We previously discussed the disconnect between Democratic leaders and liberal voters in the increasing complaints of leaders like Vice President Biden over Democratic “lethargy.” Democrats in Washington once again seemed shocked that voters are not eager to fight for their retention. Now, Biden has added the helpful advice to Democratic voters to “stop whining” about things that they did not get in Washington and to “buck up.”
The “buck up” comment was meant as an improvement over the “whining” comment. It turned out that “whining” was not greeted by voters as an improvement over “lethargy.”
Here is the latest statement:
“And so those who don’t get — didn’t get everything they wanted, it’s time to just buck up here, understand that we can make things better, continue to move forward and — but not yield the playing field to those folks who are against everything that we stand for in terms of the initiatives we put forward.”
By “everything [we] wanted,” I assume Biden is including the fulfillment of our treaty obligations to investigate and prosecute war crimes such as torture — which the Administration blocked.
I assume it includes removing the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy, which the Administration is trying to preserve by asking a court not to impose a national injunction freezing the policy.
I assume it includes allowing dozens of privacy lawsuits to go forward against companies, which the Administration blocked despite evidence of unlawful surveillance by the Bush Administration.
I assume it includes allowing torture victims to seek review in federal court, which the Administration has successfully blocked.
I assume it includes protecting pristine areas along the East Coast from drilling, which the Administration has fought to open up for development even after the BP accident.
I assume it includes reducing the faith-based programs of the Bush Administration which raised concerns over the separation of church and state, which Obama expanded.
Well, it includes a lot of things that democratic and independent voters wanted. What they got was a Democratic majority saw power as the end to itself rather than the means to fight for principle. For civil libertarians, “those folks who are against everything that we stand” include the Obama Administration which has been a perfect nightmare in the adoption and expansion of Bush policies.
Yet, Biden wants civil libertarians, environmentalists, and liberals to stop whining and buck up. The Administration made a cynical calculation that liberals and civil libertarians and environmentalists have no where to go and that they have to support the Democrats regardless of these obnoxious policies. Now, they are simply shocked that voters are not enthusiastic about their continuing in power.
The Democratic leadership has conveyed that the only principle that they are committed to is their retention of power. All other principles — torture, the environment, privacy, free speech — are immaterial to that one overriding goal. They just do not understand why everyone does not see it that way.
Well, I am one of those whining, lethargic voters and I cannot get myself to buck up to support leaders who turned their back on such core values. Perhaps if enough Democrats are replaced, the party may rediscover the benefit of being principled and standing for something other than their own insular interests. They need to actually represent something other than “we are not as bad as those guys.” The problem for voters is that, by retaining these leaders, we reaffirm that they cynical calculation by the White House was correct. There is no reason why Democrats should fulfill their commitments in these areas if voters do not hold them accountable. I know some on this blog may disagree, but I personally think I will stick with the whining for now.
Source: Real Clear Politics
1,014 thoughts on “Biden Tells Democratic Voters to “Stop Whining” and “Buck Up””
“In a nation run by swine, all pigs are upward-mobile and the rest of us are fucked until we can put our acts together: Not necessarily to Win, but mainly to keep from Losing Completely.” — H.S. Thompson
Hey Slart! Glenn Greenwald (of Salon) is apparently making a short-sighted, irrational, self-destructive, ineffective, idiotic argument, exposing a naively oversimplified view of politicians and how government works. Link is below.
In short, another guy that is presumably independently making exactly my argument: The segment at 2:27 is about the stigmatization of 3rd party candidates, but the segment at 2:52 to 4:06 is essentially identical to my statement.
I am not appealing to authority. Appealing to authority is saying “X is true because an important person SAYS it is true.”
What I am doing is noting that the TOP TWO (in my view) leading, nationally recognized speakers on liberal civil rights reached the same conclusion I reached independently. That does not confirm it, but it does suggest that the idea is NOT short-sighted, irrational or idiotic, and is NOT the product of an over-simplified view of politicians and how government works.
Only speaking for myself
… but give me a crystal ball, a candle, and a veil … who knows what psychic powers I may develop
Tony C Vladimir Guerrero is my hero today, but I am not really into thinking of people as heroes. The guys you refer to are sometimes supportive of positions on the blog. Mike S is wise and he is older and shares his life experiences.
@SwM: And BTW, still psychic powers if you know exactly what all of those people are thinking.
