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Daily Kos seems to be becoming more of a place to express anger and despair about the dismal state of politics in America, and less of a place about trying to do something about it.

Don't get me wrong. There have been some excellent pieces of writing on the rec list here lately, diaries which eloquently lament and copiously document the disturbing political trends of our time. Here's the latest example, a veritable cornucopia of informed agony about the Orwellian future that awaits us if current political trends continue.

And I won't claim to be Mr. Optimism either. I have published my share of widely read diaries about what I don't like about the current direction of this country and its politicians, such as the rec-listed Twilight of an Empire piece.

But I will claim that I'm trying to encourage activism to change what's wrong -- not giving up hope.

I have said over and over again that progressive Democrats should form a movement to attempt to move our party to the left, so that we will have a chance at political representation. I have advocated specific ideas for doing so, namely, a nationally organized, grassroots campaign to recruit progressive candidates to run in primaries against all centrist Democrats, so that voters will have a choice on the ballot and politicians will be put on notice that they cannot continue moving more and more to the right without serious pushback from the large plurality of Americans who are liberals.

A couple months ago, I wrote a diary called We Live in a Democracy. Let's Use It. I wrote:

When are progressives going to draw a line in the sand? When is our side going to join the battle and become just as stubborn in standing up for our principles as conservatives are? ...

The way democracy works is that you vote for the candidate who shares your views. If no candidate shares your views, then you can run for office yourself or try to recruit somebody to do so. If an incumbent votes for policies that are on the opposing side of the political spectrum, the only logical thing to do is to support a primary challenger who would move the party in the direction of most of the people who identify with it.

Currently, we have a situation where most Democrats in Congress are going along with Republican policies. The budget is being cut. I would like to know if there is any movement in progressive politics today to try to remove these people from office by replacing them with different Democrats who would stand up for progressive values?

Almost nobody read the article and responded.

Yesterday, I wrote another diary on much the same theme, this time outlining Four Paths Forward for Progressives. As I wrote,

The first option on my list is the one I believe should be tried first. It is based on an optimistic view of America's future and a realistic assessment of how party politics works and what motivates politicians.

This option is to form a grassroots-led progressive caucus within the Democratic Party, which would function for all intents and purposes as a "party within a party." It would have a specific list of beliefs and policy proposals, would run candidates in Democratic primaries for any seat where there is not already a progressive Democrat running, and would demand that its candidates and elected officials adhere to its agenda or else face removal from the caucus and a guaranteed primary opponent.

Once again, very few people read that diary and commented.

I would like to know why Daily Kos has become a place where many people want to engage in continuous, almost masochistic rumination about the terrible political situation and how seemingly hopeless it is for progressives, without also talking about how we might organize using the electoral system to change it?

And why is it that most of the people here who do write about political activism are mostly interested in supporting politicians and policies that are center-left and well within the right-shifted Overton Window of the current political establishment, rather than seeking to move the window to include truly liberal ideas?

I was under the impression that this was a site for people to come together to talk about how we can elect more progressive Democrats to office. Not centrist Democrats or just any Democrats. And not apathetic resignation to an inevitable dystopian future.

Am I wrong? Is Daily Kos no longer a place for progressives to try to get active in politics and create real change?

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Comment Preferences

  •  Hey, I've been doing my part keeping the community (26+ / 0-)

    informed on all the candidates running this year and next year and spreading petitions, filling people in on organizations they can join and I certainly have been helping with GOTV efforts for the Special Election next Tuesday in Massachusetts :)  There are others here that do write action diaries, they just don't make the rec list as much as the informative diaries do.

    Funny Stuff at http://www.funnyordie.com/oresmas

    by poopdogcomedy on Fri Jun 21, 2013 at 06:10:39 PM PDT

  •  it's not an election year (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    winkk, sceptical observer, Lujane

    That's really where the focus is here, and when things start getting active (sometimes in a good way, sometimes not).

  •  what about the Progressive Caucus? (7+ / 0-)

    Personally, I think they should be taking strong stands, regardless of whether or not they're going against the President who represents their own Party.

    Maybe they're doing so and it's not being well reported. They seem not to be, though. The members of Congress who we'd call "progressive" tend to end up voting as Democrats, lining up solidly with the White House when push comes to shove.

    If we elect more progressives then they might conceivably have more power....but wait. They already have power if they want to use it. It's a bit dampening on the old enthusiasm if the current members are unwilling to use their bloc power. It tends to make us think that more progressives wouldn't change anything.

    I'm at the point where I think the threat, if it could be properly made, of voting against members of Congress is more likely to create change than going to County meetings or going door to door, pushing candidates.

    •  I agree, but we need candidates (7+ / 0-)

      so that we can have somebody to vote for in primaries, if the incumbent is not a progressive or not arguing strongly enough for progressive policies.

      The main problem is that we don't have enough candidates to vote for in enough races, so we are stuck either voting for somebody we disagree with on the issues or else not voting at all.

      The most serious problem in American politics today is that people with wrong ideas are uncompromising, and people with good ideas are submissive and unwilling to fight. Change that, and we might have a real democracy again.

      by Eric Stetson on Fri Jun 21, 2013 at 06:43:26 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Building the bench (11+ / 0-)

        That needs to happen at the local level. School board, town council - then moving those folks to state office, then on the national stage. The RW started a concerted effort to do that decades ago, which is why they are where they are now.

        “Texas is a so-called red state, but you’ve got 10 million Democrats here in Texas. And …, there are a whole lot of people here in Texas who need us, and who need us to fight for them.” President Obama

        by Catte Nappe on Fri Jun 21, 2013 at 06:48:44 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Is that how the Tea Party took over the GOP? (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Lujane, Catte Nappe

          I don't know. Just asking the question. I got the impression that most of them didn't have much political experience, yet somehow they managed to take over a major political party. But I could be wrong.

          The most serious problem in American politics today is that people with wrong ideas are uncompromising, and people with good ideas are submissive and unwilling to fight. Change that, and we might have a real democracy again.

          by Eric Stetson on Fri Jun 21, 2013 at 06:54:12 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  yes, that is how they did it (9+ / 0-)

            They took over the local levels--things like school boards and local county committees. That gave them the base from which to eventually capture the state and national party machinery.

            If progressives are to take back the Dem Party we will have to do something similar. But (and here's where we differ from the Tea Party) we will also have to build a base OUTSIDE of the party to keep constant pressure on it. If we are gonna get our agenda passed, we need people inside the legislature and we need people demonstrating outside the legislature too.  I've worked on a lot of campaigns in my years.  And when those people got elected, I was organizing protests and rallies outside their office to keep them honest and keep them on their toes.

            I'm a firm believer in fighting with every weapon that is effective. Whether the power structure likes it or not.

            •  We need to study the Tea Party's methods. (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Lujane, duhban

              I didn't realize that they started locally, but I guess it makes sense that they would have.

              Perhaps a good first step would be to compile a list of all progressives in state houses, state senates, county boards, and city councils? That's a big research project. It would need specific criteria for how to identify a "progressive." I wonder if it's already been done?

              The most serious problem in American politics today is that people with wrong ideas are uncompromising, and people with good ideas are submissive and unwilling to fight. Change that, and we might have a real democracy again.

              by Eric Stetson on Fri Jun 21, 2013 at 07:10:36 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

          •  Eric - yes that's how the Tea Party came to power (3+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            SoCalSal, Lujane, Catte Nappe

            Republican office holders fear the Tea Party because they will primary incumbents even if that means losing the general election and flipping seats they could have kept with the incumbent. With few exceptions Democrats have not been willing to put seats at risk by taking out incumbents where the general election looks problematic. I think a part of that is the fact that the Dems are in the minority in the House. I can't argue that for 2014 the time, effort, money, and other resources should be focused on beating vulnerable GOP House members. I think when you have the majority it makes sense to look to upgrade with more progressive members. The minority in the House can't do much, so having a higher percentage of progressive members doesn't change public policy. Once the Dems have the majority again having more progressives in the House can make a big difference.

            "let's talk about that"

            by VClib on Fri Jun 21, 2013 at 07:31:28 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Changing policy and changing the debate (4+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              VClib, meralda, Lujane, SoCalSal

              Both are important.

              The minority in the House can't do much, so having a higher percentage of progressive members doesn't change public policy.
              True. But having more elected officials holding our views and speaking out to promote them could help to shift the entire political spectrum to the left.

              I agree that policy is very important, but the frame of the debate plays a role in which policies even get considered by the public.

              The most serious problem in American politics today is that people with wrong ideas are uncompromising, and people with good ideas are submissive and unwilling to fight. Change that, and we might have a real democracy again.

              by Eric Stetson on Fri Jun 21, 2013 at 07:34:53 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

          •  Catte is right. They started this (7+ / 0-)

            after the Goldwater spanking in 1964, been filling seats at the local level since then... dog  catcher, school board...
            You build the bench, find the leaders, get them elected to dog catcher, school board... Takes decades, but we got nuthin' but time. Those dog catchers and school boarders eventually work their way up into the County ranks, and then the State ranks, and then Capitol Hill. is how it's done. Or at least is how they did it. "They" being the Karl Rove / KochBros gangs. Why we Dems don't do it is beyond me, but there are a few of us that are attempting to do it.

            See you sonsabitches at NN13! Look for our Banner and stop by and say hello!

            by winkk on Fri Jun 21, 2013 at 07:52:38 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  probably because (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              winkk

              the progressive movement has a remarkable tendency to be self destructive and short sighted (in my own opinion)

              In the time that I have been given,
              I am what I am

              by duhban on Sat Jun 22, 2013 at 06:10:25 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  lulz as opposed to the right wing corporate agenda (0+ / 0-)

                Not destructive or short-sighted at all.

                sheesh.

                collards, meat, butter, sourdough, eggs, cheese, raw milk

                by Tirge Caps on Sat Jun 22, 2013 at 07:19:26 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

              •  afraid so. One of the reasons I have (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                duhban

                such a hard time "recruiting" folks to this effort is many of them give a, "what do you want? We WON in November. Relax!" response to my "get on board this effort!" gesture.

                See you sonsabitches at NN13! Look for our Banner and stop by and say hello!

                by winkk on Sat Jun 22, 2013 at 08:01:10 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  there's a lot I dislike about the tea party (2+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  Eric Stetson, winkk

                  and the GOP but unlike us they seem to have discipline and patience. Qualities we desperately need if we want lasting change

                  In the time that I have been given,
                  I am what I am

                  by duhban on Sat Jun 22, 2013 at 01:20:24 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  I'm old. I don't have time for patience. (1+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    duhban

                    As far as I'm concerned we're out of time. Many wishy washy Dems think we did a Great job in 2012, so they see no need to get out of their barcoloungers. But, we really were mostly lucky. Despite an economy in the toilet the TeaPubs kept shooting themselves in the foot. And, Bubba nailed his speech at the DNC. And, Sandy hit, and Christie embraced Obama. The perfect storm. Not a chance of that happening again any time soon. Obama's reelection bought us some time, but that's all it did. We let that time slip away we're right back to 2010.

