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Jane Hamsher: off the rez?

By Michael J. Smith on Friday December 4, 2009 03:56 PM

Politico carried an item recently that made Jane Hamsher sound like Robespierre. (Jane is shown above, on Bill's right; that's her firedoglake colleague Christy Hardin Smith holding down the left flank.)

Here's Politico's breathless account:

Hamsher leads left away from White House

While President Barack Obama has struggled to keep the center together, he's had one unquestioned political success: Keeping the left at bay. A battle-tested Democratic infrastructure fell into line behind the White House....

That alliance, which endured in spite of sometimes emotional differences on the shape of health care legislation, is now under increasing strain....

MoveOn is one of the handful of groups breaking from the White House’s hold on big liberals to raise money, activate volunteers and threaten for the first time, Obama’s left flank. And so is a pixie-ish 50 year old former Hollywood producer who named her blog after her dog, and is taking what she calls “the next step in our evolution."

The campaign launched by Jane Hamsher, whose blog Firedoglake first came to national attention for obsessive coverage of the Valerie Plame investigation, is called, "One Voice for Choice," and uses the nifty online phone banking tools that helped power Obama's campaign to put a scare into House Democrats who voted to attach the anti-abortion Stupak Amendment to health care legislation.

Not surprisingly, there's a lot less to this insurrection than Politico suggests. What Jane is doing is encouraging people to call -- that's right, call -- folks like Harry Reid and tell him how unhappy they are. Oh and she is apparently supporting one primary challenger -- the perennial Jonathan Tasini, who is Kirsten Gillebrand's lesser lesser evil this year, as he was for Hillary Clinton a couple of years back.

This non-story somehow succeeded in exciting one of my lefty mailing-list comrades -- let's call him Min the Merciless. He's a comparatively well-known chap whose blog Owen used to read. Here's Min:

Jane mobilizes people, including their dollars, to pressure Members of Congress to vote for progressive positions. She actually gets involved at the specific vote level, fulfilling a function akin to the floor whips. The whips herd the cats to vote when they are supposed to. Or try to. Jane does that from outside using the Internet. She also organizes demos and was heavily involved in the effort to dump Lieberman.

At the moment she is mobilizing people to vote against health care reform unless it includes a public option -- a position I happen to disagree with, but pretty edgy as conventional politics goes.

Along with MoveOn, which has come out against the Afghanistan venture, it's the only game in town right now. Diddling on listservs really doesn't compare.

This effusion evoked some sniping, and Min testily responded:
Hmmm oh my yes, Jane should forsake her whirlwind of activism and join this mailing list. Then she would really be on the road to revolution.
Actually, though, I agree with Min: Jane should forsake her whirlwind of Democratic party activism and spend her time discussing fine points of Marxist theory on mailing lists. At least in that case she would be accomplishing nothing. But as long as she keeps encouraging people to expend their spirits in the Democratic Patrty's waste of shame, she's doing something actively harmful.

Comments (26)

So far as students are subject to the kind of intellectual quackery peddled by LBO-Talk-types (who are typically are academics or aspiring ones), I think quite a lot of harm is done in preventing effective activism. I.e., lefties as well as dembots have their methods to help keep the ruling class ruling.

Most Americans do not bother to think for themselves, but rather shop for opinions that either reinforce their existing prejudices, or otherwise comfort them in their ignorance. Centrist is a concept used by the liberal elite to marginalize authentic activists. Their access to resources used to promote this concept allows them to penetrate a broad swath of popular opinion.

The lineal spectrum analogy supporting the centrist position is just one of many conceptual fabrications describing society; another view is that liberalism and conservatism are two aspects of a synthetic culture, indigenous values forming the underlying authentic bedrock culture.

From the indigenous perspective, the values of dominant societies worldwide are shallow, even hollow. The hippie counterculture is a rejection of those values.


Was that "lust in action" reference to Willie boy or Jane?

Al Schumann:

The last time I ran across Firedoglake, Hamsher was appalled that Van Jones had been tossed under the bus. The FDL commenters shared her outrage. Stern warnings were issued. The veal pen was invoked. The time before that, Hamsher was glowering banefully at the Democratic big swinging dicks who made sure persistent activist groups got defunded, marginalized or both. Commenters, outrage, stern warnings, veal pen, etc.

Seeing her there with the swingingest of swinging dicks, the Veal Master himself, I'm confident the future holds an endless series of baneful glowers, stern warnings, shared outrage and giddy acclaim for her from people who see febrile busyness as efficacy and gassy outrage as the equivalent of the discipline imposed by floor whips.


