Should We Wear Colored Ribbons, Too?

This just strikes me as pathetic (and I know I am going to get flamed for this):

Virtual March for Real Health Care Reform

Take Action!

Sign up to join the march

When you sign up, we’ll prepare faxes in your name and send them to your senators on the day of the march (click to view the fax we’ll send.) We’ll also send you reminder to call your senators. We will send you updates on this and other important campaigns by email.

No wonder we are losing to the teabaggers. They drive hundreds of miles and stand in inclement weather to voice their displeasure, give the news media lots of film to show on the nightly news, and do it over and over and over again complete with signs and a real presence (even if they lie about the actual numbers). We’re going to have a “virtual march.” We’ll deluge some poor unpaid jackass intern with strongly worded faxes!

We can’t even be bothered to get off our asses and march. Go slacktivism! Is there a facebook group for me to join, too? Will there be magnets for my car?

And don’t get me wrong, at least MoveOn is doing SOMETHING. And for the record, I blame the administration for some of this. Just WTF are they doing with OFA? Saving it for something really important, like Blanche Lincoln’s re-election effort?

206 replies
  1. 1
    ricky says:

    Well, considering what happened to you in inclement weather, your average intelligent left leaning individual has to worry about balance.

    Small flame for a small insult to the blogAlGore.

  2. 2
    DougL (frmrly: Conservatively Liberal) says:

    Not by me. I saw that a few hours ago and almost commented but decided to pass as I figured you or someone else here would notice it.

    Pathetic. The Teabaggers have won by appearing. For real. Right. In. The. Politicians. Faces.

    FAIL.

  3. 3
    Genine says:

    Well, we need to do both. Every time I call my senators and my congresswoman, I am one of the few (if not the only) pro-health care reform call they’ve had. We do need to call a lot and fax.

    But, you have a point, John. Marching would help, too. I think the issue is we (those of us who are pro-health care reform) have no message and/or action discipline.

  4. 4
    Dimmic Rat says:

    Well why don’t you suggest a course of action? Marching isn’t really that effective and this time of year, not close enough to elections to make the pols feel the heat and not close enough to a holiday to be able to drum up large numbers.

    We have to keep the pressure on even if it’s something unremarkable like a fax campaign.

  5. 5
    El Tiburon says:

    Agreed. These on-line charades are worthless IMHO.

    No one really listens or cares.

    It seems the only thing that really gets a response are the on-line money bombs.

    But even when progressives show up to protest, the MSM does not report on it, at least not nearly to the degree they do the teabaggers.

    Perhaps we can sign on to fly a virtual plane into an insurance company. Apologies for the poor taste.

  6. 6
    MikeJ says:

    I seem to remember millions of people around the country marching against the invasion of Iraq and it barely made the news.

    DFH marching = dog bites man.

  7. 7
    ruemara says:

    This is exactly why we’re losing to teabaggers. Those fat, slovenly, ignoramus’ (ignorami?) may not have a clue or a good idea, but they are there. We are playing around when we need boots on the ground and fire in the belly. And no, fucking Obama is not supposed to motivate us to do it, we are supposed to motivate ourselves to do it, since we want some actual change.

  8. 8
    Mike Kay says:

    This is ALL Obama’s fault!

    /Firebagger

  9. 9

    No flames here – I had assumed this was right wing spam, designed to bury people in inertia. It cannot be real. Whoever thinks *faxes* are going to get anyone to Pass. The. Damned. Bill. ???

    just make sure someone spell-checks the placards before the nightly news or it’ll be another asymmetric MSM talking point.

    Wing nuts don’t need to spell because they have guns and god on their side. Libruls must spell rite caus otherwise they’s all morans…

  10. 10
    DougL (frmrly: Conservatively Liberal) says:

    Marching isn’t really that effective…

    Nothing like giving up before even starting. I am sure a lot of black folks are happy MLK and a lot of others didn’t feel that way about marching.

  11. 11
    ricky says:

    Hey, didn’t virtual marches lead to passage of Cooper-Church and an end to the secret end to the War in Vietnam?

  12. 12
    TooManyJens says:

    A whole hell of a lot of us drove and marched and stood in inclement weather and all that jazz to protest against the Iraq War, and it made not one goddamn bit of difference because we didn’t fit into the dominant political and media narratives of the day.

    Protesting gets the teabaggers taken seriously because TPTB in the media want to take them seriously. If MoveOn has determined that protesting for progressive issues won’t get things done and wants to try something different, I can’t blame them.

  13. 13
    John Cole says:

    @Mike Kay: I do blame Obama and his team for this. What exactly was the point of OFA?

  14. 14
    ChrisWWW says:

    I guess we should just blog about it instead?

  15. 15
    Mike Kay says:

    Why would I want to march when I could hang out at GOS all day and gripe about Obama being a secret muslim republican and drool over old photos of Hamsher?

  16. 16
    cat48 says:

    I’ve always thought that everytime the baggers showed up that we should have showed up with more folks a wk later with signs–“Give us health care now!”. Now it could be “PASS THE DAMN BILL!!!” I have mentioned this to the local Dem club and they just shrug or something.

    It wasn’t close to an election when the baggers showed up. I don’t do virtual when actual presence is needed. I’ve marched a lot in the old times. I would drive to DC.

  17. 17
    Dollared says:

    Maybe the problem is the lack of theater in the marches. We DFHs work really, really hard to be reasonable. We haven’t tried dozens of large pictures of people who died for lack of coverage, and signs blaming Eric Cantor for 20,000 deaths/year, and Cheney’s picture with Abu Ghraib photos, and so forth.

    You don’t get coverage for being reasonable, folks….

  18. 18
    Joshua says:

    What colour should my twibbon be? If Twitter can free Iran, it can pass HCR, right?

  19. 19
  20. 20
    freelancer says:

    OT – and this is redundant, but fuck Liz Cheney.

  21. 21
    John Cole says:

    @ChrisWWW: Yeah. I’ll stage a one man march.

  22. 22
    MikeJ says:

    @Dollared: I’ve never heard anybody complain that marches put on by liberals were ruined by being too reasonable.

  23. 23
    Mike Kay says:

    @John Cole:

    last I heard, they attended all the town hall meetings, they just didn’t get on the evening news, because they didn’t call anyone a nazi.

    lord knows they went out and canvassed for that loser coakley in miserable weather.

    plus, I’m not sure about the optics of Obama asking his own organization to march on his own congress. I mean, not even Rove asked the fundies to march on congress to privatize social security or the dubai ports deal.

  24. 24
    ChrisWWW says:

    TooManyJens QFT:
    “A whole hell of a lot of us drove and marched and stood in inclement weather and all that jazz to protest against the Iraq War, and it made not one goddamn bit of difference because we didn’t fit into the dominant political and media narratives of the day.”

    Lefty protests don’t get covered anymore, unless they are disruptive in some way. It’s the result of a culture that doesn’t consider hippies to be Real Americans.

  25. 25
    Brick Oven Bill says:

    A Health Care Reformer protesting health insurance companies, George Bush, Enron, and Arthur Anderson went Kamikaze on behalf of his cause just yesterday. Amy Bishop, another Health Care Reformer blew away college people earlier in the week. Then there is Bill Ayres.

    The key to Teabagger success is to maintain an even keel. Sun Tzu teaches Teabaggers:

    “Hence to fight and conquer in all your battles is not supreme excellence; supreme excellence consists in breaking the enemy’s resistance without fighting.”

    Teabaggers thus fight neither through faxes, Kamikazes, firearms, or bombs. Teabaggers fight through Reason.

  26. 26
    Ella in NM says:

    “We can’t even be bothered to get off our asses and march. Go slacktivism! Is there a facebook group for me to join, too? Will there be magnets for my car?”

    Word.

  27. 27
    Jules says:

    They drive hundreds of miles and stand in inclement weather to voice their displeasure

    Not a flame, but I would point out that a good number of those Teabaggers get on a free bus provided for them. A large number of those teabaggers are either self-employed or retired and do not have to worry about getting time off work. It is a bit harder when your side is made up of working families with children.

    Not trying to excuse our lack of feet on the ground, but there were two health care reform rallies here and both my husband and I had to work.

  28. 28
    TooManyJens says:

    I just read TFA and realized that MoveOn is actually going to be sending a bunch of identical faxes in people’s names. That *is* pathetic. At least if they were encouraging people to send their own, they might get looked at instead of immediately recycled.

  29. 29
    cat48 says:

    @Dollared:

    Exactly. I can put Hitler mustaches on the current Repugs pictures. I would even do some of the MSM. The more provocative the better.

  30. 30
    Annie says:

    @TooManyJens:

    I disagree. Visibility is ALL the teabaggers have. Their public protests are what made this supposed “movement.” Without the public protests, no “movement” exists.

    It is time to have a counter-protest — real, not virtual — with thousands of protesters. One strong counter public protest will do more to dung the teabaggers than thousands of faxes and emails that no one sees or reads, and no media can film…

    Just because previous protests did or did not make a difference is NO excuse to not protest now. Narratives change daily, and strategies for public action change depending on need and what captures the public’s imagination, and media attention.

    Protests are in — and it is time that we showed up.

  31. 31
    freelancer says:

    Okay, this is something that I’m finding completely ridiculous. In my RSS feed, between Amato, Media Matters, Think Progress, and Dave Weigel, anyone watching CPAC or paying attention to the headlines being generated should be playing some version of BJ Lexicon Bingo.

    Zombie Lie should be the free square.

  32. 32
    TooManyJens says:

    @Annie: I hope you’re right, and if there’s a protest I can get to, I’ll show up. I’m just really, really bitter.

  33. 33
    Violet says:

    Liberals have marched forever. Liberals marching is not news.

    If the left wants their protests to get noticed they need to get a memorable theme. Maybe everyone dresses like a duck – “The only doctor I can afford is a quack!” That might get them some press. But standard issue lib protest, complete with the usual tree-huggers and vegans wearing hemp clothing? Yawn.

  34. 34
    drillfork says:

    @MikeJ:

    I seem to remember millions of people around the country marching against the invasion of Iraq and it barely made the news.

    This. A thousand times this.

  35. 35
    slag says:

    @MikeJ:

    I seem to remember millions of people around the country marching against the invasion of Iraq and it barely made the news.
    __
    DFH marching = dog bites man.

    Yes indeedy. We lack a gimmick. And I don’t mean that sarcastically. Several thousand progs marched on the capitol here recently, and nothing came from it. We don’t even have a “news” network to help organize and promote us.

    In short, we are severely lacking in market penetration.

  36. 36
    Just Some Fuckhead says:

    No wonder we are losing to the teabaggers.

    Please, I know teabaggers. I can reduce them to tears by simply threatening to have the government take over their medicare.

    The only way we lose to teabaggers is by accepting conventional political realities.

  37. 37
    LT says:

    When your were still on the Right you probably mocked the enormous marches WE had against Bush and his wars. Not what you’re part of WE you mock us for not marching enough, and praise the baggers for marching.

    Am I wrong? And if not – can you retract this nonsense?

  38. 38
    LT says:

    I’d like to just say that the “This” thing feels like something out of a Burger King commercial.

  39. 39
    ThatLeftTurnInABQ says:

    @El Tiburon:

    It seems the only thing that really gets a response are the on-line money bombs.
     
    But even when progressives show up to protest, the MSM does not report on it, at least not nearly to the degree they do the teabaggers.

    The MSM is a huge roadblock, but I think we’ve made considerable strides over the last decade in delegitimizing the MSM. I worked my ass off during the Cheney years, not in public protests which are easily dismissed and marginalized in the media, but in slow, quiet, patient persuasion 1-on-1 with everybody I could get into a fact based discussion with about what was going on. Which is something you have to tailor to the biases and viewpoints of each and every individual, in a non-dogmatic way. And I know it made a difference – I could see and hear people change their opinions slowly over time, as the years wore on. You have to be like water wearing away a rock, but it does make a difference.

