A few months ago Kevin Drum, currently my number three blog read, turned noticeably more grumpy. But it turns out he's more than grumpy; he's positively seething. And we all should be, because 10% unemployment (17% using the broad measure) is a crisis. High long-term unemployment wastes human capital and contributes to government budget problems at all levels. Conservatives would have you believe that deficits are the cause of the current economic problems, but it's just not true. Some conservatives are positively giddy over the prospect of forcing through cuts in Social Security if the Republican-created crisis continues. The country's situation has some columnists sounding like pesky bloggers.
But what is to be done other than raise the shrillness to ear-piercing levels? Republicans are in control of the House, conservatives (Republicans plus
the likes of Landrieu and Nelson) are in control of the Senate, and
Obama's team seems to be in the last stages of wagon-circling. The media environment remains as hostile to reality as it has ever been. And single-issue groups are still stuck on their signature issues.
I think there are two ways forward for progressives. One is to wait until Republicans fuck up, which they will eventually. The primary problem with that approach is that the Republicans could inflict terrible damage on the country and the globe before American voters get off their asses and vote them out. I don't think we can afford to suffer through a repeat of the Bush years.
The other approach is to double down on organizing and get-out-the-vote operations. With no remedies to the Citizens United decision likely in the near future, Democratic politicians will be drowned out on the airwaves during the 2012 cycle. The lack of disclosure requirements means corporations and other large donors have no reason to hedge their bets by contributing to some Democrats. All of the money will go to supporting Republicans (specifically, to tearing down Democrats). Progressives have no option but to switch all of their attention to grassroots organizing.
I'll have more on the specifics in a future post.