                    See you sonsabitches at NN13! Look for our Banner and stop by and say hello!

                    by winkk on Sat Jun 22, 2013 at 08:26:19 PM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

        •  Exactly right. Indeed it does. n/t (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Lujane, Catte Nappe

          See you sonsabitches at NN13! Look for our Banner and stop by and say hello!

          by winkk on Fri Jun 21, 2013 at 07:44:12 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

      •  Thom Hartmann is a Relentless Promoter of the (7+ / 0-)

        idea of candidate creation and taking over the Democratic Party.

        We've got a problem though that I think we've never faced. Always in the past, for a hundred years, we had a progressive party that mainly needed candidates to be better on particular issues, bringing them up to the otherwise more progressive standards of the party.

        Now what we have is a conservative party so what we need to create in activism is a progressive shadow party, much as the rightwing did within the Republicans 40+ years ago.

        But the left hasn't needed to create candidates that are better across the whole sweep of issues at any time I can remember. I don't think there are many good ideas for how to go about this. There do seem to be some tentative starts.

        At this particular moment of course the Netroot Nations gathering is underway which cuts the site traffic down significantly. It plus the fact of start of summer probably makes the community appear more passive than it really is when considered around the year and election cycle.

        We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for victims of our nation and for those it calls enemy.... --ML King "Beyond Vietnam"

        by Gooserock on Fri Jun 21, 2013 at 06:55:58 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Good points. What are the tentative starts (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Lujane, SoCalSal

          towards a movement to recruit progressives to become candidates for office? I would be very interested to learn about this. Thanks.

          The most serious problem in American politics today is that people with wrong ideas are uncompromising, and people with good ideas are submissive and unwilling to fight. Change that, and we might have a real democracy again.

          by Eric Stetson on Fri Jun 21, 2013 at 06:59:24 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Ray Pensador is peripherally involved (7+ / 0-)

            in this, although he is more broadly an activist raging against the machine. I'm a fan of his methods. And, Bud and I talk about this very concept - mostly to deaf ears - on our radio show every week. It's pretty simple. It's just taking Dr. Howard Dean's "50 State Strategy" and expanding that roughly 4,000 times to bring it from the State level right down to the individual Precinct level. Pretty much as simple as that. Find a leader (or someone that will assume the role) in all 200,000 voting precincts from sea to shining sea, and then find him or her some followers. That simple. Some of those followers will eventually assume leadership, and some of those leaders will eventually get themselves elected. Bud and I started this effort back in January and thought we would have all 200,000 precincts covered by now. We still have work to do, but there's no reason, certainly, that it can't be accomplished by June of next year, poised to kick some TeaPublicon butt. But, nope. More on here are here strictly for the entertainment value. Back away from the monitor?? Are you nuts?! I'm having too good a time reading winkk. [rolls eyes]

            See you sonsabitches at NN13! Look for our Banner and stop by and say hello!

            by winkk on Fri Jun 21, 2013 at 08:09:24 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Sounds like a reasonable approach. (3+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              winkk, Lujane, SoCalSal

              How many precincts do you have so far? Is there a website or a list somewhere, so that people can sign up if they want to join? Does your group have a specific platform that members have to agree to?

              The most serious problem in American politics today is that people with wrong ideas are uncompromising, and people with good ideas are submissive and unwilling to fight. Change that, and we might have a real democracy again.

              by Eric Stetson on Fri Jun 21, 2013 at 08:40:26 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  Bud's been working on a website. (4+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                meralda, Lujane, SoCalSal, Eric Stetson

                Just like here on the G.O.S. that is Daily Kos, it's all about Dems that want to elect more Dems. There is no platform. Sure, we encourage Dems that lean Lefter than most, but there is no specific platform. The "mission" is to find a leader in all 200,000 precincts and then organize from there. Monthly Meetups at the local Diner, Pub, whatever, quarterly Meetups in the bigger cities within 50 miles, Twice a year in the big city nearest the center of the state. Maybe a once-a-year Regional. Simple as that.
                Monthly (local)
                Monthly
                Quarterly (within an hour's drive - to meet with other Monthlys)
                Monthly
                Monthly
                State (somewhere near the middle of the state)
                Repeat...

                See you sonsabitches at NN13! Look for our Banner and stop by and say hello!

                by winkk on Fri Jun 21, 2013 at 09:44:19 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  Might be good to have a platform. (0+ / 0-)

                  Otherwise, there's no accountability, which would tend to make the movement move more and more to the right (i.e. towards establishment positions) over time -- same as what has happened to the Democratic Party as a whole.

                  Just a thought to consider. But, thank you for the work you're doing!

                  The most serious problem in American politics today is that people with wrong ideas are uncompromising, and people with good ideas are submissive and unwilling to fight. Change that, and we might have a real democracy again.

                  by Eric Stetson on Sat Jun 22, 2013 at 11:35:50 AM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  sorry, man, I missed this post. (0+ / 0-)

                    yeah, you might be right. The "issue" I have here in my District is most Dems here are of the light blue (almost light pink variety. But, it might be better to run with the handful we have rather than bring in a bunch of DINOs or Blue Dogs.
                    Thanks!

                    See you sonsabitches at NN13! Look for our Banner and stop by and say hello!

                    by winkk on Sun Jun 23, 2013 at 05:50:25 PM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

        •  nicely put (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Eric Stetson, meralda, Lujane

          We really do need to rebuild the entire party, from the ground up.  It has become Eisenhower Republicans, and it's doubtful that we currently have any real place in it.

          It will not be easy.  But it must be done.

    •  The Progressive Caucus won't play hardball (7+ / 0-)

      To me the classic was the ACA. The Progressive Caucus said they would not support the ACA if there was no Public Option, but folded down the stretch. Bart Stupak, the former Democratic Representative from MI-1, told Speaker Pelosi that he had ten House members (the names were never disclosed) who would not vote for the ACA unless the anti-abortion language in the bill was significantly beefed up. Most Democrats didn't like the anti-abortion language that was in the bill at the time and there was tremendous pressure put on Stupak to accept the bill as drafted. He was unmovable and in the end the Democratic caucus incorporated Stupak's language. Until progressives are willing to primary incumbents and draw some lines in the sand that aren't easily washed away, they will have no real political  power.

      "let's talk about that"

      by VClib on Fri Jun 21, 2013 at 07:23:49 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Progressive caucus within the Progressive Caucus (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        VClib, Lujane, lostinamerica

        may be needed. A party within a party within a party. lol

        The most serious problem in American politics today is that people with wrong ideas are uncompromising, and people with good ideas are submissive and unwilling to fight. Change that, and we might have a real democracy again.

        by Eric Stetson on Fri Jun 21, 2013 at 07:37:12 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  That to me was the time when I realized the (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        VClib, Lujane

        power that one person, in this case, Bart Stupak, had to hold hostage an entire bill that would do good for the entire country unless their own version of War Against Women was satisfied.  

        It was a sad moment, one that I would never forgive.  He was and will forever be a DINO to me.  It's a good thing that he is no longer there.

        In the time it took Adam Lanza to reload, eleven children escaped. What if...

        by Sixty Something on Fri Jun 21, 2013 at 07:56:26 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Sixty Something - I saw something different (4+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Shahryar, Lujane, tbirchard, gooderservice

          It was unfortunate for women, but the message I got was that if they really need your vote, and you are unwilling to compromise, they will bend to your will. Until the Progressive Caucus is willing to play hardball, they will have no power.  

          "let's talk about that"

          by VClib on Fri Jun 21, 2013 at 09:17:12 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Shades of Joe Leibermann and the ACA? (0+ / 0-)
            the message I got was that if they really need your vote, and you are unwilling to compromise, they will bend to your will.
            The last holdout vote has the most power, as we've witnessed too many times in recent years. Changing filibuster rules would have prevented that holdout power.

            If you mean hardball tactics against Stupak, I'd have supported that at the time but in retrospect wonder if that would have made any difference to his vote. Same with Lieberman. If you have some specific hardball tactics in mind, I'm open to being persuaded that would work.

            “We do not inherit the earth from our ancestors; we borrow it from our children” ― Chief Seattle

            by SoCalSal on Sat Jun 22, 2013 at 11:13:17 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  No, not hardball tactics against Stupak (0+ / 0-)

              they wouldn't work. Take away his committee assignments, or leadership positions, that was fine with him. To Stupak this was a matter of principle, and there was no way he would bend. What I mean is that if the Progressive Caucus, which had at least 50 members, had not only said they wouldn't vote for the ACA without a Public Option, but like Stupak actually wouldn't vote for the ACA as drafted, we would have had a very different ACA.

              "let's talk about that"

              by VClib on Sat Jun 22, 2013 at 12:26:59 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  maybe so. (0+ / 0-)

                The House numbers I'm looking at for 2009: 255 D, 178 R.

                A check of wikipedia says the ACA passed the House with 416 yeas, 0 nays.

                So you must be referring to earlier votes in the process of passing ACA in the House. I don't have time right now to look that up, but if you can clarify off the top of your head I'll appreciate it. Your memory could well be much better than mine.

                “We do not inherit the earth from our ancestors; we borrow it from our children” ― Chief Seattle

                by SoCalSal on Sat Jun 22, 2013 at 03:06:13 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  SoCalSal - if you look in the Wiki text (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  SoCalSal

                  It has the accurate House number, it passed 219-212 with all 178 GOP members voting against along with 34 Dems.

                  "let's talk about that"

                  by VClib on Sat Jun 22, 2013 at 06:31:56 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  Thanks, that's more like it. (1+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    VClib

                    I can't research anything this evening, brain and body are shutting down. But I do wish to have more conversation with you on the topic some time.

                    “We do not inherit the earth from our ancestors; we borrow it from our children” ― Chief Seattle

                    by SoCalSal on Sat Jun 22, 2013 at 08:10:54 PM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

      •  No real money = no real political power (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        unfangus, blueoasis, Eric Stetson

        Let's call it what it is: Progressives don't have the capital. We get outspent and out-juked.

        Last cycle, 96% of the races were won by the candidate that spent the most money.

        Are progressives rich? Do progressives have tons of money flooding their campaigns?

        Not usually.

        Until we find a way to compete against the cash behemoths of industry, I don't know how we do it.

