Imagine if you went to the same restaurant every day for dinner. The food at this restaurant is bad, but the service is worse. Not only that, but no matter what you order, they serve you whatever they feel like serving you instead. The prices are only slightly better than other eateries. At least the portions are small.
Nonetheless, you keep going there every night, you keep paying the bill, and keep leaving a generous tip. In your defense, you don’t just meekly put up with it, you complain verbally and regularly write sternly worded letters to the manager. Sometimes he writes back, promising to “look into it” or make improvements.
If you did this, would you be insane? Maybe. Stupid? Probably.
But what if the manager assured you that the restaurant was better than its competition? Would that justify your continued loyalty? What if, when you first started going there, the service was good and the food was better? What if your parents and grandparents used to eat there too, and brought you there in your youth?
You see where I’m going with this.
This last week or so has been a terrible shock for Obama supporters. His reversal on campaign finance, NAFTA and FISA, his statement on the death penalty and the Jim Johnson episode have seriously called into question the judgment of Barack Obama. (You remember “judgment” don’t you? That’s what Barack has to offer instead of a resume.) He even threw Scarlett Johansson under the bus!
Some Obama supporters are disappointed, others are outraged. Big Tent Democrat at TalkLeft, Lambert and Vastleft at Corrente, and Glenn Greenwald at Salon have all been critical of the “presumptive” Democratic nominee. But each of them continues to pledge their support for Obama, even when they promise to “hold his feet to the fire.”
This begs the question: How?
How will they hold Obama’s feet to the fire? With sternly worded letters? With blog posts where they continue to affirm their support for Obama?
Let’s get real here. There are three things you can do for Obama or any politician. You can donate money. You can donate support (volunteer work, endorsing, blogging, phone banking, precinct walking, etc) and you can vote for him or her. That’s it.
Of the three, the third is the most vital. Politicians need votes to win, money and support are just tools to get those votes. Obama has enough money, and he has enough physical support. What he doesn’t have is enough votes.
Returning to my restaurant example, what are the chances that anything will change as long as you keep putting up with crappy food and service? What’s their incentive to improve?
One aspect of the PUMA movement is sending the message – WE’RE MAD AS HELL AND WE’RE NOT GOING TO TAKE IT ANYMORE!
The Democratic party can no longer count on our votes. They must EARN THEM. They must earn them by addressing our wants, our needs, and our issues. They must earn them by nominating candidates we find acceptable. They must earn them by fighting for legislation we support, and by fighting against legislation we oppose. Otherwise, we will take our business elsewhere.
Yes, it is about us. And no, we are not leaving a tip.