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Late Night: It’s Gonna Be Alright

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Among the nominees for most schadenfreude-inducing/hilariously over-the-top response to this week’s election results, James Wolcott offers the following, from longtime wingnut blogger Jeff Goldstein:

One other thing, and I’m serious about this:  consider some sort of identification, a kind of marker, that lets others of your kind know who you are and where you stand implicitly.  Get over your aversion to tattoos; a small “live free or die” or “don’t tread on me” somewhere on your person might just one day save you…

Because make no mistake.  They’ll be coming.  They have to.  It’s just a matter of how long it takes before the revolution starts and the country divides into factions.

Which is amusingly paranoid, but not entirely different from this:

… voting third party or even just honestly portraying Obama’s policy architecture is a good way to identify to ourselves and each other who actually has the integrity to not cave to bullying. Then the task starting after the election is to build this network of organized people with intellectual and political integrity into a group who understands how to move the levers of power across industry, government, media and politics. We need to put ourselves into the position to be able to run the government.

After all, if a political revolution came tomorrow, could those who believe in social justice and climate change actually govern?

The latter is from Matt Stoller’s “The Progressive Case Against Obama,” which appeared in Salon a couple weeks ago.  I’d like to think that now, with the election having passed and emotions beginning to cool, that we won’t see much more of this nuclear-winter survivalist tone from either side of the political spectrum.

The Stoller example, although far less extreme, is more pertinent here since this blog (and its comments sections) has seen more than its share of fighting over whether Barack Obama is merely disappointingly centrist or some kind of political Antichrist sent to destroy the progressive movement.  Last week, Stoller referred to those from the left hoping to “hold Obama accountable after working to reelect him” as “loser liberals” — a sentiment at least partially shared by David Dayen here in writing about organized labor’s post-election lobbying efforts.

Now, I’m more of an armchair analyst than an activist, but this doesn’t make sense to me.  Regardless of who did or didn’t vote for him, Obama is the president… and lobbying him (and the equally unreliable Democrats in Congress) is the only game in town when it comes to influencing legislation.

Are Stoller and those who share his beliefs going to stew in a funk of self-pity and stop trying to pressure Obama?  If not, what’s the point in quibbling whether people who are pushing for the same goals as you are sufficiently pure?  A focus on castigating and excommunicating infidels doesn’t seem to me like any way to build a progressive majority, which I presume is the goal, rather than mere hipster-leftist posturing.

What does seem helpful in the long term is what Obama demonstrated through his successful re-election campaign: the existence of, guess what, a durable progressive-friendly majority like that foreseen by Ruy Teixeira and John Judis a decade ago.  Had Romney won, no one would be talking about that, but instead it’s being quickly accepted as an established fact.

Now, you might say, those voters were duped — the president they voted for doesn’t really share their goals, and will betray them in the months to come.  Even so, the goal for 2016 should be clear… namely, to nominate and elect someone who is worthy of progressive support, because it’s a philosophy that can win.  And that should be the case no matter who you voted for this past Tuesday.

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Swopa has been sharing prescient, if somewhat anal-retentive, analysis and garden-variety mockery with Internet readers since 1995 or so, when he began debunking the fantasies of Clinton-scandal aficionados on Usenet. He is currently esconced as the primary poster at Needlenose (