The Broken Progressive Model

Dave Dayen (who used to blog at Digby’s joint under the moniker dday) writes about the heroic epic of failure by progressive lobbying groups (boldface mine):

..I’m sure the Administration trembles at the pressuring from the groups that sent out glowing press releases a year ago about the “real leadership” shown by the President in announcing a task force that, by this own admission, carried no guarantee of resources or prioritization.

Look, nobody likes having to admit they’ve been duped. But I reject the assertion that there are only two courses of action here, that “we can either fight to see that this investigation is real or we can take our ball and go home.” That fight over the investigation is doomed. What would be useful is to examine the role of these DC progressive groups, who continue to build coalitions aimed at “pressuring” the White House and who continue to fail in spectacular fashion.

Well-meaning people all over this country concerned about any number of issues hand over their hard-earned money to these groups, and they aim to speak broadly for liberal values. The accountability doesn’t stop on Wall Street. It needs to be shared by the DC progressive community. I’ve gotten enough correspondence in the wake of my Salon piece to know that the majority of them now believe they were fooled, vanden Heuvel’s bravado notwithstanding. It would be incredibly worthwhile to exercise some self-examination at this point, to question the entire value of building these ad hoc organizations at the edges of the halls of power, and then working through polite channels and gentle nudges to get as much progress as possible, as long as it doesn’t disrupt being able to sit in on meetings with senior Administration officials and the like.

We talk a lot about broken models. The DC progressive model is broken. It does nothing but facilitate the injustices readily evident in this case.

That last sentence is key: too many progressive groups turn themselves into administration mouthpieces for access or to remain ‘relevant.’ They then double down on stupid by hectoring their supporters about being unrealistic.

This is yet another reason why we can’t have nice things.

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