Saturday, November 10, 2007

Somewhere, Gandhi Is Smiling

And It's All Your Faults!

What follows will not be a Reynolds-ian fart of bogus blog-triumphalism.

It will not.

Nor will it be a pony-tailed, or power-tooled exercise of fist-pumping onanism.

It will be the truth.

And the truth has a nasty way of sneaking up on you, you know. It'll blackjack you 'round the ear, and send cascades of squishy stars and spirals fluttering down your stun-slammed eyelids. It can sucker-punch you in the kidney, doubling you over as every nerve in your gut turns to just-salted razor wire.

But sometimes...sometimes the truth will just walk up to you out of the blue...opens its arms and says “Hey baby, don't you know me?”

And you step back, maybe blink a couple of times...and then you recognize it, and you step forward and embrace it—all the while going “Wow! It's you!”

I'd like you, the readers to step back and blink those two times to register a truth standing before you as real.

That truth is, that you are beginning to make a difference and that you MATTER.

As participants/co-conspirators in this thing called “blogging”.

You probably wonder why I say this, today. Why I say this now—what with the frustrations of Mukasey, and the war funding bills, and S-CHIP legislation and so on. Well...I say it because it is your support and follow-up action on the things that the multitude of us write that has pushed the debate about those issues to the point where the opposition actually has to work hard and still look bad in their narrow-margin “victories”. And when I say “the opposition”, I include those ostensibly in our own party/supposed ideological bent who whine for a rough-handed GOP reach-around while getting us all fucked.

There is tangible proof that we—you—are beginning to leaden their steps and labor their breathing after having drawn a little blood from their noses beginning late last year.

That proof lay in an old bromide that I just's so overused. I really hate to toss it out here, except for the fact that it is so true in this instance that it hurts. It was the famous line from Mahatma Gandhi about the pattern of victory over one's opposition:

“First they ignore you, then they ridicule you, then they fight you, then you win.”

Now, take a look at this succession of reports over the last ten days or so, and tell me what stands out.

From The Carpetbagger Report—November 1st:

The incredibly-shrinking president told the Heritage Foundation today about the new target of his ire.

“When it comes to funding our troops, some in Washington should spend more time responding to the warnings of terrorists like Osama bin Laden and the requests of our commanders on the ground, and less time responding to the demands of bloggers and Code Pink protesters.”


Picking a fight with “ bloggers and Code Pink protesters” seems like an unusually petty task for a president of the United States.

And on the 8th of November, this odd, little talking point turdlet burbled back from a post-flush backwash:

Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-CT) accused “left-wing blogs” of making up “conspiracy theories” about the Kyl-Lieberman amendment, which passed the Senate last month. It designated part of the Iranian army a terrorist organization. Lieberman called opponents of the amendment “politically paranoid” and “hyper partisan.”

Then, this venomous squeal as reported at Beltway Blogroll—November 9th:

The curmudgeon within apparently got the better of Rove yesterday when he spoke at Yahoo's “Rise Of Citizen 2.0” event. One of his messages to users was that “Blogs give angry people an undeserved voice.” Michael Bassick wrote a full report at techPresident:

“People on the fringe are no longer voiceless,” noted Rove. Blogs have the unintended effect of giving “angry kooks” an “inexpensive soapbox” and a sense of “pseudo-anonymity” that “brings forth the worst angels of our nature.” He trashed Daily Kos and the liberal blogosphere for using more “dirty words” than conservative blogs like Townhall and RedState.

“The netroots, he said, “argue from anger rather than reason.” Many, he believes, blog for “personal release” and not “political persuasion.” He argued that the netroots have been largely ineffective and said’s inability to end the war proves his point.

Hmmmmmm. Interesting. Comments, Madame Speaker? Matt Stoller wanted a couple on November 5th:

“I just got back from a fancy NYC fundraiser headlined by Nancy Pelosi for Kirsten Gillibrand to which I snagged a ticket.  I wanted to ask Pelosi about Al Wynn, and I managed to get a response, though not a nice one.


I went up to Pelosi after her odd speech to ask her in person about her support for Al Wynn.  I said 'I helped organize a fundraiser for Donna Edwards', and I was about to talk about retroactive immunity and ask her to take this as a sign of frustration, as well as to tell her how proud she makes me as the first female Speaker of the House.  But the moment I mentioned Al Wynn, Pelosi's whole face abruptly changed, her smile melted away, and she got hostile and said in an icy voice 'I know about that.'  She then turned away to talk to someone else.  That's happened to me only one other time in politics, when I said to Jerry McNerney that I was a blogger.


