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October 21, 2005


Frankly, I think Sirota has had a little too much sarsapirilla out thar in ole' Montana. He seems to be on a rampage recently, trying to eat anyone in the Democratic party.

Someone once said, "Sirota's a boob". I couldn't agree more.


Testicle fight and absurd pretention aside, he manages to identify a situation where Dems are criticizing Republicans but offering scant new ideas of their own, and respond to it by -- criticizing Dems, and offering no new ideas of his own.

I more appreciate the path that writers on this site and elsewhere have taken, in developing their own specific policy proposals to fill the vacuum with substance rather than, well, hypocrisy. Or as they seem to say in Red States, B.S.

I'm glad you cleared up that about Sirota's former insider beltway self for me. I was always to lazy to check, but thought that he was a beltway guy, relocated to the West, and I'd hear him on Air America presented as though he was true blue red stater through and through. I wouldn't call it posing, but something about it got always got on my nerves. This is, of course no judgment on anything he writes or whatever, just that the packaging is overblown. To be authentic, well, you have to have the callouses on your hands to prove it (that's the way I see it anyhow when it comes to being the maverick voice or whatever the hell he's angling at).

I told you, greyhair. I wasn't kidding!

Yeah, according to this article, wd, Sirota's from Philly, and has spent most of his life among us "elitists" here on the East Coast. He moved to Montana in February, apparently to kick off this PLAN thing.

Interesting move. No mention of the fact that his wife works for Governor Schweitzer. I don't know whether that's what actually brought him to Montana, or whether he met her and married her since February, or whether she arrived with him and landed the job afterwards.

Interesting wikipedia entry on him, though.

This isn't the first time I've read a response to a Sirota post challenging the accuracy of parts of it.

Like quite a few in the lefty blogosphere, they'd do everyone a world of good if they'd stop beating their chests and expect DC to bow down to them. They don't want a relationship to influence elected Dems, or even a spirited debate with them. They want to be told how right they are. Even when they are right, they present themselves in a way where it's like you just can't work with them or satisfy them no matter what. My favorite is when some expected Barack Obama to reply to every comment in his first diary at dKos. I'd be horrified if he did so, since he's got to be making speeches on the Senate floor, voting on legislation, working on legislation, attending committee meetings, taking trips overseas, campaigning for other Dems, and spending time with his family.

To make it real clear, I'm not familiar enough with his writing to be critical, in fact I think I probably agree with him on most things I've heard him say over the radio. The only sticking point is the drastic reinvention. Now I don't mind reinvention, that and coincidence are probably the closest things I have to faith, but if you're gonna do it, fergodsakes be real about it. Don't misrepresent who you are because it fits with the philosophy you'd like to promote. Hell, you'd think Sirota might have learned the bad taste that leaves in people's mouths after five years of watching Bush make an ass of himself on the world stage.

"My favorite is when some expected Barack Obama to reply to every comment in his first diary at dKos."

Who was that, Newsie? Sounds hyperbolic; the comments I read complained that Obama responded to practically none of the criticisms of his first diary except to describe them as 'energetic'.

For me, one of the most irritating things about Obama's rhetoric is that he likes to claim, like Sirota, that he can speak for a real America that none of the rest of understand quite so well. He could be right, of course, but I have no way of evaluating his opinion of himself.

But I'm sure that out there in Red America, that's jest th' cowboy way. 'The Cowboy Way'! Hilarious, canny touch: David 'we need our own grover' Sirota. hmmm..

Of course he's right a lot of the time, but how hard is THAT these days? I never noticed him until he wrote an hysterical smear on Obama several months ago (called something like 'Lost Hope?'). It was a pointless and substance-less smear - yes, ignoring process completely - just like Rove might come up with. And mis/disinformation about Obama rippled around the net. Good idea. I knew he was an ass right then. Sorry to be mean.

I had this fairly long feel-like-a-jackass argument with a 'Vichy Dems' type over at M. Yglesias' blog, and I finally had to say to the guy - who was quite insulting to me, despite the fact that I'm probably more left than he is - almost point blank: this isn't about you. Sirotta-ism (such as it is) is essentially no better than Bushism or Reaganism: it's arbitrary (euphemised as 'individualistic') in the same way. The Imaginary Atomized American Personality, which manages to be everyone and no one at the same time. Aren't we sick of that yet? America made a big turn in 1980, and now we need to make another big turn, and it's most definitely and explicitly away from Reaganism - that is, cultural Reaganism. You're soaking in it!

I just gotta say I love our comments; you guys get it. Posing, "not about you," failure to get facts straight, mindlessly attacking fellow Dems, dismissal and/or ignorance of process...you guys pretty much hit all the points.

