I was just going to write about how we should rally the troops to fight for strong progressives (as I did in this video), when Obama dragged me back into the fight between real progressives and the Obama administration. As Al Pacino said in Godfather III, every time I think I'm done with it, he keeps pulling me back in.
I don't want to bore you with the details of why they didn't fight for real change and how they accepted Washington exactly as it was and made no effort to change its underlying structures and assumptions. We've been over it a million times. No, today the interesting part is why they brought up this old fight in the first place.
This was not a gaffe. It was not a slip about the "professional left" from someone who had grown frustrated. This was a coordinated strategy. Biden and Obama even used the same talking points. They hit their base for complaining and then both said it was time to "buck up." That's not an accident; that's planned.
One possibility is that they think yelling at their voters before an election is smart electoral politics. Accuse them of whining and taking their ball and going home. Treat them like children and maybe they'll comply? These are Democrats we're talking about so maybe they thought their voters would respond well to abuse. It is after all what Republicans have been using on Democratic politicians all of these years to great effect.
But I don't think that's it. That strategy is hardly inspiring and honestly I don't think I've ever seen a political party yell at their voters like this before an election. It's bizarre.
There is one other explanation. They think they're going to lose and they're setting up a scapegoat. It wasn't that they ran a bad campaign or that they didn't deliver on their promises -- it was their ungrateful voters and the damned professional left. Actually, Washington reporters will love this. There is nothing they enjoy more than beating up on progressive activists and the Democratic base. This strategy is tailored made for the DC elite. They're going to eat it up!
But to what effect? Obama is so immersed in the DC bubble that he has forgotten the end goal. He is under the delusion that if he can just get the Washington media and politicians to like him everything will be fine. But that wasn't supposed to be the end goal. As a politician, you're supposed to get the voters to like you, not some DC media jerk.
I think they still believe that the DC media is a good proxy for the mood of the country. That is a stunning and inexcusable error. But they're so deep in, they can't even see that losing the election and winning over the DC establishment is not a win or a wash, that's a gigantic loss. Do you think making David Broder happy will win you the 2012 election?
Scapegoating the professional left might send the DC crowd into orgasmic seizures, but what does it do to win the country over? What does it do about unemployment? What does do about our rising insurance premiums (remember, the ones you said wouldn't rise)?
In a recent AP poll about the healthcare bill, people - by a 2-to-1 margin - said that it should have done more not less in reforming the system. That isn't the professional left, that's America. The progressive base is so much larger than the Tea Party clowns running around in Koch brother funded protests. Remember, those are the same progressives who got you elected in the first place.
So, you can shoot the messenger all you like but it isn't going to change the message. You didn't do too much government intervention as Fox News claims, you did too little. Too little to protect the average American, too little to help him or her get a job, too little to change the same old games in Washington.
Almost everyone in Washington is there because they succeeded in this broken, corrupt system. If you make them happy, you've probably done the exact opposite of what you were supposed to do.
What got you elected was the promise to throw those bums out on their asses not to cater to them. But if you like, you can take another cheap shot at the people trying to help you and see if that changes the polls. My guess is it won't. And then when you blame us again, the only people happy will be the ones in DC who hate change.