May 5th, 2006

Democrats want the blogs to shut up - I say NO!

John Aravosis poses an important question to the netroots based on requests he’s received from Democratic leadership:

Some friends on the Hill recently asked me if the liberal blogs could lay off their attacks on Democratic members of Congress until after the port aransas fishing charters prices. The idea being that we need to keep promoting a public image of Dems good/Republicans bad, and that any criticism of Dems hurts our image and only helps detract attention from the Republicans’ increasing number of failings.

It’s an interesting question. Is it time to sit back and shut up and hold our tongue?

I think at some point we can hurt ourselves by helping create a public perception that our party has no message and is spineless. Then again, it’s not like they need much help creating that perception - chicken and egg.

Fuck. That. Noise.

Give us something to support and we’ll shut up, but this is really the DNC asking the progressive netroots to stomach the lesser of two evils. And I say that as an ardent Democrat who cares about nothing more than watching Democrats retake our government. But it’s not going to happen by us silencing criticism of Dems who deserve criticism, while continuing to target Republicans. That’s the birthplace of hypocrisy and for all the time we spend berating the right about it, I think it’d be insane for us to suddenly stop caring about honesty, integrity and good government.

I disagree with Aravosis that this is a chicken and egg problem. It’s not. The failure of the DNC to find adequate, electable candidates cannot be blamed by criticism from the progressive netroots for that fact. We’re critical because the candidates are weak or slimy or NOT REAL DEMOCRATS (read: Lieberman, Cuellar, Nelson); when the candidates lose we can’t be blamed for the candidate being a weak DINO. It’s a circular argument, the fallacy of post hoc ergo propter hoc - and I’m sure anyone with their head screwed on right at the DNC knows it.

Progressive Democrats were burned badly in the lead up to the Iraq war as Dem after elected Dem got in lock-step behind Rove, Rumsfeld, and Cheney’s war machine. The liberal voices weren’t listened to and look what we have as a result? Why should anyone on the liberal blogosphere have faith that these same Democrats are (a) the best we can hope for or (b) deserving of our fealty?

Now I understand the underlying political, Manichean motives for Aravosis’s question - it should be noted that he doesn’t answer it, only poses it on his site - but our individual political values whereby many of us would place Democrats as the only “good” option in American politics exist separate from the goals that run common through the blogosphere. Good government, honest politicians, accountability, and an increase in the transparency of America’s democracy are what many on the blogosphere work for. When we criticize Bush, Rove, Frist, or DeLay for their shortcomings in these areas, it’s not just because we don’t like their views on abortion and gay rights.

I raise the distinction between good government and political spectrum issues on whole because one of the most important roles the blogosphere has played in electoral politics is one of investigatory journalism and paying attention to scandals that the traditional can’t see the importance of. No doubt the blogs will play a crucial role in helping Democrats unseat Republicans in Congress, but this is not because the DNC asks us to (though I’m sure that they hope for it these days), but rather because we believe rooting out corruption will, in the end, make our government stronger and more effective.

Obviously it’s no coincidence that liberal blogs focus our energies on Republican abuses primarily and conservative blogs do the same. But the Democrats the netroots are out to get are ones cut from the same cloth as corrupt Republicans who no longer have a moral compass (see, again: Lieberman, Joe). For us to turn our back on our values because the Democrats are concerned that a modicum of dissent might disrupt the careful machinations of their knighted consultants is to undermine the very functions and strength of the netroots. Silencing my criticisms of Democrats, whatever they may be, doesn’t just make me feel intellectually inconsistent and unprincipled - it makes me feel like less of a blogger.

If the DNC, DSCC, and DCCC are already looking to blame bloggers for failures they might experience in the midterms, then my guess is they’re already in position to fail. They are misdirecting their temerity by focusing it on their strongest allies and not on their weakest candidates and shoddiest incumbents. If the Democrats find a way to lose ground in 2006, it will go down as one of the greatest failures in American political history - likely on par with the Bush presidency. In that eventuality there’s no scenario where any meaningful iota of blame should fall on the progressive netroots. Schumer, Emmanuel, Reid, and Pelosi will go down as the architects of that failure, not Atrios, Kos, Aravosis, and Stoller.

Wake up and learn how to treat your base.

Democrats, 2006, 2008, blogs, bloggers

Tags: Democrats, 2006, 2008, blogs, bloggers

Posted in Politics, Weblogs, Campaign News, DailyFeatured

13 Comment(s)

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  1. chicago dyke Says :

    i totally agree. i’ll shut up when they make up for putting alito on the court, which at this rate, will be never. let the sycophants play nice, i’ve been done with that shit for six years now.

