Well then, this will be the next few days' bleg-chum:One closing remark that I want to make: It is inexcusable for any Democrat or progressive right now to stand on the sidelines in this midterm election. There may be complaints about us not having gotten certain things done, not fast enough, making certain legislative compromises. But right now, we've got a choice between a Republican Party that has moved to the right of George Bush and is looking to lock in the same policies that got us into these disasters in the first place, versus an administration that, with some admitted warts, has been the most successful administration in a generation in moving progressive agendas forward.
Yesterday I got cornered and hectored separately by K and W and S and D who each asked first if I'd read the interview and second if I'm going to shut up and wise up and vote.The first is the Dem base's lack of enthusiasm. This, obviously, concerns rank and file voters who, from the point of view of the White House, are not sufficiently happy with Obama's performance. This is what Biden was referring to when he urged Dems to "remind our base constituency to stop whining and get out there and look at the alternatives."
The second group on the left constitutes high-profile commentators, such as Rachel Maddow and Glenn Greenwald, who are mounting a detailed, substantive policy critique of the Obama administration on issues that are important to them. These folks see their role as advocates for a particular policy agenda, and they don't hesitate to whack the White House when it commits what they see as grave policy missteps. For them to hold their fire because the White House wants them to would be an unthinkable betrayal of the role they've carved out for themselves. This is the "professional left" Robert Gibbs sneeringly alluded to -- even though Obama himself has said he craves such criticism.
The third group constitutes operatives like Adam Green of the Progressive Change Campaign Committee, Jane Hamsher of FireDogLake, some labor operatives, and groups like MoveOn. These folks are making a largely political argument. They are not merely griping because the White House failed to be as left wing as they would have liked on the public option or the big banks. They are making the case that fighting harder for liberal priorities -- even if that battle is hopeless in some cases -- is better politics for Democrats overall, because it might leave Dems with an energized base heading into the midterms.
I'm two and three! Yay me!
"People need to shake off this lethargy. People need to buck up," Obama told Rolling Stone in an interview to be published Friday. The president told Democrats that making change happen is hard and "if people now want to take their ball and go home, that tells me folks weren't serious in the first place." Change is hard? Obama seems to be having an easy time expanding and extending the scope of the state panopticon, his power to kill Americans whenever and wherever and for whatever reason he wants, to escalate robot-war. Obama had wrapped the lengthy Q-and-A session, according to the magazine, but then returned unprompted to make one more impassioned point and unleash on the enthusiasm gap. He portrayed a clear choice between an administration that despite some warts has helped advance its agenda, and a Republican Party that would offer disastrous policies for the economy and civil liberties. *!hEh!* He said "civil liberties."
(I'd also point out there's a fourth group, those of us who want nothing more than rightwing American heads to explode in impotent fury
and Obama's only delivered on the fury.)
K and W and S and D are snapping like schnauzers at bacon I still compulsively snap at when bacon is waved. -.06% less-shitty is a mighty powerful stimulant when the .06% more is Newt Gingrich. If Bob Ehrlich is elected governor of Maryland I think one of my loved ones has enough seniority to survive but another of my loved ones might be pig-budgeted out of a job. I've still never not voted when eligible, every even-number year since 1978, primary and general election. I will vote this November for the BoE apple ticket because loved ones say please. I'm curious to see if it's close enough in last day polls I'll vote against Ehrlich....but....
But is this true? Are K and W and S and D snapping that that could be worse, that that starvation level is the best that's achievable when their team is in power?With Matt Lauer yesterday, Obama was asked about poverty, and he basically gave an answer that George W. Bush would have given. He said that increasing economic growth will help poverty. It will. I agree that job creation is the most important thing. But when the unemployment rate was a lot lower, there were still millions of Americans who needed these benefits.
I’ve been pulling my punches, and my progressive colleagues have been pulling their punches, because we’re rooting for this administration to succeed. But honestly, if George W. Bush did what they’re trying to do, we’d be camping out in front of the White House. Goodwill only goes so far when tens of thousands of children need food.
Either Obama can't or Obama can and won't, yes? Either Democrats can't or Democrats can and won't. I think it's can and won't, but why should I allow myself to be blackmailed into voting for either?
- More on the above.
- More on the above.
- More on the above.
- UPDATE! He's a negative Progressive, and he's stoned.
- False moderation.
- With Democrats like these....
- Get back in line.
- Liberal authoritarianism.
- Does the document contain the word "Palestine?"
- Cheating on the test of your rights.
- I know shit about Christianity, though I know more than most christers. The piece asks, straight-faced, "So why would an atheist know more about religion than a Christian?"
- Jeebus, yes, yes it is cannibalism.
- Being Glenn Beck.
- Acknowledging that Democrats are complicit shits doesn't mitigate the shittiness of neo-con assholes and the crackers they manipulate: Gaffney argued that Sharia -- that is, a system of laws defined by the Koran -- is a threat to the Constitution, and most mosque leaders preach Sharia. It's a common argument among necons and mosque opponents... Gaffney admitted, however, that he is no expert."I don't hold myself out as an expert on Sharia Law," he said. "But I have talked a lot about that as a threat."
- Conservative Jones' latest case!
- UPDATE! Tea and crackers.
- UPDATE! On the above.
- Mary Cheney can suck my dick? A debate.
- Ruth Marcus can write, without a scintilla of self-aware irony, "to be Stephen Colbert is to be immune from embarrassment."
- O'Bama shills for O'Malley.
- It doesn't look like O'Malley will need my vote anyway.
- MOCO in hole.
- Since Obama's been in office.
- Credit (and blame) where due.
- Good news.
- DC's food-truck wars.
- Our ferals? Napoleon is a wonder cat.
- Blood Meridian once, twice (with delicious evisceration of James Wood).
- Blood Meridian illustrated (h/t the guy above). Planet has been assigned All My Pretty Ones, the first novel McCarthy wrote after Blood Meridian, and Yay! I suppose (as opposed to other options), but (I said this here before), Blood Meridian hit me like a hammer, and nothing McCarthy has written since that I've read (and I stopped reading after the Border Trilogy) can compare.
- Franzen and unfinished realism.
- Jack Gilbert interview (h/t Silliman's always generous Tuesday links):
Which is most important to writing poetry, description or compression?
Neither. I would say presence, feeling, passion—not passion, but love. I usually say romantic love, but here I don’t mean being thrilled. I mean the huge experience of loving another person and being loved by another person. But it’s more than just liking someone or thinking they make you happy.
In your poems, how important is the interplay between syntax and line breaks?
I don’t think that way. I work by instinct and intelligence. By being smart, emotional, probing. By being sly, stubborn. By being lucky. Being serious. By being quietly passionate. By something almost like magic.
- The band all the college kids at Hilltop are talking about stole their entire sound from Hall and Oates. I'm not saying it sucks - it doesn't - it's just fucking weird.
- Jon Langford.
- Play LOUD!
- Guilty pleasure.
- This week's new releases w/MP3 includes new Lloyd Cole, Neil Young, and The Posies.
- Everything is free.
I IMAGINE THE GODS
Jack GilbertI imagine the gods saying, We will
make it up to you. We will give you
stuffed and roasted on its giant spit
too broke to afford even the hundred grams
I ate so happily walking up the cobbles,
past the Street of the Moon