Wednesday, April 26, 2023

Where Did All The Bad Takes Come From

It's hard to describe it precisely, but there was a proliferation of bad takes and similar starting some time in 2021 and, since I am dumb, it didn't really occur to me that "some asshole billionaire is throwing lots of money around." That was, of course, what was happening.

Amazing stuff.
Being part of the EA crew was also an effective way for Sean to pad his bank account — helping forge a connection with Sam Bankman‐Fried, the crypto billionaire, who was famously into the philosophy. Data for Progress did some polling for Guarding Against Pandemics, the organization run by Sam’s brother Gabe, but Sean had more to offer — separately — as a private consultant. He knew a lot of people in Washington. He could make introductions, and he could evangelize the hell out of Guarding Against Pandemics. “I’ve been paid a couple of times for my ability to bring things up at happy hours,” Sean once told me about his work for Gabe.

Read the whole thing, as the kids say. If you ever were wondering things like, "why is Gillibrand suddenly a big Crypto supporter," or, "What the fuck is this about?"

Data for Progress was, for a time, extremely influential, and while perhaps not the worst of the genre, was very aggressive about positioning itself as the progressive space organization in order to clip the agenda of actual progressives. The message "other progressives are dumb, we are smart progressives, also let me introduce you to some obscenely rich people" always resonates.
“I was on a call today with all these stupid f---ing progressives,” McKenzie said.

The call she had been on had been about a recent deal to lower prescription drug prices. It was a big achievement, but the progressives had compromised more than they wanted, and McKenzie — who had worked on Elizabeth Warren’s presidential campaign — had come to think of them as whiners.

“You just got a big f---ing win on prescription drugs, f---ing act like it,” McKenzie said. “It’s so stupid. No one ever wants to do a f---ing victory lap.”

There would be no victory lap for Terry McAuliffe on this night. The polls in Virginia had just closed, and it would be hours before anyone knew that Youngkin was going to win, or by how much (2 percentage points). Data for Progress missed on the polling, like pretty much everyone else.

But even before that picture came into focus, Sean’s staff were talking about what Democrats needed to do in the future. To achieve progressive things, they needed to at least appear to be moderate. If the fence-sitters thought the Democrats were a bunch of socialists, they would vote Republican.
New version of the grift that always exists in Democratic politics.