19 January 2010

Keep doin' watcher doin'

Even before the polls closed in the Massachusetts special Senate election tonight, Eli Lilly's personal senator Evan Bayh could tell us What It All Means.
“ The only we are able to govern successfully in this country is by liberals and progressives making common cause with independents and moderates,” Bayh said. “Whenever you have just the furthest left elements of the Dem party attempting to impose their will on the rest of the country -- that’s not going to work too well.”
One is tempted to ask Bayh to cite examples, but that would be pointless. One is also tempted to wonder whether Democrats winning huge majorities in Congress was a huge mandate for the "furthest left elements"...oh what the hell, the tool is just giving you the interpretation that you are always going to get from Broderists of all stripes. Regardless of what political activity is actually happening on the ground, the Democrats are forever in danger of lost to the grasp of the non-bathing hippies. This, of course, is the reason progressives ought to be louder and meaner, because it is futile to try and assuage the paranoid fears of the permanently Concerned Centrist.

Instead, the party liberals are out in force with the latest update in tool-enabling Blame-Ralphism just in case the Coakley loss could be blamed on a lack of enthusiasm from the party's left base. Which, as we know, also permanently owes its vote to Democrats in perpetuity regardless of policy action because ZOMGFascisms and shut up that's why.
And the depth of the revolt against Obama has been striking too. As near as I can tell, there's a small but significant minority who are so enraged that they'd be perfectly happy to see his presidency destroyed as a kind of warning to future Democrats. It's extraordinarily self-destructive behavior — and typically liberal, unfortunately. Just ask LBJ, Jimmy Carter, and Bill Clinton. And then ask them whether liberal revolt, in the end, strengthened liberalism or conservatism.
Ah, but here's the catch to reliable hippie-hater Drum's point. This strategy almost always works for the right. During periods of exile, the Republican party reliably becomes more conservative than it was before. Theoretically, a similar tactic of ignoring a left-denying Democratic Party should have the same effect for progressives. Provided, of course, that Democrats really cared about winning elections, which one assumes is the goal of a functioning political party. The Democrats are not, however, a usual political party. They are the Washington Generals of American politics, a caretaker ruler for those moments when the preferred business party needs a moment to regroup. Thus there is no meaningful way to punish them. The game is already lost.

Richard Estes continues with his usual perspicacity.
...appeals for support for Coakley took on more and more hysterial tones. If Brown won, they screamed, Republicans would return to power and destroy the country. Voters who refused to respond to the rhetorical horsewhipping administered by Democratic activists deserved what they will get. Left unanswered, of course, was whether voters deserve what they are currently getting from Obama and the Democratic majority in Congress. Coakley supporters were left with such emotional appeals, because there have nothing to substantively say that would persuade voters that Coakley, and by extension, Obama, have any intention of challenging the plutocracy that controls the government.
It's important--though probably futile--to mention that the MA-Sen election doesn't translate perfectly to any national interpretation which we'll inevitably hear in the coming days. It's hard to imagine the vote representing a plebiscite on the "extreme left" health care reform bill when Massachusetts citizens already have a health care system which is more progressive than anything being floated presently. Any single race is always dependent on the characters involved, in this case Martha Coakley who, by most accounts, ran a terribly lackadaisical campaign expecting to cruise to victory.