Sunday, February 18, 2007

NOTE: I wrote this piece for Firedoglake earlier this evening. Gottalaff was kind enough to join us in the comments, and it was a rockin good time, as the kids would say.

Below is the piece (please head over to FDL if you want to check out the comments thread, which was quite interesting):

Just when whiplash had begun to set in from the perpetual shaking of my head to-and-fro at the sight of each subsequent sign progressives have learned nothing from the Bush Years--a ray of light perhaps?

Before I get to that, I must admit to being quite perplexed at the continual lack of a killer instinct on our side, an unwillingness to go for the jugular that Republican-turned-fierce-Bush critic and astute poltical analyst Kevin Phillips has described as a debilitating Democratic weakness.

I have often wondered what it will take to wake people on our side up? Keith Olbermann's ratings have seen a meteoric rise in the wake of his special comments. Bill Clinton's verbal backhand to Chris Wallace's overwrought cranium on the FoxNews Channel became the stuff of legend. Colbert at the White House Correspondents Dinner is still being watched non-stop on YouTube.

Yet, Democrats continue to fall flat on their collective face when encountering the GOP's Machiavellian maneuvering with this Iraq "escalation," or as Rep. Don Young likes to call it, "my second favorite plan for male enhancement" (Note: I can't find the source, but know I heard it somewhere). Furthermore, the Nevada division of the Party of Jefferson, apparently having learned nothing from the constant drumbeat of smears against its presidential candidates past and present, has awarded Fox the right to host a Democratic presidential debate in that key Western state. These are only two of many examples I could cite.

It's enough to make you want to just say bollocks to the whole thing, and go out on the town for a guaranteed good time with Dusty Foggo. But let's get back to that ray of hope.

This week, we saw blogger and author Glenn Greenwald absolutely destroy misquoting, intellectual mud-bath Frank Gaffney on the radio, and something even more profound is going on in the grassroots.

An Iraq War veteran, Leonard Clark, is starting a petition drive in Arizona to recall Senator John McCain. Clark, who in a conversation with me said he was "compelled to do this" for his "comrades left behind," and used as "political props" by McCain, is a genuine man who in a different time would likely find himself in a very different place. But these are dangerous times, and he's willing to put it all on the line for the small chance he is able to deliver a Buster Douglas-to-Mike Tyson kind of blow to stop McCain's cynical manipulation of this war (while the recall would be non-binding, as McCain is a federal public servant, he signed a statement saying he would step down if a measure such as this passed).

Democrats, pay heed! We need more Gleen Greenwalds and Leonard Clarks in in our political system (Hint to progressive funders: Some more infrastructure to fund these kinds of people would, um, be nice). Furthermore, understand that if you speak with conviction and clarity, you do not need to lock yourself in the cultural box Democrats have largely lived in rhetorically since the Reagan years, afraid of exercising their larynx on "controversial" issues.

Conservatism has been dealt a deadly blow over the past few years. Progressivism has its opportunity. Don't sit idly and passively by while allowing the Leninist Right to win elections and debates by default, because we don't offer leadership and forcefully engage in politics.

Carpe diem Democrats! Or as Leonard Clark said in the end of an email to me: Long Live The Republic!

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At 10:45 PM, Blogger basheert said...

Absolutely Awesome pit bull we have here people!
Loved it, caught it at C&L before reading the entire article here.

Good job Cliff - we're all proud of you.

Together I like to believe we can and will make a difference in the political landscape.

At 11:35 PM, Blogger John Aravosis' Neighbor Barbara said...

OK, let's try this again. . .

I ditto basheert's comments in full. There may be only a tiny few of us who follow this particular blog, but we are in the vanguard of supporting people like you, Cliffie. I don't EVER want to be in a debate with you and don't EVER want you to be mad enough at me to go public. I would lose in a NY minute. Just sayin'

So, just keep going after the Rethugs. It is heartening to see a Liberal take them on.

At 4:27 AM, Blogger Donnie McDaniel said...

Great post Cliff! I believe that the Dems have gone beyond the time to fight back. It makes me so angry each tme they back down and not take those thugs to task. I didn't leave the "republic" party after Katrina just to be with the complete reversal of the thug like mentality. Since becoming the Katrinacrat, I think like a Dem and fight like a thug. Someone in DC needs to follow that lead.

If someone like me that became both a Marine and republican under Reagan, can see the light and change, I'm sure that our elected leaders can fight back too. Grow a spine people! We sent a message on Nov. 7th, now do our bidding.

At 6:31 AM, Blogger Katherine Graham Cracker said...

Great job and write on!
The goopers are better at merchandising their propaganda as well. They are better oganized with their front groups ala the Donaho' flap. If you want a clear demonstration just follow the progression of the recent attacks on Speaker Pelosi. Having rapid response to attacks is good but we must also go on the offensive.

At 10:54 AM, Blogger Ed Sikov said...

I agree. But to what do you attribute this lack of Democratic spine?

At 11:30 AM, Blogger basheert said...

ed sikov:
Primarily (in the Senate) a sheer lack of numbers to be able to follow through. A majority of one with Johnson hospitalized is not enough to push any agenda, no matter how worthwhile.
It is imperative that people recognize without the 60 votes and with the current Thugs in the Senate, this is what you get.
Look at the House ... it's pushing, pushing, pushing with the Dem majority. On the Senate side, it's STILL the nasty old boys who are stonewalling.
The Dems still are blamed for pulling the plug on Vietnam in their estimation (a gutsy and well needed thing to do), and don't want to be seen as not supporting the troops.
The first candidate who comes out anti-War will be elected I'll betcha. The country is STARVED for a change, they proved it in the midterms.
Not sure (Cliff???) how many Rep/Dem seats are up in the Senate in 2008 - but again, I do know the Dems have far fewer seats at risk. I believe that the Dems will win the Senate BIG and the logjam will break.
Unfortunately, it is my true belief that Iraq will remain with us until the 2008 election. And if it does, the Reps will lose everything.
Above all, this is Bush's WAR ... no one elses. The Rep stonewalling is seen by all. Many quiet people hate what is happening in Iraq. Unfortunately it only affects some people - many can wall it off emotionally.
I'll say it - we NEED a draft. It will stop the war in a second.

At 2:04 PM, Blogger gimmeabreak said...

Cliff - that's just the kind of stuff I want to hear. That's why I found you so refreshing when I first heard you (and hence my presence here today). I want people yelling back at the liars and their "journalistic" enablers like you do and like I do at the teebee.

Yeah, and I saw about Fox hosting the debates in Nevada - WTF? Who's gonna moderate? Brit Hume(erless)? Steve Douchey? Sean "you're a great American" Hannity????

They are salivating to be able to smear them all live and in person in front of millions.

(P.S. Don't take this wrong, but I don't agree with publishing people's phone number - even if they insist. McCain is a nasty, nasty man).

At 7:41 PM, Blogger GottaLaff said...

Wait. So, you guys actually let someone named "GottaLaff" in on the Comments? Are you NUTS???

: )

At 2:35 AM, Blogger Hal said...

Ranked Choice Voting + Green Party = anti-war, non-corporate progressive politics


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