Put Down The Kool-Aid and Step Away From The Echo Chamber

January 7, 2011 at 8:26 PM (Uncategorized) (, , )

Many people on the left are angry today over the news that President Obama has named Bill Daley to be his next White House Chief of Staff. I have my own objections to him but that’s not what I want to talk about here.

What I want to talk about are the people defending the decision to hire Bill Daley.

If you didn’t watch Rachel Maddow last night (January 6), I highly recommend downloading the podcast and watching it. Starting at the 26:00 mark, she lays out an excellent explanation for why people are angry about the president hiring Bill Daley. Then she brings on Howard Dean, who does an excellent job defending the decision. Rachel practically lobbed a grenade at him near the end of the interview but I thought he handled it well.

Dean made a pretty good case for Daley, I thought. I’m a little calmer about it now, although I will never be happy about a goddamned Wall St banker in the office next door to the president. I have a very passionate and very personal hatred toward bankers. They and their pet politicians nearly destroyed the country and the economic cataclysm caused by their greed and stupidity cost me my job, my home, my health insurance, my credit rating and probably my entire goddamn future. Then I had to watch as the government gave them MY money to keep them from going bankrupt. So FUCK all bankers. And that’s not my only objection to the man.

Despite all that, I can see the president’s logic in choosing Daley for Chief of Staff, even if I don’t like the man. I can put my dislike aside – grudgingly. Like I said, Howard Dean made a strong case.

It’s a damned shame that Dean is one of a very rare few people using logic to make the case for Daley. Everyone else just seems to be doing some variation of this:

If it’s a day of the week that ends in -y, then liberals are ticked off about something the White House did.

That was just the opening sentence. A few paragraphs later, we come to this:

“Liberals cry.” Kind of sums it up.

I nearly closed the browser right there. Which would have been a shame, because it did finally go on to make very good points toward the end that might have changed a few minds. But first the author had to make sure to establish how stupid and whiny anybody is who disagrees with the president. Or with the author, which is probably the more important factor. What a way to waste a good argument.

There’s been a lot of that shit the last two days. Actually, there’s been a lot of that shit for the last two years.

President Obama has the classic problem of a centrist – by straddling the political fence between Democrats and Republicans, he irritates people on both sides, so he gets criticized by both sides. When people on the left object to something, there is a large clique of Obama cheerleaders who shout at them to sit down and be quiet.

These aren’t people who calmly argue the facts when they disagree, people like Howard Dean or Ezra Klein or Chris Hayes or a thousand brilliant people in the lefty blogosphere. The cheerleaders I’m talking about don’t care what the facts are. They just want everyone to sit down, drink the White House-flavored Kool-Aid and be quiet. It’s practically religious dogma. There is no God but Obama and Rahm Emanuel is his prophet.

As far as the cheerleading squad is concerned, anyone who questions anything the president does is either a whining idiot who just doesn’t get it or they’re trying to make a few extra dimes from their Google Adsense. And then they all follow each other on Twitter so they can retweet themselves saying so. All hail #p2.

Some people do go too far. Jane Hamsher and many of the bloggers at Firedoglake — Firebaggers, as they call themselves — jump up and down on the White House so often that I wonder whose side they’re on. There are others, including some that are probably just concern trolls from the right. It’s fine to criticize your own side when you disagree but some people just cannot drop it once it becomes a moot point. Some people are still going on about the Public Option.

Not everybody is like that. Not everybody who disagrees with the president is a compulsive whiner or has a chip on their shoulder or is a blogger looking to jack up page views. Many of us have serious questions and hold opinions that are not set in stone or written in blood. Some of us haven’t made up our minds yet. Many of us on the left who sometimes disagree with the president are reasonable people who will listen to a reasonable argument.

Many of us hated (and still hate) the insurance mandate without a public option, but reasonable people made a reasonable argument about why it is necessary and many of us listened.

Many of us hated the idea of giving in to the Republicans last month to extend Welfare for Millionaires when the economy still hasn’t recovered from the mess they created, but reasonable people made a reasonable argument about why the tax compromise was still a good deal for us and many of us listened.

Many of us hate the idea of the robber barons who are slowly killing our country getting one of their guys as White House Chief of Staff, but we’ll listen to anyone who wants to make a reasonable argument about it. If the Team Obama Cheerleading Squad can make that reasonable argument and help change some minds, that’s great.

But first they’ll have to set down the glass of Kool-Aid and step out of their echo chamber. It’s hard to hear what they’re saying in there.

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