Wednesday, December 07, 2016

On the Subject of Listening to the People of the Land

In a former life, my span of responsibility was so weirdly far-flung  that when people asked me what I did for a living, I would tell them that I was in charge of saving Illinois manufacturing.  And while that's a wee bit of an exaggeration, it is entirely fair to say that working on every aspect of saving Illinois manufacturing took up most of my time and energy and the time, energy and budget of my tiny staff.

So believe me when I tell that even though I was involuntarily retired from the field of battle, my antennae is still highly attuned to items in the news about the struggles of the Rust Belt economy: outsourcing, manufacturing, skills training, the need to retool high schools and community colleges and the various federal, state and local policies and initiatives designed to get at these large and complex problems.

(Also every time the subject pops up within earshot, my darling wife pipes up with "Honey, they're talking about your stuff again!")

This is why I can tell you that this idea that "better messaging" to the white working class is somehow the royal road back to political majorities for the Democratic party is nonsense.  Sure, Democrats always need to work on speaking like mortal human beings and progressives in general suffer from an inexplicable inability to kill the fucking bunny even with all the claws and fangs at their disposal:

But messaging itself is not the problem.  The media is the problem.  And since, as the man said, the medium is the message, until we start taking on the media as Public Enemy #1, we're going to go right on losing.

This is shaping up to be a long post because sometimes I feel the need to drive a point home using a great big hammer, so if you want to scroll on down, be my guest.  But before you move along, my premise is fairly easy to summarize:
  1. For a variety if reasons, white working class Americans have been taking a pounding since the late 1970s.  And for a different variety of reasons, a disturbingly high number number of white working class Americans keep voting for the people that fuck them over.

  2. Judging by policy statements made, resources allocated, attention paid and political capitol spent, it's quite likely that history will judge the Obama Administration to have been the most consistently pro-manufacturing administration since Eisenhower.  In fact, outside of health care (and turkey pardons), I would wager a penny and a fiddle of gold that in the last eight years the Obama administration put more effort into promoting American manufacturing than into any other domestic policy priority.

  3. If you are a member of the general public, unless you made an extra special effort to inform yourself, you are blissfully unaware of any of this.

  4. If you are blissfully unaware of any of this, it is not because the Obama Administration failed to talk it up at every single opportunity, but because over the last eight years the American political media collectively decided that instead of boring-ass stories about what the Democratic party has been trying to do to improve the lives and futures of the working class Americans, what you needed to hear were lively fairy tales about Birth Certificates and Death Panels.  Email servers and Benghaaaazi.  A Republican rebranding scam called the "Tea Party".  Instead of stories about the Caucus Room Conspiracy and Republican sabotage and sedition, you needed to hear endlessly, plaintive cries from all the usual Beltway hacks about how Barack Obama was refusing to lead!
So, as the late, great Al Smith used to say, let's take a look at the record...

I have spent a couple of days going over hundreds of White House press releases, public statements, sections of each of President Obama's State of the Union addresses, etc. all on the subject of American manufacturing.  This is a small, representative sample from that gargantuan pile, with emphasis added by me as the spirit moves me.  

Remarks of President Barack Obama's address to Joint Session of Congress, Tuesday, February 24th, 2009 (one month after his inauguration.
That is what my economic agenda is designed to do, and that’s what I’d like to talk to you about tonight. 

It’s an agenda that begins with jobs. 

As soon as I took office, I asked this Congress to send me a recovery plan by President’s Day that would put people back to work and put money in their pockets.  Not because I believe in bigger government – I don’t.  Not because I’m not mindful of the massive debt we’ve inherited – I am.  I called for action because the failure to do so would have cost more jobs and caused more hardships.  In fact, a failure to act would have worsened our long-term deficit by assuring weak economic growth for years.  That’s why I pushed for quick action.  And tonight, I am grateful that this Congress delivered, and pleased to say that the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act is now law.   

Over the next two years, this plan will save or create 3.5 million jobs.  More than 90% of these jobs will be in the private sector – jobs rebuilding our roads and bridges; constructing wind turbines and solar panels; laying broadband and expanding mass transit.

Because of this plan, there are teachers who can now keep their jobs and educate our kids.  Health care professionals can continue caring for our sick.  There are 57 police officers who are still on the streets of Minneapolis tonight because this plan prevented the layoffs their department was about to make. 

Because of this plan, 95% of the working households in America will receive a tax cut – a tax cut that you will see in your paychecks beginning on April 1st.

Because of this plan, families who are struggling to pay tuition costs will receive a $2,500 tax credit for all four years of college.  And Americans who have lost their jobs in this recession will be able to receive extended unemployment benefits and continued health care coverage to help them weather this storm...
From "New Progress in a Resurgent American Manufacturing Sector" on October 06, 2016 -- Two months ago:
“Each year, hundreds of thousands of people observe this day by attending open houses, public tours, and career workshops.  As we mark 5 years since the first Manufacturing Day, we must inspire the next generation of workers and innovators to seek careers in manufacturing.  Let us continue working to strengthen and expand the manufacturing jobs of tomorrow and ensure that opportunity for all is something we can keep making in America for generations to come.” - President Obama, October 6, 2016

U.S. manufacturing is making a comeback, with more than 800,000 new jobs added since the sector turned the corner after the Great Recession in 2010. For the last four years in a row, global CEOs have named the United States the best place to make and invest, and new capital investment is flowing in to a broad range of manufacturing technologies.

Tomorrow, on the fifth-annual Manufacturing Day, we mark an Administration-long focus on the technologies and skills that are the foundation of the most dynamic manufacturing sector in the world. The President is proclaiming October 7 as National Manufacturing Day to celebrate Made in America and renew his commitment to this vibrant sector.

