Monday, December 7, 2009

Why I'm Not a Liberal Anymore

Maybe the initial illuminating moment came when I learned that Tom Hayden, the anti-Vietnam war activist, had removed the Obama bumper sticker from his car. All I know is that I can hardly stand reading the Huffington Post these days. The stuff coming out of "progressive" mouths is all too often on a par with Glenn Beck's abusive rants--both sides (right and left wingers) playing thousand-pound national football with the President as the ball--meaning, kick kick kick, until you bust his dick. This truly makes me sick. (It's meant to be the rhyme from hell.) I think the straw that broke this camel's back was an horrendously ugly and smearing essay Christian Parenti wrote last week, which was published on the Huffington Post after Obama's Afghanistan speech. In what follows, I have compressed into a single, loathsome paragraph his most outrageous statements:

"Like Lyndon Johnson who escalated in Vietnam, Obama lives in mortal fear of being called a wimp by Republicans. To look strong in front of swing voters he will sacrifice the lives of hundreds of US soldiers; allow many more to be horribly maimed; waste a minimum of $30 billion in public money; and in the process kill many thousands of Afghan civilians. It is political theater nothing else. The real purpose of these 300,000 [sic] soldiers is to make Obama look tough as he heads toward the next US presidential election. In short, he used Afghanistan to show that we [sic] was not the soft, meek, scared, pussified, little Democrat portrayed in GOP spin. There is nothing else to Obama's Afghan strategy. Victory in Afghanistan is reelection in 2012. Whatever the outcome, Obama has made it clear: he is willing to kill to get reelected."

Just get me out of here, folks, fast, or I may do something none of us will like--and it won't be standing tiptoe on a misty mountaintop. More likely, I will need to wash my mouth out with soap when I am done. Or else, allow me to use Andrew Sullivan as my personal Listerine instead. Yesterday he wrote on his blog that he is reading Thomas Merton's translations of Chuang Tzu, and offered up this neat little story reminding him, he says, of Obama's governing style, and helping him to understand better how Obama approaches things:

"When we wear out our minds stubbornly clinging to our partial view of things, refusing to see a deeper agreement between this and its complementary opposite, we have what is called "three in the morning".
What is this three in the morning?
A monkey trainer went to his monkeys and told them:
"As regards your chestnuts: you're going to have three cups in the morning and four in the afternoon."
At this they all became angry. So he said: "All right, in that case I will give you four in the morning and three in the afternoon." This time they were satisfied.
The two arrangements were the same in that the number of chestnuts did not change. But in one case the animals were displeased and in the other they were satisfied. The keeper had been willing to change his personal arrrangement in order to meet objective conditions. He lost nothing by it!
The truly wise man, considering both sides of the question without partiality, sees them both in the light of Tao.
This is called following two courses at once."

So, if you're not a liberal anymore, then what are you? a friend asked me. The answer is I'm a Taoist, even though there isn't a political party yet that goes by that name. And now I can add that I'm also "three in the morning"--which means, in considering both sides of a question, I'm willing to follow two different courses at once. And I'm really glad to have a president who is brave enough and willing to do exactly that, too.


Anonymous said...

What a pathetic blog post. Thanks for proving the leftwing nuts are just as nuts as the rightwing nuts.

Go Obama.

No One likes this war, including Obama.

Wimps cut and are one.

Ian Priest said...

Of the most odious, left leaning, Obama-bashing-just-for-the-sake-of-it sites, Americablog is uniquely awful. I literally have forced myself to stop reading it.

For a long time during the Clinton years, I considered myself a self loathing liberal, in that I agreed with their politics, but hated the simplistic, textbook agenda that so many of my peers espoused. Most of that washed away during the Bush's sad this feeling has come back with such force that I am once more inclined to say it:

I'm ashamed to be a liberal.

Anonymous said...

There isn't a party called "liberal" either.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for your post.

You are dead on - the Far Right and the Far Left are sickening, we all need a break from both sides of these loons. The Huffington Post is starting to read like Michelle Malkin's HotAir or the Fox nation and that's a very serious problem.

The bigger question is how can all of these loons be so damn stupid? For starters Obama ran on extending the war in Afghanistan.

I think it's time to ignore all of these loons, they are the distraction.

Anonymous said...

Bill Mahr is right, we need a Progressive Party.

As much as those on the other side believe in the Tea Party Movement - we on The Left need something to shake up the Democratic establishment. They are acting too much like GOP light.

Unknown said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Egypt Steve said...

Make a lot more sense if some of the Obama defenders could actually rebut some of the left-wing critiques, instead of just whining about how criticism from the left = criticism from the right, and Glenn Beck is a right-wing lunatic, and so all critics are lunatics.

My suggestion: Read Glenn Greenwald and then defend Obama's constitutional rights record if you think you can.

Unknown said...

Anonymous entirely misreads Suzi's post.

Give it another go, dude. You can do it!

Larry Geater said...

I am still well to the left of the Democratic party but I agree with you about the intemprate arguments on both sides. Both sides are all too quick to ascribe evil motive when someone disagrees with them on policy.

This sort of rovian political posturing is in large part responsible for the cinicism in the center, as people say 'a pox on both your houses.'

I do not mind extreme policy positions on either side, but those who use extreme rhetoric vilifying those with whome they have a policy arguement should be banished from our discourse.

23456 said...

spot on...great post Suzi

NHCt said...

Please do not compare the left to Glenn Beck. Yes, I often find myself annoyed by some on the left who take an almost conspiratorial view toward Obama, that he's nothing but a corporate tool and a wolf in liberal's clothing. But it is nothing like what the right has been doing. I read most of the major liberal blogs and have never seen the same maliciousness, outright falsehoods and desire for blood I seen from Beck, Limbaugh and any number of prominent right wing bloggers and POLITICIANS. It is a false equivalency to compare Tom Hayden, as misguided as his column was, to the folks on the right. And rather than bringing sanity to the liberal side, such comparisons only legitimize and mainstream the most extreme elements on the right. If Huffington Post is as bad as Beck, then ripping an Obama sticker off your car is the same as all but calling for the assassination of Nancy Pelosi or convincing your audience that Obama is a dictator in the making. That is a mistake that is just as bad as any annoyances from the folks at HuffPost.

Tacy said...

Suzi - well said!

GrandRiverBlvd said...

Suzi, all this time, while the far left has been shouting, "Not good enough" (the Summers/Geithner thing started everybody out with a terrible taste in their mouths, I realize), the hardworking grassroots folks who fueled the Obama campaign and continue to work for change, even if incrementally and imperfectly, are still at it, admirably. So the angry people whose ideology won't let them budge an inch will get some real good from the work, while they holler and condemn and make things that could be getting better never good enough. Organizing for America, still at it with passion and devotion and that great effort called hard work.

Thanks for this post. I have been feeling the same way and really am grateful you put the feelings into words publicly.

Anonymous said...

Obama never ran a campaign on being an anti war President or anti war towards Afghansistan. Maybe this blogger should have listened to Obama more before casting her vote then playing the typical liberal victim card the GOP loves to throw at Democrats.

You can be as anti war as you want...that does not change the fact there are people out there who want to harm the United States, even with a Democratic President in power. Don't blame Obama for having to clean up 12313 messes while we cry like babies.

Anonymous said...

Thanks Suzi. I don't agree with everything Obama has done and I have been disappointed with some of his decisions (the aforementioned civil liberties record being among them), but much of the liberal blogosphere lost me when the criticism transitioned to the sort of polarized hatred that makes intellectually honest discourse and analysis impossible. For every cogent criticism I come across, I read at least a dozen other hyperbolic rants tat are based on little more than fear-mongering and reflexive nit-picking. We're now at the part where "liberals" are bashing Howard Dean's proposed Medicare expansion because it doesn't fit the narrowly defined litmus test of what must be done according to the left-wing commentariat. Too many egos, too little thought.

Anonymous said...

