First off, progressives can't or won't behave like Tea Partiers. Progressives are not the vanguard of a populist movement. We're a combination of the poor, the powerless, the discriminated against, on the one hand, and the highly educated, science-minded, secular-oriented, intelligentsia on the other. Throw in the unionized working class and you have the progressive movement. Most of our opinion leaders are from the intelligentsia-wing of the party. A very high percentage of progressive bloggers have advanced degrees. We're not about to take up pitchforks or start carrying firearms to political rallies, and we're too committed to reason to resort to lies and distortions as matter of strategy or policy.
Another problem, it seems to me, is that the progressive blogosphere arose as an opponent of both the media and the political establishments, and we seem ill-suited and incapable of forming a partnership with power. Policies we opposed under Bush, we still oppose under Obama. Perhaps, we're quieter in our criticisms, but we're unwilling to just get on board and support whatever the Democratic Party or the White House wants to do. That's not a bad thing, it's just something we need to acknowledge. Because we're different from conservatives, we can't be expected to behave like them.
If what we need is a true counter to the pull of the Tea Partiers, the progressive blogosphere isn't the right place to look.
But we can have a more productive relationship with the Establishment Left. It would start by getting clear where the line is between advocacy for issues and protecting our political position in Washington. We know we cannot afford to lose the presidential election in 2012. We could improve things considerably if we reserved our attacks on our own political leaders for areas where they at least have the freedom of acting otherwise. That would be a good start.
It would be a good start if the goal of so many professional progressive blogs with power and access and reach wasn't to fight the good fight but to get pageviews and raise money. And it's easier for them to do that when they are the outraged opposition where they can make a splash, not the loyal supporters that we need them to be. Peter Daou, Jane Hamsher, Glenn Greenwald, they're not in this business for a liberal majority, they're in this business to make money.
The liberal blogosphere has largely become as corrupt as the media they despise.