When Did “Compromise” Transform Into A Negative Idea?
“Compromise” is one of the foundations of democrazy (that was originally a typo, but I like it). Somehow, since the election of President Obama, the word is being redefined by some on both sides of the isle, with the help of the media who just follow along like lemmings. It’s a word that is often said with disdain, as if the mere act of compromising is somehow wrong. This is a very disturbing trend because it basically increases polarization, hatred and gives people a reason to throw up their hands in disgust. It is part of the scorched earth strategy being employed by like I said, both the right and some on the left.
I can almost understand the right’s obsession with not compromising, it’s politics man. But for those on the left who claim to be progressive and care about changing things for the better, it flies in the face of reason to oppose it on principle. The Republican’s don’t want to compromise because they perceive any bills passed and signed by President Obama as a win. And we can’t have that now. And we all know that from day one of President Obama’s first term, they have tried to thwart any success for the White House, even if it means screwing citizens or exposing their hypocrisy. And because of the very successful brainwashing of their base by Fox News, Rush Limbaugh and the rest of the right-wing noise machine, it really won’t have much impact on those voters. We can only hope that it does have an impact on moderates, who are the folks that swing elections one way or the other.
The people on the left wing who have spit on the word compromise and staked out unrealistic positions, their reasons are a bit more complicated and in my opinion, just plain stupid. I expect stupid from Republicans, but in the last 2.5 years, many on the left have shown how stupid they are too. They may have been that way all along, but were hiding it well.
In the 8 years of President Bush’s term, a cottage industry sprung up that was fueled by anger, hatred and indignation towards the Bush Administration and the many rights and liberties that were taken from us or trampled on. Blogs became all the rage during this time and the idea of the internet as a way to organize and mobilize people around a cause became very real. But a lot of it was rooted in and fueled by anger towards Bush. I joined in the craze and loved seeing the Bush Administration challenged and attacked. Good times! But the transition from the anger based foundation to where we are now, after President Obama took office, didn’t go very well for these people. A lot of that anger just shifted towards the new administration, the path of least resistance, I suppose.
Many of the “progressive” bloggers that came to prominence during the Bush years, who clearly played to the anger towards Bush and gang, were actually Republicans turned angry. In their disgust towards Bush, they built a following of people who didn’t necessarily agree with them very much, besides hating Bush. Here is a brief list of some of those folks.
Arianna Huffington, worked for Newt Gingrich and is the former wife to Republican candidate Michael Huffington. We all know how she has cashed in and is turning back towards her true party, the GOP.
John Aravosis, former staffer to Sen. Ted (bridge to nowhere) Stevens.
Cenk Uygur, who has apparently admitted that he “used to be” a Republican on his show, he sure keeps attempting to play to the left but his roots help explain his attacks on the President.
Dylan Ratigan has landed a couple of different time slots on MSNBC and is trying to play to the left, although he clearly has a hard time of it. He built his brand on the back of populist rhetoric.
And I would add Glenn Greenwald to the mix too, although he claims to be an independent. He supports Gary Johnson, a Republican, as a third party candidate. He still gets trotted out as a left-leaning blogger or as a representative of the left blogosphere, when he clearly is not. Many volumes have been written about that man and his tactics.
The other group of bloggers and pundits that are fighting against the President and don’t seem to understand the nature of compromise are rooted on the liberal end of the spectrum. It is sad to see this group let their entrenched principles and ideals influence their perceptions of the progress that has been made with President Obama at the helm. They can’t even give the President credit when it is due. My short list of these folks include Michael Moore, Adam Green, Bill Maher, David Sirota, Katrina Vanden Heuvel, Markos Moulitsas, Jane Hamsher and Keith Olbermann. We expect the right to have crazy notions about our President and suffer from Obama Derangement Syndrome, but it isn’t just a right-wing disease. From The Hand That Feeds You…
The thing is, these folks aren’t the real threat. That’s what unnerves me, lately. What really bothers me, and I mean really gets my goat, are the basically forward thinking, well educated and Progressive Americans who also wallow in self-indulgent and conspiratorial whining. It is smug. It serves no purpose but to excuse inaction and it is more dangerous.
This is about the other “Obama Derangement Syndrome.” It is high time we address it.
Barack Obama’s Presidency had barely begun when some on the Left started selling us the “betrayal meme.” In March of 2009, Dave Lindorff famously excoriated the new President in a piece called “The Obama Betrayal.” He was apoplectic over capitulation to Republicans regarding the ‘Employee Free Choice Act.’ He makes no mention of the fact that Progressives did not flood the congress and the White House with calls supporting the President’s fight. He omits the huge and organized campaign enlisting our citizen-opponents which went a long way towards torpedoing the legislation. Why should we on the Left have been expected to do anything? Wasn’t Obama supposed to single-handedly crush our foes?
After all, we elected him.