Many of the Democrats in Congress, Pelosi for instance, are insider frustrated.  They know something is vaguely wrong somewhere, they know their activists supporters are unhappy, they are still raising lots of money, they know they are in power and feted at fancy breakfasts, and they are unwilling to consider new strategies that actually challenge the constraints they see as permanent.

And when someone else does, they get mean, their face turns cold, and they walk away.

These four instances are not mere coincidence—especially the perfectly sync-ed Bush/Rove/Lieberman bleats. There is a tart, sweat-smell of desperation in their coordinated attacks on this end of the blogosphere, where I write, and you the readers energize. Somebody's getting under somebody else's a double-barbed fishhook, and hurting the living fuck out of them. Even with the relative legislative ineffectiveness this Congressional cycle, due to a non-super majority—the tea leaves for next November read badly for our polar opposites, and are brewing up nearly Hemlock toxic. It's you and your patronizing places like this one, and Kos, and TPM, FDL, Drifty and TBogg and S,N!, Maha and Atrios and Pandagon and the whole blogroll here and everyplace else on this side of the street. And it's the action you take after reading and communicating. The calls you make, the e-mails you send—the money you use to reward, and to slap down.

We are past the ignore and ridicule phases of Gandhi's progression. It is now the fight section. Claw, spit, kick, slap, eye-gouge and yes, cock-punch time is upon us.

And that's a good thing.

They're calling you out by name, now. No more faceless “Left”. They are being direct in their venom now...because they are desperate. Why else would there be such an odd coordination of attack via shotgun-blast of talking points?

If you didn't matter...“why all the hub-bub, bub?”

And as for Ms. Pelosi, giving Matt the old dry-ice shoulder pad was damned telling. The netroots' backing of Edwards pissed her off to the point where her trademark smiling veneer while dealing with the “loyal opposition” burned away like coastal Cali's “marine layer” under a blazing sun's assault. If the Edwards fundraising wasn't in any way effective, she could have laughed that shit off, pish-posh...

But she couldn't do that, could she? Because, the people on the ground went right around her and dealt directly with who you wanted to. A well-coutured gatekeeper a brick wall is not.

The main thing is, as far as those who have recently done the obligatory rip n' read from the blast-faxes from right-wing headquarters are concerned, you haven't merely annoyed the beast—you snuck in, you took his lunch, peed on his den wall, and then...slapped his cubs around and made them cry. With that, he's now running through the jungle roaring at everything—rocks and tree stumps, but mainly you. At us.

You've got Republicans in droves opting not to run again, flat-out retiring, and some once-safe, now feeling the hot breath of trouble on their crimson necks.

And those who remain in power can only use the numbers games of parliamentary procedure, and the allegiance of the feckless few who rode the progressive waves of last year on barely-visible neo-con water-wings to continue their obstructionism. That too, is a tenous thing.

Thus, the anger. The un-ironic invective (do winners do imvective?) about coarse language on our end from a man who boldly declared, “We will fuck him. Do you hear me? We will fuck him. We will ruin him. Like no one has ever fucked him!” of a political opponent.

A “man” who nyah-nyah-ed a repentant woman as she went to his precious electric chair now bleats about civility from others.

We were a monolithic “other” to be mocked not so long ago...but now the barbs are more targeted as the right's...a little shaky on their feet. They say “bloggers”, but they mean something more. They mean the entirety of the medium's participants.

Yeah...folks like me, but more importantly, you too.

The so-called “battle” isn't won, though. Dirty tricks abound. Roadblocks and punji-traps like the Net Neutrality battle and the FISA negotiations loom ahead. And still, with that...we're past the condescension of ignore, and ridicule.

It's a good 'ol fight now—and they don't like it. Your feedback, your activism, you did that.

Got 'em callin' us out. Name-checkin' and-and sellin' wolf tickets and what not. You think those three molotovs tossed our—your way in a week's time was a Goddamn coincidence? Shit like that doesn't happen by accident with these people. The truth is in your face, sayin' “Hey baby, don't you know me?”

The truth is that they're bringin' the hate direct, now. Focusing it. Gone is the yawn—It's now, “bring it on!”

“...then they fight you, then you win.”

Bad bloggers! Mean commenters! Angry communities!

Sheeeeeee-it! I'm a let Sister Jill Scott sum it up, ya'll...

And then thank you.