Jane Hamsher Makes a Fool of Herself On TV and Other Lessons for the Sanctimonious Left

I am sure that I'm about to deeply offend Ms. Jane Hamsher of Firedoglake (FDL).  By pointing out that she made a fool out of herself on television.  On this past Tuesday.  See, she went on The Last Word on MSNBC, and asked about the prospect of a stand-alone Don't Ask, Don't Tell repeal bill, she dismissed the idea as sheer fantasy, and pronounced that it too would die a death by Senate procedure.



Well, we all know what happened yesterday.  The Senate not only passed the motion to end the filibuster by 63-33, it approved final passage by an even wider 65-31 margin.  Hello Mizz Jane Hamsher's face, here's some egg for you.

Jane Hamsher is of course not the only member of the establishment sanctimonious Left that predicted the demise of DADT repeal, because in their minds, President Obama didn't really want it to happen, because he's not really committed to this issue or LGBT rights in general.  Scott Wooledge (known on the Internets as "clarknt67"), for example got really mad at me for having the audacity to point out that his death-pronouncement of DADT repeal was simply wrong.  He got so mad at me, in fact, that he decided to get together with one of his Twitter pals and call  me a Teabagger, a Nazi and a Communist all at the same time.

Fun times.

Not that Scott made any apologies for getting the idea of DADT repeal being completely - and happily, I would assume in his case - wrong.  He happily proceeded to deny the President any credit, despite Sen. Lieberman's clear statement that the President has been on the phone persuading undecided Senators.  Jane Hamsher's blog, Firedoglake, did the same.

I think President Obama deserves an inordinate amount of credit, but I don't care much that Hamsher and Wooledge don't want to give the President credit.  There's definitely enough credit to go around in this victory.  But the problem with the claw-on-the-chalkboard rah-rah opposition to the President is that they are neither humble enough nor pleased enough in a victory to admit their errors in judgment, even when they should be happy to be wrong.  People like Jane Hamsher and Scott Wooledge are far more interested in critiquing the President than in having actually something done.  They are so invested in the fantasy that President Obama is a grand-scale sellout or that he is not a True ProgressiveTM that they have trouble clearly seeing when the very predictions they make based on that fantasy turn out to be dead wrong.

Contrast that with, for example, with the gracious praise and mea culpa that Rachel Maddow offered on the phone to MSNBC yesterday.  She had been as tough as anyone on the President, as distrustful and as cynical as anyone that President Obama could - or even intended to - keep his promise to pass a legislative repeal of DADT by this year.  Here's Rachel's call:



Rachel Maddow's words bear repeating, in their entirety:
Contessa Brewer: MSNBC's Rachel Maddow joins me. Rachel, this is a topic that you've been tackling on your show every night here on MSNBC. What's your reaction now to 6 [actually the number was 8] Republicans voting for the repeal of Don't Ask, Don't Tell?

Rachel Maddow: You know, a lot of people have said that once it was clear that it was going to pass, that it would open the door to some unexpected 'Yes' votes. I always tend to be a little cynical about these things, so I'm not sure I believed it. But it's true. To see Richard Burr in particular move on this, to see John Ensign move on this, John Ensign indicated that he might move on this. It just shows you that the politics of this are unpredictable and people trying to denounce this as a traditional left-right issue, the way that John McCain I think in particular has tried to demogague it, it's just wrong. They're talking about something that might have been true 20 years ago and isn't true now.

Politically though the thing to not lose touch with here is that this is the President's victory. This is something about which the President took a lot of criticism, a lot of abuse, a lot of skepticism from his otherwise most loyal supporters on this. But this is an issue on which the President did not waiver. He continually insisted that this was possible, that it would get done. It in fact was not possible for the President to do this through executive action. This is something that had to happen legislatively if it was really going to happen in a definitive way. The President did not waiver. He did work on the Senate to get this to happen. He insisted that it was possible against a lot of people, including me, saying it was not possible. This is a difficult promise kept. It's not just a promise kept. It was one that was hard to keep, that cost a lot of political capital and a lot of work. And this is the President's victory today, and his base will reward him for it.
This is why Rachel Maddow is in a league of her own.  She is not immune to the heat of the moment.  She is not immune to getting carried away by a passion.  She isn't immune to cynicism or distrust of the President.  But when she gets it wrong, she doesn't try to cover it up or try to paper over over.  She admits it.  She happily admits it.  She admits that the President took a lot of abuse and distrust - and that this victory was the President's victory.  She acknowledges that she was wrong and that the President was right.  There's no if's, and's or but's about it.  She doesn't go out there and say "the President had nothing to do with and this happened only because I pushed for it."  Instead, credit goes where it's due.

You see, for all her faults, the one thing Rachel Maddow lacks is ego. Rachel Maddow is not looking for the next thing to blame the President for.  I have always felt that her concern on this, while misplaced, was genuine.  And the moment it was proven to be unfounded, she volunteered (note that she wasn't asked for her opinion on the President) her mea culpa, giving the President full credit.  That's what makes for a true advocate.

There's a lesson to be learned from her for people like Jane Hamsher and clarknt67.  But I'm afraid that those who believe they already know it all cannot learn new things.