To me, these people are extremely deluded. They’ve built a false narrative within their own minds and in the process have abandoned any pretense that people matter in the equation. Their ideals, reinforced with denial, lies, exaggerations and populist outrage, have overcome their common sense, if they had any to begin with. Whenever I get into a Twitter fight with any of them, I usually shut them up pretty quickly when I ask questions like “how does that help real people” or I start giving them real examples of how it affects people, like those with pre-existing conditions who can now get health insurance, like my niece. They seem to live in a world of generalities, ideals and have created their own echo chamber to reinforce it.
I also think that many of these so-called progressive bloggers, who seem to be fighting progress, have fallen victim to the “right wing paid troll program” where the GOP and their supporters pay people to comment on progressive blogs, either posing as liberals dissatisfied with the President or simply attacking liberal ideas with right-wing talking points. It’s a copy and paste operation that I think has overtaken many of the comment sections of these blogs. I think a lot of these bloggers are naive and think that there is a lot more dissatisfaction with the President and the Democratic Party than there actually is. And they drive out people who disagree with the anti-Obama memes. I know very well about that, having been banned by Daily Kos, Huffington Post, Crooks and Liars, Firedoglake and Americablog. And it wasn’t for being abusive at all, unless calling them “whiners” is somehow abusive or giving a different opinion than the consensus (group think) in the room.
The most often heard refrain from these folks is that President Obama gives up too much in the beginning of negotiations. They claim he gives in before the negotiations even begin. But these pundits who say this have no idea what the behind the scenes vote counting is or what preconditions may have been talked about in advance. But a lot of their criticism is because they think the President should start where they would, way to the left, whether it pollutes negotiations or gives the right-wing the fuel they need to either walk away, or try to paint the left as extreme. And of course, most of these people did absolutely nothing to help the president. More from The Hand That Feeds You…(emphasis mine)
Throughout Obama’s first two years, we the people who did elect him largely sat on our hands expecting to be saved. Perhaps we had become so inured to the imperial nature of the Presidency within the Bush years that we forgot that there are other requirements of citizenship between ballots. As we continued to do nothing and the opposition used slick, manipulative marketing to energize hundreds of thousand of idiots, the Washington Post asked “Is Obama Betraying The Left?” The New Statesman published “Obama: The Betrayal?” It goes on and on and on.
The “betrayal meme” is picking up steam again. This is frankly getting out of hand. Most recently, Cornel West, a great man whom I adore, has had a full blown freak-out. Chris Hedges is loving every minute of it. It’s nifty copy. It’s also representative of a dangerous and elitist abdication of citizen responsibility. It’s becoming the bread and butter of the establishment Left to accuse President Obama of essentially not rescuing us while we wait like little children.
The President has had to attempt to stand his ground in a position of weakness the base helped create. When the rabble on the right was out-calling our Representatives at a ratio of four or five to one to oppose the AFA, where were we? When Tea Partiers were being duped by their masters into showing up by the busload, where were our counter-protests? By the way, much as I do love Colbert and Stewart, they can suck it on that count. Like Bill Maher said at the time, rallies should really “be about something.”
This liberal group of pundits often make grandiose claims that President Obama is abandoning his base and losing support from them, yet every single poll that breaks it down, shows solid support for the President. The small amount who are unsatisfied are more than likely people who have not fared well in the economy and have only heard the media’s filtered version of who is to blame for it. Some are extreme pacifists who expected a Democratic president to just pull our troops out of every conflict that Bush handed to President Obama, immediately. People like Glenn Greenwald, David Sirota, Jane Hamsher and others try hard to further that perception as some sort of betrayal, even though candidate Obama made clear what he was going to do when he took office. I read recently, I wish I could find it, one of those folks basically say that nothing has changed in Iraq, the President isn’t getting us out of there. Except the facts are much different. Unfortunately, the following is from the Huffington Post on August 10, 2010…
In Massachusetts, where the president was on vacation, White House counterterrorism chief John Brennan called the drawdown in U.S. troops a “truly remarkable achievement.” He noted that the milestone had been reached a week ahead of schedule and represented a drop of 94,000 troops on Obama’s watch.
You can imagine my disbelief upon reading the characterization that nothing has changed in Iraq. Combat operations were declared over on August 31, 2010 and the last combat troops drove out of Iraq and into Kuwait. Now a lot of people just denied that it was true, poo pooed it and said we will never leave Iraq. And you can’t play with my ball, either. I’m taking it home. So nah! The reality is that President Obama is doing exactly what he said he would do and ahead of schedule. That has to piss of the people most intent on making sure our president doesn’t get credit for a damn thing.
As a Democrat and supporter of President Obama, it pisses me off that so many people who claim to be progressive or liberal have decided that attacking and weakening our Democratic President is somehow going to help their cause. It is the stupidest fucking reasoning I’ve ever seen in politics. On what fucking planet does weakening your party’s leader somehow help the party? Considering the lock-step discipline of the Senate Republicans and their unprecedented use of the filibuster, it was clear that the President was going to have to compromise. The other alternative was to let the Republicans win and basically defund the entire government. I’m often reminded of what Jane Hamsher’s friend Grover Norquist said which spells out the GOP philosophy of government, “I don’t want to abolish government. I simply want to reduce it to the size where I can drag it into the bathroom and drown it in the bathtub.”