« Astute octopus | Main | My country, wrong »

Thursday, July 07, 2011


One of the revelations from wikileaks that has struck me is how much time and energy Democratic administrations have spent attacking left political movements around the world. Democrats may seem timid when confronting Republicans but that doesn't seem to be the case when it comes to leftists. Domestically, we have examples of similar behavior in the cases of Cynthia Mckinney, Earl Hubbard, and probably others.

Yep. Which makes it crystal clear who they understand to be their real political enemy. If only the opposite were true.

It's like the obamabot "make him do it" mantra while obama purposely strengthens the hand of the tea party people as he uses his rich liberal institutions and donors to discipline any progressive organizations that don't play obamaball.


I checked out a link from FireDogLake the other day from the earlier days of the revolt in Libya. A ton of comments were made saying "why isn't Obama doing anything? All I hear from him is words not action!" I decided to check out the more recent comments made (after the intervention), which were all along the lines of, "my god, another illegal war and destruction".

So yeah, agreed that it's better to dismiss the vast majority of the blogosphere. These days I tend to think one will have better luck with people who don't pay much attention to politics at all.

He really has integrity, doesn't he, John? Yet, I'm sure others will follow him momentarily. I've heard rumors that Judith Miller is readying a "mea culpa" even as we write on your site here. Now, I'm going to hold my breath, just to show how much faith I have in her.

Sorry, Judith Miller is a bit OT for Obama. But I've never forgiven her for Iraq, and find her guilty of so much that it just seemed appropriate to dump on her.

Actually it's not only on topic, but so on topic that I'm going to follow it up in a separate posting.

Dump away, John, dump away.

This is from GG's address to the Socialism 2011 conference last week:

"The idea of working to reform the Democratic Party by electing better Democrats or more progressive Democrats is something that I thought was a viable course of action even as recently as a few years ago is something that I have completely rejected."

"And I think the only means of true political change will come from people working outside that system to undermine and subvert it and weaken it and destroy it and not try to work within it to change it."

"There have been lots of people who have made radical critiques of the government like Noam Chomsky and Howard Zinn and others who have said that as horrible as the Democrats the fact that they're even a little better than the Republicans means that it is important that they win because with an entity as powerful as the U.S. government even small differences can make meaningful differences in the lives of millions of people.

"And that to me was an argument that was persuasive for a while. (But) what I have actually concluded is that even if there are short term benefits to electing Democrats instead of Republican-you get Sonia Sottomayor instead of Antonin Scalia that's a benefit that will sway cases in better directions-there's also extreme costs to pledging your fealty to a political party.

"Knowing as party leaders do that many people on the left are convinced by this reasoning they can continue to ignore people on the left, because they know that at the end of the day they'll scare enough of them with scary images of Michelle Bachman or Newt Gingrich so that they'll continue (their) support even though they're ignored and get nothing and they'll get nothing and be ignored forever, and that's a huge cost.

"Another huge cost is the opportunity cost of doing activism for a political party which doesn't care at all about you instead of using your money and time on more meaningful changes. And so that is the ultimate formula which needs to be evaluated, the ultimate weighing of costs and benefits which needs to be assessed, not just that there are some benefits to Democrats therefore let's vote for them. But what are the costs from continuing to support and prop up this party and having them know that they can take the support for granted and putting our time and energy into that rather than into something more significant that can achieve something more enduring and more fundamental and longer lasting benefits.

"That's the calculus which has swayed me away from that view."

Holy shit. Maybe there's hope yet.

Impressive chap, Mr Greenwald. We could do with more like him.

John Halle,

Thanks so much for posting that address. It's an excerpt? Did GG link to that? I didn't notice it. It's long bothered me, the Chomsky and Zinn throwaway support for lesser evil--good to see another guy I deeply admire move past it. Naturally, this will lead to further marginalization by earnest courtier libs.

You're erroneously and unfairly conflating Greenwald's 2005 support for "DEMOCRATS" with support for Obama - this article of Glenn's isn't an "apology" - and everyone should be allowed an awakening. In fact, Greenwald was one of the few mainstream bloggers to tear into Obama early on for his support of the FISA Amendments Act of 2008. Yes there are plenty of other liberal bloggers who were unwilling to shine a light on Obama's dark doings during the campaign, and after the election, but Glenn wasn't one of them.

I didn't call it an apology; I just noted that Greenwald was admitting error, which he is. As far as Greenwald on Obama during the campaign (and even into the first months of Obama's presidency), his record was mixed; you're right that he noted various misdeeds as they happened, but he was nonetheless still far too credulous and willing to give Obama the benefit of the doubt (a quote: "these reports about what Obama 'intends' to do ought to be taken with a huge dose of skepticism, especially where, as here, it is fed to uninformed, gullible reporters by anonymous intelligence operatives"--maybe that "huge dose of skepticism" should have been pointed in another direction?).

I'm not sure why you think I'm not allowing Greenwald an awakening, though, since I'm actually praising him for it (as I have several times in the past). You may just be misreading my intentions since the point of the article was meant to apply broadly, not just to Greenwald, and not every sentence is tailored to make the distinction clear.

By the way, along the same lines as John Halle's quote above, here's something similar Greenwald said recently that I hadn't seen before:

And that’s the position that so many liberals and progressives have been in. Which is, you know, really finding Democratic policies to be repellant and yet at the same time, at the end of the day saying, well you’ve convinced me that they’re just a tiny, little bit worse. And the only way to break that is to say well, even though I know that by abstaining or supporting a third party, I’m going to be sacrificing some of my short term political interests; I’m going to be causing a few more Republicans to be elected than otherwise might be elected; on balance, I’m willing to sacrifice my short term interests in order to do something to subvert the stranglehold that these two parties have on the political process because electing more Democrats, even though it’s a little less scary, accomplishes nothing good. And everyone’s going to have to decide for themselves when they get to that point, and I think and hope that that point is pretty close.

There's more at the link (which is a standard issue pearl-clutching anti-Naderite response by some Democratic apparatchik).

I sympathize with him on the "hope" part but disagree on the "think" part--I don't see any indication that more than a handful of people are going to desert Obama in 2012. Prove me wrong, liberals!

Impressive chap, Mr Greenwald. We could do with more like him.

Ain't that the understated truth. Professional journalists on the whole have been ... oy ve.

The Greenwald speech was delivered at the Socialism 2011 conference. Video is here:

I agree that Greenwald (along with Jeremy Scahill and Matt Taibbi) has become perhaps the pre-eminent left journalist-similar status to I.F. Stone though (in the current climate) even more subversive and counter-hegemonic.

It occurs to me that Kevin Gosztola should be included in this group.

Also, as I mentioned before, none of them went to Ivy League schools. Maybe significant, i think.

Hmmm...I just posted a comment here, but it doesn't seem to have appeared. If you'd like me to stop commenting here, that's fine. But I want to make sure that it was a conscious act on your part, and not a misunderstanding.

(I just reread this thread and saw omar's comment, so for anyone who happens across it as well: he'd posted the comment in question to a different thread, not this one.)

The comments to this entry are closed.