Earth, reality, and Introductory Politics to those high-profile progressives -- calling, for instance, Glenn Greenwald, Rachel Maddow, Ed Schultz, Cenk Uygur -- who persist in misreading and then misrepresenting the election results to the base.
One ... more ... time ...
In disproportionate numbers Blue Dogs took the fall in this wave election not because they foolishly failed to live up to progressive ideals, as the above voices have religiously insisted, but because they represented, by and large, precariously balanced swing districts. It was the party's conservatives -- also known as "moderates" -- who went down on November 2, because they lacked a sufficient Democratic base. Republican moderates were swept from swing districts in the previous wave elections of 2006 and 2008, because they lacked a sufficient GOP base. Thus these districts -- duh --are known to "swing."
The above voices have also exhaustively extolled the priceless electoral value of voting progressively in Congress, since most progressive Democrats, they note, were reelected -- while ignoring mention of the vastly explanatory fact that progressive Congressional Dems tend to represent safe progressive districts.
Unfortunately, the old bulls of the reality-based liberal commentariat, when appearing on-air with these "above voices," tend to play nice and refuse to correct their ideological compatriots. The other night, for instance, I listened to Ms. Maddow repeat all the progressive-regulation falsehoods as to why Blue Dogs lost and progressives won in the recent election; then came guest E.J. Dionne, who mentioned, almost in passing and with stupendously tactful speed, that so many Blue Dogs lost, of course, because of the unstable balance "of their districts." Maddow had no follow-up, she requested no clarification, better to let such apostasy pass -- perhaps few of the faithful noticed.
And that brings us to what increasingly concerns me, which is not at all a matter of high-profile, movement progressives' intelligence. I've no doubt whatsoever that they indeed understand, that they well comprehend the politically inherent instability of swing districts, and thus why it is that the moderates (and not the much safer ideologues) who hail from them are the ones to get themselves electorally blasted in wave executions. This is not a subject of rigorous intellectual analysis, one in which only the keenest minds are capable of ascending to the bright light of transcendent comprehension. This is, rather, as I noted above, the freshman subject matter of Introductory Politics.
No, what concerns me is that high-profile, movement progressives have unctuously morphed into the kind of faith-based, propagandistic boosters they once so virtuously deplored among the radical right.
Progressive Democrats tended to reelection, they bray, and Blue Dogs got blasted, hence the inescapable conclusion to be drawn is that voters in Blue Dog districts collectively adored the progressive message and rejected anything less; if only the Blue Dogs had boldly embraced progressivism, they'd be not in the unemployment line today. The propagandists know better than this -- and that's just what they are, propagandists, because they know better.
There is in this never-say-die progressive rote yet another once-detested, now-adopted rhetorical quality of the radical right: Never admit fallibility, never admit the ideology's vulnerability, never admit that received doctrine may require finessing, and never ever admit that internal opponents of a less doctrinaire bent have a friggin' point.
In short, what concerns me most is that which in all probability lies at a psychological core of this remarkable disconnect: In style and presentation, movement progressives have become, or are becoming, those whom they most despise.