        The Democratic party has torpedoed its own base, blown out the working class and unions - how do we even return at this point?

        The Party itself is corrupted by the cash it went after. Can we get the shit back in the horse?

        I don't know.

        It will take a strong caucus within the party that is willing to fight to the bitter end. We don't have that now. We have a kid who left his spine at home and is easy to push around; and everyone knows it. So they push.

        collards, meat, butter, sourdough, eggs, cheese, raw milk

        by Tirge Caps on Sat Jun 22, 2013 at 07:28:01 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  people overwhelms money (3+ / 0-)

          No progressive movement in history--the womens suffrage movement, the union movement, the civil rights movement, the gay rights movement--has EVER had more money than the people they were fighting.  ALL of them were outspent hundreds to one. And all of them won anyway.

          Even in the most recent elections, most of the candidates that the big-money conservative SuperPACS backed, LOST.

          People power is always decisive---IF we can organize it and focus it.

          •  Things weren't as atomized then (0+ / 0-)

            It's a big obstacle now.

            collards, meat, butter, sourdough, eggs, cheese, raw milk

            by Tirge Caps on Sat Jun 22, 2013 at 07:53:09 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  there's a solution to that (0+ / 0-)

              It's called "organizing".

              :)

              People aren't stupid---they know that things are getting worse and worse for everyone.  What they DON'T know is what to do about it.  Neither political party offers any effective solutions--all we get is gridlock and stagnation.

              Occupy did offer a solution, but was unable to follow through on it. (Partly because it was a disorganized mess.)

              So now it's OUR job as progressives to do it.

              •  Also, focus the message on just a few key points. (0+ / 0-)

                One of the problems with Occupy was that it didn't have something like a list of 5 points that it was fighting for. (Or if it did, I don't think many people heard about that.)

                Progressives need to have a simple and specific message that speaks to the big picture, not a big collection of every interest group.

                The most serious problem in American politics today is that people with wrong ideas are uncompromising, and people with good ideas are submissive and unwilling to fight. Change that, and we might have a real democracy again.

                by Eric Stetson on Sat Jun 22, 2013 at 11:42:25 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

        •  TC - Bart Stupak has no $$ (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          SoCalSal, Eric Stetson

          While I didn't agree with his anti-abortion views, he is a great example of how much power conviction can have.

          "let's talk about that"

          by VClib on Sat Jun 22, 2013 at 08:33:58 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  California results show that (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Eric Stetson

          buckets of money won't guarantee a candidate's election. Other examples surely exist.

          “We do not inherit the earth from our ancestors; we borrow it from our children” ― Chief Seattle

          by SoCalSal on Sat Jun 22, 2013 at 11:15:20 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  Money is important, but it can't substitute for (0+ / 0-)

          the desire of the people for certain types of politicians and policies. I think the lack of money is a problem, but the bigger problem is that there just aren't enough candidates on the ballot who have a message that is strong enough and which ordinary people believe.

          Most people see political ads and they tune them out and think "yeah, just another typical politician." They all blur together after a while, for the average person who's not that much into politics. I think the way to cut through that is not to just have more money for advertising, but to have a very strong message of dramatic reform, and get people on the ballot who stand for it. A minimum baseline of money is then necessary to get the word out, but if the message is appealing enough, it will also spread on social media.

          The most serious problem in American politics today is that people with wrong ideas are uncompromising, and people with good ideas are submissive and unwilling to fight. Change that, and we might have a real democracy again.

          by Eric Stetson on Sat Jun 22, 2013 at 11:40:03 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

    •  You can find out about Progressive Caucus (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Lujane

      on your own, without waiting for someone to feed you the info. Just go to this link, make a small donation, follow on facebook, twitter, youtube. Follow some  caucus members.

      Then you could report back to DK with facts -- "Here's what's happening, I liked X, didn't like Y" -- instead of all this "maybe this, maybe that, if we, I think..." conjecture.

      “We do not inherit the earth from our ancestors; we borrow it from our children” ― Chief Seattle

      by SoCalSal on Fri Jun 21, 2013 at 08:34:32 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I know what they say (3+ / 0-)

        I'd like them to push for that by forcing changes in legislation, rather than by voting with the rest of the Democrats out of fear of Republicans.

        •  do tell what you specifically want Caucus to do (0+ / 0-)

          when the votes aren't there for more progressive legislation. You are claiming that caucus members should not vote with the Democratic Party?

          What you'd like has no realistic relationship to how congress actually works, and I for one would not like the outcome if the Caucus picked up their marbles and went home every time legislation wasn't progressive enough.

          I'd love for the Progressive Caucus to get more attention and support here on DK and everywhere else. Sadly the Caucus doesn't get the attention it deserves or the votes in congress. What do you propose to do about that? Sit back and throw virtual darts at the Caucus? Make silly claims that the Caucus acts "out of fear of Republicans?"

          “We do not inherit the earth from our ancestors; we borrow it from our children” ― Chief Seattle

          by SoCalSal on Sat Jun 22, 2013 at 08:57:36 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  the problem was , is, and continues to be (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            blueoasis

            that the Dem party simply is not liberal or progressive.

            Until that changes, nothing else will change either. The best we can hope to do now is run a holding action to stop at least the worst of what the Goppers have to offer, but we can't even do THAT indefinitely.

            That really is the bottom line.

          •  and yet Stupak and the conservadems...? (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            blueoasis, Eric Stetson

            are able to throw their weight around. Why is that? What do they do that the Progressive Caucus can't do? The conservadems have power because the progressives always fall in line. Of course the progressives should go against the rest of the party on principle. Otherwise they're useless symbolism. If legislation has to be tailored to fit progressives, too, then they'll have made a contribution.

            •  Because Stupak took positions that (0+ / 0-)

              some republicans and other conservadems and moderates would vote for, thereby getting to the supermajority vote needed because not enough progressives hold office. The Progressive Caucus today has 76 members out of 435 House members (plus one Senator, Bernie Saunders). That's  more members than blue dogs (now down to 14 from 54 in 2010) and more than the 51 centrist New Democrat Coalition, but PC does not have enough votes to decide votes. I wish it did.

              As for Stupak, Lieberman, etc., near the end of every close vote, those who have the most power are the voters who are willing to change their vote either way.

              Following the line of thought you describe, the Progressive Caucus should have voted against ACA because the bill didn't include a public option. I've read that claim and strongly disagree. Others have explained why better than I can, especially today. That and the "useless symbolism" comment are more than I can handle today. Maybe another time.

              “We do not inherit the earth from our ancestors; we borrow it from our children” ― Chief Seattle

              by SoCalSal on Sat Jun 22, 2013 at 02:11:20 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

          •  The GOP always pick up their marbles and go home. (0+ / 0-)

            Why can't the progressive Dems in Congress have the same spine?

            The squeaky wheel gets the grease. If leadership knows that the progressives will always vote with the party in the end, then they will never make their legislation more progressive. Hardball politics is what is needed.

            The most serious problem in American politics today is that people with wrong ideas are uncompromising, and people with good ideas are submissive and unwilling to fight. Change that, and we might have a real democracy again.

            by Eric Stetson on Sat Jun 22, 2013 at 11:45:53 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  A matter of scale, for one thing. (0+ / 0-)

              For another thing, republicans are much more likely than Democrats to vote as a bloc, to act in unison.

              Total number of votes in the House: 435

              Progressive Caucus (D): 76
              Blue dogs (D): 14
              New Democrat Coalition(D): 51

              Total House Democrats: 201
              Total House Republicans: 234

              “We do not inherit the earth from our ancestors; we borrow it from our children” ― Chief Seattle

              by SoCalSal on Sat Jun 22, 2013 at 02:37:26 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  True. It's mostly an attitudinal problem. (0+ / 0-)

                Most Republicans believe in fighting hard for their principles, even if that means they sometimes lose. But most Democrats believe in compromise to "get something done," even if that means they lose the respect of people who want to see more assertive leadership on the left.

                The most serious problem in American politics today is that people with wrong ideas are uncompromising, and people with good ideas are submissive and unwilling to fight. Change that, and we might have a real democracy again.

                by Eric Stetson on Sat Jun 22, 2013 at 04:12:15 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

  •  ps--don't get discouraged if one of your diaries (8+ / 0-)

    doesn't get the attention it deserves.  Most diaries don't.  There are so many written each day that nobody can possibly keep up with them all.

    Best to just keep plugging along. Some will catch the attention, some won't. C'est la vie.  

  •  DK has always been more talk than organization (7+ / 0-)

    That's my impression. It has always been much more active as a jawboning place than a place to organize actual activism. There's nothing wrong with that. There needs to be jawboning loci.

    But I do agree there has been a  gradual and stead shift towards the Voice of Despair. Combine that gradual shift with the fact this is an off-year for elections and the Vs of D end up making an even higher portion.

    As for the future of this place? Who knows?

    •  I wonder how many of us have canvassed? (6+ / 0-)

      we do talk a lot, but we also do a lot of legwork. I suspect a fairly large number of us have registered voters and gone door-to-door during the election season.

      Currently I'm wondering if that's going to change anything. Maybe I won't do that any more, instead looking for other ways of moving the needle. But I certainly have done all that work.

      Yes, there's been a shift toward despair. In my opinion it's because the President campaigned as the anti-Bush and then pivoted once in office, to the point that the ideals of the 2008 campaign are so far in the past that we will have a hard time believing anyone is sincere. I mean, that's where my anti-Obama feeling comes from. I feel double-crossed. He's not McCain or Romney but he's also not Candidate Obama. Would anyone else who runs in the future turn out to be as he/she presents him/herself? I'll believe it only when I see it.

      I think a lot of the talk, especially the gloom, is a way of working through the problem, to help us become relevant.

    •  hah, that's true of the entire Left for the past (7+ / 0-)

      100 years.  After all is said and done, lots more gets said than done.  :)

      Much of the recent doom and gloom is, I think, because a lot of the folks here are new to this game; Obama brought many many enthusiastic people into the political process for the first time--then the past few years have dashed all their hopes (progressive ideals have taken quite the beating for a while now).  ;)  For those of us who have already been kicked in the head by politicians before, it's no longer a trauma.  But for the folks who just had their hearts ripped out for the first time, it's a painful lesson.

      I can only hope that they will not just drop out of the game completely, but do their best to grab all the politicians by the shoulders and shake the shit out of them until we get what we want.  :)

      •  Very good points (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Sylv
        Much of the recent doom and gloom is, I think, because a lot of the folks here are new to this game; Obama brought many many enthusiastic people into the political process for the first time
        Never quite looked at it through that prism. It makes a lot of sense at first impression.
  •  I know! I know! (7+ / 0-)
    I would like to know why Daily Kos has become a place where many people want to engage in continuous, almost masochistic rumination about the terrible political situation and how seemingly hopeless it is for progressives, without also talking about how we might organize using the electoral system to change it?
    Rumination and ranting is easy. Organizing and influencing change is a long, slow, slog of hard work. And the first category gets rec listed, comments, and lots of mojo.

