The People We Love and the People We Hate

I guess I'll start explaining why I'm leaving MyDD by giving you the real story of why I'm in politics, and what I actually believe.  I wish I could say that it starts with a noble battle with developers, a war, or a fight with an employer, but the reality is that it's a lot more petty and unnoble.  It started with my relationship with my immediate family, along my relationship to the past.

I grew up in a wonderful home, with a mother and a father and a brother about whom I care deeply.  My father is a stockbroker, and my mother has done a number of impressive things in her career, the most recent one is a travel company that focuses on running trips for women all over the world called the Women's Travel Club.  I'm a fourth generation American, with eastern European Judaism in my blood and all that that implies.  On my Mom's side, my great Aunt Anna was a lawyer in the 1920s fighting for Israel and my great Uncle Max, for who I am quasi-named, was also radical lawyer.  Anna used to say that she was the first woman in New York to buy her own mink coat, and my Mom and I have taken up this tradition and become stalwart feminists.  My great-grandfather was an orthodox Jewish peddler, and my grandfather a clothing maker.  My great-grandmother came from a long line of working class Scotch-Irish.  After the two of them married, my grandfather's family disowned him for marrying a non-Jew, even though she later converted to Judaism.  My grandmother's family was just happy she hadn't married a Catholic, because anti-Catholicism trumped antisemitism in those days.

All of this is family myth to me, because I didn't really know my Mom's side of the family very well.  It was a very political family that argued intensively, aggressively, sometimes even viciously and with long memories.  Aunt Anna never forgave my grandmother for putting my senile grandfather in a Catholic nursing home in the 1980s, exclaiming 'how could you do that after what the Pope did in World War II?!?'  At the time, my grandmother couldn't drive, and the Catholic nursing home was close to her home.  And I suppose Aunt Anna, who told stories of bribing African delegates to the UN after WWII to vote for the creation of the state of Israel, had lost some of her strategic savvy.  I mean, the Pope in the 1980s really didn't care about whether the Catholic nursing home market in Miami had one more Jewish customer.  By the time I came around, the spirit of political radicalism had died down, though the culture of argument and paradox had certainly not.  I mean, my mother, half Jewish at a time when that was not culturally accepted, had Anna as a role model, as well as a mother who could not drive and did not work.  Politics has always been in our blood, even when it was just beneath the surface.

On my Dad's side, the story is a bit less clear.  My grandfather was born in Russia/Eastern Europe (the ethnic boundaries were a bit hazy until Stalin redrew the maps into neat countries with the right ethnic makeups).  Grandpa Phil didn't ever tell us about his family's background, because he probably feared the anti-Communist spirit in America.  He did have one tale of being nearly kidnapped by gypsies while in transit to America when he was two years old, though who knows if that's true.  Beyond that, we don't know much.  Grandpa was a businessman, and didn't want to be associated with Communism in any way, shape or form, even if it was just having people know he had been born in Russia.  He was also afraid of African-Americans, and felt uncomfortable around non-Jews.  I suppose, though I never did have a political conversation with him, that he was probably a traditional conservative.  Like many first-generation immigrant Jews, he wanted us to forget the past, the pogroms and being drafted to fight and lose in the Russo-Japanese war.  So we don't know much.  Grandma Molly's family was from 'somewhere in the Austro-Hungarian Empire', which at the time included much of central and Southern Europe.  She had at one point wanted to be a teacher, but ended up not working.  They loved each other, but fought for fifty years.  It was a really hard relationship, and I remember hearing arguments between them as a little boy that were about how they shouldn't argue in front of me and my brother.  I don't think they really even knew how to communicate without fighting, but they did love each other.  

I think the best story I know of what it means to love through fighting is the story of my father's parents, and in particular, how they died.  Though I don't have a great memory of childhood, I remember that week vividly.  I studied in Japan for three weeks in middle school, and the day I got back, my Dad met me at the airport and told me that my grandmother had died of a heart attack.  Six or seven days later, my grandfather, who had been living in a hospice with a terminal illness, passed away as well.  Grandma died of loneliness, of not having her partner around, even though they fought throughout their marriage.  His last words to her came, I'm told, as she was trying to feed him eggs, since he was losing weight, as dying people sometimes do.  With his mind going in and out of focus, he suddenly looked at her and said 'Molly, take those eggs and shove them up your ass'.  This was the week of hurricane Andrew, when part of our house was damaged and all the trees in our yard died.  There was a French exchange student staying with us, and he got to spend time living through a major hurricane and two funerals, one where the funeral parlor had electricity and one where it didn't.  

So I guess you could say that love, to my family, is about our wonderful  and painful ability to disagree, wrapped up in a relationship that is stronger than those disagreements.  That's what home is, as well, and that's what I believe is best about America.

