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writing for godot

Right-Wing Sock Puppets Pretending to Be Liberals Assault Progressive Websites

Written by RS Janes   
Sunday, 08 May 2011 22:52

Ignorant, peevish, narrow-minded, misinformed, livid, intolerant, they are an army of everything that's wrong with America, denizens of a weird trickster God who speaks to them with words they don't completely understand, or tints their natural interior wrath with righteous anger conferred by snake-oil preachers or haughty cable charlatans either crass or crazed, or just slyly in it for the money, or all of the above.

This minority wouldn't matter much except they are whipped into a frenzy and 'played' by cynical manipulators like Frank Luntz, Rush Limbaugh and Glenn Beck who, in turn, wouldn't have much impact without the billions of dollars spent to spread their fetid message from such right-wing corporatists as Fox News owner Rupert Murdoch and the Koch brothers.

But beneath the second-tier video fictions of James O’Keefe and Andrew Breitbart, and the hollow-headed bleating of the various ozone-inhabiting creatures who will never be president like Michele Bachmann and Sarah Palin, and even in the shadow of the disingenuous theocratic mushpile that is David Barton’s twisted view of our history, exists a well-funded Republican netherworld of PR propagandists and marketing hucksters busy dreaming up unethical new ways to undercut Obama and the Democrats.

One of these is Doug Goetzloe, an anti-tax right-wing talk show host and former Young Republican who heads up Advantage Consultants. Here is the copy from one of his ads advising his conservative clients to ‘flood the zone’ on progressive sites:

“Are you ready for a blog attack?

“Get ahead of your opponent with Professional Blog Warriors.

“Be prepared to ‘flood the zone’ with comments from professionals who are ready to put your talking points on the blogosphere 24/7.

“Whether it's defense or offense, Advantage Consultants has a dedicated team of experienced blog warriors ready to advance your candidate or campaign.

“Why wait for the attack? Launch your attack with a battery of blog and forum comments aimed at all media and blog sites in your district.

“Contact us today and let us show you the Advantage in professional blog warfare.”
-- See the Advantage Consultants ad at:

Then there’s Chip Griffin, head of the now defunct NetVocates that planted comments as Advantage Consultants does back in 2005, and still a Republican activist and PR man who was once associated with the far-right Griffin is no doubt back on the scene as a sock-puppet master for the 2012 elections -- it’s what he does for a living.

A poster named TomCADem recently made these points at Democratic Underground:

“However, what is often ignored are right wing/corporate funded political operatives generating attacks on Democrats from the ‘left’ while giving Republicans a free pass. Of course, these operatives do not announce their intentions, but instead simply launch attacks on Democrats from the left while largely ignoring the far more extreme positions of Republicans or suggesting that there is no difference between Democrats and Republicans. However, occasionally, such operatives are caught engaging in these fraudulent acts.

“The question in 2012 with Republicans and corporate American intent on taking back the White House, killing unions, and privatizing Medicare, [is] how far will Republicans and corporate propaganda groups go in their efforts to organize sock puppet attacks on Democrats from the left in order to undermine support for Democrats among liberals?”
-- Posted in “‘Liberal’ Sock Puppets – Right Wing/Corporate Operatives Attacking Democrats From The ‘Left’,” April 26, 2011.

How far? The GOP is desperate to enact their anti-democratic corporate agenda as quickly as possible as they know the general public is catching onto them -- they will go as far as mountains of corporate money and a total lack of conscience or ethics will take them.

Some on the progressive side are already well aware that the GOP is, and has been at least since 2005, mounting a large and well-funded campaign to plant phony 'progressives sick of the Dems' comments on various liberal sites to split the vote. Their masters know the psychology well: a percentage of the population, no matter what their politics, is 'suggestible,' meaning if they read a string of comments excoriating ALL Democrats as frauds and liars, that will become their opinion, if nothing to the contrary is offered. These 'suggestibles' are not necessarily stupid, but they do readily conform to whatever opinion is dominant. That's why the GOP, through their paid operatives, flood progressive sites with so-called 'former Democrats' and 'angry progressives' who do nothing but harp on how horrible the Democrats and Obama are. It's insidious and underhanded, but look at who's doing it -- the party of Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder and Ohio Gov. John Kasich. All of them were elected on a promise of jobs and better times, only to use their office to reward the wealthy with tax cuts and lucrative contracts privatizing public services at the expense of middle-class families who work for a living.

At one time, some of the 'tells' of the right-wing ‘sock puppet’ troll was their use of terms such as 'DemoRATS' or ‘Demonrats’ for Democrats, and their repeatedly calling Obama 'Obummer,' 'Obomber' or 'Obomba.' But they've mostly changed that language as actual progressives began to notice those repeated constructions and the fetid and simpleminded opinions attached to them. Some current 'tells' are when they don't mention the GOP at all, or claim both parties are just as 'evil,' or try to shut down the conversation with insults, or push readers to vote for any third party, or say that they'd rather vote for a Republican than a Democrat, or make statements with no factual basis, or refer you to a right-wing website to ‘confirm’ their assertions.

Incidentally, there is no comparable effort by the left: if you try to post comments opposing the GOP or corporatists at right-wing sites, in most cases you will quickly be banned from posting there and your comments removed. They aren't about to let the other side play their game on them, even if we had the money to fund such slimy baloney and the inclination to do so.

Our only protection against such ersatz assaults is to use our heads and common sense: if someone is a little ‘too’ enraged at Obama and the Democrats, be suspicious, especially if they never talk about Republicans. Ask them a couple of polite intelligent questions on the comment thread’s topic; if they respond by condemning or insulting you for questioning them rather than engaging you, they’re likely a sock-puppet troll; it’s in their nature to consider any question or disagreement as tantamount to treason. Also, if they keep reposting basically the same idea in one comment thread, they’re probably a sock-puppet troll; they’ve been instructed by their masters that repetition works. And don’t be swayed if they accuse you of being a ‘shill’ or ‘troll’ for questioning them -- they are trained to do that.

Finally, always remember: you can pretend to be a progressive, but you can’t pretend to be smart, and these paid ‘blog warriors’ decidedly aren’t.

"The key point is that ever since the Reagan years, the Republican Party has been dominated by radicals - ideologues and/or apparatchiks who, at a fundamental level, do not accept anyone else’s right to govern."
-- Paul Krugman, "The Politics of Spite," NY Times, Oct. 5, 2009.

© 2011 RS Janes. your social media marketing partner


A note of caution regarding our comment sections:

For months a stream of media reports have warned of coordinated propaganda efforts targeting political websites based in the U.S., particularly in the run-up to the 2016 presidential election.

We too were alarmed at the patterns we were, and still are, seeing. It is clear that the provocateurs are far more savvy, disciplined, and purposeful than anything we have ever experienced before.

It is also clear that we still have elements of the same activity in our article discussion forums at this time.

We have hosted and encouraged reader expression since the turn of the century. The comments of our readers are the most vibrant, best-used interactive feature at Reader Supported News. Accordingly, we are strongly resistant to interrupting those services.

It is, however, important to note that in all likelihood hardened operatives are attempting to shape the dialog our community seeks to engage in.

Adapt and overcome.

Marc Ash
Founder, Reader Supported News

+13 # RICHARDKANEpa 2011-05-10 07:35
Unfortunately for lively comments on articles submitted by readers one must look elsewhere for the article

Googling "Pretending to be Liberal" led instead to other articles,

The following site mentioned five example of what you are refering to,

One exampe is "Latinos for Reform"
+14 # RSJ 2011-05-10 18:51
Thank you, RichardKanepa. It's true, there's a lot of it out there.
+7 # Kevin Schmidt 2011-05-15 16:12
Corporate Funded, Right-Wing DINO Obama Pretending to Be Liberal, Throws Howard Dean and other Progressives Under the Bus
+8 # racetoinfinity 2011-05-27 16:22
True about Obama and his admin., but 15-20% (my estimate) of Dems are progressive. The rest are corporate. Still, I'd never vote R, and now the Repubs. are embracing a hugely reactionary John Birch/Ayn Rand and anti-choice, anti-human rights, anti-rationalit y (the religious right, still a big base) agenda, so Dems are truly the LOTE-it's vital not to increase the CRAZY regressed feudal plutocratic Repubs.
-3 # J. Spock 2011-05-21 00:35
are you related to Jimmy Kanepa who lives(d) in Mill Valley CA?
+64 # Terry C 2011-05-14 15:50
A dead giveaway is when these trolls talk about "the Democrat party" instead of DEMOCRATIC.

They always give themselves away.
+10 # RSJ 2011-05-14 18:35
Good point, Terry, and I wish I had mentioned that in the article.
+10 # KittatinyHawk 2011-05-20 18:34
Lucky they can spell at all, probably use spell right!
+32 # Paul Elliott 2011-05-14 16:03
We can do the same thing and actually I think I'm pretty good at it.
+7 # racetoinfinity 2011-05-27 16:28
If you mean, one of we progressives could pose as a Tea Partier far-far-rightie to criticize the Republicans at right-wing sights-sure, why not (although the Republicans are surrendering to extreme right wing ideas and getting beat up in the polls - they are on self-destruct for the next election, hopefully, with the Senate vote on the Paul Ryan bill Harry Reid forced the other day.
+9 # RSJ 2011-05-30 15:52
The GOP in self-destruct mode and they have catered so much to the crazy far-right that it has taken over the party. These are profoundly ignorant buffoons who couldn't successfully organize a two-person parade and they worship cynical nitwits like Palin who are always wrong. They can be dangerous in groups but, as Napoleon Bonaparte said, "Never interrupt your enemy when he is making a mistake." The Republicans are nothing but mistakes these days and I don't see how they can stop making them and still have any kind of viable party remaining. Without the doltish Christopublican s and the tea party wingnuts, what have they got left? There aren't enough rich people to vote them into office.
+37 # Seth 2011-05-14 17:10
If people are truly getting their political information from comment sections then they deserve to get duped, be they Liberal or Conservative.
+15 # LeeBlack 2011-05-21 13:29
Seth, I agree with you but one result can be that Liberals feel they are a minority and there is a large group of THEM out there.

It's strange how people perceive movements. E.G. I have never understood how U.S. Christians can feel they are 'under attack'.
+17 # LeftsideAnnie 2011-05-29 12:42
Because it feels good to see yourself as a victim. That way they have an excuse to be as rude and vitriolic as they want in the name of Jesus - because they're "victims" they have the right to "fight back."

It's disgusting.
+11 # RSJ 2011-05-30 15:39
It is disgusting, but the far-right theocratic fundamentalists Christopublican s ARE a very scary minority, even within Christianity. Read this from a former evangelical pastor:

“I want you to know that the fundamentalist political movement is the beginning of a cultural revolution that will take our nation to a very dark place. You have to understand that this has been methodically planned and is being carried out with the utmost vigilance. In accordance with their worldview, my old friends do not in the least care about what you think. They are against democracy, and they are seeking to end the rule of the majority in our great country.

“They truly believe that if you have not been ‘saved,’ you are living under a curse and are incapable of knowing what is best and that because of this you should be ruled over. You should also know they do not believe that even centuries-old Christian communities (Catholics, Anglicans, Greek Orthodox, etc.) are ‘saved,’ only those who think like they do.”
-- Jason Childs, “I Was a Right-Wing Evangelical Pastor -- Until I Saw the Light,” May 21, 2011.
+13 # Vegan_Girl 2011-05-22 08:30
With all the respect, I have learned a great deal from the content and links of comments posted by fellow readers. I visit many treasured web links I wouldn't have otherwise.
+15 # Jerry Maxwell 2011-05-24 18:57
Quoting Seth:
If people are truly getting their political information from comment sections then they deserve to get duped, be they Liberal or Conservative.

Unfortunately, while they may deserve to be duped, they vote and influence other voters to be duped.
+117 # formercia 2011-05-14 18:49
Lefties are easy to spot on 'conservarive' sites. They are the ones who know how to use spell check and employ proper syntax.
+36 # markusgarvey 2011-05-14 20:14
I'm a mod at Raw Story and i see these people all the time... it's hard to ban them because they really don't break the rules and when they do and I ban them they just come back...the best defense is to have a strong community...
-27 # Mimosa 2011-05-15 03:09
I think the right wing paid operatives wouldn't be dumb enough to use DemoRATS and such perjoratives if they were posing as progressives. I also think the Tom from D.U. post cited is just plain paranoid. There's no foundation that any posters from the right wing pretend to be leftists. They simply could not be convincing conveying ideas they hate.

The posters on DU who are from the right are apparent to me because I have spent time on web boards where both sides engage in arguments. Whether the right leaning DU posters are paid or not I don't know. But I think it's harmful to Democrats to be marginalizing progressives, this time through paranoid speculation.
+24 # RSJ 2011-05-15 05:30
@ Mimosa: It's not complete paranoia; these right-wing marketing firms have been practicing this paid underhanded posting, as the 'blog warriors' ad for Advantage Consultants attests. The reason is obvious: they want to split the 2012 vote for Obama and the Dems. Those who are on the fence are often swayed by a so-called 'progressive' insisting they vote third party.

As for your contention that right-wingers would never be dumb enough to use 'DemoRATS' in a post while pretending to be a liberal, just remember than many of these people aren't very bright and I have seen this word posted at another site years ago by someone who eventually admitted they were anti-choice and not really all that progressive after all. There were other very suspicious posts at that site, supposedly by 'liberals,' that also used this word for Democrats. Of course, the GOP marketers have gotten much better at what they do, so you won't see such 'slips' these days.
+9 # cadan 2011-05-20 22:54
RSJ --- i'm sure it is true that there are posters paid to advance some agenda or other, such as splitting the vote for Obama or other Democrats.

That however doesn't mean that maybe the vote for some Democrats shouldn't be split.

We are now at war in (at least) 6 countries: Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Somalia, Yemen, and now Libya.

These multi-trillion dollar commitments so far from us will surely unplug us if we do not unplug them first, all questions of the morality of the suffering we are inflicting aside.

