Motley Moose – Archive

Since 2008 – Progress Through Politics


I like message songs.  The greatest song with lyrics ever, and you’ll never convince me otherwise, is Get Together by The Youngbloods.

I really like this one, too…

That’s not to say I don’t enjoy a bit of nonsense from time to time, too.

Surprisingly or not, this one is one of my more recent favorites, though, because I think it fits so much what some of us felt or continue to feel.

Change is hard.  Harder for some than for others.  Not only did we elect a Democrat instead of a Republican after eight years but we elected a black guy with a distinctly foreign name as president.  And, shhhh, his middle name is the same as the last name of a guy really bad guy who was the dictator president of a country with whom we went to war.  On top of that, the guy spent part of his life in Indonesia which happens to have the world’s largest Muslim population; wonder how many folks can find Indonesia on a map without using those guides atlases come with.

All kidding aside, when you think about it in the post-9/11 atmosphere of fear that we’ve been living in it’s almost a miracle.  Unfortunately, the election of President Obama seems to have either sent some folks insane or brought out some hidden traits.  It’s also exposed how much/little change we are really ready for.  Or how much we were hoping for.

Something called “financial reform” passed today. had that as their lead story for a brief while before switching to some story rebunking the latest notion that felons elected Sen. Franken.  Huffington Post didn’t disappoint with their screaming red headlines “REFORMED BUT NOT TRANSFORMED.”  Daily Kos had a front page story that was halfway down the page with 136 comments but, the last time I checked, no rec listed diaries.  A few other blogs neglected to mark the occasion at all.

Two reasons come to mind:  no one’s paying much attention because it’s summer or people think it sucks.  I cannot make a judgement call on the bill because, frankly, I don’t understand such things; I have enough trouble balancing my checkbook.  But defenders of the legislation  hail it as being a first step; detractors call it a failure that does nothing to stop another financial crisis.  Somehow I suspect the truth lies in, dare I say it, the middle.  (get it?)

We heard the same argument about the health care reform bill.  And we’ll hear it when (if?) immigration and climate change legislation come to the table.

I admit I get frustrated with the “it’s never enough” crowd because I am an incrementalist.  In this environment, with this Congress, I truly do not believe a public option was going to get anywhere.  Financial institutions and big oil hold too much sway with our elected officials to allow strong reform bills to pass.  They also spend a ton of money on PR as well.  Seen those BP “as long as it takes” ads?  That’s to say nothing of the obstructionists Republicans determined to stymie the president’s agenda.

I guess the question is does advocating for more ever become destructive?  Can we praise an action and be content or do we need to wonder why not sooner or why not more or why not better?  Do we defeat ourselves when we say that financial reform without breaking up the “too big to fail” banks is virtually worthless?  Do we celebrate the largest fine to be paid to the SEC (by Goldman Sachs) or do we decry it as a mere pittance compared to the billions in bonuses they’ll give out?

At what point do Democrats or lefty-leaning Independents or repelled Republicans look for other electoral choices to “punish” Democrats or Republicans?  We’ve heard and seen calls to primary “under performing” Democrats.  I’ve made a few of those calls myself; Blanche Lincoln and Ben Nelson really piss me off in particular.  I don’t see the harm in primarying someone with the hope of getting a better (and electable) Democrat in place.  But, once the primary is over, does it not make sense to back whomever the Democratic candidate is?  Keeping a nominal Democratic Lincoln and Nelson surely is better than gaining a full-fledged Republican given the current crop of Republicans.  Right?  Even if only to keep the leadership positions in the House and Senate?  Right?

The idea of Speaker Boehner or Majority Leader McConnell is enough to make me want to throw up.  Seeing Sarah Palin’s mug on the tv proclaiming the 2010 midterms as a refudiation (because she doesn’t know it’s “repudiate”) of the Obama “socialist” agenda is enough to make me want to work really hard to make sure we keep the majorities in both houses of Congress even though I’m not completely happy with everything that’s gone on.

So I wonder:  how much “push” is appropriate?  How much “change” can we, should we, want/demand/accept?  When, if ever, do we defeat ourselves?  When, if ever, is it okay just to say “thank you” or “good job” and leave it at that?



    So I wonder:  how much “push” is appropriate?

    I do think we should keep letting our legislators know what we want from them but we should appreciate the almost Herculean effort they put in just to get modest changes passed.  The Democratic congress has really worked hard since 2006 when Nancy Pelosi put an end to the 3-day workweek the Republicans put in place.

    Here’s another thought that came into my head today:

    We don’t have a parliamentary system where every faction gets some representation.  Therefore, minor parties rarely get anyone elected. A person would have to be a masochist to keep running on the Green or Libertarian ticket (and those are the two best known of minor parties), knowing they were going to lose over and over again.  A smart politician would instead run as a Democrat or Republican, depending on which party was closest to their ideology.  

    So my point is (yup, I have one) ideological purity within a party is impossible with this system, unless that party wants to remain a minority.  That’s why we should be happy to have Socialists and Blue Dogs and everything in between in our party.  If Republicans want to purge Rinos (like Charlie Christ), I say “Welcome Aboard.”

  2. creamer

    the financial reform bill. He apparently gets worked up about a lot of things an is an equal opportunity basher. But unless you question the motives of everyone, isnt he responsible for reporting that we are making incremental improvments? And if your the progressive media, isnt it time to raly around the things we did accomplish rather than whine about not having changed the world in to a liberal utopia.  

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