I, too, am getting really tired of the likes of Glenn Greenwald, John Aravosis, and at least half of the Kos Kids who are writing things like you describe. But that doesn't mean that I am abandoning my long-held views on the appropriateness of government power, of the necessity of government regulation in the marketplace, and of the need for government to work for social justice--views that describe me, basically, as a liberal. Yes, a log of the people on the left are acting like complete jackasses. Yes, those people on the left have zero knowledge of how to work within the political system to gain their desired ends. And, no, those two facts do not change my philosophies that inform my views on particular policy issues.

Aravosis, Greenwald, et. al. are liberal assholes. But I'm still a liberal.

Matthew said...

Labels are tricky things. They mean what people mean them to mean when they use them. Andrew Sullivan is clinging to the label "conservative", even though it means something quite different to him than to most people involved in political discourse.

You can follow his lead and cling to the label "liberal", or not, as you wish. If you feel that the term, as currently used, now connotes a different set of beliefs or values to those that you hold, then by all means discard the label. Or you can fight, and say "that's not what liberalism is about", and try and reform the movement from the inside.

But it seems a bit pathetic to run away from the label just because of the obnoxiousness of some of its other adherents. One's liberalism seems to me to be determined by one's values and beliefs, not by one's style. If you feel that you have parted ways with the liberal movement on substance, then that is one thing.

But to say that you are no longer a liberal because some other liberals say offensive things, or say reasonable things in offensive ways - well, that cutting and running.

Buffalopundit said...

Labels are de facto stupid. Be a thinking human being who uses evidence and reason.

Politics in this country is now largely run and commented on by the stupid and opportunistic.

Anonymous said...

Right now women in Afghanistan are set on fire. Schools are burned. What exactly do you think will happen if Obama just pulls all our troops out to those people?

g. powell said...

The same phenomena is seen in the healthcare debate. I would prefer to have a single-payer system, but I know that's impossible given the make up of the Senate. Yet you have all these die-hard liberals moaning that unless they get their beloved public option, they will sit out the next election.

Conservatives understood a long time ago that politics is a long battle and you take your victories where you can get them. Liberals need to learn the same thing.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous said...

A Taoist?

So you believe that woman should be subservient to their husbands, that all women are less then all men. In a strict social hierarchy from the emperor on down? Seriously? Because that would be a terrible political party and I certainly hope it goes nowhere.

What? You didn't know that was part of Taoism? Perhaps because you're in the habit of talking about things you know nothing of, I would guess.

Unknown said...

This is a thoughtful wel reasoned blog entry? Are we all 17 years old now? Poor Suzi, devastated because someone removed a bumper sticker. What a fricking moron.

Paul W said...


Do Not Be Ashamed.

Don't Be Hatin'.

The disdain and despair I'm seeing here is because people are so ingrained with the idea that things are Either/Or - Either Liberal or Conservative - that when BOTH political philosophies are consumed by partisan b-llsh-t they don't know where to turn.

Try to remember this.

"-Isms are bad." Thank you Ferris.

So you don't want to be a liberal anymore. Good for you. So you're horrified by conservatism. Good for you.

Don't ever be ashamed to speak your mind, don't ever be embarrassed by others who dismiss you for what they see as running away.

You're you. Live your life, to your beliefs, to your satisfaction. It's your reflection in the mirror when you're glaring at yourself muttering "What the hell did you expect me to do?"

So you don't know what to be now?

Try this.

Be American. Be a neighbor. Be a friend and a family member.

And enjoy.

Anonymous said...

You might be careful about embracing a philosophy based on one brief teaching story. Taoist has many beautiful qualities but also has a quietist strain that might not serve us well in a president: "Without going out of your door, you can know the ways of the world. Without peeping through your window, you can see the Way of Heaven. The farther you go, the less you know. Thus, the Sage knows without traveling, sees without looking, and achieves without struggle." My bet is you're not really a Taoist, just a liberal who's sick of True Believers, who are annoying regardless of where they sit on the political spectrum.

MissValentine said...

You beat me to the punch. I too left the "left" right after its assault on Obama during the Tim Geithner semi-debacle. It continue to go down hill from there. The Afghan War is just the tip of the iceberg. I fear for the next three years

Anonymous said...

The far right and the far left are NOT two sides of the same coin. It's really not fair to make that claim. Our thought processes are not remotely the same. How we respond to situations and the choices we make are WHAT DEFINES US as politically different.

Tom Hayden has not succeeded in changing the world. What liberals are upset with is that we were right about some major stuff, we voiced our very unpopular opinions about that in a time when socially it was quite taboo to do so and we were the engine for Democrats having the congress and white house.

But as it has been in my political lifetime, liberals get nothing for it. Nothing! We get corrupt, "centrist" democrats who sell us out to the conservative, corporate money machine and "compromise" with the Republicans, giving in to their demands while getting no concessions at all in return.

The bottom line is we were right about Iraq and about the economy. But our antidotes for conservative stupidity are never seriously considered.

By all means "leave" the left. But we deserve a lot more respect than we are shown by you and by this country. Clearly you're not running into the arms of the Teabaggers either. But the left has never screwed up on the magnitude of Iraq, Katrina and the financial crisis. Never.

Freddie said...

Just a memo-- the "I was a teenaged liberal" thing is never not self-serving, annoying, pointless and solipsistic. And this is a poor effort, even in that limited genre.

chris said...

The lesser of two evils is still evil. Don't get offended when someone who actually gives a shit tries to point this out. Maybe one day a liberal or two will realize this.

Cornwall said...

Anonymous, you didn't get the gist of the post. PLEASE reread it.

Freddie said...

Also... you know that guilt by association is a refuge of children, right? What on earth does the fact that there are intemperate people who are broadly on the left have to say at all about the ideas that constitute liberalism?

Look, I can tell you're very proud of this, really, but I can't imagine a more pretentious thing to say than "I'm a political Taoist." Seriously.

Anonymous said...

I couldn't agree more. I'm tired and I'm tired of all the attacks. Don't progressives get enough from right-wing nuts?

It needs to stop now.

Anonymous said...

I'm an outsider here. I'm a Republican, but not a teabagger. If I may offer a little perspective, the Democratic Party is a lot wider than the Republican Party. The blue dogs have absolutely no republican counterparts. Arlen Spector had to leave the Republican Party. The teabaggers would rather have seen a Democrat win a seat than let a moderate Republican win one. I think the looniest liberals pale in comparison and number with the radical right. I can even understand how some of those whiners at HuffPo feel. I disagree, but I can understand where they are coming from. But the wackos in my party, you really can't gtet a fix on their positions. They come out of thin air. Even though your lefties annoy you, you can argue with them.

Anonymous said...

If the Tao were capable of being insulted - which it isn't - it would be an insult to the Tao to use it as a justification for the willful doublethink on display here. If you want to continue uncritically supporting Obama despite his "disappointing" continuation of Bush's warmongering, torture, and plutocracy because you think he's a swell guy, go ahead. But at least have the honesty to admit that it's a cult of personality - rather than dressing it up in this nonsense.

Anonymous said...

I appreciate your post.

I think that some of the worst of the angry-left thinking is what gave us Ralph Nader in 2000, and we know what (in part) that gave the world.

Anonymous said...

I'm a moderate I'm not surprised by this turn of events by the so-called progressive left. I mean these are the same people who fawn over Dennis Kucinich, and fawned over Edwards. I mean I think a lot of people in my generation are the same. I'm in favor of gay marriage, I like my publicly funded highways (I would love more rail), I don't like hypocrisy and rancor. I've seen that many on the left also have anemia, or invoke history they know nothing about. I want health care and I would like a strong public option, but I also know the medicare didn't start off that great, same w/ social security. Some bloggers just try to get on T.V. and the best way to do that is to be a stereotype of not be nuanced.

Anonymous said...

Amen, brother! I am linking to this post, sending it to my liberal friends and also choosing a new label.

The left has imploded and this is exactly what I thought would happen.

Because the "progressives" in America are unable to coalesce around a centrist figure like Obama, they splinter, throw stones and each camp pushes their own narrow agenda until the whole thing collapses.

