Beinart Gets It, Many Left Blogs Don't

Who'da thunk it? In the Washington Post today, Peter Beinart echoes my thoughts:

When Democrats worry about the backlash that awaits Barack Obama if he defends civil liberties, or endorses withdrawal from Iraq, or proposes unconditional negotiations with Iran, they are seeing ghosts. Fundamentally, the politics of foreign policy have changed.

. . . Because Americans are less afraid and because Republicans have abandoned the foreign policy center, Democrats need not worry that Obama will suffer the fate of George McGovern, Jimmy Carter, Walter Mondale or John Kerry. He won't lose because he looks weak. The greater danger is that he will change positions in a bid to look strong -- as he recently did on the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act -- and come across as inauthentic and insincere. As Ruy Teixeira and John Halpin have noted, the Democrats' biggest political liability is not that Americans believe they are too liberal but rather that they believe that Democrats don't stand for anything at all. . .

(Emphasis supplied.) It is scary to me that Peter Beinart gets it but some of the Left blogs do not. Which is funny, because the Left blogs were first to recognize this. But now in Obama adoration mode, they forget their original raison d'etre.

By Big Tent Democrat, speaking for me only

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    Well, the left blogs are doubly stupid (5.00 / 12) (#2)
    by andgarden on Sun Jul 06, 2008 at 11:15:42 AM EST
    because Obama told us almost three years ago that he fundamentally disagrees with us about American politics.

    According to the storyline that drives many advocacy groups and Democratic activists - a storyline often reflected in comments on this blog - we are up against a sharply partisan, radically conservative, take-no-prisoners Republican party.  They have beaten us twice by energizing their base with red meat rhetoric and single-minded devotion and discipline to their agenda.  In order to beat them, it is necessary for Democrats to get some backbone, give as good as they get, brook no compromise, drive out Democrats who are interested in "appeasing" the right wing, and enforce a more clearly progressive agenda.  The country, finally knowing what we stand for and seeing a sharp contrast, will rally to our side and thereby usher in a new progressive era.

    I think this perspective misreads the American people.  


    I wish I could give you (5.00 / 2) (#6)
    by madamab on Sun Jul 06, 2008 at 11:18:25 AM EST
    a 50 for that one.

    An excellent find.


    I didn't discover it, it's well known (none / 0) (#9)
    by andgarden on Sun Jul 06, 2008 at 11:19:16 AM EST
    Not to me (5.00 / 3) (#83)
    by madamab on Sun Jul 06, 2008 at 12:34:46 PM EST
    and I appreciate your pointing it out.

    I now understand more clearly my fundamental aversion to Obama's political approach. No wonder the current crop of caving Congresscritters is behind him.


    Yes (none / 0) (#12)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Sun Jul 06, 2008 at 11:21:27 AM EST
    It will no doubt be my big footnote as a part of history.

    As I think you've recognized, (none / 0) (#16)
    by andgarden on Sun Jul 06, 2008 at 11:23:11 AM EST
    your reaction then was similar to those who now say "at least he's responding to us."

    Actually, that's not fair (none / 0) (#20)
    by andgarden on Sun Jul 06, 2008 at 11:24:23 AM EST
    You do hold your ground in the comments.

    No (5.00 / 2) (#22)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Sun Jul 06, 2008 at 11:25:03 AM EST
    I was wrong in 2005. Not in giving him credit for standing up for his colleagues, but in not recognizing the feet of clay.

    Really? (5.00 / 2) (#26)
    by andgarden on Sun Jul 06, 2008 at 11:27:13 AM EST
    I think this comment of yours stands up:

    But since it was my view, and the view of many others, that Sens. Leahy and Feingold made a terrible mistake, I think it is not only right, but incumbent, upon us who feel this way to say so and loudly.

    The stakes are monumental. We should not stand silent and let our frieds make mistakes without voicing our views. That is what some of us have done.

    I comend your impulse to defend your colleagues. It is what YOU should do. But I believe those of us who disagreed with their actions did what WE were supposed to do too.

    I stand by that (5.00 / 2) (#31)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Sun Jul 06, 2008 at 11:31:43 AM EST
    Indeed, it informs everything I do now.

    It is hilarious for me to read about how much I have changed from certain quarters.

    I feel like I am the only person in the entire blogs who hasn't. For good or bad.


    It goes way beyond (5.00 / 3) (#84)
    by talex on Sun Jul 06, 2008 at 12:35:10 PM EST
    him having Feet Of Clay. Feet Of Clay is not even the issues with him. It is lack of Core Principles which his entire political career has lacked.