So any Democrat (or Republican) who is only opposed to wars started by the other party (or maybe not even that) is not promoting our survival.

And as far as Obama goes --- he will win by a huge landslide in 2012 because he is very smart and has the support of the neocons in every newspaper from the NYT down. The neocons realize that only a masterful speaker like Obama can keep a little domestic tranquility while every dime of our assets goes down the drain in the wars.

So my prediction is no matter how many bloggers are paid to split what, the Obama vote will not be very split, and we will still have vast bases and giant embassies in Iraq and Afghanistan in 2016 ---- but we will be decidedly poorer, and people around the world will hate us, deservedly, more.
+12 # RSJ 2011-05-21 05:39
@ cadan: None of those wars or other abominations will end under GOP rule and I think Obama and the progressive Dems are faced with an enormous, entrenched Washington establishment which is making carloads of money from the MIC and the war-footing status quo. Any change will either come from violent revolution or incrementally. Obviously, Obama is an incrementalist, unless you want to believe he really is a creature of the monied elite. If so, it's confounding why wealthy people like the Koch brothers, et al, would be wasting hundreds of millions trying to defeat him and the Dems. As I said, they could stage a 'democracy kabuki dance' for much less.

BTW, Obama is also faced with something FDR never had to contend with -- a mass media that is 80 percent owned by six massive GOP-friendly corporations.

If you were in Obama's shoes, what would you do? And please try to be realistic -- he's not a king, after all.
+16 # SueBarnhart 2011-05-15 06:01
"If people are truly getting their political information from comment sections then they deserve to get duped, be they Liberal or Conservative."
- The problem is to win we need the votes of these "duped" folks. If the comments persuade them to either change their vote to R or keep them from bothering to vote we are stuck with the crappy results at the polls - think Nov 2010 - we live with those results now in many places.
+23 # Alan Batterman 2011-05-15 08:33
Fight fire with fire. If GOP is trying to get progressives to vote for leftist splinter party candidates; Dems should try to get reactionaries to vote for rightist splinter party candidates.
+18 # larue55a 2011-05-15 11:20
It's a shame that policing these GOP pseudo progressives may also have a chilling effect on those of us in the "loyal opposition" to the current Demopublican administration. I wouldn't mention the GOP as an alternative to Obama in my comments. I am looking for answers to the left of him, and trying to nudge him away from the center/corporat ist/military faction that are whispering in his ear these days.
+27 # ChasR 2011-05-15 17:51
Worry about republicans first. We can push bluedogs left once we have a filibuster proof senate.
+12 # Rusty 2011-05-16 22:43
Exactly Chas. Those progressives and liberals who stayed home in 2010 and/or voted Green or some other left-leaning party, truly did this country a disservice. The Republicans are the problem and they must be dealt with first before we can all work on the changes this country needs.
+2 # mtnview 2011-05-20 11:56
Wrong. While you were being a good democratic liberal, your party and your vote was bought and paid for by some corporate lobbyist. True progressives understand that while a candidate such as Obama talks the talk, he does not walk the walk. Countless examples of this: beginning with the appointments of Bernake and Geithner. Now we have 3 wars, not two, and oh, the health care reform we want became a major profit maker for insurance companies while penalizing Americans who can not afford health coverage. WAKE UP. You have been screwed! AGAIN! The Democratic Leadership will only understand and support the issues of working class Americans if we take our votes elsewhere. VOTE GREEN or Socialist, or whatever, but do vote.
All hail the New Boss, same as the Old Boss....we won't get fooled again.
+13 # RSJ 2011-05-20 16:34
@ mtnview: Vote Green, or socialist, or 'whatever' and get Republican. The 'New Boss' will be someone not like the 'Old Boss' -- he'll be like Scott Walker and you can kiss what's left of this country goodbye. You're either completely deluded or a sock puppet.
+5 # Dave W. 2011-05-21 11:27
RSJ, You state in reference to mtnview's comments "you're either completely deluded or a sock puppet." I've been on these posts a long time as well as mtnview and I can ASSURE you this person is neither deluded or the cutesy titled "sock puppet."
In point of fact, it's YOU that sound like individuals the article refers to. Did you respond to ANY of mtnview's examples of why some of us might have problems with Obama and Democrats? To answer: you did NOT.Instead you simply attacked much as described in the article.The author of this piece states,
"if someone is a little "too enraged" at Obama and the Democrats be suspicious, especially if they never talk about Republicans." Republicans as they stand today are political vermin.I've said it many times and so has mtnview.But Democrats HAVE continually shifted right for the last 30+ years.There is NO ambiguity about that. Please define what EXACTLY "too enraged" constitutes. We ARE engaged in 3 wars. Obama HAS suggested cutting nutritional subsidies to low income children and govt. assistance to low income seniors to pay winter heating bills.He HAS agreed to two more years of f*****g obscene tax breaks for the wealthiest Americans.Not ONE Wall ST. thief is in jail. Bradley Manning WAS tortured for 10 months. Guantanamo is STILL open.No CIVILIAN trials as promised.He IS advocating deep water drilling after Gulf spill.cont.
+15 # RSJ 2011-05-22 09:19
@ Dave W: Okay, let me break down your complaints about Obama and the Dems:

1. We are not in 3 wars. We are in one full-blown war in Af-Pak; we are winding down in Iraq; and our participation in the Libyan revolution is limited and part of a UN approved mission to stop a dictator from slaughtering his own people. As to the last, would you have preferred we stay out of it and watch thousands of Libyans massacred? What would you say of Obama then?

2. Obama 'suggested' something -- he didn't act on it.

3. He agreed to 2 more years of tax breaks for the rich in return for an end to DADT and extending unemployment benefits for millions of Americans.

4. Did you know the president can't prosecute anyone? It's true. Such prosecutions are made by the Justice Dept. which is, and should be, independent of the White House. On that point, Dems in Congress just provided new evidence to the JD.

5. You'll get no argument from me on the Manning imprisonment. That was wrong. Under a Republican president he might be dead or waterboarded.

6. Gitmo is still open until Congress acts to close it.

7. There have been civilian trials of terrorist suspects. Google it for yourself.

8. I have not heard Obama advocate for more deep-water drilling. Where did you get that idea?
+5 # Dave W. 2011-05-21 11:30
Blind nationalism is wrong no matter which side of the political spectrum you come from. This is exactly what you are advocating. We have serious questions about Obama and the democrats. He/they have not lived up to their campaign promises. The continual shift to the right gives us essentially one and a half parties. I've been a democrat since 1974 and I'm tired of not getting what I voted for. It's time you start paying attention.
+11 # RSJ 2011-05-22 09:33
@ Dave W.: You have not gotten a thing that you voted for? Terrible. Look, it's very simple: all of the anti-Dem carping caused independents and progressives to stay home in 2012 and you got Wisconsin, Ohio, and Michigan, et al. If the people who voted for Obama in 2008 had shown up at the polls in 2010, there would be no Scott Walker, no John Kasich and no 'screw democracy' Rick Snyder.

I think it's time you started paying attention and connecting the dots: what's happening in the Rust Belt states is a preview of the GOP plan for America if they win in 2012, and I'm pretty sure you are not going to get what you want from the Republican Fourth Reich. Or maybe you will.
-5 # rf 2011-05-22 06:32
Ain't a whole lot left of this country that I want to keep right now!
+10 # Regina 2011-05-21 00:17
No! Voting Green or other minor entry will only get us more Republican overlords. If you are so naive as to cut off your appendages to spite the face of the opposition, we will be crippled and they will be further entrenched.
+2 # rf 2011-05-22 06:35
This is the old argument. Each time we get Democrats that are farther and farther to the right...when do you hold them accountable? Never? Why would they ever stop going right???
-2 # Vegan_Girl 2011-05-22 08:37
Not if we ALL vote green. Actually, we need a coalition, a People's Party of all labor, progressives, environmentalis ts, and socialists. That is pretty much everyone except for millionaires... .
+5 # jbeezz 2011-05-30 12:26
If you vote green or socialist you split the vote for Obama and the Republicans win. This is exactly what the author is talking about.
-3 # Lestrad 2011-05-16 13:15
I agree that that's the problem with this article, and I say that as someone who has been doing battle with a number of shills for some time. Many former Democrat voters have awakened to the fact that the party has been taken over by a corporatist/mil itarist junta, and we feel that it is as important to denounce that as it is to prevent Republicans being elected. "Whispering in his ear"? Obama was bought and paid for long ago. "Nudge"? What he needs is a mass movement of decent working people to take to the streets and start putting their weight behind bringing the juggernaut to a halt. And he needs to learn that while the American people may be naive, we're not stupid.
+29 # RSJ 2011-05-16 18:52
Of course the Blue Dogs are owned, but if Obama is bought and paid for, then why are the Koch brothers, et al, spending hundreds of millions to defeat his programs and Democratic candidates? It's a waste of money if they already own Obama and the party. If they simply wanted to pay for a 'kabuki show' to convince the rubes there is a real difference between the GOP and Dems, they could pull it off much more cheaply.

A mass movement of working people has taken to the streets in Wisconsin, Ohio, Michigan and elsewhere and I'd be willing to bet Obama is paying close attention to those protests and will act accordingly, if for no other reason than his political survival.
-3 # KittatinyHawk 2011-05-20 18:43
Really? Half the Unions and Internationals aren't coming to the Marches!

What we need is more States like Pa to allow third parties in. Sorry but democrat even split their own party with a Dems for change..where is the change being bush like? That is scary. If OBama is so great than why am I so angry that he and the so called righteous Democrats not clean out Washington when they went marching in?

I believe in Hope for America but not in either Party we have now
+17 # RSJ 2011-05-21 05:52
@ Kittatiny Hawk: The progressive Dems never had the numbers in the Senate to 'clean out' Washington. The were about ten Blue Dogs and Joe Lieberman who blocked, or would block, every progressive bill forcing a compromise to get anything passed, such as killing the public option. (And Harry Reid's no prize either.)

There are just enough progressive Dems to keep the GOP from going 'full Michigan' and Obama, of course, controls the veto pen. A Republican president and a half-dozen more Republicans in the Senate and the entire country will be like Wisconsin, and that's no exaggeration. All of that crap the GOP has been passing out of the House will be rubber-stamped by the Senate and it's all over but the shouting. There won't be any room for a third party or even progressive Dems, although they'll keep a few around to make things look good.

The GOP knows their corprocracy dream is coming apart at the seams and that's why they are cracking down in the Rust Belt states -- those are test labs for launching the whole scheme nationwide and they know this election is likely their last chance.
-4 # Lydia Leftcoast 2011-05-26 17:23
Yes, the Blue Dogs effectively neutered any attempts at progressive legislation, but that's where LEADERSHIP should have come in.

Obama spent all his energies strong-arming people like Kucinich and Sanders to support his corporate welfare "health care" bill instead of strong-arming the Blue Dogs to accept a public option.

LBJ managed to get a Civil Rights Bill passed that alienated half the country, but it was still the right thing to do.

That's what real leaders do. They lead through persuasion and bargaining instead of following the path of least resistance or defeating themselves with unnecessary compromises.
+13 # RSJ 2011-05-27 04:43
@ Lydia: There were a lot more Blue Dogs than there were progressives against the health care bill in the Senate; in fact, there were about 12 BD's plus Lieberman and Obama needed every vote to counteract the 40 GOP 'no' votes. Down the road, now that HC reform has been passed, a public option can be added later and other improvements made by a simple 51-49 majority. As it is, requiring health insurers to stop kicking people off for 'pre-existing conditions' and increasing benefits to children helps millions of people. Also, the co-op's will start in 2016 (I know, why did we have to wait?) and that will make health care cheaper. Since you mentioned LBJ, the initial Medicare bill was far short of the Medicare and Medicaid programs we have today. It was amended and improved over the years.

LBJ got the Civil Rights bill passed in a different era when there were actual liberal and moderate Republicans, such as Margaret Chase Smith, who voted for civil rights bills. There was no Fox News or Limbaugh in those days, and what if Obama tried twisting arms as LBJ did and the Blue Dogs left the party and became Republicans? Then the GOP would have even larger numbers in the Senate. Obama faced a solid wall of GOP opposition, and the Blue Dog Dems and Lieberman -- it's lucky he got anything passed at all.
+6 # jbeezz 2011-05-30 12:37
"and what if Obama tried twisting arms as LBJ did and the Blue Dogs left the party and became Republicans?"

The Blue Dogs ARE Republicans. I live in Florida and the BD's used to be called Dixiecrats. They SHOULD leave and join the Republican party but they know that they couldn't get elected in Democratic areas.
+5 # RSJ 2011-05-31 04:41
@ jbeezz: The Blue Dogs are, in many respects, basically Republicans, but if they are identified as Dems that means the Dems can get majorities in the House and Senate. This is important since chairmanships of committees and what comes to the floor for a vote is controlled by what party is in the majority. For example, if all of the Blue Dogs flipped to Republican in the Senate, Paul Ryan's Medicare-killin g budget would likely have passed and all of the idiotic Tea Party nonsense would be dominating the Senate agenda.
+17 # Denise 2011-05-15 18:52
I blog at the nation, and there are a whole lot of teapubs that fit your description. Now I can go at them while being well informed. Thanks, I knew something was up, I may have actually confronted a few of them, but they always deny it. Very interesting, very interesting indeed. HA!
+4 # Moby 2011-05-16 09:31
Moby did it first.
+7 # RSJ 2011-05-16 18:37
Uh, I think NetVocates and some other GOP groups beat Moby to it. Besides, as I mentioned, right-wing sites ban you for such comments and remove them; most progressive sites don't.
+1 # corey 2011-05-16 14:22
are we sure they arent just blue dogs being themselves?
+12 # RSJ 2011-05-16 18:42
I've seen a few reveal themselves, or partially reveal themselves, in a long comment thread if challenged often enough, but that's rare. Usually, and this is another 'tell,' they'll angrily dismiss the poster challenging them by writing "Get lost!" or "Drop dead!" instead of responding.
+11 # jacobrodel 2011-05-17 00:48
I had a recent experience on twitter where someone who claimed to be a libertarian started following me. I did not return the follow for awhile. Finally I did and engaged her in some debate. Things got a little sarcastic at times, but not too serious. She has about 18000 followers. I found out what she was doing was taking only certain tweets from the debate, editing some of my tweets, in order to make me look bad.
She would then broadcast this to her 18000 followers. She also has sites on the internet. I found my name in big letters on one of them, but I had blocked her by then, so there was no content. Could this be what you are talking about?
+9 # RSJ 2011-05-17 17:00
@jacobrodel: That's a variation on a theme, and, by now, it's pretty standard for a right-wing Republican (I can't believe a real Libertarian would stoop that low) to edit comments to fit their prejudices. Look at Breitbart and O'Keefe.