  40. 40
    Mike Kay says:

    @LT:

    Hmmmmmmm… burger king……

    http://cakeheadlovesevil.files.....brooke.jpg

  41. 41
    LT says:

    @Macha Maguire:

    No flames here – I had assumed this was right wing spam, designed to bury people in inertia. It cannot be real. Whoever thinks faxes are going to get anyone to Pass. The. Damned. Bill. ???

    Unbelievable. This place has been a nonstop call to make calls for weeks and the call to get faxes sent is somehow silly.

    I joined, and I called Wyden’s office this morning. You griped.

  42. 42
    John Cole says:

    @LT: No. I mocked them. I have a healthy distaste if mobs.

    But I was wrong about a lot of shit then, and I can’t re-apologize every for everything any time I post something.

    And I’m right. And I will join any march.

  43. 43
    ChrisWWW says:

    The “Pass the Damn Bill” crowd ignores the unpopularity of the bill even with liberals. By bargaining away the big liberal ideas, the Washington Democrats have drained the pool of enthusiastic support.

    To put it another way, hippies and hippie sympathizers aren’t going to march on behalf of insurance companies. They would have marched for the public option.

  44. 44
    cat48 says:

    You can reach a lot of the MSM via twitter. We could twitter bomb them to make sure they know the plan and make it clear we expect it to be covered for once.

  45. 45
    EvolutionaryDesign says:

    slacktivism

    I think you have yourself a new tag here.

    Just WTF are they doing with OFA?

    As far as this – Rolling Stone has a good article (not by Taibbi) about where OFA has been lately.

    href=http://www.rollingstone.com/politics/story/31961846/no_we_cant

  46. 46
    Joel says:

    I equate the teabaggers to the WTO protesters in Seattle several years back. They got plenty of coverage, and were just about as unhinged.

    The thing is, there’s a lot of underlying sympathy in this country for the teabaggers, and Fox News is a symptom of that, not the cause. Populism is a scary fucking beast. I don’t know what to do about it, honestly.

  47. 47
    Just Some Fuckhead says:

    I’d love to drop everything and go activisting but if I lose this job, I lose my health insurance.

  48. 48
    Violet says:

    @ChrisWWW:

    To put it another way, hippies and hippie sympathizers aren’t going to march on behalf of insurance companies. They would have marched for the public option.

    Why weren’t there marches and protests organized, then? The tea party stuff goes back a year at least. Counter protests could easily have been organized to support the public option or good health care reform or whatever.

    The left has been asleep at the wheel and the Dems have been busy texting their friends at the insurance companies. No one has been driving.

  49. 49
    Annie says:

    @TooManyJens:

    I understand. And, I blame the media for not looking closer at the teabaggers, and the numerous inconsistencies in their positions, and the racism that permeates everything they do — from what they say, to their meetings and conventions, to invited speakers, etc.

    However, I argue, that by controlling the “streets,” teabaggers make it seen that they have more supporters than they really do. And, at this point, that is a win-win.

    Until we start being visible — really visible — we have effectively turned over the “face” of protest to them. And, that is unacceptable.

  50. 50
    cat48 says:

    @ChrisWWW:

    I will march for health care that covers 30M people. I have good health care, but millions of people don’t. I’m marching for the uninsured, not the insurance companies.

  51. 51
    ThatLeftTurnInABQ says:

    @ChrisWWW:

    The “Pass the Damn Bill” crowd ignores the unpopularity of the bill even with liberals.

    Please can we stop with framing HCR issues in this binary either for-or-against-the-bill way. There is no such thing as a unified coaltion “against the bill” who all want the same thing, which is what this “the bill is unpopular” frame implies to anyone who isn’t already a HCR policy geek. Lots of folks want nothing – no HCR reform at all, and lots of folks want much more than what is being debated in Congress.

    Every time we adopt a right wing frame to try to push mildly center-left policy, somewhere in hades a devil earns his horns.

  52. 52
    Just Some Fuckhead says:

    And for the record, I blame the administration for some of this. Just WTF are they doing with OFA?

    Before I unsubscribed, they were telling me how awesome we are all doing.

  53. 53
    LT says:

    @John Cole:

    You have a healthy distaste for mobs, and did in fact mock the DFH in the Bush years, and you’re mocking the Dems now for not marching. Isn’t that what I said? And can’t you see why that doesn’t look quite straight?

    And you do, regardless, want to march now?

    (And if by “No, I did mock them” you mean the teabaggers – you’re not now in this post. And I’m not asking you to apologize for anything. This regards this post, and the positive attitude to the baggers, mostly, and how it squares with the past, is all. That’s not unfair.)

  54. 54
    Just Some Fuckhead says:

    @ThatLeftTurnInABQ:

    Every time we adopt a right wing frame

    Can we drop the using right wing frames meme while we’re junking shit? Because that one has well and truly been beaten to fucking death.

  55. 55
    Violet says:

    @Annie:

    Until we start being visible—really visible—we have effectively turned over the “face” of protest to them. And, that is unacceptable.

    This is true, but liberals protesting has been happening forever. I’m sympathetic to the causes and yet I roll my eyes at yet another lefty protest full of hemp-wearing, tree-hugging, dreadlocked types. It’s BORING.

    The tea partiers got press party because it was new and different. Old, white people in strange costumes stand in groups and yell! Wow, that’s weird! I want to watch! Look at those crazy white old people!

    The left doesn’t have the novelty effect. So unless they come up with a theme that grabs people – and for crissakes, PLEASE tell the grab bag of every other leftist cause to sit this one out so the message doesn’t get diluted as usually happens – then I don’t see how yet another protest is going to get much attention.

    Unless the protest is huge – Obama inauguration numbers. Outside of that, it won’t get covered.

  56. 56
    Pangloss says:

    Blanche Lincoln is no Reagan, that’s for sure.

  57. 57
    Clifton says:

    I don’t think I have read a major blog continuously encourage going door to door. OFA has. This is one of my biggest gripes with progressive blogs, they are considered activists, but aren’t really active where it matters most. We look down on the people who don’t agree with us. Hell we hate people who agree with us 70% of the time. Calling your rep repeatedly is okay but educating your neighbor is real activism. Bitching about being hippie punched may be cathartic, but it doesn’t encourage sympathetic low-info individuals to listen and act.

  58. 58
    ChrisWWW says:

    @Violet:
    The tea party protests picked up steam during the lost summer of 2009 where Sen. Max Baucus played footsie with Republicans for months. There wasn’t a bill or a plan for Democratic supporters to coalesce around until late September. At that point there was still no Republican support and the Public Option was gone. The House didn’t even pass their bill until November.

    Sure, some more counter-protests would have been nice. But there was nothing for our side to say. “Our health care bill will might maybe hopefully cover more people! It might maybe hopefully have a public option!”

  59. 59
    Lolis says:

    Don’t kid yourself. Liberals will show up for health care but the media doesn’t cover it. In Austin many months ago we had 2 K people at a Saturday rally and forum. The Tea Party movement is getting pimped by Fox News, that then pressures the other cables to cover it. It is a vast right wing conspiracy.

  60. 60
    bemused says:

    Millions marched in protest of the Iraq War. How much did the media cover (or should I say not cover?) those marches compared to their coverage of teabagger events which stretch back to last summer’s townhalls?

  61. 61
    Brick Oven Bill says:

    The Western metallic civilizations express music through the Octave. The Eastern metallic civilizations express music through the Pentatonic scale. In the West, advancements have been made through the Seven Liberal Arts and Sciences.

    Sun Tzu teaches the Teabagger of the East (parallels inserted by me):

    “In respect of military method, we have, firstly, Measurement(Geometry); secondly, Estimation of quantity (Arithmetic); thirdly, Calculation (Logic); fourthly, Balancing of chances (Rhetoric); fifthly, Victory.”

    Those seeking Obama money from his stash are guided more by sensation than by reflection. So it sucks to be them.

  62. 62
    cat48 says:

    The prez is in Vegas, baby, selling health care right now. “We must pass health care, now, this year.” He’s getting a standing O.

  63. 63
    kay says:

    @EvolutionaryDesign:

    OFA are holding organizing meetings. The meeting here is March 4th, and it’s at a mall, which is sort of odd.

    Anyway, I rsvp’d, and I’ll go. I recognize that March 4th is after the health care reform February forum week but that’s all I know.

  64. 64
    slag says:

    @Violet:

    Why weren’t there marches and protests organized, then? The tea party stuff goes back a year at least. Counter protests could easily have been organized to support the public option or good health care reform or whatever.
    __
    The left has been asleep at the wheel and the Dems have been busy texting their friends at the insurance companies. No one has been driving.

    We haven’t been asleep at the wheel. We can’t even find the wheel. Every wheel that we grab onto does nothing to drive the car. That’s not a complaint; that’s a reality. Money, letters, phone calls, marches…no wheels there. Our ideas are apparently bigger than our ability to achieve. Which wouldn’t be bad if our ideas were wrong. But they’re not. You’d think being right would be the biggest wheel there is. But as we learn frequently, that’s not true. I, for one, am still looking for the wheel.

  65. 65
    goblue72 says:

    I remember those Iraq War protests. I remember that the anti-American, anti-Semitic communist nut-tards of A.N.S.W.E.R. were always at the middle of those things and played a central role in organizing those marches. Which meant marching in those protests meant standing along-side left wing hatemongers who most normal liberals I knew didn’t want to have anything to do with.

    It also meant it was easy to perceive those marches as a messy amalgamation of left wing rants and tropes: Free Tibet! End the Occupation of Palestine! Stop the WTO and GMO Foods! Free Mumia!

  66. 66
    ChrisWWW says:

    @ThatLeftTurnInABQ:
    You’re right that the situation isn’t simply binary. But I don’t think you can deny that the proposed legislation is heavily compromised by concessions to big business and devoid of a nice simple talking point that liberals could proudly tout.

    For instance: Sick of greedy insurance companies? Now you can buy into Medicare.

    Instead we have to pretend to be happy that people will be forced to buy insurance from the same greedy companies we’ve spent the last decade railing against. Woo!

    Seriously, if the Democrats wanted public support for this bill, they sure didn’t act like it.

  67. 67
    bystander says:

    @TooManyJens: Yeah, what you said.

    There is a real difference in how the media treats left-leaning activist efforts and right-leaning activist efforts. I’ve done street corner demonstration of health care and my own local newspaper won’t cover it… unless a bunch of epithet screaming keep the government out of my Medicare folks show up. Might as well take the effort directly to legislators since a principal purpose of a public display is negated by media indifference.

    @John Cole: There’s no point in flaming you when, it seems to me, that you gin up your desire to mock something on the left for the sake of mocking the left. Cole, imo, you simply have not yet figured out how the deck stacks for “liberal” ideas, or “left-leaning” popular policies. I assume you’ll get there eventually, in the same way you sussed out modern “conservatism.” No point in raising my own blood pressure as I watch you muddle your way to that understanding, however.

  68. 68
    taylormattd says:

    No offense John, but you really shouldn’t lump OFA in with other organizations. OFA, in fact, has been the most active and successful organization in terms of mobilizing volunteers to actually get off their asses and phonebank for healthcare, the same way it mobilized volunteer during the campaign. They managed to galvantize over 300,000 people to call Congress urging passave of the HCR bills on the eve of the vote.

    They are really one of the only organizations that is actually accomplishing anything. Which, of course, is why the organization is loathed by Jane Hamsher and her firebaggers.