But so what? Truth isn’t up for a vote. I don’t care if I didn’t convince them. 95% of the world used to think the world was flat and couldn’t be convinced otherwise no matter what — They were wrong, they died still wrong, never convinced.
No matter what they think I proved to myself that they have no coherent argument. Their argument is “you’re wrong and it will lead to disaster!”
Which is no argument at all. Slarti, Spindell, Buddha, all argue by asserting things they cannot know are true and then proceed to conclude I am wrong. That is not logical, if the assertion may be false the conclusion may be false. They don’t *know* how politicians will respond to losing.
Here’s the pity, Swarthmore: You seem to rely on them for “wisdom” (your word I believe) when YOU are the only poster here that actually offered ANY evidence to refute my claims, and it was good stuff I don’t even think they bothered to read.
I’m sure it means nothing to you, but I have more admiration for you than I do for your “heroes.”
Tony c You have said you want to throw out democratic incumbents period. Many of them are progressive women. If you used he and she, it might make you look like the true progressive you say you are.
@SwM: Actually the opposite: On the few occasions when I have been represented by women, I have not seen them as being corrupt liars. Currently we have some really corrupt female liars running; Fiorina, Whitman, O’Donnell, Angle. Plus some in office, but they don’t represent me. I use “he” because I am not going to constantly take the time to be careful and politically correct and simultaneously make my post harder for people to read. But if you want to find a whole slate of liberal progressive women to replace the incumbent Democrats in 2012, I’m in.
Tony C When I said “us”, I meant the group of people you have been debating. You could have some real fans in cyberspace. One could pop up and defend you at any moment. One thing I notice is that you always use “he” when talking about candidates. Are not there women democratic crooks too? That incumbent democrat woman who is running against the Nazi must be a terrible crook since she is a democrat. I would not want to think you might have misogynistic tendencies.
I am not anti-democrat. I am anti-liar, anti-hypocrite, anti-corruption, anti-corpocracy. I am against senselessly falling for the same pack of lies. I am against thinking things are getting better when they are getting worse, so I am anti-fantasy and pro-reality.
There is a REASON 95%+ of politicians in office are shameless liars and hypocrites: We let that work on us. There is no downside for them, and the best liars win. Who are the best liars? Sociopaths, those guys can fool lie detectors (both human and machine). When our political system became a best-liar contest we inadvertently selected for sociopaths willing to do or say anything to win, and they have been winning.
The only cure is to make lying actually cost them something; money or the election are all I can think of. Sociopaths do not care how much pain we are in, or how much time we waste on blogs and rallies and protests and letters and complaints, they do not care about anything but whether or not we vote, so they can keep power, because power is lucrative.
You guys keep going back to the same formula I find pointless: It boils down to some kind of activism and getting the message out, and threatening to withdraw support without ever actually withdrawing it because you always fear the consequences.
That strategy has been tried to death, and it doesn’t work because there is no earthly reason it should work if you start with the assumption the politician doesn’t give a hoot about your well-being and will only respond to *actual* tangible consequences, like losing power or money.
The assumption I start with is that if a politician is a proven policy hypocrite (promising one thing and explicitly doing another) and appears to be helping pass legislation on behalf of the rich or the corporations, then he is not representing ME. He is in it for himself and lying to me. He’s lying about his policies, his beliefs, and his concerns about the working man or healthcare or DADT or whatever, he’s lying and able to sound sincere, whatever it takes to get my vote. Fear, Hope, Anger, Lies, whatever works, he won’t care.
Since my vote is the only thing he *actually* cares about, withholding it is the only action I can take that will ever replace him with somebody that DOES represent me.
Then if the result of withholding my vote is some REPUBLICAN sociopath, what’s the difference? He’s in it for himself too, and I wasn’t being represented anyway. So I’ll suffer through whatever the Republican tries to do, and hope for a different Democratic Party challenger next year. Because if I do not take this painful action, the Democratic crook will simply hold office forever, never representing me and always in it for himself.
I am not anti-Democrat. I am anti-corruption.
@SwM, Blouise: I didn’t realize you spoke for every single person that reads this blog. I envy your psychic powers.
A word comes to mind: perseveration.
“You (Tony C) have convinced none of us to stay home and have actually had quite the opposite effect.” (SwM)
yep … that’s a fact
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