MONDAY: Our liberal tribe gears up for a fight...

MONDAY, MAY 9, 2022

...but our skills are extremely limited:  Will the Supreme Court overturn the Roe decision at the end of its current term?

We can't answer that question. That said, it's very possible that they will—and with that daunting prospect in sight, our highly self-impressed liberal tribe is gearing up for a fight.

The Washington Post's E. J. Dionne has long been one of our tribe's sanest journalistic observers. In his new column, he describes the state of play in the wake of the release of the Justice Alito's draft opinion:

DIONNE (5/9/22): The backlash against Alito’s approach is certainly a case of democracy in action. One of the unintended consequences of a ruling along the lines he proposes would be the mobilization of pro-choice voters outraged by a sudden shift in the legal status of abortion.

If the Court reverses Roe, will that result in "the mobilization of pro-choice voters outraged by a sudden shift in the legal status of abortion?" 

To some unknown extent, it almost surely will. Indeed, in this news report from this morning's Post, one liberal leader describes what may be coming:

Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (N.Y.), who has been among the many Democrats to call for the filibuster to be eliminated to pass abortion rights legislation with only 50 votes, called it “the biggest fight of a generation.”

A very big fight may be on the way. With regret, we pose this question:

Is our highly self-impressed liberal tribe smart enough to win that fight? Do we have the requisite skills to produce a decent outcome?

At this point, we make a confession. We see no sign that our liberal tribe possesses the requisite skills. 

Alas! Everywhere President Roosevelt looked, he saw "one-third of a nation ill-housed, ill-clad, ill-nourished." (The year was 1937.) Everywhere we look today, we see a tribal leadership which is deeply lacking in political wisdom, smarts and skill. 

This remarkable lack of wisdom and political smarts is one of the ways we got ourselves into this mess in the first place. How did our tribe get into this mess? In part, through the way our journalistic leaders conducted themselves during past White House campaigns.

In Campaign 2000, a lingering anger at President Clinton turned into a routinely ridiculous twenty-month journalistic war directed at Candidate Gore. 

In Campaign 2016, that generational war extended itself in the way liberal organs covered Candidate Hillary Clinton—for example, in the upper-end press corps' gigantic over-emphasis on the nothingburger known as Emailgate.

(As we noted in real time, our favorite stars on corporate cable refused to push back against this.)

As a result of those journalistic campaigns, George W. Bush and Donald J. Trump managed to squeeze their way into the White House. Once there, they named four of the five Supreme Court Justices whose opinions we now deplore.

In those beginnings was this end—and the beginning involved the nomination of Justice Alito by George W. Bush. 

In this morning's Washington Post, Margaret Sullivan rails against the way the current Supreme Court is behaving—but in her previous role at the Buffalo News, Sullivan played a key role in the unfortunate outcome of Campaign 2000. 

In that beginning was this end! In our view, Sullivan was deeply unwise back then, remains unwise today.

Our liberal tribe has always prided itself on being the smarter, better, wiser, more moral, more honest tribal group. We've long been given to praising ourselves, and to loathing The Others.

This self-flattery has always been a deception. It threatens to doom us now.

We know that these are gloomy thoughts—but we think these thoughts are accurate. The woods are lovely, dark and deep, but we're an unimpressive aggregation with deeply unimpressive tribal leadership groups.

Everyone can see this but us. For better or worse, we will be exploring these themes throughout the course of the week.

Our liberal tribe must proceed with wisdom and skill. Will we know how to do that?

The history of the past thirty years says that we quite likely won't.

A note on time: Our energy level is better, but we still don't have full control of our time. For thar reason, we expect to do fairly short postings this week.

That said, we envy President Roosevelt! What he saw in 1937 was (largely) fixable. It isn't clear that this is true of our flailing blue tribe's hubris, which helped get us into this mess.


55 comments:

  1. "Is our highly self-impressed liberal tribe smart enough to win that fight?"

    Meh. Your self-impressed liberal tribe -- or, rather, your self-impressed liberal tribe's shamans -- will keep that "fight" going indefinitely, dear Bob.

    "Winning" that "fight" would mean actually losing a whole bunch of hate-mongering talking points used by your self-impressed liberal tribe's VIPs in their pursuit for money and power.

    Oh well...