  69. 69
    EvolutionaryDesign says:

    @kay: Nice. Hopefully this means they recognize they’ve been piddling in the snow far too long.

  70. 70
    The Raven says:

    100,000 lefties march, and don’t get coverage. A little tiny group of wingnuts march, and they get coverage. John, you’re looking in the wrong place.

  71. 71
    Violet says:

    @ChrisWWW:

    Sure, some more counter-protests would have been nice. But there was nothing for our side to say. “Our health care bill will might maybe hopefully cover more people! It might maybe hopefully have a public option!”

    Reality didn’t stop the teabaggers. Remember the “Keep the government out of my Medicare!” signs? There wasn’t a bill, but that didn’t stop the teabaggers from protesting it.

    Big protests FOR healthcare reform might have gotten some attention. Figure out where the insurance execs live – protest in the nearest park or on the street. Protest their exorbitant compensation. Fight the “death panel” meme with “insurance company execs as executioners” images (bring mock guillotines). Organize nurses and doctors to speak. Bus in people who don’t have insurance to fill in the crowd.

    For added fun, bring in young people who can’t get a job and can’t get health insurance and give them signs that say, “Give me some of your Medicare!” Or have people in their 30’s with signs saying, “I pay for your Medicare – Time to Share!”

    So much could have been done that wasn’t. Stuff can still be done, but it’s a lot later in the game.

  72. 72
    EvolutionaryDesign says:

    Gotta add my voice to those pointing out the the Iraq War protest marches were largely ignored (not just by the MSM, but Democratic legislators). However, if you want a more recent example, a few thousand protestors marched on D.C. for gay equality, and that was ignored COMPLETELY by the MSM, especially FOX. And this was just a week after a much smaller Tea Party protest was pimped to high heaven by the scumbags in Murdoch’s Sex Dungeon.

  73. 73
    kay says:

    @EvolutionaryDesign:

    I went to the local office of my (GOP) House member early in the health care debacle process at OFA’s request. They didn’t just ask me, of course. I assume they asked millions of people, whatever.

    That didn’t actually go well, as the staffer was 1. late for the appointment and 2. snotty and defensive, and it really didn’t get better after that initial bad 30 seconds, but, that may be why I was on the list as likely to attend an organizing meeting.

  74. 74
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Just Some Fuckhead:

    Can we drop the using right wing frames meme while we’re junking shit?

    If people will drop the idiotic “Overton window” argument, then I’ll be glad to drop the right-wing frames argument. It only came up because people kept claiming that they were using Grover Norquist’s arguments so they could “move the Overton window to the left” and it seemed necessary to point out that using the arguments of the right wing wasn’t going to move the fucking window anywhere but further to the right.

  75. 75
    Just Some Fuckhead says:

    @Mnemosyne: “Overton Window” comes up sarcastically more than anything else.

    OTOH, this using right wing frames nonsense is just another effort to use political correctness to stifle dissent. I’ll use any fucking frame I want and if you don’t like it, you can suck my dick.

  76. 76
    James Hare says:

    Some of us gave up on protesting when the powers-that-be ignored us about the Iraq war. I live in the DC area and love me a good protest march, but I just see no point to it. If the protest does not fit the current storyline the press is pimping, it gets little to no coverage. I’ve taken part in so many protests they all run together at this point. Only one of them got any real press coverage, and that was a huge rally before the war. Of course, the press coverage focused on the confrontation between the counter-protesters and the marchers which made the two groups look roughly equal. I think that’s when I really started to lose interest in protesting. The media had a story they wanted to tell, and they told it — regardless of whether it was true or not.

  77. 77
    Sly says:

    Marches, both virtual and physical, are largely ineffective.

    A congressman isn’t going to look out his window at the Capitol on a throng of people and say to themselves, “Man… that’s a lot of people. I better seriously reconsider my position because I could face a tougher reelection if I don’t.” What they’ll say is, “Man… that’s a lot of people. I wonder if any of them are in my district? Oh well… no way of knowing.”

    National politics a contradiction in terms.

  78. 78
    EvolutionaryDesign says:

    @kay: You know, I’m sure I probably got some similar stuff, I just seem to have only retained the copious amounts of fundraising letters I got, continuously claiming that “if only we had more money, we could stop obstructing Republicans”. That shit drove me over the edge, so I kind of stopped looking at their mailers. Perhaps now is the time to take a peek again.

  79. 79
    Cat Lady says:

    I didn’t know anything about the thousands of protesters and the egg throwers at Bush’s first inauguration parade until I saw Fahrenheit 9/11. We should all march – I’ll be there – but we’ll have to find our own media to cover it and have someone other than Alan Grayson and Al Franken speak. And NO BIG PUPPETS!

  80. 80
    EvolutionaryDesign says:

    @kay: BTW, you are a brave soul for venturing onto enemy turf!

  81. 81
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Just Some Fuckhead:

    OTOH, this using right wing frames nonsense is just another effort to use political correctness to stifle dissent.

    Ah, yes, that old boogeyman, “political correctness.” The surest sign of an asshole out there is someone who wonders why he can’t get a free pass to say offensive things to people anymore. Those women who used to laugh at his joke about the perfect girlfriend being three feet tall and having a flat head to put your beer on now give him steely looks and tell him it’s not funny! Stupid political correctness.

  82. 82
    Annie says:

    @Violet:

    I take everyone’s point about past demonstrations. However, something must have worked because Obama was elected, and people across the US clearly united in opposition to another Republican administration

    I also stand by my point that because something hasn’t worked in the past means we shouldn’t consider it now.

    For whatever reason, teabaggers have raised the prominence of public protests. And, it is working.

    It is time we co-opted their strategy, and, at the same time, hold the media accountable for the amount of coverage it gives to our side.

    It is a win-win for us.

    If the media covers a large protest, it immediately provides support to the administration and the Democratic leadership, and lessens the impact the teabaggers (particularly if it is a large protest instead of a redone photo that adds people). And, it changes the Nov. narrative.

    If the media doesn’t cover the protest, this is great material for supportive media to play over and over — for example, why Fox only covers protests favorable to their own interests.

  83. 83
    Just Some Fuckhead says:

    @Mnemosyne: Do you see me looking for a pass, dumbass? Do you think I require your affirmation?

  84. 84
    kay says:

    @EvolutionaryDesign:

    I agree. The constant fundraising is obnoxious. I sort of speed-read email (as I’m sure you do) and I delete it really quickly if it’s not something I’m likely to do.
    I knew I wasn’t making calls to Massachusetts, for example.

  85. 85
    ChrisWWW says:

    @Violet:
    Those are good ideas for sure. And if HCR fails, you’ll get your chance to try and use them next time around. All I’m saying is that it’s understandable – although not necessarily right – that hippies aren’t jazzed about protesting for health care reform.

  86. 86
    gwangung says:

    @Just Some Fuckhead: No more than requiring a pass from you when we think you’re acting like an idiot.

    Use any frame you want. Other people can say anything they want about it.

  87. 87
    geg6 says:

    Well, of course you’re right, John. Just pathetic, this online march thing. Because, of course, those two other health care marches I’ve taken vacation time from work to attend have been so fucking successful.

    This, at least, is something people who can’t take time off work to attend marches that no one covers and no one pays attention to can do. I have marched for things I believed in several times over the years: abortion rights, against the Iraq War, and health care. In the case of two of those (choice and the Iraq War), we had numbers in the 10s of thousands here in Pittsburgh. Surely you remember the breathless coverage and how we changed the political landscape on those issues, right?

    Faxes and phone calls to congressional offices are effective, almost certainly more so than marches.

  88. 88
    Dannie22 says:

    No offense, Mr. Cole, but your blaming Obama because you won’t get off your ass and march? That’s ludicrous. And I think you know that. MLK didn’t need Kennedy’s or LBJ’s permission to march. You have a blog. Organize a march. And if you don’t want to march, just say ” I don’t want to march”. But don’t blame Obama. That’s childish

  89. 89
    ThatLeftTurnInABQ says:

    @ChrisWWW:
    I agree that the messaging from Dems has been very, very bad, with the administration being very much to blame for this (albeit with a huge assist from a hostile news media which simply refuses to allow any Dem who is on message to get anywhere near a camera or a microphone). But it isn’t because there is nothing in the proposed reforms which could be used for messaging, or which liberals could unite behind. In fact there are two very simple messages which we can and should pound on every day:

    (1) The insurance companies want to take your money when you are well and drop you like a hot potato when you get sick. HCR will stop this scam, so you don’t have to worry what might happen if you get sick. No American who already has health insurance should have to worry that they might lose it. We will give you peace of mind and security.

    (2) Every American, regardless of if they are rich or poor, deserves to have health care. Right now the poor and many even of the middle class cannot get anything and are left to die, which is a national disgrace. We will stop this. If you can’t afford health insurance, the govt will help you afford it.

    Are both of these messages overly simplistic? Yes. Do they promise more than the legislation can actually deliver, once you burrow around inside the messy details? Yes. Does that mean we shouldn’t use them? No. The whole point of picking a simple message is that is distills down the essential aspects of a more complex and messy reality in a way that ordinary people can relate to without being policy geeks. And then you hammer it home again and again and again.

    The left seems to determined to avoid that strategy, at the cost of giving up any chance of winning the political debate. We need to understand that policy debates and political debates are two related but different things. The messy details matter in the policy debate, but get in the way of winning a political debate. You have to win the political debate first, before you can even have the policy debate. The intramural battle within the Dems has been all about policy. That is why we are losing the political debate.

  90. 90
    slag says:

    @kay: I made calls to Massachusetts. And felt like an idiot in the process. Part of me wanted to try to put on a Northeastern accent while I was talking to message machines, but the other part of me chickened out.

  91. 91
    Svensker says:

    @MikeJ:

    I seem to remember millions of people around the country marching against the invasion of Iraq and it barely made the news.

    Yes. Huge marches. I was in some of them. No coverage. Our liberal media at work.

  92. 92
    cat48 says:

    The message now is simple–Pass the Damn Bill. Otherwise, I see school uniforms in our future once again.

  93. 93
    Bender says:

    I’ve seen you DFHs and fat, unwashed feministas.

    Online marches are your best bet, and you should thank Allah that the networks mercifully don’t cover your ANSWER-sponsored pot parti — errrrrr, demos.

  94. 94
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Just Some Fuckhead:

    Do you see me looking for a pass, dumbass? Do you think I require your affirmation?

    Since you also said that I should suck your dick, it sure looks like you were looking for something from me.

  95. 95
    ChrisWWW says:

    @ThatLeftTurnInABQ:
    Good points. But I’d put it a bit more simply…

    Everyone is guaranteed health insurance.

    Your insurance can’t be dropped if you get sick.

    That’s what the supporters and politicians should be saying everyday.

  96. 96
    kay says:

    @slag:

    I hate to get phone calls, so I probably shouldn’t make them. I donated to Coakely because it looked like a freaking disaster.
    Good for you, though. Cold-calling is really hard, and it must work, because everyone does it.

  97. 97
    valdivia says:

    guys, not totally OT but this is a MUST read to see just how corrupt and rotten the media is. this interview with Charlie Cook where he says Obama trying to fix healthcare is like Bush going to Iraq. I am not kidding, go read it and get your blood boiling.

  98. 98
    Nick says:

    there’s a march going on tomorrow at 11:30 on the Brooklyn side of the Brooklyn Bridge that will go over the bridge into Manhattan to in front of Wellpoint headquarters.

    How many of you knew about that?

  99. 99
    Keith G says:

    A question I have been asking for neigh onto a year is, “Where are the poor, the Blacks, the Hispanics, the women’s groups?. Where are the associations of urban churches, the Children’s Defense Fund?