In support of Manufacturing Day, thousands of U.S. manufacturers are expected to host factory tours, hackathons, and career exploration panels, providing hands-on demonstrations of what 21st Century manufacturing looks like In addition to the more than 500,000 students and local organizations expected to participate...

From "A Call to Action to Celebrate the Manufacturing of Today and Tomorrow", August 8, 2016
“With ingenuity and a determined spirit, hardworking Americans are creating products and unlocking new technologies that will shape our Nation and grow our economy… On National Manufacturing Day, we celebrate all those who proudly stand behind our goods and services made in America, and we renew our commitment to winning the race for the jobs of tomorrow.”
-- President Obama, Manufacturing Day 2014 Proclamation

From "Manufacturing Relies on the Strengths of American Communities" -- October 29, 2015
Today, five years after we pulled our economy back from the brink of collapse, the heartbeat of American manufacturing continues to usher new products and new innovations to the marketplace — driving investments in new technologies that can provide the foundation for future U.S. leadership. In communities across the country, manufacturing firms are again growing and hiring, something thought impossible only a short while ago. Since February 2010, 865,000 new manufacturing jobs have been added – the first sustained job growth in the sector since the 1990s. And new manufacturing establishments have risen in the past two years, as manufacturing entrepreneurship unlocks new opportunities.  We need to build on this progress, and we have a long way to go.

Manufacturing, by definition, is local. We know the strength of America’s competitive edge lays in the talent and resilience of communities, where cutting edge factory floor production takes place, and where strategies for growing the next generation of American manufacturers take root. To help communities compete globally for manufacturing jobs and investment, the President launched the Investing in Manufacturing Communities Partnership (IMCP) – an initiative aimed offering national support for local manufacturing talent and economic development strategies being enacted by communities. By leveraging an arsenal of federal tools, IMCP strengthens the competitive edge of manufacturing communities — attracting global firms to locate their production in these communities, and improve the capacity of small manufacturers which power our domestic supply chains.

Despite early progress, we know that there is much more work to do to help communities rebuild and grow their local manufacturing capabilities to spur continued production and innovation. So last week the Department of Commerce and the White House brought together 11 federal agencies with over $1 billion in economic development funding, and more than 300 community leaders from across the country for the second annual IMCP Summit – to share best practices amongst the IMCP communities to continue their investments in targeted manufacturing sectors...

From "President Obama Launches Competition for New Textiles-Focused Manufacturing Innovation Institute; New White House Supply Chain Innovation Initiative; and Funding to Support Small Manufacturers" -- March 18, 2015
In Cleveland, Ohio, the President launches ninth manufacturing hub competition and announces measures to strengthen the small manufacturers that power America’s supply chains.

WASHINGTON, DC  – Today the President is announcing nearly $500 million in public-private investment to strengthen American manufacturing by investing in cutting-edge technologies through a new, textiles-focused manufacturing institute competition led by the Department of Defense, and by sharpening the capabilities of small manufacturers through Manufacturing Extension Partnership competitions in twelve states. The White House, as detailed in a new report, is also launching a Supply Chain Innovation Initiative focused on building public-private partnerships to strengthen the small U.S. manufacturers that anchor the nation’s supply chains.

The President’s Fiscal Year 2016 Budget, to create jobs and strengthen America’s leadership in advanced manufacturing technology, provides the resources to double the number of manufacturing innovation institutes nationwide to 16 by the end of 2016 and fulfills the President’s goal of building a network of up to 45 institutes over the decade. In contrast, the House Republican Budget released yesterday entrenches the harmful sequester levels of funding and proposes to eliminate the Manufacturing Extension Partnership, putting at risk critical investments in advanced manufacturing, workforce development and training, and innovation proposed in the President’s Budget.

After a decade of decline in the 2000s when 40 percent of all large factories closed their doors, American manufacturing is adding jobs at its fastest rate in decades, with 877,000 new manufacturing jobs created since February 2010. Ohio alone has added nearly 70,000 manufacturing jobs over that period. Manufacturing production is up by almost a third since the recession and the number of factories manufacturing across the United States is growing for the first time since the 1990s...

From "We Can’t Wait: Obama Administration Announces New Public-Private Partnership to Support" -- August 16, 2012
Consortium of Businesses, Universities, and Community Colleges from Ohio, West Virginia and Pennsylvania Co-Invest with Federal Government in a Manufacturing Innovation Institute

 WASHINGTON, DC – Following through on our We Can’t Wait efforts, the Obama Administration today announced the launch of a new public-private institute for manufacturing innovation in Youngstown, Ohio as part of its ongoing efforts to help revitalize American manufacturing and encourage companies to invest in the United States.  This new partnership, the National Additive Manufacturing Innovation Institute (NAMII), was selected through a competitive process, led by the Department of Defense, to award an initial $30 million in federal funding, matched by $40 million from the winning consortium, which includes manufacturing firms, universities, community colleges, and non-profit organizations from the Ohio-Pennsylvania-West Virginia ‘Tech Belt.’ 

 In order to create an economy built to last, America needs to make more things the rest of the world wants to buy.  After losing millions of good manufacturing jobs in the years before and during the deep recession, the economy has added over 530,000 manufacturing jobs since February 2010 —the strongest growth for any 30 month period since 1989.Companies are also increasingly choosing to invest in the U.S. and bring jobs back.  While there’s more work to be done, steps like today’s announcement build on this momentum.

 “I’m pleased that we are taking steps to strengthen American manufacturing by launching a new manufacturing institute in Ohio,” said President Obama. “This institute will help make sure that the manufacturing jobs of tomorrow take root not in places like China or India, but right here in the United States of America.  That’s how we’ll put more people back to work and build an economy that lasts.” 