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  2. "...but our skills are extremely limited"

    This statement is justified by neither past success nor current resources. Democratics are doing well:

    https://www.economist.com/united-states/democrats-have-fared-surprisingly-well-in-congress-new-maps/21807593

    https://www.vox.com/22961590/redistricting-gerrymandering-house-2022-midterms

    https://www.texasstandard.org/stories/analysis-progressive-democrats-did-surprisingly-well-in-primaries-but-republicans-have-an-edge-heading-into-november/

    https://nymag.com/intelligencer/2021/12/democrats-are-doing-weirdly-well-in-redistricting.html

    If we consider that Trump's win was an aberration due to the interference by Russia in our national elections, coupled with Comey's malfeasance, there is no reason to believe that Democrats are hobbled in the way Somerby keeps saying we are. That conclusion is just not justified by past election results.

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    1. Agree, but I think a significant aspect to Biden winning over Trump was there being much less barrier to voting. I hope Dems address the voting access issue, and competently and effectively.

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  3. "Is our highly self-impressed liberal tribe smart enough to win that fight? Do we have the requisite skills to produce a decent outcome?

    At this point, we make a confession. We see no sign that our liberal tribe possesses the requisite skills. "

    Somerby raises E.J. Dionne's column in order to disagree with it? Dionne says:

    "The Trump years were a real challenge to our democracy, and we did not get through it unscathed. We did get through with a lot of people organizing, however, and more people voting than ever. We can win this fight. I think all of the surveys show that we are still a majority of the country, but we need some forbearance with each other.

    I don’t like centrists who spend all their time bashing the left, because where would we be without the energy of the left? In fact, the left often calls out moderates when they sell out, and moderates do sell out. On the other hand, I don’t like lefties who spend all their time bashing moderates as sellouts when moderates have, in many cases and with a lot of guts, broken with positions they held for a long time in order to stand up for democracy."

    https://www.vox.com/policy-and-politics/22524145/american-democracy-republican-party-ej-dionne

    Dionne has hope for beating the enemies of democracy. Why doesn't Somerby? I believe that Somerby is working for the Republicans and has been since before Trump's election. But there is no excuse for the kind of defeatism he hands out here daily, if he were actually any kind of moderate or progressive or liberal. None at all.

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    1. There was some initial skepticism but at this point pretty much everyone acknowledges that Somerby is obviously in support of right wingers.

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  4. "In Campaign 2000, a lingering anger at President Clinton turned into a routinely ridiculous twenty-month journalistic war directed at Candidate Gore. "

    A good part of that lingering anger toward Clinton came from Gore himself, who said he felt betrayed because Clinton lied to him about his relationship with Monica, leaving Gore out on a limb when he defended Clinton. Gore himself turned on Clinton during his campaign. How?

    1. He selected Lieberman as his running mate, a man who had vocally condemned Clinton instead of continuing to support him. Lieberman's Catholicism led him to be a moral scold, an unpopular view among voters nationally.

    2. Gore chose to run without pointing out the many successes of Clinton's two terms in office, especially the balanced budget, settling of the wars between Protestants and Catholics in No. Ireland and between Serbs and Croats in Bosnia, decreases in poverty, and eight years of peace and prosperity. Gore chose to run without reference to previous Democratic accomplishments, an unusual approach for any VP running on his administration's record.

    3. Gore allowed his wife Tipper to conduct a highly visible campaign again rock and roll song lyrics (largely focused on hip-hop, black music) in which she called for censorship and won parental warning labels. Tipper was eviscerated by the push back from musicians such as Frank Zappa in his hearing testimony. It furthered the image of Gore as stodgy, conservative, moralistic and stiff-necked, which I believe he was in real life. (Lieberman doubled down on that image.)

    4. Gore had several scandals in his own right. There was a fund-raising scandal in which it appeared that foreign money from China was being solicited on his behalf. There was another scandal about Gore conducting fund-raising phone calls from the White House, which violated the separation that was supposed to be maintained between the activities of government and campaigning. Trump, of course, broke all of those rules himself with impunity and no one seemed to care.

    These were reasons why Gore did not appeal to traditional Democrats. His suit coats and Naomi Wolf had nothing to do with this stuff, which Gore did to himself. Neither did the media, which largely poked fun at Gore over the same kinds of things the voters disliked him for. His self-righteousness and rejection of Clinton after a successful presidency.