    Crikey, on this issue, this one all-important issue, large nation wide demonstrations should have been a natch. The community organizer really fell asleep at this switch, but but does not own my disdain alone. Benjamin Todd, Marc H. Morial, the folks at La Raza and many other have really fucked their “constituents” rather hard.

    We needed more leaders in the streets and less at cocktail parties.

  100. 100
    Violet says:

    @ChrisWWW:
    This. Absolutely. Make it simple and easy to understand and repeat. The Dems have been appalling with their messaging. I follow it every day and even I don’t know WTF they were trying to accomplish.

    @ChrisWWW:

    All I’m saying is that it’s understandable – although not necessarily right – that hippies aren’t jazzed about protesting for health care reform.

    It’s totally understandable. But what I didn’t understand is why anyone on the left spent more than about five minutes pointing and laughing at the teabaggers. Sure, they were funny, but they had big time rightwing support and got lots of media exposure. That’s a win right there.

    The left totally missed what was happening and, at least from what I could tell, preferred ridiculing over organizing. Plenty of diaries on DKos with “Teabagger Fail” type themes and anyone who dared consider taking them seriously was flamed. Until it was too late.

    Maybe the left has protest fatigue after previous protests have failed to change anything, but pointing and laughing at the other side – while the other side is actually changing the discussion – doesn’t help either.

  101. 101
    MikeJ says:

    @valdivia: Meh. Takes more than that to get my blood boiling. He’s not saying HCR is in itself a bad idea, merely that Obama should have been focused more on fixing the economy first, and be seen to to be fixing the economy.

    I don’t know that I agree with his conclusion, but he’s not saying Obama likes dropping bombs on middle easterners to prove he’s tougher than his daddy.

  102. 102
    Trinity says:

    @Clifton: This.

  103. 103
    slag says:

    @kay: Talking to people on the phone is a heinous experience. When working for Obama, I even preferred door-to-door canvassing to calling on the phone. But it does work.

    After Obama, we got our out-funded, out-endorsed, more progressive mayoral candidate here elected using a lot of phone canvassing. I was simply amazed at how persuadable some people were. Since, for Obama, we were mostly calling decideds we just needed to get to the polls, I was fully unprepared to have people be convinced by anything I had to say about our mayoral candidate. But they were. It was weird.

  104. 104
    ThatLeftTurnInABQ says:

    @Violet:

    Maybe the left has protest fatigue

    Yet another poisonous legacy from the Cheney/Bush administration. Anybody on the left who was actually paying attention and cared about this country for the last decade has to be freaking exhausted by now. It’s no wonder a lot of people figured that with Obama in the WH and the Dems having solid majorities in Congress, that maybe this was the time to finally take that mental vacation we’ve been wanting to have but kept putting off year after year after year…

  105. 105
    valdivia says:

    @MikeJ:

    Hmm I disagree. I actually think it is pretty fucking insidious, ignoring the moral and policy consequences of one endeavor while comparing it to another only to make the point that in the short term passing HCR has a political cost. Huh? So anything that has a political cost for the person in the WH is like the war in iraq? Also–the assumption that Obama has ignored the economy. Really? He has? HCR is not connected to the economy? The stimulus did not happen? This is the same bs about Obama doing too much, but on steroids, by tying it to one of the biggest disasters in american foreign policy.

  106. 106
    kay says:

    @slag:

    I made calls for Kerry and it was about 80% horrible. That 20% were really nice, though.
    I worked with this woman who would get into long discussions, and take copious notes. She never really “got” the whole cold-calling idea. She’d complete a page a session, so 12 calls. Just a lovely person, though.

  107. 107
    HyperIon says:

    @LT:

    I’d like to just say that the “This” thing feels like something out of a Burger King commercial.

    Would you prefer the equally inane “Word”?

  108. 108
    JR says:

    I know you were on the other side when it was happening, John, but just what did those of us who stood in the rain, in the cold, and in the line of millions of angry rednecks to oppose the Iraq War actually win?

    Really, if 90% of winning is showing up, it must be that last 10% that makes all the difference, because we were the largest band of protesters in world history, and the best we can claim is that, seven years later, we got them to change the name of the war to something that sounds like a Stephenie Meyer novel.

  109. 109
    gypsy howell says:

    March? MARCH? Don’t make me fucking laugh, John. I’ve been to more goddamn marches over the last 10 years then I can remember, from NY to DC and stops in between, and it hasn’t done one bit of fucking good, and honestly I felt more foolish each time for thinking I was doing anything meaningful at all. It doesn’t get covered by the media, much less noticed by our congresscritters or the white house, unless you’re a teabagger or a pro-war Freedom Rally jackass. And if you don’t get noticed, then it didn’t happen. So what’s the point?

    (edit: well, I see that others have made the same point above.)

  110. 110
    Nick says:

    @JR:

    I know you were on the other side when it was happening, John, but just what did those of us who stood in the rain, in the cold, and in the line of millions of angry rednecks to oppose the Iraq War actually win?

    Vindication?

    honestly, the two situations are different. Then, the anti-war protesters were fighting against a majority in Congress and a President who was antagonistic to their beliefs. Now, not so much.

  111. 111
    HyperIon says:

    @gwangung: @Just Some Fuckhead: No more than requiring a pass from you when we think you’re acting like an idiot.

    He’s Just Some Fuckhead.
    What do you expect?
    ;=)

  112. 112
    MikeJ says:

    @valdivia: Yes, it’s appropriate to ignore the moral wrongs of invading Iraq because he wasn’t talking about that. He was discussing timing of political decisions. Everyone sane agrees that Bush picked a catastrophic time to invade Iraq, moving troops out of Afghanistan right when they might have done the most good.

    Obama appeared to Cook and others of shifting priorities from economic recovery to HCR. I think those people are wrong, but it’s understandable. And it’s no crime to be wrong.

    Cook wasn’t addressing the policy of HCR at all (or the policy of invading Iraq for that matter). I don’t know that I’ve ever heard him address any policy as anything other than a political question, and I’ve talked to him in person. He just sees everything as helping you win or causing you to lose. And there’s absolutely nothing wrong with that either, it’s just not the substantive sort of argument that you and I prefer.

  113. 113
    Violet says:

    @ThatLeftTurnInABQ:

    It’s no wonder a lot of people figured that with Obama in the WH and the Dems having solid majorities in Congress, that maybe this was the time to finally take that mental vacation we’ve been wanting to have but kept putting off year after year after yea

    Yeah, it’s not surprising. But the problem with taking a vacation is that the rightwing never takes a mental vacation.

    There are lots of people on the left to blame, but I do agree with Cole that part of the blames lies with OFA. They did not do a good job of harnessing all the energy that was out there for Obama and turn it into support for their policies. Remember the discussions about what Obama supporters would do with their lives once he was elected. The Onion even did a parody. It was funny because it was true to a certain extent. So why didn’t OFA harness all that goodwill and energy and use it to support their policies. Just didn’t happen. I have no idea why.

  114. 114
    LT says:

    @HyperIon:

    Would you prefer the equally inane “Word”?

    “This” is at least 2/3 more inane that “word.”

  115. 115
    Tazistan Jen says:

    Yeah, you are completely wrong this time, John. Lefty marches do not get covered. It doesn’t work when we do it.

    Proof: you and many others think there haven’t been any marches in favor of health care. There have. I went to one. I bet more people have marched in favor than against. But we are invisible.

    Think of something else, because I have had it with cold boring invisible marching.

  116. 116
    PWT says:

    “80% of life is just showing up” – Woody Allen

  117. 117
    valdivia says:

    @MikeJ:

    I really cannot even begin to see eye to eye with you on this comparison. Even if it was about political timing, political maneuvering putting these two things together is despicable. Period.

    And I don’t give a hoot about how some Village idiot thinks Obama ignored the economy because he was focusing on HCR. Just embracing that is already stupid, expanding on it by making HCR the political equivalent of Iraq is just doubling on the stupidity.

  118. 118
    Pam C./femlaw says:

    What OFA is doing:

    1. HCAN, and OFA, and a whole bunch of groups that don’t hang out on the blogs, have been organizing marches and rallies in lots of cities starting this week. HCAN is doing a march from PA to DC that will arrive next Wednesday, timed to hit before the summit. The point of the local events is local media, which matters a lot to Congress.

    2. Regardless, this comment by Nick is quite right:

    there’s a march going on tomorrow at 11:30 on the Brooklyn side of the Brooklyn Bridge that will go over the bridge into Manhattan to in front of Wellpoint headquarters.
    How many of you knew about that

    .

    That’s a joint HCAN, OFA and NY grassroots effort and it should be great. You can sign up here.

    I posted a bunch of links Wednesday about all these events. So it’s happening, just sign up and go.

    3. And yeah, agreed with all the commenters who worried about the media coverage. HCAN, OFA, the unions, were all over the August townhall meetings and the media totally ignored that part of the story.

    4. But I wouldn’t knock anything that gets more people pushing on Congress to get a bill passed. There are also people working on phone calls and emails, the other side is doing plenty of that and we need to do it to.

    5. And last, the biggest thing OFA is doing right now is signing people up to help campaign for Dems who vote for healthcare. So far over 7.2 million hours pledged and people are already getting called back who signed up and getting information about plugging in. The message is pretty clear – you can have a Coakley level mobilization for the Dems in November if we do this thing now. (Click here for the OFA Pledge)

  119. 119
    Nick says:

    @Violet:

    So why didn’t OFA harness all that goodwill and energy and use it to support their policies. Just didn’t happen. I have no idea why.

    Honestly, they tried, but the response was pathetic. All that goodwill and energy for Obama was for Obama, nothing else.

  120. 120
    Jules says:

    @cat48:

    The prez is in Vegas, baby, selling health care right now. “We must pass health care, now, this year.” He’s getting a standing O.

    What?
    I thought their fucktard Mayor was gonna kick Obama out of Vegas or some silly shit like that.

  121. 121
    ThatLeftTurnInABQ says:

    @Violet:

    Yeah, it’s not surprising. But the problem with taking a vacation is that the rightwing never takes a mental vacation.

    I don’t agree. There was a noticeable waning in the strength and force of ideological fervor coming from the right after the 2004 election, most obviously in the prelude to the 2006 midterms. It is self-defeating to exaggerate what the other side can accomplish, so let’s not do that. Both sides have suffered periods of stagnation and exhaustion at times – this is part of the cyclic character of our two party system. That is why midterm elections are so important – they are a test of the staying power of the opposing coalitions. The 2010 midterms are going to be a test of the endurance and patience of the Dems. They will tell us a lot about how much our country has learned from the recent past, and whether we’ve really grown up as much as the 2008 election seemed to imply. The old maxim that in a democracy people get the govt they deserve still applies.

  122. 122
    jibeaux says:

    Sheesh, if we’re throwing “this” out the overton window that is in cased in a Republican frame, where it will land under a bus, we’re gonna have precious little to talk about here. I’m gonna assume for now wetsuits and dildos are a still a go.

    Spam faxes en masse aren’t likely to be very effective, I have to agree with that. I think, and hope, that maybe some local demonstrations will crop up in the weeks to come. I’m not exactly driving to DC in February. I double checked the OFA website and don’t see anything near me, yet, though.

  123. 123
    Lisa says:

    Mnemosyne:

    Do what everyone else seems to be doing and act like Just Some Fuckhead is not here. What a despicable attention whore he/she/it is.

  124. 124
    liberty60 says:

    I see two recurring themes here:

    1. Why can’t we get more stuff done?

    2. God, that Sully/ Hamsher/ Kos/ DFH-of-the-day sure is a jerk! Lets spend a few hundred comments talking about what assholes they are.