    We are not exclusive owners of this problem.  The opining "commentariat", and "talking heads" outnumber the thoughtful or investigative journalists. And they get monetary and fame points equivalent to our mojo/recs. Politicians and "experts" are rewarded for sound bites and grand standing; more than for the slow slog of moving the policy discussion. And neither of those groups do that because they are in thrall to the eeeevil oligarchs. They do it because that is what "we the people" collectively lap up.

    How do we change it? Accepting the challenge of the long, slow, slog of getting more people involved and invested in the issues, and accepting that it is going to be a long, slow, slog. Celebrating the "increments" instead of bemoaning the smallness of the change. Cheering each other when we helped move the ball a few feet toward the goal,  instead of demanding a grand touchdown.

    We need to marshall information and arguments that can be used in efforts to persuade people outside of our political quadrants on the political compass, because if we could change things without them we would have already done so. Then we need to apply that information at the grass roots - local LTEs, at the office water cooler, during holiday brunches with the in-laws. Long, slow and sloggy; with minimal immedate results compared to a popular blog rant.

    “Texas is a so-called red state, but you’ve got 10 million Democrats here in Texas. And …, there are a whole lot of people here in Texas who need us, and who need us to fight for them.” President Obama

    by Catte Nappe on Fri Jun 21, 2013 at 06:29:29 PM PDT

  •  Progress takes work. (6+ / 0-)

    Despair porn is easy.

    More people do easy things than hard things. Human nature.

    The question is what can we do to break that dynamic?

    Non futuis apud Boston

    by kenlac on Fri Jun 21, 2013 at 06:32:15 PM PDT

  •  It's an off year (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Gooserock, TomP

    There are serial posters on every appropriate website and flame wars tend to keep them engaged. This site, AFAIK, is about electing moreandbetter Democrats so the more positive action oriented posts will most likely be as we get into next years showdown.

    Until then the ratio of "they're all the same-ists" and outrage du jour ranters and Obama sux/rox-ers will be very high.
    And lurkers killing time in threads watching a grey bar at home (raises hand)

    If you didn't like the news today, go out and make some of your own.

    by jgnyc on Fri Jun 21, 2013 at 06:36:07 PM PDT

    •  Yes, but candidate recruitment takes time. (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      nickrud, Sylv, SoCalSal

      Can't wait until the election year. Has to happen long before then.

      Yes, there are some progressive members of Congress already, who should be supported, and some primary candidates also who should be supported. But not in nearly enough districts. Progressives can't gain much influence if we literally have nobody to vote for who shares our views, in most districts.

      The most serious problem in American politics today is that people with wrong ideas are uncompromising, and people with good ideas are submissive and unwilling to fight. Change that, and we might have a real democracy again.

      by Eric Stetson on Fri Jun 21, 2013 at 06:50:26 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  pity me--I live in Flori-duhhhhh (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        gooderservice, gulfgal98

        This is a virtual single-party state.  I can't swing a dead cat by the tail without smacking a dozen wingnuts.

        (sigh)

        •  Even in mostly blue (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          blueoasis

          Tallahassee, I have seen a slow shift toward more conservative candidates getting elected to local offices. The Democratic Party in Florida is pathetic.

          "Growing up is for those who don't have the guts not to. Grow wise, grow loving, grow compassionate, but why grow up?" - Fiddlegirl

          by gulfgal98 on Sat Jun 22, 2013 at 06:14:39 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  alas, that means my opportunity here for (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            SoCalSal, gulfgal98

            backing progressive candidates in elections is . . .  well . .  a pointless task.  We might as well run a horse--we'd have the same chance of getting elected. About the only thing running progressive candidates are good for is to at least get the word out and tell people what we think, and maybe attract some more folks to the movement. Election is simply not a pathway to effectiveness for us right now. We are a single-party state.

            But what I can do is try my best to help build up local coalitions of what few progressives we do have, so that when the political tide starts to turn (and it always does), we'll be ready with a core of experienced organizers and activists who can kickstart the movement and grow it. That was my real goal with Occupy St Pete---to end up with a larger number of experienced activists and organizers than we had going in. And we did.

            At this point, that's all we can do here.

    •  Thing the Left Has Forgotten or Maybe Never (4+ / 0-)

      learned that the right understands, is that we need organization which exploits off years and midterm years to develop the better Dems and issues to move the window left.

      The conservatives running the party have conditioned us to treat the entire election cycle as though it were the end of the nomination race for a Presidential general election, keeping everything moderate so we can woo swing Republican voters.

      That's fine in its proper time but if we aren't pushing to the left on the other times when the base turns out more than moderates, the window always moves to the right, and we get massacred as we did in 2010.

      Somehow we've got to develop a movement that will work the whole cycle, each part in its most appropriate way.

      We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for victims of our nation and for those it calls enemy.... --ML King "Beyond Vietnam"

      by Gooserock on Fri Jun 21, 2013 at 06:59:15 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  One reason (4+ / 0-)

    I don't bother posting diaries here anymore.

    Too many right-wing concern trolls, angry pseudo-leftists, and who the fuck knows who else is here.

    What has happened is that the powers that be have figured out how to crush our enthusiasm and are working as hard as they can to do so.

    This site helps.

  •  It is a mistake, I believe, to draw a line (5+ / 0-)

    connecting a diary, or a set of diaries for that matter, that doesn't connect as strongly with an audience as one might have hoped, and such a damning bigger picture conclusion. It's also an easy out. Don't do this to yourself. Double down, don't dismiss. That's how you get a voice at this site better than anything else.  

    I've been politically active for two decades now. I've been to the Left of the Democratic establishment since 2000. I always vote. No matter how bad things get. I think neoliberalism is dangerous, you can't use conservatism to achieve liberal outcomes without dealing with the reality that Movement Conservative policy often is based on bad math or political bullshit about rich people keeping money first clad in nonsense that doesn't work.

    My big issue is that the Democratic Party really isn't making an argument against Movement Conservatism, or in favor of itself. I do more than post diaries here saying that. I say it to every Democrat I meet. At this point, as I live in Nevada, I think there are people who work in Harry Reid's office who hate the sound of my voice. I call. Nobody has ever been moved by somebody who doesn't push. I think you and I strongly agree on that.

    I didn't waste my time reading your work. I'm glad I did.

    I say this, post this comment, mainly because I like your voice and would like to hear more of it. Every diary your post, every comment you make, is an antidote to going along to get along and mindlessly accepting the status quo.

    You have no idea how active, or inactive, the various members of this community are in the real world. None. Maybe you see a lot of static and noise. Rancor. Rox vs. Sux. Piefights. But. There are people on this site who spend time and money they really shouldn't on Democratic activism because they have put their needs second to the needs of others. Sometimes I vent here, I will admit it, but I don't feel guilty about it because I've earned the right. I have been in too many situations where there were no balloon drops at the end of election night not to get to let off some steam.  

    You have a really good voice and interesting ideas to explore and your day will come. A break-out diary. Several.

    It took me five, almost six years. Years. To figure out a way to consistently connect with more than ten or twenty people here. 2004-2010 was a lot of frustration for me. I hit grandslams, or silence. Very little in between.

    A bad title can fuck up a good diary. It can be that easy to miss rather than hit with a hundred or so people. When you posted. That can muck it up. I've posted diaries on some days and gotten hundreds of recs and hundreds of comments. Others, with the same effort and the same editorial stance, get nada attention.

    I noticed your diary. I commented in it. It was an invitation to a conversation, and not a lecture. That can connect.

    It did with me, so, I literally just did a think-and-type-and-post deal. Unfortunately, when I do this, I tend to put Bible-long comments in people's comment threads (or, as in your case, a several comment long sub-thread rather than a Book of Job comment) and some folks have gotten offended by that. Others are glad and expand on the conversation.  

    I have posted a lot of diaries over the years. I've had the gambit. Diaries I've invested hours, or days, in writing and researching getting five recs and two comments. Diaries that were just thrown together as I just thought, typed, and posted with a few minor edits, end up on the rec list for two days with hundreds of recs.

    Don't do anything but keep on doing what you are doing, get known for it, be a pest about it. You will get a break-through moment as you build followers and a presence. A voice many on the site take seriously because you keep on digging. And please don't make sweeping judgements about the site or the community that can alienate people who don't know enough about you and your work and your point of view to maybe read your work again and again.

    Everybody has these moments.

    I have written diaries and said things I thought were important that got not an eyeball or a peep.

    Each and every 'BREAKING Celebrity dies!' or cut and paste diary of an AP article or Rox v. Sux round 325 has pissed me off after a thud or a yawn. Like it was personal my shit faded and a one-sentence fuck you puke funnel got eyes.

    You never know what is going to be your break-out.

    I got mad one day, because an old friend of mine kept bugging me about something they saw in the media that was helpful. It pissed me off that the same people who help create the monster were lamenting it. So. I wrote "The Media balls its Fists, more in Sorrow than in Anger". I've never written anything that went over like that before or since.

    Pay attention to the day and time you posted when a diary underwhelms. I don't post diaries from late Monday night early Monday morning until Friday afternoon mostly because 4 recs and 2 comments sucks too much to keep doing to myself.

    It may have been posted in a time where another story was sucking up all the oxygen out of the room or it was not a busy time on the site.

    Good luck. And keep at it. I promise that there are more people in this community who will find your work if you just don't give up, or flame out.

    I am a Loco-Foco. I am from the Elizabeth Warren wing of the Democratic Party.

    by LeftHandedMan on Fri Jun 21, 2013 at 07:05:42 PM PDT

    •  Oh, and one more thing (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Eric Stetson

      I apologise to you.

      Sincerely.

      I thought I clicked your little heart-thingie to follow your account last night. I didn't. I intended to when I was done.

      I'll take care of that now.

      I am a Loco-Foco. I am from the Elizabeth Warren wing of the Democratic Party.

      by LeftHandedMan on Fri Jun 21, 2013 at 07:07:13 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Thank you for your long comment! This diary is (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      LeftHandedMan, meralda

      intended to catch people's attention, hence the provocative title. I'm not planning to stop writing here. In fact, if anything, I'm planning to write more frequently because I've had a few diaries make the rec list recently, including, I just noticed, this one.