    It wasn't hard to see. A very large portion of Clinton supporters saw it early on. Perhaps someday you will come to that realization too.

    Feet Of Clay is to call him weak in the face of challenge. That's letting him off easy. Call him what he really is - Unprincipled. And I don't mean Unprincipled in words. Words he has. But they are just words not backed by Core Principles. Never have been. Never will be.


    I think he does have core principles (5.00 / 1) (#97)
    by BarnBabe on Sun Jul 06, 2008 at 02:20:40 PM EST
    We just do not know what they are yet. I have felt since the beginning of the year that Obama has a hidden agenda. It was reinforced with the Wright situation. It was reinforced with the whispers that he really is for one thing but has to say another. I liked him enough before the primary. Now, I do not trust his eloquent words anymore.

    We possibly have not vetted this candidate enough. His usual MO is to come out with the worse that people are thinking about him first. Maybe he did the same in his books. Maybe we have taken the books as vetting his sins and in reality, there is a whole other world going on in Obama's head.


    Speaking of obama's books.... (2.00 / 1) (#118)
    by PssttCmere08 on Sun Jul 06, 2008 at 09:35:38 PM EST
    I wish I could believe (none / 0) (#120)
    by weltec2 on Mon Jul 07, 2008 at 03:18:01 AM EST
    that he has a positive "hidden agenda" behind his reversals and that he will get elected and suddenly we will find that he was with us all along... but I find that hard to swallow because from the beginning he was so vague... like he didn't trust us with the truth.

    We've had over seven years of secretiveness with Bush & Cheney who never trusted us with the truth either... who have treated us like children incapable of handling the truth. In congressional hearings they have laughed at us and mocked us for even seeking some of these truths.

    I'm tired of vagueness and "hidden agendas".


    I wrote a revisionist post (none / 0) (#21)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Sun Jul 06, 2008 at 11:24:25 AM EST
    as you also know.

    At MYDD, I think.


    yup (5.00 / 1) (#24)
    by andgarden on Sun Jul 06, 2008 at 11:25:41 AM EST
    I think the whole thing bears revisiting.

    Someone ought to e-mail this one (5.00 / 2) (#14)
    by zfran on Sun Jul 06, 2008 at 11:21:33 AM EST
    back to the Obama's and demand an explanation. What an outrage. When was the last time the dems stood up for anything?!

    Hmmmmm. (5.00 / 5) (#43)
    by pie on Sun Jul 06, 2008 at 11:45:27 AM EST
    I think this perspective misreads the American people.

    I think the perspective he goes on to describe is not that of the American people at all -  rather it's Barack Obama's perspective, shaped by teacher, advisors, ministers, and colleagues.

    It's pretty obvious he still strongly believes what he wrote then.

    I trust that you will continue to let me and other Democrats know when you believe we are screwing up. And I, in turn, will always try and show you the respect and candor one owes his friends and allies.

    And then ignore us.


    Pretty much (5.00 / 1) (#46)
    by andgarden on Sun Jul 06, 2008 at 11:48:07 AM EST
    Check this out (5.00 / 2) (#56)
    by Steve M on Sun Jul 06, 2008 at 11:52:36 AM EST
    Maybe some of you believe I could have made my general point more artfully...

    Obama's first, but not last, bout with the dreaded inartfulness!


    Yes, (5.00 / 2) (#75)
    by pie on Sun Jul 06, 2008 at 12:06:49 PM EST
    his use of "artfully" jumped right off the page.

    Ah well (3.00 / 0) (#8)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Sun Jul 06, 2008 at 11:19:13 AM EST
    We can still toughen him up, for his and our own good.

    We can keep trying (5.00 / 5) (#13)
    by andgarden on Sun Jul 06, 2008 at 11:21:29 AM EST
    But I think his latest missive on FISA demonstrates that he hasn't really changed his mind about this at all, and if he listens, he isn't agreeing.

    "Sit back and enjoy (or resent) the ride" is the message I get. Who knows--maybe I'm wrong.


    But he is catching hell (5.00 / 3) (#18)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Sun Jul 06, 2008 at 11:23:51 AM EST
    Imagine, my gawd, PETER BEINART in the WASHINGTON POST. Obama may actually become aware of the argument.

    Maybe I got a little giddy to read the Texeira/Halpin point coming from somewhere other than my keyboard, but I think it may help.