 On March 9, 2012, President Obama announced his plan to invest $1 billion to catalyze a national network of up to 15 manufacturing innovation institutes around the country that would serve as regional hubs of manufacturing excellence that will help to make our manufacturers more competitive and encourage investment in the United States.  The President called on Congress to act on this proposal and create the National Network of Manufacturing Innovation (NNMI). 
"President Obama Launches Advanced Manufacturing Partnership" --  June 24, 2011
Today, at Carnegie Mellon University, President Obama launched the Advanced Manufacturing Partnership (AMP), a national effort bringing together industry, universities, and the federal government to invest in the emerging technologies that will create high quality manufacturing jobs and enhance our global competitiveness.  Investing in technologies, such as information technology, biotechnology, and nanotechnology, will support the creation of good jobs by helping U.S. manufacturers reduce costs, improve quality, and accelerate product development.

White House announces the Office of Manufacturing Policy -- December 11, 2011
President Obama Names Commerce Secretary John Bryson, NEC Chair Gene Sperling as Co-Chairs of White House Office of Manufacturing Policy. 
WASHINGTON - President Obama today announced that Secretary John Bryson would join National Economic Council Director Gene Sperling as co-chair of the White House Office of Manufacturing Policy.  The Office of Manufacturing Policy is part of the National Economic Council in the White House and works across federal government agencies to coordinate the execution of manufacturing programs and the development of manufacturing policy. 
“At this make or break time for the middle class and our economy, we need a strong manufacturing sector that will put Americans back to work making products stamped with three proud words: Made in America,” said President Obama.  “I am grateful that Secretary Bryson and Gene Sperling will head up this office to continue our efforts to revitalize this great American industry and fight for American workers and jobs.”...

From "Another Step for American Manufacturing" -- August 11, 2010
Summary: Before signing the Manufacturing Enhancement Act, the President takes a step back to talk about his vision and commitment to American manufacturing. 
Before signing the Manufacturing Enhancement Act, the President took a step back to talk about his vision and commitment to American manufacturing.  That commitment has helped manufacturing become one of the surprisingly bright spots of the economic recovery.  A sector that lost 3,864,000 between 2000 and 2008 has turned around and gained 183,000 jobs so far this year...

From "President Obama Announces Two New Public-Private Manufacturing Innovation Institutes and Launches the First of Four New Manufacturing Innovation Institute Competitions" -- February 25, 2014:
A Detroit-area based consortium of 60 companies, nonprofits, and universities and a Chicago based consortium of 73 companies, nonprofits, and universities are partnering with the federal government to launch two new manufacturing innovation hubs. The first new manufacturing innovation institute competition this year is launching today, one of four the Administration has committed to launching this year.
From Remarks by the President in State of the Union Address -- January 24, 2012
Tonight, I want to speak about how we move forward, and lay out a blueprint for an economy that’s built to last -– an economy built on American manufacturing, American energy, skills for American workers, and a renewal of American values.

Now, this blueprint begins with American manufacturing.

On the day I took office, our auto industry was on the verge of collapse.  Some even said we should let it die.  With a million jobs at stake, I refused to let that happen.  In exchange for help, we demanded responsibility.  We got workers and automakers to settle their differences.  We got the industry to retool and restructure.  Today, General Motors is back on top as the world’s number-one automaker.  (Applause.)  Chrysler has grown faster in the U.S. than any major car company.  Ford is investing billions in U.S. plants and factories.  And together, the entire industry added nearly 160,000 jobs.   
We bet on American workers.  We bet on American ingenuity.  And tonight, the American auto industry is back.  (Applause.)  

What’s happening in Detroit can happen in other industries.  It can happen in Cleveland and Pittsburgh and Raleigh.  We can’t bring every job back that’s left our shore.  But right now, it’s getting more expensive to do business in places like China.  Meanwhile, America is more productive.  A few weeks ago, the CEO of Master Lock told me that it now makes business sense for him to bring jobs back home.  (Applause.)  Today, for the first time in 15 years, Master Lock’s unionized plant in Milwaukee is running at full capacity.  (Applause.)  

So we have a huge opportunity, at this moment, to bring manufacturing back.  But we have to seize it.  Tonight, my message to business leaders is simple:  Ask yourselves what you can do to bring jobs back to your country, and your country will do everything we can to help you succeed. 

I want every American looking for work to have the same opportunity as Jackie did.  Join me in a national commitment to train 2 million Americans with skills that will lead directly to a job.  (Applause.)  My administration has already lined up more companies that want to help.  Model partnerships between businesses like Siemens and community colleges in places like Charlotte, and Orlando, and Louisville are up and running.  Now you need to give more community colleges the resources they need to become community career centers -– places that teach people skills that businesses are looking for right now, from data management to high-tech manufacturing.

From "President Obama Awards $2.3 Billion for New Clean-Tech Manufacturing Jobs" -- January 08, 2010
Recovery Act Tax Credits to Enable More Than $7 Billion in New Manufacturing Projects and Create Tens of Thousands of Jobs 
WASHINGTON – Today at the White House, President Obama announced the award of $2.3 billion in Recovery Act Advanced Energy Manufacturing Tax Credits for clean energy manufacturing projects across the United States.   One hundred eighty three projects in 43 states will create tens of thousands of high quality clean energy jobs and the domestic manufacturing of advanced clean energy technologies including solar, wind and efficiency and energy management technologies.  
As part of the Recovery Act, these tax credits are focused on putting Americans back to work by building a robust domestic manufacturing capacity to supply clean and renewable energy projects with American made parts and equipment.  These credits are also an important step towards meeting the President’s goal of doubling the amount of renewable energy the country uses in the next three years with wind turbines and solar panels built right here in the United States. 
President Obama Speaks on Manufacturing in Ohio -- November 14, 2013
Summary: President Obama speaks at a steel factory that has become a global leader in producing the advanced high-strength steel that automakers are demanding for newer, more fuel efficient cars and trucks.

