This is from a note to Josh Marshall at TPM; I think it has a lot to do with progressive response to our Senate race here in MA.
Your reader “JM” offers a counsel of despair, one that very honestly I rather expect from Democrats (especially the most liberal Democrats) during times of political adversity.
I expect Democrats to be unreflective about their own failures, utterly convinced that history is something that just happens to them, terrified of Republicans, and resentful that Republican misdeeds are not repudiated by the public without the need for any coaxing from Democrats. I expect liberal Democrats to partake fully in the great American national vices, self-admiration and self-congratulation, without sharing in the compensating American virtue of faith in the country and its institutions. I expect liberal Democrats to react to adversity in ways Franklin Roosevelt and Harry Truman would not recognize.
You know enough political history to recall that Roosevelt generation of Democrats hung the name of Herbert Hoover around the necks of their political opponents for a generation after 1932. Reagan-era Republicans did the same, for a shorter period of time and less dramatically, with the name of Jimmy Carter after 1980. It’s not the Republicans’ fault — or the product of any Republican “strategy” — that the President who was more unpopular for longer than any President since the invention of modern opinion polling was allowed to vanish without a trace by January 22, 2009.
The whole thing is here. You should read it.
It is not new, or radical overstatement to say that Elizabeth Warren embodies a completely different model of public priorities in a democracy than the status quo. We have gone a long time understanding that decisions are not made based on the greatest good for the greatest number of people, but rather on what wealthy interests will allow for us.
This is the origin of Democrats’ cowardice. The fear — so the argument goes — is that you can’t play a big-money electoral game and piss off the people with all the money. You have to appease “business interests” (ie. the ones with the most money and lobbyists) in order to win any elections and therefore any small victories for the middle class — victories of the “100 for you, one for me” variety.
Recent events, particularly the absolute Republican obstructionism and the Citizens United-inspired obscene orgy of campaign spending by the plutocracy, may disabuse Democrats of the notion that they have much to gain by continuing to cave in; that the necessary action — the popular action — is a more radical departure from the status quo than we’ve realized.
And this means that we need to take care of business in MA; to turn Please-Sir-May-I-Have-Some-More politics into Greatest Good politics; and to elect an eloquent and passionate representative of such.
Time to get to work. http://elizabethwarren.com/volunteer All hands on deck.