    FISA is gone of course, but there are other issues too.  


    Well I'm not enjoying the ride. (5.00 / 2) (#19)
    by Faust on Sun Jul 06, 2008 at 11:24:12 AM EST
    But I am on it.

    If I believed that, I'd be happy, but (none / 0) (#107)
    by magnetics on Sun Jul 06, 2008 at 03:29:06 PM EST
    I don't.

    If the party wasn't split (2.00 / 0) (#109)
    by MyLeftMind on Sun Jul 06, 2008 at 03:34:33 PM EST
    our candidate could appear left of center and still get elected in a landslide.  

    says you! (5.00 / 0) (#110)
    by hellothere on Sun Jul 06, 2008 at 03:37:08 PM EST
    Funny, that's exactly what the Obama side (1.00 / 0) (#111)
    by MyLeftMind on Sun Jul 06, 2008 at 03:39:54 PM EST
    of the party says.  It goes something along the lines of, "If she had only quit before she had to be forced out..."  

    Maybe unity is the wrong word.  Maybe tolerance, or respect for our teammates, or even cooperation would be a better way to describe what we must do to win.

    We need to get it together before August.


    i don't see that happening. (none / 0) (#113)
    by hellothere on Sun Jul 06, 2008 at 03:41:29 PM EST
    If Hillary was the nominee, (none / 0) (#114)
    by MyLeftMind on Sun Jul 06, 2008 at 03:44:20 PM EST
    I would be working my butt off for her to win the GE.  And that would have meant working with Obama supporters to get them back on board with the Hill side of the party because we all have the same progressive goals.

    well that is a laudable post! (none / 0) (#115)
    by hellothere on Sun Jul 06, 2008 at 03:54:59 PM EST
    and in the ordinary campaign you would be absolutely correct. the conduct of the primaries and the dnc has made unity afterward very hard. obama's campaign has not helped. witness his current positions and the comments made by such as brazile saying this is a new democratic party and the base isn't desired or needed. that is part of the problem but not all. i backed clark in 04 and then went on to support kerry though i had concerns. not the same situation at all!

    I agreed with Obama (none / 0) (#69)
    by Edgar08 on Sun Jul 06, 2008 at 12:03:10 PM EST
    And if he stuck with what he said there he would not have had the problems he had with the voters he did have problems with.

    Now he's trying to flip back, and he looks silly.

    Question is, could he have captured the nominanion sticking with what he originally said?

    Of course not.


    i think that is what the american (none / 0) (#105)
    by hellothere on Sun Jul 06, 2008 at 03:26:43 PM EST
    people are looking for but i don't think the democrats will supply that need.

    I am not a blogging expert (5.00 / 1) (#4)
    by Faust on Sun Jul 06, 2008 at 11:16:04 AM EST
    As you surely are. But It does seem to me that the response to FISA capitualation is fairly varied. While there are plenty of people who still want to stay on the whatever Obama does is good bandwagon, there is quite a bit of dissent out there at least from my limited survey.

    But again my blog list is somewhat limited.

    Indeed, (none / 0) (#5)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Sun Jul 06, 2008 at 11:18:01 AM EST
    Some blogs got it. But MOSt blogs did not discuss the political folly of Obama's capitulation.

    No one has written about the Texeira and Halpin point I have talked about for years now.


    Fair enough (none / 0) (#15)
    by Faust on Sun Jul 06, 2008 at 11:22:45 AM EST
    and I do realize now that your title includes the word "many" which makes me feel I should have gotten passed my third sip of coffee before commenting.

    Nope (none / 0) (#25)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Sun Jul 06, 2008 at 11:27:07 AM EST
    I took your comment to heart because people will not get the Texeira/Halpin part of my argument.

    It is arcane for most people. It has been central to everything I write about politics for years now. But not everyone knows that.


    Well then let me add this (5.00 / 1) (#57)
    by Faust on Sun Jul 06, 2008 at 11:53:06 AM EST
    I tend to be the most avid reader of political news among my friends. In other words, most of my friends don't consume a lot of political news or get it from fairly dominant media sources.

    Based on this very thin slice the the voting populace I think I can safely say that this FISA business has been good for waking people up a little to the fact that Obama is going to need some of that bottom up preassure he likes to talk about.

    Most of the people I know are at least mildly irritated about FISA, or are outraged about it. Of course I've been stoking the fire where I can, but it's very easy to do. I do not think Obama will find he can do many more capitulations like this without cost.

