Update1:  This term has been recast as "Puritopian."  Emo Progressive was never coined by either Joy Ann Reid or myself. It had already gotten traction before we came together and tried to give it greater definition. We succeeded, perhaps too well. Like others, we were never comfortable with it because it was far too disparaging of emotion, which in itself is not a bad thing.  At the same time, we never much liked "Pro Left" either, as many of the people associated with the behavior and attitudes were amateur writers and boggers. Thus, we now feel that "Puritopian" is a better term of art to decribe the beliefs and attitudes that were being discussed on this page. You can read more about the term as soon as I have time to write it up here. For now, just substitute it wherever you see Emo Progressive below.

Update2: I've never been able to get "Puritopian" to gain much traction because too many people had already become too enamored with the "emo" in "emoprogressive," (which I still dislike).  So I found a middle ground and defined a new label which seems to be resonating with many in the social media space already. That new label is: Emotarian


Note: Joy Ann Reid and I posted the definition below on Urban Dictionary. But it really needs more discussion than what can be posted there. So this post will serve as an ongoing primer on the subject, and will be expanded incrementally.   If you have comments or ideas for things to include, please post them below.

Emo Progressive

The Original Definition, reprinted from Urban Dictionary

Emo Progressive (or "emoprog") is a self-described liberal or progressive, often with strong libertarian leanings, whose primary political orientation is to be angry, dissatisfied and unhappy with the state of the nation at any given time, because in their view, liberal policies are not being implemented quickly enough or articulated forcefully enough. They have particular contempt for Democratic presidents.

Emoprogs are ideological purists who disdain compromise and incremental change, which they see as "selling out" classical liberal ideas like full employment, an end to all wars, state secrets, and liberal social policy.

Emoprogs dislike Republicans but reserve their greatest disdain for Democratic presidents, whom they relentlessly attack for not meeting a set of ideological goal posts that are constantly adjusted to ensure that the president will be deemed a disappointment, "not progressive enough" or "just like a Republican" no matter what policy achievements are made.

Emoprogs routinely dismiss or ignore congress' role in making or impeding policy, believing presidents can simply "use the bully pulpit" and "fight" in order to overcome constitutional or legislative obstacles.

Emoprogs have a strong affinity for third party politics as a way to punish Democratic presidents. They are especially hostile to President Barack Obama and deem anyone who expresses a lack of ill will toward him to be "Obamabots" and enemies of liberalism.

Example1: After Eric Holder announced congress had blocked the Justice Department from trying 9/11 mastermind KSM in civilian court, social networks lit up with emo progressives complaining that President Obama had broken his campaign promise to end military tribunals. Their criticism did not mention congressional Democrats who helped block Holder.

Example2: Emoprogs dismissed healthcare reform as a failure, saying President Obama should have used the bully pulpit to achieve a single payer system, despite the fact that Sen. Harry Reid made it clear that such a plan could not pass the Senate.


Related Reading

In a pointed essay about how wrong some libertarian bloggers masquerading as progressives can be, Booman Tribune (@booMan23) outlines a very good summary of just  some of the major progressive achievements of the Obama adminstration.  Despite the incessant and destructive doom and gloom whining of a professional left that profits from all the hysteria they manufacture, and the general ineffectualness of a progressive movement that now seems to have been far more interested in bumper sticker slogans that made them feel good,rather than in the long,hard slog we needed to make real political change, the Obama administration has gotten far more accomplished than any of these do-nothing idealogues really want you to know about.  

Why it that? Because the more you know, the more likely you are to vote.  And that means Obama would easily win reelection, and that's just something they cannot stomach because he's not "just not progressive enough" to suit their suspiciously juvenile expectations or tastes.

Whether they actually feel that way, as so many irrelevant socialists, anarchists, and nihlists have always felt in our nation's history, or they are being well-paid by the right wing to appear as if they feel that way, is really irrelevant in the current shadow of an impending Right wing takeover of the White House and Senate. Their glum, disappointed, despiriting voices and screeds deface the pages of countless newspaper, broadcast, and blogging  accounts so often, the apathy and despair in the electorate is palpable, and probably far greater than is being reflected in Obama's low approval numbers.  

Those numbers always take a plunge after the latest "Caver in Chief" memes get planted by the Hamshers, Greenwalds, Uygurs, Schultzes, Moores, Ratigans, Daous, and the rest of the perpetually petulant rich people gambling with America's future so they can look important to the 7% of democrats who will never be happy with any Democratic president.  These memes get traction not because they are true, but because these people get more traction in the main stream media than do all the other voices who actually lay out the facts without all the ruinously simplistic distortions and polemical firebombs designed to get them high-fives from their friends and sympathetic media hosts, and generally advance their career profiles and products, no matter how much they posture otherwise. Whether they really want to destroy the Obama presidency is secondary to the fact that they actually are.  So why are they so culturally suicidal with so much at risk for our society?  Ask them. They will spin you up a nice lie, replete with just enough pseudo-progressive blither blather that you might actually confuse them with sincere progressives.  They're not.

But enough preamble. Here is Booman's list, mostly reformatted and marginally reworded to suit this purpose, and with just enough of his lead-in retained to provide some context:

On many of the issues that most concern [Glenn] Greenwald, the two parties are frighteningly alike. How do we get these assholes to stop the insane War on Drugs? How can we ever shrink the Pentagon down to a reasonable size? Is there any end to the expansion of the surveillance state? It seems like neither party has any interest in budging on any of these questions, and it's appalling.

But how about the areas where they do differ?

