Thursday, February 02, 2006

Steve Gilliard, I am stealing your post!

Because it's SO good! What starts out as a fund-raising quest turns into a great column about our relationship with the Democratic Party and its' elected officials. By the way, if you like his stuff, go to his site (linked in the blog roll) and give him some $$. He's worth it!

Chris Bowers , Matt Stoller and Kevin Hayden are all doing post-mortums on the Alito fight. And they all make good points, but miss something.

First, we, the netroots, didn't do anything wrong. We created a campaign out of whole cloth and forced the Senate to respond. While that didn't work, it's a powerful tool to have on tap. We did what we could and we did it well, better than I imagined, but.......

The problem is that we're outsiders. People for the American Way, after sitting on their hands, is now raising money after not fighting Alito, using him as a boogieman. NARAL is still backing Lincoln Chafee, despite his refusal to vote for a filibuster, and the rest remain mute as French mimes. PFAW now says "we did all we could" to stop Alito, which is, excuse my French, utter and complete bullshit. Ralph Neas must think we're idiots.

We were the only people in the fight, and they want to collect the money for it.

Second, the Washington insiders think we're their bitches. We exist to raise money, do field work and shut up. Many bloggers are stunned when they get on a conference call with the 527 people and pols.

People were pissed when I went after Tim Kaine last year, and now Matt Stoller is saying we need to stop being starstuck by pols. Well, being a bit older than my friend Matt, I waill say this: as long as you go along to get along, you won't be respected. As long as you rely on pols to transmit your message, you will be constrained by them.

I value my self-respect far more than party loyalty. It nauseates me to see all the right bloggers defending Bush at any price. What? Did they stop thinking? Power groupies, the lot of them.

What Matt is getting at is that people have to stop genulfecting because Ted Kennedy is on a conference call, which is true. Respect often morphs into synchophantic behavior when confronted by the famous. It takes a lot of time to get that hard nose that you learn in J school.

But it's more than that. The old liberal structure is basically founded on the condescening idea that an elite is needed to protect our basic rights and promote progressive ideas, and you can see that from the Nation to NARAL.

The reason I harp on the Nation is that it is the most liberal magazine published, yet it is a preserve of the rich and white in a city which is black and hispanic. NARAL backed Chafee despite pro-choice Dems running, and both come to us, hat in hand, saying they're fighting for us.

Well, that day should end. We don't need people to fight for us, we need people to fight with us. Steve Elmendorf, one of Kerry's former consultants, said basically, well, let's figure out a way to take their money and not respond to their demands.

The sad part is people defended him because they knew him.

My response to that is "so fucking what."

Anytime someone disrespects you, you have to defend yourself. Even if you like him.

The reason we raise money, not just here, but at most other sites, because we have no choice. There is no liberal structure to support us, to fund our research. I hate asking for money, I don't think any blogger likes asking for money, but George Soros isn't dolling out research grants and sending us around the US to write on issues.

When bloggers went to New Orleans after Katrina, we did that. When they went to DeLay's indictment, we paid for that. There wasn't a call we could make and a project officer to talk to.

Despite that, we, collectively have a lot of power.

The problem is that we lack the institutional support the right has. Their bloggers may be hacks for the most part, but they are part of a larger team.

We need more from those rich liberals we see in the media. What, exactly, are they waiting for, another election, another 527? The more people who do this full-time, the better the work becomes.

It isn't that your support isn't great, it is. It makes things possible, but unless someone has an endowment of $2m to kick in, our activities are limited.

I mean, we can see how the right treats their young people, and how you still have to have a rich father to work on the left. The left has gotten use to cheap, subsidized labor and then wonders why they aren't effective. Because the best and the brightest wind up in government, with unions, with people who can pay their bills.

But I think the problem is that a lot of bloggers like politics and wanted to be inside the game. Well, not me, but that's not the point here.

You are either an insurgent or not. If you want to change the Democratic Party, you have to be serious about it. No more talk about the Greens, no stomping off. We have to be serious about getting rid of the dead wood at every level and pushing our arguments relentlessly.

We did that last weekend. We need to keep doing it.

As usual:
Stephen Gilliard
217 E 86th St
NMB 112
New York, NY 10028
posted by Steve @
10:55:00 AM


Brassmask said...

Who would be considered "dead wood" in our local Democratic Party?

If we believe this, and I do, then we need to figure out who the stalwarts are and get Dems back to being liberal firebrands.

Brad Watkins said...

I could not agree more...

autoegocrat said...

Steve Gilliard doesn't mind if you steal his post. He'd rather you take the whole thing than cut it into pieces.

As far as I can tell, they're all dead wood around here. A better question is who is not dead wood?

Brassmask said...

That's all well and good to say they're all dead wood but if we don't stand up and just point our fingers and work to get rid of them, then its not going to change.

One of the reasons that my wife and I are even bothering to get involved now is because we're just plain sick of seeing the same old crap with nothing being done.

I look to the bloggers and people who are following the scene (at this point) to let me know who is not pulling for progressives and liberals and who is just going along to get along.

If someone knows where someone is putting stuff out there in this vein, I'd love to check it out otherwise I will have to wait till I'm more aware of who everyone is and what they're all about so that I can start pointing fingers myself.