists and those who want to slash much-needed government programs.

Chez said...

I'm a big fan of Bernie Sanders.

Do you know what his chances of getting elected to any national position higher than his Vermont senatorship, Jibari?

Absolutely zero. Not a fucking chance in hell.

Now, if progressive Utopianists like yourself decide to wage war against Obama because you feel like he's let down the great liberal cause you midguidedly assumed he'd thoroughly champion, you know what the chances are that this country will wind up with a, say, President Perry?

Damn good.

Again (and Christ am I getting tired of saying this), as much as this president has disappointed me on occasion, I have three brain cells in my head which means that I know the difference between him and a guy like Perry. I'd much rather get even half of what I want than watch some Texas asshole not only give me nothing I want, but mock me for wanting it while he rips the country I love apart from the inside out.

You will NEVER get a Sanders-like president because there are more right wing idiots and centrist independents out there than there are hardcore liberals. You really need to start coming to terms with that.

nicole said...

@chez 3:11

Definitely quotable.

Anonymous said...

Hey Jibari...no one gives a shit about your feelings...

Let me explain something to you and any other hipster shithead reading this...You want something to change in Washington, you achieve it by voting in the same type of person every election. Jesus Christ, this isn't hard. We need to invade another country so we can start thinning the herd with a draft and get rid of these morons.

Its little fuckers like you, pointing out the total farce that is our political system that are going result in Obama losing. NO OTHER REASON!

Chez, quit being so nice to this little shits. Put them in their place. I can't stand people who aren't jaded as fuck trying to tell the rest of the world that if we worked together, we could establish meaningful social change and justice. Sounds like a bunch of commie shit there...