Today, President Obama spoke at ArcelorMittal’s steel factory in Cleveland, Ohio. ArcelorMittal is the largest supplier of steel to the U.S. auto manufacturing sector. 

But just a few years ago, President Obama said, the economy was in free fall and the auto industry was on the brink of collapse. That meant demand for steel had dried up. Nearly 1,200 steelworkers were furloughed from the factory.

Shortly after taking office, President Obama stepped in to give the auto industry the temporary helped in needed to start growing again. “We rolled up our sleeves, we made some tough choices,” he said. “We rescued and retooled the American auto industry; it saved more than a million jobs.”

We bet on American ingenuity and American workers. And assembly lines started humming again, and automakers started to make cars again. And just a few months after this plant shut down, your plant manager got the call: Fire those furnaces back up, get those workers back on the job. And over the last four years, you’ve made yourselves one of the most productive steel mills not just in America, but in the world.

Today, ArcelorMittal’s Cleveland plant is a global leader in producing the advanced high-strength steel that automakers are demanding for newer, more fuel efficient cars and trucks...
 +    +    +    +    +

There are hundreds more examples.  Hundreds and hundreds.  So ask yourself why you never even heard about Obama Administration policies actually saving of 1,200 jobs at ArcelorMittal in Cleveland, but you can't escape the deafening roar from Il Douche's smoke-and-mirror-and-seven-million-tax-dollar Carrier scam?  (from the Washington Post):
He ‘lied his a– off': Carrier union leader on Trump’s big deal
And while you are asking yourself things, by way of contrast, ask yourself, hey, what the Hell was the Republican Party doing to ease the fears and burdens of working class Americans during this time of crisis when working class Americans needed them most?

Here are a few samples to jog your memory...

From The New Yorker, January 7, 2014
If you think Tuesday’s vote in the Senate to extend unemployment benefits means that Washington has finally come to its senses, think again.
From One Wisconsin Now, November 28, 2010
Republicans Hold Benefits Hostage for Working Families to Give Millionaires, Billionaires $100,000 Unpaid Gift 
GOP Wishes 43,700 Wisconsin Workers a ‘Happy Holidays’ End to Unemployment Benefits 
MADISON, Wis. -- Wisconsin’s three incoming Republican Congressional legislators have remained silent while GOP congressional leadership holds aid for 43,700 unemployed Wisconsinites hostage in order to secure passage of the Bush tax breaks for millionaires and billionaires...
From The Christian Science Monitor, December 1, 2010:
Unemployment benefits: not until Bush tax cuts pass, Senate GOP says 
Senate Republicans pledge not to take up any issues, including extending unemployment benefits, until the Bush tax cuts and federal spending bills are sorted out...
From The Atlantic, October 16, 2013
Republicans Shut Down the Government for Nothing 
After two weeks of closed government and a debt-limit freakout, a deal is on the horizon—and the GOP has little to show for the crisis caused by its demands...
And remember how many of the the Very Serious Conservatives who loudly backed Bush's Iraqi Debacle until the wheels came off and exploded, were the very same Very Serious Conservatives who opined so-very-sadly that the glitchy initial rollout of the Affordable Care website was actually pretty much the end of the American experiment in self-government as we had known it?
The Legitimacy Problem 
David Brooks DEC. 23, 2013 
It’s pretty clear that the implementation of Obamacare will set the tone for how Americans think about government for years to come. There are two large questions to be settled, which you might call the questions of competence and coercion...

Then, of course, there was GOP's overarching strategy of unremitting, lockstep sabotage and obstruction which they backed up by constantly, constantly, constantly lying about it:

Ask a Trumpshirt if they remember any of this at all and they'll give you a dirty look, followed by a dozen "Yeah, but what about..."s, each of which will also be bullshit.  Then they will scamper away, because they have literally been conditioned by years of hate radio and Fox News and the Breitbart Collective not to remember anything from The Big Scary Past that is ideologically inconvenient.

In other words, if a dirty Libtard says it, it ain't true, and anyone who says anything I disagree with is obviously a dirty Libtard.  QED.

Then ask an "undecided" or an "independent" or an "I just hadda vote for Trump because..." friend if they remember any of this, and I guarantee you will get a squinty, faraway look as if they're trying to recollect some obscure fact about the Wendish Crusade of 1147, which had been imparted to them by a forgettable history teacher 40 years ago.   Sure, some of this might ring a tiny bell, but inside their heads what will be ringing a much louder bell -- an iron bell the size of fucking Ceres which drowns out all your little, Liberal tintinnabulations -- are years and year and years of the Very Serious People in Americas finest newspapers and cable teevee shows telling them over and over and over and over again that all of this shit is the fault of Both Sides, so by God why not vote for an "outsider" who will disrupt the Corrupt Duopoly!