      As you said:

      Double down, don't dismiss. That's how you get a voice at this site better than anything else.
      I'll keep it up as time allows. And thanks again for your comment and your encouragement!

      The most serious problem in American politics today is that people with wrong ideas are uncompromising, and people with good ideas are submissive and unwilling to fight. Change that, and we might have a real democracy again.

      by Eric Stetson on Fri Jun 21, 2013 at 07:17:58 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Too Much Derp. Not Enough Activism (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    blueoasis, WB Reeves

    Too often, someone is just posturing for the 5 other people who believe the same urban legend.

    There’s always free cheddar in a mousetrap, baby

    by bernardpliers on Fri Jun 21, 2013 at 07:07:02 PM PDT

  •  as others have said, it's an off year (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Alma

    unless you have off year elections in your area, there is not much partisan activism to get involved in right now.

    still, there are a LOT of folks here actively involved in progressive causes like marriage equality, the war on women, climate change, Flush Rush, etc.    it depends on what diaries you look at.

    I get the impression that your beef is not with activism on the site, but about the fact that you wrote stuff and didn't get the response you wanted.  those two relatively reasonable think pieces got a couple dozen comments.  that's actually not bad.  if you market yourself differently, you might get more eyeballs.

    so decide what you want.  if you want eyeballs, you know what to do.

    Politics is like driving. To go backward put it in R. To go forward put it in D.
    Drop by The Grieving Room on Monday nights for support in dealing with grief.

    by TrueBlueMajority on Fri Jun 21, 2013 at 07:10:18 PM PDT

    •  My beef is that I have to write about the need for (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Sylv

      more progressive primary challengers, because it's not happening already and I don't see the really well-known writers on this site or elsewhere advocating for that idea and using their clout to get some organization started.

      To the degree that I'm complaining about not getting the response I wanted to those previous diaries, it's because I wish there were more such discussion on this site. It's not because I want personal publicity. I don't want to have to keep writing about the subject; I'd rather that somebody with more clout would do so.

      The most serious problem in American politics today is that people with wrong ideas are uncompromising, and people with good ideas are submissive and unwilling to fight. Change that, and we might have a real democracy again.

      by Eric Stetson on Fri Jun 21, 2013 at 07:22:49 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  everybody who has "more clout" (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        JohnB47

        started out getting a couple dozen comments and recs.

        everybody.  Even markos.

        and you know as well as I do that there are people here who would love to rec a diary about candidates way to the left of Obama, or a party within the party.

        so if you have something that needs to be said that you want people to see, you have to market it in a way that will get eyeballs.

        Politics is like driving. To go backward put it in R. To go forward put it in D.
        Drop by The Grieving Room on Monday nights for support in dealing with grief.

        by TrueBlueMajority on Fri Jun 21, 2013 at 07:38:11 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  I try. (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Eric Stetson, Alma, Sylv

    And will keep trying.

  •  I generally understand you (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Garrett, blueoasis

    but in regard to this:

    Daily Kos seems to be becoming more of a place to express anger and despair about the dismal state of politics in America, and less of a place about trying to do something about it.
    I have been quite a steady participant in this venue since this month in 2006, and in that time, DailyKos has grown and become much more active. There are political viewpoints and mentalities of absolutely every shade, hue, and texture represented.

    I can't concur with the simplistic observation that "this place has gotten more negative."

    It's here they got the range/ and the machinery for change/ and it's here they got the spiritual thirst. --Leonard Cohen

    by karmsy on Fri Jun 21, 2013 at 07:22:50 PM PDT

  •  "using the electoral system to change it" (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    blueoasis

    Been there, done that.

    When you can't trust the rhetoric of political candidates (see Obama), we have to go by actions. Unfortunately, even actions can be, if not calculating, highly misleading (see Senator Obama's case against the Iraq war).

    What I do know is this: Any 2016 presidential hopeful who's a progressive will be vigorously speaking out NOW about the attacks on the Fourth Amendment, not to mention American torture and every other national disgrace. So where are they?

    What I also know is this: Any such progressive will be lambasted on this site and considered un-electable.

    The simple fact is that most progressives aren't as outraged as they pretend to be. Otherwise we'd see mass rallies and general strikes a la Brazil. How much easier can it get than staying at home and sitting on your hands? That would be vastly more effective than trying to work within the constraints of a corrupt political system.

    Cue the excuses from the faux-outrage crowd.

    "The stream of commuters heading into the city, the caravan of tractor-trailers pulling out of the rest stop into the dawn’s early light, speak a deep-throated Yes to the sum total of what’s going on in our collective life." (Garret Keizer)

    by Couch Activist on Fri Jun 21, 2013 at 07:31:24 PM PDT

    •  How about Alan Grayson? (3+ / 0-)
      Any 2016 presidential hopeful who's a progressive will be vigorously speaking out NOW about the attacks on the Fourth Amendment, not to mention American torture and every other national disgrace. So where are they?
      Rep. Grayson wrote a diary on here recently about that very subject: Uncle Sam = Big Brother?

      Maybe Rep. Grayson should run for president.

      The most serious problem in American politics today is that people with wrong ideas are uncompromising, and people with good ideas are submissive and unwilling to fight. Change that, and we might have a real democracy again.

      by Eric Stetson on Fri Jun 21, 2013 at 07:40:28 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  nice idea, but . . . (0+ / 0-)

        His own party will not be behind him.

        The Dem Party simply is not progressive or liberal.  It has not been since the mid 70's.

        Until that changes, we will NEVER have a place at the table.  The party will take our money, take our votes, and give us nothing in return, because they KNOW we have nowhere else to go (what's our alternative--vote Republican?)

        It is years, or even decades, before we can even THINK about running a real progressive on a Presidential ticket.  First we have to re-make the entire party, from bottom to top, and make the Dem Party the liberal progressive party it used to be. That will take a long time--but we must take the long-term view of things.  There is no short-term solution.  There is no knight in shining armor who we can elect to office and who will transform the entire party (and sadly, that is precisely what too many people thought Obama would do--hence their current disappointment).  We will have to do that ourselves.

        •  Are you saying that most Dems aren't liberal? (0+ / 0-)
          His own party will not be behind him.
          If that's the case, then we have a much bigger problem than we realize. The problem, then, would be that most Democrats are in fact not liberal. Grayson is a liberal, but most of the primary opponents he would face (such as Hillary Clinton) are not liberals.

          So, if Grayson would fail to get the nomination, or at least get a significant share of the primary vote, then that would mean the average Democrat is a centrist, not a liberal. If that is the case, then America is doomed to have a crappy government no matter which party holds power.

          I don't think the polls would support this contention, however. The polls show that the policy ideas of liberals such as Grayson are more popular than centrist policies such as those of Obama, Clinton, etc.

          So if Grayson couldn't be nominated, then perhaps the problem is that most Democrats are too sheep-like, voting for whomever the party bosses want them to. And if that's the problem, then all the more reason to run primary challengers over and over and over again until eventually the average Democrat gets fed up enough to vote one of them in.

          The most serious problem in American politics today is that people with wrong ideas are uncompromising, and people with good ideas are submissive and unwilling to fight. Change that, and we might have a real democracy again.

          by Eric Stetson on Sat Jun 22, 2013 at 11:51:22 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

    •  to an extent, I agree (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      DemInSeattle, blueoasis, Eric Stetson

      Our basic problem, as progressives, is that our own party is not on our side (except for a handful of globflies who are largely ignored and have no input in policy decisions).

      That leaves us powerless, voiceless, influence-less, disappointed, frustrated, and angry--especially since many of us became involved in the political process specifically because Obama promised us that sort of transformative change, and could not deliver.  Our reaction is entirely understandable.

      There is, alas, only one way out of that situation---we have to take over the party, from top to bottom.

      We can debate and argue over the best way to do that (and as always, I am a big fan of trying every possible weapon and using anything and everything that proves effective). But the goal we seek is plain. We must take over the entire party.

      That will not be easy.

  •  Someone with a plan (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Eric Stetson

    Andy Schmookler at nonesoblind.org has some very intelligent and well documented insight into how we got to where we are today. He also offers positive steps that each of us can take to engage more people in the process.
    Our challenge is that the majority of our friends and neighbors deny the very evident issues of today. Whether it's global warming, corrupt politicians, or the recently disclosed monitoring of personal phone and emails, most of them are hypnotized by the fantasy land of tabloids, TV, and talk radio.
    We need to stop preaching to the choir and engage more people in the process.

    Hope, Faith, Love; the greatest of these is Love

    by orkin on Fri Jun 21, 2013 at 07:34:02 PM PDT

  •  There's a reason... (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    blueoasis, Words In Action

    ... that the powers that be in America have always responded aggressively against strikes, occupy movements, etc. That's what really shoots terror into their veins, not some Janus-run electoral process.

    "The stream of commuters heading into the city, the caravan of tractor-trailers pulling out of the rest stop into the dawn’s early light, speak a deep-throated Yes to the sum total of what’s going on in our collective life." (Garret Keizer)

    by Couch Activist on Fri Jun 21, 2013 at 07:38:13 PM PDT

    •  again, I largely agree (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      DemInSeattle

      But again, I favor using every weapon available to us, including the legislatures.  Make the powers that be fight us everywhere, on every front, constantly.

      And let's face it--electing our own people does bring some advantages.  It gives us a forum where we can make our views known, and bring others into the movement.  It is also useful in practical ways.  Being an IWW member, the example I like to cite is the 1913 silk strike in Paterson, NJ.  While the police in Paterson were breaking up strike meetings and arresting speakers, the whole union was able to go to neighboring Haledon and hold mass outdoor meetings there unmolested--because the city had a Socialist mayor who supported their strike.  

      How different would Occupy have been if the cities had progressive or socialist mayors who did NOT send in the cops to crack heads and pepper-spray people?

      Every weapon is useful.  I renounce the use of NONE of them.

  •  Great post. (4+ / 0-)

    I have wondered about this latest run of pessimism myself.  

    There seems to be present here now a contingent of people whose sole purpose is to criticize Obama and Democrats.  It has almost become an obsession and yet, comical.  Cue Redstate to make fun of us.

    Forgive me but Jesselyn Radack's daily "Breaking" diaries selling her book have turned me off big time.  I stopped reading them months ago.  The value they might have, have long since left a bad taste in my mouth.  I can't but question where her priorities are with the people she professes to council, or represent, if she chooses to air their laundry in this forum.  Is there not a conflict of interest here?

    There is a difference in constructive criticism of this administration, and outright antagonistic confrontation like one would expect from Boehner, or McConnell.  The latter seems to be the norm as of late from many posters.  This would be unheard of from Republicans.  Cue Democrats.  Take a hint.