My computer doesn't seem to be working - where is that MJS/OP column after "nice guy" Obama's West Point speech extolling what a nice guy he seems to be and will be and his nice guy and smart guy impressiveness.
Also, seems to be deleted - a promised anti- Richard Dawkins sermon, and a pro-climate denier, anti-peak oil, pro-Sarah Palin slavering of hero scribe Alexander Cockburn.
Come on, the appearance of those posts could bring back those heady, heady days of I am, TKT, and oh, yeah, the one and only van Mingo.



memory holing at SMBIVA ???

who doesn't get off doin that
for record

my take
ob's is a white hat emperor
if that's a nice guy fine by me

pro climate denying
i lack the science for that take
but i'm pro climate action
cause it socializes the energy sector de facto

peak oil
is a mentally lazy spawn of malthus think

the system will convulse
regardless of resource constraints

rd is not very deep
i read his tom paine like grapple with god and religion
not very profound

its as if the human mind had no
gordian knots no contradictions worth respecting
no horrors only magic tricks and mirrors haunted house gimmicks and the trill and scare show the jounrey on the figure eight track called the human condition
if one only uses our lockean verstand
while navigating thru it
has plenty of brightly lit exits
easy swinging doors and waiting escalators

as to the columns a and b
pro pailin and alex
i'll pick column A my sarah every time



"preventing effective activism"

really ???


the limits of the naughty by hamster-gal

the ole black joe and billy show


one of the least offensive
photo shop punkings
in american political hiistory

Al Schumann:

Peter, the quackery that gets peddled on the lefty behavioral sink listservs is harmless, as are the quacks themselves. Their potential for undermining activism is proportionate to the efficacy of the listserv in driving public debate.

The quacks can be very irritating and a disproportionate number of student subscribers wind up killing themselves in despair, when they realize the rest of society is a behavioral sink too, but tragic as that may be, it too has no damaging effect on efficient, efficacious activism.

Al Schumann:

mjosef, we've all tried to come up with an anti-Dawkins sermon. The problem for me is that his atheism theories disprove his socio-biology theories and his socio-biology disproves his atheism. I've been forced to conclude he doesn't exist. He's a self-negating meme. My conclusion is clearly wrong, however, as there's strong proof that he does exist. My theoretical chops desert me at that point.


Once again, OP comes though - the people's champ.
Others of the public leftist intellectual variety have shown to be enormously scared of any contrary views emanating to their own putative left.
Having been recently censored by Common Dreams for daring to question guru-worshipping ascetic Common Dreaming, I value a public leftist intellectual who actually publishes and responds to nihilist taunting.
1. It is not "fine" with me that we allow the new Emperor some designation of "nice" or "smart." It is absurd to do so - it is a major step in the devastation of the "progressive" movement to have its diversity figurehead turn out to be warmongerer capitalist par excellence.
2. RD is not profound to you, but the man's impressive public performance as Cantabridgian atheist outweighs feeble japery - if he's a new Tom Paine, then not too shabby.
3. In the spirit of gratitude, allow me to commend to you the only work of culture that shows who we are, where we are, where we've been - not some deepthink Pecksniffian novel or wormhole listserv, whatever the last is, but-
Real Housewives of Orange County.
On Bravo.
Beyond riveting - a stinking mound of real artificial crapola - the Truth.


i never visit political sites
that is my brother js
that toyed with the max factor site

i note
the use of the phrase
' road to revolution '
is a milt-cult "tell"

ahh the magic plate head
max has much to account for
each night
when he arrives at
his personal pinked up gates of ivory


"It is not "fine" with me that we allow the new Emperor some designation of "nice" or "smart.It is absurd to do so .."

because ...

".. it is a major step in the devastation of the "progressive" movement to have its diversity figurehead turn out to be warmongerer capitalist par excellence"
how is the truth anything but creative when its most distructive

if a nice guy raised to the imperial throne becomes "warmongerer capitalist par excellence"
whay could more clearly demonstrate the evil lies deeper buried then in
the mortal soul of the autocrat de jour

nothing about
our global system's moments
of either crisis or stability
changes the inevitability of class struggle
seriously impedes or or augments
the glorious when class tembors strike
and we ride together thru
an interval of effective fight back


Big Al -
So you've disproved atheism, eh? Neat trick.
Never seen it been done, but there you go.
Perhaps you could inform a man named David Eller - he might have a few thousand ways to disabuse you of your clerical certitude.