Anonymous said...

I don't see why having frustrations with a few extreme elements means that you're "not a liberal" anymore. Are you suddenly going to oppose progressive taxation, workers rights, and health care reform?

Anonymous said...

Thank heavens...the blaring assinine Politico headlines coming out of HuffPo are pathetic..."Anatomy of a failed foreclosure program"- er, when are we going to blame the dillweeds who bought a house 5X their salary. I hate what has become of the liberal wing..did Obama not say he was going to escalate in Afghanistan during the campaign or did all the hope and change or hating Hillary get in their way? pathetic...I think far left liberals are just as bad as far right conservatives
Tired of idiots on both sides

Anonymous said...

Oh and BTW Glen isn't the end all and be all of constitutional scholars (he's a blogger who has argued some cases but he's not one of the big experts. Many of the most respected con law scholars are liberal (very liberal) but again I've heard them speak on many of the issues Glen pontificates about, and it isn't as simple (black and white) as he makes things seem. For starters there's not a statute of limitations on war crimes or torture (remember Pinochet).

Anonymous said...

Boo hoo ...heres a tissue.

Dems are not republicans.We critisize our leaders and expect and demamd alot.Rightfully so.We know they work for US.We dont kneel at the alter of some personality cult.They are public servants and if they arent serving the public interest they should be called out.

Hows that single payer going?The strong public option?
Do we know where the trillions in TARP funds is going?And sending more kids to die in a war we know is lost?These are not petty issues like birth certificates and college papers.These are life and death issues for alot of people and should be argued for fiercly,not just shrugged away from.If we dont fight for whats right who will?Republicans?You?
Not likely.

nepat said...

Found you via Sullivan and agree with your comments about left media. Huffington Post used to be my homepage. No more. The Geithner pile-on has been consistently histrionic and irrational. She lost me completely when she wrote a piece asking Biden to resign. I understand she was being provocative to make a point but it just smacked of opportunism and notice-me attention-seeking. Good riddance.

WiseGuise said...

And the comments section becomes an extension of the subject matter. Priceless! Sometimes I feel like the liberal zeitgeist doesn't know how to process the fact that our greatest concrete legislative achievement -- The Civil Rights Act -- hasn't had a real follow-up Act, yet. Add in the fact that civil-rights blowback has been the primary fuel for movement conservatism, and what's a body & brain & heart to do? Throw in the wonderful feelings around Obama's campaign and election, and the fact that we're very generally, well, right about everything, and of course passionate people freak the eff out. I can't stand that "incrementalism" is a bad word in politics. If major change were easy or something that happened a lot, America would have long ago major-changed itself into oblivion. I don't trust us. I do trust Obama, not because I worship him like the people did Bush, but because he has shown himself to be smarter and (most of all) better-tempered than anyone in a comparable position I can think of. Of course he depends on lefties disagreeing, but if he gets unelected because The Left finds him not good enough, then... GAAAWWDAAMMNNITALLLL.

Cornwall said...

Comment to Anonymous was to the first "Anonymous." Didn't realize there were so many.

I like the comment by Paul W., in time for the winter holidays--good heart:

So you don't know what to be now?

Try this.

Be American. Be a neighbor. Be a friend and a family member.

And enjoy.

Can be antiwar and still somehow bear, even make sort of sense of, what Obama is doing; same goes for other things, myriad other things (so many awful messes--what about the tainted water we've been drinking?!). The all-or-nothing and basic air of intolerance and anger are damaging to progress, to goodwill, to working to make this country better.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous I guess you forgot the whole Bush as party leader issue that many were upset about. Yes I'm all for criticizing leaders. Obama always said that he wasn't going to try for single payer. We have 3 equal branches of government (something the hard right forgets as well). I'm going to a rally tonight for a strong public option. It really bugs people when others bring up single payer, because it seems like you weren't listening. When I go to events I see the same people from last year who worked on the campaign, what I don't see is a lot of bloggers (some fairly known bloggers who live in my city). Of course they weren't out last year either. I've asked them about it and they say they aren't good w/thing like that. Seriously, I'm tired of people blaming 1 person, it is like you claim he is Bush, and then at the same time some want him to be more Bush like (w/ regards to signing statements or executive orders). Also I haven't seen a lot of action on many blogs just a lot of people bitching, did you think this was going to be easy? In the end I think this is more a generational thing, and what bugs me most is how the media, Republicans and Democrats ignore my generation (even though we are larger than the boombers).

Again I'm all for criticizing but I don't criticize just to show how hard care or how much I'm not a sellout. Neither do I use quotes that FDR never said as some sort of rallying cry to bitch w/out any action.

Charlie Bicycle said...

I'm right there with you. So what's next? Do we form a new party, or just go Rogue (har, har).

disappointed in people said...

I couldn't agree with you more. In the days after Obama's Afghanistan speech, some of us who worked hard in Obama's grassroots were getting screamed at and pummeled by others who did as well via the still operable OFA listservs. I felt like I was on Redstate reading some of the horrible things that came out of some"supporters." Many of us tried to have civilized reasonable dialogue only to get hit with "Obama lies about Afghanistan" "Obama is Bush/Cheney all over again," "Obama is ________." On and on it went, with the bonus of personal attacks on those who dared challenge them. I finally had to unsubscribe because there was no way to interact with some of them. They sure were some vicious peaceniks. About Huffington...ditto.

Anonymous said...

"Dems are not republicans.We critisize our leaders and expect and demamd alot. Rightfully so. We know they work for US. We dont kneel at the alter of some personality cult."

Sorry, this made me laugh. Wow.

Anonymous said...

Good riddance to you.

Anonymous said...

It doesn't make much sense to say you are not a liberal anymore because you disagree with what some liberals are saying.

Do you expect every liberal to have the same outlook? Do you not expect the liberal tent to include those who are opposed to war, like Harkin. Yeah, it was pretty dumb for him to make the accusation, but he doesn't speak for all liberals.

In Andrew Sullivan's case, he's leaving the right because the movement has been taken over by folks like Palin and Beck. In no way can you say the left has been taken over by people like Harkin.

Those who speak for liberals include 100 times the diversity of the right wing today and include, among the most prominent, Obama, Madow, Oberman, Moore, Huffington, Maher and many of outspoken Democrats in Congress who represent a wide range of views.

We have no purity tests.

pereubu77 said...

This is a very odd post. The point seems to be that some on the left have been mean to Obama and so Suzi doesn't want to associate with them anymore, because, I suppose, all liberals should rally around Obama. On any objective measure, Obama has not done much to advance the liberal agenda (civil liberties, TARP, health care, gay rights, etc.), but I guess liberals should just stay quiet and be happy with any crumbs he deigns to scatter our way. Personally, I don't think that will work. I think liberals are better served making noise and keeping up the pressure on Obama and the Democrats in the Congress. The Republican party, and the country, didn't shift to the right over the last 30 - 40 years because conservatives stayed quiet.

Robert Crump said...

No one is bashing the president because they simply want too, or because we obtain some element of personal enjoyment out of it. However, there are times when principles supercede the policy or policy makers behind them. If you are true to your liberal principles, then you would realize you cannot support an immoral war that is not vital to our national interests simply because the personality espousing the policy is likable. People like you are not necessary in a progressive bloc because you have no principles other than creating the illusion that somehow being one inch left of the far right is sufficient and provides enough cover to critique the far right. Good riddance. Let's re-visit the conversation in 6, 12, and 18 months when you realize the policy you now advocate is wrong.



Anonymous said...

You're unhappy with the Huffington Post's critique of Obama's Afghanistan policy. Fair enough, but you don't explicitly state why. Presumably it's because the author says that Obama is willing to let US servicemembers die to prove he's tough.

I'll agree that it's a pretty vicious indictment. But you don't say what you think will be accomplished by our actions in Afghanistan, and whether or not they're worth the money and lives we will have spent. If it's nothing, then the HP author is exactly right, and his tone 100% justified. If it's something of grave national or global import, then the author is a crazed loon. Without you saying where you stand on the occupation, we have no way to know on what basis you're judging the story.

