August 19, 2010
Or hardly workin'
This is sort of a follow up to yesterday's post as well as a cartoon I did last month, but Atrios has been making some great points lately about another key reason Democrats are totally screwed in November.
The irony of Gibbs' moronic "professional left" comment the other week is that there actually is a "professional left" and they're really important in helping Democrats get elected. The problem is, when there are less of them being professional, they have less time to be left.
I'll try to say that in a less cutesy way now, and using real-life experience: I worked for two separate left-leaning organizations for over four years. I left DC in 2008 before Obama was elected, and after the election, even in the terrible economy, it appears to have been a good move, job-wise. Why? Because once Obama won the election, people stopped caring about supporting left-leaning organizations. Donations dropped. Campaigns dwindled. People assumed they had done their job and were ready to harvest the fruits of their labors. That... yeah, that didn't turn out exactly as they hoped. This is where the "sensible" people start explaining how everything these hundreds of thousands of people think is merely an illusion and a conspiracy launched by angry bloggers because that is both helpful and will change everything. But I digress.
Now, combine this with the fact that jobs are in the toilet right now (the major point Atrios keeps making) and you have a perfect storm of why this isn't 2008 anymore. The people who would normally be out there pushing hard for Democrats to win are 1. unmotivated simply to work hard for a campaign and 2. far more interested in getting a damn job. The right used to joke all the time that anti-war activists and Obama supporters were just "lazy kids with trust funds" and "stupid college students on their parents' money" and well, guess what, that's a lot of the base and now they're not out there volunteering and campaigning because what they really need is rent money.
There is no type of email nor any measurable level of yelling that can be made to the so-called "professional left" to convince them to clap harder. I'm at the point where I truly think the Obama team honestly had no idea the economy was going to collapse like this, and they had absolutely no plan (or motivation) to deal with the Tea Party and the total Republican opposition in the Senate. Their strategy was, quite literally, to hope that the 90-year-old and the dude with terminal brain cancer didn't die for two years.
And that is not just disappointing to the "professional left" but outright insulting, because I can see how many of them feel like they tried harder two years ago then the effing president is doing right now.
August 18, 2010
They still won
I realize that highlighting the comedic wrongness of Megan McArdle is basically an full-on internet meme at this point, but if you haven't read this detailed takedown of McArdle's 2003 defense of the Iraq war, it's worth your time to do so. Seven years down the line I'm not sure how many people are aware of just how completely wrong most of the pro-war right was. And I don't mean in a "oh our opinions vary" kind of wrong, I mean articles like this, with hundreds of words gushing about the technical and financial aspects of the war that were just crap. Now don't get me wrong, McArdle's only a few years older than me, and seven years ago I wrote even worse and less-educated garbage than I write now... but no major century-old political journal is paying me to pretend I know anything.
What I also remember were the snotty segments from pundits like Bill O'Reilly that mocked people like, say, Jeneanne Garofalo for saying at the onset of war stupid, hippie ideas like "we're going to get stuck in an insurgency" and "we could end up being there for years" and "there aren't any WMDs" and other nonsense that explain why Air America is bankrupt and O'Reilly makes millions still. And to be honest, it's one of the reasons I've had a harder time blogging and writing and cartooning these last two years than any other time in my life.
I don't tend to delve into the personal much on this site and I'm not really going to now, but sufficed to say while there are a lot of people out there worsr off than me, things could also be a lot better. Things were a lot better only a few years ago. I'm starting to compile the last two years of material for my next book now, and looking at the optimism from only two years ago against what's happening now is... well... depressing as hell.
I want so hard to believe in Conan O'Brien's departing message that great things will happen if you're just not cynical and are kind to people and work hard and everything in politics right now just fights that idea. Megan McArdle, seven years later, makes more money than I'll ever see in my life, despite making mistakes that would get me fired from my job if I made them on that level. Pam Gellar and Glenn Beck, who have spent the last few years doing nothing but promoting abject racism, have TV shows and hundred-thousand-dollar book deals. Sarah Palin exists.
I don't know how long this current political (and emotional) climate will last, I really don't. But in the midst of all the people who keep telling me to stop whining and complaining, I really wish there were more coherent explanations as to why. Because it looks like the bad guys all won right now.
August 16, 2010
"Keep Looking Up"
Most right-wingers never heard of Saul Alinsky before Barack Obama got elected. Then one right-wing commenter (probably Glenn Beck) made a reference to him, and every right-winger who wanted to sound educated on his work started repeating it. I meant what I said in this week's strip; I really believe they think they sound smarter when they do this.
The only thing funnier in this vein is when the wingers don't do their research, as exemplified in the final panel. Not only is the Japanese Cultural Center of Hawaii real, that argument was actually made a few weeks ago by a troll who couldn't be bothered to check Google first.