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Jane Hamsher: Take heed Liz
Posted by: McQ on Sunday, September 16, 2007

Who said "you're either with us or against us" was exclusive to George Bush? Certainly not the authoritarians on the left known as Netroots.

Remember the paragraph I featured from yesterday's post from one of the books I'm reading (the Lee Harris book)? Here's real world example of that mind-set within our own political realm. Jane Hamsher addresses Elizabeth Edwards about having the temerity to disagree with and condemn the MoveOn.org ad about Gen. Petraeus and explains to Edwards why she screwed up big time:
You’re a smart woman. You of all people should know about the asymmetrical intimidation problem that Paul Krugman talks about — the one where the media is afraid to go after Rudy Guiliani for claiming he’s a rescue worker, but they’ll try to demolish your husband over a haircut because they know that they’ll get swarmed by the right wing noise machine for the former and pay no price for the latter. That’s how it works.

[...]

So here’s the rule. You never repeat right wing talking points to attack your own, ever. You never enter that echo chamber as a participant. Ever. You never give them a hammer to beat the left with. Just. Don’t. Do. It.
It's not about what is morally right. It's not about principle. It's about winning. Nothing but. So you never, ever do anything that hurts those chances.

Ever.

From the paragraph yesterday from Lee Harris' book:
"The first law of the jungle, however, states that in the struggle for survival and supremacy, there are no rules. Anything that achieves victory is automatically self-justifying."
And that, of course, means morality or principle are out the window (unless they're useful in achieving victory).

Hamsher then issues the veiled warning:
There are any number of ways you can answer that question well and none of them involve attacking MoveOn. They’re out there on the left so you can look “moderate.” They’re saying what needs to be said, opening the conversation up so John Edwards isn’t considered the left-wing fringe loon that nobody should listen to. Understand that they have contributed a lot to the anti-war movement and that from a practical standpoint, the Edwards campaign needs the solid support of the base to get where he needs to go and everybody’s feeling a bit played this week because nobody other than MoveOn seems to want to take on the carefully orchestrated dog-and-pony show that just bought us a few more Friedman Units of war. And we’re not very happy when the people we defend turn around and start kicking them for it.
In that last sentence you hear the tribe addressing the 2nd Law of the Jungle:
For the second law of the jungle says that loners are losers. If you lack a tribe to back and support you, you will perish. To survive in a dog-eat-dog world you must run in packs - and the tribe is a pack.
And criticizing the MoveOn ad is not running with the pack. Got it yet, Ms. Edwards?

Hamsher concludes:
We love you. We want to love you.

Knock it off.
Or said another way, our "love" (support, money, etc) is conditional. Very conditional. Heed the warning or pay the consequences when the tribe kicks you out.
Taken together, the first two laws of the jungle yield the third law: You must unconditionally support your own tribe or pack, and you must be prepared to act with utter ruthlessness toward those who belong to other tribes or packs. You must see members of the enemy tribe not as individuals or as fellow humans; you must see them as your existential enemy.
Tribal politics at their finest.
 
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"You never repeat right wing talking points to attack your own, ever."

Another way of saying ’No enemies on the left’, I guess.
 
Written By: timactual
URL: http://
I don’t know... it seems like an extension of the Eleventh Commandment to me, applied to the other side of course.
 
Written By: Bryan Pick
URL: http://www.qando.net
I’m not arguing that tribal politics is exclusive to the left. I’m simply pointing out that this happens to be an almost picture perfect example of it.

The "eleventh commandment" is simply a manifestation of the 3rd law of the jungle, i.e. "you must unconditionally support your own tribe...".
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.qando.net/blog

Hamsher concludes:

We love you. We want to love you.

Knock it off.
Or said another way, our "love" (support, money, etc) is conditional. Very conditional. Heed the warning or pay the consequences when the tribe kicks you out.
This is precisely what I was talking about recently, when I suggested that the price for such adulation from the far left, would eventually be too high for mainstream Democrats. This is all part and parcel of the forthcoming split of the Democrats. It’s already happening... and in it’s early stages. It will reach it’s high point on or about the election... as it did in ’72.
 