    Personally, I hope to see better content on this forum in the future.  It seems we are missing out on some discussion of the real issues that impact people's lives.  

    Personally, I was disappointed not to see big frontpage news of what was happening Netroots Nation.  Is this our big hoopla, or what?  Where's the reporting?  Where's the big advertising of the event?  If it was there, I didn't see it.  Hell, we sent Hunter to cover the Republican's version of same and it was a hell of a lot more exciting.  I would have loved to see a blow, by blow play.

    Maybe I'm all wet, but I think things need to be prioritized and reprogrammed around here.

    For what it's worth, I'm sticking around, no matter what just to see what happens.  No quitter, am I.

    In the time it took Adam Lanza to reload, eleven children escaped. What if...

    by Sixty Something on Fri Jun 21, 2013 at 07:38:38 PM PDT

  •  Carlin said it best (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    JohnB47, Words In Action, TomP, Sylv
    "Now, there's one thing you might have noticed I don't complain about: politicians. Everybody complains about politicians. Everybody says they suck. Well, where do people think these politicians come from? They don't fall out of the sky. They don't pass through a membrane from another reality. They come from American parents and American families, American homes, American schools, American churches, American businesses and American universities, and they are elected by American citizens. This is the best we can do folks. This is what we have to offer. It's what our system produces: Garbage in, garbage out. If you have selfish, ignorant citizens, you're going to get selfish, ignorant leaders. Term limits ain't going to do any good; you're just going to end up with a brand new bunch of selfish, ignorant Americans. So, maybe, maybe, maybe, it's not the politicians who suck. Maybe something else sucks around here... like, the public. Yeah, the public sucks. There's a nice campaign slogan for somebody: 'The Public Sucks. F*ck Hope.'"
    I've given up hope and it works for me.

    I sing praises in the church of nonsense, but in my heart I'm still an atheist, demanding sense of all things.

    by jbou on Fri Jun 21, 2013 at 08:17:09 PM PDT

  •  I logged in just to Tip and Rec (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    JohnB47, TomP

    I've been visiting this site less and less over the past few months because I am finding that I just don't agree with some of the majority opinions and negative energy...

    We all have our own life to pursue, our own kind of dream to be weaving, and we all have the power to make wishes come true, as long as we keep believing. Louisa May Alcott

    by YoungArizonaLiberal on Fri Jun 21, 2013 at 09:47:54 PM PDT

    •  Thanks for the T&R. n/t (0+ / 0-)

      The most serious problem in American politics today is that people with wrong ideas are uncompromising, and people with good ideas are submissive and unwilling to fight. Change that, and we might have a real democracy again.

      by Eric Stetson on Sat Jun 22, 2013 at 11:53:46 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  This is larger than the Daily Kos. (5+ / 0-)

    I noticed this many many years ago.  Liberals (we called ourselves liberals, then) loved to gather and commiserate with each other about how lousy things were.  It never led to actually doing anything about it.

    Long ago, I adopted the practice, when I found myself in such a group having such a conversation, of just leaving.

    I try very hard to concentrate on what I can do to reach others where they are, to help push the boundaries of acceptable discourse in a progressive direction, and to help people -- myself included -- to work actively for progressive goals.

    That's really the only thing that matters.

  •  Let me be candid. (4+ / 0-)

    Having a user id of 208233 sort of impairs your ability to fairly evaluate what is going here.    During the primary and for the whole first four years, some posters were terrorizing everyone who wasn't singing kumbayah, change is here.   We had love fests for the Obamas on a daily basis, and anybody who said wait a minute, got HR'd to hell and back.   You should have been here for the pragmastists/centrist Democrats attack on saving the autos.  If we had to listen to anymore 11th dimensional chess theories (talk about CT), we would probably all have abandoned ship to stay home or join any candidate willing to blow up the establishment.  

    After 5 years of Obama's lies. reneging on promises, and "pessimists" spitting into the wind, the voices of "pessimism" finally got a platform.   If you want activism, you need people to open their eyes and get their heads out of the sand or out of their arses.    

    Brazil: “The intensity on the streets is much larger than we imagined,” said Marcelo ... slogans like “While you watch your nightly soap opera, we fight for you.”
    After 5 long years of threading water, losing ground, threading water with more Democrats and then more and better Democrats, eyes began to open.   Maybe Obama's campaign rhetoric only reflects campaign strategy and not his or our values.   Is this place, will this place ever be ready to do something that isn't about fund raising and electing Democrats?    I don't know.  I don't own it, and I don't get to set policy.   I know hearts are in the right place, but heads don't always follow.

    So before you criticize, you might want to learn about its history.   Cindy Sheehan got banned from Daily Kos for daring to criticize Democrats and placing a pox on both parties.   We've come a long way baby.

    What we need is a Democrat in the White House. Elizabeth Warren 2016

    by dkmich on Sat Jun 22, 2013 at 05:31:03 AM PDT

    •  treading water.... n/t (0+ / 0-)

      What we need is a Democrat in the White House. Elizabeth Warren 2016

      by dkmich on Sat Jun 22, 2013 at 06:46:53 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  If I read correctly, Cindy Sheehan was... (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      dkmich

      not "banned", but rather prohibited from posting about her intention to run as an Independent against a sitting Democrat...which would have been against site rules. In fact, her status as a poster remains intact to this day.

      Adequate health care should be a LEGAL RIGHT in the U.S without begging or bankruptcy. Until it is, we should not dare call our society civilized.

      by Love Me Slender on Sat Jun 22, 2013 at 07:00:40 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  You may be correct. (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Love Me Slender

        Since I tend to stay on the outskirts  of the pie fights, all I know for certain is that she got mercilessly attacked and left.   If you say she wasn't banned, I won't argue the details because the bottom line is the same.  

        She was a woman who had her son killed in an unjust and unnecessary war and was fighting to protect other peoples' children ;  and it didn't make a bit of difference to the people who kept piling donuts on her for the grievous sin of wanting to run as an Independent against a sitting Democrat.   Talk about a lack of sensitivity, I've never seen anything like it before or since.    Partisanship above all else is a lousy value and why all these years later, the people are still losing.

        What we need is a Democrat in the White House. Elizabeth Warren 2016

        by dkmich on Sat Jun 22, 2013 at 01:34:34 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Wow...sorta glad I wasn't around for that... (0+ / 0-)

          This place can be relentless at times...even to a woman who lost her son in a terrible, useless war, it would seem.

          Adequate health care should be a LEGAL RIGHT in the U.S without begging or bankruptcy. Until it is, we should not dare call our society civilized.

          by Love Me Slender on Sat Jun 22, 2013 at 08:08:37 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

  •  The tea party has been very good at losing (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    pollwatcher, Jerry056, Lucy Montrose, Sylv

    elections for the Republicans and obstructing government so nothing gets done. I'm not sure I'd want to take them as inspiration. Purity does reign supreme her at DK, you are in good company. Unfortunately purity doesn't knock on doors to get people to vote, I do.

    “Conservation… is a positive exercise of skill and insight, not merely a negative exercise of abstinence and caution…” Aldo Leopold

    by ban nock on Sat Jun 22, 2013 at 05:33:35 AM PDT

  •  I've been writing quite a few diaries... (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    kck, Boston to Salem, Alma, reginahny

    ...lately asking people to take action.  I haven't seen you show up.  Nor very many people, to tell the truth.  Transgender rights is just not on the agenda of too many folks who otherwise call themselves progressive.

  •  I agree with you! n/t (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Eric Stetson
  •  Protest v. Progress (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Sylv

    A lot political thought on the left is more comfortable with protest than progress. The fundamental mode of thought in protest is to look at what happens and complain about it, rather than to offer strategic suggestions for action forward. A protest mindset also fits well with demonization and conspiracy theories. So the theory is propounded over and over that the people in power are not only wrong, but also evil and menacing as a group. This devolves ultimately into the us/them metaphors of war and fighting and vengeance. In this view, real progress can only follow a purge in which the evil ones are driven out and vanquished. In this protest mode, there may be a short period of relief following a victory, but soon the crowd turns on the victorious, claiming to have been swindled, and circling with fists raised, calling again for justice and new leadership. It's all very predictable and in many ways self-defeating.

    There are, of course, other voices on the left that would rather see more progress than protest. They are more comfortable with exercising power and fundamentally interested in making policy gains, even if those gains are not ideologically pure and may involve nuanced negotiation and reasoning with those who think differently, rather than calling them names like stupid, evil and expletives. I see a mixture of both on Kos, but unfortunately, some of those who prefer protest are also happy to turn on their anger and vitriol on the progressive pragmatists who assess the regime against the opportunity costs presented by the real alternative (e.g. McCain or Romney). To me, the protest group is best exemplified by those who threaten to stay home rather than vote for a democrat and who claim that both parties are the same. This kind of all/nothing, either/or thinking really prevents progress because it ignores opportunity cost. It is the thinking that starves a man in order to provide him a square meal. It is the same thinking that we reject in our true political opponents, but often practice ourselves because it easier and more cathartic.

    Obama is not a God, so he is also not a false God. He is mere mortal with a politically impossible situation on his hands from day one. To forget this is to fall back into a self-fulfilling prophesy about the triumph of evil. Evil will succeed because the good people will do nothing but wring their hands and condemn it, but comfortably from the sideline and the balcony and the blog, because the real work of democracy is too messy and requires giving up one's ideological virginity.

    The only thing required for evil to succeed is for good people to do nothing.

    by DavidMCastro on Sat Jun 22, 2013 at 06:06:00 AM PDT

    •  I have to agree with this comment. I would (0+ / 0-)

      also like to add the calls by some folks here to plan civil disobedience. Now I have nothing against civil disobedience per se, but they want to use it when other methods of organizing and getting the word out haven't even been tried! Sometimes I think it is just an anger outlet for angry people that don't know that there are better ways to accomplish something, or at least to be taken more seriously. Running around telling people to break things/laws as a rant as the first proactive agenda to get things done puts a bad taste in a lot of people's mouths, people that would have joined the movement had someone just organized them peaceably.

    •  protest has its place (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      DemInSeattle, blueoasis

      Occupy changed the entire political dialogue in the US, at a time when the Dems were merely arguing with the goppers over how much to cut the safety net.

      PS--that world we defend now---the world of labor unions and unemployment insurance and Social Security and Medicare and environmental regulations and minimum-wage laws and civil rights?  It all happened because people in the 1920's, 1930's, 1950's and 1960's protested in the streets and fought, hard, to win all those things.

  •  I think the second question at least (0+ / 0-)

    is a matter of opinion really. What is more center left to you could be truly progressive to another person

    As to your first question frankly I think more then a few people never liked Obama and are actively rooting for failure (if not trying to cause that). That's not to say everyone is like that but I do think some of the loudest voices are like that.