Meet the Press
The hustlers, hucksters, hacks, and cowards who helped elect Donald Trump

For CNN, Trumpland’s been an entire off-the-shelf business model. Their president, Jeff Zucker, was the executive who green-lighted “The Apprentice” while head of NBC Entertainment. He’s a cocktail-party pal with Donald, and has been accused by Huffington Post and BuzzFeed founder Ken Lerer, who knows the media business inside and out, of turning the Trump campaign into the very backbone of their 2016 brand as “a strategy, a programming strategy.”
It’s certainly not, for the Cable News Network, a news story in any recognizable sense, which would imply some sort of responsibility to inform. How could CNN possibly do that after hiring Corey Lewandowski to comment upon a man, Donald Trump, whose emoluments he still received, and who was under a binding legal agreement never to inform the public of anything disparaging about him?
So where are we now? At the razor’s edge. The Trump transition has put in stark relief the very foundations of the profession of journalism in modern America—whose fundamental canon is that there are two legitimate sides to every story, occasionally more, but never less. In a political campaign, they are structured on an iron axis. The Democratic side. The Republican side. Any critical attempt to weigh the utterances of one as more dangerous than the other is, by definition, the worst conceivable professional sin.
Then, the picture that results is presumed to map social reality on a one-to-one basis.
Thus, the crisis. “It is difficult to get a man to understand something, when his salary depends on his not understanding it,” as Upton Sinclair once observed. But by now, the conventional operation has been yielding distortions so palpable that even some mainstream professional journalists and editors are starting to understand it.
But sometimes, they have not.
It’s been a 50-50 sort of thing—and this is the hinge moment I suspect historians will bore down upon with particular intensity some decades hence...

The point-of-attack for the battle to come must be the "hustlers, hucksters, hacks, and cowards" of the Beltway media itself.

With them running interference for the American Fascist Party the GOP cannot lose.

Without them using the power of the press to smother democracy and honest debate with waves of Both Siderist white noise, the GOP cannot survive.

UPDATE:  So what about Hillary?  Glad you asked.

From The Atlantic:
The Dangerous Myth That Hillary Clinton Ignored the Working Class

In the days after her shocking loss, Democrats complained that Clinton had no jobs agenda. A widely shared essay in The Nation blamed Clinton's "neoliberalism" for abandoning the voters who swung the election. “I come from the white working class,” Bernie Sanders said on CBS This Morning, “and I am deeply humiliated that the Democratic Party cannot talk to where I came from." 
But here is the troubling reality for civically minded liberals looking to justify their preferred strategies: Hillary Clinton talked about the working class, middle class jobs, and the dignity of work constantly. And she still lost.

She detailed plans to help coal miners and steel workers. She had decades of ideas to help parents, particularly working moms, and their children. She had plans to help young men who were getting out of prison and old men who were getting into new careers. She talked about the dignity of manufacturing jobs, the promise of clean-energy jobs, and the Obama administration’s record of creating private-sector jobs for a record-breaking number of consecutive months. She said the word “job” more in the Democratic National Convention speech than Trump did in the RNC acceptance speech; she mentioned the word  “jobs” more during the first presidential debate than Trump did. She offered the most comprehensively progressive economic platform of any presidential candidate in history—one specifically tailored to an economy powered by an educated workforce...

Behold, a Tip Jar!


Unknown said...

Nice. Someone did some homework on this one. Thanks, DG.

John said...

Here's the problem. It's narratological.

The most pleasing narratives are inherently right-wing. The feature a clear individual hero fighting against some horrible, uncanny evil.

That sort of individualist narrative does not fit into the more collective and complex analysis required by leftist politics.

Ian said...

I'm new to driftglass, I found this place shortly after the election. Thank you for the articles, especially this one. I find the writing here to be extremely informed and enjoyable. Thank you.

driftglass said...


Just needs a good storyteller.

For example this short story about a scourge of the selfish and cruel who was a champion of the poor and dispossessed is short, snappy and very memorable :-)

"For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life."

John said...

Sadly, driftglass, good story-tellers are rare.

dinthebeast said...

Thank you for this. I kinda knew this stuff happened, but didn't have it in my hip pocket to pull out when faced with yet another "Democrats lost because they have ignored the white working class" call to water down our platform and stop being so shrill to the bigots (who hate us and will never, ever vote for our candidates) wave of bullshit that seems to be all the rage in "conventional wisdom" circles these days.
Someone should be paying you a lot of money to do this, and if I had it, that someone would be me.

-Doug in Oakland

John said...

Actually, I like the part where the shepherds are the first to hear. The people off in the hills taking care of the flocks were the lowest of the low--poor hillbillies who had to do lonely and tedious work--not the rich city slickers in town, and the child they heard of was born in a stable and placed in a feeding trough:

"And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid. And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord. And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger. And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying,Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men."

Robt said...

DG goes long with a hail mary.

For the first year of Obama Adm and Congress. I almost thought George Carlin might be wrong. maybe I am in the CLUB.

Only to be told I wasn't.

Something I take away from this besides the media and and white people who hate Government wanting that Government to take care of them. Real rugged individuals, eh?
Lord knows, Texas threatened to secede especially after Obama's invasion of jade Helm.
I they could only secede. Who would take care of them? You think Tom Delay is going to pay taxes to pave a road in texas?

As for jobs,
The republicans voted for "Fast Track" for the Muslim dictator Obama. But could not trust to hear out his nominee for SCOTUS.

But what I am taking the long way around to get at.
That in which so many do not understand things of their Government.
Why doesn't Obama just close GITMO and move those remaining prisoners???
What a damn Cheney Conservative for not doing it.

But how does Obama acquire the funding for it?

Not many folks think this stuff through and the press assume people will just follow the money and its origin 9or death).

When they werre so loud about Obama spending us into an $18 trillion debt (all of a sudden). They never asked who appropriated that money to be spent?

This is a big problem for understanding votes to congress and what a president can be held accounted on or not.
When the House GOP shut down Gov't over high debt and low revenue. They wanted tax cuts that lowered revenue to pay prior debt. i knew and still know far to many adults that do not, can not grasp any of this.
They just are told who to blame and do so.

duquesne_pdx said...