Anyway, my parents loved each other, and we grew up in Miami in the suburbs along with my older brother Nick.  As a child, it always felt like it was the four of us alone in a hostile world.  While we were a prosperous family, and my parents taught us good values and exposed me to cultures from all over the world, Miami was not a town for intellectual-ish Jews.  It was never 'home', and after we sold our childhood house, I felt no sense of nostalgia whatsoever, nor was it a big deal when my parents packed up a few years ago and moved to New York.  Home to me was always about people, and never about place, although when I do see palm trees in Christmas I do get a little misty.  The subtropics just fit me really well.  As a child, I grew up in a family that was incredibly argumentative, loving, but full of fights.  I often felt bullied or marginalized, and I learned that fighting was a way not just of expressing frustration, but also, of communicating with authority figures otherwise predisposed towards not considering that something was important.  My family's radical politics, the culture of Eastern European Jewry, was a culture of argument, of love through disagreement.  I guess that's how we dealt with the pain of insecurity, the pain of uncertainty that is so common among suburbanites, or maybe, just 20th century Americans struggling in a mass society that prized individualism yet crushes individuals.

In 1993, I went to a boarding school in New Hampshire called St Paul's, an exclusive-ish prep school that did not have a lot of Jews.  Nick and I came from a professional family of people who did not hide their problems and used comedy and argument as a way of expressing love and frustration, which is certainly not how WASPs deal with the world.  And a modern boarding school environment is basically designed to teach adolescents how to manipulate rules and institutions, and how to see through pompous authoritarian structures.  We had a 'Rector', or principal, and teachers were a mixture of parental figure, informant, and prison guard.  We had dinners with coats and ties four times a week, and chapel every morning at 8am.  In other words, this was not a normal environment or high school experience.  I then went to Harvard, which is the educational expression of America's elite, both morally corrupt and aristocratic and wonderfully meritocratic at the same time.  

After toying with the possibility of a career path in management consulting or Goldman Sachs in Japan (ironically I would later work in politics for Jon Corzine, who was running Goldman at the time), I eventually went into a dot com in Boston, and then moved into politics from the blogging world.  I encountered the horror that was the modern Democratic Party circa 2002, and tried to make peace with it, tried to do my traditional institutional 'go along get along' path that had brought me educational success in my various pursuits.  But it didn't work.  My analysis of Iraq was dead-wrong, both in the politics and the policy (I was pro-war).  I had been lied to by elites about WMDs, and I was angry.  But what shocked me was that no one seemed to care that the whole war was based on bullshit, and there were no consequences for the elites who lied us into war.  These were the people I knew, I went to school with, and aspired to friendship with, and they had no shame, nor did they care that they lied to me and the country.  

And when my voice was marginalized by the political system, the institutional acceptance of modern America, that acceptance and discipline that got me into Harvard, that melted away.  Older strains of radicalism, strains that are cultural in orientation, strains passed down to me by my parents and their parents and back ultimately from villages in Eastern Europe wiped out by the Nazis and splattered throughout America in its trade union movement, financial institutions, politics and in Hollywood, those strains and the way they taught me to communicate and the values of fairness mixed with the inevitable tragedy of life, these strains came out.  I began, along with creative class professionals everywhere, to yell.  And as I've looked into history, what I've found is that I'm yelling, we're yelling, a lot like the Communist/socialist organizers of the 1930s were yelling, and a lot like the New Right were yelling in the 1970s.  It's a yell born of primal identity, values, and an obsessive willingness, even need, to restructure power arrangements.  It's like an itch that upon scratching, does not go away until you remove the skin itself.

All of this is to say that I've had a journey away from a weird and lonely and loving suburban upbringing.  A few years ago, my parents left Miami and moved to New York City, leaving the last suburban traces of my childhood in tatters.  I'm an urban-suburban Jewish outraged would-be elite who a few years ago sought an investment banking or consulting career.  I believed in the American status quo, but, when it failed, it rubbed something fundamental in my character, a rawness that had always been there, in my person and in my people.

Now, I have worked in politics as a professional, but unlike professional political people who blog, I began my career in politics blogging.  My career path of going back and forth between the blogosphere and the political world will become increasingly common.  And that's where MyDD comes in.  It's not the first major blog I was on.  That's actually the Blogging of the President 2004, a mix of talk radio and blogging, which, ironically, was a group blog to which I  invited Chris to post.  He didn't remember this when he hired me for MyDD after I got off the Corzine campaign, but I think our writing styles and ideological affinity just mesh well and always have.  I certainly have always seen him as the leader of this community, and have always felt immensely privileged to be his colleage.

