Answer: "Money talks, Bulls**t walks"

Metamars at Open Left asks:

How is it that activists are so often completely ineffective? Even when they espouse a cause acceptable to the majority of the American people? And why do they not take a harder look at just how effective/ineffective they are, so as to evolve toward more effective means of activism? To what extent are activist groups coopted?

Until pols fear you, they won't respect you. Until you can successfully challenge at least a few of the most vulnerable, worst offenders in primaries, why should they?

This has been another edition of "simple answers to simple questions."

Forum Categories: 

primaries, 2 party system

I think they are shocked because supposedly Obama amassed that big money through small donors, yet so far at least on economics, the big money got their way.

I think 95% of those up for re-election won, mainly due to the house seats.

It's also who they pick, if anyone bothers to challenge in a primary. Ned Lamont, while really not that bad, simply did not have solid strong positions on a host of issues that are in the Populist majority.

In many house races either the other candidate has zero money or even worse they don't even bother to push for a debate. I'm thinking of Zoe Lofgren, a truly bought and paid for corporate representative in California, Silicon valley. She is pushing for more guest worker Visas and her opponent literally had zero campaign funds, never even got out once to even speak.

She is notorious as a corporate tool, yet gets the immigration subcommittee chair, ignores what is going on in tech labor 100%, just pushing the corporate agenda through that subcommittee.

She won with 75% or so of the vote.

Tons of these examples and then even worse, the real power in Congress is who chairs the committees, subcommittees since bills go there to basically die. These chairs refuse to bring them up for a vote to put them on the House/Senate floor and if that isn't enough the House and Senate leadership control the floor on which bills will even be brought up for a vote.

and if that is not enough, even when a bill passes both houses, it's possible the corporate lobbyists will get their conferees who are supposed to iron out the differences between House and Senate versions of bills but instead often slip in corporate lobbyist written agenda or remove something corporate lobbyist do not like.

They did this to Bernie Sanders scholarship for S&T by increasing H-1B fees amendment. No brainer right? Increase the fees by $1200 per Visa to fund a scholarship college program in the sciences. Passed overwhelmingly both houses and the conferees, doing the corporate lobbyist bidding, ripped it out of the bill.

Democracy in action when both houses can pass something overwhelmingly yet it is still ripped out of a bill before signing.

I think beyond the primaries, challenging the seniority, legislation system within Congress might help Democratize it. If a bill has 200 cosponsors in the house yet the house chair will not let that bill come up for a vote, something is very, very wrong. That's not Democracy in action, that's 1 or a few people dictating legislation.

On the other hand, Jim Webb was drafted and he has really strong credentials plus has truly Populist positions and it didn't hurt George Allen got busted in a racial slur. Another is John Tester, what I would say is another Populist. If one gets really good candidates with positions, representation that the people want, they can win.

But this year in the Oregon 5th, you had a corporate type Democrat, and I'm not kidding, he was more worried about 70,000 illegal immigrants losing their jobs than legal Oregon residents and some guy who dumped his girlfriend off with money in hand at an abortion clinic, while claiming he was "Pro life", plus went on a Cuban junket to party but claiming it was for humanitarian reasons. So of course no one checked out any 3rd parties, which often are even more whacked out and voted for least objectionable candidate, which was the corporate farming lobby, pharmaceutical lobby D candidate.

open left, original link

It's a quick hit on Open Left and those Partisans are now blasting his post so it might get deleted, especially because it's in the quick hit (kind of like the Instapopulist here but with tighter rules)

original post he's quoting.

On Obama, I sure tried to write many posts on real votes, money, policy and so on and the Obamatrons would blast and they even put out lies on Hillary, which I also confronted.

Didn't matter and now everyone is surprised. Not that Hillary is a real Progressive at all and due to Bill, I cannot blame people for confusing Hillary as Bill, but bottom line she had better positions and policy than Obama for working America and now she will be gagged and hog tied, out of the Domestic agenda way, as Sec. of State.

Now as I recall wasn't it her Iraq vote that had the left so upset?

So, what does that say about Obama when that was a major campaign difference.

So why can't activists and their supporters figure this out?

"Until pols fear you, they won't respect you. Until you can successfully challenge at least a few of the most vulnerable, worst offenders in primaries, why should they?"

