Feb 22 2013

Access Progressives

(10 am. – promoted by ek hornbeck)

I’ve cleaned the links up a little and added some emphasis.- ek

Yes, Katrina, Wall Street Won Again, and Progressives Need to Face Up to That

Dave Dayen, Naked Capitalism

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Katrina vanden Heuvel, editor and publisher of The Nation, got very upset at my characterization of the task force (Residential Mortgage Backed Securities Working Group), and scolded me for taking a “victory lap.”

Vanden Heuvel closes by linking to reporting from The Nation that’s five months old and actually says nothing about targets of the task force, as she claims. My favorite statement of hers about the potential value of the task force is when she says it has a significant “pending congressional appropriation.” A pending appropriation! Because everyone knows that in an age of sequestration, where every federal line item is due for a 6% haircut in a couple weeks, this is the perfect time for new congressional appropriations to take root! Just ask the House Republicans!

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. A good use of time at the next board meeting would consist of a moment of self-examination, and maybe entertaining a motion for dissolution. Those of us demanding justice and accountability will always have to fight for it, and maybe next time we could use some colleagues with more than a squirt gun.

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