    FISA capitulation has served as smelling salts for a swooning Obama fan base.


    Something good comes from it at least (5.00 / 1) (#71)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Sun Jul 06, 2008 at 12:05:00 PM EST
    American Prospect has (5.00 / 2) (#27)
    by BackFromOhio on Sun Jul 06, 2008 at 11:27:58 AM EST
    a very long essay by Michael Tomasky called "A Party in Search of a Notion" speaks about the party's lack of a message.  He claims voters respond to ideas, not policies [LINK]  

    Voters respond to ideas, and Democrats can stand for an idea: the idea that we're all in this -- post-industrial America, the globalized world, and especially the post-9-11 world in which free peoples have to unite to fight new threats -- together, and that we have to pull together, make some sacrifices, and, just sometimes, look beyond our own interests to solve our problems and create the future.

    5 people were invited to comment. Comments very much worth reading as well.

    "Voters Respond To Ideas" (5.00 / 3) (#37)
    by creeper on Sun Jul 06, 2008 at 11:37:55 AM EST
    Yeah..."hope and change" and all that stuff.  So inspiring.

    Voters had d@mn well better start responding to policies and realities.  We're already halfway down the road to a roaring depression and our Constitution is trashed.  "Hope and change" ain't gonna cut it.


    Tomasky seems to be talking (5.00 / 2) (#58)
    by BackFromOhio on Sun Jul 06, 2008 at 11:53:45 AM EST
    about far broader idea that can sum up what the Dems stand for in a way that actually captures a broad range of policy initiatives and individual positions.  The ideas Tomasky refers to are far more complex than "hope" and "change".  The article is long & complex itself, but worth a read, as are the comments, one of which likes 1 of 2 ideas Tomasky suggests & gives analysis on practical application.

    Everyone needs to read it because he sooo nails it.

    One of my problems with various dKossians was their insistence on individual rights over the well-being of the community (community being not just dKos, but - well, you know).

    And I assumed my greater interest in the community over the individual was culturally based, some weird oddity I was raised with, and that there was something political or "American" I simply didn't understand.

    But maybe not. Tomasky says:

    What Johnson and his advisers knew, just as Hubert Humphrey down Pennsylvania Avenue in the Senate knew, was that desegregation would fail if the matter were put to the American people only in terms of the rights of those directly affected; it had to be presented as advancing the common good. This was a core belief for these Democrats (besides which, they knew -- and their testimony on this point is amply demonstrated in books and memoirs and the like -- that their programs would never get through Congress if they lacked this element).

    Today's Democratic Party has completely lost connection with this principle. How and when did this happen? Against this small-r republican tradition that posits sacrifice for larger, universalist purposes is another tradition that has propelled American liberalism, that indeed is what the philosophers call liberalism proper: from Locke and Mill up to John Rawls in our time, a greater emphasis on the individual (and, later, the group), on tolerance, on rights, and on social justice. In theory, it is not inevitable that these two traditions must clash. But in the 1960s, it was inevitable that they did. And it is clear which side has won the argument within the Democratic Party.

    On target.


    Dems lost the push for the common good (5.00 / 1) (#92)
    by RalphB on Sun Jul 06, 2008 at 01:06:40 PM EST
    It's a major reason for their electoral losses since the '60s, IMHO.

    The term is now owned by tobacco (5.00 / 1) (#94)
    by MarkL on Sun Jul 06, 2008 at 01:40:06 PM EST
    lobbyist Phillip K. Howard--can you believe it?

    OMG that's horrible! (none / 0) (#106)
    by RalphB on Sun Jul 06, 2008 at 03:26:56 PM EST
    I think Bill Clinton proved (none / 0) (#28)
    by andgarden on Sun Jul 06, 2008 at 11:29:09 AM EST
    that Americans respond to message AND policies.

    Not really (5.00 / 1) (#80)
    by Edgar08 on Sun Jul 06, 2008 at 12:23:02 PM EST
    He proved that Americans respond to a better quality of life for everyone.

    Some messages and policies came through, and I also think that's part of it.

    I hate to keep beating the drum, but I think it's still true.  Americans ultimately didn't respond to Carter's message and policies.


    Carter's message was badly delivered (none / 0) (#101)
    by Valhalla on Sun Jul 06, 2008 at 02:50:41 PM EST
    I think, in talking about malaise, etc.

    The speech I always wanted Kerry to give in 2004 was about the US reclaiming the global lead of democracy.  Then let all the policy speeches flow from that -- strong domestic economy, encouraging democratic principles in other nations, protecting other nations from exploitation and violence, fighting for justice on the home front etc etc.  