    Comment unrated
  2. Jet Says :

    I’m completely with you on this one, Philo. Since when are Dems the party that silences dissent? Beyond that, since when is the Dem base the group that takes being handed a big cup of shut the f*ck up lightly? Do these people even know who they represent anymore? Sounds to me like they can’t bear the burden of representing anybody but themselves. Crap like this really frosts me.

    Comment unrated
  3. Philo Says :

    Crap like this really frosts me.

    What a marvelous turn of phrase Jet.

    CD–The Alito confirmation was a huge dagger in my back. Why can’t we stop a clearly regressive judge? What are we waiting for???

    Comment unrated
  4. Shirt Says :

    The President would not be in such public disfavor had his own party brought him up short on questionable activities (I’ll not receite that lenghty list!) Honest criticism builds strength while silence implies approval.

    Comment unrated
  5. Jet Says :

    Bingo, Shirt. Well said.

    Comment unrated
  6. ken grandlund Says :

    “I think at some point we can hurt ourselves by helping create a public perception that our party has no message and is spineless.”

    Action (or lack of it) is what fuels perception. If the Democratic Party wants it’s “base” to quit deriding it, they need to start acting like the party of the people they claim to be. Who among its followers would decry their efforts to rebuke this ruling party and administration? Who among its followers would leave if the elected party whores would stand up for real reforms? As it is, the elected democrats are little more than a shimmered reflection of their republican counterparts. Is it any wonder that even their own ideologically simmilar citizen supporters are questioning whether democrats can actually step up and represent their constituents?

    Comment score: 5.0
  7. Wild Sects Says :

    As I stated on AMERICAblog:

    In my view they don’t deserve a pass. They’ve been too spineless for too long. Until they show a little backbone they are no better than the Republicans they suck up to. We need to purge the party of weak-kneed talking heads and replace them with progressives who will actually stand up to these monsters.

    Comment unrated
  8. Ditto Says :

    “Honest criticism builds strength while silence implies approval.” Outstanding, Shirt!

    The Dems have not exactly proved themselves to be a strong OPPOSING party. They have been largely silent when they should’ve been screaming. They have bent when they should’ve been firm. And they seem to have increasingly suffered from short term memory loss. (One exception is Robert “This silence is deafening” Byrd.)

    The biggest difference between the constituency of D and R’s is that one group voices their heart-felt disagreement w/ party policy and the other t o w s  t h e  c o m p a n y  l i n e blindly.

    How about a third party… a BLOG PARTY. Where consensus is gathered, and policy developed, by regular folks outside the corporate-greased pipelines of the MSM and the dinosaur-like corrupted party committees that base policy on the wants of powerful lobby groups. 

    Bottom line #1; Is it good for the country or good for a political party?

    Bottom line #2; Who do you want to actually win?


    Comment score: 5.0
  9. ken grandlund Says :

    Ditto- to answer your bottom line questions, any public servant worth their salt would have to reply-

    #1- Country and people before party, always.

    #2- Whether I win or lose is irrelevant. The winner should always be the American people, insofar as American domestic government is concerned. With regards to all other policy matters, the winners should be humanity and the planet we are temporarily charged with caring for.

    Comment unrated
  10. GTL Says :

    Damn, does this post and every comment to it ring true to me.  Great job y’all… I am so frigging PROUD of your responses!!!  Like the rest of you, I want my party back, but until the time comes when (as Ken says) the party goes back to being a progressive party of the “common man and woman” of America, I will continue to greatly criticize the DNC in hopes that they might just listen to me someday and fix itself.  Great job, y’all!

    Comment score: 5.0
  11. ChosenOne Says :

    “Some friends on the Hill recently asked me if the liberal blogs could lay off their attacks on Democratic members of Congress until after the election.”


    Really haven’t seen any, “attacks” on Democratic members of Congress by the Democrats.  Maybe that’s the problem!  No real reason to get “frosted” if I were you guys.  You gotta start attacking them FIRST!

    Comment unrated
  12. Liberal Army Wife Says :

    no way in hell do we shut up… if we do… we’re Republitards…..


    Comment unrated
  13. Ryan Oddey Says :

    Sure, I will lay off my questioning of the Democrats, as soon as they stop screwing up.  When we question our own party we give our party a system of checks and balances that the Rebublicans will never have.  The bloggers on the right drink the Kool-Aid no matter what, at least we demand a good flavor. 

    Comment unrated

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