    Bodies on the street begins with local organizations. How many people here are part of a local group- MoveOn, a Progressive Change Campaign Committee, whatever?
    If you are not, why?

    I joined both of these groups, not that I agree 100% with everything they have done, but that they are doing SOMETHING, not just bitching.
    MoveOn organized a physical rally at my Congresswoman’s office; DCCC is at least making noise.

    If you aren’t a member of some local organization, then your only presence not just virtual, but invisible and mute.

  125. 125
    debit says:

    @Sly: I wonder what would happen if everyone without health insurance, or a job, or a home, went to their Congress person’s office. Especially the one who’ve lost a home to foreclosure or bankruptcy because of medical bills. Just showed up and said, “I got nothing. What are you doing to help me?”

  126. 126
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Lisa:

    What can I say — sometimes I like to poke the hornet’s nest with a stick and see what happens. It’s a failing of mine. :-)

  127. 127
    DZ says:

    @ChrisWWW:

    Well, you had it almost right. Public option is nothing special for us DFHs, we want single payer, and I would gladly march for that. The current piece of crap, no.

  128. 128
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Nick:

    Then, the anti-war protesters were fighting against a majority in Congress and a President who was antagonistic to their beliefs. Now, not so much.

    That’s a big part of the problem, I think — we’re so used to protesting against the government that we’re not quite sure what to do when we’re protesting in support of the government. And when I say “we,” I don’t just mean the Obots and the firebaggers. How often have you seen a demonstration in support of something? It’s almost oxymoronic.

  129. 129
    Dr. Morpheus says:

    This post John, is absolutely correct.

    Although I think that OFA might not be a good choice as the lynch-pin organization for a march for HCR.

    It would be spun as a staged march/rally by the President and then we’d be inundated with endless comparisons to Soviet Union, Iran, China…

    Well, o.k., the endless comparisons would start up again with vigor.

  130. 130

    @slag:
    The market doesn’t give a shit about DFH.

  131. 131
    DZ says:

    @Liberty60:

    I’ve been doing that for more than 40 years and have achieved nothing. At this point, I’m really tired of it all. I understand what you’re saying , but positive reinforcement once in a great while is necessary to maintain enthusiasm. As of last weekend (I got married), I am also a French citizen, and just walking away has some appeal

  132. 132

    @debit:
    They’d get thrown in jail. Since there’s no workhouses or poor houses any more.

  133. 133
    debit says:

    @mapaghimagsik: Bet that would get coverage.

  134. 134
    Dr. Morpheus says:

    @ThatLeftTurnInABQ:

    Every time we adopt a right wing frame to try to push mildly center-left policy, somewhere in hades a devil earns his horns.

    I’m stealing this one too. Also.

    Damn, now I’m doing it.

  135. 135
    geg6 says:

    @Lisa:

    Well, not everyone. Just those who have no sense of humor/take themselves too seriously.

    Personally, I adore Fuckhead. Don’t always agree with him, but love him anyway.

  136. 136
    Violet says:

    @Nick:

    Honestly, they tried, but the response was pathetic. All that goodwill and energy for Obama was for Obama, nothing else.

    Not according to this. They totally dropped the ball and didn’t keep people involved:

    The problems started before Obama was even elected. While his top advisers worked for months to carefully plot out a transition to governing, their plan to institutionalize its campaign apparatus was as ill-considered as George Bush’s invasion of Iraq. “There was absolutely no transition planning,” says Micah Sifry, the co-founder of techPresident, a watchdog group that just published a special report on OFA’s first year. In what Sifry decries as a case of “criminal political negligence,” Obama’s grass-roots network effectively went dark for two months after Election Day, failing to engage activists eager for their new marching orders. “The movement moment,” he says, “was lost.”

    Also:

    “It didn’t work — with an exclamation point at the end!” says Rollins, the former Reagan strategist. “They didn’t keep the organization alive. They thought it was out there to use whenever they wanted to use it. But with constituents who feel like they’ve been part of a revolution — as ours did in ’80 and ’81 — you’ve got to feed them. You’ve got to make sure that they feel important.” Instead, says Rollins, OFA “e-mailed them to death, but without any real steps to make them feel a part of the process, like they felt a part of the campaign.”

    He’s exactly right. Tons of energy there and people wanted to do things, to be involved, but they didn’t know how. And OFA left them with nothing to do. OFA was absorbed into the DNC. Politics as usual. Huge fail.

  137. 137
    MoZeu says:

    Glad someone said it.

  138. 138
    gwangung says:

    Think of something else, because I have had it with cold boring invisible marching.

    Got any ideas? I mean, seriously, if marches aren’t working now, it’s certainly OK to work on something else and urge people to experiment. I’d hate to give the teabaggers a victory by default.

  139. 139
    HyperIon says:

    @geg6: Personally, I adore Fuckhead. Don’t always agree with him, but love him anyway.

    Well, I don’t love him but I do like ragging on the implications of his handle. He used to be more present and has occasionally made me laugh. Plus he is always succinct.

  140. 140
    Dr. Morpheus says:

    The Campaign For Better Health Care occupied Judy Biggert ‘s office (Republican House Rep for 13th district) yesterday demanding her support for HCR.

    It got some local coverage, but no national coverage AFAIK.

  141. 141
    ThatLeftTurnInABQ says:

    There’s another component to the organizing failure on the left. We are in a deep, deep recession. It is hard to harness the surplus energy of working people when they are scratching just to survive. Folks in the upper middle class tend to forget that organizing to lobby for a political cause is, at least in the short term, a luxury. The economy was in much better shape during the 2006 and 2008 campaign seasons than it is now – the bottom didn’t really drop out until the 2008 campaign was near the finish line. This is a whole different era for a lot of folks.

    When I see teabagger rallies on TV, I see a lot of people who appear to be already at retirement age. The folks I know personally of that bent are all drawing public pensions of one sort or another (law enforcement or military). How is an ordinary working stiff with a family to support and a difficult and demanding job (which they need to keep in a labor market where they can easily be shitcanned) going to compete with that, except every now and then when it really matters? And the Dems have done a piss-poor job of steering the HCR debate in a way that made for a key turning point that folks could relate to as something crucial (thanks for nothing Max Baucus!) which was worth turning out for at that particular point in time.

    Before you ask people to forget about their families or put their jobs at risk, you need to make a case that it is vitally important for them to do it right now.

  142. 142
    Nick says:

    @Violet:

    Tons of energy there and people wanted to do things, to be involved, but they didn’t know how. And OFA left them with nothing to do. OFA was absorbed into the DNC. Politics as usual. Huge fail.

    I do NOT believe this, at all. I watched OFA and other organizations after the election, in the weeks and months after, try to organize for special elections and for issues like the stimulus. Few responded…it was as if the energy just disappeared after election day. No one wanted to get involved, they just wanted to take a break.

    A lot of us talked about this after the election when Democrats started losing some special elections immediately after…that Democrats were just exhausted and checked out and needed a break. No one seemed to think it was a big deal…oh, except for the OFA organizers I spoke to who said “This is going to hurt us in a few months”

  143. 143
    General Winfield Stuck says:

    Man, I do hate being a democrat. The only thing worse would be being a republican. I hate movements, except the good bowel kind. And I especially hate liars and bullshitters with a fucking agenda other than trying to find the truth of things that is always the best for all involved.

    I do love my dog and mother nature. That is more than enough.

  144. 144
    licensed to kill time says:

    @geg6:

    I think Just Some Fuckhead is often funny as hell and I like to laugh more than I like to get outraged, which may be a personal failing, but it helps get me through the day.

  145. 145

    dude, last time liberals marched for something, no one paid attention. Perhaps you remember it, it was called “Stop the War.” The new york times had to be shamed into covering it, then they low-balled the numbers, and then they had to retract even that.

    no one cared then, it was tremendously expensive, and it didn’t do shit.

    so why waste the money and time for something that ain’t gonna fuckin’ pass anyway?

  146. 146
    General Winfield Stuck says:

    LOL. This must be fuckhead love day. I think he’s cute as a button when being his big dumb self. He is my firstest Huckleberry and tells a good joke. but he knows that./

    come over here JSF and let Stuck gives you a big ole huggy:)

  147. 147
    Violet says:

    @Nick:

    I do NOT believe this, at all. I watched OFA and other organizations after the election, in the weeks and months after, try to organize for special elections and for issues like the stimulus. Few responded…it was as if the energy just disappeared after election day. No one wanted to get involved, they just wanted to take a break.

    When the word came out that OFA was being absorbed into the DNC I was completely deflated by it. It seemed utterly politics-as-usual, rather than change, etc. Every email I clicked on from OFA – and to be fair, there were plenty I ignored – were pleas for money, not pleas for help or indications of a strong organization. But I follow blogs fairly frequently, and did so after the election, and didn’t see much mention of OFA using the massive force it had built up over the election cycle to work for policy. Instead I remember a lot of frustration that they didn’t.

    I’m sure people did want a break after the election – I sure did. But by January there should have been a good transition in place for OFA and it shouldn’t have been into the DNC. People were supporting Obama as an agent of change. Allowing his signature organization to become a wing of the Democratic party was demoralizing. Not everyone who supported Obama wanted to support the Dems. Why that wasn’t obvious to begin with is completely bewildering.

  148. 148
    licensed to kill time says:

    @General Winfield Stuck:

    General, you often make me laugh, too, and I thank you for that. It’s what I love about Balloon Juice, that the fierce discussions and arguments are leavened with some of the funniest commenters around. If it was all outrage and seriousness all the time I’d prolly slit my wrists.

    {{{Group Hug}}}

  149. 149
    ThatLeftTurnInABQ says:

    @licensed to kill time:
    Amen to that. This place is like a roller-coaster ride thru Dante’s Inferno with free Nitrous Oxide hits. Every time the coaster comes back to the platform you don’t know whether to say “dear god, I’d rather eat my own liver than do that again”, or run around to the front of the line to get back on the next car.

  150. 150
    Tonal Crow says:

    @ChrisWWW:

    The “Pass the Damn Bill” crowd ignores the unpopularity of the bill even with liberals. By bargaining away the big liberal ideas, the Washington Democrats have drained the pool of enthusiastic support. To put it another way, hippies and hippie sympathizers aren’t going to march on behalf of insurance companies. They would have marched for the public option.

    I think you’re point-on about the compromises — especially the dropping of the public option (which was already a compromise of single-payer) — having drained liberals’ enthusiasm. That said, the bill still does several good things, provides a platform for doing more good things, and (if passed) will give the Democrats a big accomplishment going into the 2010 elections.

    Among the good things, the Senate bill lets kids stay on parents’ policies until age 25, eventually outlaws pre-existing condition exclusions, expands Medicaid and other subsidies, establishes an OPM-regulated national nonprofit health plan, and requires 80%+ of premiums to go for healthcare); see http://www.nytimes.com/interac.....html#tab=8 for more.

    On the platform for doing more good things, there’s already a campaign to add a real public option to the Senate bill via reconciliation (no filibustering allowed!); see http://www.democracyforamerica.com/ to help out.

    And on accomplishment, once this sausage is made, the public will begin to look forward to the good things it’ll provide, some of which will happen immediately (though I wish more of them would happen quicker).

    I can see why many people find this to be weak tea, objectionable because of the mandate, and too compromised. I feel all those things. But I still think it’s considerably better than nothing, and I’m working to pass it and to make it better. Please consider doing the same. And please ignore the cries of “moron” that you might hear from some on this site.

  151. 151
    Nick says:

    @Violet:

    Allowing his signature organization to become a wing of the Democratic party was demoralizing. Not everyone who supported Obama wanted to support the Dems. Why that wasn’t obvious to begin with is completely bewildering.