    Brilliant title though

    In the time that I have been given,
    I am what I am

    by duhban on Sat Jun 22, 2013 at 06:07:51 AM PDT

    •  this is actually a very good point (5+ / 0-)
      What is more center left to you could be truly progressive to another person
      and, I have found, most of it has to do with age.

      Those of us who have been around for a long time (I've been politically active since the Carter years, but others here are veterans of the 60's movement) have SEEN a real Left in action. We've seen the Panthers.  We've seen AIM.  We've seen SDS. We've seen Michael Harrington and Abbie Hoffman and Robert Kennedy and George McGovern.  People that today's Dem Party would not allow into the building.

      Many many many people here today, though, are far too young to have seen any of that. Many of the people here grew up during the 35 years of the "Reagan Revolution", and the only "leftists" they've seen are middle-of-the-road moderates like Clinton and Biden and Gore and Kerry. To those of us who have seen actual live leftists, these guys are just Eisenhower Republicans, none of them fit to wipe the feet of the Dems we had in the 60's. But to the younger folks, these are the only Dems they have ever SEEN--and they are "radical leftists" only by virtue of the fact that their opponents are lunatic John Birch Society rightwingers. People can consider Obama to be a "radical leftist" only if they have never SEEN a real radical leftist. Having seen them, I can assure you without question that Obama is no FDR, or LBJ, or JFK. The closest we have today to a real leftist is Bernie, and there's a reason why he's not even a Democrat.

      If people who today think Obama is a "progressive" had ever seen some of the leftist radicals we had back in the 60's and 70's, they'd shit their pants in terror, and they'd understand why so many of us simply laugh at that assertion. We've SEEN real leftists and progressives. Most people today have not.

      •  The only thing I would add (0+ / 0-)

        to that incredible comment is that while all of that might be true it also could that that many of those young people (me included) look back on many of the 'true progressives' and wonder what we really accomplished.

        Was McGovern a far and away superior choice? Oh hell yes but he was also completely unelectable.

        And that to me is the most important point as I am unabashedly and completely pragmatic. Perhaps to the point of being ruthlessly so. Frankly I think many of the older members here expect the 2nd coming of the 60s and you know it might eventually but probably not in the next decade. The GOP and the social conservatives won that battle back in the 70s and 80s. We need to move on even if that means starting over with less acceptable progressives.

        The GOP learned that lesson with Goldwater, it took 40 some years to make their extreme right wing brand acceptable but they did it.

        Are we prepared to do the same? Personally I am cynical on that given how impatient and short sighted we overall seem to be that effective.

        I really hope more then on anything that I am wrong though.

        In the time that I have been given,
        I am what I am

        by duhban on Sat Jun 22, 2013 at 01:31:08 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  what did we accomplish? (0+ / 0-)

          Most of the world we live in:

          Medicare
          Medicaid
          EPA
          OSHA
          Civil Rights Act
          Voting Rights Act
          End of Jim Crow segregation
          End of the Vietnam War
          End the draft
          War on Poverty
          Stonewall, beginning of gay rights movement
          Sexual freedom, including contraceptives
          An entire series of Supreme Court rulings expanding the rights of people accused of crimes
          Ending school-mandated religious indoctrination
          Voting at 18

          Which of these would you ask us to sacrifice?

          •  no offense (0+ / 0-)

            but most of that didn't come from the 'true progressives' you were talking about.

            In point of fact Civil Rights came from a 'good old southren boy' that actually spent the 50s blocking Civil Rights. Same with Medicare and Medicaid

            I'm not going to get into a pissing match with you, either you grant my opinion the same respect as I grant yours or you do not.

            I will also add that I never said anything about sacerficing anything. See this is what drives me crazy about talking to some here, why can't you stick to what I say and my argument instead of the imaginary one you want me to say?

            In the time that I have been given,
            I am what I am

            by duhban on Sat Jun 22, 2013 at 02:42:34 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  no offense (0+ / 0-)

              but you slept through history class.

              •  nah but then again (0+ / 0-)

                the fact is that as I said most of those 'pure progressives' you mentioned never accomplished much.

                Me I want things to actually change for America to be more tolerant and progressive. For healthcare to be a right not a privilidge for higher education to be a right not a privilidge.

                If you would rather compare purity that's fine, me I will always prefer action.

                And that at least in my case is the divide I see largely between the older and younger progressives

                In the time that I have been given,
                I am what I am

                by duhban on Sat Jun 22, 2013 at 03:05:06 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  (sigh) I was there then (0+ / 0-)

                  You were just an thought in your daddy's brain.

                  So please don't presume to tell me what happened back then.

                  You haven't the vaguest clue.

                  •  I love ageism (0+ / 0-)

                    I don't really give a fuck where you where or how old you are.

                    It doesn't make you anything except older then me and frankly I don't think that's a good thing mostly.

                    But please keep pushing younger progressives like me away with your insults and then wonder why you end up like the left's verison of the tea party.

                    In the time that I have been given,
                    I am what I am

                    by duhban on Sat Jun 22, 2013 at 03:20:22 PM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  (sigh) gee, if only (0+ / 0-)

                      I were still young enough to know everything.

                      •  see that's the thing (0+ / 0-)

                        you do think you know everything and I know I don't. What I do know though is everything single bit of this 'conversation' has done nothing to dissuade me of my opinion. Actually it has only reinforced it but then again I bet that won't trouble you at all.

                        No you will just insult me some more and walk away thinking how I am just a dumb kid and don't really 'get it' never comphrending that ironically of the 2 of us it is your behavior and actions that show arrogance.

                        You have a good day

                        In the time that I have been given,
                        I am what I am

                        by duhban on Sat Jun 22, 2013 at 04:21:38 PM PDT

                        [ Parent ]

  •  What the hell is a progressive anyway? (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Muskegon Critic, Sylv, reginahny

    Dkos "progressives" disagree on many issues, and many draw lines in the sand for Democratic politicians that completely ignore the reality of the politics of an insane Republican party, and then they hurt the progressive movement with their crazy claims that both parties are the same and Obama is a secret Republican.

    The Tea Party is united in that their brains are only capable of thinking about 3 or 4  issues.  The Oligarchs know this and wrap everything into those issues; Get your dirty paws of my guns, Oh how I love a fetus, cut my taxes and I'll be a millionaire too, my stupid mistakes were caused by big guvment.

    The progressives have a much bigger and broader agenda.  Global Warming, Social Security, Health Care, better jobs, fairer taxes, corporate take-over of the Gov. corrupted elections, too many wars ...

    The uncompromising "they're all the same" wing of the progressive movement has control at DKos now, and if DKos wants to be a player in setting a political agenda for the country, it'll have to get control of the progressive version of the Tea Party.

  •  Here's my two cents. (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    TomP, pollwatcher, Sylv, reginahny

    This is something Markos had to say in the NBC news article about Netroots Nation:

    Moulitsas summed up the differing views among liberals after the revelations of the NSA surveillance program.
    “There are those who think Obama can do no wrong and those who think he’s a sellout,” Moulitsas said. “It’s either – ‘I trust Obama’ or ‘I told you Obama is terrible.’ I don’t think it changed anybody’s opinion about it. … The notion that it’s one or the other is hyper simplistic.”
    And he likened the hardest-line liberals to the Tea Party.
    “There are some people who won’t ever be happy,” Moulitsas said. “Dennis Kucinich could be elected, and they won’t be happy. Their perception of what should happen isn’t realistic. Those people are aligned with – have an ideological rigidity very similar to the Tea Party movement.”
    I, personally, am very pragmatic. I am an expert at change at the personal level (I'm an LICSW). So I understand that real, systemic change takes years. Decades. It takes being willing to take the half-inch when you really wanted the whole foot, KWIM?

    But like many other pragmatic people, I become less motivated and engaged when the small victories are not acknowledged, or when they are belittled. Now, I have no problem with acknowledging the failures and the disappointments - because you can't move forward if you can't acknowledge where you are. But for me it feels like too many at this site want to take a bath in the disappointment. They want to wallow and they don't want to allow that others aren't as disappointed or discouraged.

    So I participate less here. I still am engaged politically, I helped get Elizabeth Warren elected and I'm trying to get Ed Markey elected, and my congressional rep is a progressive and I donated to HIS election, etc.... but I no longer come to DKos to engage with like-minded people who are working on increasing progressive successes over the long haul. Because that attitude doesn't seem to be here anymore. Or if it is, it's too hard to find for me, personally.

    And let me be clear - I am not saying that my attitude is the right or only one  to have. I know many people enjoy and appreciate OPOL's diaries, for example. And maybe they find them motivating, but they make me want to give up and stop paying attention. They fill me with despair. So I stay out of them. But they make work for others, that's for them to say.

    I'm sort of rambling, but I hope you get the gist?

    Lisa

    All Kossacks are my allies, but if you can't express your thoughts in a civil and kind manner, I won't be engaging in a conversation with you.

    by Boston to Salem on Sat Jun 22, 2013 at 06:21:47 AM PDT

  •  Did you see/stream the PCC session @ NN yesterday? (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Alma, poliwrangler

    It was quite good. That's an existing organization that has been trying, with some success, to do exactly what you describe.

    Unlike the more single focused Tea Party (see rserven important comment above)  progressives have disparate interests and will invariably part with this or that action, this or that person, this or that statement, and a fragile coalition becomes fodder for argument. We progressives can have a tendency to fail to suffer through mistakes and impurities.

    Take what Grayson yesterday said abut disciplining poor behavior from Democrats. We will immediately hear an impassioned earnest argument between good people who view discipline from a child's perspective of defiance and those good people who see it as a loving act of unconditional commitment, and of course a less quieter set of voices along the continuum of frames. The animated defiant ones will go so far as to defend errant Dems from being "disrespected" or worse and focus is entirely lost. Worse, a road tested, reliable tactic is un/underemployed and so under productive.

    Good diary but addressed to Dkos...dkos is so very large...and diverse... Maybe it's a matter of expectations. There are groups, like PCCC,...subsets of dkos...Groups, that are smaller and very active...

  •  You get what you pay for :D (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Alma, pollwatcher, Sylv

    The purpose of the rec list is to select for the most desirable free (for DK) content in order to generate eyeballs and clicks for ads so DK can do good work Nationally. And it does.

    The arguing and drama keeps us coming back to the site for more punishment. It's good for business.

    This affords DK the dough to take national action, have some front pagers, and probably put on things like Netroots Nation...and it has a ready-audience for books and suck.

    With a few excellent exceptions (Flush Rush, etc) the Rec List is not the best platform to help you promote your local candidate or actions.

