Imperial Democrats and the Gullible Left

I like Glenn Greenwald and consider his Salon blog a Must-Read most days but his insistent refusal to accept the deliberate nature of right-wing pundit fantasizing has become annoying and his benefit-of-the-doubt criticisms of the MSM and Democratic inactivity may be downright dangerous. Fortunately, his readers aren’t as backward as he is.

In a post today on Carl Levin’s press conference, Greenwald takes Levin to task for buying into military propaganda on his recent trip to Iraq but then, once again, blames it on fear.

Levin is willingly serving as an uncritical spokesman here for the most dubious and sunny claims of the U.S. military regarding our great progress. But he knows that, and it is almost surely deliberate. The important point here is that Levin’s statements signal the clear strategy Senate Democrats are embracing in the preparation for Gen. Petraeus’ imminent visit.

Senate Democrats largely will not challenge, but rather will embrace and celebrate, the notion that The Surge Is Working and that we are making “military progress,” whatever that might mean this month. To “oppose the war,” they instead will follow the strategy Hillary Clinton has adopted this year — namely, blaming the Iraqis for failing to take advantage of the great opportunities we are creating for them. Levin’s demand that Prime Minister Maliki be replaced is designed to accomplish exactly that. Democrats are afraid to challenge the U.S. military’s claims that we are Winning, and are even afraid to oppose the Surge, so instead, they will take the safest course — heaping the blame on the Iraqi government and demanding that they improve.

(emphasis added)

That post immediately precedes a long and healthy bash of right-wing media pundits who ignore poll results in favor of pushing anti-Democratic diatribes.

All of these “analysts,” making the same point (one heard frequently on television), have one thing in common: namely, not one of them cited a single piece of evidence, poll, or anything else to support their claim that Americans dislike investigations and/or that Congress is unpouplar due to too many hearings or too much obstructionism. Instead, they just literally make that up and then say it without having any idea if it’s true.

Many people who assert that Americans dislike investigations of the President are just slothful; they sit around hearing television and newspaper pundits repeat this cliche — which they do endlessly — and then uncritically absorb and repeat it. For others, it is just a matter of extreme self-absorption; they reflexively assume that their own opinions are always the same as what “Americans believe.” Thus, because they themselves don’t like Congressional investigations of their Leader or think that the specific scandals are insignificant, they just assume, and then assert, that most Americans share this view.

But the overriding attribute evident here is a willingness to believe things about the world based not on evidence or reality but on what they want the world to be. They don’t want George Bush investigated, and thus, they simply want to believe that Americans dislike investigations (exactly the same way they wanted to believe things were going well in Iraq, so they were, and reports to the contrary about “violence” and “civil war” were media fabrications).

In addition to being lazy and to phrasing their individual views as if they were the dominant national opinions, Greenwald later calls these pundits “corrupt” and members of an echo chamber that listens only to itself, all of which is true. But his underlying assumption seems to be that the reason for all this is piss-poor journalistic standards. His readers aren’t having any.

From had_enough:

uh…I don’t think so.

actually, I think these right-wingers DO read the polls, and that’s why they’re promulgating a totally false view of the will of the “American Public..” to counteract the possible effect of these on the base..and other pundits, and politicians.

From farnsworth:

Lazy? Self-absorbed? That is giving them the benefit of the doubt!

I think they are knowingly and willfully lying. I think they know what the truth is, but they hope that if they lie enough they will be able to convince a few people to swallow their lies.

From The Canadian:

We shouldn’t miss the forest for the trees. The elites and corporations (MIC) behind the scenes are the ones calling the tunes. Limbaugh, O’Reilly, and all the beltway media are just dancing more and more uncomfortably to music that does not make any sense.

From Phoenix Woman:

Of course the GOP/Media Complex pushes this myth

They’ll do anything to cover up their conjoined-twin connection to the Republicans’ corporate wing.

They want to pretend that the 1998 elections showed that “all impeachments are bad”, when in fact what they really showed was that “parties that push FRIVOLOUS impeachments for purely partisan reasons will get their asses kicked.” (Note that impeaching Nixon in 1974 didn’t exactly hurt the Democrats that year — or in 1976, for that matter. Yet the GOP/Media crowd has been pushing that myth big-time.)

But despite his criticism of the way the right-wing’s echo chamber disseminates its own narrow assumptions as “conventional wisdom”, he is doing precisely the same thing when he ascribes the Democrats’ consistent support for Bush/Cheney as a matter of incompetence and/or fear. It is nothing of the kind, as I showed in the “Authoritarian Democrats” series. Unfortunately, Greenwald’s readers – not even the otherwise perceptive Phoenix Woman – seem to get that yet.

The Left is just as guilty of spreading memes as the Right, and a steady favorite is the Incompetent Cowards meme invariably used to describe Democratic support for Republican positions. Carl Levin can parade his imperialist stance in front of acres of news cameras, and left-wingers will still insist on interpreting his remarks in the most ideologically compatible way, led by Greenwald: he’s “afraid”.


Progressives are in grave danger of becoming as gullible and fantasist as conservatives, and for pretty much the same reason: we believe what we want to believe and ignore facts. The so-called “reality-based community” seems to be in the process of creating its own, competing reality that, politically at least, has as little connection to actual reality as the right-wing bubble does.

We cannot afford this comforting blindness. The Imperial-Authoritarian Democrats are just as much a threat to our democracy as the more overt Pubs – as their quick-and-easy passage of the new FISA bill demonstrates categorically – and if we don’t wake up pretty soon we will end by helping them do exactly what we’re denouncing the Pubs for doing.

3 responses to “Imperial Democrats and the Gullible Left

  1. Glenn Greenwald

    How did the Imperialist, Carl Levin. vote on the war in the first place?

    How did he vote on the FISA bill?

    How did he vote on the Military Commissions Act?

    How did Republicans vote on those matters?

  2. And your point is…?

  3. Pingback: Why You Can’t Always Define Democrats By Their Votes « Mick Arran

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