There were a few of us after the midterms working hard to define Steny Hoyer (photo), Rahm Emanuel and the compromised Dems to keep them from expanding their power by claiming credit for the midterm results, which we believe happened more in spite of, rather than because of, their efforts.
We took a lot of crap for that.
A. Lot. Of. Crap.
Many people felt we were criticizing Dems gratuitously and foolishly when we should have been celebrating the victories. People were tired, worn out. They wanted a rest, an end to the intraparty fighting. Heck, we were all tired, though there were some among us who felt the post election narrative was as important a fight as the election fight. Others said, no, it's time to start governing, rewarding good behavior, giving the benefit of the doubt. There were long, passionate discussions, online and off. Nerves frayed, and then some.
Okay, it's all water under the bridge. I'm not here to say, "We told you so." I'm here to make a different point.
Here's my point: let's not oversell our victories, and let's not underestimate the strength and nature of the forces against us, even in the Democratic Party. Moreover, let's not ever convince ourselves we can take a rest, or that criticizing Democrats is inherently a problem. It's all situational, case by case, earned or unearned.
Jane made a comment last night that really sparked my interest: on the one hand, the right wing is melting down over the GOP corporatist position on immigration, cracking the coalition with the grass roots racists. On our side, we control, supposedly, both houses of congress, and yet the Blue Dogs and other corporatists (led by Steny Hoyer, abetted by a handful of Dem senators) struck a deal with the White House to capitulate on the occupation funding just as we had the greater leverage and momentum on our side.
The same party is winning both fights, but it's not the Dems or the GOP.
I wrote a post right before the election that was a little more weedy than David Sirota's subsequent description of the Money Party versus the People Party. In it, I argued we actually have three parties. I'd like to recommend people take a look at that again, because I think it holds up rather well in light of the events of this week. If we're going to be the reality based people, let's take another cold eyed, hard view at the realities we face, and who the actors are, etc.
We're collectively, in the netroots, very good at documentation. I think we need to keep doing a lot of careful documentation on all these players and forces. Most of all, no fandom or personality cults. It's all about behavior, and being as ready to call bullshit as say "good job." The moment we're taken for granted is the moment we're irrelevant.
Anyway, that's all. Hope I haven't offended anyone. Let's use this week to review a bit, refocus where necessary and sharpen our collective impact.
Oh, and lookee here: a bit of documentation. Ask yourself, if the Democratic leadership controls the legislative agenda, how does a piece of imperial occupation legislation even come to a vote if a majority of Democratic voting members (in the House, at least) later votes against it, including the Speaker of the House? What's going on here, and do those votes against the bill once the bill actually came to the floor really mean what people think they mean?