What I was talking about were comment threads such as this one, where someone pretends to be a liberal Democrat/progre ssive who is now so disenchanted with Obama and the Dems they're telling people to vote for either the GOP or a third party or sit out in protest. Since there are honest progressives who feel this way, I was trying to provide some of the 'tells' of the right-wing trolls who are paid (or, in some cases, volunteer) to insidiously pretend to be progressives to undermine support for the Dems, rather than legitimate progressive posters.
+2 # KittatinyHawk 2011-05-20 18:52
I have the right to be disillusioned as I get over a hundred petitions and newlsetters on programs the Democrats when they feel like looking good to the animal rights or Parks and Forests will back them, or perhaps they are in the mood to help some other 'in' cause. But Democrats didnot clean up Washington. they sound more and more like Republicans everyday so although I would never tell anyone to sit at home, vote Repug I would like to see a stronger party start coming up the Ranks that is actually for the people not themselves at our cost.
Libertarians were Social Elite who wanted to show people they could be kewl...however, they flip flop on too many issues esp towards the rich whose parties they like to drink at. I have had to put up with them for 25 years flip flopping on Environment some ripping off Bethlehem Steel.
Greens, Independents have a right to run for office but in some States esp Pa, they need to get hundred times the signatures on petitons as the socialist two.
+7 # KittatinyHawk 2011-05-20 18:47
Wow that is scary. But Libertarians can be scary, they pretend to be so Now, and yet they are just wanna be's, at least ones I have met for past 15 years.

These creeps do a lot of the cut/splice because they cannot follow up on intelligence. Glad you were able to block
+8 # Motivated in Ohio 2011-05-18 15:12
This is a very good article. I linked to it from my blog. I have noticed that the trolls seem to be out in force since the President had Bin Laden Killed.
-19 # Bud 2011-05-18 17:01
The author doesn't provide any actual evidence that right wingers are posing as leftists. Methinks this is just another defense mechanism against the reality that President Obama is more or less pursuing President Cheney's agenda. I mean, is Cornel West a sock puppet? What about Glenn Greenwald? You quote Paul Krugman at the end, but he has been critical of the president. Is he a sock puppet too?
+16 # RSJ 2011-05-18 18:29
I guess I shouldn't believe my lyin' eyes, as I have seen these sorts of comments on various progressive websites since at least 2004, and most people who post to or moderate such sites are well aware of the problem. For what I think should be obvious reasons, the right-wing groups that do this don't send out press releases alerting the world to their perfidy. The closest you'll get is the Advantage Consultants 'blog warrior' ad offering to attack the political opposition of their clients. However, as I posted in this comment thread, there have been some rare cases where one of these fraudulent posters has revealed their ideological bent -- such as the one who admitted they were anti-choice and 'not really that progressive' after pretending to be a former 'very liberal' Obama supporter.

Many legimitate reporters didn't believe the evidence in 2000 that Bush campaign officials rigged the Florida vote and, in a fair statewide recount, Gore would have won FL; by the time that 'proof' materialized, 9/11 had happened and the story was buried in the back pages.

Of course, you're free to wait until whatever evidence you require materializes, perhaps while President Mitch Daniels does to the country what Scott Walker is doing to Wisconsin.

Some of us would like to be a little more 'pro-active' to prevent that disaster.
0 # Bud 2011-05-18 18:43
That's a dangerous approach. We went to war in Iraq without evidence. The entire birther movement exists without evidence. You might as well say the president's detractors are from Jupiter.

Better yet, you can acknowledge that the president's critics have valid points. One needn't be a sock puppet to acknowledge, say, that the president broke his pledge to stop raiding medical marijuana dispensaries, or to acknowledge that he has continued or even expanded the Bush administration' s warrantless wiretapping program, or that the Obama administration is far harder on whistle-blowers than any previous administration despite the fact that during the campaign he called whistle-blowers "often the best source of information about waste, fraud, and abuse in government." After all, there's actual observable evidence to support those things.

Go with the evidence, not convenient conspiracy theories. Otherwise, you're the Left's version of the birthers.
+18 # RSJ 2011-05-19 07:46
Bud, this is not about factual criticism of Obama or his record, or the record of the Dems. That's fine. This is about disrupting a comment thread with accusations supposedly from 'the left' and the accumulated psychological impact of seeing a page full of slams -- usually without factual basis, or only slim connection to reality -- against Obama and the Dems. As I said in my piece, the right-wingers know well the psychological impact this has on some voters -- for instance, it can cause them to stay home because 'both parties are the same.' Of course, we can see from the recent examples of the Rust Belt states that both parties are NOT the same.

This is not some 'conspiracy theory' without basis in reality as is the birther nonsense. As you can see just from the comments on this page, others have encountered this situation as well.

And, seriously, do you think members of the party that contributed money to Ralph Nader in 2004 to split the Dem vote (you can Google that), and employ Frank Luntz to find comforting words to describe destroying the environment and deporting American jobs would draw a line at placing phony liberal posters on progressive websites?

If so, you're being naive.
-11 # Bud 2011-05-19 08:33
"As you can see just from the comments on this page, others have encountered this situation as well."

Again, there's no evidence that they've encountered it, just suspicion. As I said, it's a defense mechanism against the reality of the Democrats' rightward trajectory. Rahm Emanuel really said "Fuck the UAW." He really did call liberals "retarded." There's actual evidence for that. Focus on the evidence, not on baseless suspicion.

Are PR firms employing faux liberals to hijack comment threads? Probably. If you can think of it, someone has tried it. But it doesn't have the effect you think it does. If progressives are so easily swayed by comments at a blog post, then they deserve to lose anyway.

The real culprit behind the mid-term trouncing is Gibbs and Emanuel. Who insults their base right before an election? If you like conspiracy theories, which this article demonstrates, here's a much more likely one for you: Gibbs and Emanuel WANTED the Republicans to win the mid-terms so that the bankster agenda they serve would be advanced. The Obama administration works for Wall Street. Look who's in all the key positions. Chief of staff Bill Daley: JP Morgan Chase; Tim Geithner: Goldman Sachs; Penny Pritzker: TransUnion; Gene Sperling: Goldman Sachs; Larry Summers: All around piece of shit; etc.
+12 # Donald Kehoty 2011-05-19 16:07
So who will you be voting for, Bud?
+14 # RSJ 2011-05-19 16:29
The evidence is that I have seen comment threads, and it's admittedly rare, where the fake progressive owns up to really being a conservative. That's not a suspicion. Advantage Consultants group, and NetVocates, were/are actual organizations trying to 'flood the zone' with 'blog warriors' on behalf of their clients and their clients were right-wing Republicans and conservative corporations. That's also not a suspicion, that's a fact.

I'm no fan of Rahm Emanuel or Robert Gibbs, but Emanuel is now making the lives of Chicagoans miserable and Gibbs does not have the national media attention he once had. (Aside from that, Gibbs is now chomping at the bit to go to work for Facebook and become a millionaire.)

Obama is not, and never was -- listen to his speeches in 2007 and 2008 -- the perfect progressive candidate, but he was the best we had that could win. (Do you doubt McCain/Palin would have been a disaster?) And he has accomplished some good things, aside from finally breaking the color barrier of the presidency, such as getting rid of DADT and the Huddie Ledbetter act codifying equal treatment for women, despite the rhetoric to the contrary. (If you'd like me to list more, I will, but for the sake of brevity, I'm leaving them out for now.)

I'm not defending Obama's choices for his cabinet and advisors, but Tim Geithner definitely beats McCain's choice of Phil Gramm for Treasury Sec'y and Biden is Tom Paine compared to Sarah Mooselini. You might add, BTW, that Obama named Elizabeth Warren as one of his advisors and wants her to head up the CFPB; he put Elena Kagan and Sonia Sotomayor on the Supreme Court; and he has center-left economists Austan Goolsbee and Jared Bernstein on his staff. (Bernstein recently left.)

And, as we've seen in the Rust Belt states, Obama, for all of his faults, is no Scott Walker, John Kasich or Rick Snyder.

As ChasR commented earlier in this thread, we have to defeat the pernicious GOP first and take care of Dems like Gibbs and Emanuel and the Blue Dogs later.

I can think of no third party challenger who can realistically defeat the Republicans, so that leaves Obama and the Dems. Better half a loaf than nothing and -- trust me -- we'd get nothing under the Republicans. Or worse than nothing.
0 # Bud 2011-05-19 16:45
Huddie Ledbetter was a blues musician better known as Leadbelly. I think you mean the Lilly Ledbetter Act. And DADT hasn't been repealed yet. The repeal doesn't go into effect until 60 days after the president, vice president and secretary of defense certify the repeal, which they haven't done yet.

Yes, Grandpa McCain and Caribou Barbie would've been embarrassingly bad. But that doesn't change the fact that Obama has reversed himself on a bunch of campaign positions. If you order a beer and get a diet coke, you have a right to complain. We voted for a center-left candidate, which for many progressives was compromise enough after eight years of George W. Douche. But instead of a center-left president, we have a center-right president who's continuing or expanding most of Bush's worst policies. What's this domestic drilling shit? Isn't that "drill, baby, drill," Palin's policy? What about indefinite detention? That's straight out of the Dick Cheney playbook. Progressives should be complaining about that instead of spinning yarns about sock puppets.
+12 # RSJ 2011-05-20 05:45
ha, ha -- I stand corrected -- I'm a blues fan so when I see 'Ledbetter' I think Huddie.

As far as the rest of it, Obama isn't done yet and two years isn't long enough to reverse eight years of Junior, let alone the 30-year slide into conservatism we've experienced. I'll reserve judgment until the end of his presidency. Aside from that, the fact is either a Republican or Democrat is going to be elected president in 2012. If you've read my other comments, I don't think we have much choice this time around -- Romney, Daniels, Pawlenty, Gingrich (!), Bachmann (!!) -- do you seriously think any of them would be better than Obama?
+5 # True Progressive 2011-05-21 00:08
"Tim Geithner definitely beats McCain's choice of Phil Gramm for Treasury Sec'y and Biden is Tom Paine compared to Sarah Mooselini."

While you may be true that any warm body was better than Caribou Barbie, saying that Geithner beats Gramm is no different than saying that Willie Sutton, the famed bank robber, beats Al Capone. Both Geithner and Gramm are crooks and had a large role in causing the financial meltdown. Given the several progressive economists available to Obama, i.e., Krugman or Stiglitz, the appointment of Geithner, a neoliberal in Obama's mold, to deal with that mess was like fighting a national crime wave by appointing Al Capone FBI director.
+3 # Donald Kehoty 2011-05-21 14:24
"True Progressive" -- Let's say you were handed control of The Mob, La Cosa Nostra. Whom would you hire to help you run it? I"m just askin'.
+8 # RSJ 2011-05-21 16:09
@ True Progressive: As to your analogy, I'd rather have Willie Sutton than Al Capone. Sutton was a bank robber who didn't kill people; Capone did.

Obama has also been advised on the economy by the slightly left-of-center Austan Goolsbee, more left-of-center Jared Bernstein, and progressive Elizabeth Warren. I agree that Krugman, Stiglitz or Dean Baker would be a better choice but, don't forget, he doesn't necessarily take the advice of his cabinet members. I knew about Obama before he was a national celebrity since I live in his state and have met him on a couple of occasions. He was, and is, a 'pragmatic progressive' -- he doesn't bother to propose bills -- such as Universal Single-Payer health care -- that he knows won't be passed. In Illinois he got two bills passed that the pundits said would never get through the statehouse: one eradicated the 'gifts' state officials received, and the other mandated videotaping all interrogations of suspects charged with a capital crime to prove whether the accused was tortured into a confession. He also has a history of lulling the opposition into thinking he agrees with them or that he's soft, and then entrapping them by their own actions or words. And, yes, he does believe in compromise to get things done. Do you seriously have a better plan?
+6 # Donald Kehoty 2011-05-19 16:17
RSJ: Bud's not being naive, he's one of the paid posters of whom we speak. He regards your article as a challenge. The fact that he can write a coherent post, having been supplied with all the Obama-bashing talking points, proves that he is not stupid. No intelligent person could possibly be so politically clueless as to believe that criticizing Obama in the Comments section of progressive web sites will do anything but help to weaken the enthusiasm of the Democratic base and put a Republican in office.
True, there are some Obama-trashing posters who actually think they are "holding his feet to the fire" here, but they are just stupid, and Bud's not that stupid. Is he.
+6 # RSJ 2011-05-20 18:04
@ Donald Kehoty: You may have a point about Bud; it seems he's awfully eager to attack and smear Dems while not writing a word about the GOP, a 'tell' I mentioned, and he continues promoting the view that the idea of right-wingers posing as progressives is somehow a ludicrous conspiracy theory, despite the evidence that he claims doesn't exist. Perhaps Bud is ensconced in one of the rightie think-tanks, having a nice arrogant chuckle posting his supposedly-left comments here. OTOH, he might be sincere. Either way, Bud's case doesn't hold water -- telling people that what they have experienced isn't true is a poor method of convincing them of your viewpoint, although it does work with some Republicans.