I can pass over the foregoing without animus, and chalk it up to a case of not enough information.

The part I have a very serious problem is where you praise Obama for what you and Sullivan interpret as taking the middle path between the two opposed extremes. If it were everywhere and always the case that the two extremes have equal merit, splitting them down the middle could be a very useful principle.

In the real world, however, they are almost never of equal merit, and such a pat calculus of judgment amounts to a wholesale abdication of one's moral agency. (I'm accusing you and Sully of this here, not Obama, although he may be guilty.) It's the same thing we get from the press these days, where they dutifully report "both sides" of every issue, without troubling themselves as to whether either or both is telling the truth. It's utterly useless.

The HP author may well be wrong, but his conclusions do follow logically from his premises. Yours derive their authority from Taoist scripture (second-hand, at that!), and have exactly no connection to the issue under discussion.

Tom said...

I can see why Sullivan linked this.. anything that disparages the Dirty Fucking Hippies is alright in his book.

Never mind that he supported the bullshit war in Iraq. Never mind the DFH's were right all along. Everyone must be in the "center" because there is no real right or wrong.. just Sullivan's fantasy of the middle road.

When you write like a whiney tool, you get linked by Sullivan? Who knew?

Anonymous said...

I was living in Europe in 2002-2003. I realized quickly that in European politics I would be considered a centrist leaning just slightly to the right. In America I'm a flaming commie pinko liberal. That's who badly the far right has distorted our politics. I'm a moderate. I always have been and my shift from the GOP to the Democrats happened not because I changed but because the Republicans shifted so far that I found myself disagreeing with that party on almost everything.

Above all I'm a realist and that puts me at odds with the idealogues in both parties. Obama is playing the hand he was dealt. There is no "good" solution for either Afghanistan or Iraq. But no reasonable person can wish for a replay of the fall of Hanoi as an exit strategy in either of those two countries. I opposed the invasion of Iraq and begrudgingly supported the invasion of Afghanistan. I wish those of us who asked perfectly reasonable questions hadn't been shouted down by the political class and ignored by the media back in 2002 but that's how it played out. I would like more accountability for the people who should have been asking how we were going to get out of these conflicts before we got in but since the media was completely complicit in this fiasco that isn't going to happen.

I'm still a moderate liberal and nothing from the hard left surprises me. The far anything is never happen when someone they voted for gets power and then has to deal with the realities of governing. There's nothing new here.

WiseGuise said...

Robert Crump: "People like you are not necessary in a progressive bloc because you have no principles other than creating the illusion that somehow being one inch left of the far right is sufficient..."

Maybe you can get a Safari-safari group discount with some RINO-hunters, cancel each other out, and let the rest of us (which I assure you is 95%+ of the population) get on with democratic compromise.

I'm not at all sure I believe in what I just wrote. But your "no principles" comment is just abhorrent, judgemental, undemocratic, uncivil, egotistical dickishness. Which is not to say you are, just your comment. (I've felt the same way, too, sometimes.)

FairNYC said...

I stand behind this President 100%.

I don't care what these idiots say - they are only playing into the Hard Right's hand as far as I am concerned.

WiseGuise said...

Anon. @ 11:51 : "But you don't say what you think will be accomplished by our actions in Afghanistan, and whether or not they're worth the money and lives we will have spent. If it's nothing, then the HP author is exactly right, and his tone 100% justified."

So even if Obama's intentions are honorable, and he tries to do his well-considered best in a horrible situation... if it doesn't equal-out in the final analysis, with all the x-factors of real life, then the HuffPo attack on his character will be "justified?"


Van said...

One of Obama's campaign promises, was to take the necessary action to win in Afghanistan. He's followed the advice of those in charge of the strategy and that's one point for Obama.
Im not particularly pleased that it took a backseat to healthcare and massive spending programs, but it is in play now. Time will tell if he has to make more adjustments.

Many of the comments here are amusing, especially from the left since they seem not to realize that their so called "progressive" agenda has been done before all over the world, and it is exactly the opposite of what this country was founded to be. Shame on populist Republicans too.

There's already many social templates by which the left can live by, and under a broader umbrella it is called Europe.
I do wonder why leftists feel it necessary to change this nation into Europe 2.0.
Why not instead move to where their social utopia already exists, instead of creating upheaval here. create division, insult anyone who tries to live a moral life, and figuratively burn the US into the ground.

half blood said...

Wow! Thanks for putting my exact thoughts into words! I'm not an American, not even a westerner, but I've been following American politics avidly since Obama came into the scene. He stands for whatever has been lacking in the political arena in the modern world - a rational, intelligent,disciplined, complex and nuanced discourse. If he fails, we revert to cynicism.

I followed Huffington Post like a junkie during the elections. I've read books by liberals like Glenn Greenwald and Frank Rich. Nowadays however I just cant read anything on the Huff Po (or Salon or FireDogLake). Arianna has lost it completely. The site is a left version of the Drudge Report with headlines which shout hourly about Obama's "failures". Except for the odd Krugman article (faintly) praising the health care bill, they never link to laudatory articles like the recent NYT one about the banks repaying the govt.

I'm not an American, but it looks like my understanding about how legislation works is better than that of these pure blood liberals who are hugely disappointed with Pres Obama for not 1.passing single player health insurance reform (in a country where even a mild govt regulation brings on outraged cries of socialism!)2. bringing home each and every soldier back from Iraq and Afghanistan (nothing less will do - and never mind those pesky Pakistani nukes!)3. shutting down Gitmo exactly within the timeframe he promised ( no matter the strong opposition from the Congress!) and 4. prosecuting Bush-Cheney (regardless of how expensive and ultimately futile this might be)

Thank goodness for the likes of Andrew Sullivan and Marc Ambinder and Yglesias and Ezra klein and Gail Collins and the TIME Swampland crew. They are the ones we turn to for common sense. Even David Brooks has become readable now - after the sheer idiocy of Arianna's halfling rant!

Lisa in Portland said...

I've pretty much stopped reading HuffPo and similar blogs; the steady drip-drip of cynicism is truly tedious and wearying.

You might enjoy this article:

GrandRiverBlvd said...

Hey Lisa in Portland, your comment brought to mind a good quote, which, alas, I don't remember exactly, but the gist was:

Cynicism is the refuge of those who refuse to nurture hope.

Unknown said...

I'm sorry, the whole premise of this post is ridiculous. "Liberal" is a political philosophy, not a political party. If you've changed your political philosophy because of idiots like Hayden, then you must not think very deeply about your politics. This post is emblematic of the sorry way Americans think about politics - as if we were rooting for sports teams. Some people on your team are acting like assholes so you're taking your ball and going home. OK. Can you see how that makes you no different from Hayden or Parenti, or the tea bagger crowd who supports anything Bush does and hates anything Obama does? Please grow up.

Cornwall said...

Can help out the notion of effective grassroots organizing by purchasing Plouffe's book today--he apparently made a challenge to beat a different new book in sales for this day, surely is a better book . . . only out in cloth right now (I think) but quite affordable.

Anonymous said...

Well written Suzi. I'm with you 100% on this.

- Bob

WiseGuise said...

Jonathan: "Some people on your team are acting like assholes so you're taking your ball and going home. OK. Can you see how that makes you no different from Hayden or Parenti"

Yes. Disagreeing, on one's little blog, with other commentators = seemingly rash, high profile Liberal denouncing of Democratic president in a two-party system.

Politics 101, call your office.

Anonymous said...

You were never a liberal, or a progressive, or on the left at all, then. You were a partisan, a culture-warrior interested in supporting the political career of "your guy" over "their guy."

I voted for Obama knowing, even then, that he did not adequately oppose the war, that he would be weak on gay/lesbian rights, and even that HRC's healthcare plan was frankly better than his. I knew that I would be critiquing him from the left before he was inaugurated. You are acting surprised, offended, even. You sound more like a star-struck hero-worshiper than an actual thinker. Why don't you respond to the anti-war critics, instead of moaning that they're criticizing your hero?

