It Is Not About You
By: Mark W Adams

It's next to impossible this Independence Day not to be reminded how far we still have to go in building this "more perfect union" when the leader of the more liberal political party, uhm . . . evolves his positions almost immediately upon securing the nomination -- something he accomplished in no small part due to the support of the most ardent progressives and the liberal online community.

And he's walking it back, all those things we "hoped" he would be, but really never was.

What really is mystifying, or rather simply infuriating is how easily and predictably we are again left at the alter. McCain, the "Maverick" has done somersaults moving to appease his extreme right base, and the Democrats tag along for the drift to the right as well, despite clear evidence that this of all years, such a "safe" move is unnecessary.

What the politicians don't see, because there is no contrary evidence to convince them, is that the "safe" move to the right is actually dangerous, if not to the nation then to their ambition. There are no consequences for the progressive movement being ignored. We simply aren't perceived as offering the same credible threat of backlash as do evangelicals or obsessive tax-cutters and militarists. Our attention to detail, engagement and enthusiasm present a different dynamic. We won't stay home, know better than to get burned by the Nader protest vote again in this lifetime, and don't have enough clout to bring about real change.

Today the blogosphere is abuzz with Barack Obama's online address on the FISA issue. This is promising, but not heartwarming.

Yes, he used our medium to talk directly to those of us who are most vocal in our opposition to his support of this obviously flawed position. But since he didn't change his stance, Glenn Greenwald thinks the statement was "worthless," Paul Rosenberg at Open Left doesn't think Obama's statement will fool any of us that are paying attention, and Marcy Wheeler doesn't think Obama knows what he's talking about.

I agree with them all, but unsaid is that Obama knows exactly who he's talking to, and it ain't you my dear over-informed blog reader. He's talking to the under-informed, as usual. This time he's just not doing it through the usual media filter. He added a step. But his target, ally and nemesis is always the Versailles Villagers on the Potomac -- or does Digby have to spell it out for you again?

And this is because our political narratives are written by corporate conservatives and disseminated by their rich celebrity employees who actually seem to believe their "values" are shared by Real Americans. One of the most brilliant narratives was the notion that "the left" is unpatriotic. After all, suppressing dissent on that topic has kept the bipartisan Military Industrial Complex gravy train rolling for more than 50 years. It's perfectly natural that the new Surveillance State would be folded into that at the first opportunity, and the corporations that provide all the technology would necessarily want a piece of that action. There's huge money to be made in government contracts and the idea that any corporation would do something to endanger such possibilities over something so trivial as the constitution is naive. They agreed to work together for very good reasons and they do not want any interference.

But it isn't just about money it's also about political power. The effect of this decades long propaganda program has been to inculcate the idea among many Americans that liberalism itself is unserious. It's become so reflexive that any Democratic politician is automatically granted respect from the political establishment for the mere act of defying his own voters. It is considered a sign of courage and gravitas and a necessary right of passage.
What Obama considers important is winning. Not your petty concerns about the rule of law or following the Constitution. It's not like he sat down and took on commenters in a free-for-all exchange at a site like Daily Kos -- and he would have been foolish to do so. He doesn't need to. What he does need to do is have the corporate media report that he engaged us laptop hippies, was nice enough to stoop to our level for which we should be duly impressed, and still supports the "adult" position. NAFTA, Iraq, the list of rightward tacking grows daily.

In a day and age when all of the collective members of the media informed the world exactly when and where the race for the Democratic nomination was over -- because the saintly Tim Russert said it was so -- the progressive online community has a long way to go to be more than a curiosity or a prop in their play.

The lesson is, we just have to keep plugging away.