As for the meme and selfish genes and all that sociobiology, I'll leave to an alternate version of me who might have been roused to its cause as a professional student, but I'll confess a resolute disinterest. Yes, we were all once hunter-gatherers and gibbons and fish and protozoa not too many generations prior, and surely there's some genetic legacy there that explains the soap-opera watching guv Sarah Palin and my enduring fixation on prurient anatomy, but our ancestral past seems to be of little use as we enter our nightly black holes.
Those anti-Dawkins sermons? I haven't seen a glove laid on him yet.

Al Schumann:

mjosef, rereading what I wrote, I'm puzzled by your interpretation. I'm clerically that I haven't disproved atheism. If I did, somehow, than I apologize.



dawkins doesn't require refutation
i'm an atheist obviously
my objection is to his philistine take on religion as human constructions

as for selfish genes that is obviously silly
selfish requires a mind capable of awareness of self to justify the literal use of it
and as a loose figure i consider it
sub herb spenser gimmicking
not to mention
containing odious max stirneresque
off gases

Amen, op-san, sensei.

To hell with Dawkins and his "brights" talk. For better or worse, the 19th century is over, and ham-hands are hardly helping.

And Pete Ward, wassupwitchyou, boy? If I thought LBO was a problem and a hindrance, I'd be shopping for a bridge to dive off. Do you live above a hemp factory? Not to be harsh, but you rarely make much sense.

Bill really does look like a walking post-coital tool, don't he?

Kinda floppy, squinting, though still 3/4 tall, looking like he knows he just got his owner in even more trouble, but is also getting ready for a do-over...just wait an hour or two -- then bam!


It looks like this no-public-option bill last night may have just pushed her and a whole lot of others off the rez permanently. thetone in the pwogosphere today is pretty hard to distinguish from SMBIVA.

Based on a cursory review of FDL, Kos and a few other pwog strongholds, I'd say that over 95% of the reaction has been complete renunciation of the Democrats and Obama, as in:
-not voting for any democrats
-not donating to dems
-"we were suckered"
-"obama is a liar and a sham"
-"the democrats are a corporate-run sham"
-lesser of two evils arguments is bullshit

I'd say that those statements sum up the broad consensus. Obama seems to have compounded the disgust by spamming with requests for $25 to fight for healthcare this morning.

This Obama administration has been a real gift to SMBIVA. He brought all of these Kosniks into the fold, only to utterly betray them. After winning the presidency, the house and the senate, the Dems don't really have any excuse to screw over their base, since the need for majorities was the excuse that kept the kosniks loyal. Maybe the idea was to let them go after the bluedogs, but it seems to me that the majority of grassroots pwogs aren't actually falling for that ruse, and are basically finished with the dems at this point.


bob: I assume you are kidding, right? When 2012 rolls around, they will fall into line.

Michael Hureaux:

Shoot, most of them will be trying to convince us we need to maintain the "democratic" majority in the house and senate next year. I'm done. They never learn a fucking thing, and their stupidity is too contagious.


the dems have a new majority strategy
this "requires "
lots a indy voter ass licks
and statesman like center aisle party niceties

we are in for a real run
of responsible gubmint
the empire's core deserves no less

as to the piegold bent
left lower strata
of the job class
well where they gonna go after all
even the paleface ones
into the brown shirts ???


bk & mh:

Oh silly me, I forgot that the point of this blog was to bash lefties. Of course 99.5% of the left are complete and utter idiots that are incapable of understanding a blatant betrayal, how could I forget that? Of course all of those college students for whom this was their first serious political experience and first disillusionment "will never learn anything". In the future I will remember that the impure ones are worthless slime. Father a kosnik, son a bastard!

I'm thankful that op is here, a poster that is not sufficiently blind with pwog-rage to see that the Democrats are willingly severing their ties with the progressives, and are not expecting them to fall into line in 2012. If the commenters here could rein in their will-to-faction, you could probably have increased the readership of this blog tenfold yesterday by dropping a few SMBIVA links to the tired, huddled pwogs.

but it seems to me that the majority of grassroots pwogs aren't actually falling for that ruse, and are basically finished with the dems at this point.

You seem to have mistaken the purpose of the pwoggie blogs. The entire reason for their existence is to give lesser-evil crackpot-realist wackjobs a place to vent their frustrations after their political masters screw them over. Freeper blogs work much the same way, though with somewhat less success.

gosh, why not just go on and drop all perspective... if that will increase "readership by tenfold."

Gotta love those Big Tent Demotards who bitch about "purity mavens." Let's remember -- mollycoddle young "activists" with lies and fantasies so that they continue being "activists" with an agenda of futility and delusion.

Thanks, Bobbo!

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