    Seriously, Obama is a Democrat, as the victorious standard bearer of the party for President, he is the defacto head of the party, I don’t see what was so demoralizing about this? I thought the biggest complaint from people like kos was that Obama spent too little time courting Democrats? Why does someone support Obama if they don’t support the Dems agenda? You’re making my point, which was the energy for Obama, not for any agenda.

  152. 152
    kay says:

    @Nick:

    I think she’s right, in the sense that a lot of Obama supporters who were active were not Democrats.
    They didn’t identify as Democrats. They were independents, or new voters, or Republicans (we had a LOT of Republican support for him here).
    The Republicans and Right-leaning independents were bound to drop off, and I fully expected that, and it happened. They weren’t sticking around. I knew that.
    But there were actual independents and new voters who probably won’t be “Democrats”, but they lean liberal, and they should have been brought in, and early.

  153. 153
    Tonal Crow says:

    @ChrisWWW: Yep. That’s excellent rhetoric. When I call congresscritters, I’ll suggest it.

  154. 154
    lol says:

    OFA’s been making hundreds of thousands of phone calls into Congress, organizing people to go to town hall meeting, and other community organizing. A lot of it happens under the radar. It’s something you strangely don’t see any mention of in the blogosphere.

    Also, why is Rolling Stone going to Joe Trippi for pointers on grassroots politics? His mismanagement of the Dean campaign was pretty much a text book case of how NOT to organize the grassroots! But he did pander to the egos of an awful lot of bloggers who think privileged white men on computers are the base of the Democratic party.

    Here’s an interview with Mitch Stewart you might want to read before believing the haters.

  155. 155
    gwangung says:

    When the word came out that OFA was being absorbed into the DNC I was completely deflated by it. It seemed utterly politics-as-usual, rather than change, etc.

    ???????

    A) As president, he’s pretty much the de facto head of the Democratic party. Why the hell SHOULDN’T he merge his organization into the DNC????? He WON.

    B) A lot of the reason why he won was that he put boots on the ground and took over the local machinery and apparatus. Why should he give that up????

    I don’t think I get this sentiment.

  156. 156
    licensed to kill time says:

    @ThatLeftTurnInABQ:

    You said it much better than I did! which proves my point about Commenter Quality. I guess I like to get back on and ride – isn’t that what hitting refresh is?

    “Give me another Whippit(tm)!”

  157. 157
    Corner Stone says:

    @Pangloss:

    Blanche Lincoln is no Reagan, that’s for sure.

    Because Cole doesn’t have a warm fuzzy feelings for her?

  158. 158
    Corner Stone says:

    @Lolis:

    In Austin many months ago we had 2 K people at a Saturday rally and forum.

    Maybe you should let Nick know about this. He keeps telling us only 20 people ever show up for anything.

  159. 159
    liberty60 says:

    @ThatLeftTurnInABQ:

    There’s another component to the organizing failure on the left. We are in a deep, deep recession. It is hard to harness the surplus energy of working people when they are scratching just to survive.

    On Saturday, March 26, 2006- 500,000, over half a million (Half an effing million!) mostly Hispanic, mostly lower working class people turned out to march in Los Angeles to protest an immigration bill.

    True, very few working people can take a week off to fly to DC and march; but there is no reason why progressive groups can’t arrange simultaneous marches on a Saturday to rally for HCR.

    I don’t really care if OFA dropped the ball, or if we all collectively lost momentum. Thats history; I am concerned about the here and now, and right here, right now, HCR is coming back to life, and may include the public option.

    I called my Rep. today; who else has?

  160. 160
    Laura W says:

    @General Winfield Stuck: I’m betting next time our darling Fuckhead returns to BJ he’ll be sporting a shiny new handle:

    Despicable Attention Whore

    Awesome.

  161. 161
    gwangung says:

    I’m sure people did want a break after the election – I sure did. But by January there should have been a good transition in place for OFA and it shouldn’t have been into the DNC. People were supporting Obama as an agent of change. Allowing his signature organization to become a wing of the Democratic party was demoralizing.

    Sorry, I don’t understand this. As President, Obama is a de facto leader of the Democratic Party. I expected him to fold his organization into the existing aparratus, not only as a matter of politics, but as a matter of efficiency (the existing party has organization and resources; why duplicate?).

    And change is effected by behavior– why does it matter how is it done (unless you’re arguing that the current party is blocking change, which I would understand—but I didn’t see that). Moreover, it rings the complaints about current Democratic follies a little hollow, since there was every opportunity to enter the party organization and make changes and go leftward—but was allowed to pass by.

  162. 162
    geg6 says:

    @Laura W:

    Well, if he doesn’t want it, can I have it?

    By the way, happy belated!

  163. 163
    Laura W says:

    @geg6: Well, I emailed it to him as soon as I channeled it and gave him an hour to get it thru the mod filter. If he can’t get it done, I’m taking it.

    And thanks!

  164. 164
    MNPundit says:

    Cole you jackass!

    Now that I’ve got your attention, here is the story explaining what is going on with OFA:

    The Party of Obama: What are the president’s grass roots good for?

  165. 165
    kay says:

    @lol:

    I read it and it’s a rehash of the old complaints, along with the now-obligatory “retard” quote, and Joe Trippi always seems bitter and like he has an ax to grind, so I usually discount him as a political critic.
    I do think OFA could have done a better job post-election, though. That’s what I think, based on what actually happened.
    I think the boring explanation makes the most sense: Plouffe had a new baby and was completely exhausted, and no one else picked it up.
    Admittedly, they had a huge plate ‘o crisis to deal with, right after the swearing in, but I would think they could have hired someone to replace Plouffe while he rested, or whatever.
    I don’t really understand not doing that. He can’t be that unique and essential.

  166. 166
    Cain says:

    @LT:

    I joined, and I called Wyden’s office this morning. You griped.

    Did you call your local oregon and tell them to goddam reform the kicker law? What a bunch of ass hates.. the Dems can’t seem to be a leader on anything. They are getting hammered in the Oregonian by Democrats for not doing anything but political calculation.

    cain

  167. 167
    x says:

    Not for nuthin’, but when millions of us march there is usually a media blackout. See anti Iraq war demos for proof. Only seen on CSpan, IIRC.

    A million Dems/Liberals/Lefties= the fringe DFHs. 600 Tea wankers= a significant mainstream movement.

  168. 168
    Violet says:

    @gwangung:

    Sorry, I don’t understand this. As President, Obama is a de facto leader of the Democratic Party. I expected him to fold his organization into the existing aparratus, not only as a matter of politics, but as a matter of efficiency (the existing party has organization and resources; why duplicate?).

    If people want to support the Democratic party, they can do that. They can donate to the DNC or whatever. But as the article pointed out and as Kay pointed out here @kay, there were a lot of Obama supporters who weren’t active Democrats. And when you campaign on Change and No More Politics as Usual, it’s demoralizing to those kinds of your supporters to see all your contact info just being served up to the Democratic party. Sure didn’t feel like Change anyone could Believe In.

    @Nick:

    Seriously, Obama is a Democrat, as the victorious standard bearer of the party for President, he is the defacto head of the party, I don’t see what was so demoralizing about this? I thought the biggest complaint from people like kos was that Obama spent too little time courting Democrats? Why does someone support Obama if they don’t support the Dems agenda? You’re making my point, which was the energy for Obama, not for any agenda.

    Sure the energy was for Obama. He’s an unusual guy and a once in a lifetime, or at least a generation, type of politician. But if it was all about the Democrats, why didn’t Obama just funnel his supporters into the Democratic organizations from the beginning? Or after he won the nomination? He didn’t, partly because it wouldn’t be efficient, but also because it would have sent the wrong message. People wanted something different from what’s been happening. Congress is broken. The party system is moribund and hidebound. People want the entire system to work differently, and creating this amazing network from the ground up was different. To take that and just serve it up to the Democratic machine was really hard to see because it felt like he’d just given up on a significant element of the change part. Back to the way it’s always been done.

  169. 169
    Lars Olsson says:

    I’ve done direct activism since the late ’80s. A lot less since the birth of my kids in 2001 and 2003, but I still try to do the occasional bit. However, let’s face it, online activism IS easier, quicker and more immediately rewarding. You get a sense of having done something without ever having left your comfy computer chair.

    However, I’ve recently been coming the the conclusion – or perhaps to the re-discovery – that only direct, old-school, in-person (and often in-your-face) activism really has any lasting effect whatsoever. When you sign an online letter or petition to _____, some intern at that person or group’s office figures out very quickly that an online campaign is underway. They learn very quickly to discard any email which begins with the identical set of words as the last 200 they received. Someone may count how many emails or faxes they received, but don’t count on getting any personalized attention to your message. It just doesn’t register.

    Mike Stark-like face-to-face confrontation, though? That’s something no legislator will soon forget…nor be able to ignore. I heard Tweety a while back on My Balls Are Hard saying that the best way to contact a legislator was by snail mail. Tweety fancys himself something of an expert on The Way Things Work™ in congress, which I find hilarious, but that’s another story. In this instance, though, I’ve begun to think he might be right: representatives (and even more so Senators) tend to be old, entrenched guys who long ago figured they could stop worrying about “newfangled” stuff. They leave the internets and the YouTubes and the Twitscape to their staff. But send ’em a registered letter, or accost them in person? That, they understand – and react to. They may not always react positively, but that’s merely a matter of being careful with the message you want to get across. But face-to-face activism gets it over online wanking about six different ways to Sunday.

  170. 170
    Mnemosyne says:

    @geg6:

    For the record, I thought it was hysterical that JSF would rant about people complaining about liberals using right-wing frames and immediately jump to “political correctness,” which is a right-wing frame.

    If he did it deliberately, it was pretty effing brilliant.

  171. 171
    TooManyJens says:

    So, if marching isn’t enough, and online activism isn’t enough, and calling our congressfolk isn’t enough, and we can’t hope to compete on monetary terms with the insurance companies and the banksters, wtf *do* we do? Go on a general strike? (Lord knows we should, but no way in hell would I want to ask people to risk their jobs in this economy.) Show up at their offices with about two thousand people? Stage street theater? Everybody move to states/countries that have decent health care? IDEK.

  172. 172
    liberty60 says:

    From Progressive Congress Action Fund:

    Call your member of the U.S. House TODAY and ask them to sign on to the Perriello-Markey bill to repeal the antitrust exemption for insurance companies. This is a very easy call: insurance companies shouldn’t be allowed to collude to set prices: they should have to compete for business fairly. Period.

    2. Call your members of the U.S. Senate TODAY and ask them to sign onto the Bennet letter in support of a public option. They can join nineteen of their colleagues who have signed on this week, including Sen. Schumer – who, as the chair of the Senate Rules Committee, knows a fair amount about Senate process and how to get this done procedurally.

    3. Be one of a million voices for health care: pledge to make calls on Feb 24 for members of Congress to fix and pass the health care bill.

    These three things are not empty virtual imaginary fax blasts. These are old fashioned “call your Senator or Congressman” types of actions, the very same phone calling that BJ is constantly advocating.

    When I called my Rep’s DC office today, the staffer was happy to spend 15 minutes talking to me, explaining the Rep’s position.

    When my local MoveOn group hled a rally outside the Rep’s office, a staffer came out and personally met with us, and told the Rep directly about it.

    They do take this stuff seriously, and joining in the effort WILL have an effect.

  173. 173
    Nick says:

    @Violet: You’re basically admitting that the energy wasn’t for an agenda, it was for Obama…so how the hell do you organize people who don’t believe any specific agenda?

    That’s what I’ve been saying, because these people aren’t Democrat, and thus don’t have a specific agenda they are fighting for, they didn’t turn out when asked. They were, as you said, demoralized that they are being told to join an agenda.