    Somerby never discusses this stuff. He instead wants to blame liberals for Gore's defeat, even though Gore himself refused to fight for his own victory. Instead of demanding a recount in FL, he rolled over and gave up. That isn't what anyone wants to see in a president. That enabled the conservatives to see that they could steal elections they couldn't legitimately win -- by lying, as G.W. Bush did to project a more moderate image and alternative to the conservative-seeming Gore, and then by manipulating the vote count (as Trump wanted to see done on his behalf in 2020), and then by manipulating the Supreme Court. This was a blueprint for today's troubles, but one that Gore enabled, not one he ever opposed.

    If Somerby wants to see failed Democratic politics, he need not look any further than Al Gore. But Kerry, Clinton, and Obama did not walk in Gore's footsteps. They had the courage of their convictions and ran as Democrats, not goody-goody's looking down their noses at the world.

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    1. Sorry, the so-called Gore scandals were the media making things up.

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    2. Yes, what an odd attempt to re-write history. The person that wrote that can't accept the simple fact that the media's War on Gore cost him the election?
      What a strange take. If one is aware of the mountain of evidence, of examples, of the attacks on Gore by the MSM throughout his campaign and still somehow believe that it didn't cost him a very close election, how can one comment intelligently (or perhaps honestly) on anything that came later in politics?

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    3. People like OP here are ironically to blame for the current right wing loaded Supreme Court, proudly wearing their blinders and defending the MSM.

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    4. Lieberman is a practicing modern Orthodox Jew, not Catholic.

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    5. Gore "losing" was mostly a self own. He was a bland candidate running a bland campaign. Every indication was that Gore was going to govern similarly to Clinton, as a neoliberal - thus leading our society ever so slightly more right, with increased inequalities, decreased agency for workers.

      Of course Gore actually won, but instead of fighting he bowed down, showed servility to establishment power.

      Of course it would have been better for society if Gore had become president instead of Bush, who was no better than Trump - just a couple of con men with warped values borne from messed up childhoods.

      Journalists, broadly speaking, do not win or lose elections for candidates. Candidates win by motivating voters via appeals to society's material needs, working against right wing oppression, and by providing easy access to voting.

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    6. Wow, you believe all that?

      The countless media attacks on Gore didn't swing what was an extremely close election? I notice you didn't address this simple logical observation in any way.

      Making Hillary's email non-scandal the top story right before the election didn't change the result?

      Okaaaay... moving on. You must be a right wing troll.

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    7. The media has some impact, but it is not decisive or anywhere nearly as important as how a campaign is run.

      Gore should have won handily, he had the economy and a clown for opposition; his campaign was uninspiring. Candidates have to motivate voters. The journalism Somerby rails against is consumed by a sliver of the population.

      Hillary's nonsense email scandal was to some degree impactful, but less so due to the press, more so due to Comey (and Hillary's inability to defuse it.)

      "Of course it would have been better for society if Gore had become president instead of Bush". Furthermore, right wingers do not criticize neoliberalism.

      My intent is discourse, a troll's intent is monkey wrenching and/or attention.

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    8. Sorry, should have said "Lieberman's religious views," not his Catholicism. It remains that he was one of Clinton's most vocal Democratic Party critics.

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  5. IMO much of the left believes that the "fight" for abortion rights should be waged via mob action rather than political campaigning. Or, maybe I should have said "in addition to political campaigning".

    Two examples: A group identifying themselves as "Antifa" firebombed a pro-life group's headquarters. AFAIK this is not big news in the mainstream media. If a pro-life group fire-bombed a Planned Parenthood headquarters, that would be the top news story of the day.

    Many pro-choicers have been encouraged to demonstrate at the homes of anti-Roe Justices. This action violates federal law as well as the law of Virginia. But, it has not been denounced by the President. And, AFAIK, no enforcement action is being taken against these illegal demonstrators.

    BTW I'm not saying that these actions are ineffective or counter-productive. The left may well be correct that mob action is their most effective response. Our country has become less and less a nation of laws. If the government and the mainstream media support an action, that aciton is OK, even if it's "technically" illegal. That's sad.

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    1. "Many pro-choicers (sic) have been encouraged to demonstrate at the homes of anti-Roe Justices."

      Unlike, Samuel Alito, I've read the United States Constitution. There is nothing in it about the privacy rights of Supreme Court justices.

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    2. Ford pardoned Nixon for his crimes.
      George H.W. Bush pardoned the Iran-Contra gang.
      Trump pardoned Manafort, Stone, and Kushner, among others.
      Maybe you should stop electing these soft on crime Republicans, if it makes you so sad.

      Delete
    3. 10:45,

      Stop stealing Supreme Court seats (give back the ones you stole) and stop disenfranchising voters you don't like. How's that for a thought? The tyranny of your minority right wing radical anti-democratic party is going to get people mad eventually, you think?

