A Gaggle of Losers
Sometime ago I wrote a diary at Dailykos titled 'Al From : "Becoming Losers" for Dummies'. It was a response to DLC CEO Al From's fake tirade against the MoveOn "crowd" (and for that matter Michael Moore) - a tirade which subsequently, predictably, made its way into an RNC press release about Democrats and MoveOn. In a nutshell, I pointed out that From was indulging in ugly bashing of those on the Left who were not in his approved list of losers, when at the same time there was silence about George Bush's and Dick Cheney's close association with, among others, a man who dodged military service using the excuse of a boil in his butt (largely), who happened to be a serial liar, fraud and bigot, an illegal-pill-popping drug addict, and keeping in concert with the Right's definition of "moral values", a man who was also a three-time divorcee - Rush Limbaugh. And by "association", I don't mean the Democratic variety, where people are usually kept at more than arm's length for fear of being tarred by the frauds on the Right. I mean association as in being "honored" to talk to Limbaugh, and making Limbaugh an unofficial campaign advisor, among other things. As I wrote in my summary:
If Al From is truly a Democratic Leader he would be spending every living moment of his Democratic life bashing Rush Limbaugh, and the Bush administration for associating with Limbaugh -- rather than bashing MoveOn.org and Michael Moore, neither of whom were advisers to Kerry/Edwards, neither of whom were the recipient of fawning adoration or respect from Kerry/Edwards, and neither of whom can even remotely match - even in a million years - the vast and daily barrage of lies, fraud, bigotry, chicken-hawkism, and anti-American hatred that the Limbaughs of the world have institutionalized on American soil.
The Democratic Party has clearly demonstrated it has a big tent, and there are special places for losers in the tent. We should thank Mr. From for teaching us and our children how losers think.
I'm mentioning this again because of Steve's posts and Markos' post. What Steve showed is how, despite being losers again and again, against a Republican administration that is perhaps one of the most incompetent and corrupt in modern American history, one can always find Democrats in Congress who are willing to sacrifice the future of the party for their own personal agenda and stay on the losing path. What Markos points out is similar, but his point is not about the Democrats in Congress, it is about some of the progressive groups that have long been narrow-issue-oriented. As he says:
Last week I spent three days at a conference of various leaders of the budding VLWC, and it was, well, interesting.
There were leaders, all of them older, of extremely prominent liberal interest groups. We're talking labor, environmental, economic justice, things like that. And some of them were genuinely awesome.
But there was a large contingent of them that were obsessed with one thing -- their pet issue. It was about them, them, them. Why wasn't their issue being addressed? Did they have to stay in some meeting if their issue wasn't being discussed? Etc.
Wow! Their self-centerdness and lack of interest in working together (unless it revolved around their issue) was breathtaking.
See the common thread? It is a thread that is a hallmark of losers. Now, I work in the private sector and this kind of behavior would be especially considered suicidal in business. Let me provide a loose analogy. Imagine a group of smaller companies trying to compete against Microsoft, in the different markets that Microsoft is in.
If they are all powerless in comparison to Microsoft, and don't have the money/advertising/media presence that Microsoft has, it would be to their advantage to create an alliance to build products that include greater mutual compatibility, stability and high quality all around, so that Microsoft cannot exploit gaps in the alliance's offering to outsell them (this does not preclude individual companies from offering value added products that extend beyond the offering of the alliance). This is considered common sense. Alas, people like Al From, some of the "DLC" Democrats and progressive groups of the kind Markos mentions, have turned losing into an art form. Now, I have nothing against the DLC or these progressive groups per se - all parties need to have diverse opinions represented. But always, go back to the Microsoft example. If one of the alliance members is willing to sacrifice the success of the alliance by publicly tarnishing another alliance member's product or by promoting/offering something that destroys the alliance's product/marketing strategy, instead of addressing any possible incompatibilities in private, Microsoft would win. Microsoft would clearly win if their competitors ware busy trashing each other in the eyes of the customer, rather than trash Microsoft at every opportunity. (You can also see immediately why the DLC has become dysfunctional. It rewards such incompetence by holding on to a loser as CEO - which, interestingly, is the hallmark of the GOP on the policy (not political) side of things.)
We have some ways to go in building a progressive infrastructure in this country, consisting of people who want to win the war. Right now, they are content with losing the war, if it means winning a few very private battles along the way.
UPDATE 4/16: Also read Dave Johnson's note in the comments and his post.