I think it's also interesting that Bud hasn't responded to any of your comments yet.
0 # True Progressive 2011-05-20 23:56

I'm not a "paid poster," I am truly a progressive. Bud's neither stupid nor naive. He's right on about Obama. In my mind, we're getting Dubya's third term. Get it, Obama is taking this country off a cliff, but because of his empty pretty words, millions (like you, probably) feel tranquilized into believing that that is not what is happening. A punk like Scott Walker, on the other hand, makes that very clear, so clear that thousands of Wisconsin butts lifted themselves off the couch and into the streets. Just think what Walker could do for the whole country. And again, I don't "support" Walker or the Rethugs. It's just that they do a much better job than President Kumbaya of arosing the vast apothetic body that is the American people, especially after Kumbaya sold out the millions who voted for him in '08. Clearly, Obama's empty "leadership" isn't, as they say, sustainable. A social movement even bigger than the 60's has got to happen real soon or this country is doomed to facism. That's not going to happen so long as Mr. Gladhander is at the helm.
-2 # Bud 2011-05-18 18:54
Here's evidence of a real sock puppet, and his name is Robert Gibbs:

"On November 7, 2003, a strange new group no one had ever heard of called "Americans for Jobs & Healthcare" was quietly formed and soon thereafter began running a million dollar operation including political ads against then-frontrunne r Democratic presidential candidate Howard Dean. The commercials ripped Dean over his positions or past record on gun rights, trade and Medicare growth. But the most inflammatory ad used the visual image of Osama bin Laden as a way to raise questions about Dean's foreign policy credibility. While the spots ran, Americans for Jobs�through its then-spokesman, Robert Gibbs, a former Kerry campaign employee�refuse d to disclose its donors."
+10 # RSJ 2011-05-19 07:58
Okay, Bud, Gibbs doesn't work for Obama anymore and he didn't head this group. The criticism from the Center for Public Integrity seems to be only that the group didn't disclose its donors, not that they were spreading false information or pretending to be conservative when they weren't, so I find the comparison invalid, unless this was just a swap at Obama-by-proxy using Gibbs' name.

BTW, Bud, do you consider yourself a true progressive?
0 # Bud 2011-05-19 08:15
The point of the article is that the fake progressive, Gibbs, undermined the campaign of the real progressive, Dean. And he didn't do it by challenging him out in the open, he did it by forming a phoney baloney PAC and insinuating that a Dean presidency would lead to more terrorist attacks. It was a childish, gutless approach, and Gibbs' reward was a prominent position in the Obama administration. And Gibbs DOES work for Obama still. He's part of the president's re-election team. So look for more such dirty tricks in the coming months.

And to answer your silly question, yes, I consider myself a true progressive. I worked for Greenpeace for three years. I campaigned for California's Big Green ballot initiative back in 1990 and similar initiatives in Oregon. What have you done?
+15 # Donald Kehoty 2011-05-19 16:04
Bud: I'll gladly give you my progressive creds. I worked for George McGovern and every Democratic presidential candidate since. I was teargassed in a demonstration following Kent State. I beat the pavement in South Central L.A. for Dukakis and also for Bill Clinton. I organized voter registration efforts that turned our county blue (more registered Dems than Repubs) for the first time in 30 years. And I can tell you this without equivocation: criticizing Obama in the Comments sections of progressive blogs does nothing whatsoever but help to sap the enthusiasm of the Democratic voter and volunteer base, period. I don't like everything Obama has or has not done, but when I don't, I write him a letter! Obama does not read the Comments sections of progressive web sites! Criticizing him here is not "holding his feet to the fire." It's only helping to elect a Republican. I know this. Karl Rove knows this to the bottom his black soul.
+12 # Donald Kehoty 2011-05-19 16:05
Bud: Part 2 of my reply:
So the reason I suspect so many comments posters to be trolls posing as progressives is that if they are literate enough write a coherent post, they can't possibly be so stupid as to make absurd comments like, "Obama's no better than Bush." No one can be that politically clueless, so they simply have to be trolls. And, as it turns out, they usually are. Thank you RSJ, for this excellent article bringing to light this serious issue. There has to be a solution. I don't know if it is to require posters to reveal their valid email addresses or what, but it has gotten completely out of hand. Karl knows that the Internet is one of the left's greatest tools, for organizing and fundraising and communication. And he knows that an effective warrior neutralizes his opponent's strengths. And that's just what these ratf_cking sock puppets are out to do.
+20 # Jonathan Freed 2011-05-20 10:20
Correction, Karl Rove does not have a black soul. Karl Rove has no soul.
+5 # stannadel 2011-05-21 03:12
"Obama is no better than Bush" is an absurd comment. "On many issues the Obama administration has been no better than Bush's, and on some even worse" is not absurd, it is reality. I'll probably vote for Obama again, but only because the Republicans are even worse.
+11 # RSJ 2011-05-19 17:10
I haven't read that Gibbs formed the group, he was just the mouthpiece, and I'm not defending Gibbs' role in that attack group or the group itself, but that isn't what defeated Howard Dean -- it was the 'Scream' constantly replayed every time Dean's name was mentioned by the radio-TV media. (CNN even apologized for running that clip over 700 times in less than two weeks -- after the damage was done, of course, and Dean was safely out of contention.) Barely noted by the MSM -- except, oddly enough, by a CNN reporter at the scene -- was the fact that Dean was trying to shout over a very noisy crowd into a directional microphone that filtered out crowd noise, making him sound crazy. Those at the rally didn't think it sounded crazy at all; they could barely hear him. But if it hadn't been that, it would have been something else -- the corporate media would not let a Dean candidacy survive.

I don't think it was a silly question to ask your political leanings and good for you for your activism, but, to answer your question, what I have done is march against the draft, racism and the Vietnam War in the '60s and was chased by cops who wanted to beat my head in and eventually busted for availing myself of my right to protest. I also worked for awhile in the alternative or 'underground' press in the same time frame. Although I'll never regret what I did in that era, I have come to the conclusion, based on the history that has come out since, that we would have been better off with Humphrey than Nixon; that the McGovern folks were naive to not expect the vicious, underhanded attacks from Nixon's GOP and the media; that we would have been better off with Carter than Reagan; and that -- and it pains me to say this since I supported Nader in 2000 -- we would have been much better off with Gore than Little Bush. Similarly, I'm supporting Obama and the Dems because we'll be better off, if not perfect, under his government than the Koch corporate fascism of the Republicans, as displayed in Wisconsin, et al. I would like to vote for a real progressive in 2012, but there isn't one out there who has a chance of winning -- those are just the facts, whether we like them or not.
+1 # Bud 2011-05-19 17:21
It's interesting that you bring up McGovern because he was undermined from within his own party the same way Dean was. He was the last true progressive who actually had a shot at the presidency. As far as Humphrey goes, Hunter Thompson was right when he wrote, "There is no way to grasp what a shallow, contemptible and hopelessly dishonest old hack Hubert Humphrey is until you've followed him around for a while."

But thanks for bringing up that era. It reminds me of another famous quotation, this one from Paul Harvey: "In times like these, it is helpful to remember that there have always been times like these."
+12 # RSJ 2011-05-20 06:07
McGovern was done in by the Big City Dem bosses like Daley who were bounced from their positions of importance within the party. In Chicago, Daley precinct workers were telling their voters to split the ticket and vote for Dems except for the presidential race -- there they said vote for Nixon. This process was repeated in every Dem big city in the nation.

I talked to a few McGovern people at the time -- they were totally unprepared for Nixon's dirty tricks.

As to Humphrey, Hunter may have been right, but HHH as Sen and VP had been instrumental in passing civil rights legislation and had brokered a deal to end the Vietnam War in 1968 which Nixon illegally undermined by sending Kissinger to tell the North Vietnamese he'd give them a better deal. I trust you've read about nixon -- if you think HHH was bad have you've read Hunter's opinion of Nixon? HHH was a piker compared to RMN. Some quotes from HST:

"For years I've regarded his existence as a monument to all the rancid genes and broken chromosomes that corrupt the possibilities of the American Dream; he was a foul caricature of himself, a man with no soul, no inner convictions, with the integrity of a hyena and the style of a poison toad."
+8 # Regina 2011-05-21 00:39
The best bumper display I ever saw dates back to '68. It was a pair of NIXON signs with one split so that the display read, 'NIX ON NIXON." As for Nixon's dirty tricks, that was the era when the Gruesome Old Party developed the slash-and-burn strategy that has infested American politics ever since.
+12 # RSJ 2011-05-20 06:11
Some further quotes on Nixon from Hunter Thompson:

"He was a swine of a man and a jabbering dupe of a president. Nixon was so crooked that he needed servants to help him screw his pants on every morning."

"...and all the dumb bastard can show us, after five years of total freedom to do anything he wants with all this power, is a shattered national economy, disastrous defeat in a war we could have ended four years ago on far better terms than he finally came around to, and a hand-picked personal staff put together through five years of screening, whose collective criminal record will blow the minds of high-school American History students for the next 100 years."

Nope, Humphrey was no Nixon -- not even close.
0 # Bud 2011-05-20 12:55
Well, what it comes down to, I guess, is that I regard betrayal as a more insidious crime than straight up hostility. Your anecdote about Daley demonstrates my point that McGovern was undermined from within his own party. But Daley wasn't the only one. It was also Scoop Jackson and Ed Muskie and others. Your recommendation is to defeat the Republicans first. My recommendation is to purge the Republicans from the Democratic Party, or for true progressives to abandon the Democratic Party en masse. Speaking of which, I see that the AFL-CIO is finally waking up after years of betrayals and withholding support from the Dems. It's about time.
+9 # RSJ 2011-05-20 17:08
@ Bud: And just how do you realistically purge all the Blue Dogs from the Dems by next election? Yes, defeat the GOP first, as they are much more dangerous, and then take on the Blue Dogs. If you abandon the Dems en masse in 2012, the GOP will win and you may not have a chance to purge the Blue Dogs down the road. That's the situation progressives face next year.
+7 # cydfan 2011-05-22 09:09
Donald, I just HAD to write. Your credentials so mirrored my own that I was touched. I remembered working for McG in '71 and instead of Kent State how about protesting in a march with Hanoi Jane? Bill Clinton was a must. My thing was, when I did start out in 1971, I stuffed envelopes with my parents as a kid of 10. Yeah, just turned 50 3 days ago. However, one thing I also noticed, this "Bud" guy is he still hasn't answered any fundamental question nor has he made an anti-repub remark(not really). He has also not said anything truly revealing about an affiliation.
+5 # RSJ 2011-05-22 09:50
@ cydfan: That's how the game is played. Reveal as little as possible about yourself or go online and adopt some real progressive's bio as your own, just making a few changes. What's even weirder is the story I heard about a guy who was pretending to be a progressive to ingratiate himself with anti-Bush, anti-Iraq War groups. He did have some solid progressive credentials: worked for various liberal organizations, including Vets Against the War and True Majority. His record was real -- the only thing he neglected to mention is that he was a paid informant for the opposition.
+12 # Chuck Kaufman 2011-05-18 19:16
I have been calling these poseurs out for more than two years on several sites. They come in the idealog and corporate variety. The idealogs are completely obsessive and not very creative. The corporate types have lots of copy and paste material ready and try and sound very informed and ultimately just want to wear you down with volume.
-10 # KRConnally 2011-05-18 19:41
I was able to work through my conservative views and re-validate them, but first I needed to change the channel. And not to CNN.
+8 # RSJ 2011-05-21 05:26
Hope you're enjoying MSNBC, KRConnally. ;)
+12 # Donald Kehoty 2011-05-19 17:23
So the upshot of all this, what these ratf_cking sock puppets have succeeded in doing, is to lure so many of us into actually having the conversation regarding whether Obama is different than Bush. This is akin to having to argue that the earth is not flat. "Is the best president in our lifetime any better than the worst in history?" This is what Karl set out to do here. But if he succeeds in preventing one Democrat from making a donation, or volunteering, or finding the time to stand in line to vote, then Karl and his minions have done their jobs. And we'll have Jeb Bush in the White House in 2013. How do you think Jeb and Karl will handle the Supreme Court and Iraq and Afghanistan and GITMO and the Fed and Health Care Reform and transparency? Probably won't be a progressive's dream administration is my guess.
So I suggest we all get up from our computers and hie ourselves down to the local Democratic headquarters and help make the party as progressive as we want it to be.
+9 # Lindstr7 2011-05-20 00:58
I have seen many trolls of late who will pose as a liberal commenting on how disappointed they are with Obama's performance, (I voted for Obama but not in 2012, no way!) on issues such as our involvement in Libya, and supporting three wars, or not creating jobs, etc., but when reading through their "comments" page, they will let slip some of their true beliefs and inevitably reveal themselves as a right wing conservative. This tactic seems particularly effective as its hard to tell them from the true liberals who might be generally for Obama but disappointed in his more centrist policy decisions.
+19 # Val Leventhal 2011-05-20 09:07
Although I'm reluctant to begin my comment with this statement because so many of the trolls do, right before they attack Obama, I am a true progressive, and have been my entire life (which includes the 60s). I am also not happy with some of what Obama has not done yet (closing Gitmo, restoring Posse Cometatus (sp?), ending the wars), but I am ALSO thrilled with the man himself and all that he has actually achieved (more than any other president in history in the first year of his presidency). What all progressives (including Cornell West, whom I admire and enjoy, but who has a few personal axes grinding in this discussion) need to remember is that change happens incrementally, not all at once, and that Obama is a president who is trying to achieve what we all want. Instead of "holding his feet to the fire," lets get on with helping him to accomplish what the nation needs: taking back our democratic process from the corporations, creating jobs by partnerships in the public/private sectors that are fair and transparent, balancing our economy to include everyone's needs, not just big money. It's a huge undertaking, and, as he said in the campaign, he needs all of us to participate. Let's help make him a better president, by grass roots, ground up action toward a more humane future for everyone. He needs us more than we need him, but he's the best man for the job right now.
+7 # Lindstr7 2011-05-20 12:21
I meant to hit thumbs UP not thumbs DOWN ....sorry! I agree with everything you just said 100% Nicely done.
-2 # davidhp 2011-05-20 13:00
This articles seems to want to discredit those of us really on the left who believe the democratic party has abandoned its moral compass and moved to the right. Two wars of occupation continuing, one additional war initiated, no movement on the workers issues like the Employee Free Choice Act, giving up the public option in health care and cutting health care reform in the process are things that I would expect from republicans not democrats. The party left me not the other way around, I believe centrist DLC'ers are almost as harmful to the country as republicans. You can try to discredit those of us left of center but we are not the ones promoting illegal wars in the middle east or selling out the working class every chance we get.
-5 # diacad 2011-05-20 14:48
I too am uneasy about this article and the apparent attempt by some in this discussion (including the author RSJ) to effectively stifle political thought or action left of Obama. One can agree that the Democratic Party is the lesser evil, and advocate generally voting for them on that basis, so long as there is no alternative. And we never will have an alternative so long as we do nothing towards building one. And refraining from criticism of what after all is just another predatory capitalist party and its policies, perpetuating war and protecting profit, is no way to start.
+11 # RSJ 2011-05-20 17:03
@ diacad: You said it yourself: the Dems are the lesser of two evils, and the other evil is the monumental, Fourth Reich of the far-right Republican Party which is trying to turn WI, OH and MI into feudalist fiefdoms for the Koch brothers and their ilk. We have received a warning from the Rust Belt states -- this is the true GOP plan for America.