While I basically agree with this, it still begs the question. Why don't activists devote more of their energy to displacing incumbents who don't give a hoot about whatever their issue is? If they are, indeed, coopted (as Gary Null has claimed in the case of the environmental movement; BTW, I don't interpret his remarks as meaning every last environmental activist leader has been coopted), then it makes sense that they would avoid rocking any electoral boats, and instead get their followers involved in feel-good but accomplish-nothing demonstrations and actions.

But if they're not coopted, then why haven't they figured out your "simple answer to a simple question?"

welcome to EP metamars

If you create an account you don't go to the moderation queue and get a host of features.

I was asking this question during the primaries, extensively and I argued for not endorsing candidates until it was assuredly those candidates had Progressive/Populist positions and would stand by them.

In terms of Obama, I never saw such brazen falsehoods, in the blogs, especially on his position on trade as well as falsehoods on Hillary's position. They constantly tried to turn her into Bill when I saw that the real Corporate Billites were in the Obama camp. I'm not saying Hillary was a Progressive but the idea that Obama was/is? To me, pure marketing hype, buying into slogan, "the hot new thing public relations frenzy" denial.

I watched the entire blogosphere turn into Obamanuts and even worse, anyone who pointed out policy positions, the money behind the scenes, white papers, economic advisers and their backgrounds was attacked. I never got into the blog wars like others did but all of this did prompt creation of EP. We needed a true economics community blog, focused on facts, focused on votes, on policy, on bills and not whatever this other stuff was.

I have no answers as to why the blogosphere just blindly endorses to the point they become a PR arm of the Democratic political machine.

I don't know why people would type trillions of bits, give their hard earned cash to candidates without being sure of real positions and I especially do not understand the partisanship over policy positions, except for the fact that Congress is really controlled by a few, the leadership and the Committee chairs. But still, Pelosi isn't a Progressive either and Harry Reid? Please.

I don't understand why they even use the term centrist when it should be corporatist.

and I finally don't understand why bloggers do not simply draft candidates themselves. Jim Webb was drafted by bloggers and it worked out well but it's like that time period is now forgotten.

Simple answer is.... changed hands. What do you think Obama spent his dough on.


You cannot overestimate the ignorance of such as Kos, Bowers, BTD, Jeralyn and Jane. All of whom I've met and discussed this issue with.

None of them has the education, history does have something to say; skilset, none are good writers; training, journalism...what's that? They achieve their prominence by the simple fact of being first on the scene.

Not because they are particularly suited to the peculiar blend of analysis, writing skills and historical knowledge that blogging really requires.

And of course they really, really want all the important Villagers, such as PeLousy & Co. to like them... to give them access. I was kicked of dumbass Kid Oakland's blogger's list for asking what the BFD was about getting accredited to the DNC convention. He did this by private email as he really, really didn't want to have public conversation about how special access at the DNC might 'inluence' his prize pack of bloviators.

It's really no different today, except in a few spots, in 'Left Blogistan' than is was in pre-revolutionary Boston except...

...the Founding Fathers are, so far, missing.

The mechanism for progressives to draft and fund their own candidates does now exist and is not yet totally under the control of bloviators such as Kos and Bowers.

If the Obamanation fails, for whatever reason, the progressive movement will be there.

It's not going away no matter how much the Upper Tenth and their hoodies wish it too. Financial inequality has now become too great for that to happen.

'When you see a rattlesnake poised to strike, you do not wait until he has struck to crush him.'

most people on EP

have no idea who you are talking about, since this is an economics blog. Let's just not blast others and/or bringing the blog wars here. We're not them and on top of it we're not a political blog per say. We're an economics blogs, focused on the facts and one of the reasons EP exists so we do focus in on all things econ and not personalities or other bloggers and so on.

A parliament system

would be a good start. At least then 3rd and 4th parties would have a chance.
Of course Big Money will always get its say. Especially when so many people in this country still trust the government (Look! Over there! A terrorist!).

So who gets to be PM?

Harry Reid or Nancy Pelosi?

I agree with that

In this country it's like the constitution is the bible, but I think the Presidency has way too much power, although JV's comment below gave me shudders!