Written By: Bithead
URL: http://bitsblog.florack.us
Ann Althouse reports "Jane Hamsher adopts a scary, weird tone of voice and tells Elizabeth Edwards what to do."

This is tribal politics, and it is comical now, but if the nutroots ever actually achieved their dreams of power the pogroms would not be pleasant to behold.
 
Written By: Aldo
URL: http://
McQ — I remembered your summary when I read the Hamsher piece too. I also remembered Saul Alinsky’s 13th Rule for Radicals in political organizing.
Pick the target, freeze it, personalize it, and polarize it.
I keep wondering why the left has such an amoral, vicious, take-no-prisoners, always-on-the-attack approach that keeps surfacing in the TNR/Beauchamp affair, the MoveOn.org Betray-Us ad, and now this Hamsher post, and in the blog commentary about these where most commenters are hysterically angry and never give an inch even when it’s completely obvious, such as betray and traitor being verb and nouns for the same thing.

The Law of the Jungle is what we’re up against. While the rank-and-file may have learned the lesson unconsciously, leaders like Hamsher have thought it through.

Note: Hillary Clinton studied Alinsky and wrote her thesis on his organizing techniques. I think her "willing suspension of disbelief" towards Petraeus was her effort to pick the miliatray as a target, "freeze it, personalize it, and polarize it." I believe we will continue to see more of this. I will stop expecting them to make civil, rational appeals.
 
Written By: huxley
URL: http://
This is all part and parcel of the forthcoming split of the Democrats. It’s already happening... and in it’s early stages. It will reach it’s high point on or about the election... as it did in ’72.
Bithead — I can see that too. A certain amount of anger and indignation can mobilize the grassroots and impress swing voters, but too much and there is a backlash.

I don’t know if it’s 1968 or 1972, but in both cases the improbable Republican, Richard Nixon, won. Much of that was due, I think, to average Americans being put off by the radical leftist company which the Democrats kept.
 
Written By: huxley
URL: http://
"I think, to average Americans being put off by the radical leftist company which the Democrats kept"

Same goes for the other side as well. I think the vast majorities of voters actually vote against the other guy far more than they vote for their candidate. Most of the people I talk to who voted for Bush in 04 really voted against Kerry... and the same on the other side. I think it just a matter of which wing-nuts you are more scared of having power. For me, it’s the Christian Right that scares me more. (Too bad there aren’t any parties (with any power) that would actually reduce govt power... and yes I realize the "paradox".)
 
Written By: Tito
URL: http://
We love you. We want to love you.

Knock it off.
....said the abusive husband to his beaten wife
 
Written By: shark
URL: http://
McQ,

You are right, but it is so funny because pack dynamics work only one way and this ain’t it. Leaders lead, followers follow. Edwards is a leader and is telling MoveOn to fall back into line. Jane Hamsher is a follower, a nothing - a yapping hand bag dog - and has just taken on a pack leader. She is going to be eaten up and sh*t out.
 
Written By: unaha-closp
URL: http://warisforwinning.blogspot.com/
She is going to be eaten up and sh*t out.
Wanna bet?

 
Written By: SShiell
URL: http://
For me, it’s the Christian Right that scares me more.
I’m not crazy about the Christian Right myself, but I don’t see it as the big menace many do. They are not screaming things equivalent to Bush=Hitler, or pushing conspiracy theories like the 9-11 Truthers, or whipping up anti-Americanism, or dreaming fondly about the assassination of American leaders they don’t like.

When Christian Right leaders get out of line, as Falwell and Robertson did with their remarks about 9-11 being God’s punishment for gays, they back down and apologize. They press for change in abortion laws but they are not foaming at the mouth and forcing Republican candidates to take stands to dismantle Roe v Wade in 2008.

I don’t see an equivalence here. It would be real refreshing if the Hamsher-Kos-MoveOn axis were half as well-behaved as the Christian Right.

Like SSchiel, I don’t see Hamsher or any of these people going way anytime soon.
 
Written By: huxley
URL: http://
She is going to be eaten up and sh*t out.
Wanna bet?
Maybe they will eat each other.

I mean... politically and professionally.
 