You can either wake up or be like the leftists in Germany in the 1920s and argue ceaselessly among each other while the Nazis seize power. Tell me, did you expect Walker, Kasich or Snyder to do what they did in their states? That's what's in store for the country if the GOP wins -- it's that serious and it can happen here. (It IS happening here.) There are Blue Dogs Dems, but there is also Al Franken and Bernie Sanders, et al, in the Senate and a long list of progressive Dems in the House. The GOP is the wholly-owned predatory capitalist party; the Dems only halfway.

As far as building an alternative, that's great, but it's not going to happen by election day 2012. In the meantime, we have to deal with the reality of our situation: if the GOP wins in 2012, IMO, it's game over for progressives.
-3 # diacad 2011-05-21 08:29
I am awake, RSJ. But you are obviously having a nightmare.

The tea party may still be noisy, but it is waning, not waxing. Many people drawn to it out of frustration are themselves waking up.

If we continue to excuse the Obama administration on the threat of a Nazi putsch extrapolated from Walker, Kasich, and Snyder, we are liable to wind up with his renomination. And we will have to vote and campaign for his faux-liberal administration. Then it really is game over for progressives, since we will have added nothing to the process. Past is prologue; wars will continue, the gap between rich and poor (now the greatest in any industrialized country) will grow - both preexisting trends which accelerated under the current administration. That is a more credible extrapolation than the one giving you those nightmares.

Incidentally, Bernie Sanders is no Democrat. Rather, as an independent socialist, he personifies initial steps needed to build a true alternative. You are right, this will take more than a year and a half, but if we do not start now, then when? How much worse do things have to get to interrupt our nightmares? As Bernie Sander's Vermont progressives did next door, we are now trying to start organizing New Hampshire progressives:
+8 # Donald Kehoty 2011-05-21 14:11
diacad: What do you mean, "If we continue to excuse the Obama administration" ? Do you think that by criticizing Obama in the Comments sections of progressive web sites that you are "holding Obama's feet to the fire"? How so? Do you really think Obama reads these comments? The only thing that will be accomplished by Obama-bashing here is to perhaps dissuade a fellow progressive Dem from contributing or volunteering or standing in line two hours to vote. I don't like everything Obama has or hasn't done, but when I don't, I call the White House and/or send a letter! I would ask that every whining progressive purist do the same. Thank you.
Criticize Obama all you want, but if we end up with Jeb Bush in the White House in 2013, my guess is that there won't be much of a progressive agenda happening.

The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW
Washington, DC 20500
Please include your e-mail address

Phone Numbers
Comments: 202-456-1111
Switchboard: 202-456-1414
FAX: 202-456-2461
-5 # diacad 2011-05-21 17:14
No one here (not even RSJ) is in any position of "holding Obama's feet to the fire". I agree, Obama doesn't pay much attention to us. That is part of the problem. Sending letters to Obama is like praying, and may receive a form response, maybe some thin rationale or propaganda. It does poll discontent, but the administration is more interested in fulfilling commitments to major contributors, not responding to "whiners" (a description the powerful use for the powerless when they speak out). Minor contributors have no torque. For larger contributors, it is protection money.

However, Donald, you ARE continuing to excuse the Obama administration, and I hope the DLC is paying you well for it. Jobs are scarce. Meanwhile, the Democratic primary is still a distance ahead, so you can stop polishing that tarnished crown until then. It bores us; besides that, the rest of the world only coronates figureheads, not putative progressive leaders.

We just returned from Sweden, where private and corporate contributions to political parties are outlawed. The government funds any party with over 1% of the vote in proportion. Instead of "winner take all", they have a democratic parliamentary system. Plus 200 years without war and a much higher mass living standard. This came through struggle, not accommodation. We can do better here; we must.
+5 # RSJ 2011-05-22 10:04
@ diacad: Bernie Sanders is an independent who caucuses with the Dems so, for all intents and purposes, he's usually a Dem vote in the Senate.

As to a third party, we can start building an alternative party (and the Greens in some states are doing this) by getting more progressives elected on a local level and move from that to state and federal offices. As we've seen, without a firm foundation and money every run for the presidency is just an exercise in futility -- the Electoral College elects the president, and that is made up of Reps and Dems. In a few states, the electors have to vote the will of the majority, but not in enough to secure a third party victory. As a protest vote, frankly, no one cares much, except the GOP knows that every vote for a progressive third party is a vote that won't go to the Dems. It will take a decade, at least, to build any kind of real third party in this country, what with the laws making such challenges nearly impossible. In the meantime, it would be much easier to take over the Dems -- that, too, would take time, but you wouldn't be reinventing the wheel as you are with a third party. Either way, it's just not going to happen before election day 2012.
-1 # diacad 2011-05-22 14:52
RSJ, I have the same feeling about third party development. This is exactly the perspective of the Vermont Progressive Party that we are watching across the river here in New Hampshire, where we are just starting to think about it. As the late Steven Gould held for biological evolution, I believe in "punctuated equilibrium" in political evolution. We cannot always know where the punctuation ends the current sentence, but it will be when that sentence loses its historical relevance, perhaps with some coming big crisis. However, we should set groundwork now, and that means supporting local independent progressive political activity. You may be surprised that nationally, the Progressive Party beat the Republicans in 1912, and at present the Vermont Progressive Party has elected several State Reps and local officials, including the mayor of their largest city. It is the most successful third party in recent US history.

Why is the prospect of a more progressive Democratic nominee not mentioned here? Kucinich, Feingold, and others have opposed the endlessly increasing wars and bogus health care reform (PPACA), at least until pressured by the administration. As it is, the Obama magic may not work twice - the public, not just us, has already been sadly disappointed, and they do the critical voting, not the lefts or the Obamabots.
+12 # RSJ 2011-05-20 16:48
@ davidhp: No, this was not written with the intention of stifling anyone's dissent, just to point out -- please reread my article -- the forces on the right that are trying to use progressive websites to dissuade people from voting for Obama and the Dems. Certainly the lessons of Wisconsin, etc., show you in which direction the GOP is taking us if they win a majority in Congress and the presidency. They will definitely not help the working class nor get out of those illegal wars in the Middle east.

BTW, if you find the perfect progressive candidate who will never disappoint, and can get elected in 2012, let me know and I'll vote for him or her. In the meantime, it's Obama and the Dems or the GOP's neo-fascist Klepto-Corprocr acy.
+8 # Blast Dorrough 2011-05-20 13:29
I agree with Val L. I also read and agree with the brilliant opinion of Professor Cornell West made reference to by Val. Our President showed weakness when he should have stood strong against the lawless Corporatecrafte rs and their GOP hirelings, truly incorrigible criminals as their "conservative" pathological conduct has shown today and all through American history. BHO should be promoting legislation to cure this evil cancer eating away at our constitutional Republic to the egalitarian and economic injury of the working class and small business owners --- the real economic backbone of the United States.

BHO has yet to begin steps to follow through on his campaign promises to pattern his presidency after the FDR "New Deal" and to end the wars especially when originally based on true lies. If truly honest, our President must begin dismantling of the Corporate monopolistic empire of fixed enterprise based on cheap labor. This is a must to bring true meaning to the Preamble of our Constitution: "WE THE PEOPLE of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves, and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America."
+10 # Regina 2011-05-21 00:51
@Blast: You are overlooking the fact that Obama has been subjected to the grinding obstructionism of the crackpot right, avowedly dedicated to his failure. Other Democratic presidents have had to cope with sulky, snarly, stupid opponents, but nothing quite like the current gang from hell. I have no doubt that the extra factor is race -- the birther garbage proves that point.
+8 # Donald Kehoty 2011-05-21 13:57
Exactly, Regina! How easy is it for Obama to push through a legislative agenda when a full one fourth of Republicans in the country think he is the Anti-Christ?! When hatred of him has spawned a whole new political movement and "party"? I mean, Bill Clinton had it easy compared to the opposition Obama has had to face. And yet some progressive purists sit on their butts and tippy-tap and they have been sold out? I'm sorry, that just doesn't wash with me. They're either working for the opposition or they're incredibly stupid and doing Karl Rove's work for free.
+16 # Fraenkel.1 2011-05-20 13:31
It's perfectly understandable if you look at the priorities of American culture as expressed by the media. They are, not necessarily in order, athletics, sex and religion. It is religion that has encouraged people to replace evidenced based issues by faith based economics, faith based biology, faith based climate science, medicine and more.
The right wing are busy destroying the public schools which will keep people stupid and easily persuaded by any kind of nonsense. Unfortunately for them as the economy deteriorates so will their assets. They don't understand that one can't have a viable economy without government services such as education, decent healthcare, scientific research and a viable infrastructure. During the Eisenhower era with high marginal tax rates we built the freeways and invested, for example, in education and research. The increase in the country's prosperity was uncalculable. Now we can't afford to maintain all that was built up due to inadequate tax revenues. A proper steep progressive income tax will benefit the rich because it will enhance the value of their assets which will more than make up the extra taxes they might have to pay.
The rich are our greatest enemies, not Jihad, because they suffer from short term greed and faith based economics.
+14 # Lindstr7 2011-05-20 15:58
I find it surprising that many of the professed progressives commenting here (who are usually a highly intelligent bunch) have been so short-sighted and unrealistic as to what Obama can actually achieve as President. Are they forgetting that there are republicans who present roadblock after roadblock for even the most minor and centrist policy changes? As president, BO needs to pick and choose his battles, where to be implacable and where to show flexibility. He is president but he is not running the show. Being president is an enormously complex job (as I'm sure you can all imagine) that involves negotiating behind the scenes with those in Washington that BO would likely rather not deal with at all. Its a complicated chess match and we can't possibly be privy to all the moves in play by BOs opponents and what he has to give up or put aside while making deals with the proverbial devil in order to make progress on the issues most important to his voter base. I will support this president all the way and in 2012. There simply is no candidate in my corner that could possibly negotiate the complexity of global and domestic politics as well as he has. I trust that he has the same goals he had when he was campaigning and given time will make progress towards those goals and leave our country in a much better place by the time he leaves office.
+7 # Donald Kehoty 2011-05-21 13:42
Well put, Lindstr7. To my mind, the Obama-bashing progressives are either naive whiners or paid ratf_cking operatives. Obama has achieved amazing progress against unprecedented opposition. I mean, hatred of him spawned a whole new political movement and "party." Do people really expect him to fix the country overnight? He's a president, not a dictator. But his incremental approach is working. He has been the tortoise to the Republicans' hare. And I think that his reasoned, mature and patient approach is paying off. He is the reason why all the Republican candidates seem so cartoonishly absurd; Obama has been the only adult in the room for so long that it has finally become apparent to just about everyone. If any of the Obama-bashers are really serious, they need to understand that in order to win a second term, Obama needs the middle and the independents; the progressive base is just not big enough to win an election. Obama has accomplished a whole hell of a lot in two and a half years. In a second term, where he won't have to worry about re-election, he will be able to stand down the Republicans and accomplish even more.
+15 # IQ140 2011-05-21 00:34
I started suspecting conservative shills were at work when lot's of Obama/Democrat bashing comments suddenly started showing up on ThruthOut articles a few months ago. What I don't understand is why so many conservatives seem to have to rely on deceptive, underhanded tactics and outright lies to fool people. In general, the-ends-justif y-the-means attitude and win-at-any-cost seem to dominate conservative politics. Perhaps they are not smart enough to make a case to support their views with facts and honest discussion? Or maybe they just have no real morals in the first place? Or do they just enjoy trying to see what they can get away with, as is often the case with criminals and social psychopaths? Or perhaps they're just as gullible as the people they try to fool?

For my liberal two cents, Obama is way better than ANY conservative candidate and most Democrats. He may not have changed the country overnight (did you really think anyone could?) but I really doubt if anyone else could do better considering the dysfunctional political and media system being manipulated by the uber-rich conservatives and corporations.
+9 # Donald Kehoty 2011-05-21 13:51
Spot on, IQ140. I would be willing to bet that most of the Obama-bashing comments are posted by interns and paid ratf_ckers posing as disaffected liberals. And the few Obama-bashers who are sincere, if there actually are any, are just incredibly naive politically, whining purists who have no real idea about what it takes to push through an agenda against entrenched, rabid opposition aided and abetted by a corporate media.
But if the sock puppets can dissuade one progressive Dem from voting or contributing or volunteering, then they have succeeded, and they are that much closer to putting Jeb Bush in the White House in 2013.
+14 # RSJ 2011-05-21 16:17
@ IQ140: If Republicans ever told the truth about what they want for this country, no one would ever vote for them except a battalion of racists and a fairway full of country club types.
-8 # Bud 2011-05-21 09:21
Top Ten Answers To Excuses For Obama's Betrayals and Failures
+4 # RSJ 2011-05-22 07:27
Quote from "Look what the 'Spineless One' has accomplished!":

"Obama has accomplished more in LESS than two years than all other presidents, with the possible exception of LBJ and George Washington."
-- Josh Hammond, Dec. 10, 2010.

