In response to Cults and Factions, American Style:
Further to the discussion Ace and Jerome were having about factionalism, here’s the latest fundraising missive from Obama operative Jim Messina, chair of the immortal campaign fundraising octopus currently known as “Organizing for Action”:
Friend–I want to make one thing absolutely clear:
We’re up against a whole lot more than just opposition in Congress.
We’re up against interest groups with money to burn–organizations willing to drop every last penny they have to stop President Obama’s agenda in its tracks. We’re already seeing it on gun violence, and immigration reform–they’re going to spend millions to throw a wrench in the works of progress.
You can be damned sure that this is not going to stop.
Organizing for Action is going to shift the balance of power in Washington back to real people. People like you have shown over and over again that no amount of spending can stop millions of Americans calling for change.
It’s going to take each of us rolling up our sleeves, getting to work, and chipping in what we can when we can.
We have our first fundraising deadline this weekend. Donate $5 or more right now to become a founding member of this organization: [link redacted]
This is going to be fun. If we do this right, the other side won’t know what hit ‘em.
As James Taranto of the Wall Street Journal noted, besides being a ridiculous example of political greed from a money machine that’s already selling access to Obama for half a million dollars, this is an example of factionalism for its own sake – a general call for fealty and financial support, premised entirely on hatred and fear of The Other:
Some of our fellow writers had other interesting reactions. “What’s neat about this is that it’s a pure appeal for political warfare,” one wrote. “The particular issues involved are secondary, mentioned in passing or not at all. The point is to fight Obama’s opponents, period.” Another replied: “Yes. And at the bottom after all the chipping and wrenching and fighting: ‘This is going to be fun.'”
Taranto goes on to compare this to the behavior of animal, and human, herds “held together by mutual animosity, who could not survive had they no friends to hate,” in the words of French ethologist Jean-Jacques Petter. That seems perfectly in line with what you were saying about In-Group solidarity and Out-Group scorn. It’s sobering to note how blatant it is, coming from a political machine that seems to know exactly what Obama’s followers will pay good money to hear.