@keith gargus "Someone did some homework on this one."

More like someone researched and wrote a goddamn thesis.

DG does things like this for us so that we can have a few arrows in our quiver when we run into a proponent of reel murrica, we might be able to get a few shots off. Unfortunately, most of those assholes merely say, "TOO MUCH WORDS!" and generally start repeating "EMAILS! BENGHAZI! CLINTON FOUNDATION! BOTH SIDES!" while running away.

This is not to say that we don't appreciate the effort, DG. Keep fighting the good fight, and if it all starts looking like windmills, well maybe they need to be fought. They might actually be giants after all.

trgahan said...

The "better messaging" cry also ignores the 2.5 million and counting more votes Hillary did get and deflects the reality that the "message" white working class wanted wasn't economic was for the enforcement of a specific social order.

The right's successful branding of all media as "liberal" while they took it over is more responsible for Trump than Democrats foibles. Right now, media people are more scared about being branded "liberal," than a liar, a hack, and/or stupid. And there is no penalty for being a blatant conservative operative pretending to be a journalist.

So please tell me how we message past that?

bowtiejack said...

As our host has so thoroughly documented over lo these many years this Frankenstein voter monster did not just happen, it was created by the right for its nefarious purposes over the last 40 years using talk radio, cheating, lying, gerrymandering, voter suppression, dirty tricks, venality (h/t to DFB), and general thuggery.

Yes people, including white working class voters are upset. Richard Wolff has nicely laid out though what he thinks are the real underlying forces: it's not that people wanted Trump, they wanted change (as they did with Obama in 2008).

But now a psychopath, a cunning psychopath, has grabbed the wheel like a drunk teenager and taken over the right’s operation.
I ran Robert Hare's PPL-R Checklist on him (it's the gold standard for ID-ing psychopaths - you can google it).
Max score is 40, anything over 30 is a psychopath. Trump CLEARLY scores in at least the low 30's.

A psychopath incidentally is a person without a conscience, who is incapable of empathy or experiencing emotions (shame, regret, etc.) as normal people do or caring about others.
Anger and rage are the only emotions psychopaths do. Remind you of anybody?
We are in deep trouble.

Interestingly, when I tell people Trump is a psychopath, they really don’t want to hear it and (like climate change deniers) simply turn off.
Read any of these articles and make up your own mind:

Donald Trump: A True Narcissistic Sociopath

This guy writes extensively on narcissism and psychopathy and watched 600 HOURS of Trump tapes.

The real problem I think we are facing is not getting white working class voters for the 2010 election.
The real problem is that Trump is not the only psychopath out there.
A LOT of successful psychopaths (think banking, corporations, plutocrats and the worst boss you ever had) now see him threatening their interests with his craziness. They're not going to try to woo white working class voters. They are going to protect their interests and will literally stop at nothing to do that.
Things could get really dicey.

There's an old African adage to the effect that when elephants fight, the grass better watch out.

John said...

Oh, and the reason the kid was born in a stable was because his parents were being forced by an oppressive, distant oligarchy back to where there families came from to get on a registry (a census).

Tanbark said...

something we shouldn't forget, is that a young, relatively unknown black man, with a name perilously close to "Osama", in 2008, won the presidency in a REAL landslide, doubling John McCain's electoral vote.
(Unfortunately, that's the only one that really counts…)

He did it by running on policies of real change: Single Payer health care, support for Unions, more regulation on the crony capitalism that is now about to run hog-ass-wild…
Short of it: "By, For, and Of…"

He ran as a real progressive, not some republican-lite, shouting "WE SUCK LESS!"

That message should not be lost in all of the finger-pointing about the recent disaster.

Unknown said...

Excellent analysis.

Davis said...

Both liberals and conservatives hate CNN, so they must be doing something right (they tell themselves).

sligowoman said...

Liberals just do not have an effective platform , and anyway I think things have reached the point where no one is listening any more.
The online forums are swamps , Breitbart etc. full of fake news and robots in Eastern Europe retweeting to cause " trends" , our information highways are turned against us - a raging virus in our system infecting our very cells -how does one eradicate that ?
We are at nuclear level of disinformation and blatant lies - mostly from our President Elect ! When our leaders are called on this = Paul Ryan - the answer is " that is not my concern " !
DG is right , Democrats will never get taken seriously by the TV media , but we still need TV or radio to get the TRUTH out and get the MESSAGE out.
we need a channel called , " NEWS FOR THE 99% " and I vote for DG to be in charge of it .

Betty Cracker said...

Excellent post. Thank you!

Tanbark said...

We COULD have an effective platform, but it takes some political courage, and a candidate who can convincingly put if forth, without the undeniable ties to the corporate shits that have taken over our media and our culture.

Mike Lumish said...

@trgahan Your points are well taken, but nothing about this is new. All this nonsense about "Progressives" dates back to the eighties, when the Republicans succeeded in demonizing that good old word "Liberal" to the point that people threw up their hands and gave a collective sigh of "Fine! Have it your way." The end result is that these words don't mean much if anything anymore. When you come across liberal/left/progressive/populist/radical you have to pay attention to pick up the author's intent from the context.

@Tanbark Oh, blow me. Obama won in a landslide because the entire country was sick and disgusted by the disaster of Bush implementing standard Republican policies. Obama's policy proposals were virtually indistinguishable from Clinton's, as both were mainstream Democrats - in 2008, everybody knew this and nomination was decided on matters of style and taste rather that substantive policy differences.