    Americans tend to respond well to being told we're a great nation.  It's ok to admit we're not all the way there yet, or we've made mistakes as long as you don't doubt the underlying greatness theme.  It's not ok to identify the country as essentially weak and depressed.

    Note, I'm not arguing the truth or falsity of any of the above.  Rather, just the best way to appeal to people's better selves.  Democrats allowed the Republicans to steal the language and narrative of national greatness and strength out from under them and never got it back.

    This is what I thought I heard in Obama's 2004 convention speech (and wept tears of joy in hearing it).  But I was mistaken.


    when a family is worried about (5.00 / 0) (#108)
    by hellothere on Sun Jul 06, 2008 at 03:32:44 PM EST
    paying their bills, they don't want to hear that they are mean and racist. i just wonder if these ole cards just might be pulled out if the going gets rough.

    Clinton (5.00 / 0) (#99)
    by BackFromOhio on Sun Jul 06, 2008 at 02:26:14 PM EST
    -- and voters responded, imo, to belief Clinton cared about them.  Hillary was able in second half of the campaign to convey same thing & get similar response.

    Tomasky (none / 0) (#30)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Sun Jul 06, 2008 at 11:30:31 AM EST
    is a weak thinker in my opinion. Decent reporter though.

    thanks for that (none / 0) (#32)
    by The Poster Formerly Known as cookiebear on Sun Jul 06, 2008 at 11:32:55 AM EST
    That snippet nails exactly what I've been thinking about.

    I'm off to read it ...


    The problem I have with reading Peter Beinart (5.00 / 2) (#33)
    by mkevinf on Sun Jul 06, 2008 at 11:33:59 AM EST
    is his absolute support for the pre-emptive war in Iraq and his dismissal of the war's critics.

    So Beinart criticizes Obama's alleged fear of GOP attacks and the appearance of softness.  Big deal. Beinart's hardly what I'd call left-wing; he's a New Republic-sorta-liberal.

    He may get it right now, but, like the repulsive Andrew Sullivan, he's one of the media agents responsible for our unprovoked invasion of Iraq.
    They've both changed their tune as far as how the war was being waged, but not necessarily on the initial invasion.

    Just citing the war thing as a major reason I ignore almost everything Beinart.

    No question about it (5.00 / 1) (#38)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Sun Jul 06, 2008 at 11:39:04 AM EST
    But he has seen the light.

    My debate with Beinart in 2005.


    So you are essentially an absolutist?? (none / 0) (#50)
    by Jjc2008 on Sun Jul 06, 2008 at 11:50:05 AM EST
    Is that what you are saying?

    My problem with my own party (or rather some in the party and some bloggers on the left) is their sanctimonious absolutism.  The inability to understand that people honestly and sincerely saw things differently troubles me.  The press failed in vetting W and his minions, not only on the war but on being elected.  That I get.  But to imply that anyone who saw things differently than you on Iraq is untrustworthy seems short sighted...especially when he has been right on other things.  There is no absolutism ever.  Seriously how can anyone claim to be liberal or progressive insist there is only one point of view?

    When I meet peace and justice people who insist war/violence of any kind is always wrong, I wonder.   Were they the people who watched that woman on a summer night in NY City get stabbed to death and did nothing?  Were they the people who despite the evidence of millions of people being incarcerated, put to death, poisoned and then burned in places like Auschwitz insisted we stay out of the mess?  If a child is being beaten by a parent is it better to do nothing to avoid perhaps a violent confrontation?  
    I was against the invasion of Iraq but I am no fool.  Saddam Hussein was an evil despot who hurt many innocent people; he tortured and killed.  Does that make invasion right?  No, absolutely not.  But let's not play holier than thou. Or fools.  Not every person supporting the notion that Hussein was not trustworthy is a right winger or evil or wrong.  Even decent, good human beings can make mistakes.


    Fox is working overtime to push the narrative (5.00 / 1) (#36)
    by wasabi on Sun Jul 06, 2008 at 11:37:32 AM EST
    This weekend Fox News has been working the "says anything to win" angle pretty heavily.  Mara Liasson and Juan Williams of NPR fame agreed that Obama was doing just that.  The Journal Editorial Report banged away on this topic du jour for a while and so did other assorted "news" ((opinion)) shows.  
    The Dems need to have better guests on those shows to counter the argument more effectively.  I heard one Dem strategist humorously agree wholeheartedly with his host, saying of course he'll say anything because he's now trying to appeal to a broader base, and besides, everyone does it.  Argh.