Anyway, after the Corzine campaign, because of both Jerome and Chris, I came here, and began work with Chris, Jonathan, Jerome, and all of you on the progressive movement from the outside.  I've been enormously proud of the work you've enabled, the feedback, the spirited discussions, and the collaborative nature of MyDD.  Jerome, Bowers, me, and Singer operate in an environment, a space, where you keep us honest and prod us to improve.  Being yelled at every day in good faith is the essence of democracy, of a civil society that pushes its leaders to be better than they ever though possible, and that allows anyone to emerge as a leader should they face down the twin fears of failure and the learned disempowerment of TV and elite culture.  As a result of your comments and feedback, my writing, indeed my very identity, has gradually adopted into a pugilistic yet playfully moralistic tone, which mixes in policy discussions, political analysis, and inspections of bad and faith actors and underlying institutional and personal motives.  I remember a meeting I had with Pelosi, prior to the 2006 elections, where I asked her to call the Republicans liars on the House floor when she felt they lied.  She said she wouldn't, and in the conversation pointed out that the use of that word would strip her of the right to speak on the floor for that day under the rules of the House.  Perfect, I said, that's a terrific PR move.  And I wouldn't let up, until her communications director pulled me away.  'You're just like your blog', is what a friend told me afterwards.  And that's because of you, because you have helped me to understand what I never did before, that there is a thirst for people who have strong voices, for people who speak in politics as a moral story.  That's how you talk about politics, so that's how I now talk about it.  I have learned that might does not make right, right makes might.

I hope, as Chris Bowers, Mike Lux, and I go on to our new venture, that we are able to help more people understand the power of disagreement, the power of ideas, and the power of dissent.  The notion of unity is a very powerful framework, and it's one I believe in strongly.  Lincoln's Union was a moral community that sought disagreement within a framework of individual consent to overall decision-making governance.  And that's where we have to go now as a country.  I hear the right-wing and corporate elites making arguments that the public can't govern, so it shouldn't even try.  That taxes can't be paid because lawyers and accountants will find loopholes for the rich, or that we can't move off of a carbon intensive energy system because oil companies and car companies and defense contractors are too powerful.  Nonsense.  The Union, Lincoln's Union, would never say that we cannot tax the powerful and immoral to throw off our chains.  Our America, Lincoln's America, will never consent to being ruled by fiends in defense industries because we can't do better.  In our America, we will not discuss whether the Iraq War made us 'safer' without discussing first whether it was the right thing to do, whether it made us more or less able to live up to America's promise or whether it is part of that murderous and slave-owning past that we pretend does not exist, without seeing our own lack of moral character in the inner cities where we choose to overlook the AIDS, crack, death, and violence that we perpetuate with our suburban lifestyle of gates, chains, and TV fantasy dreamworlds.  We will and are building a new Ameria, and it's going to take time, and it will be painful, but we will get there, at least some of us.

MyDD is a site that should focus on elections and partisanship.  Chris and I believe that elections and partisanship are necessary but not sufficient tools to use for major ideological realignment of our cultural institutions, so that we can build a progressive governing majority.  This realignment is happening, all over the country, and that's what we want to focus on.  The blogs are not a technology platform, but are a representation of what happens when an institutional leadership betrays its stakeholders.  The media, the political system, and the Democratic Party both consistently betray us as liberals, and so the blogosphere is a mixture of organizing against the media, the political system and the Democratic Party.  Until we are done marching through the institutions - labor, churches, corporate America, the courts, the military - our movement will continue, through blogs or other tools.  

And this gets to moving beyond partisanship.  We are an ideological movement that believes in pluralism, communitarianism, and individual identity.  I am my own person, but that person is wrapped up in my relationship with all of you.  I will always be greatful to Jerome, who gave me the chance to have one and a half unbelievable years where I literally found my identity.  I will always be grateful to all of you, and hopefully some of you will find our new space a useful place to continue our organizing and strategic discussions.  Indeed, I believe that the internet is a core element of our movement, because it alone as a medium combines individualistic notions of self with a larger communitarian identity, and allows for rank-and-file stakeholders in institutions to organize around a leadership that betrays them.  There are many untold stories in American history and politics, and the founding of the internet by people within the military-industrial complex and the counter-cultural who thought very hard about institutional betrayal is one of them.  There are others, such as the real story of the modern Democratic Party, and its genuinely radical roots.  I hope to tell some of these, with your help, though not on this site, in this space.

So this is a goodbye to MyDD.  I'll be coming back occasionally, but this site will no longer be core to my identity in politics, or really, in life.  It's really weird.  I mean, I'll be on another site, and many of you will come on over and read, and comment, and link, and complain.  I'm not going to stop howling at the 2008 candidates, it'll just be at a differnet url.  So why is this really a goodbye?  I don't know, but it is.  MyDD will continue, and there will always be a piece of me here, but it will be a different place, with new personalities who can find their voices.  This was my home, my real home, and that's because of you.

And I guess that's what I'll leave you with.  Find your voice, and realize that you have power, whoever you are, wherever you are, and in whichever community you belong to.  Find it, and use it, because in the end, that's all we really are, the people we talk to, the people we listen to, the people we love and the people we hate, who are often one and the same.

