Note to the Democrats in Congress: We're Not Useful Tools:
Here's something that the Democrats in Congress need to realize about the progressive movement in America as they get on with the business of leading with a big-ass majority in the House and a near (or exact) supermajority in the Senate: We're not the Christian right and we're not the black vote (although we contain many African Americans and a fair number of evangelicals). You can't simply use us as your condom to fuck the Republicans in November 2008 with and then wrap us in tissue to toss in the trash can when you're done.
Every election cycle, conservatives appeal to the Christian fundamentalist right with long-deferred promises of gay marriage amendments and Roe v. Wade overturned and school prayer as a sacrament. Democrats appeal for the black vote with promises of federal help with urban renewal, with improvements in housing and education programs. And every time, they don't deliver, but, because of the attitude of "Well, who the fuck else are they gonna go for?" the votes of those groups (among others) is seen as a given.
What has prompted this little diatribe regarding the treatment about not just the netroots, but the entire progressive movement are a couple of remarks made regarding the incoming Congress and the restoration of Joe the Man of Lieber to the chair of the Senate Homeland Security Committee. No, it's not the action taken, of punishing Lieberman by smacking him with a feather for a moment or two. That was a given. Anyone who thought Mighty Joe was gonna be expelled was playing a hand in a fool's game of hope poker.
Lieberman was Barack Obama's mentor when Obama came to the Senate. However alienated the election might have made them, understand that Barack Obama is a smarter natural politician than even Bill Clinton. As Howard Dean said, it was Obama's call on Lieberman. A Joe Lieberman who owes the continuation of his career to Obama is far more valuable than a sullen douchebag who holds grudges caucusing with the opponents. By holding on to Lieberman, Obama and the Senate Democrats have cut the Connecticut Senator's nuts off, and you can bet that he will fall in line. (This is against the conventional wisdom out here in Left Blogsylvania, but, hey, fuck it.)
No, what has the Rude Pundit mightily pissed and feeling like a piece of ass that was roughly fucked without even the courtesy of a reacharound is this remark from a Democratic Senate aide regarding the meaning of the vote on Lieberman: "The left has been foiled again. They can rant and rage but they still do not put the fear into folks to actually change their votes. Their influence would be in question." As Jane Hamsher said, "This is about telling you that you mean nothing."
And then there was this throwdown from House Majority Whip Steny Hoyer: "[W]e should remember that minorities don’t win elections; majorities often lose them. Majorities lose elections when they pursue partisanship to the exclusion of common sense, compromise and accomplishment. So we must remember where our majority came from. We did not just make a full-blown ideological conversion of the other half of the country. What we did do -- and this in and of itself was a huge accomplishment -- was convince majority-making independents, whether they be Democrats, Republicans, or actual independents, or declines, that we will govern responsibly and effectively at this time of national crisis."
Um, listen, motherfucker. What happened was that, in the midst of crisis, unclouded (for the most part) by a candidate not willing to play the gay-bash, hate-monger shuffle, voters realized that on virtually every non-moral issue (and even on a bunch of those), they believed the Democrats. So, yeah, maybe Hoyer's onto something when he says that it wasn't an "ideological conversion." But it was an awakening to the fact that, in an era of shrinking opportunity and greater burdens, it was time to stop playing games with one's vote. In other words, this is a progressive country. We just forgot that progress is actually possible. We happened to remember.
And that's to the credit of this fuckin' movement here. In fact, it was the progressive, liberal surge for Obama, the massive enfranchising of disaffected populations because of progressive ideas, that gave the Democrats the increased numbers. Joe and Jane Twelve-Pack decided that they'd been dicked around enough and maybe some of those crazy ideas about economic justice and government of the people were real.
Hoyer also said, "[W]e intend to govern from the middle, not the muddled middle, but the principled, consensus-creating middle that has marked our country’s progress." The problem there is that the middle has no principles. That's the convenience of being in the middle. There is only capitulation there and oh, so much compromise (some of which is, of course, inevitable - we're not dunces). No, we don't need the head of Lieberman to skull-fuck and be happy. But "foiled"?
Here's a warning to the Democrats in Congress: you better fucking deliver on some shit. Or, unlike the bitches of the Christian right who just take it, we will make you pay. One of the lessons of this past election is that we've learned how to field and support candidates.
As for Lieberman, Bone-Smokin' Joe better break out his knee pads and extra greasy lip balm for us if he wants to even have a shot at not losing to a true liberal opponent in 2012.