Written By: jows
URL: http://
The "thing," as it were, about the Christian Right in America is that it’s made up of people who are fundamentally bound to refuse to work together on anything but the most basic cause. They can not *be* an organized political threat because as soon as one branch gets too much secular power all the rest will have kittens. The sorts willing to work together are the liberal churches, the ones that tend toward teaching that it doesn’t matter what you believe.

In any case... this is weird. This "don’t attack your own side" stuff. This laying down the law stuff. It’s weird because, as I understand it, this was a publicly delivered set-down. Am I wrong about that? What are people on the left saying about it? How do they perceive it?

Because in a way it reminds me of when Pelosi became House leader and was delivering ultimatums to her underlings, juniors, and those of her own party who would be expected to toe her line. What was weird about *that* wasn’t that Pelosi did it, but that it was reported by her own people and, IIRC, Elenor Clift, as if it wasn’t a *bad* thing. It was reported by people who could be assumed to be on her side as if it showed her in a good light. Strong, or something.

This feels that sort of weird to me. I can see *anyone* delivering a warning/reminder/request to please keep disputes behind doors and maintain a united public front. It might not even be an unreasonable request, depending. But I’m wondering what sort of mindset assumes that a public reprimand is appropriate *or* that it will go over well. Is this behavior something that Hamsher gets social rewards for among her peers? Is she seen as hard-hitting, strong, and savvy?

And why Elizabeth Edwards? Why not someone else? There has to have been other Democrats who denounced the Petraeus ad. So why her? Is it because anyone else would have returned a smackdown that left Hamsher a political smudge? You have to admit that when it comes to public political deftness Edwards is more likely than not to come off sounding stupid than on top. Was Hamsher picking a safe target and at the same time warning Elizabeth that the next time she gained the negative attention of the political right that Hamsher and MoveOn wouldn’t be there to back her up with the "how dare you attack a dying woman" outrage?
 
Written By: Synova
URL: http://synova.blogspot.com
Synova — It is weird.

I think the left has thoroughly lost perspective on how weird its behavior appears to Americans outside the Kos Distortion Field. Even if one accepts that the anti-war Democrats have dedicated themselves to winning against Republicans no matter what it takes and principles be damned, they ought to be smart enough to know that publicly displaying such a naked lust for power makes them look bad, like 1930s Stalinists arguing over proper party discipline, thus defeating their purpose.

On the other hand, they have done far better with a strictly propaganda approach—repeatedly claiming that Iraq is a disaster with little support, and attacking Bush and the members of his administration so personally—than I would have expected. The 2006 elections caught me by surprise.

This past week they tried to bring that approach to bear on Petraeus and the military. I think they failed and they may have seriously overreached. At least I hope so.
 
Written By: huxley
URL: http://
2006 didn’t surprise me. I figured it could go either way.

I also figured that a Republican win in 2006 would mean a Dem president in 2008 and a Dem win in 2006 would mean a Republican president in 2008. I figure that people like balance and distrust *any* political party with too much power... even their own.
 
Written By: Synova
URL: http://synova.blogspot.com
Hey, looks like the organization chart of the Edwards white house will look like this:

Nutroots Bloggers —-> First Lady Elizabeth Edwards —-> President Edwards.




 
Written By: Harun
URL: http://
Wanna bet?
No.
 
Written By: unaha-closp
URL: http://
"The first law of the jungle, however, states that in the struggle for survival and supremacy, there are no rules. Anything that achieves victory is automatically self-justifying."
I’d hate to have these folks as interrogators. Torture or all kinds would be on the table.

Andrew Sullivan take note.
 
Written By: Neo
URL: http://
Leaders lead, followers follow. Edwards is a leader and is telling MoveOn to fall back into line. Jane Hamsher is a follower, a nothing - a yapping hand bag dog - and has just taken on a pack leader. She is going to be eaten up and sh*t out.
Uh, no. It’s just on bitch talking to another. Neither one is a leader. And Edward’s husband is just a wanna-be leader, and that AIN’T GONNA HAPPEN.

 
Written By: Don
URL: http://
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Written By: smvbcowp
URL: http://pybvhlgduyjc.com/

 
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