Jane Hamsher’s Recycled Capslock Radicalism

by matttbastard

You want to know why the (dis)organized left has been a relatively ineffectual force in USian politics over most of the last 40 years? Check out so-called kill-biller netroots activist [sic] Jane Hamsher, who, in the course of her vain crusade to crush the Senate’s (admittedly flawed but better than, y’know, nothing, ie, the status quo) health insurance reform legislation, has decided that if you can’t beat the Teabaggers

 you might as well break out your own nutsack and…

well, you know the rest:

But in the very next breath, they will then promote statistics that say the tea parties are more popular than either the Democratic or the Republican party, and wonder if it’s an opportune time for a third party candidate. (From the “right,” of course, because who would take the “left” seriously.) At no time do the synapses firing in their brains make the connection that both the “lazy progressive bloggers” and the tea party activists are saying almost the exact same thing about the Senate bill.


There is an enormous, rising tide of populism that crosses party lines in objection to the Senate bill. We opposed the bank bailouts, the AIG bonuses, the lack of transparency about the Federal Reserve, “bailout” Ben Bernanke, and the way the Democrats have used their power to sell the country’s resources to secure their own personal advantage, just as the libertarians have. In fact, we’ve worked together with them to oppose these things. What we agree on: both parties are working against the interests of the public, the only difference is in the messaging.

Ok, so: We have an astroturfed right-wing social movement of sorts (almost singlehandedly keeping the polyester lobby and Lee Greenwood from starving) that, following a TOTALLY SPONTANEOUS RANT on CNBC from Rick Santelli, decided to utilize the angry-shouty bits of Saul Alinsky to get their ugly red state mugs on Hardball every fucking night for several months straight. And this is the (bipartisan) model that Hamsher apparently wants to emulate (nearly 8 weeks after the mission accomplished moment that was NY-23) because “the only difference [between wingnuts and progressives] is the messaging”?

John Cole caustically questions the logic at work here:

Really? Progressive bloggers are saying the same thing as the tea party activists? I really fucking missed out on all of the posts at Eschaton that Obama is a socialist. I haven’t seen Markos in his tree of liberty t-shirt yet. There is no telling what David Sirota might do or say, so I’ll give you that one.

Hey, at least this way Hamsher doesn’t have to actually read Rules for Radicals and fully invest in the long, hard goddamn work that is required to achieve meaningful, popular change in the current capitalist system; she can just watch old YouTubes of this past summer’s townhall chaos and crib the important (ie, angry-shouty) parts. Yes, this is how Hamsher defines ‘populism’: Hold your breath and stamp your feets until Tweety gives you facetime on MSNBC.

Look, I’m on record as stating that the nose-holder/kill-biller battle is, in the long run, a good thing for the left. No matter which side of the divide one falls on, the debate is being driven by progressives; the right’s obstruction-uber-alles strategy has so marginalized it over the past 12 months that the corporate gatekeepers of the 24 hr news cycle seem to have finally lost all interest (yeah, yeah, so the GOP is against [insert Democratic initiative] — tell us something we don’t already know). And, yes, the fact that we see so many progressives on talking head programs articulating the particulars behind the biggest progressive legislative initiative in 40 years (and, in the process, grabbing control of the Beltway narrative) is something to celebrate — even if the dialogue is at times heated.

But seriously. If Hamsher thinks the answer to filling the social movement vacuum on the left (and staking a firm leadership position in the process) is to set your capslock on STUN and start hammering out “YOU WORK FOR US!!1” until your keyboard breaks, well, she’ll find that there’s lots of room out in the wilderness with the rest of the reflexive, wild-eyed Obama bashers who have fizzled out with more heat than light. Let’s just hope she brought a sturdy pup tent and lots of pemmican for the duration — they don’t do wealth redistribution in Outer Wingnuttia, natch.

Recommend this post at Progressive Bloggers

6 thoughts on “Jane Hamsher’s Recycled Capslock Radicalism

  1. We’ve disagreed before (and you know I’ve never been a huge Hamsher fan ;)) You’ve probably just blocked the memory out. :P Anyway, I received a contrary reaction from another friend whose views normally hold little daylight from my own. Will be responding to that in a little bit.


  2. Sometimes you have shout loudest for people to hear and people are hearing Hamsher. The method may be madness but it’s a crazy that gets on the airwaves. The health bill may be be better than nothing but it is a punch to the jaw of progressives. The moderate right won the battles on the airwaves and the war on the ground. It will ever so hard to win anything for a long time because of this. While I don’t necessarily agree with all of Hamsher’s tactics, she at least is fighting to be heard while few progressives are doing much to shed light on the outcome of their own lassitude and willingness to compromise instead of do what’s best for a population badly in need of real reform.


  3. No. No. No. Mattt’s right, dammit. You don’t dance with frigging Grover Norquist to try to threaten *Bernie Sanders* and call it leverage from the *left.* She is a fucking self-aggrandizing wet sack of jerkass.

    And “better than nothing,” well fucking shit, there are *real people* who’re going to benefit from that, and there is. no. better. bill. that’s going to happen if they KILL this one. This is realpolitik. This is how things work. All that will happen from Hamster’s posturing is that *maybe* it’ll add enough weight to, indeed, kill the bill. And then what happens, hm?


    Mostly what’ll happen is, Hamster gets a bunch more hits and thus ad revenue, either way, on account of her strong anti-sellout/corporatist/conservative stand as demonstrated by going on Fox and Friends and hooking up with Grover “drown the government in a bathtub/best pals with Jack Abramoff” Norquist. Whee!!!



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