And there's this:

"[108] Things Obama Has Done"

And this:

Snopes Debunks 50 Lies About Obama
-8 # Michael Cavlan RN 2011-05-21 12:17
Fascinating. Ted Rall is a well known lefty political cartoonist. He just wrote an article about the suppression of progressive voices by what he called Obamabots. It is a righteous article.

I am a decades long peace, justice and media activist who has been banned from many "progressive sites, including TruthDig, Op Ed News and Common Dreams.

For daring to speak the truth about president Oily-bomber and the complicity of the Democratic Party in a long list of betrayals.

I am no right winger. Far from it.

The deliberate suppression of voices of dissent by Democratic Party apologists has been stunning, to say the least.
+6 # Lindstr7 2011-05-21 14:57
While many progressive democrats are not happy with the progress being made in pulling our troops out of afghanistan and iraq as well as our involvement in Libya, we are not so naive to think that there is realistically anyone else who could be elected into office and actually accomplish those goals. Those campaigning on such promises would quickly get a wake-up call as soon as they stepped into the job of the presidency. Hard line progressives are accomplishing nothing except to play into the hands of the far right's goal: to weaken Obama's support base. What will this accomplish besides strengthening the republican party. It seems, at the very least, disingenuous. If you prefer to have the republicans take hold of the country for another 4-8 years then you will quickly find that you will be even further from your professed goals. While I find the Progressive party intriguing and think it has a place in the democratic arena, it should be realistic in what it can actually achieve in the next election cycle. It is the reason many democrats are suspicious of the comments made by so-called progressives, and wonder if they are being deliberately obtuse or are in fact republican instigators posing as progressives.
-6 # Bud 2011-05-21 15:03
Here it is, Michael:

"Obama is the one they ought to be blackballing. He has been a terrible disappointment to the American left. He has forsaken liberals at every turn. Yet they continue to stand by him. Which means that, in effect, they are not liberals at all. They are militant Democrats. They are Obamabots."

It's an excellent read. It shows how petty and vindictive Obama and his followers have been, not unlike some of the commenters in this thread. I suppose Donald Kehoty thinks Ted Rall is a secret right-winger who has been cleverly drawing liberal cartoons all these years as a disguise.
+5 # Donald Kehoty 2011-05-21 18:58
Bud: Ted Rall, like every liberal cartoonist and standup comic, desperately wants a Republican back in office, because they provide way better material.

Seriously, Bud, no matter if you refuse to acknowledge that Obama has managed to accomplish a whole hell of a lot in spite of unprecedented opposition (see link below), the reality is this: he will not be primaried. He's done too good a job. He is the Democratic candidate for president in 2012. He will face a Republican candidate. Probably Mitt or Jeb, as it looks now. Whom do you prefer? It's really that simple, Bud.

I understand that many of us would want Obama to govern in a more progressive direction. But, check me on this, Bud: I don't think Mitt or Jeb will govern very progressively. Do you?

You seem like an intelligent enough guy, Bud. If you want a more progressive government, what do you (and Mr. Rall) think is the best way for us to achieve that?
+7 # Donald Kehoty 2011-05-21 19:01
Michael: No one is "suppressing your voice of dissent" here. You can bitch and moan all you want. But I would really like to know what you hope to accomplish by attacking Obama in the Comments section of a progressive blog site, other than making yourself feel better by venting?
+8 # RSJ 2011-05-22 08:00
That's funny, Michael Cavlan RN, because I have seen comments critical of Obama at all of those sites, especially Common Dreams. Perhaps they couldn't take your clever wordplay -- 'president Oily-bomber' -- or your need to post 'RN' after your name. (I assume that means 'Registered Nurse' rather than 'Rightie Nutcase'.) You are apparently so far from being a right-winger you've come full circle and your 'far-left' opinion of Obama is indistinguishab le from that of a Dittohead or Teabagger. Congratulations.

I like some of Ted Rall's 'righteous' cartoons, but his take on Pat Tillman (and he now admits he got it wrong) was extremely offensive. Aside from that, why should The Nation or any other left-wing blog or publication run cartoons or other content with which they don't agree? I suspect some of Rall's problems can be traced to his erroneous defaming of Tillman rather than Obama. Ted's made a career of being purposely inflammatory and contrarian to get attention and sometimes that backfires.

BTW, if you want to see real suppression of dissent, go to Fox Nation, Free Republic or another hard-right blog. On second thought, you wouldn't be suppressed there -- they wholeheartedly agree with you.
-2 # Bud 2011-05-22 15:40
"...why should The Nation or any other left-wing blog or publication run cartoons or other content with which they don't agree?"

But they do agree. Read the article:

"A sample of recent rejections, each from editors at different left-of-center media outlets:

• “I am familiar with and enjoy your cartoons. However the readers of our site would not be comfortable with your (admittedly on point) criticism of Obama.”

• “Don’t be such a hater on O and we could use your stuff. Can’t you focus more on the GOP?”

• “Our first African-America n president deserves a chance to clean up Bush’s mess without being attacked by us.”

"I have many more like that.

"What’s weird is that these cultish attitudes come from editors and publishers whose politics line up neatly with mine. They oppose the bailouts. They want us out of Afghanistan and Iraq. They disapprove of Obama’s new war against Libya. They want Obama to renounce torture and Guantánamo."

So why shouldn't The Nation or any other left-wing blog or publication run cartoons or other content with which they do agree?
+6 # RSJ 2011-05-23 04:29
@ Bud: Fine, except they don't agree with Rall. Read your own bullet points:

1. The editor says the readership would drop off if they published Rall's cartoons. Is there a rule that progressive publications must lose readers and money to satisfy Ted Rall's need to earn a living? Rall has freedom of speech, but not the freedom to be published wherever he sees fit.

2. It doesn't seem the editor here agrees with Rall, telling him not to hate Obama so much. Rall has cartoons that don't attack Obama -- why doesn't he send those instead of whining?

3. Again, where is the agreement between the editor and Rall on Obama in this sentence? Rall thinks Obama has had enough chances already; the editor doesn't. (In fact, if I recall correctly, Rall was criticizing Obama in the spring of 2009, not long after his inauguration.)

As I've said elsewhere in this thread, Rall has made a career of being inflammatory and contrarian and sometimes that backfires. Instead of living with his own decisions, he would rather blame 'Obamabots' for his inability to earn the same money he was making before. Listen, I know some free-lancers who do what Rall does -- the entire publishing industry is down compared to the 1990s; it's the economy, stupid, not Obamabots.
-1 # Bud 2011-05-23 11:08
1. The editor doesn't say the readership would drop off. He says readers would not be comfortable, which raises two important points. The first is that contentious issues actually raise readership. Publications of every type have known for centuries that controversy generates attention. Indeed, this has been Rall's primary appeal over the years. The second and perhaps more important point is: What's wrong with that editor's readers being uncomfortable. Truth almost always generates discomfort. Pre-war journalist Finley Peter Dunne put it best when he said the journalist's job is to "Comfort the afflicted and afflict the comfortable." There is a long line of columnists, including Mike Royko, Studs Terkel, Ambrose Bierce and Hunter Thompson, who followed that advice. I place Rall in the same category.

As far as the other bullet points go, you are reading selectively. I urge you to read the entire article. Rall makes the point that these same editors gladly accepted material that was critical of Clinton -- another neoliberal faux progressive.

The Obama White House already has a history of punishing critics. I suspect these editors are more concerned with losing access to the White House than they are with discomforting their readers.
+3 # RSJ 2011-05-24 05:21
@ Bud: Your first contention is absurd, and I have worked in the publishing field: If controversy spurred readership in the fashion you suggest, then The Nation could run articles laudatory of the KKK and, according to you, get a huge audience. Certain things do not play with the readership of certain publications and I think Rall's offensive cartoons slamming Pat Tillman did him more harm than anything else.

Aside from that, Rall doesn't just criticize Obama, he makes him out to be a bloody monster. That may be his and your opinion, but it's not that of the majority of the readers of The Nation or other progressive publications. As I say, they are under no obligation to pay him to produce work they don't want to print and he should stop crying about it. End of story.

As to Royko, he had more integrity than Rall -- he quit the Chicago Sun-Times when Murdoch bought it. If Rall doesn't like the pro-Obama slant of these places where he submits his material, he should quit submitting material to them.

I would like to know the history of Obama 'punishing' his critics, and be specific. I would also like to know who has been denied access for criticizing Obama. That happened under Bush, but, of course, you can't see the difference between the two.
-1 # Bud 2011-05-25 06:15
Specific example of Obama punishing his critics:

"White House threatened Thursday to exclude The San Francisco Chronicle from pooled coverage of its events in the Bay Area after the paper posted a video of a protest at a San Francisco fundraiser for President Obama last week, Chronicle Editor Ward Bushee said. White House guidelines governing press coverage of such events are too restrictive, Bushee said, and the newspaper was within its rights to film the protest and post the video."
+6 # RSJ 2011-05-26 05:33
@ Bud: Really, Bud, that's all you've got? The White House 'threatened' and didn't carry through -- they aren't going to ban the SF Chronicle from the press room and anyone with half a brain knows that. No one was really 'punished' here. Where is your vast 'history' of punishing critics? You've got one item that didn't even happen. That's pathetic and desperate.
+5 # RSJ 2011-05-26 05:37
@ Bud: You wrote: "As far as the other bullet points go, you are reading selectively."

I was responding to the bullet points you selected and I'm 'reading selectively'? Good luck with that one, Bud.
-1 # kitten526 2011-05-21 18:27
I don't really agree with this. I was a supporter of Obama and even though I couldn't afford it did contribute to his campaign. I did everything I could to help him get elected and I am not happy with him.

Any time you go onto one of the liberal blogs if you say ANYTHING negative about him at all you are accused of being a troll.

I have seen the blogs such as C&L go so far over the line that they have become the opposite of the Tea Parties in their extreme views.

The truth is that he has become a corporate tool. He wants to be a bipartisan president. The Republicans will not move an inch so he starts negotiating where they draw the line and the result is that their shit is getting passed. Anything needed for we the people is watered down.

I don't know that the answer is to elect a Democratic majority again in 2012 since nothing was accomplished when they did have the majority, Republicans still ruled.

I think they all have to go and we need to start from scratch. First ones to go should be the corrupt supreme court judges!
+4 # Lindstr7 2011-05-21 22:37
Kitten, you can't be serious. The only alternative to not electing obama in 2012 is having a republican in office. How far will that get you towards your "progressive" agenda. You said it, "the republicans will not move an inch," so what is it you would propose he do....shut down the government as the Republicans threatened? If that happens you can be guaranteed that the next supreme court judge appointed will NOT bring you closer to a progressive agenda.
+6 # Donald Kehoty 2011-05-22 00:04
Lindstr7: You're right, "Kitten" can't be serious. At this point I'm beginning to feel embarrassed for being duped into corresponding with these paid trolls. If someone can type a semi-coherent post, they simply can't be so stupid that they think that trashing Obama in a Comments page is going to somehow effect progressive change.
I don't know what is to be done about this Rovian ratf_cking, but I console myself with the thought that the effectiveness of this psy-ops campaign will be minimal at best.
That Republicans have to resort to this kind of tactic just shows you: they have nothing to sell.
+7 # RSJ 2011-05-22 08:56
@ Donald Kehoty: Don't feel embarrassed.
Reponding to this nonsense at least gives the impressionable reader, who often doesn't comment, an option that will, hopefully, make them seek out the truth or see the weakness in the logic of the anti-Obama contingent and their misapplied hatred. The major subdivisions of this attack boil down to:

1. Really, you're a progressive who hates Obama and the Dems so much you'd rather see Republicans elected with full knowledge of what they're doing in the Midwest? (That'll teach Obama!)

2. Really, you're going to elect progressive third party candidates to the presidency and Congress (because the president can't get much done without Congress on his or her side) when ALL third parties COMBINED got less than 2 percent of the vote in 2008? (Wow, do you own a unicorn, too?)

The head-slapping stupidity of this thinking is as obvious as a steaming load of bullcrap on fresh-fallen snow but, unfortunately, we have to keep pointing it out to our true friends who are understandably having a hard time facing reality. In America, Big Myths and Huge Delusions, particularly those promoted by the right to achieve their screw-you corporate agenda, die hard.
+10 # RSJ 2011-05-22 08:20
@ kitten526: You are disappointed because you thought you were electing a demigod or emperor who could wave a magic wand and reverse 30 years (and 60 years of the MIC) in a few months. That's unrealistic and childish.

The truth is, if Obama were the corporate tool you believe him to be, the US Chamber of Commerce and Karl Rove's Crossroads group would not be collecting hundreds of millions of corporate dollars to oppose him and his programs. So far, I have asked this question several times and none of you anti-Obama 'progressives' can answer it: Why is Corporate America spending so much to get rid of their 'tool' Obama?

As far as negotiating, Obama traded two more years of tax cuts for the rich for extended unemployment benefits and the end of DADT. Perhaps that's not important to you, but it is to millions of other people.

The only way the Dems had the 60-votes in the Senate needed to break a GOP filibuster was if McCain pal Lieberman and the Blue Dog Dems all voted, and some things were accomplished, like health care reform, far from perfect as it is. Since I don't have the room to list them here, go Google it for yourself.

