Thursday, August 18, 2011

Dear Fellow Firebaggers,

Not that it's a surprise to anyone with half a brain still left on their head, but if you're a fellow movement progressive and netroots activist, the President and his peeps probably don't like you very much. In fact, that's putting it mildly. After all, Rahm Emmanual, the President's BFF, thinks you're "fucking retarded." The President's former Press Secretary called you the professional left. We are flies in their way to be swatted, not supported, and they are not done disparaging, demeaning and bemoaning us.

Look no further than one Mr. Ray Sandoval, Obama's top guy in New Mexico. He sent out an official Obama Organize for America campaign email to supporters in that state calling the activist base "firebaggers" and the "ideologue Left." The message tried to tear down pretty much anyone who is worried about the direction Obama has sent our party and country toward, because Obama's right and they're wrong. Opposing Obama policies would be an "economic 9/11."

The President's people didn't appear all that upset about it. They called the official email unofficial, but couldn't be bothered enough to apologize for it. Sandoval hasn't received any sort of penalty or rebuke for his comments and doesn't seem overly apologetic. There is nothing to indicate here that the President's people don't very, very much agree with everything Sandoval said -- perhaps they even see this as another opportunity to burnish the President's "Independent" cred. That's all they seem to care about, these days.

Sadly, this is just more of the same from what we've come to expect. The President's close team has long made political sport of progressives, turning us into the opposition, instead of... you know... the Republican Party. The people running OFA do not buy into the progressive movement -- now considered an opposition movement to Obama zealotry -- and see any kind of dissent as disloyalty, instead of disagreement. As I said earlier today, the purpose of the OFA is "to create an alternate DNC that can mobilize the grassroots from the top down, while minimizing erratic bottom-up feedback."

What we end up with is an OFA with a mixed bag of talent, not a ton of organic or competent volunteer support, and a remaining culture of "If the President says it, it's right, and if anyone else says it, it's wrong." To borrow from George Orwell, the OFA is becoming a "nation of warriors and fanatics, marching forward in perfect unity, all thinking the same thoughts and shouting the same slogans, perpetually working, fighting, triumphing, persecuting," except instead of being 300 million strong, as they are in Oceania, the OFA is going to be increasingly reliant on an ever-shrinking pool of the hangers-on left from over the 2008 campaign who haven't felt betrayed yet, without the same kind of buzz or excitement that existed then to appeal to the newest young crowd.

What we 'Firebaggers' and 'ideologue Leftists' need to remember is that the OFA is out for the President first and foremost, local party politics and candidates are almost an afterthought. They don't care about the long-term brand or building up the Democratic Party from the bottom up -- that's all stuff that has to happen with a focus beyond just Barack Obama, 2012, and they don't like us bottom-feeders, anyway. If we don't get in line, we're treated like the enemy.

That's a far cry from Dean's Democratic Party, which was out for the Democratic Party and the people of this country, not for any one individual or thing. It's a sad state of affairs, but worse than that, it's hurting the Democratic Party and it's hurting America. Still worse, it may be too late for the President to do anything about this, should he ever decide that he actually wants support from his base again. I have the sneaking suspicion he'll realize that yes, he does want it, as the election in 2012 closes and he can't find anyone to knock on doors and make phone calls for him. By then, it will all be too late -- and it will be Martha Coakley redux, this time on a national scale, unless corporate largess in the campaign war chest (and a incompetent Republican opponent) is enough to save the day. Anything's possible, I suppose.

The bottom line, though, is the President is not on our side. If he doesn't want our money and our support, it's not as if there aren't other people who need it. With the President's turn to the right -- and his continuation of the Bush agenda, some of it on steroids -- it's becoming more important than ever to stand up for what's right. We still have good people in the House and the Senate, or who should be there, who are going to need our help and support. My advice is to skip the OFA and go straight to the source, lest you give anyone in the OFA your Firebagger cooties. It's become beyond clear that they don't want our help, anyway.

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