Anonymous said...

As a life long leftist, I could not agree more. In the environment currently prevailing, it is sheer stupidity not to stand by a man attempting to clear up 30 years of skullfuckery. Smarten up! Stand with your President, you unsophisticated pack of morons.

mary from CT said...

Obama is a real politician, a compromiser, and much more conservative than he likes to let on. Much of his support has come from progressives. So where are even some small tokens of progressive thought. Can't completely end "DADT" since it is a legislative issue and not a presidential directive? Afraid politically it might be a third-rail. Fine. Tell the military to stop prosecuting cases and discharging personnel solely due to sexual orientation at least until "stop-gap" recruitment measures are ended and until the National Guard and reserves are no longer deployed overseas.

Anger from the liberal side has yet to reach the rage from the right. There really is no comparison between the two. Am I angry? Yes. If I wanted this approach and these policies, I could have easily voted for Hillary and received the second coming of a Clinton Administration (aka "Republican lite"). I feel I was fed a line. "Change we can believe in" IMPLIES something different than the other candidates.

Instead, we have the "Democractic Leadership Council, quasi-Clinton administration" leading the way. (I have yet to hear any discussion ergarding this but I feel this is more of the truth than anything else that is out there. Why else does Joey still have his Chairmanship and support - even after campaigning for a Rpublican? Why Mr. Lieberman was a former head of the DLC and has many DLC friends of course!)

Anger can develop when people feel they have been intentionally misled or used. Would Obama have been elected without the enthusiasim and support of those that embraced "Change we can believed in"?

Perhaps that is what angered the Clinton supporters the most back in the primaries. Obama out-Clintoned a Clinton.

I hope Obama is successful. I hope I am wrong about so many things. But I firmly believe Obama will not move in a certain direction based only on his philosphical leanings. He moves when politically he must. So we must pressure him.

christian said...

What critics of Huffpo and Kos fail to point out is that both were former Republicans -- and I and others haven't forgotten as it informs all they do. Arianna is about hits and Markos is about money. They're shit-stirrers who get off on causing dissent, warranted or not. Has there ever been a lefty pundit more wrong than Kos?

No true liberal would pimp Chevron or tell Democrats to vote Republican as that idiot Kos has done.

So using Fluffpo and Kos as examples of liberal shrillness isn't totally accurate.

They're both still conservative.

Jesus Maria Alvarez said...

I'm with the blogger. I left DKos -- and took all of my stuff with me -- when the powers that be joined a boycott against organizing for America a month or so ago. POTUS is not doing enough? Give me a freakin' break!

Alexander Wolfe said...

There's nothing wrong with being a liberal. But there is something wrong with being an idiot. I think you're confusing one for the other.

In other words, just because some idiot calls himself a liberal, doesn't mean that you can't be one too.

Unknown said...

Thank you. I've also stopped reading most of whats on HuffPo and other sites that make up what i like to call "the whiny left." It seems to me that they want to blame Obama for the dysfunctionality of our entire political system, especially the old democrats who can't get things done in congress.

As a fellow taoist, the biggest lesson i've learned through meditation is that to see things from one side is to not see them at all and that to be impatient in the face of large obstacles makes those obstacles larger.

Obama is a balanced mind who is doing the best he can to follow the way without trying to bend it to his own will. We'd all do well to follow his example.

Puck said...

When any web site, blog or editorial assumes they have the answer, before they have the data; when they assume their dogma can solve every challenge without even understanding the details, then the quality of the reporting suffers.

DailyKOS and Huffington are equally as biased as Beck, Malkin and Limbaugh. What makes Huffington particularly awful is they fold into their dogma a healthy dose of celebrity gossip and Hollywood hucksterism. Essentially blending "People Magazine" with narrow minded, dogma.

The right and the left treat political dialog like a childish game. A tired ritual of demonizing those who think differently, and canonizing those who march and preach the "gospel".

Like this blogger rightly notes, I too, am tired of both sides screaming their opinions in my ear - but providing little to no unbiased analysis of the challenges we face.

This blog post should be held in front of the advocates of both sides, with this simmple declaration: we don't want to play this childish game of "tribes" anymore.

Anonymous said...

Categories of people who suck:

Left-wing nutjobs
Right-wing nutjobs
Dead-end Obama kool-aid drinkers

Anonymous said...

You spoke for me, and I appreciate it.

We did not get into this mess overnight, and it's going to be very hard to get out of it. It will require patience and sacrifice.

I am sick of the hyperventilating and "I won't support him next time." Let the rightwing keep their "outrage du jour" behavior. Don't emulate it.

At least we have a grown up in the White House.


WiseGuise said...

Anon. @ 1:09 - "You were never a liberal, or a progressive, or on the left at all, then. You were a partisan, a culture-warrior interested in supporting the political career of "your guy" over "their guy." "

Translation: "Me! Me! Me! I'm pure! I'm good! I will fight for the little guy! I don't get any blame! If everyone were like me it would be perfect! If only everyone were like me! Why aren't you? I know why: you suck and have bad motives! Screw Obama! He fed me a line in order to get elected, save America, and prevent further GOP destruction! And I swallowed it for half a moment and now I feel dirty! And so should you! No, wait, I never believed it! Yeah, that's it! I'm pure again! Yes!!!!! Boycott Coke!!!"

Anonymous said...

Wise guise, I wasn't against the war to be pro-Obama. I voted for Obama as the best route to ending the war.

This isn't about purity. Criticizing the president from the left is part of the hardball of politics, not a refusal of politics. But you're just sad because we won't join a fan club: instead, we actually have the temerity to fight for what we believe in, rather than pledging allegiance to some guy.

I have more respect for conservatives who criticized Bush from conservative principles, who attacked him for his profligate spending, for his interventionism, even for his generous policy on immigration. I disagree with that last stance, but I at least respect the conservatives who put principle before party and personality and kept their lines consistent. (Did you know that GWB actually was softer on border enforcement than BHO is? If you want to really wade into the cynicism, look at the juggling act between policy and rhetoric that the two parties play when it comes to immigration.)

The presidency is a political office, not a fan club, Wise. Grow up.

Trakker said...

Obviously a lot of your readers agree with you. I don't.

I watched the right support THEIR president no matter what he did even though much of what he did was bad for the country. Sorry, I refuse to be a rubber stamp. Yes, I'm glad Obama is president and not McCain/Palin, but I'll be damned if I'm going to cheer him on when I think he's wrong.

When he does things I agree with (and there have been plenty) I support him publicly.

Maybe at the end of four years he will have fulfilled most of his campaign promises, but right now I'm skeptical.

I am convinced that Obama, unlike Bush, carefully considered his options in Afghanistan before he made his decision. I'm impressed and thankful but I still think it is the wrong decision. Maybe our troops' presence in Iraq and Afghanistan are doing some good, all I know is that we can't afford to spend another dime or another life overseas when the people in our own nation are hurting.

I feel this with all my heart and soul, as do so many other lefties. I'm sorry you are turned off by our expressions of extreme disappointment that Obama has chosen to commit our country to expanding the war in the Middle East, even as health care reform - a program to help our own people - get's watered down to almost nothing with nary a peep from the President.

Anonymous said...

I'd like the author to explain what the rightwing and leftwing has gotten that they wanted over the last 25 years respectively. And then I'd like him to explain what the "centrists" like himself have gotten.

I voted for him. If I want to criticize I sure as hell will. And I don't care if you don't appreciate it or if my tone hurts your little feelings. I'm sure the Teabaggers would love to have you.

Sporcupine said...

Stay strong and don't yield.

Across the 1930s, 40s, and 50s, deep into the 60s, the Democratic party had leaders who were serious about a strong defense, willing to deploy that strength carefully in defense of freedom, and clear-eyed about our serious enemies. Vietnam pushed them almost out of view, and made many liberals believe that they couldn’t figure out serious military matters.

I swear that’s why Nancy Pelosi couldn’t tell she was supposed to stand up when she was briefed on torture interrogation.