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    4. Y'all, David is a Troll, and likely a sad and lonely person. He does not intend to convince anyone towards his claimed views, he intends to provoke responses. David will not be convinced by any of your arguments, but he will be thrilled when someone recognizes him by responding to his nonsense.

      Best to ignore the Trolls, even for their sake because it is a form of ableism.

      Delete
    5. anon 2:00 - Hey y'all: I certainly don't agree with D in C on many, maybe most, things, but I don't get this claim he is a "troll." Seems you can't tolerate anyone disagreeing with you. He often, maybe usually, makes valid arguments, and he is always polite in spite of fairly vile insults hurled at him. And it's just stupid and dishonest for you to assume he is a "sad and lonely person."

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    6. Yep, agree with all that. 2:00 is a nut.

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    7. @11:08 please re-read my comment. Federal law protects Justices from pressure to affect their Opinions. Does the law matter to you? Should the government punish people who are on your side when they break the law?

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    8. David,
      That law would be ruled unconstitutional, using Alito's opinion on privacy in the Mississippi abortion case. Or it would be, if Alito's arguments were consistent, or made in good faith.

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    9. Agree with 2:00.

      AC/MA is a known liar, but that aside, his comment is a nonsensical, hateful spew on 2:00. Re-read their comment, your description of it is ludicrous. What a little cry baby you are AC/MA.

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    10. "Should the government punish people who are on your side when they break the law?"

      Yes. The government should punish all people who lie under oath at their Supreme Court hearings, regardless of who's side they are on.

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    11. We don't know who vandalized that anti abortion office - there was a small fire and a broken window, but it was not a "fire bombing".

      In that same state there was a real fire bombing:

      "In 2012, an anti-abortion activist threw a fire bomb inside Planned Parenthood's Appleton location. The perpetrator, an anti-abortion rights activist, was sentenced to 11 years in prison. The location closed a few years later, after a mass shooting took place in a Planned Parenthood clinic in Colorado."

      That kind of stuff happens a lot. In fact the FBI says that right wing terrorism is the biggest domestic threat.

      Here is how the left responded:

      "Democratic Gov. Tony Evers said on Twitter: "We condemn violence and hatred in all forms, including the actions at Wisconsin Family Action in Madison last night. We reject violence against any person for disagreeing with another’s view ... We will work against overturning Roe and attacks on reproductive rights by leading with empathy and compassion. We will defend what we believe in with our words and our voices—in the streets, in halls of government, and at the ballot box. In Wisconsin, we must lead by example."

      also

      "Madison Mayor Satya Rhodes-Conway said she understands that people are afraid and angry in the wake of the leaked draft but said violence isn't an acceptable response.

      "Madison believes strongly in the right to free speech, but it must be exercised nonviolently by all sides in this increasingly contentious debate," she continued."

      also

      "Democratic U.S. Senate candidate Tom Nelson said, "I am committed to protecting women's rights -- but we must do it the right way. Violence and destruction are not the answer. I'm glad no one was hurt."

      Our society is not well, but not from mob lawlessness. We have poverty, we lack good affordable health care and housing. We are wage slaves, so we have little time for our families. When society is this shitty but all you can come up with is to complain about some protests, you have lost your soul and your integrity.

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    12. anon, you keep calling me a "liar" - or a "known liar." I've challenged you before - you can't cite one "lie" I've ever posted. On the other hqand, it doesn't seem that you have the ability to apply reason or logic.

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    13. AC/MA lied about the Zimmerman trial, then was provided evidence that demonstrated they were lying, after which AC/MA continued to spout the same lies.

      AC/MA also lies about being a lawyer and a Dem, which is made clear from how dumb their comments are on legal issues, and how they support right wing values in their comments.

      AC/MA is lying even here, as their lies have been cited several times previously.

      Delete
  6. "Alas! Everywhere President Roosevelt looked, he saw "one-third of a nation ill-housed, ill-clad, ill-nourished." (The year was 1937.)"

    This was the height of the depression.

    In 2020, 107 in 10,000 people were homeless (before covid). That is slightly over 1% of the population. Of course this rate will be higher in some parts of the country than others because homeless people are not evenly distributed across the states and cities.

    But this surely represents a huge improvement over 1937. Does Somerby imagine that this happened because of Republican activism. If so, he is very wrong. Democrats are still committed to supporting social programs that address homelessness, food insecurity, and poverty in general, as well as many other social problems.