    Actually (5.00 / 3) (#40)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Sun Jul 06, 2008 at 11:42:47 AM EST
    Obama needs to stop flip flopping.

    Would the (5.00 / 0) (#95)
    by Aqua Blue on Sun Jul 06, 2008 at 01:45:00 PM EST
     real Obama please stand up...as was said on the old game show "To Tell The Truth".

    Maybe we can open the Convention (5.00 / 3) (#96)
    by nycstray on Sun Jul 06, 2008 at 02:09:54 PM EST
    with a revival of the show . . .

    The Dem Strategists should be (none / 0) (#39)
    by Salo on Sun Jul 06, 2008 at 11:41:39 AM EST
    sugesting that Obama is disciplining left wing radicals and giving them a dose of reality.

    That would raise some hackles and some groans.


    I have been giving this subject a lot of thought (5.00 / 3) (#55)
    by MO Blue on Sun Jul 06, 2008 at 11:52:16 AM EST
    and I don't particurly like where my thoughts are going but here they are.

    How can we expect the Democratic Party to stand firm on principles when we the Democratic voters do not? We rail against the Bush and the Republicans on issues we say appall us but how firm do we the voters stand? We state that we are appalled by torture and loss of habeas corpus. Yet, Democratic voters voted to elected two candidates to the Senate who voted to approve torture and against habeas corpus. Did the "D" after their name suddenly made torture and the loss of habeas corpus rights acceptable? We say we supported a timeline to get out of Iraq and are strongly against the loss of 4th Amendment rights and yet, people who voted with Bush and the Republicans on those issues each and every time are being floated as VP candidates. Webb who votes with the Republicans each and every time is a blog hero and is the choice of many for VP. Obama who is more than willing to vote in favor of the Bush Coverup and Elimination of Constitutional Rights bill is still considered the lesser of two evils. Is dismantling the Constitution more acceptable when a Democrat does it?

    What do you think would happen if McCain came out tomorrow in favor of choice or civil unions? Would Republican voters who are appalled by those issues consider him the lesser of two evils? Personally, I think the groups that are opposed to choice and gay anything would state loud and clear that they are not voting for McCain and they would not.

    Let's hold that thought at that (5.00 / 1) (#61)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Sun Jul 06, 2008 at 11:54:41 AM EST
    level of abstraction please. Proceed no further.

    I do not want my threads hijacked.


    Will do (none / 0) (#68)
    by MO Blue on Sun Jul 06, 2008 at 12:02:16 PM EST
    Thought it related to the topic and didn't consider it hijacking the thread. Since you do, I will respect your opinion and cease and desist.

    No the comment was fine (5.00 / 1) (#70)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Sun Jul 06, 2008 at 12:03:59 PM EST
    where it will lead is where the hijacking would come.

    Perhaps part of the backlash Dems (5.00 / 2) (#81)
    by my opinion on Sun Jul 06, 2008 at 12:23:13 PM EST
    fear is from their own party elected officials and leaders in addition to the media. One example of this would be Bill Clinton  calling Obama's stated position on Iraq a "fairytale" due inconsistencies in his Iraq position over the years. The media and many important Dems either called him racist, implied it or sat silent during the media and others attacks.

    This is not an excuse for anyone. Instead it is a statement of the problems that exist in the Democratic party. They tend to eat their own when someone stands up or not defend their own while they get torn to pieces by Dems, Repubs and the media.

    Dems eat their own (5.00 / 3) (#87)
    by RalphB on Sun Jul 06, 2008 at 12:55:27 PM EST
    Seem that Dem pols are afraid to say anything, lest some incoming fire land on them.  That's prime cowardice and it symptomatic of all this rolling over.

    Re-wording inside the "big tent" concept (5.00 / 1) (#93)
    by wurman on Sun Jul 06, 2008 at 01:18:57 PM EST
    1st, some Democratic representatives & senators are perceived as "too liberal" by voters in other districts & states & possibly even by "most" American voters.

    2nd, the big tent may be so large & so far stretched out that the full range of Democratic Party politicians gives the impression that they don't "stand for anything" because, in fact, they seem to stand for almost everything.

    The party literally has visible pols who support every aspect of the Iraq War & torture & others who would pull the troops out of Iraq tomorrow at 0900 hours & then begin impeachment proceeding at 0930 for those who authorized the torture.