It’s also why hearing Chris Dodd speak without ambivalence of Ted Kennedy as a patriot made me weep for my entire party: we had voices like that when I was a child, and barely heard from them after I reached my teens.

My father took that position for granted, my children take it for granted, and in between I’ve always felt myself to be an alien among my own, fighting first to understand the issues and then to figure out when I did and didn’t want to engage others who would think I’d gone over to the dark side.

Until just recently. The morning after the Afghanistan speech, I logged onto Facebook, I watched liberal friends and relatives speak confidently, one after another. “I support the President.” “It’s clear thinking about real danger.” “It’s not just about terrorist in the hills: it’s also about chaos in nuclear Pakistan.”

I'll add you to my count of the people rising to face new facts with new thought, and do know that you're nowhere near first on my list.

WiseGuise said...

@ Anon. (2:45) -- I'm not sure which Anonymous you are, there are so many here flinging easy cynicism. Anyway, I appreciate your response. It was prolly more mature than my first to you. :)

First, if you voted for Obama as "the best route to ending the war," it's a little un-grown-up to then blame him for doing basically what he said he would do in order to end the war. It's pretty facile to take the John Roberts route and say something along the lines of [not quoting you here] "the best way to end the war is to end the war." That's arm-chair war-ending.

Second, please cool it with the Obama Personality Cult strawman. Fuck that. Way to perpetuate a a rightwing talking point! Good job. Point to something I've written that's Britney Spears Speak, at least. Bad faith accusations aren't hardball politics, they're bullshit. We need to make that distinction because if we don't, who will? know

You know who's very, very good at hardball politics? One guess.

I've mocked people in this thread who came wailing high and holy out of the blue and accused the Original Post as an Obama Cultist, a fauxgressive, an idiot, or some similiar crap. That's all. Perceiving unusual qualities in the president is not cultism, or anything like it. Cynicism is easy. Broad brush is easy. Unwavering by-the-book liberalism is surprisingly easy, once you get the hang of it. Believing in the fragile quality of decency when it is clearly present in someone who has managed to do what Obama has done, and continues to do in mildly difficult circumstances, is important. No?

It does not mean you can't hold his feet to the flames. But be real, specific, at least a little realist, and not specious. Try not to be a whatever-you're-acting-like, but-probably-aren't-really, right?

Oh, and BOTH parties are highly imperfect? Wow.

Anonymous said...

see ya.

R. Johnson

WiseGuise said...

Saying "I'm against war!" is not a political position. To call it that is to concede ground.

This is called hardball politics.

Anonymous said...

I'm amazed at the comments here - half the anonymice can't or won't read what they criticize, and the others seem to think that once someone is the President they can wave a magic wand and grant all their wishes. But just because idiots on the right ruled with an iron fist and idiots on the left don't understand what it means to have a party that's open to diverse opinions (hint: in part, it means that some Democrats won't go along with what you want them to) doesn't mean that I'm going to cede my liberal identification. I was open about being a liberal when Reagan made is an epithet and when Bush made it synonymous with terrorist, while still rejecting and condeming the ignorance and close minded views of many on the left. Reflexive anti-Israel and anti-science leftwing nuts don't change my views on economic justice and tolerance, and neither will simpleminded fools who want Obama to be a Bush of the left. I voted for him BECAUSE I didn't believe Fox News' depiction of him - apparently these morons voted for him hoping Hannity was right.

DiTurno said...

Hey, Suzi -- how about some substance? For instance:

Do you support the escalation in Afghanistan?

Do you support imprisoning people without charge?

Do you think economic policy should be set by Wall Street bankers first appointed by Bush?

To put the question more pointedly: isn't it an absolute fact that Obama has broken many of his campaign promises and now endorses the same policies as the Bush administration?

Or does pointing out that fact constitute "Obama-bashing?"

WiseGuise said...


Let me try answering. No, it does not. Your post just now was not bashing. You made your points fairly, honestly. You didn't say that these realities were evidence of grave dishonesty, uncaring, or being just like Bush. You didn't even sound amazed or disillusioned. Bravo.

Anonymous said...

A couple of people have complained that the left never got anything it wanted from Obama - which just leaves me shaking my head in amazement. How about the passing of a law to reverse the supreme court abomination gutting anti-discrimitation laws (which Bush had vetoed)? Or the near-certain passage of a huge increase in health insurance coverage while reining in many industry abuses, the most comprehensive change in decades, which has been blocked for over 60 years? Yes, it's not perfect. Perfect wouldn't pass. Best is good - but better is best - and once the system is in place, adjustments and improvements are a LOT easier to make.

That's not bad for a start, given that he ALSO had to deal with two wars and a worldwide economic meltdown. And in those he's taking a measured, careful and intelligent approach too - exactly as he said he would.

I voted for him because I wanted a grownup in charge, and I believed what he said and discounted what Fox said. Some of you apparently were hoping Fox was right, and are outraged that he's as cautious and patient, strategic and intelligent as he seemed to be. As Sullivan keeps pointing out, he's playing the long game. In three years, let's see what he's done, instead of screaming that he's not taking the action you want NOW NOW NOW NOW. Flailing around like a wild child is not his style - and I'm glad. (And, liberal or not, anyone who thinks there wouldn't be horrible consequences from a quick pullout for both the country AND the liberal agenda is naive. A chaotic collapse and quick Taliban revival would have guaranteed a GOP recovery that would have stopped all further progress. This way some very smart people who have an excellent record get what they need to try - and if they fail, nobody can say we didn't give it our best shot.)

Jesus Maria Alvarez said...

No one is advocating being a "rubber stamp" or given the President a blank check. I've spoken up when I've disagreed and probably will again.

What I'm willing to do is give the man more time and certainly more trust that a lot of my friends seem to be willing to extend him.

I never saw him as a saviour, so I'm not expecting miracles.

Flabyndi said...

'"Verbose nothingness, the familiar incantation of buzzwords -- "paradigm," "socially relevant," "participatory" -- that function primarily as signifiers of membership in the intellectual ranks. And now, because some liberal critics have turned their guns on Obama, she decides that HuffPo is coterminous with liberalism, and therefore she is not liberal.'

He nailed you pretty good.

Anonymous said...

TOTALLY agree. I was just thinking the same thing - I guess I'm not a liberal or a progressive if this is the way they're looking at the world and at Obama.

Paul W said...

Virgil, you should go read NeoMugWump to consider the moderate Republican (well, what's left of it) POV...

Anonymous said...

Obama is a chickenhawk. Obama is creating more terrorists. Obama is bombing villages and killing civilians. BinLaden is in Pakistan. Obama is attacking the wrong nation.

Virgil. Odds are you were never actually a liberal. Just an Obama koolaid hope and change bot

Justin said...

Nice joke, you had me going until the last paragraph until you tipped your hand to the parody-satirical nature of the post.

Just a 'three in the morning' Taoist following two courses at once and standing by your man with his plan. haha, good stuff.

Unknown said...

Excellent post. I'm quite ashamed to call myself "Left" these days. While i'll always hold Liberal views, i'm less and less inclined to hang around what became a bunch of teabaggers.

This is the toughest presidency in decades. Barack Obama was handed with a shit storm of massive proportions. He fights hard, he's doing the dirty job of cleaning this terrible mess - And the first to desert him was the so called "progressives".

Obama is a terrific president and he'll just get better. At this point i chose to be on his party, over having anything to do with people who call themselves "Pacifists", yet they are extremely Violante.

Anonymous said...

Then you must support Bush's policy on illegal wiretapping and
surveillance. Obama supports that policy.

Then you must support Bush's policy on asserting radical secrecy doctrines in order to prevent courts from ruling on illegal torture and spying. Obama supports that policy.

Then You must support Bush's prohibitions on showing torture
photographs from the "war on terror". Obama supports that policy.

Then you must support Bush's policy of indefinite detention. Obama supports that policy.

Then you must support the Bush policy of renditions. Obama supports that policy.