  174. 174
    DPirate says:

    Ok, but do you STRENUOUSLY OBJECT?

  175. 175
    slag says:

    @Nick:

    Honestly, they tried, but the response was pathetic. All that goodwill and energy for Obama was for Obama, nothing else.

    Almost irrelevant. Obama had just become president. We wanted to help him push Congress in a progressive direction. Even with the compromises we had already made, we were eager. Some of us even went to a few random liberal gatherings to discuss next steps. But for months, there was nothing to grab onto. We had no infrastructure, no direct agenda, nothing. So, it didn’t last.

    And by the time we were finally asked to step up on healthcare, no one knew where it was going. The momentum of the campaign was gone and the next steps were uncertain. Of course the response was bound to be pathetic (some of us knew it would be but did it anyway). There was no there there. No Obama, no one healthcare bill, nothing. So, it didn’t last.

  176. 176
    Violet says:

    @Nick:

    You’re basically admitting that the energy wasn’t for an agenda, it was for Obama…so how the hell do you organize people who don’t believe any specific agenda?

    Well, they seemed pretty fired up about the issues that Obama talked about on the campaign trail – health care, openness in government, getting out of Iraq, etc. For a lot of people it doesn’t matter which party accomplishes those tasks – they just want them done. They want results.

    So it seems to me that the people believe in that agenda – the agenda of the change that was promised on the campaign trail. Start delivering it and asking for people to help with specific tasks related to those issues, and there’s your agenda.

    I’m as much an Obot as the next person, but I didn’t donate, work, and vote for him just because I think he’d make a nice figurehead. I wanted him to make things happen. I think he’s done a lot, especially given the terrible mess he inherited. But I think the OFA thing post-election was a massive missed opportunity to capitalize on the energy that was there on the campaign trail. That energy needed to be harnessed and used effectively, and it wasn’t.

  177. 177
    slag says:

    @Nick:

    so how the hell do you organize people who don’t believe any specific agenda?

    How do you do it for a campaign? You appeal to the specific interests of your subgroups. OFA knew who their members were. Those most interested in healthcare should have been first up to bat. Tell them specifically why you need them and make it very clear that you’re working in their best interest. Then tell them exactly where to go, what to do, and what to reasonably expect from their efforts. Is there anyone who, during the campaign, knew Obama would win? No. But they had reasons for campaigning for him. Those reasons didn’t just disappear after the election. At least not for them.

  178. 178
    Nick says:

    @Violet:

    Well, they seemed pretty fired up about the issues that Obama talked about on the campaign trail – health care, openness in government, getting out of Iraq, etc. For a lot of people it doesn’t matter which party accomplishes those tasks – they just want them done. They want results.

    So then what the hell difference does it make if OFA is part of the Democratic Party? If they want results, they fight for them, but you’re saying that since OFA became part of the Democratic Party, they no longer wanted to fight for these issues. It doesn’t make any sense.

  179. 179
    Nick says:

    @slag:

    But they had reasons for campaigning for him. Those reasons didn’t just disappear after the election. At least not for them.

    Seem to me the biggest reason was that he wasn’t Hillary Clinton and he wasn’t John McCain and he opposed the war in Iraq.

    Beyond that, no one was able to give me a lick of difference between him and other Democratic candidates.

  180. 180
    Violet says:

    @Nick:

    So then what the hell difference does it make if OFA is part of the Democratic Party? If they want results, they fight for them, but you’re saying that since OFA became part of the Democratic Party, they no longer wanted to fight for these issues. It doesn’t make any sense.

    No, I’m not saying people no longer want to fight for the issues. They do want to fight for them but they have no confidence in the Democratic party’s ability to deliver and they had more confidence in Obama’s ability to deliver.

    I’m saying it’s different when a completely incompetent Democratic party sends out an email asking for money, or help for something – but they don’t usually ask for help, they just ask for money – than it was during the campaign when OFA was an effective mix of top down and grassroots action.

    People may not be Democrats for because they view them as spineless and directionless and unable to accomplish anything. Among other reasons. Obama during the campaign seemed like he’d set up a new style of involving people and those people were eager to be involved going forward. Sure, he’s a Democrat, but he didn’t seem to be following the same Democratic playbook of failure and inaction. So to take this exciting new grassroots organization with a bunch of people who wanted to be involved and just toss it to the useless Democratic National Committee was…demoralizing.

    If the Democrats can deliver, then great. I’m not holding my breath. And I’m disappointed that the excellent grassroots organization that Obama spent two years developing has been allowed to languish and lose energy and there’s no guarantee that energy can be recaptured. Sending out an email asking for money sure isn’t the way.

  181. 181
    slag says:

    @Nick:

    Seem to me the biggest reason was that he wasn’t Hillary Clinton and he wasn’t John McCain and he opposed the war in Iraq.

    Well, that’s a start, I suppose. But I know OFA polled me multiple times on what my interests and priorities were. And I told them. I assume the same was true for other people. So, go forth with that info and multiply. That would have been a better start.

    There is one serious argument in your favor, in my opinion. And that’s the issue of trust. Many liberals naturally have a tendency to distrust people with power. Anti-authoritarianism, I believe. So, as soon as Obama became president, I, for one, was immediately trying to discern how the new relationship between OFA members and the president would work. How much was I willing to give and what was I most likely to expect in return? And while the question of trust, in the end, turned out to be somewhat academic given OFA’s downshift after the campaign, it would still be a confounding factor in any OFA-Obama relationship.

    That is, in any one effort, I would always be asking myself, “Do I think Obama is really supporting this, or is this just an exercise of Obama’s political muscle for some other purpose?” In the campaign, I didn’t have to ask that question. But I did ask it when I was trudging to my representatives’ offices with my HCR comment sheet in hand. So, that’s at least one area of difference (along with having no specific individuals to fight against) between the campaign and the movement, which may have had a moderating impact on participation.

  182. 182
    Nick says:

    @Violet: This doesn’t make any sense

    They do want to fight for them but they have no confidence in the Democratic party’s ability to deliver and they had more confidence in Obama’s ability to deliver.

    They had no confidence in the Democrats’ ability to deliver (before even given the chance to do so), but they voted for Obama because, what, they thought he could do things by fiat?

    Obama is a Democrat, he ran as a Democrat, he ran asking voters to give him a Democratic majority, what the fuck did people think he was, an Independent?

    Basically what you’re saying is that these people were so ready to fight for issues, but then upon hearing that Obama was a member of the Democratic Party, they were like “oh nevermind, I WAS going to fight for healthcare reform, but since the Democrats are now doing it, as opposed to Obama (who, I guess, they forgot was a Democrat), forget about it”

    This is among the most ridiculous things I’ve ever heard in my life and I’ve heard a whole lotta ridiculous lately.

  183. 183
    Nick says:

    @slag: I don’t understand what you’re saying. Are you saying people stopped fighting because one he was elected, he immediately became someone they didn’t trust? I don’t get it.

  184. 184
    Pam C./femlaw says:

    @Violet:

    I know that you had that response but it’s important to know that a lot of other people didn’t.

    If you get your news from the blogs you would have heard very little about OFA in 2009, because I have been volunteering for over a year, and most of what we have been doing was face to face and on the ground – organizing meetings, trainings, phonebanks and door to door canvassing.

    That Rolling Stone article is a pretty poor piece of journalism in my view – something like 2 million people took action on healthcare in 2009, and I personally know hundreds of fired up volunteers I have worked with in California, and they couldn’t find a single person to talk to who was current engaged or involved? Everyone they quoted except for the Executive Director was not actually involved in the organization. I know Micah Sifry thinks we aren’t doing anything but there’s huge healthcare phonebanks and rallies happening constantly right in his back yard in New York.

    A much more balanced assessment of OFA is Ari Melber’s report where he actually interviewed a lot of people, those who were active in OFA and those who weren’t.

    In the first few months I saw a fair number of fundraising emails but the vast majority of OFA emails I get are inviting me to take action – come to an event, meeting, rally, phonebank, make calls.

    Give us another chance.

  185. 185
    Pam C./femlaw says:

    @Nick:

    Actually folks did turn out. In huge numbers. But like most field work it tends to be pretty invisible especially early on when you are building capacity. The end result though is very impressive. In addition to the 300,000 calls on October 20 for healthcare –

    1000 phonebanks and over 2 million calls made in four days for Coakley

    200,000 hours volunteered by community organizers and 1 million new volunteers in 2009

    over 2 million people taking action on healthcare with OFA in 2009

  186. 186
    Bruce (formerly Steve S.) says:

    This just strikes me as pathetic

    Um, it’s exactly what your blog compadres have been doing for a few weeks now, organizing a phone/fax/e-mail campaign. So I guess your actual problem is what they chose to call it, then? If you think a real march would be superior, by all means, organize one.

  187. 187
    slag says:

    @Nick: Kind of. Not that extremely. But I do think trust became a confounding factor because the relationship, in some senses, became seemingly hierarchical (for lack of a better word). But like I said, it didn’t stop some of us from acting when we were eventually called upon to act. It just made us slightly more hesitant to do so with OFA, itself, because it was kind of like working directly on behalf of the President, which is not something we traditionally do. We like the president to work on behalf of us. We’re liberals.

  188. 188
    Nick says:

    @slag:

    because it was kind of like working directly on behalf of the President, which is not something we traditionally do. We like the president to work on behalf of us. We’re liberals.

    Ever wonder if that’s why liberals always lose or get outworked? Cause it is. Liberals need to be proactive, instead they’re reactive, waiting for orders from above, waiting to see where they are, and parsing every word that comes out of the White House and Congressional leadership and deciding what to do next based on that.

    In the meantime, they’re wondering (and I know because five members of Congress have told me this) “Where are our supporters?”

  189. 189
    slag says:

    @Nick: Well. Sorry, Charlie. The administration had two choices on healthcare, in my opinion. Go with the organizations that were already fully on board and who had been working for years in support of single payer (aka, the “proactive” group). Or cobble together some sort of plan and try and get people behind it (aka, the “reactive” group). Which one did they choose? Do you have a third option in mind? Is there some organization out there whose charter is “I want healthcare reform; I don’t care what kind!”. Because if so, the administration should have worked with them.

    If you have a problem with making decisions based on information, you should become a conservative. If you want people who trust someone absolutely just because they can say “I’m a muriken!”, you should become a conservative. And if Congress is looking for “supporters” among people who they don’t seem overly eager to support themselves, they should become conservative.

    You just complained that OFA’s membership was problematic because it was only a bunch of people who were “for Obama”. Now, you’re complaining that liberal OFA members are a problem because we actually want to be sure we’re working for the right issues? Does not compute.

  190. 190
    General Egal Tarian Stuck says:

    @Pam C./femlaw:

    Give us another chance.

    I wouldn’t worry too much. Cole is a true blue Obot unless Obama starts invading countries willy nilly. He sometimes throws up little somethings like this to calm the resident disappointed progressive natives with this obligatory Obama love punch. The special ones need it to not light matches indoors.

    FWiW. I think you are doing fine, because it is hard to keep in- power party members excited. And I know you will do better when it’s needed to step up the action. Carry on!!

  191. 191
    Nick says:

    @slag:

    Go with the organizations that were already fully on board and who had been working for years in support of single payer (aka, the “proactive” group)

    Who are these phantom organizations and if they are relevant, then why aren’t they able to get someone who actually ran on single payer anywhere near the White House? Obama didn’t run on single payer, no one except Kucinich did. Who are these organizations and did they endorse Kucinich, and if not, why did they endorse a candidate who wasn’t running on single payer if they’re only willing to be proactive for single payer?