Tags: Chris Bowers, Jerome Armstrong, Jonathan Singer, Matt Stoller, MyDD (all tags)

Comments

52 Comments

Re: The People We Love and the People We Hate
You've done great work here Matt.
I'm excited to see the new places you and Bowers go.
I agree that the time has come to build a coherent ideology beyond simple partisanship and think you guys are the perfect ones to attempt it.
Go forth and conquer.
by Texas Nate 2007-06-17 09:34AM | 0 recs
kudos and best of luck Matt

In telling your story this way, you are drawing from Arthure Silber's phrase: the power of narrative.

The idea that there is power in stories is something I've tried to put into my writing as well. The story of the Democratic party is far from over...and changing as we speak.

by kid oakland 2007-06-17 09:46AM | 0 recs
Re: The People We Love and the People We Hate

God speed and good luck with the new venture...

by kekuta 2007-06-17 09:48AM | 0 recs
Re: The People We Love and the People We Hate

Thanks for all you do.

And this comment,

" And as I've looked into history, what I've found is that I'm yelling, we're yelling, a lot like the Communist/socialist organizers of the 1930s were yelling,"

I think is spot on.

by adamterando 2007-06-17 09:49AM | 0 recs
People We Love

Matt,

Thanks for all that you do for the progressive movement.

And remember, history has proved that the dirty hippies have been right about everything...

by global yokel 2007-06-17 10:05AM | 0 recs
Re: The People We Love and the People We Hate

Its wierd... I have often disagreed with Matt and often said so in my comments. Yet, when I am honest about it he has always been my favorite to read here at MYDD. I will miss you Matt, and I will certainly be keeping up with the new site. You truly are an example to everyone who yearns to be part of the process. Thank you for the time you spent here, it was certainly time well spent.

by JDF 2007-06-17 10:12AM | 0 recs
Re: The People We Love and the People We Hate

Great job Matt. Can't wait for the new site.

by Benstrader 2007-06-17 10:18AM | 0 recs
Re: The People We Love and the People We Hate

good job matt.  great good luck w/the new site, and i'll come visit often!

by skippy 2007-06-17 10:22AM | 0 recs
Re: The People We Love and the People We Hate

Godspeed to both you and Bowers on your new site. I plan on making it a daily watering hole once it comes online.

No offense to Jerome, who started MyDD and has done great work here, but you and Chris really became the heart and soul of the site (along with Jonathan). MyDD is going to be a much lesser site without your presence.

by PsiFighter37 2007-06-17 10:31AM | 0 recs
Re: The People We Love and the People We Hate

Good luck at your new venture Matt, and nice post.

I second the above comments.

by Korha 2007-06-17 10:32AM | 0 recs
Re: The People We Love and the People We Hate

It's redundant but you have been an incredibly thought-provoking member of and leader in this community and I wish Mike, Chris & yourself the very best in your next step.  Think big & never let small things take over.  Elective politics should always be a means to an end, not an end to itself.  

by howardpark 2007-06-17 10:42AM | 0 recs
Best Wishes

Good luck with your new site Matt.  You will be missed here at MyDD...

by Demo37 2007-06-17 10:52AM | 0 recs
Besides

politics I was always able to relate to your semi-suburban jewish angst ;)

The best part of working with you were the disagreements and fights, about issues and tactics.

Vigorous Democracy as you artfully coined it.

Look forward to continuing it at the new site and beyond!

by epv72 2007-06-17 10:55AM | 0 recs
Re: The People We Love and the People We Hate

Good luck, buddy.

by Bob Brigham 2007-06-17 11:04AM | 0 recs
Congrats Matt!

You've come a long way from the day we first met in New Hampshire to clean and paint that first Draft Clark office with Stirling, Susan, Jason, and many others.  

Thanks for your strong progressive voice.  Congrats on all your great work here at MyDD, and best of luck to you, Chris, and Mike with the new venture.

-- Brent

by sfbrentb 2007-06-17 11:16AM | 0 recs
Re: The People We Love and the People We Hate

Good Luck Matt! I will definitely follow your new endeavor.

by Pravin 2007-06-17 11:32AM | 0 recs
Re: The People We Love and the People We Hate

Matt- after reading this, even though you had a different background, it dawned on me, you and Mudcat have a whole lot in common!

by wlb 2007-06-17 11:34AM | 0 recs
Re: The People We Love and the People We Hate

Good luck, Matt. Mike Lux is a great guy, you are fortunate to get to work with him.

Kinda surprising to see you joining up with a Clinton alum, and one that has been excoriated by the liberal blogosphere. Maybe he will give you a better appreciation for what it takes to make progressive political change in this country.

by souvarine 2007-06-17 11:40AM | 0 recs
Re: The People We Love and the People We Hate

Matt,

I'm relatively new to the MyDD community, having joined in the run-up to the 2006 elections.  Your posts have been very intelligent and thought provoking.  MyDD has become my new home for political discourse because of how deep the posters, specifically you and Chris, delve into the issues and structures that drive our politics.  One of the great tasks of the next few decades will be the dismantling of the National Security State.  Your posts on this topic have highlighted what is America's most pressing problem that is rarely talked about.  Your analysis will be missed on MyDD, but I will be a frequent visitor to your new site.