    Republicans are not doing this. Democrats are. So, on what basis does Somerby chide us today for lacking political wisdom, smarts and skills? He offers none except his tired old rehash of Al Gore's troubles winning his own election. (I contend that Gore won, but he didn't pursue the recount or other court arguments, so he ceded the election to George W. Bush, who was a disaster as president. But that was Al Gore's doing -- other Democrats wanted to keep fighting. I remember vividly my own disappointment with Gore's lack of spine.

    This lecture today needs to be aimed at Gore, who abandoned his supporters, turned his back on the nation, left public service and formed a TV network. His only contribution since leaving office was to collaborate in an excellent documentary on climate change.

    It seems to me that Somerby has displaced his own pique at Al Gore's failures onto the rest of the Democrats, but we didn't lose that 2000 election -- Gore did that.

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    1. Indeed, also up until Covid hit, homelessness dropped dramatically, by about 100k people 2008-2018, but due to budget cuts there were less shelters and resources so the unhoused, while lessening, became more visible.

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  7. Margaret Sullivan is a journalist, not part of the liberal tribe.

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  8. We liberals fighting for decent principles? Usually we are more concerned with pronouns and veganism.
    Hopefully this time will be different, but I wouldn't hold my breath.

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    Replies
    1. 11;46,
      We appreciate you being "woke" enough to support identity politics this time.
      BTW, how's it feel?

      Delete
  9. This comment has been removed by the author.

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    1. "we're an unimpressive aggregation with deeply unimpressive tribal leadership groups."

      But at least we are not crooks, liars, thieves, sex traffickers of minors, believers in conspiracy theories, insurrectionists, obstructionists of government, followers of a mob boss disguised as a politician, traitors to our nation who collude with Russia, gun-toting violence-advocates, and oh yeah, bigots, sexists, homophobes, xenophobes and misogynists, religious fanatics and fascists.

      I think Democrats can safely win on a ticket that we are decent human beings, and win, given the alternatives on the ballot at every level in the Republican party.

      If Somerby finds basic decency "unimpressive," there is something deeply wrong with him. But that has been obvious from his posts for some time now.

      Delete
    2. As long as we're not worse than them, we're okay.

      Nope. Entirely disagree. Why do you even bother to read this blog if you think this way?

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  10. Anyone who isn't a bigot, or isn't perfectly fine with bigotry, left the Republican Party more than two decades ago.

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  11. Blacks are leaving the party? It was only 18 months ago, when they last saved the country.

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  12. Anon 12:35, you've made it plain that you aren't a 'bigot" - and for that you deserve high regard. It's too bad that everyone who is a Republican is a bigot.

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  13. "It's too bad that everyone who is a Republican is a bigot."
    It's a huge obstruction to progress.

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  14. AC/ MA,
    It wasn't always that way. Like most of what has ailed the nation in the past half-century, Reagan is to blame.

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  15. I'd like to ask if it's true everyone who's a bigot is a Republican.

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  16. Oppression, particularly racial oppression has been a fundamental underpinning to the modern Republican party. Before Trump, they might let this slip out occasionally, but Trump has given them the "freedom" to openly express their hatred for Others.

    No group is leaving either party, that is a bone headed analysis. Electoral wins come from who motivates their voters more effectively.

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  17. "Sullivan was deeply unwise back then, remains unwise today," says Bob. I get why he thinks she fell short 22 years ago at the Buffalo paper (didn't stick up for Gore), but "remains unwise today" seems like a drive-by. He links to her WaPo column but appears to agree with it. Maybe she learned something in 22 years. What's wrong with her today, Bob?

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    Replies
    1. Never ask a shallow sociopath a question.

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  18. One thing we can all agree on. The Democrats are going to get their ass handed to them in November.

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    Replies
    1. Since you can predict the future, who will win the next Super Bowl? I want to place a bet.

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    2. Please. We can't even agree the Republican Party are fascists.

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    3. At least we can all agree Matt Gaetz has harmed more children than abortion.

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    4. What 7:54 shows is that right wingers care more about personally winning than the health of our society.

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  19. Poll after poll shows President Biden losing support from every demographic in the book.

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    1. What's the drop in percentage from the corporate-owned, Right-wing media?
      Send a link, if you can.

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    2. You're responsible for backing up your own claims.

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  20. How has Somerby missed defending this guy?

    https://www.rawstory.com/bowen-turner-arrested/

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