    So the question "what do Democrats stand for" can have a contradictory range of answers.

    Perhaps, too, Sen. Obama can have a range of answers to the different individual questions.  And the answers may change sometimes.

    Beinart learns slowly (5.00 / 0) (#121)
    by Same As It Ever Was on Mon Jul 07, 2008 at 09:25:45 AM EST
    but I suppose he deserves credit for learning.

    As for Obama, I fully expected him to disappoint me once in office.  But after such a brilliantly run primary, I am quite surprised both that he disappointed me so soon and that his campaign is so tone deaf.

    I can use French words now (4.66 / 3) (#1)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Sun Jul 06, 2008 at 11:12:08 AM EST
    That is how much things have changed.

    accents? (5.00 / 2) (#3)
    by Stellaaa on Sun Jul 06, 2008 at 11:15:54 AM EST

    That requires skills (5.00 / 1) (#11)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Sun Jul 06, 2008 at 11:20:16 AM EST
    I do not have.

    Tres bon, BTD. My son took French (5.00 / 2) (#7)
    by zfran on Sun Jul 06, 2008 at 11:18:56 AM EST
    because he thought it would help him meet girls as it was the "language of amore." It didn't, but he did okay in the subject.

    Spanish is the language (5.00 / 2) (#10)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Sun Jul 06, 2008 at 11:19:51 AM EST
    of amor.

    I really tried to get him to take (none / 0) (#17)
    by zfran on Sun Jul 06, 2008 at 11:23:13 AM EST
    Spanish, but he convinced himself it was French. Luckily, his teacher (2 years worth) really liked him so he progressed w/good grades.

    l'amour (none / 0) (#29)
    by Salo on Sun Jul 06, 2008 at 11:30:21 AM EST
    Amore is more Latin.

    Dino sang about Pizza Pies and Amore


    Amore is Italian... (none / 0) (#91)
    by santarita on Sun Jul 06, 2008 at 01:05:49 PM EST
    Amor is Latin.

    as opposed to French (none / 0) (#98)
    by Salo on Sun Jul 06, 2008 at 02:20:46 PM EST
    Germanic/Latin language groups that you find in Europe.  French is something in between.

    Definitely. It's "the loving tongue" (none / 0) (#41)
    by Cream City on Sun Jul 06, 2008 at 11:43:36 AM EST
    -- I always liked that song, written almost a century ago, even before Dylan did it.

    Spanish is the loving tongue,
    Soft as music, light as spray:
    'Twas a girl I learned it from,
    Living down Sonora way.
    I don't look much like a lover,
    Yet I say her love words over,
    Often when I'm all alone --
    "Mi amor, mi corazon."

    The rest of the lyrics, of course, are an artifact (we can hope) of ethnic intolerance, as the lovers never can be together in the land that had belonged to her people before the Mexican-American War.


    Classy! (none / 0) (#23)
    by Joan in VA on Sun Jul 06, 2008 at 11:25:32 AM EST
    Here's a French word -- eclair -- apropos (ha ha) (none / 0) (#103)
    by magnetics on Sun Jul 06, 2008 at 03:23:42 PM EST
    of the situation, as in "backbone of a chocolate eclair" -- the words (I quote from memory) in which Teddy Roosevelt described William McKinley.

    Now, in the wake of the FISA collapse, and without prejudice, I would suggest they apply to an entire wing of the erstwhile Democratic Party, comprising (of course) the Reid-Pelosi contingent, but also including (I regret to say) the presumptive nominee for president.


    What is Beinart's angle here? (none / 0) (#34)
    by Salo on Sun Jul 06, 2008 at 11:35:30 AM EST
    He trashed all the candidates who projected and seemed to show a bit of conviction...

    What's that Bugger up to this time?

    He flip flopped (none / 0) (#35)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Sun Jul 06, 2008 at 11:37:08 AM EST
    in My direction. Good for him!

    Who'd he trash? (none / 0) (#64)
    by Edgar08 on Sun Jul 06, 2008 at 11:58:47 AM EST
    This smells like one of those unsubstantiated memes you see on the internet some times?

    He certainly trashed the Netroots (none / 0) (#66)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Sun Jul 06, 2008 at 12:00:41 PM EST
    Oops, bad link (none / 0) (#67)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Sun Jul 06, 2008 at 12:01:53 PM EST
    At least this discusses the article in question.