    If you have a problem with making decisions based on information, you should become a conservative. If you want people who trust someone absolutely just because they can say “I’m a muriken!”, you should become a conservative. And if Congress is looking for “supporters” among people who they don’t seem overly eager to support themselves, they should become conservative.

    Decision based on information? What decision, the decision to fight for something? What more information do you need to fight for something? Trust someone because they say “I’m a merkin” WTF does this mean?

    You just complained that OFA’s membership was problematic because it was only a bunch of people who were “for Obama”. Now, you’re complaining that liberal OFA members are a problem because we actually want to be sure we’re working for the right issues? Does not compute.

    WTF? I didn’t say any of this. I literally have no clue what you’re talking about anymore…you must be one of those single payer purists.

  192. 192
    slag says:

    @Nick:

    Who are these phantom organizations and if they are relevant, then why aren’t they able to get someone who actually ran on single payer anywhere near the White House?

    Here. And why they aren’t able to get someone on the ticket is not for me to answer. They are the “proactive” ones you were just saying didn’t exist. Well, they do.

    Well, you know what, they did become conservative.

    Yeah. Well, no sh#t. Some of us are tired of playing chicken with these assholes. We don’t trust them, and they don’t trust us. That’s just the way it is and nobody’s working very hard to address that fundamental issue.

    WTF? I didn’t say any of this.

    You’re making my point, which was the energy for Obama, not for any agenda.

    I’m sorry. Was this not a complaint?

    parsing every word that comes out of the White House and Congressional leadership and deciding what to do next based on that.

    Or was this not a complaint?

  193. 193
    Nick says:

    @slag: Funny how these organizations, who you claim are only proactive for a single payer plan, all endorsed a Presidential candidate who did not support single payer. What were they thinking? They would just change their mind?

    This

    parsing every word that comes out of the White House and Congressional leadership and deciding what to do next based on that.

    Is not the same as this

    Now, you’re complaining that liberal OFA members are a problem because we actually want to be sure we’re working for the right issues? Does not compute.

    You know what’s really great about conservatives? They don’t need to be told what to support. They don’t need their leaders to endorse things to support them. They don’t sit around and wait for marching orders. They just make their beliefs known, whether their leaders are behind them or not.

    Maybe liberals should take a lesson, because in a country of hundreds of millions of different opinions, you can’t organize a group who is waiting for their leaders to endorse each of their individual points of view.

  194. 194
    Anonymous says:

    I would just like to point out that the tea party in Washington was funded by wing nut welfare supplying free bus rides for senior citizens with nothing else to do but hate. If the media hadn’t drooled over them, nobody would give hem the time of day. There were bigger demos for gay rights in Washington in the last year. Surprised you didn’t hear about it?

  195. 195
    Nick says:

    @Anonymous: No, I’ve long mentioned the media is the real problem here, I work for the media, I can tell you that…but no progressives seem to care.

  196. 196
    slag says:

    @Nick:

    Funny how these organizations, who you claim are only proactive for a single payer plan, all endorsed a Presidential candidate who did not support single payer. What were they thinking? They would just change their mind?

    First, I didn’t say the organizations were “only” proactive for single payer. I’m saying that’s what they were working for. The organizations can endorse whoever they want, but their membership is passionate about single payer. You can’t tell me that administration didn’t willingly trade constituent enthusiasm for moderation when deciding not to support single payer so stop with the pretense.

    You know what’s really great about conservatives? They don’t need to be told what to support. They don’t need their leaders to endorse things to support them. They don’t sit around and wait for marching orders. They just make their beliefs known, whether their leaders are behind them or not.

    You’re right. There is no conservative leadership to speak of. There is no such things as CPAC, or the Republican National Committee, or Faux News. All these people just sit around and happen to have the exact same beliefs at the exact same times and just magically find themselves in front of television cameras, and computers, and legislators to express them. I’m sure that’s exactly how it works. And we liberals just sit around painting our nails until somebody is kind enough to tell us what to think and what to do. That totally matches the reality I see, so I’m glad we can agree on something.

  197. 197
    slag says:

    @Nick:

    No, I’ve long mentioned the media is the real problem here, I work for the media, I can tell you that…but no progressives seem to care.

    Wait a second. I thought we liberals were the problem. Because we have too much faith or not enough faith or something. I do think the media’s the problem. Liberals are invisible in this country.

  198. 198
    DougL (frmrly: Conservatively Liberal) says:

    While liberal protests in the past were largely ignored I believe that was because the whole damned country (in the sense of the M$M) was behind Bush/Cheney, the Republican majority and the march to war. Since the M$M tends to lean heavily to the right there was no reason for them to be reporting on the pre-war protests, or any other protest for that matter. Right now we have a Democratic president with an insane teabagging/birther contingent that likes to mug for the camera. I can’t help but to think that the M$M would report the hell out of any protests from the left right now. It has everything they like to report on in the exact frame they love to report it in. Teabaggers versus the progressives in public protests with the president sandwiched in the middle, being squeezed and yanked at from both sides.

    Bush isn’t president any more, Obama is. Things are not the same as they were then, it’s a ‘new’ situation. The Teabaggers know it so they are setting the tone and the liberals are being left to eat their dust. The Teabaggers don’t need any direction, they just have to show up in numbers, make noise and get attention. They know that and they are out there doing it. Where is ‘the other side’? Phoning it in.

    The M$M would fall over themselves to report on a loudly protesting left versus a foaming at the mouth crazy right. It would be their dream matchup on TV. They would frame it as two sides vying for power with the president and the parties being squeezed in the middle. Screw the virtual protesting, it’s virtually worthless. Get out there and get in their faces. If the M$M is reporting on the Teabaggers then crash their events with counter-protesting! The f’ing press is there and would have to cover you! Duh.

    Virtual protesting isn’t real protesting, it’s the worst sort of ‘just phoning it in’.

  199. 199
    Nick says:

    @slag:

    Wait a second. I thought we liberals were the problem. Because we have too much faith or not enough faith or something. I do think the media’s the problem. Liberals are invisible in this country.

    Christ, you guys are so great at taking things people say out of context, you should get a fucking gold medal for it.

    No wonder no one pays attention to you.

  200. 200
    Nick says:

    @slag:

    First, I didn’t say the organizations were “only” proactive for single payer. I’m saying that’s what they were working for. The organizations can endorse whoever they want, but their membership is passionate about single payer. You can’t tell me that administration didn’t willingly trade constituent enthusiasm for moderation when deciding not to support single payer so stop with the pretense.

    Since this administration didn’t support single payer when it was a campaign either, I don’t see how this makes sense…you see, these organizations and their membership were very enthusiastic about Obama as a candidate, when he didn’t support single payer. Why? Did they think he was going to change his mind? Obama didn’t suddenly drop single payer on Jan 21, 2009. You can’t tell me that these people did not know Obama was against single payer when they were endlessly enthusiastic about his campaign, so try again.

    Look, I’m sorry Obama doesn’t support your pony, but he never did, and the dude who did, never got past the first primary. Deal with it and stop pretending that single payer would’ve led to millions on the street because we both know that isn’t true.

  201. 201
    A Lurker says:

    Once upon a time (by which I mean last summer) I was interning in a Congressional office in DC. This was about the time when the ACES bill was trudging through the House (and passed, only to shrivel up in Senate limbo later on) and there was actually a hope that a public option might be included.

    On the lawn near the Capitol building, there was a huge gathering of leftists and some union activists (SEIU, I think) in support of a public health care option, gathering around, handing out signs, listening to some important figures talking, that sort of thing. I remember seeing it as I walked from Union Station to the office.

    When I got into the office, I asked a few of the staffers if they saw the people rallying outside a few blocks away. They weren’t even aware that there was a health care rally that day, let alone one that close to the Capitol. And this was a Democratic congressman’s office. It might’ve gotten a blurb somewhere in the Washington Post the next day, but I can’t remember where.

    I guess the point I’m trying to make is that unless your movement is either controversial, entertaining, or is at least well-connected, showing up to a protest and chanting slogans in person will have pretty much the same effect on your congressperson’s opinion as an E-mail sent through his/her website. Actually, the E-mail has a better chance, since that way the intern who reads it can verify that you live in their district.

  202. 202
    slag says:

    @Nick:

    Look, I’m sorry Obama doesn’t support your pony, but he never did, and the dude who did, never got past the first primary. Deal with it and stop pretending that single payer would’ve led to millions on the street because we both know that isn’t true.

    The funniest thing about this statement is that single-payer is not my pony. I was not among the “proactive” in this situation. Healthcare wasn’t even my pony. My pony is, in fact, cap and trade. My pony is DOA. So, let me tell you what you can do with your ponies…

    Also, every townhall I saw had someone stand up and ask Obama why he’s not supporting single-payer. Every one. So don’t tell me that liberals wait around for people to tell them what to do. You can argue that people don’t listen to them. But that’s not what your argument was. Your argument was that they aren’t proactive. Your argument is bullshit.

    Christ, you guys are so great at taking things people say out of context, you should get a fucking gold medal for it.

    Ever wonder if that’s why liberals always lose or get outworked? Cause it is.

    I’m sorry, I interpreted this to mean you were blaming liberals for our problems. I can’t imagine why I would think that. How bizarre.

  203. 203
    slag says:

    @Nick:

    No wonder no one pays attention to you.

    I’m sorry. I totally thought people didn’t pay attention to me because I “need to be told what to support”. That I am not “proactive” and instead “reactive” and “waiting for orders from above”. I can’t imagine where I got that idea. Must be more of that “taking things out of context” I’ve been hearing so much about that gives me that impression.

  204. 204
    slag says:

    @Nick:

    Decision based on information? What decision, the decision to fight for something? What more information do you need to fight for something? Trust someone because they say “I’m a merkin” WTF does this mean?

    First, if you’re going to change the content of your comment after it’s already been responded to, you should note that. Second, a “decision based on information” is knowing what something is about before you support it. Yes, if I’m going to fight for something I’m going to want to know what it is first.

    As for “I’m a muriken”, it’s a reference to classic conservative tribalism that you probably would be familiar with if you were a liberal or even if you knew many liberals. Which you apparently do not. And yet you feel the need to concern troll “liberals” by turning a reasonable concern that I and others I know have about the nature of our relationship with authority into some bizarro notion that we can’t think for ourselves and need to be told what to do. Which, I may point out, was the exact opposite of the issue I was expressing.

    In other words, you chose to respond to a perfectly benign and reasonable sentiment with a totally unfounded, counterintuitive anti-liberal screed that had no bearing on the topic in question. Yay for you.

  205. 205
    A says:

    At least, MoveOn does something, and perhaps a statement that a million faxes were sent to Congress might – I hope – generate some publicity. MoveOn also organized recently rallies at Congressmen’s local offices. At least they do something, and moreover, they do something in which people like me – with a job (still) and family – can participate. If it is not that effective, that is another problem, with the media owned by big corporations, with Congress bought by various industries; all problems we cannot do much about right now (but which possibly become more obvious when we see Congress decide in favor of certain industries and against the expressed preferences of a majority of their constituents). So, it is ‘better to light a candle than to curse the darkness.’
    And, I hope, that all commenters complaining about whatever also write or e-mail their congress(wo)man or Senator, and write letters to local and national newspapers and otherwise make their voice heard. And bloggers should encourage their readers to take some action, whatever they can afford to do.
    (I certainly cannot afford a day away from work, or a flight to Washington,…. but I can try to educate myself about the issues and subscribe to MoveOn’s and similar campaigns)

  206. 206
    Truth247 says:

    I must deduce from your post that you were in Washington DC on January 15th when March4Change had a rally at the Lincoln Memorial in support of Health Care Reform. If you were NOT there then I must deduce that you are a poser who has no problem criticizing others but great difficulty in being self-critical.

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