There are so many great things about having blogs as a part of the political dialog in our time, but there are many things about them that are counterproductive and actually destructive to moving the progressive agenda forward. I am going to start making an effort to expose some of these and hopefully shed some light on the situation. My newest target is Crooks and Liars, mainly because I was recently banned from there, but also because they provide me with such good examples of what is occurring.
So many in the progressive blogosphere operate on assumptions about their audience and the agenda in general that in my opinion just aren’t true and feed into the misperceptions that then get magnified by the right. A perfect example of this is the idea that progressives don’t care about the deficit and are the “tax and spend” party. Check out this excerpt from John Amato at Crooks and Liars, his response to the president’s SOTU address. (emphasis mine)
He also spent much of his time on right wing issues like the debt, fixing the tax code, tort reform and government spending. He said his Cat Food commission was a good thing but that he wasn’t going to use all their recommendations. I was happy that he didn’t give the impression that Social Security was going to be destroyed by the deficit and needed to be fixed now. I’m sure the Villagers won’t be happy with that.
So am I wrong to read that paragraph as a concession that “the debt, fixing the tax code, tort reform and government spending” are the right’s issues? I think it is pretty straightforward in that paragraph. So let me break it down.
So, even though we liberals have been pointing out to the right that President Clinton balanced the budget and left office with a surplus as a sign that democrats are more responsible with spending…Amato is calling it “a right-wing issue.” I’m not willing to concede that and you have to wonder why a supposed progressive like Amato would.
Fixing the tax code
Now the tax code is currently set up to favor the wealthy, lots of ways to play the system if you have money, lots of loopholes designed specifically for those who can afford to exploit them and of course many, many ways for corporations to avoid paying taxes. So is fixing the tax code a right-wing issue? Really? I don’t concede that one either and unless you are so blinded by your irrational hatred that you project nefarious motives on the president, I don’t see how that issues is a right-wing one either.
Out of the bunch that Amato lists as right-wing issues, tort reform is an issue that does belongs to the right. It is, of course, the issue of limiting law suits against corporations and attempts to put caps on damages from lawsuits. So it is clearly an issue that tends to favor big business and takes away protections of consumers. Having a step dad and brother who were lawyers and having worked in a law office in high school, I have some knowledge about this. I worked for an ambulance chaser in high school who was a negligence lawyer for the most part. I remember one of his clients winning 2 million dollars because he was in the back of a pickup truck when a tow strap broke and it took out one of his eyes. The tow strap was worn and had a clear warning on it about proper ways to use it. Whether the guy deserved 2 million or not, I really didn’t sit in the jury box so I can’t say. I have mixed feelings about tort reform, myself. I certainly wouldn’t want to put caps on damages or help business avoid responsibility for their negligence, but I also know there is a lot of strangeness within our laws that certainly could be cleaned up. I think back to an old girlfriend from my teen years whose family like to sue everyone. I remember when I broke up with her, she said she was going to sue me. Seriously. It was great having a mom who was a legal secretary and a step dad who was a lawyer. We all got a good laugh out of it.
So cutting government spending or wasteful spending is a right-wing issue? Doesn’t that feed right into the Republican talking points that democrats are big spenders? Why would Amato want to perpetuate that liberal stereotype? It doesn’t make sense.
The next sentence in John Amato’s snarky review of the President’s speech was also kind of strange.
The speech seemed to be targeted at the mythical independent voters more than usual. It didn’t have the impact that a typical Obama speech has in my opinion, but CBS did a quick poll and 91% of Americans liked it.
So that swatch in the middle of the country who calls themselves ‘independent” are mythical now? They don’t really exist? This sentence shows once again how his bias or dislike or hatred towards the president has warped his view of things and caused him to type shit that just doesn’t make sense. And if it didn’t have the impact that a typical Obama speech has, then why did 91 % in CBS’s poll like it. The SOTU has never been a pep rally speech anyway. It is usually wonky and directed at the audience in the room for the most part. I can just imagine what Amato would have typed had the president gone out and given a campaign-like speech.
I plan to keep exposing the haters in the progressive blogosphere and how they are undermining the movement by letting their irrational hatred for our president cloud their judgement, stay tuned.