Thank you, and good luck!

by dmfox 2007-06-17 11:45AM | 0 recs
Re: The People We Love and the People We Hate
Digby excepted, you are my favorite voice in the blogosphere, and the one from whom I learn the most.
I can't wait to see the new site.
by Joanna 2007-06-17 12:00PM | 0 recs
Re: The People We Love and the People We Hate

Matt,

I cannot figure out from what you and Chris have written what it is that you are going to do on your new site that you could not do on MyDD.

I guess out of respect and affection for Jerome you decided not to share that part of your decision.

What I infer is that you are going to do more of what you have been doing with a sharper edge. At least this is what I am hoping.

What I can tell you is that I will gravitate over to your new site in the expectation that you will be charting new ground in fomenting the progressive revolution that is underway in this country.

Yes, it is a revolution that is underway as the ground gives way to the rumble of the people, as I heard Ralph Nader characterize it at his "Taming the Giant Corporations" conference in Washington, D.C. last week.

What is most important about your analysis of the current scene, Matt, is that you have arrived at it having lived on both sides of the dividing line between those who are being ruined by the status quo and those who are driving and profiting from it. Because you understand their respective and diverging points of departure, you can easily juxtapose one to the other without hyperbole.

I put you in the same exalted class of relentless unyielding critics in which I put David Sirota and David Michael Green in terms of your ability to nail down in writing just what it is that the Republican and Democratic Parties and the corporate predators who have us in a stranglehold are doing to destroy our democracy and our free enterprise system.

For the past 18 months, you have simultaneously served as analyst, teacher, debater, bully pulpiteer and whipping post on MyDD as you put two and two together to articulate what I consider to be the most cogent portrayal of what is ailing the country.

Most importantly, by your example, you have shown me and your readers how to prepare ourselves for the unprecedented role that the blogsphere is going to play in driving our politics from here on in. The roles you have blended together have created a unique space for you and us that have changed our mindsets and transformed many of us into virtual progressive revolutionaries. Clearly, the best is yet to come. I have no doubt that you will be in the forefront of whatever transpires.

Personally, I am very grateful to you for being the voice that articulates the perspectives with which I most closely identify. I am quite a bit older than you with a broader, deeper background on many political issues (thanks to my additional years on this forlorn but infinitely promising planet) but there is virtually no difference between where you stand on the issues and where I stand.

Many thanks and best wishes for continued success at your new post. Let 'em have it!

by Nancy Bordier 2007-06-17 12:21PM | 0 recs
Re: The People We Love and the People We Hate

Matt,
We have a lot more in common than I thought, then again I wasn't looking behind the curtain.

As you migrate so will I. Beyond partisanship to standing up for progressive values is what brought us both-- and many others--into the Lamont campaign. We are true believers who need to spread the beliefs far and wide and beyond the party folks who don't get it and are happy with candidates like Bob Casey and Harold Ford in a calculated world that leaves our values behind.

As Joanna said above me, you and Digby rank among the best voices in the blogisphere. Though FDL is my blog home, you have always been a must read for me.

Thanks for all you have done here and I can't wait to see what you will be creating. I'm there. And I know I'm not alone.

by RevDeb 2007-06-17 12:35PM | 0 recs
Good luck, Matt

 I'll definitely be over at the new location.

 Thanks for all the great talking points over the months. I have employed some of them in my Central Committee meetings, to good effect.

 Oh, and one more time... to hell with Joe Lieberman.

by Master Jack 2007-06-17 01:03PM | 0 recs
Matt, best wishes on your new projects

and life in general.

I have almost always found you to be one of the most insightful bloggers around. I would like to see you seek public office as well as other important initiatives.

au revoir! (but see you around from time to time).

by NuevoLiberal 2007-06-17 01:19PM | 0 recs
Re: The People We Love and the People We Hate

If you were able to embed background music to your post, it seems to be the Beatles' tune with the line "you say goodbye, but I say hello" would be suitable.

There is no vinegar in the dish serving Jerome; so it is reasonable to infer that this is a friendly parting.  Can anyone have a hint when and how to find you in the future?

You and Chris have implied desires to move off an emphasis of partisanship and toward a commitment promoting progressive action.  It is possible to guess what this means, but the possibilities are pretty broad. Jerome and Kos have articulated the need to compromise "special" interest for the sake of electoral victory.  The power of this message was felt last November when it felt good to win. The widespread disappointment at the Iraq supplemental funding refreshes many memories and teaches some anew that holding offices is not enough if it falls short of making issues come out right.  Kos has stated from time to time that the fight goes on and no one should have thought that last November's election would change the power of President.  At the same time, Kos has created a place where someone like Jerome a Paris could create something like Energize America, which is more than an electioneering ploy.