Clinton 2016 ran to the left of Obama 2016 in every way that matters, which she was free to do because of Obama's successes. The fact that she was denied the Presidency by a razor thin margin in the electoral college has more to do with the electorate's attention span than with any self adulatory "Republican Lite" nonsense and it's certainly no excuse to put chronic Democrat haters in charge of the Democratic Party. Those guys have been blowing elections in expectation of some ensuing rapture for my entire adult life, and I am heartily tired of their counter productive disruptor tactics.

As to your specific point, Obama ran on health care reform and he implemented the only major health care reform in half a century. You may misremember him as running on Single Payer, because that is the ardent desire of yourself and your little gang, but that was never on the table. You can look it up! The factual record is clear. No matter how well you have internalized Karl Rove's methods, your persistent little disinformation campaign will never succeed in turning your preferred lies into reality.

keris said...

Ima gonna use some of this in my letters to editors campaign. Thanks! and will hit the tip jar

duquesne_pdx said...

"He ran as a real progressive, not some republican-lite, shouting "WE SUCK LESS!"

"That message should not be lost in all of the finger-pointing about the recent disaster."

Oh, you precious little snowflake. You really believe that there's no difference. You really believe that the second highest number of votes received by a candidate in history means that her message was crap, and that if she was a REAL liberal/progressive/whatever, she would have won. That if she really believed in sparkling unicorns and candyland, she could have overcome the misogyny and racism plugged by the fascist oompa loompa.

I remember a whole fountain of shit called "EMAILS EMAILS EMAILS" and not a whole lot of policy discussion. I recall a constant stream of BOTH SIDES! and SHE'S CORRUPT with no basis in reality. I remember people who should have been trying to extinguish the chances of the obviously incompentent and horrifying fascist standing over on the side talking shit about how Clinton was in bed with Wall St.

I saw Clinton lose the election because of 3rd party voters.

Fuck you and the sparkling unicorn you rode in on, you useless waste of oxygen. Go party with the fascists that you helped unleash on this country. The deaths of the people that are going to lose their health insurance shortly are on your head.

Go away, the adults are trying to talk, you petulant child.

Tanbark said...

No, I don't want to blow you, but I will take the time to point out your nonsense.

In 2002, Hillary Clinton voted for "Operation Enduring clusterfuck" the worst foreign policy decision in our history. At the same time, 21 democratic Senators had the intelligence and courage to vote against it.
She didn't decide to start eating that vote until she saw how much it was hurting her chances for the democratic nomination in 2008.

Hillary's ties to Wall Street are numerous and indisputable.
That Donald Trump, the archetype fatcat, was able to make political hay out of talking about them is, sadly, now a fact.

In 2008, the IRS was suing the United Bank of Switzerland, one of the biggest financial entities in the world, for information about 54,000 accounts held there by wealthy Americans. Just after Clinton was confirmed in 2009, she responded to UBS's pleas for help by leaning on the IRS. Two things happened:

The IRS dropped their request for information to 4,000 people, and and Bill began collecting a million and a half dollars in speaking fees from UBS.

How republican can you get?

Internalized Karl Rove's methods?

This from someone whom, if Hillary walked out on the stage wearing an SS pantsuit, you'd prattle about how good she looks in black.

Have you forgotten: "Hard working white people won't vote for Barak Obama."?

How about, when Obama had the nomination locked up:

Hillary: "I can't get out now, look what happened to Robert Kennedy."

Did you not see, in her campaign in 2008, the clip of her praising John McCain, while she dissed Obama?

Would you like to discuss why, in the 2008 primary campaign, the National Organization for Women
turned their backs on her and endorsed Obama?

She and Bill used foundation money to pay Chelsea a juicy salary and to pay for her lavish wedding. Their foundation has done some good things, in obtaining access to medicines for third-world countries to fight HIV, but they have used the funds for personal purposes, too.

I'm not arguing that Trump isn't worse, but just like I posted up-thread:

"We suck less!" doesn't work any more.

BTW, last count, I think Trump managed a bit more than a "razor thin" victory in the electoral vote.

Tanbark said...

Ahhh…dear Duquense…another thoughtful, cogent, republican-lite Hillary supporter.

Did you read the news today? How she's holding a great big posh dinner for all of her fatcat donors? Some of the not-quite-so-fat cats are upset.

And in my little snowflake way, I'd like to point out that it's your beloved little "centrist" who just engineered the worst defeat for progressives in our history. I don't think even Reagan didn't come in with the chance to nominate 4 SCOTUS justices. That is on her, and your, bar tab.

who? said...

Another analysis of Trumpism that tips the hat to racism as part of Trumps rise but looks a bit deeper. There seems to be an emphasis on policy over identity:

Tanbark said...

Duke, I think you're right about one thing:

She did lose the election because of third party voters…

The same ones that helped that black guy kick GOP ass so hard they had to take off their shirts to shit.


driftglass said...

Funny how a post about the media's catastrophic failures turned into a pissy re-litigation of every wart on Clinton's record going back to Goldwater.

Well that's going to stop now.

Anyone who looked into the face of a straight-up racist, fascist con man and decided to vote for him or sit it out for whatever reason ain't on my team. Save your excuses. I do not care.

Fortunately, we live in the Age of the Internet (yay!) and there are plenty of other sites (some of which are underwritten by dot com billionaires) where all people do all day long year after year after year is biiiiiiiiiiiiiiiitch about Barack Obama (and the drooling jackbooted Obot stooges of jackbootery like me) and Hillary Clinton and, well, pretty much everyone else.


And that's great. You want show up at a funeral and go on and on and on and on about how the dear departed was a jerk who owed you money, those places would LOVE to have you.

But I'm not interested in it here.

Dan Kleiner said...

love your work, mr. glass-

fucking sanders.

"i come from the white working class, and I am deeply humiliated that the democratic party cannot talk to where i came from."

crazy doc brown came from brooklyn-

brooklyn broke HARD for hillary.

what the FUCK is he TALKING about?

