Why the Herald-esque posts aren’t helping us

I come from the school of, ‘if you’re not on message, you’re off it.’

That’s why I’ve been a little disappointed to see the goo-gooze fester a bit on BMG for the past few days.

Of course, we should all be for good government, but we shouldn’t be for “good government” used as a wedge to divide us all from being able to do what’s… you know… good.

There are a few reasons. If you don’t think other people are paying attention, be it the media or right-wing, I have a bridge to sell you. We don’t need anyone pointing to some ill-thought-out GooGoo posts and saying, “see, if even BMG is for this, then of course Beacon Hill has to [insert Howie Carr talking points here].”

Moreover, getting angry over issues much the same way that the Boston Herald does, we too are wasting time that could be better spent digging deeper or giving attention to actual, real-life issues that should be changed.

Of course, I’m talking about two recent posts (and many comments therein) in particular: 1) the notion that, even as our budget troubles are very much real and we haven’t restored funds or programs that were cut or obliterated over the past 10+ years, we should cut our revenue further, and 2) the idea that dramatically underpaid, overworked and under-appreciated state house employees shouldn’t get a modest raise, when they haven’t had one for 5 years, because a state-funded private contractor treats its mental health workers shitty.

Strategically, how do these posts make sense?

Does it help the much-deserving health care workers get a raise? No.

Does it help talented, hard-working people decide they want to make a career in state government? No.

Does railing against the sales tax, when the vast majority of our 351 communities are still in a budget crisis and the state government is barely getting by, help out our budgeting priorities? No.

Do these posts help the progressive movement grow stronger or keep us in focus? No.

None of these things.

Are these diaries and comments even particularly interesting or enlightening? No more than the tabloids coming from the Boston Herald. I think we’re better than that.

There’s a difference between ferreting out any real abuses, and abusing people who deserve better. There’s a difference between railing against supposed promises that can’t be kept, and railing against promises that could have been kept, but haven’t. These posts aren’t grasping those differences, they’re missing the forest for the trees.

Far more interesting than an angry post about the sales tax, sans any analysis on whether we can even afford to cut it, would be an informative look at the budget to see what’s possible, or a suggestion for other revenue sources that come to the magic number. The budget is posted online, so people should have at it.

We need posts on how to find (or raise) the revenue to fund raises for mental health workers, lifting all boats, and ask if the private contractors are doing an adequate job in their employment of them, not engage in Howie Carr’s talking points that bring everyone down and will never end up with those health care workers getting a raise.

Let’s engage in actual good governance, not fall for faux goo-goo issues that can only ever be used as a wedge.

It’s harder work, one that takes a lot more research, a lot more effort and a little patience to avoid knee-jerk reactions, but is what it takes for us to have good governance.

You know, like this fantastic and fascinating diary on Article 44. More of that, please. It’s the kind of stuff that put progressive blogs on the map.

In the mean time, let’s think about the consequences of our posts, working for our common goals. Let’s ask whether each diary or blog we write helps progress progressive causes or goals before we hit publish. Let’s pursue our real purpose.

Let’s not tear any of the deserving, and our state budget, down.

My words and opinions are mine and mine alone, and should not be considered representative of any other person, organization or entity.


7 Comments . Leave a comment below.
  1. this is worth repeating...

    You know, like this fantastic and fascinating diary on Article 44. More of that, please. It’s the kind of stuff that put progressive blogs on the map.

    Yes. Please. Agree. More of that sorta stuff please.

  2. Yup.

    Railing against state workers getting a 3% raise for the first time in several seems like energy wasted.

    Besides the fact that the Legislature should be able to use their allotted budget however they determine, the public sector and unions should be leading the fight for fair wages through example. One raise in 4 or 5 years doesn’t even keep up with inflation. Lets not begrudge them that or allow for the false comparison between unrelated agencies.

  3. Give it a break

    The election is over, thank goodness. Comes a time when slavish message discipline is not a virtue, but something else.

    Maybe you want to argue on the merits that it’s better to give a 3% raise to some who deserve it than to none. But don’t drag in this party-line malarkey.

    Some of the best arguments on BMG criticize party orthodoxy, btw.

    • This wasn't a Democratic Party post

      this was a progressive movement post. It’s bigger than party.

      Simply put, we can’t engage in the politics of division and mutual destruction if we want to advance.

      I’m all for criticizing the Democratic Party, individual Democrats or even the greater progressive movement when it must be done — when it serves a purpose.

      Yet, as I lined out in my diary, there’s no purpose to be served here. We’re neither helping the state budget nor mental healthcare workers with these posts. Period.

      RyansTake   @   Sat 1 Dec 4:43 AM
    • I see a difference

      between arguments that defend important party principles against abuse by elected Democrats, and those that simply don’t. The main question is, what is the ‘message’ of which Ryan speaks?

      Amberpaw’s post on drone attacks clearly falls in the first category, as would a post criticizing a sellout on Social Security, for example. They may criticize Obama, but not “party orthodoxy” as I view it.

      • The message is anything that pushes the progressive movement


        We should of course take principled stands, be they party stands or ideological stands, but they shouldn’t be done as knee-jerk reactions or employ the politics of divide and conquer. That takes us ‘off message’ and hurts us going forward.

        We don’t need anyone pointing to posts on BMG and saying, “see, even liberals don’t think we need more tax revenue” because of some posts saying we should cut the sales tax. We don’t need to harm the ability of state house workers to get modest raises every 5-10 years, and doing so will do nothing to address other state workers (contractors or otherwise) who should be getting raises, but aren’t.

        The progressive movement, at its base, is about recognizing that we’re all in this together. We shouldn’t be taking any actions that pull us apart. That’s a recipe to go back to the days when the liberal umbrella was a bunch of bickering forces that could be made to fight each other as often as they fought the right. It was a recipe of disaster for over 30 years.

        RyansTake   @   Sun 2 Dec 5:29 PM
        • Right, that was my (poorly made) point

          I agree with you entirely. Posts that that take principled progressive stands I support, even if they are critical of Democrats in office. In that category I’d count the drone issue.

          I don’t think you’re saying we should never criticize any Democrat in office. My view is that I’ll be more careful during an election season, but I’ll criticize them when they go too far to the right. I don’t think, at this point, we have too many Democrats I’d criticize for being too far to the left.

          Thus I don’t support posts that go against the type of society progressives should be for. My problem with the post about legislative staff is the same as yours, I think. It plays into the hands of the cronyism/government’s corrupt and can do nothing right crowd. “Even BMG says the leg is just taking up their own at others’ expense.” In fact, the raises at issue were modest and overdue.

          That other state employees who equally need/deserve a raise just reinforces that we have insufficient revenue. Thus I agree with you, the last fire we need to add fuel to is the anti-tax fire. Revenue at the state and local levels is far too low, with serious negative consequences for policy and society.

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