Monday, September 7, 2009

Happy Labor Day! Get fired up!

Happy Labor day! (could not let it pass without a post)

I watched with glee the Obama speech to the AFL/CIO today, and well it got me fired up!
(it is on c-span, and on huffpo)
I hope he continues the rhetoric on Wednesday's big Hcare speech.

Wobs-->What do you know about the charge from Jane Hamsher that liberal groups are being corralled in a "veal pen"? How many of these calls have you sat in on?
Soon after the election, the Administration began corralling the big liberal DC interest groups into a variety of organizations and communication networks through which they telegraphed their wishes -- into a virtual veal pen. The 8:45 am morning call co-hosted by the "liberal" Center for American Progress, Unity 09, and Common Purpose are just a few of the overt ways that the White House controls its left flank and maintains discipline.

My own experience with the Veal Pen came indirectly, when some of them had the temerity to launch a campaign against Blue Dogs. They were rebuked and humiliated in front of their peers as a lesson to them all at a Common Purpose meeting, which is run by lobbyist Erik Smith. White House communications director Ellen Moran attends. It isn't an arms-length relationship between these groups and the administration.

A few weeks ago, Rahm Emanuel showed up at a Common Purpose meeting and called these liberal groups "fucking stupid" for going after Blue Dogs on health care and ordered them not to do so any more. Since that time, to the best of my knowledge, none of them have.

These organizations may kid themselves that they're doing no harm, but that's not true. They are the institutional liberal validators who telegraph to liberals that there are problems, that things are happening that are not good for them. They are trusted to decode the byzantine rituals of government and let the public know when their interests are not being served, that it's time to pay attention and start making a racket. When they fail to perform that task, the public is left with a vague feeling of anxiety, intuitively understanding that something is wrong but not knowing who or what to blame.

I think the calls are a great way to coordinate message, and I think it is a long over due response to the previous admin and Rep party's incessant talking points. BUT, left advocacy groups will be toast if they use the "access" to merely "get in line" rather than "line up their interests"
It boggles my mind that Obama is pushing the left to tow the line, when it is the f'in blue frogs that suck, and most need some kind of reform to improve their election prospects...


wobblie said...

I have no doubt this is happening (although I'd be the last person at the Company on a conference call with the Administration or anyone working in cahoots with the Administration).

That said, I don't necessarily disagree with your or Jane's assessment of the veal pen - either positively or negatively - but the Rahm example is curious to me. From a tactical point of view, Rahm's not very tactful ordering of people to lay off the Blue Dogs makes perfect sense to me (at least laying off them publicly). To be sure, that part of the caucus needs to be leaned on to keep them firm on real reform, but they also know that if HCR fails, it's the Blue Dog Caucus that'll be the first out the door next year - progressives will be fine. I obviously wasn't privy to the conversation, but is it possible that what was being communicated was that going after Blue Dogs publicly fed into the "fractious Dems" narrative and that behind-the-scenes pressure is being applied, maybe to better effect?

I mean, Big Labor, to my knowledge, isn't/hasn't targeting/-ed Blue Dogs with an ad campaign, but we've sure as shit let it be known that the campaign gravy train is over if they fuck this up. So, from my point of view, this seems to have more to do with the tactics used to leverage members of the D caucus than actually putting pressure on them.

Did that make any sense?

lex dexter said...

"To be sure, that part of the caucus needs to be leaned on to keep them firm on real reform, but they also know that if HCR fails, it's the Blue Dog Caucus that'll be the first out the door next year - progressives will be fine."

I'd like to reiterate that there's a whole host of perfectly self-interested, non-righteous reasons why EVERY SINGLE CONGRESSIONAL DEM'S ASS depends on DELIVERING A BILL, and why we'll ultimately get something that - even sans Public Option - seemed highly unlikely 2 years ago, let alone in 2004.

That being said, Blue Dogs are a minority w/i this caucus, and I hope to be at the forefront of shit-talking any chumps in the leadership who make any unnecessary concessions to those faux-deficit-hawk prostitutes known as Blue Dogs.

Blue Dogs are a minority w/i the Dem caucus, just as polling suggests that Americans opposing a public option are a minority. Both of these constituencies have had their day, I hope, and I hope that both of them will very soon be finding themselves on the business end of the democratic workings of both a Democratic legislature, and a Democrat-leaning population.

I am not, however, holding my breath. Thank you for your attention to this matter, and goodnight!