RUKidding said...

My suggestion is to consider where we go from here. Re-litigating the election should be pretty much El-Completo at this point.

Clinton Lost; Trump Won.

Now what?

I'm not a huge fan of either Obama or Clinton, but it's pointless to go on and on about what I perceive to be their faults, etc. Better to focus on: what's next, and how can we get there?

I'm not entirely sure what that looks like, but speaking only for myself, my R&D these days is focusing on what the next good steps are that I can take to seek improvements, both for myself and the rest of us.

How 'bout we all try that for a change?

PS Thanks for your continuing excellent, often amusing, sometimes amazing commentary, Driftglass. I'm grateful for your writing & insights. It's terrific. Thanks to you and Blue Gal and best to your family.

June Butler said...

Bravo, DG! Excellent research and writing. Thank you.

Jim Jones said...

A few things I'd like to get out of the way first.

1. I voted, donated, and volunteered for Hillary. I think she was an objectively better candidate, even though she wasn't idea.
2. I concede that we are bringing manufacturing jobs back into the United States.

Here's the thing. This part of the scenario goes into the category of "be careful what you wish for"(you, in this case being the rural population of the US).

Bringing manufacturing(and even manufacturing jobs) back isn't going to fix the problems the working class are grumbling about.

Look at the articles you posted. They are talking about jobs involving "hackathons" and new technology. To be blunt, these are the type of jobs for the college educated, the young, and the highly qualified overall.

The problem is that those aren't the people that tipped the Electoral College in favor of Trump. The people who tipped the balance were people who were the ones who voted for Obama previously and switched to Trump, that being people whose jobs have vanished and aren't coming back.

Tim Guy wrote a really good article about this not too long ago, check it out.

jim said...

Commercial media has steadfastly made sure liberalism always comes across as vague, feckless & air-headed to the public - & track record notwithstanding, said public has largely bought in. Now they get to harvest the manifold blessings of that transaction, good & hard.

Any Liberal Outreach that seriously thinks the Flyover Falange are going to listen to them (let alone parse whatever they're being told) is Liberal Outreach that needs to back the fuck away from the bong.

Show good results, then explain how & why you got them, then ask for help getting better results.

Propaganda Of The Deed: it's not just for 19th Century anarchist assassins any more!

proverbialleadballoon said...

As the biggest proponent here of the line of thinking that your post piles copious amounts of evidence against, I thank you for your time and diligence. I'm still not writing off any voters. It is impossible to overstate the importance of these next elections, and we lost this last one by less than a million votes, spread the right way in the buckets. Maybe the coefficient is not as weighty as I hope it to be, but I'm not writing off any variables in the linear equation to 270.

I've actually read a lot of pushback against my line of thinking elsewhere in the blogosphere, right after you published this. It's funny how the Universal Consciousness works sometimes. If we are having an effect on the conversation, maybe we can turn the conversation to the variable you say we can change the coefficient, the Press: The point-of-attack for the battle to come must be the "hustlers, hucksters, hacks, and cowards" of the Beltway media itself.

How do Democrats start framing the Issues? that's what I want to know. Republicans frame every issue and the Press uses Republican framing, which is what the public gets. How do we go on offense here, and not always be playing defense.

And I'll open the conversation with: Concerted effort, point of attack; if this is a chess game, we need to make the moves that set up the move in the middle of the board that gains us the positioning. Twitter is knight to C3 (an early-game move). Now what?

Unknown said...

As an early and enthusiastic Sanders supporter who contributed a little money in the general election to Clinton and a lot to Democratic candidates in competitive races for House and Senate, hoping for a landslide, I am in general agreement with DG's pointing the finger of blame at the mainstream corporate media for enabling a grossly unqualified sociopath to rise to power. If the media had done their job, Trump would have done worse than Goldwater and McGovern, despite Comey and Putin.

Although we still need to discuss Democratic program and messaging to mobilize both the Obama voters who stayed home and the working class voters who drank the kool-ade, today's topic is the misfeasance, malfeasance and nonfeasance of the corporate media who filtered out what was at stake in this year'e election, the culmination of a long term trend as Bob Kuttner explains in The American Prospect:

The challenge is what to do about it. IMO one necessity is to create a progressive populist communications system on the same scale as the right wing propaganda machine which has been pulling on the mainstream media for decades. That will require three things: sufficient funds to create multimedia outlets, personalities to attract tens of millions of working class eyes and ears, and populist communicators who can frame current issues in language working people relate to - hundreds of younger Jim Hightowers. The money could come from liberal billionaires like Soros, Steyer, and even Bloomberg. The personalities could come from the entertainment world - the Hollywood left and rock stars like Springsteen, etc.

Anonymous said...

Liars gonna lie, crackers gonna crack.

The story-telling needs a strong, true frame - not the gaslighting and stating-fiction-as-fact that Anderson, (with his piercing Paul Newman eyes) skips over like a frog off a log. ie: Jack Kingston.

Kickin' at the darkness 'til it bleeds daylight!

"We're Courageous. We're Humble. And We KNOW HOW TO FIGHT!" - Jon Osshoff from the sweet Georgia 6th...

Media owners (scribes) and the backers who back'em (pharisees) are the Brood of Vipers, about whom many Words have been written.

We can 'flip a lot of tables' with pen & paper, my sisters and brothers. The Truth will always out - which side are you comin' down on?

Someone once said - "Just watch me!". Any guesses?

Anonymous said...

When Bernie losses the 'I' after his name & pays his fucking dues - then maybe, just maybe - he'll be picked for the Team. 'til then? STFU.

Thank you.