Al Gore Saves the Day [updated 1826 pst]
The background of tension and reticence that has been dogging Netroots Nation came to a boil yesterday morning when attendees were threatened with having their convention badges revoked if they disrupted Speaker Pelosi. The issue dogging the convention is that Congressional Democratic failure reached a tipping point with FISA and the base, there is no significant trust or faith anymore in our Party leadership, not to mention quite a bit of anger.
Convention attendees were obviously not trusted to be civil to Speaker Pelosi, either, and things had the potential to get really ugly yesterday. I was actually late for Speaker Pelosi’s introduction, so I didn’t hear warning, and although I probably would have accepted it I also would have been seriously provoked by it, to me it had the distinct feeling of being pushed around.
But the surprise and presence of Al Gore was enough to diffuse the situation from getting out of hand, Code Pink tolerated until they rudely left during one of Pelosi’s answers, some angry attendees throwing wadded paper at the obnoxious protestors. The whole morning was infused with an angry conflict of wanting to honor protest yet still be respectful to Speaker Pelosi, and I found it painful to watch a Democratic Speaker of the House be protested by Code Pink at our very own convention.
Al Gore was great deflection, yes, but he never will have the ability to raise our spirits, his story carries too much sadness.
“Oh how I love Al Gore,” Digby said wistfully, shaking her head at what could and should have been. As long as George Bush is President this chapter Al Gore’s life and the nation will not be closed, that will not happen until next January. Al Gore has a great mission and immense integrity, but he can’t raise the spirits of our people, only Pelosi and the rest of the Party leadership can do that.
“This is boilerplate bullshit,” a great blogger said next to us as Pelosi yapped about some accountability mechanism in new legislation. It was, it was obvious to anyone with any American political experience, but the Netroots Nation accepted it without any real fuss.
It was also not overtly ugly, not in any sense, so this was probably the best that could have been made out the situation.
Deflection worked this time, but that tactic can only be used once. The tipping point has been reached with the base, and if Pelosi shows up next year with the same record of failure nothing will stop the netroots from brawling it out with her.
I hope Senator Obama realizes the magnitude of task that awaits him in re-building the Democratic Party brand and faith with the base. Until we get real leadership in Congress with real wins words mean nothing, and we will not be meek about it indefinitely.
[update from my comments]
"I will say this: when it came right down to it I followed the will of my people.
I could not in any sense predict that causing real trouble--which would have been very easy to do--would produce positive effects. Not hardly.
Heed the comment of Captain Dan very closely. Those fucking journalists were crawling all over the place, and they control the media narrative, something could have happened and it could have so easily spiraled out of control, with no bearing to what in fact happened.
Taking that risk would have been such an act of disrespect to Gina Cooper and all the people who sweated blood to make NN work I never would have been able to look at myself again.
I rebel, I do not take shit, but there is a time and a place for everything, and if you don't know what to do you fucking do as you're told.
There's a lot else to say, but that's basically it."