You have an interesting take on SC judges -- we should get rid of the corrupt ones by -- what -- electing Republicans?

BTW, Common Dreams has plenty of anti-Obama comments; you'll fit 'right' in.
+6 # cydfan 2011-05-22 09:35
Yeah, and I don't understand how she figures on changes the SCOTUS. Maybe she and Michelle Bachman both should debate that tenth grader...they could both learn a little something about Constitutional law. Like, uh, there are some people appointed for life--Supreme Court justices, perhaps...and unless you are advocating death sentences there's no way 'round it; we're stuck with 'em. Deal with it.
+6 # RSJ 2011-05-23 04:41
Unfortunately our mass media, and I think it's intentional, doesn't do a very good job of educating the public as to the Constitution and Bill of Rights, how a law is passed, how our tripartite gov't works, the Electoral College, or the powers of the president, SC and Congress. Some of these people get their idea of democracy from 'American Idol' and their notion of what a republic is from Federalist Society 'Unitary Executive' screeds. Some are also convinced it's a Christian theocracy and the Founders just forgot to put that in the Constitution. The ignorance and delusion is jaw-dropping.

Of course, a lot of this comes from eliminating civics courses and the like from public schools in return for the dumbed-down 'No Child Left Inside' test.
-5 # Kiwikid 2011-05-23 01:45
Fascinating. And somewhat tragic. It seem that demonisation and bizarre conspiracy theories are not the sole prerogative of the the right (religious or otherwise). Apparently we are to believe that the appearance of any dissent within the progressive movement is not really dissent at all - it is the right pretending to be progressive to throw us off our game. What a wonderful strategy, RS James. What a clever clogs you are for having worked this out. And what an elegant way of simply dismissing any other progressives who may genuinely disagree with you - we're not really progressives at all - we're just pretending.
That beautiful begining to the article - "Ignorant, peevish, narrow-minded, misinformed, livid, intolerant," says it all, and is borne out repeatedly throughout the article - it looks like pure projection - seeing others as we are. If we are to reclaim the moral high ground surely we need to do better.
+5 # RSJ 2011-05-24 05:24
@ Andrerw: Sorry you have a reading comprehension problem, Andrew. Try re-reading the article again word-by-word and you'll see what you are accusing me of is not what I wrote.
+3 # RSJ 2011-05-26 05:26
@ Andrew: BTW, Andrew, the way I can tell you didn't read my article carefully is that you spelled my last name wrong. Maybe you'll get it right if you respond to this post.
-2 # Bud 2011-05-23 14:05
‎"It means a new radicalism. It means recognizing that there is no hope for a correction or a reversal within the formal systems of power. It means defying traditional systems of power. And liberals, who have become courtiers to the corporate state, must attempt to silence all those who condemn the ruthlessness and mendacity of these systems of destruction. Their denunciation of all who rebel is a matter of self-preservati on. For once the callous heart of the corporate state is exposed, so is the callous heart of the liberal class."
-- Chris Hedges

I guess Chris Hedges is a right-wing sock puppet too, eh? And Cornel West?
+2 # Lindstr7 2011-05-23 19:56
I disagree. I'm by no means happy that banksters are making huge bonuses after TARP, etc. and it seems to be business as usual. There was a point where I was genuinely PISSED. After simmering down, and giving it some thought, I came to realize that fighting against Obama was short-sighted and naive. I don't think its BOs ideal to let things ride but I also don't think he can fix the system with a wave of his magic wand. There are powerful forces out there that would see to it that BO is discredited in short order. He is smart enough to know who not to make his enemy for the time being.

I don't think you're getting it. We're not calling you a sock puppet, there is a distinction between progressives who are genuinely disillusioned by the lack of progress they expected in giving Obama their vote and those posing as liberals/progre ssives whose goal is to feed the anti-obama machine. I think its disingenuous to be selectively obtuse to the fact that if Obama is not re-elected, we will be even farther from progressive's goals. Don't you see that? You have to admit that there ARE sock puppets out there (some even paid) who do NOT want the progress that you seem to genuinely want for this country. I do believe in voicing dissent but not tossing the baby out with the bath water.
-5 # Bud 2011-05-25 06:08
I think you need to do some research into Barack Obama. He's connected to Wall Street from way back. His mom's boss was Tim Geithner's dad. Lots of progressives want to believe Obama is like them, but he must compromise with conservatives/b usiness interests in order to function. While that is of course true in just about any political setting, in Obama's case, the issue is that he's really one of them. He is the ideal "third way" Democrat, because unlike Clinton and others who sort of sold their souls for political expedience, while perhaps retaining shreds of their former ideals, Obama never had those ideals. He's been Wall Street from the beginning. Progressives got suckered by two things: first black prez & Obama's eloquence, which after eight years of G.W. Douche, was really noticeable.

I reiterate: the snake is more dangerous than the lion; the betrayer is more contemptible than the belligerent.
+10 # RSJ 2011-05-26 05:24
@ Bud: I think you need to stop believing everything you read on the right-wing side of the internet and hear on Glenn Beck. (BTW, Bud, that's a 'tell' when you're using slams from right-wingers.) Read:

"Beck’s desperate guilt by association: Obama’s mom, Geithner’s dad, a bank ... and hamburgers?"
-- Media Matters, May 20, 2010

With this desperate attempt to bash Obama using right-wing conspiracy theories, you've invalidated your claim to be a progressive -- real progressives don't believe nonsense from raving wingnuts like Glenn Beck.

Incidentally, if Obama had such an 'in' with Wall Street, why was he working as a $12,000-a-year community organizer in a poor neighborhood in Chicago for 3 years, and why did he pay for his college tuition through student loans and scholarships? Odd things for a soulless Wall Street 'Fortunate Son' to have done, to say the least. (Wait, I know -- he was being 'groomed' to be our first black president way back in the early '90s, about the same time 'they' were planting his fake birth certificate in Hawaii!)

Here Snopes outlines Obama's financial background:

But I'm sure you can refute that with some more baloney from a right-wing site. Try WorldNetDaily this time, Bud.
-5 # Bud 2011-05-26 07:10
Does this look like Glenn Beck's website?

And who are you to criticize conspiracy theories. Your article advances a loony one, that progressives criticizing Obama must surely be "sock puppets."

And doing volunteer work or low-wage charity work is a common step for people with political aspirations. Looks good on the ol' resume, you know?
+10 # RSJ 2011-05-26 14:59
@ Bud: (Big Al Gore sigh) Two people worked at the same time for a large organization like the Ford Foundation and there's no proof they ever met, and that's proof there was a personal connection between Obama and Geithner before he ran for president? Bud, I once worked for Time-Life and I had absolutely no connection to Claire Booth Luce but, by these standards, I guess we were best friends. Trying to make some connection here is still pathetic and desperate on your part, and this remains the same shabby conspiracy theory Beck was promoting.

You wrote: "And who are you to criticize conspiracy theories. Your article advances a loony one, that progressives criticizing Obama must surely be "sock puppets."

Except I never said progressives who criticize Obama are sock puppets. Read the article again and stop imagining things.

As to your third paragraph, you're convinced -- because you just viscerally hate Obama so much, as much as any Teabagger -- that in the '90s when he was helping poor people on Chicago's South Side for 3 years the only thing in Obama's head was his resume? Bud, you realize you've now moved into the arena of reading the mind of someone you don't even know and you're calling me loony? Your posts are becoming a comedy of the absurd.
+5 # RSJ 2011-05-24 05:29
I don't know what axe Chris Hedges is grinding, but I do know Cornel West felt slighted by Obama because he wasn't treated with the importance his large ego thought he deserved. It was personal, and Cornel made it political.

BTW, Bud, when are you going to criticize a right-wing Republican for a change? Or can you?
-4 # Bud 2011-05-25 06:10
Chris Hedges is grinding the axe of truth. And that is an intentionally obtuse take on Cornel West.

I reiterate: the snake is more dangerous than the lion; the betrayer is more contemptible than the belligerent.
+7 # RSJ 2011-05-26 04:47
@ Bud: Well, I'm glad we have that resolved. I'm sure Chris Hedges will be glad to know he is the unerring repository of all truth, according to somebody calling themselves 'Bud'. But it begs the question: why isn't Hedges running for president?

Sarcasm aside, I like much of what Hedges has written and generally agree with him, but I think his take on Obama is way too narrow.

BTW, that is not an obtuse take on Cornel West -- it actually comes from someone who was at a White House party that West attended who I happen to know. (BTW, this person is not a member of Obama's staff or gov't employee.) It was obvious that he was burning up with envy of Obama and angry that he wasn't carrying out West's agenda to the letter. But, then, West isn't president of all the people of the US and Obama is, and he doesn't have to deal with Congress, facts that West isn't taking into consideration. I like much of what Cornel has written as well, and he has the same option as Hedges -- run against Obama in the Dem primaries if you don't like him.

My, my, Bud, look at all of the posts you've made in this thread with nary a criticism of the GOP? What's up with that?
-4 # Bud 2011-05-26 07:30
Criticizing the GOP is like saying water is wet. That's not where the problem lies. If we had a truly progressive party in Congress and the White House, Democrat otherwise, the GOP would've collapsed into dust a long time ago. (Ooopth! Better make that "Democratic" or you'll accuse me of using a Glenn Beck term.) The fact of the matter is that most Democrats are feeding at the same trough as the Republicans. For example, look at the polling on Afghanistan:

For any politician to recommend withdrawal it would be a slam-dunk with the public. But the only ones recommending withdrawal are marginalized pols like Dennis Kucinich and Bernie Sanders. Oh. And Ron Paul. Obama is actually going against this slam-dunk by escalating the war in Afghanistan and expanding it into Pakistan. Why? Because he received over $800,000 in campaign contributions from defense contractors.,8599,1855478,00.html
+7 # RSJ 2011-05-26 15:16
@ Bud: There are other progressives in the Senate, like Al Franken, and the estimate I've read is that about half of the Dems in Washington take large amounts of corporate money; ALL of the GOP does. This is why people like Hedges and West should challenge the DLC Dems from the left; I would welcome such challenges.

As I said in a previous post, I have some experience with Time-Life -- at least enough to not consider them a good source of untainted news. That said, we'll have to see, following the killing of bin Laden, if Obama decreases our involvement in Af-Pak. One of the reasons we have a large number of troops there is a valid one: If the Pakistani gov't falls to a fundamentalist Islamic sect they will have access to nuclear weapons, despite the Pakistani generals' assurances that they will secure the nukes. How would you feel if some crazy mullah types had access to nukes and delivery systems? Even if their use was confined to India or Israel, it would affect us greatly -- we would be in an all-out war in South Asia. If the choice is between a nuclear holocaust and war, or sending in our military to secure the weapons, I think the choice is obvious to any sane person. This, of course, is not something usually considered by Obama's critics on the left.
-5 # Bud 2011-05-26 08:04
Also, I suspect the reason Hedges and West aren't running for president is because doing so would require them to stop telling the truth and become corporate shills. I mean, don't you know that? Don't you know how presidential campaigns are financed? Have you never heard of "Citizens United v. FEC"? Do you think Goldman Sachs, JP Morgan Chase, Monsanto, General Electric, Skadden Arps, etc. would finance a Hedges/West presidential ticket?
+9 # RSJ 2011-05-26 15:20
@ Bud. So you've just admitted that there can be no real progressive change next election because progressives won't run or can't run because they don't have the money. That leaves us with a choice of either Obama and the Dems or the corporate GOP. I'll take my chances with Obama and the Dems, in that case. We already know from the Rust Belt states and Florida and New Jersey what the Republicans will do.
-5 # Bud 2011-05-29 07:34
"That leaves us with a choice of either Obama and the Dems or the corporate GOP."

That should read: "That leaves us with a choice of either CORPORATE Obama and the CORPORATE Dems or the corporate GOP." And that's no choice at all. If you truly consider yourself progressive, then every one of your articles should focus on that fact rather than this childish everyone-who-cr iticizes-the-pr esident-must-be -a-PR-hack hokum.

Speaking of which, point me to the PR companies who pay to criticize the president, because I've been doing it for free. But actually, what I criticize is dishonesty regardless of who the president is. When the president lies, it is the patriot's duty to say, "but - but what about when you said..." You're not supposed to mindlessly wave your foam rubber finger in the air like a college football fan. And that's the problem with politics today. It's like a team sport. If the policy in question comes with a (D) behind it, then just yell and cheer. Then later, when that very same policy has an (R) behind it, then boo lustily. Don't look at the actual policy; just look at the initial after it. Build your ideology around principles, not partisan loyalty.
+7 # RSJ 2011-05-30 05:56
@ Bud: You should read my article and this comment thread sometime; I never said EVERYONE who criticizes the president must be a PR hack. BTW, if you're not already employed in the field, you might check the article again; perhaps Advantage Consultants is still hiring so you can spew your anti-Obama hatred for a fee. Since you already agree with the wingnuts on Obama and repeat their conspiracy theories about him, you might as well get paid for it.

To reiterate: the GOP is completely corporately-own ed; only about half of the Dems are. Again, look at the Rust Belt states, Florida and New Jersey. Do you seriously think Dems would do what the Republicans are doing there? That is the corporate agenda for the country, should the GOP have a majority in Congress and the presidency next election. It's that simple, but you apparently refuse to see it.

Besides, you offer no answers save 'hate Obama' even though I've asked you what you would do to realistically advance a progressive agenda next election.

Principles without action are useless, and griping at me about how bad Obama and the Dems are is not going to improve the situation one iota. So, what's your big solution, Bud?
+6 # Lindstr7 2011-05-25 13:56
You're starting to sound like a teapublican conspiracy theorist. Geithner's father was Ford Foundation's head of grantmaking in Asia, BOs mother developed their microfinance programs in Indonesia and they MAY have met once or twice. Hardly the makings of a dyed-in-the-woo l corporatist.