You must support the "idea" of transparency but the reality of closed-door quid pro quo, for example, secretly negotiating a deal with the pharmaceutical industry. Obama supports that "idea".

Then you must support Bush's "surge" policy. Obama is now supporting that hopeless policy in Afghanistan.

Then you must support a policy of protection for former Bush administration officials accused of illegal and criminal activities. Obama supports that policy.

These accusations are not made up. The Obama administration has openly acknowledged them. I'm sorry you see it as Obama-bashing. Clearly, it is not. These activities were railed against when Bush did them and are justifiably worthy of loud criticism when Obama does them.


Old Rebel said...

You're not the only one. The real issue these days is not liberal or conservative, but localism versus globalism.

Anonymous said...

Addendum to my post above:

Just in:

"(12-07) 11:33 PST SAN FRANCISCO -- The Obama administration has asked an appeals court to dismiss a lawsuit accusing former Bush administration attorney John Yoo of authorizing the torture of a terrorism suspect, saying federal law does not allow damage claims against lawyers who advise the president on national security issues."



les said...

Among other silliness, this "taoist" jive just hands the argument, and the victory, to the Beck/Limbaugh wing. Americans, guided by a non-fact based media, loves to split the difference; how do you think the "center" in the U.S. got to be the rest of the world's extreme right? Like it or not, a noisy left wing is good; and maybe if you listened to content, not just volume, you could distinguish anger over "betrayed positions" (which may be misplaced or not) from rampant destructive craziness. While Huffpo is often boring and silly, I haven't noticed them encouraging separatism, violence and revolution; nor, generally, questioning the citizenship, patriotism, etc. of people who merely disagree. Distinguish positions spouted/held by the dreaded lefty DFH's, with those spouted by extremist conservatives and repeated on the Senate floor.

Anonymous said...

umm, you never were a liberal dumbass. Obama just tricked you into thinking you were because he said he was. Wrapping Obama's lies and his betrayal of REAL liberal ideals in Sullivan's horrible interpretation of Asian philosophy is pathetically predictable and about the same as claiming he's an 11th dimensional chessmaster. This country would be well served if stupid people like you just stayed out of politics.

The Rude Dog said...

Brother, you are a right winger now. Sooner or later, someone will tell you so.

Your reaction to the vile bile of the Huffpost is merely a small awakening, a realization that it caters to a group of brainless Zombies who are still trying to revive the failures of the 60's while the actual old farts of the 60's cash in on their ignorance.

President Obama is following classic Wilsonian foreign policy and it sucks as it always has.

If the situation in Afghanistan calms down, the Prez will split. If the General can pull off a victory, so much the better.

Defeat for President Obama will mean the Democrat Party allowed bin Laden to defeat us, I can't imagine he wants that and I don't see any other liberals jumping up to run against their own party.

I hope Obama buries Osama alive and kills the next five losers who rise up in his place.

As far as the domestic stuff... I hope Obamunism is working out for all of you... oh yeah I forgot...

It's President Bush's fault.

WiseGuise said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Will said...

Um... what about the substance of that offending paragraph from Parenti?

Lyndon Johnson achieved many great things while in office, more than virtually any other president. I admire him for it. I'd be happy to see him on the $20 bill in recognition, or a monument erected for him in D.C. But at this point it's pretty well beyond dispute that what Parenti says about him is also true. Johnson continued escalating the war in Vietnam despite being persuaded that it would be bloody and unsuccessful. We can listen to him say so himself:

Wouldn't it have been better if more people had called Johnson on it at the time, rather than "stand by him" and "trust him" to do the right thing? Might it not have saved some lives if Johnson had been just as afraid of anti-war criticism as of pro-war criticism? If we think Obama is wrong here, shouldn't we say so too?

silentbeep said...

I don't know where the non-hysterical liberals will go from here (I feel similarly to you). I'm still a liberalesque person, but nowadays, I'm feeling the "liberaltarian" vibe more. Even that isn't telling the whole story though. Hang in there.

Mark S said...

You may not like hanging out at the Huff Post, but by and large the liberal bloggers now reject have maintained their core principles, and they value those above loyalty to a president who they feel is making poor choices for the country. It's hard to see how their tone is either more or less elevated than it was in the past.

You may prefer not to hear their intemperate remarks about Obama's decision send more troops to die and kill pointlessly, but I doubt that makes you a Daoist:

Weapons are the tools of fear;
a decent man will avoid them
except in the direst necessity
and, if compelled, will use them
only with the utmost restraint.
Peace is his highest value.
If the peace has been shattered,
how can he be content?
His enemies are not demons,
but human beings like himself.
He doesn't wish them personal harm.
Nor does he rejoice in victory.
How could he rejoice in victory
and delight in the slaughter of men?

George Bruce said...

I congratulate you for having the courage and honesty to take a further step in your personal and political development. I hope you don't stop.

Seamus Ruah said...


"YAY lets go bomb more non-whites!"

Thanks for being honest...

Anonymous said...

Perhaps you could refute the "killing thousands of innocent people" thing instead of complaining about political positioning?

Anonymous said...

p.s. The Democratic Party are grown-ups and can defend themselves from criticism.

lately_im_lilac said...

Douchebags like Hayden are progressives, not liberals. Obama has lost the progressives, but will always have liberals.

Anonymous said...

Concern trolling. How precious.

Unknown said...

I'm a liberal through and through, but also a realist, and continue to strongly support Obama, who is earnestly and competently tackling some huge issues under very difficult circumstances. The problem with the "liberals" in the Huff Post and other places that this post complains about, is not that they are liberals, but that they are clueless. They are like little children throwing temper tantrums, and thank god Obama isn't listening to them. If he did absolutely nothing would get accomplished.

Cathie from Canada said...

Great post -- sums up what I've been thinking too.
I have stopped reading Firedoglake and Corrente because of the relentless Obama bashing, and I'm just about fed up with Glenn Greenwald too.

Gadfly said...

Hah to the commenter at 108. I'd rather be called a progressive in that case. Hayden's only a douchebag because he was kissing Obama's butt a year ago, when we real progressives already "saw through him," as I did more than two years ago.

Glad I voted Green again. Would do so in Ohio, not just "red" Texas. Will do so again in 2012.

So, Virgil? STFU? It's people like you who exemplify what's wrong with so much of American politics.

Anonymous said...

Thank God I am a conservative. Tell me why you "progressives" have any faith in the government at all. The free market will take care of it self over time. Money speaks on Main Street as well as it speaks in Washington. Don't drink the Kool-Aid. These politicians are playing us all like a fiddle. They don't care about you or me. Their "I care" is what they are peddling to stay in power and to get more power for themselves. Don't give YOUR power to some political elite. Vote every damn one of them out until they get the message!

WiseGuise said...

@ Gadfly: I'm pretty well insulted (so, congratulations) by your and Glenn's implication that my support for Obama is EXACTLY as education-free and faith-based as the Bushies were and Palinistas are. You really lump mere liberals and uncategorized lefites like myself (not yet evolvede Progressives!) in with Christianists?? Really? Wow, that's not a lot of faith you allow in anyone but your exact fellow travellers. Nice social model.

And yet, at the exact same time, you somehow cling to the belief that there's a big voting bloc just waiting to put the very ideals you deny anyone else has into action... thisclose to having the scales fall from their eyes... ready to do the right thing at every turn, damn the worst case scenarios with grave consequences... risk takers and idealists who currently slumber, lulled by mere liberals, Obama cultists, and their equivalents, the Palinites. Do you see how this makes no sense?? I am so tired of idealists who have no faith in anyone but themselves, yet imagine we should skip middle steps in actual governance, hold out hope for the progressive rapture, and yell while holding our breathes in protest. You call people like me and Obama thin-skinned, but at the first sign of your ideals being unrealized, you leave the arena of decision-making. This is boring, among other things.

I think there WILL BE a voting bloc out there, EVENTUALLY. We can get there from here. But we can't teleport. We have to prove that our proposals for progress aren't pie in the sky. You know how we do that? Give and take.

