Thursday, September 27, 2007

Glenn Greenwald: Rippin' New Orifices

This time, his target is Diane Feinstein, a consistent supporter of Bush's agenda in her votes and rhetoric. Glenn notes that there's no reason she actually should be doing any of this, as she's in an incredibly safe Senatorial seat, and isn't standing for reelection anytime soon in any case. There's no "fear" or "spinelessness" here, because there's nothing to fear.

And, in its own way, that's the problem.

Glenn points out that the Republicans get along with their base, and will actually side with their base over the GOP establishment, as we saw with that dumb anti-Dubai furor a little while back. Meanwhile, the Dems loathe their base, as Glenn found out a ways back, and as digby consistently points out (with her most recent salvo being about all that MoveOn nonsense.)

Loathe, yes, but that's not the important thing, here. The question is whether they fear their base. I've hit on this before, but the biggest difference between the right-wing base and the left-wing base is that the right-wing base has a history of making life extremely difficult for Republicans who don't play ball, up to and including losing nomination battles and general elections. That is not the case with the left and the Dems: while the extra money is nice, and can even make a real difference, no Dem really has to worry about the "netroots" possibly causing them to lose their office. There's no reason to fear them, and without that fear, there will be no respect there.

Especially because, after all, there is something to fear in losing the favor of Washington as well. You can get by on an outsider campaign outside Washington, but while you're there, you need to get things done. If you lose favor, you're going to have a very hard time getting things done, and eventually it'll end up affecting your life, your job, and your chances of re-election or a soft landing outside of public life. This includes Feinstein; she may not fear for her chances of Re-election, but she certainly fears being ostracized by the community that is most important to her.

So, then, the question is "who do they fear more"? The Republicans fear their base more, and the Dems fear Washington more. The funny thing is that Washington is pretty forgiving about that aspect of the Republicans, because people in Washington understand that the Republicans are in that situation. It is, therefore, quite likely that people in Washington will understand if the Dems are in that situation as well, especially if those same members of the base have representatives and talking heads in Washington saying "we're right, they should go along with us, even if they didn't fear us", just like conservatives do.

So, yes, it comes back to the same ol' problem... that the progressives (if they MUST use that fearful word) need to make Dems fear for their jobs, and simultaneously get a real, unapologetically progressive presence in Washington. They've gotten a start, but more needs to be done, so that people like Feinstein know damned well who they should be fearing.

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