    Where it excels for unpaid bloggers is as a platform to raise the alarm on new issues, or keep people informed about the importance of an issue....usually through drama and outrage. It works, though. And it's an important tool for activists to have at their disposal.

    DK has created a community, and it is what it is. But the drama we see is a feature, not a quirk.

  •  6 years of neoliberal policies (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    SpecialKinFlag, blueoasis

    = despair... Hell, our own supposed leader, acts against our interests. The Democratic Party is rotten to the core, and IMHO, is unsaveable.

    I didn't abandon the fight, I abandoned the Party that abandoned the fight...

    by Jazzenterprises on Sat Jun 22, 2013 at 06:32:23 AM PDT

    •  Then why are you here? (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      reginahny

      Honestly, this is a real puzzle for me, and I really don't intend to be offensive.  Kos has repeatedly said that this site is intended to promote Democratic candidates with a progressive agenda.  If you think Democrats are rotten to the core, and Obama acts against our interests, why are you here?

      I don't comment on Economic blogs about Global Warming, and I don't go to Environmental blogs and claim Global Warming is a hoax, so why would you come to a site to promote progressive Democrats and claim they are "rotten to the core"?

      Again, I don't mean to be offensive, but doesn't this pretty much define what a troll is?

      I have some really big problems with a lot of Democrats, but that's why I'm here, to promote better Democrats.  I'll cut apart some Democratic actions in strong, profane terms, but to think the Democratic party is just like the Republican party is, not to be offensive, just crazy.

  •  democratic feedback mechanisms are not working (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    blueoasis

    because progressives are allowing a few well coordinated and think tank-scripted blowhards yelling at a near-captive 50 mil people a week to  short circuit the kind of activism you're talking about.

    until the left pulls their fingers out of their ears and stops ignoring those 1200 or so megaphones that can create made-to-order constituencies for the 1% on a daily basis to counter everything or anybody progressives support, whatever you try is going to be weakened.

    that 24/7 free advertising for the 1%, often endorsed by our largest universities, has been beating the crap out of activists all over the US for 25 years and they don't know it. and it will minimize you and your efforts until progressives get serious about it.

    at the moment, some of the most effective activism is the stoprush boycott. even though it is specifically targeted it is hurting their king-pin and the most important face on the right. but it needs to be expanded and there is still no challenge to talk radio from the democratic party or the major progressive orgs.

    you want more progressive candidates? even most blue parts of the US are dominated by RW radio soapboxes that routinely swiftboat local progressives and their issues, deciding who and what is acceptable or not. universities put their sports logos on radio stations that bash teachers, try to defund education, decide who their elected officials will be, which university presidents are acceptable, etc., and student activists and their groups at those universities complain about the lack of progress and progressive candidates.

    what's the use in plugging away year after year with guys like van jones and elizabeth warren made nationally unacceptable for the admin merely because the left has no clue and no reaction to the swiftboating they got on radio?

    sure, progressives have had some successes, but they're letting a small minority and a fading medium kick their ass and minimize their efforts.

    This is a list of 76 universities for Rush Limbaugh that endorse global warming denial, racism, sexism, and GOP lies by broadcasting sports on over 170 Limbaugh radio stations.

    by certainot on Sat Jun 22, 2013 at 06:39:40 AM PDT

  •  you're right...although.... (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    blueoasis, Eric Stetson

    ...you're right...and there does seem to be a fine line between pessimism and reality sometimes. In fact, a lot of people during my lifetime have accused me of being a pessimist for merely point out the truth.

    This community needs to continue to bathe itself...and hopefully others...in the stark facts of what is actually going on, regardless of whether folks want to label it pessimism or not. Because...the first step toward any solution is to...first acknowledge the problem in all of its permutations.

    However...having said that...to simply leave it there...and to bluntly report the state of affairs...and then wring one's hands...is not productive.

    We need to be both reality based and committed...committee to devoting our entire lives to trying to force this country toward progressive change.

    What a lot of progressives too easily forget is that, as bad as things may seem today, those challenges sometimes pale in comparison to what our progressive forebearers.

    Imagine yourself as someone who lived in Georgia or Texas in 1835 who was opposed to slavery and fightint to end it, for instance.

    Progressive change is possible. Our progressive forebearers have proved that. Of course, there are also many instances of this country regressing after having made progress, as well...which is what the right wing in this country is desperately seeking on multiple fronts (workers rights, women's rights, civil rights, equal rights, individual rights, consumer rights, economic fairness and social justice, etc., etc., etc.)

    Continue to point out to this country, in stark terms, what our problems are...is very, very important. However, it is useless to do that without providing people a path to resolve those problems...or, at the very least, hope that change is possible.

  •  How dare you suggest that we interrupt (0+ / 0-)

    our pious, self-inflicted Dark Age contemplation of the impending Apocalypse in favor of constructive action!  If we want this place to degenerate into a 14-year-old goth girl's black-eyeshadow-stained morbid poetry book, who are you to come here with your treacly words like "action" and "democracy" and disturb our peaceful navel-gazing?

    "She's terse - I can be terse. Once, in flight school, I was laconic." -Wash

    by Troubadour on Sat Jun 22, 2013 at 07:12:51 AM PDT

  •  There's a huge difference between (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    reginahny

    Democrats and Republicans.  

    There's not any way on earth to get ideologically pure Progressive legislation passed on a national level.  Conflating that political reality with claims that Dems and Repubs are interchangeable is a flight from reality.  If you look at reality, every move toward social justice and equality in this country began with Progressive legislation that was watered down before it passed, leading to much controversy and angst within the party.  Over time and with effort things like SS and Medicare and Voting Rights became stronger and more highly valued.  Republicans never stop trying to destroy them, Democrats rally to save and strengthen them.  It's how this country operates.  It always has been.  Unless we split our party, it always will be.  

    The ACA will be the next signature program Democrats support and strengthen, despite the carping and complaining and mournful head shaking about how good it COULD have been if only someone had a magic wand.  

    The NSA revelations piss some of us off because of 7 years of apathy followed by 7 weeks of outrage, followed by loss of focus for most, but in the end the Patriot Act may be repealed and we will have a national conversation about the illusion of safety.  We will NEVER have the kind of privacy the 4th Amendment was written to ensure because we will never live in a country where type is handset and presses hand rolled, communication was handwritten and delivered on horseback, small groups of patriots met by candlelight and hammered out policy that best suited educated, successful white males.  

    We have enthusiastically embraced technology that allows instant communication and is built on a system that's easily accessable by anyone interested.  Privacy is a false construct in this system and most of us know it.  We can't fall back on the 4th Amendment for some abstract guarantee of privacy we have to hammer out 21st Century rules.  And we'd better be damn clear that they depend on right actions by our leaders, our corporate entities, and world leaders, not to mention hackers benign and not.  

    It's a new world.  Unless you hanker for the 18th Century and simpler times you'd better get used to this one.

    I'm not looking for a love that will lift me up and carry me away. A love that will stroll alongside and make a few amusing comments will suffice.

    by I love OCD on Sat Jun 22, 2013 at 07:14:01 AM PDT

  •  My reasons for pessimism are simple (6+ / 0-)

    to express: Our last two Democratic presidents, Bill Clinton and Barak Obama, have been little more than old-school republicans while the republicans have driven off the batshit insane loony bus short pier. I was happy to vote for Clinton and happier to vote for Obama, and both times I got nothing more than warmed-over GOP government.

    As of this moment, we have the Old Democratic Party, which consists of a few people like Alan Grayson and Bernie Sanders (who, I know, is not "technically" a Democrat... which is part of the problem), the New Democratic Party which might as well be Richard Nixon's GOP, and the new TeaPublican really, really, dangerously loony party.

    Genuine, rational, informed, intelligent liberals have been forced off the national stage by the media and the efforts of the GOP to brand "liberal" as an epithet and they have succeeded wildly beyond their dreams. Like young women who demand equality of employment, social status, and sexual freedom who begin every political idea with, "I'm not a feminist, but..." todays's Democrats, in order to even get a distant voice gently whispering towards the table around which the "serious people" are talking, has to precede every statement with, "I'm not a crazy-ass, anti-American, sociamalist "liberal," but..."

    Crazy slime-balls like Bobby Jindal can say entirely loony stuff like,

    "... the left wants: The government to explode; to pay everyone; to hire everyone; they believe that money grows on trees;..."
    and get taken utterly seriously by the press, while a liberal who says, "Maybe poor people shouldn't starve," is treated like Hannibal Lector inviting poor people over for a bite to eat.

    I don't know how to fix this. I know why it exists: because the 1% have bought the entire traditional media, most human beings are narcissistic idiots who would rather cling to lazy, flattering lies than deal with difficult, uncomplimentary truths,  and way too many on the left are way too easily bought.

    I hope someone comes up with a way to fix this, but, for the very reasons the problem exists, I don't think it can be done.

    Somebody has to do something, and it's just incredibly pathetic that it has to be us. -- Jerry Garcia
    Note that I'm not saying this to be a downer and tell everyone to give up. I'm saying that you can't even begin to address the problem until you define the problem. The problem is dire -- the American body politic is dying of metaphorical cancer -- and I don't know how to fix it. Being peppy and upbeat isn't a solution.

    I don't even think it's appropriate.

  •  "Too Much Pessimism, Not Enough Progressive (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    blueoasis

    Activism on this Site"

    Yes and no.  It all depends who you are and what the issue or person is.

    For instance, the last diary I found on NJ State Senator Barbara Buono running against Gov. Christie on November 5 of this year was this from April 12.

    Maybe that's because her polling numbers are low, or maybe because the Democratic Party machine in two New Jersey counties have already secretly endorsed Christie, since he governs the way they want him to and Sen. Buono will govern as a progressive Democrat.

  •  Sorry, Eric. Now I'm following you (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Eric Stetson

    so will read and rec your diaries and try to comment. Sorry your earlier diaries didn't get more views and comments. Maybe reposts will help?

    “We do not inherit the earth from our ancestors; we borrow it from our children” ― Chief Seattle

    by SoCalSal on Sat Jun 22, 2013 at 09:03:42 AM PDT

    •  Thank you. This diary was sort of like a repost (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      SoCalSal

      of the two previous ones I quoted from, and based on the number of recs and comments this one got, it looks like I finally succeeded in getting some attention for the idea I was trying to present to this community.

      I'll keep writing as time allows.

      The most serious problem in American politics today is that people with wrong ideas are uncompromising, and people with good ideas are submissive and unwilling to fight. Change that, and we might have a real democracy again.

      by Eric Stetson on Sat Jun 22, 2013 at 12:05:50 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

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