Will you have some new mission statement? I remember a prior post, again I think it was by Chris, that expressed something like blogging have a cruel nature because any blogger who does not continue to produce content that entices readers to return will soon not have readers.

I, too, will try to follow when you reappear. Make sure to send up signals easy enough for some of us who are internet neanderthals to follow.

by wind off the lake 2007-06-17 01:23PM | 0 recs
Be well...

... you Holy Stoller, you.

by Vermonter 2007-06-17 01:35PM | 0 recs
Re: The People We Love and the People We Hate

Thank you for sharing your moving personal story. It will be exciting to see you in your new home, knowing as well that the old one will still be here in good hands, too.

It is a strength of the pragmatic progressive movement that it can support a diversity of places, approaches, and niches. Your timing seems oh so appropriate... as k/o posted yesterday at dKos there is that feeling of a new political era arriving.

by WVaBlue 2007-06-17 01:46PM | 0 recs
Thanks Matt-Keep the torch burning!

As a longtime mydd reader I was startled to read the phrase "leaving mydd" and afraid you were going to put your voice, your analysis, and your fire aside. Happily that will not be the case, and I will add your new site (any timeline on this, or name, or is it still a work in progress?) to my favorites. Even when there are a zillion posts I always read yours. Thanks for the personal background about you and your family's journeys, and it is interesting to me as one who has also logged time in New York, New Hampshire, and Cambridge to learn about your past. So keep up the great work, and I will look forward to reading your words and wisdom when and where they turn up.

by Robert Spurrier 2007-06-17 01:54PM | 0 recs
Re: The People We Love and the People We Hate

What is it about tipping points that bring me to the same conclusions about my participation at Daily Kos, HuffPost, MyDD?

....Progressive Governing Majority WRIT LARGE--and Amen to you, Matt!!

Fair winds....I'm off to see the wizard myself, just to f**k with the man behind the curtain one more time. It used to be called Activism, but that sounds more like a cologne than a nonviolent Be-In or Burn Baby, Burn! I'm from '68 and the class of '72, and I have more balls to throw into the game.

What is about kicking ass and taking names that puts me on the Wanted List when I don't give a shit about moderates anymore?

Moderation, comity, negotiation and compromise are not my speed or wattage. I am the change I espouse, or I am nothing. So ...outahere!!! O'er the ramparts!!

by ezdidit 2007-06-17 01:59PM | 0 recs
Re: The People We Love and the People We Hate

by ezdidit 2007-06-17 02:00PM | 0 recs
good

luck, Matt.

by taylormattd 2007-06-17 02:08PM | 0 recs
Re: The People We Love and the People We Hate

Best wishes on the new site.

by robliberal 2007-06-17 02:33PM | 0 recs
Re: Guiding Realignments

Matt, this blew my mind. I don't get here often these days, and these days, I'm not even able to keep up with the amazing posts and commenters over at FDL. If I make it through EW every other day or so, I feel lucky.

Just yesterday, I posted at EWs about how people that I've known for years, who were self-described 'moderate Republicans' going back to the 1960s, are so grimly terse about GWBush and the current national situation that it appears to me the Republican party is splitting.   It appears that affluent, educated suburbanites who  place a high priority on fiscal responsibility, as well as on environmental protection, are done with the deceits and ideologues of Bu$hCo.  These former Republicans don't identify with traditional Democrats, because in their minds the word 'union' is a synomyn for 'lazy' or 'no accountability.'   They're politically homeless, and they're deeply offended by many things they've seen: Abu Gharib, millitary vets in mildewed rooms, the scams of K-Street, Katrina, Iraq, no-bid contracts... every single issue is just one more scalding insult to their core beliefs about fairness, decency, and fiscal prudence.

Political attitudes are shifting and changing, but it's not clear what form they will take. Whatever comes next is going to require a lot of educating; both about issues, and also about how they are interrelated.

Like you, I've felt marginalized by politicos who are handmaidens for corporate interests.  (You might find Zuboff and Maxmin's "The Support Economy: Why Corporatoins Are Failling Individuals nd the Next Episode of Capitalism" valuable as you think forward.)  One little election every four years is simply not providing enough accountability for the volumes of money and human effort at stake in the decisions elected officials now make.  

And don't even let me get started on the judicial appointments this had led to --  to take only one example:  are there more than twenty federal judges who know squat about patents, trademarks, bioengineering, molecular biology, or other up-and-coming technologies?  Is someone really supposed to invest $10 million, or $20 million, or $80 million in a new bioengineering process or product that may end up before a judge whose legal preparation comes from either Heritage University of the Federalist Society?  