As several of you have observed, Sirota is often right in the basic points he's trying to make. My impression is that this happens most frequently when he's cleaning up his act for the larger and somewhat broader audience he gets when he's on the radio with Al Franken. And, of course, there's nothing unusual about his belief that he's got a solution to some large, overarching problem and he feels everyone should consider it.

I've just never understood the strange mix of blogosphere boosterism (It's not top-down! It's bottom-up!) and personal vitriol towards opponents (You're all losers! It's my way or the highway!). It's endemic among a certain sector of the lefty blogosphere, and tends to run frequently with that other seeming contradiction that says the liberal "netroots" can provide enough funding to win any and every race when they're asking for your money, but which complains that the netroots "aren't an ATM" when someone else asks.

I was talking about some of the comments in the original Obama diary. I exaggerated slightly, but there was an exchange to that effect. Please don't make me go through 800+ comments to find that one. Besides, a better example might be a sort of "no you come here" attitude towards elected Dems. There could be 20 stories on Google about a Dem doing something, but a flamethrower won't search for it... and think that if it's not on dKos, then, no Dem is doing anything.

I also get both concerned and annoyed when I see stuff like "Conyers is the only one who fights for us!" in a diary where Conyers and [insert other Democrat here] have co-sponsored legislation or requested an investigation. It doesn't do anyone any good to put one person up as savior, and it only serves to continue a meme that only certain Dems are fighting. It's also unfair to the conservative Dems who don't get the recognition when they do something that almost everyone thinks is the right thing, but who will get all the heated rhetoric and diatribes when they vote "the wrong way." Some Dems can do nothing wrong and others can do nothing right in some eyes.

I might suggest moving to Iowa rather than Montana. It's more likely a Presidential candidate would come to your house and listen carefully to what you have to say. Won't happen anywhere else (and it might not happen there, but the odds are better).

Sometimes I think the flamethrowers should be sent to live for a year to a country where nuance is actually understood and respected.

DemFromCT, I'm open to relocation. Where is that place?

any place that can produce this is on the list.

Newsie8200 wrote:
Besides, a better example might be a sort of "no you come here" attitude towards elected Dems. There could be 20 stories on Google about a Dem doing something, but a flamethrower won't search for it... and think that if it's not on dKos, then, no Dem is doing anything.

Man, as you know, that's one of my biggest pet peeves, the "where are the Dems, but don't expect me to look for them anywhere other than my crappy local television news as 5, 6 and 11!!!" crap. I think one could make an argument that the Dems have been too timid and too complacent in driving message, but the people who don't bother to think about the difficulties in getting the message out widely when you don't control any branch of governemtn aren't in a position to make that argument.

And when people who should know better, like Sirota, make those comments, I get really irritated.

My biggest complaint about Sirota isn't his reinventing himself as a Westerner, isn't his use of a scattergun on Dems, isn't his inaccuracies, isn't even his lack of understanding about (or inattention to) process - although those all combine to make his critiques laughable. What bugs me, as emptypockets notes, is that he criticizes the allegedly idea-less Dems yet "offer[s] no new ideas of his own" except a shapeless notion that it's all about Iraq, even though his posterboy for such an approach - Paul Hackett - has held at least four contradictory positions on Iraq in the past six months, four positions, one for every faction in the Democratic Party.

What bugs me most about the people (from lowly anonymous posters to high-profile bloggers) complaining about Dems "offering no new ideas" is that they don't seem to realize they're buying into and supporting a Republican meme. First off, there are plenty of "new ideas" on the Democratic side, and you don't even have to look hard to find them, http://democrats.org/agenda.html, for example, not to mention countless speeches and news releases. You can have a legitimate argument about whether they're doing enough to publicize them, or whether the news media aren't giving them a fair hearing, but if you just declare that the ideas don't exist, you're repeating GOP talking points.

Second, part of the reason why there are more "ideas" on the GOP side is that it doesn't much matter to them whether their ideas work. They'll keep banging on things like "abstinence-only education" long after it's been solidly proven to be a disaster, because their "ideas" are only about winning elections and pandering to constituents' misconceptions, not about effective government.

Third, on the flip side of that, in a lot of areas Democrats don't need "new ideas" because their old ideas work, Social Security being a prime example. It's an article of faith with Republicans that government doesn't work, regardless of any evidence to the contrary. When they attack a program that demonstratively does work with proposals to "reform" it, Democrats surrender half the battle if they respond with "reforms" of their own instead of saying "the question itself is wrong", or more simply, "if it ain't broke, don't fix it."

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