As for CWest, his recent attacks on Obama seem like tantrums for attention considering he supported Obama's run and is suddenly attacking him after his perceived snub at the inauguration and unreturned phone calls. BOs choice of Geithner, etal was a smart move considering his in-depth knowledge of the financial markets and connections therein. TARP was a last ditch effort to stabilize the markets and if it hadn't gone through, we'd all be standing in breadlines about now. It was essential to get the big banks to accept TARP and putting restrictions on how they used the funds would have killed the deal. Its sickening, but it would seem there was no alternative, we were on the brink of complete and utter financial collapse. I don't see a progressive candidate who can win at this point (considering the roadblocks by the GOP on the most centrist policy changes, imagine a progressive with a far-left agenda), and having a republican in office would be the ruin of us all. I hope to have a progressive in office, but realistically, won't happen before 2016.
+7 # RSJ 2011-05-26 05:48
@ Lindstr7: Good points. Starting under Bush in 2008, the Wall Street banks literally held the American economy hostage. If they had failed, we wouldn't have been able to get a paycheck or cash a check and our economy would have been in shambles -- worse than the Great Depression -- for at least a decade afterward. It would have taken that long to untie the Gordian knot the banksters had woven to get any funds out of the disaster. (Look at what happened in Somalia; does anyone in this country, even those who want the economy to fail in the thin hopes that a progressive revolution will arise, really want to live like that?) Some of the things Obama has done he was forced by circumstances when he took office to do, and the Bushies left the country in ruins.
-4 # Bud 2011-05-26 07:57
Again, this is an obtuse view. The US has had the essentially the same economic regime in place at least since Clinton. It was Clinton's economic team -- Larry Summers, Alan Greenspan, Tim Geithner, Hank Paulson -- that caused the financial meltdown. They were warned by CFTC chairwoman, Brooksley Borne way back around 1996, but Greenspan et al. undermined her efforts. Bush's inaction made the crisis worse, but the crisis began under Clinton. And Obama has what essentially amounts to Clinton's economic team in place. These guys should be hoisted with their own petard, not appointed to high administration positions.
+7 # RSJ 2011-05-26 15:23
@ Bud: You're seriously blaming Clinton for Bush's tax cuts and 'see-no-evil' policies on Wall Street and corporate malfeasance? Bud, you're becoming more of an obvious troll by the minute.
+3 # jbeezz 2011-05-30 13:03
Bush's inaction made the crisis worse, but the crisis began under Clinton.

Excuse me but the crisis began with REAGAN.
+5 # RSJ 2011-05-30 15:31
@ jbeezz: You're right, the corporate conservative swirling of the drain started under Reagan; Clinton added to it somewhat, under the sway of Bob Rubin; but it went on steroids under Junior Bush. Perhaps the best indication of how far right Bush took the GOP is the fact that neither Eisenhower nor Goldwater would be welcomed in the party today. Ike would be called a flaming liberal and Goldwater, who in the '80s embraced a woman's right to choose, gay rights and denounced religious groups becoming involved in politics, would also be unelectable as a Republican in Arizona these days. Whenever any party goes too far to the right it inevitably becomes a fascist movement that routinely violates inconvenient laws, tries to intimidate any opposition, takes over the media and spews party propaganda, 'pre-emptively' invades countries to expand its power, appoints flunkies to gov't offices and the judicial bench, and, most importantly, caters to the whims of the corporate class over the well-being of the majority of the people and the nation. Needless to say, they are anathema to democracy or a functioning republic. Benito Mussolini summed it up neatly 80 years ago:

"Fascism should more appropriately be called Corporatism because it is a merger of state and corporate power."

This is where the Republican Party is today, Godwin's Law be damned.
-4 # Bud 2011-05-26 07:44
BO's choice of Geithner was a smart move? Geithner was one of the principal architects of the financial meltdown:
+5 # Lindstr7 2011-05-26 13:54
Yes I understand what you are saying about Geithner, Paulson, etal, and Brooksley Born is a hero for sending up a red flag which went foolishly ignored. I kind of look at the hiring of Geithner akin to hiring a reformed burglar as a security expert. Who better to explain what happened and give the information BO needs to make changes?

It is still my hope that BO intends to take some kind of action beyond Dodd-Frank to regulate the derivatives market, even banning naked credit default swaps, etc.
+6 # RSJ 2011-05-26 15:47
@ Bud: Geithner was in the background at the NY Fed, but it was Bob Rubin, Alan Greenspan and, later, Junior Bush and Hank Paulson who were the biggest culprits in he meltdown. It's true Rubin and Greenspan advised Clinton, but he didn't necessarily do everything they told him to do -- for instance, Clinton raised taxes on the rich and left more than a $200 billion surplus at the end of his term.

Clinton's biggest mistake was trusting Rubin's advice on how to deal with Wall Street; Clinton thought if he gave them a good taste, they'd stop asking for more.

BTW, here's a quote from the Frontline piece you cited:

"And even though Bill Clinton was someone who believed in government and wanted to use it, he was kind of forced into that Reaganesque ideology because that was what people wanted to hear."

Clinton is a politician and responded to his times, for better or worse. It's a mistake to ever put a politician, including Obama, on a pedestal -- you'll always be disappointed if you do.

BTW, you're wrong; Hank Paulson never worked for Clinton:

"From 1990 to November 1994, he [Paulson] was co-head of Investment Banking, then, Chief Operating Officer from December 1994 to June 1998..."
-- From Wikipedia.
-6 # Bud 2011-05-29 07:22
Paulson worked for Goldman Sachs during the Clinton years, eventually rising to the position of CEO, which is almost the same as a government post.

And your Clinton pull-quote illustrates my previous assertion, "Clinton and others who sort of sold their souls for political expedience..." Clinton embraced the neoliberal ideology more or less against his actual preference. Obama, on the other hand, fully embraces neoliberalism. He isn't doing it merely for short-term political gain, he actually believes the doctrine. Look at his schools policy. He is intentionally alienating the teachers union by advancing a neoliberal agenda. This demonstrates two things: One, he will go to the mat if he has to; and, two, he only goes to the mat on issues that advance the neoliberal agenda. Look at all the things he has not gone to the mat on: Pharma buy-back program, the public option, net neutrality, ending the Bush tax cuts, the Patriot Act, warrantless wiretapping, indefinite detention, Libya, Bradley Manning, etc. Actually, I'm wrong. He HAS gone to the mat on these things. He goes to the mat to oppose the "retarded fucking liberals" he hates so much.
+6 # RSJ 2011-05-30 05:41
@ Bud: You're back, and here I thought you had given up. Being CEO of Goldman Sachs is not the same as a gov't post no matter how you try to stretch it -- you were still wrong.

On to your other points: part of the things you mentioned, such as the Patriot Act and net neutrality, are not in Obama's power to change -- Congress has the authority there. The pharma deal was struck to get some kind of health care reform passed, as was dropping the public option. Libya I've already covered -- we're not in a ground war in, nor occupation of, that country, no matter what some hysterics say. We're participating in a UN-sanctioned action to stop a dictator from slaughtering his own people. Maybe you think a massacre would be better, but I don't.

The Bush tax cuts were extended for two years in exchange for extending unemployment benefits and the elimination of DADT. I think that was a good deal. Or would you rather millions go broke and gay people still be subjected to discrimination in the military?

Obama unfortunately thinks Manning committed treason, one of his flaws, but his public pronouncement of guilt may also lead to a mistrial.

I'm willing to wait for the final word on wiretapping and indefinite detention; I have heard he's against both, but he's fighting a Washington establishment that loves them.
-3 # Bud 2011-06-15 11:19
Sorry I was away for so long. The sock puppet department at my PR firm had me working on other threads. I came back to post a link to this revealing profile of Obama hatchet man, Jim Messina:

"'It was a major harbinger to me, when Obama hired him, that we were not going to get 'change we can believe in,'' says Ken Toole, a former Democratic state senator and public service commissioner in Montana. 'Messina has a lot of talents, but he’s extremely conservative in his views on how to do politics. He’s got a tried-and-true triangulation methodology, and that’s never gonna change.' The Democratic National Committee declined to make Messina available for an interview."
+5 # RSJ 2011-06-20 05:30
Take a vacation, did you, Bud? I just happened to check here today on something I had written and was surprised to see your posts. This must have really gotten under your skin, or that of the owners of your PR firm.

Did you know FDR had a 'hatchet man'? Actually two: their names were Harold Ickes and Louis Howe and their function was to get FDR's programs passed and help with with selling ideas like the WPA and Social Security to the public. Lyndon Johnson also used arm-twisters to get the civil rights laws and Medicare passed, so 'hatchet men' are not always a bad thing for a president to have.

Hey, Bud, did you read the GOP is running sock puppet primary challengers against the Dems in the Wisconsin recall elections? Or do you think it's just ridiculous to think the Republicans would ever do such a thing?
-3 # Bud 2011-06-20 11:32
Yes, FDR had a hatchet man. He also launched the second New Deal because of pressure from Huey Long and other progressives who complained his reforms didn't do enough. FDR even admitted that the new, toothier "New Deal" was intended to "steal Newton's thunder."

Pressure from the Left works. If you truly consider yourself a progressive, then you should be writing articles that hold the president accountable, rather than lame, woe-is-us conspiracy theories.
-2 # Bud 2011-06-20 12:13
* "steal Newton's thunder" should read, "steal Long's thunder." For some reason, I conflated Huey Long and Huey Newton.
+5 # RSJ 2011-06-20 17:10
Yes, like the Huddie Ledbetter act. It happens.
+6 # RSJ 2011-06-20 17:16
Bud, I have written articles (not at RSN) criticizing Obama, but that's not the point. As evidenced by the GOP planting fake 'progressive' candidates to primary Democrats in Wisconsin, my sock puppet 'conspiracy theory' is not lame, nor is it 'woe-is-us' -- it's simply the way Republicans do business these days and something to be aware of that bothers you to no end for some reason. (Well, I can think of a reason...)
+7 # Lindstr7 2011-05-28 15:03
I'm amused by the thumbs-up thumbs-down system of scoring here. It seems every time I come in I can re-vote. Its like watching a pong match between those posting comments. (I need to get out more.) RSJ I do enjoy your writing and applaud you for your keen, insightful intellect and entertaining use of snarkasm. Consider me a fan.
+5 # RSJ 2011-05-29 04:46
Thanks very much, Lindstr7. From reading your comments, I think we've been on the same path regarding Obama and the Dems, and you always express yourself clearly and intelligently.
-3 # Bud 2011-06-15 11:57
Notable sock puppets:

Ken Silverstein of Harper's

Adolph Reed, jr. of The Progressive

Ari Berman at The Nation
+5 # RSJ 2011-06-20 05:19
Ah, Bud, still at it. I wrote that not all critics of Obama are necessarily right-wing sock puppets -- I've criticized Obama myself -- but that does not invalidate the fact that right-wing sock puppets exist.

BTW, if you asked Silverstein, Reed or Berman if they'd rather have Obama as president or a Republican like Romney or Bachmann, I'm sure they'd support Obama, warts and all.
-3 # Bud 2011-06-20 11:33
No, they would tell you that that question presents a false dichotomy, and then they would cite the many examples in which criticism of Democrats from the Left produced more substantial reform legislation.
+5 # RSJ 2011-06-20 17:09
Bud, your comment is a false dichotomy itself, as it wasn't based on what I wrote. You can prefer Obama over a Republican and still criticize him. What I wrote is that they would prefer Obama over a Republican, not that they would stop criticizing him.
0 # railroadmike 2011-12-28 11:07
A despicable act by desprate people. In reality this is Fascism at it's best. The problem in our the average citizen has'nt a clue to what Fascism really is unless you ask an old timer who lived in the 1930's and 1940's. The Republicans have a long history and ties to Fascism dateing back to the 1930's.
0 # GaryA 2012-01-03 09:57
Ironic isn't it that here in a blog denigrating paid sockpuppets who condemn Democrats in general and Obama specifically, someone posts an anti-Obama diatribe...cond emning everything the man has done.

Cadan, there really is a difference between republican and Democrat.
0 # clarissa35f 2012-11-21 09:19
I had an interesting experience, I was reading a thread on Gretawire. And after i posted a comment, I checked a few minutes later, and found My comment deleted. This happened a few times. So i decided to join their Live chat. I properly identified myself as a centrist left moderate progressive democrat. and the hate commenced. I was called a commie, a marxist, a socialist. A traitor to our country. I was called a troll over and over. When I asked why we could not come together to look for commonality, because we need to agree and work together. I was told my presense revolted them. They said they would never compromise with " The enemy" and told me they would see me from " the ramparts."

I am scared for what is happening in our country. I always believed this hate speech was just rhetoric. Until I realized that these people are serious. The are the confederate south looking for their Jefferson Davis. They behave as if Conservatism is their religion, and if you are not a " true conservative, then you are " the enemy" I hope this is all Just people working themselves up to rant and fume and vent. because if it's not... I Just wonder how much more they can " suffer" before they go nuts.
0 # kfreed 2013-01-13 09:43
Evidence in support of your claims of right-wing sock puppetry and impersonation of progressoves...

I'm a bit late to this party, but for the sake of posterity, here's a link to a post schooling right-wing trolls on how to infilitrate news sites and progressive blogs as "progressives" in order to spread misinformation and sow Obama-hate among Democrats:

"Weakening the Democratic Base, Part 5: Liberal Netroots | RedState"

Google "Weakening the Democratic Base, part 4" for a search result of all sorts of tea bagger tips on infiltration, subversion, and propaganda dissemination posted by diarisrs at

Note that is partly responsible for the dissemination of the religious fundamentalist (Tea Party) "Obama Anti-Christ" meme, among others, including the NDAA "indefinite detention," Obama failure to close Guantanamo, declaration of "war" on Libya memes because they know how to get to liberals with fact free outrage peddling on issues close to our hearts (like our anti-war positions), mostly through Ron Paul and Libertrian blogger Glenn Greenwald.

"Obama Anti-Christ":

Looks like you're not paranoid after all:)

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