Here, in the winter of conservative blogger’s discontent, a small ray of sunshine has peeked through the black clouds and brightened what has otherwise been an unrelenting skien of gloom and doom.
I am talking about how president-elect Barack Obama has tacked to the center by reaching out for establishment Democrats and Clintonites to fill in the first blanks of his administration’s personnel sheet and the reaction to that by our blogging friends on the left. And then there’s the sore spot that is Joe Lieberman and the monumental sense of betrayal felt by the Kos Kids that the “traitor” wasn’t boiled in oil and his bones made into a xylophone.
Now, truth be told, the leftosphere has it all over conservative bloggers when it comes to organizing for fundraising, grass roots activism, and internet political action. To give you an idea of the discrepancy between right and left on the internet, I recently sent a congratulatory telegram to the RNC for finally hooking up all 50 state parties via Western Union telegraph. All that is left to do is build a time machine so that the Republican party can make that Great Leap Forward into the 20th century and perhaps start using that new fangled invention by Alexander Graham Bell he calls “the telephone.”
Do you think I’m being facetious? Well, maybe a little. But listen to Pat Ruffini, perhaps one of the most tech savvy guys on the right, as he explains the technological advantages Obama and the Democrats have at the present time:
Obama is not President-elect without the internet. He would not have been the nominee without the internet. And had we had a much closer race in the general election, two, three, four points, maybe, had we not maybe had this economic crisis crop up, the internet and the youth vote would have been the deciding factor in the general election as well. He’s got a network of ten million people on e-mail that are now going to be called upon to pass his agenda. So every member of Congress can expect at a minimum a couple thousand phone calls when one of his bills comes up, because he’s built this huge network that he’s now going to unleash on passing his policy agenda. Beyond that, he went into cell phones numbers, you know, announced his vice presidential pick by cell phone. He’s got a database of six to eight million cell phone numbers. Some think, I would be surprised if Republicans have a database of six to eight thousand cell phone numbers. So that is a huge, those are huge numbers, huge advantages, and it’s going to have to be, I think our number one priority tactically, like David said, we’re going to have a rich, vibrant debate about what our message should be. But I think everybody…and there is going to be plenty of disagreement on that. But I think everybody can agree, in this particular area, in technology, is something we need to get serious about fast.
So when I see the sharp end of the stick for the Democrats - the netroots - wailing and gnashing their teeth that Obama has “betrayed” them with his personnel picks and by not kicking Lieberman out of the party, I can’t help but smile and be heartened that it couldn’t happen to a nicer bunch.
Assistant Editor at The New Republic Jim Kirchick:
“With its congressional majority, the Democratic Party has refused to seriously try to end the war, to stop the bailout and to stop the trampling of civil liberties, just to name a few off the top of my head,” wrote David Sirota on the popular liberal blog OpenLeft, decrying the serial betrayals of Obama and the congressional Democratic majority. The Democratic Party, he wrote, has “faced no real retribution” for its manifold heresies, something that Sirota believes he and his band of angry bloggers must change. “We better understand why this happened,” he fumed.
Allow me to provide an answer. You don’t matter.
That the Netroots - the fabled bloggers who, in 2004, carried Howard Dean from being an unknown governor of a small state to a Democratic presidential front-runner - are not the potent political force that the media portrays was confirmed this past week when Senate Democrats resisted their “demand” that Connecticut Sen. Joe Lieberman be punished for endorsing John McCain for President (Lieberman was reelected as an independent in 2006 and caucuses with the Democrats). Ever since Nov. 4, when Democrats increased their majority beyond the point that Lieberman’s allegiance was necessary for them to maintain control over the Senate, punishing Lieberman has been the primary goal of liberal bloggers. For weeks, they pounded their keyboards, huffed and puffed on their Internet radio shows and called on their readers to flood the offices of Democratic senators with phone calls and e-mails demanding that Lieberman be stripped of his chairmanship over the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee. Yet on Tuesday, Democrats voted an overwhelming 42-to-13 to let Lieberman keep that chairmanship.
“He wasn’t sanctioned,” seethed Markos Moulitsas, founder of the Daily Kos. “And Senate Democrats trying to make that claim are dishonestly trying to cover up the extent of their betrayal of the American people’s vote for change.”
Given the intensity of blogger rage over Lieberman, one can understand how their defeat at the ends of their own party would lend itself to hyperbole, but when did the “American people” appoint Markos Moulitsas their spokesman? And while there are many ways to interpret the outcome of this year’s presidential and congressional elections, that voters across the country wanted Joe Lieberman to be stripped of his committee chairmanship is not one of them.
I can understand the rage of the netnuts over Lieberman and disgruntlement over Obama’s national security choices.They helped out in destroying Hillary Clinton’s candidacy and here’s Obama on the verge of naming her Secretary of State. How bellicose of Obama! Couldn’t he find someone who voted against the war who was qualified?
Joseph Stiglitz is a Nobel Prize-winner in economics and a critic of corporate globalization. He should be Treasury Secretary.
Senator Russ Feingold is a champion of civil liberties. He should be Attorney General.
Robert Greenstein is head of Center on Budget and Policy Priorities. He would make a much better OMB director.
Arlene Holt Baker, executive vice president of the AFL-CIO, would be a tremendous Secretary of Labor.
And if Obama really wanted change, if he really wanted to honor progressives who backed him early on and then did the grunt work against McCain, he’d nominate Dennis Kucinich as Secretary of State.
That sure would indicate a welcome departure from empire as usual.
Well, it would be a departure from sanity at least.
Taking pleasure in another’s discomfort is not very grown up of me, I know. I should be solicitous of the left’s disappointment. I should give them words of tenderness and understanding. I should forswear criticism while encouraging them to keep the faith. I should allude to all the good things they’ve got and not despair.