A few more observations and themes:

1. The viewership is growing for  The Daily Show (Steward/Colbert), and Olbermann, and Cafferty (who is a cranky scold, but credible).  The news outlets that pass along the Bushie version of events are losing audience; the outlets that interpret it (a bit like Kremlinology) are gaining viewers.  In very different styles, that's what Stewart, Colbert, Olbermann, and Cafferty are doing -- explaining the meaning behind the spin. (Moyers has done it for years.)

2. If the two-minutes-for-your-answers format of "Presidential Debates" resulted in GWBush, they're outdated.  Why isn't anyone insisting on an hour-plus conversation with each of these candidates??  The shorter answer-period favors a superficial sales guy like GWBush, or Fred Thompson.  Every format that enables more sound-bites should be scorned, shunned, boycotted, and ridiculed.   People on the blogs ought to insist that the MSM provide the time necessary to see how someone's mind really functions.  These candidates should have to sit down, month after month, for an uninterrupted hour's conversation with reporters.  Or be disqualified.   We ought to boycott all 'made-for-teevee psuedo-debates' on the grounds that they're an insulting farce.

3. As I've told my kids, any gutless f*ckup can lie.  Telling the truth requires courage and it's definitely not for weenies.  I agree that there is a huge appetite for explanations that make sense, and governance that is accountable.  I'll look forward to your next venture, and I suspect that your timing really couldn't be any better.

You were smart to pick the dot com experience over the corporate raider life.  The dot coms were a petri dish for  entreprenurial opportunities, and it will be interesting to see what you do next.  Looking forward to it!

by readerOfTeaLeaves 2007-06-17 02:55PM | 0 recs
Re: Guiding Realignments

I like your frames. Keep sticking it to the Moyers wannabe's out there. You have the list...take names!

by ezdidit 2007-06-17 05:50PM | 0 recs
Re: The People We Love and the People We Hate

So will we still see you on C-SPAN, Matt?

by joyful alternative 2007-06-17 03:08PM | 0 recs
Thank you again

You really are a person of deep thought and conviction.

Thank you for sharing with all of us.

by kevin22262 2007-06-17 03:31PM | 0 recs
Re: The People We Love and the People We Hate

I read this site long before I joined, and the passion and the conviction was a welcome change from what I was seeing from the Democratic  Party.  I didn't always agree with you, but I can really appreciate and respect the conviction behind the words.  I sincerely wish you and Chris good luck and success in your next endeavor.

by Kingstongirl 2007-06-17 03:52PM | 0 recs
Re: The People We Love and the People We Hate

Matt,

I've followed your work ever since the Clark days. Great stuff! One thing:

"Indeed, I believe that the internet is a core element of our movement, because it alone as a medium combines individualistic notions of self with a larger communitarian identity, and allows for rank-and-file stakeholders in institutions to organize around a leadership that betrays them."

I believe you mean: "that does not betray them." I don't usually point to mistakes in blog posts but to me this is the pivotal sentence of your whole piece, the thesis, the essence, your vision for a progressive America.

by Panhu 2007-06-17 04:28PM | 0 recs
Re: The People We Love and the People We Hate

On the one hand, I will miss you at MyDD, on the other hand, I'm really looking forward to what you will be doing in your next incarnation.

Good luck.

by Mooncat 2007-06-17 05:24PM | 0 recs
Wow

What an amazing bon voyage. I don't really know what else to say...

by Alex Urevick 2007-06-17 05:28PM | 0 recs
Blogging's Tough

Gosh, Matt, if you and Chris 'leave', what then?

(Just between us, old bloggers never really quit! Quite seriously. Even Armstrong hasn't quite left, in my opinion. Kevin Hayden made a big whoop de doo over 'quiting AmericanStreet, but I would bet if I go over there right now, he will still be at it! Isn't this just another big goof like the Great Googlebomb?)

I'll admit I've pulled some serious low-down shit around here, but I have yet to drop the big 'Q' word. A few other small fish have, but then they usually pop up again from time to time. I would rather blog than, say, be in Iraq, but, like I said in my half-awake Bowers send-off, blogging's tough. (Remember that great Bush "war's tough" rant? What a joker!).

by blues 2007-06-17 05:52PM | 0 recs
Re: The People We Love and the People We Hate
I've always thought you and Chris made a phenomenal team- you two have stylistic differences that fit together just really nicely.
 I wish you best of luck knowing full well that you don't need it!
by sb 2007-06-17 06:23PM | 0 recs
Re: The People We Love and the People We Hate

Here are three parts of this post that really resonated with me:

I believed in the American status quo, but, when it failed, it rubbed something fundamental in my character, a rawness that had always been there, in my person and in my people.

And that's because of you, because you have helped me to understand what I never did before, that there is a thirst for people who have strong voices, for people who speak in politics as a moral story.

The blogs are not a technology platform, but are a representation of what happens when an institutional leadership betrays its stakeholders.  The media, the political system, and the Democratic Party both consistently betray us as liberals, and so the blogosphere is a mixture of organizing against the media, the political system and the Democratic Party.

