Democrats Continue to Lash Out At Their Own Base
This post first appeared on Shakesville. After telling disillusioned progressives to "stop whining," Vice President Joe Biden doubled-down on the scold-your-base strategy last night:
"And so those who — didn't get everything they wanted, it's time to just buck up here, understand that we can make things better, continue to move forward," Biden said during an appearance on MSNBC, "but not yield the playing field to those folks who are against everything that we stand for in terms of the initiatives we put forward." Biden was asked by MSNBC host Lawrence O'Donnell, in the debut of the host's new program, "The Last Word," whether he'd like to retract his admonition to liberals to stop complaining. "There are some on the Democratic base, not the core of it, that are angry because we didn't get every single thing they want," the vice president said. "They should stop that," Biden explained. "These guys, if they win, the other team, they're going to repeal healthcare [reform] and I want them to tell me why what we did wasn't an incredibly significant move that's progressive and helping people."The Obama voter who's "angry because we didn't get every single thing they want" is a damnable strawperson. Joe Biden is mistaking ideological purity for what, in reality, is consistent principles—and the expectation that the administration have them, too. This is getting really old. The Press Secretary, the Deputy Director of Public Engagement (har), top advisors, the Vice President, and the President have all gone on the offensive against their own base, and then they wonder why the fuck the base isn't on their side. OMGLOLWTF. And, as Maud pointed out in comments, the hyperbole is ridiculous:
This reminds me of the tired line, recently used by Biden in his interview with Rachel Maddow, but trotted out frequently by the usual suspects, "As much as I wish we had a magic wand..." Yes, that's right. People expect magic. The only two possibilities are selling-out completely, and the magic wand. Expecting anything but the first is the equivalent of demanding the second.Which reminded me of this comment Obama made at a fundraiser last week:
Democrats, just congenitally, tend to get -- to see the glass as half empty. If we get an historic health care bill passed -- oh, well, the public option wasn't there. If you get the financial reform bill passed -- then, well, I don't know about this particular derivatives rule; I'm not sure that I'm satisfied with that. And gosh, we haven't yet brought about world peace and -- I thought that was going to happen quicker.Yes, that's right. Because expecting a healthcare reform bill in the richest nation on the planet to guarantee healthcare to all its citizens is the same as expecting world peace. Jesus. This is so infuriating. Forget legislative failures or policy disagreements for a moment: I just want my Democratic president to be better at politics than this.