Ian Welsh’s post on the “failure” of the progressive blog movement has been making the rounds (I got it from Jay Ackroyd). Here’s the part I don’t get:
Unlike the Tea Party, most left wingers don’t really believe their own ideology. They put partisanship first, or they put the color of a candidate’s skin or the shape of their genitals over the candidate’s policy. Identity is more important to them than how many brown children that politician is killing.
So progressives have no power, because they have no principles: they cannot be expected to actually vote for the most progressive candidate, to successfully primary candidates, to care about policy first and identity second, to not take scraps from the table and sell out other progressive’s interests.
The Tea Party, say what you will about them, gets a great deal of obeisance from Republicans for one simple reason: they will primary you if they don’t like how you’ve been voting, and they’ll probably win that primary. They are feared. Progressives are not feared, because they do not believe enough in their ostensible principles to act on them in an effective fashion.
This is a really short-sighted view of power. The Tea Party is indeed feared by elected Republicans, and they have primaried and challenged a lot of Republicans in purple districts, and what did that get them? Certainly not Senators Christine O’Donnell and Sharron Angle. As a movement, all but 27% of the nation hates them, the legislation they’ve fought for the past 5 years is now being implemented (Obamacare) and their favorite legislator (Cruz) is damaged goods after leading the last big fight they picked. Progressives are supposed to want that?
I’d like to see some examples where progressives failed to vote for the most progressive candidate in a primary, where the candidate was any good. In my own state, I’d happily vote for someone to the left of Chuck Schumer. And DiFi needs a primary, badly. But I”m not going to hang my head in shame for thinking that primarying, say, Jon Tester is a bad idea.
Another part of Welsh’s post criticizes the 2008 Obama campaign for going around the “blogging gatekeepers” when organizing their campaign, but come on: the 2008 Obama campaign was pretty much a model of small donor grassroots financing. Isn’t that kind of engagement what Progressives are supposed to want?