  • Obama has overhauled the food safety system
  • Advanced women's rights in the work place
  • Ended Don't Ask, Don't Tell (DADT) in our military
  • Stopped defending DOMA in court.
  • Passed the Hate Crimes bill.
  • Appointed two pro-choice women to the Supreme Court.
  • Expanded access to medical care and provided subsidies for people who can't afford it.
  • Expanded the Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP)
  • Fixed the preexisting conditions travesty [and rescissions] in health insurance.
  • Invested in clean energy.
  • Overhauled the credit card industry, making it much more consumer-friendly.
  • While Dodd-Frank bill was weak in many respects, it was still an extremely worthwhile start at re-regulating the financial sector.
  • He created a Elizabeth Warren's dream agency: The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.
  • He's done a lot for veterans
  • He got help for people whose health was injured during the clean-up after the 9/11 attacks. 

None of these things were priorities for Republicans. They actively opposed, directly or indirectly through obstruction, every single item on this list. In fact, they succeeded in killing a Cap & Trade bill in the Senate after it had passed through the House.

All of these things are improvements that would not have occurred under a McCain-Palin administration. Moreover, a McCain-Palin administration would have moved in the other direction on most of these issues, or come up with even worse compromises.

Booman then concludes with:

The president has achieved a tremendous amount under the circumstances. And it matters greatly that he not be replaced by Mitt Romney, Rick Perry, or Michele Bachmann. Or even Ron Paul.

Thank you, Boo. It needed to be said. 

Moreover, it needs to be repeated to everyone. Please use the Retweet button below and help do that. Thanks.

Note:  :Last  year, a team I assembled produced a far more extensive list and published it at ObamaAchievements.org.  We are about to start updating it to include some of what can be found above, and certainly all of what is found in Milt Shook's much later effort, which you can read here:



I get asked a lot why I persist in relentlessly calling on serious journalists to investigate the outrageous hyperbole and egregiously distorted facts about accused Wikileaks source, Bradley Manning. 

Well, perhaps we now have a good example of why it mattered so much to me. It seems that a famous story about Gitmo torture deaths by journalist, Scott Horton, doubted by some at the time, but which nonetheless won the National Magazine award, is now collapsing under a scrutiny that such a sensational story should have gotten when it first appeared.

Perhaps this fiasco will cause some to look again at the equally dubious Manning exaggerations now going into their 7th month.

Since last December, the Manning story has gone from a single post by Glenn Greenwald, who took ridiculous liberties with facts and his own beliefs to spin a yarn of government malfeasance bordering on conspiracy, torture, and a wanton disregard for established rules of military justice and decency. All without a single shred of proof, or even a credible source, outside of the accused's attorney, and a pretentious hacker named David House, who used 15 minutes of knowing Manning as a pretext for visiting him, then parlaying those visits into international fame by spewing psycho babble about Manning looking "catatonic" to his professional hacker's eye.

But as Greenwald often seems to do with his stories, that story had planted a seed that would then grow in the minds and blogs of the disaffected left, and particularly an angry civil liberties lobby that has welcomed any story of alleged abuse of power or other wrongdoing that could be used to shame, embarrass or inconvenience the Obama administration. 

Within weeks, the story was being aggressively shipped from, and pimped by Jane Hamsher's FireDogLake.com, Truthout, and countless other progressive and wikileaks-obsessed news sites and bloggers, all thrilled to have another new outrage that they could use to drive traffic to their web sites.

Inevitably, mainstream news outlets picked up the buzz, and without even a phone call's worth of effort to confirm a single fact or allegation, they repeated Greenwald's views and conclusions almost verbatim, and ad nauseam.

Soon enough, driven by Greenwald's grotesquely inflated reputation as a reputed expert on matters of constitutional law and torture (he wrote a book), the stories were being purportedly "investigated" by Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, and the United Nations. Of course, in every case, the only reason these organizations were looking into it at all, were, by their own admission, because of "reports" of abuse by none other than Glenn Greenwald himself (citing the lawyer, himself, or self described torture experts from Firedoglake). Such a small world.

Never one to let ethics dampen his enthusiasm for promoting a good story, Greenwald would make a huge noise every time one of these organizations would appear to confirm his conclusions that Manning was being tortured, rarely if ever hinting to his readers that their interest was generated by Greenwald himself.

Since then, I have continually tried to use my Twitter presence and blog to alert journalists and the media to the many holes, half-truths, and outright distortions in the Greenwald and Jane Hamsher narratives about the Manning story.

Detail: About Dr. Jeff Kaye, Firedoglake, and Pfc. Bradley Manning

More of my posts: http://shoqvalue.com/?s=manning

Alas,because of Greenwald's weird popularity, driven by the blogosphere's increasingly sloppy criteria for what a "journalist"is (Greenwald doesn't actually call himself one, but dresses in the trappings of one with nearly every word he writes), and probably his legendary tenacity for attacking and bullying critics, it was only a very few columnists like Joy Ann Reid who took my bait and looked deeper:

Finally, Someone Else Has Questions for Bradley Manning & David House

Joy-Ann has done a lot more work since, and tells me she has some revelations coming on this case. I am eagerly awaiting them.

In the meantime, I urge every thinking person to consider this embarrassing Scott Horton fail, and realize just how deeply susceptible we have all become to these sensational stories that can gain swift traction on the Internet, but which are rarely vetted by it.

Instead, the mainstream media diligently takes dictation, happy to echo the totally free content and accrued site visitations which they receive as a result of this thin and dubious reporting from the aggressive self-promoters like Glenn Greenwald and Jane Hamsher.

I realize that liberals like to feel a kinship with victims of injustice. But we have more than enough real ones to worry about, without outrageous exaggerations, ginned-up by people always on the lookout for something which might be used to embarrass the Obama administration.

I will now head off to find some lunch, and await Greenwald's loyal minions (or Glenn himself as sock puppet), who will comment below that another "Obama cultist" has smeared their Dear Leader again.