But it's not your fault. You voted Green! You were brilliant enough to know that Obama isn't perfect! Which all of his defenders think he is!!! Black and white!!!! Why am I being such a racist?!!! What!!!!!???? ZZZZzzzz.

So, go ahead and gadfly. But don't be surprised when people who agree with you also want to swat you. Thick skin, my friend. And remember it's not your fault!

WiseGuise said...

It's like, "The stakes are so high, we can't compromise on ideals. But we can wait until we get a never-seen-before voting bloc together."

Unknown said...

It's obvious that Obama and his followers have struck upon a particularly effective (and divisive) note, that of "bipartisanship" and "working together" to make "real" decisions. Unfortunately, it's a trick. The rhetoric doesn't match the actions, as has always been the case with Obama - simply spend a few minutes analyzing his record, his actual decisions and actions, e.g. Af-Pak expansion, complete lack of push for single-payer, failure to close Guantanamo, etc., and the only logical and intellectually honest conclusion is that Obama is, in fact, yet another in a long line of capital-imperialist American presidents. No matter how heart-wrenching the pensive, thoughtful black and white photographs of Leader Obama tortuously mulling over his options may seem, or how long it took him to decide, the fact of the matter is that he doesn't care. He doesn't care about how many Afghanis will die, be injured, go hungry, or lose their homes as a result of the extension of the illegal occupation stemming from the American war of aggression against Afghanistan. He doesn't care about the American soldiers that will have their lives irreparably ruined for absolutely no reason other than the protection of a pipeline and the interests of the empire. He just doesn't care. Few presidents ever have. They are the embodiment of the capital-imperialist system, of all the callousness and barbarousness of the "free market," the protectors of the wealthy that have raped the people and the land for hundreds and hundreds of years; why would any president care?

The fight between "left" and "right" over Obama is awe-inspiring in its ability to distract well-meaning people from *real* events, real actions, real discussion. It's a fight that contains no factual information whatsoever and can never be won or lost except in the minds of the most distraught. When you fight about whether or not Obama is a wimp, whether he likes the war or not, that he had no choice, he had to send troops, you're falling into the trap laid by the establishment in order to protect and justify itself. The system is invalid, it fails to represent the majority, it breeds inequality and suffering, yet nobody is talking about replacing the system, as you're all too caught up in the fallacy of the relevance of the presidency. What's stopping Obama from stopping the war - all wars, in fact? It's not politics. It's not congress, it's not the media or the "left" or "right." What could possibly be preventing the most powerful man in the world from making the most morally honest decision in the world and simply ending the war? (Hint: he doesn't want it to end.) And why isn't that the discussion? Are we so far gone that we can't even recognize the simple moral truisms that murder, theft and rape are abhorrent and that in every facet of our lives we should struggle to abolish all forms of injustice, including the ultimate injustice, war itself?

Make it a real discussion. Talk to people about things that actually matter, like what kind of world we want to live in, regardless of its current manifestation. It's difficult to break free, to work and think outside the establishment dogma, but it's completely necessary. Progress is impossible without a realization and acceptance of the real conditions of today and the possible world of tomorrow. Forget about Obama, there's more worth fighting about, and he'll never fight for it for you.

WiseGuise said...

Andre, I'm sorry, but this is a cartoon:

"Are we so far gone that we can't even recognize the simple moral truisms that murder, theft and rape are abhorrent and that in every facet of our lives we should struggle to abolish all forms of injustice, including the ultimate injustice, war itself?"

Anonymous said...

"If there is no struggle there is no progress. Those who profess to favor freedom and yet depreciate agitation…want crops without plowing up the ground, they want rain without thunder and lightening. They want the ocean without the awful roar of its many waters…. Power concedes nothing without a demand. It never did and it never will."

Frederick Douglass, 1857

Unknown said...

Wiseguys, you really don't seem to understand what Suzi is saying. She's saying she's no longer a liberal. That's very different from saying she's disgusted with the sniping from Hayden and Parenti, sick of the Huffington Post or even sick of the Democratic Party. She's saying she's changed her basic political principles solely because people on the left, some of whom are so far left I would not call them "liberals", are attacking Obama. But apparently she still supports Obama - so she thinks Obama is no longer a liberal? C'mon, Suzi's post is just incoherent and nonsensical. Obama needs defenders like this the way he needs a hole in the head.

Virginia said...

Virgil, you are right on!!

RobertM said...

Here's the problem I have. I've been voting for the lesser of two evils most of my life. At a critical junction in this nation's history, liberals and moderates elect a President we thought would reverse the ways of GWB (endless war, corporate ownership of Congress, etc). Now with a Democratic President and a majority in both houses, we expect real change and that's NOT what we're getting. So if voting for the lesser of two evils gets the progressive agenda exactly nowhere, I might as well be voting my conscience...most likely Green Party. I certainly won't be rewarding the betrayal of liberals with a vote for "Democrats" in 2010.

Anonymous said...

Where is your argument, Ms. Former Liberal? You assert the loathsomeness and vileness and a bunch of other gross things of Parenti's assertions, but you offer nothing in the way of argument.

Politicians kill poor people in remote regions to appear tough on foreign policy. Is our country so enslaved that you can't even say that, in 2008, on a liberal website, without being dismissed out of hand?

Where. Is. Your. Argument?

Angie Coiro said...

Virgil, I would very much like to contact you for our radio show, LIVE FROM THE LEFT COAST. We're putting together an hour on this very topic. Please contact us!

Angie Coiro

WiseGuise said...

Jonathan, I interpret her post in a differen way than you. Her post follows similiar ones by Charles Johnson and Andrew Sullivan, from other starting points. She doesn't talk at all about becoming pro-life, anti-science, anti-estate tax, or any of that. I think what she means is, "please don't group me with the people who I think of when I say liberal: Tom Hayden, Kos, Arianna." Johnson and Sullivan are sick of so-called cconservatives who are overwedded to their "team," and refuse to accept even the possibilty their principles might not apply in the purest form.

Anyway, where do you get the idea that her basic starting positions have changed? She's saying her exact application of those principles has changed with the circumstances, where many others (in her view and mine) are showing inflexibility and a facile, aggressively defensive application of ideology in a eff'd up world.

Perhaps it's the super-identified liberals & progressives who are showing a cultishness? Or maybe they're gonna be proved right. None of it means Obama wants to kill as many non-whites as he can to cash in for his moneyed masters. Correct?

WiseGuise said...

Of course, I'm not saying that Little Green Footballs and HuffPo have been equally mistaken. :(

Anonymous said...

What part of the FAR right are you cynts so against?

Killing babies? YOu don't like that they stand up against the rape, torture, and murder of babies in the womb? Is that it?

Gay marriage? Is that it. YOU do want government to get involved with religion and define a religious institution. Do you wish to redefine the definition of TWO as well? Marriage is between 1 man and 1 woman. Two people of opposite gender. Thats called a DEFINITION... its a TERM.. it has MEANING....

Gays can unite under a contract and have all the ceremonies they want... but don't start calling it marriage. unless we should redefine a Duck as a Fire dUCK.

(okay that was stupid.. fine).

I don't know of ANY stance i like of the far left. ZIP. NADA.. nothing ZERO...

they thikn gov't is the answer to everything but they hate george bush? I mean.. how does that make sense.. if you give power to obama.. you give power to the guy you hate too... so.. don't give ANY of them power.

THe FAR right believes.. let us run our own communities and states and lets all be FAR CONSERVATIVE about what we let the mthr fukcing federal government do... they should wither and shrink like the bahls on a mid winter streaker.

CUT THE BHLS off obama.. and you cut them off GW Bush... if you let Obama's Bahls grow larger.. one day you wil have to whine about a nut like BUSH again...

god.. you moderates are all CYnts.

GET REAL.. READ the constitution once will ya for gods sake.


have a bad fcking day.

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Anonymous said...

haha, well then, I don't care too much for hollywood actors/actresses, even less do I care about Julia Roberts, but she hit the nail right on the head when she said, "Republicans are between Reptile and Repugnant in the dictionary."
End of story.

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