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!