I don't think the MSM has any idea how much the blogosphere has nurtured radicalism. This radicalism is a natural outgrowth of the clearly immoral culture of washington -- but there was no real, efficient way to express it prior to the liberal blogs.

If I were a member of the media/political/military establishment, I would be thinking about an escape route in the near future. The progressive movement is incredibly well organized, morally coherent, and radical. Everything the current Democratic party is not.

This is going to get ugly... and I wouldn't want it any other way.

by mermzilla 2007-06-17 06:31PM | 0 recs
Re: The People We Love and the People We Hate

Matt - Good luck with your and Chris's new site.  I have really enjoyed your posts.  You will be missed here.

by John Mills 2007-06-17 06:56PM | 0 recs
Thanks Matt

You and Chris kept me reading here. I'll cruise through in the future, but I'll certainly also follow to the new site. Sounds like you're on the kind of project I've spent my life on. Through a lot of defeats and a few unimaginable victories, I remain confident there is no other way to live.

by janinsanfran 2007-06-17 07:08PM | 0 recs
You're good people, Stoller.

I could blather on, but I'll leave it at that.

by Mobar 2007-06-17 07:59PM | 0 recs
Matt Stoller Leaves MyDD

I think you've hit very close to what has caused so many people to gather and communicate on blogs with this:

I began, along with creative class professionals everywhere, to yell.  And as I've looked into history, what I've found is that I'm yelling, we're yelling, a lot like the Communist/socialist organizers of the 1930s were yelling, and a lot like the New Right were yelling in the 1970s.  It's a yell born of primal identity, values, and an obsessive willingness, even need, to restructure power arrangements.  It's like an itch that upon scratching, does not go away until you remove the skin itself.

I can definitely relate to that.

Best of luck at your new site.

by Curt Matlock 2007-06-17 08:25PM | 0 recs
Re: The People We Love and the People We Hate
I am very uneasy about this move of yours.
It is my view that in focusing as you did in the period leading up to the elections in 2006, you and Chris Bowers were enormously successful at moving the bar of the Democratic Party.  To me, I believe that in concert with Kos, the two of you pushed it perhaps more than you know in the direction of real Democratic values and you were the embodiment of a real Democratic voice.  This was a sea change.  I can't tell you how important the work has been.  And that has been your energy within the Democratic Party frame -- assuming the mantle therein from those who have so solidly sold us out.  And those who will continue to sell us out unless we continue to pressure them and push further where you started.   So I am uneasy about your move.  
Of course, we all wish you well.... But I am frightened that we will miss the beat ... that there will be a deafening pause ...
by syolles 2007-06-18 06:26AM | 0 recs
Re: The People We Love and the People We Hate

Who will be the Joshua here now to lead us the rest of the way?

I wish you of course much mazel in your future endeavors, Mr. Stoller.

by pennquaker08 2007-06-18 08:59AM | 0 recs
Re: The People We Love and the People We Hate

i think you're doing exactly the right thing....thanks for all your effort.  Resist the temptation to focus on making money, if you can, and stay in the game....unfortunately, it's too easy for us to rely on the children of the elite to make this career choice.  Fortunately you know this.  

I can't afford to make that choice, that's why I weaved in and out of official politics earlier this decade.  

(re: "Chris and I believe that elections and partisanship are necessary but not sufficient tools to use for major ideological realignment of our cultural institutions, so that we can build a progressive governing majority.  This realignment is happening, all over the country, and that's what we want to focus on.)

by Andmoreagain 2007-06-18 09:47AM | 0 recs
Re: The People We Love and the People We Hate

Thanks for your analysis, spirit and voice. More than once you have motivated me to get up off my ass and jump in.

by johnalive 2007-06-18 05:45PM | 0 recs
Re: The People We Love and the People We Hate

Matt,

Like so many others above, I have relished your and Chris' writing here, and count you as two of my heroes and causes for optimism about the future of politics in this country.  I do not fret either for MyDD or your contribution to politics going forward, since I've learned to trust you and those who will keep working here to do new, exciting, and ever more important work.

In the spirit of your discussion above, I am curious, however, whether you are talking about "communitarianism" in the spirit in which those who have trumpeted the term mean it, or whether you are appropriating the term for your own future development of it.  I would agree that by etymology alone it sounds like a very good approach to progressive politics.  Alas, those who have been most closely linked with the term are (by my reckoning) considerably less progressive than (e.g.) you and Chris.  So if you are of a mind to respond, I'd be interested to hear your thoughts about your relationship to other, prominent "communitarians" and their views, or whether you are intending to wrench the term away from them.  

And, if you neither intend to ally with them nor to appropriate the term from them, you may want to find a different way to describe your views, since with "communitarianism" you may find yourself lumped with some who are not looking to push towards the same future you are.

Best wishes,

Ump

by Umpteenth 2007-06-19 06:02AM | 0 recs

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