    Thanks (none / 0) (#76)
    by Edgar08 on Sun Jul 06, 2008 at 12:12:10 PM EST
    I don't think that's trashing, to be honest.

    It's incorrect insofar as his assessment of the Republicans who didn't re-align their thinking, no they did not do that.  what they did is they exploited the event.  Shamefully.

    So I think he's incorrect about that.

    But when Beinart starts calling for people to primary that Russ Feingold up in Wisconsin, that's when I'll believe he's calling for purges.


    Wow (none / 0) (#42)
    by Steve M on Sun Jul 06, 2008 at 11:44:35 AM EST
    Remember Stevie Wonder cheering for the unity ticket?  "If he sees it, everyone can see it!"  I feel the same way about Beinart.

    In all seriousness, even though Beinart used to produce some pretty clueless stuff IMO, maybe I should give him credit for being able to assimilate evidence and change his position.  Who knows, maybe he was even right that in the political environment of 2002 Democrats needed to triangulate and avoid picking fights on "national security" issues.  But either way, it's not 2002 any more.

    WTF???? (5.00 / 1) (#45)
    by andgarden on Sun Jul 06, 2008 at 11:47:24 AM EST
    In 2002, Democrats went out of their way not to pick a fight about national security. Look what happened.

    Maybe (none / 0) (#49)
    by Steve M on Sun Jul 06, 2008 at 11:49:01 AM EST
    You're assuming that it couldn't have been worse, or something.

    I am not reversing my position, but I at least acknowledge that I have no idea what would have happened in the counterfactual universe.


    2002 was a disaster in large part (5.00 / 1) (#53)
    by andgarden on Sun Jul 06, 2008 at 11:50:57 AM EST
    because we had no response for "Democrats don't understand the war on terror" other than "Ask me about Medicare!"

    Kerry did have a response (5.00 / 1) (#86)
    by Edgar08 on Sun Jul 06, 2008 at 12:38:25 PM EST
    Kerry understood the war on terror, and he articulated it (badly) in an article that appeared, I think, in a New York magazine.

    The quote the Media ran with was about how Kerry believed terrorism should be thought of as just a "nuisance."

    Now in classic fashion, Kerry butchers everything.

    But the point he was trying to make is that terrorism exists to impact the political landscape in the targetted country in such a way that the country starts self-destructing at the political level.  Re-electing Bush did more damage to America than taking down the towers themselves and Osama Bin Laden knows that.  Just look at NOLA.

    But in 2004, let alone now, no one's going to hear that.

    What Kerry should have said is Osama Bin Laden wants us to live in fear.  We should not give him him what he wants.  And even then he's still going to be misinterpretted by the media as someone who underestimates terrorist threat, but that's what I would have said.


    Kerry said a lot of good things (5.00 / 2) (#88)
    by Steve M on Sun Jul 06, 2008 at 12:56:01 PM EST
    and then would run screaming from them as soon as the GOP started to ridicule him.  What a frustratingly awful candidate.

    I agree with this. (5.00 / 0) (#89)
    by madamab on Sun Jul 06, 2008 at 12:57:11 PM EST
    "The only thing we have to fear is fear itself."

    I detest the fact that Americans were turned into pissy little crybabies by the Bush administration and its ridiculous fearmongering tactics. We are so much better than that at heart. I fully believe that were we called to sacrifice after 9/11, we would have done so. However, we were called to go shopping to stimulate the economy.

    I had so hoped that the new administration would be one that promoted the greater good over "screw you, I've got mine, every man for himself." That would be a REAL new direction for this country.


    Which seat would we have lost in 2002? (none / 0) (#52)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Sun Jul 06, 2008 at 11:50:56 AM EST
    And how would 2004 have turned out?

    Digby wrote soemthing good on this (5.00 / 1) (#54)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Sun Jul 06, 2008 at 11:52:09 AM EST
    to wit, the vote on Iraq SHOULD have been about how you think it will turn out - that the political calculation should have been about that. By Summer, 2003, not 9 months after the vote, Kerry already regretted it tells volumes.

    I can think of several House seats (none / 0) (#60)
    by andgarden on Sun Jul 06, 2008 at 11:54:36 AM EST
    that we should have won. Also 1-2 Senate Seats.

    I dunno (none / 0) (#62)
    by Steve M on Sun Jul 06, 2008 at 11:57:08 AM EST
    We could have lost South Dakota and Louisiana, I guess, but understand that when I say "Beinart might have been right" I am not agreeing with Beinart's former stance, nor am I looking to make a case for him.  I'm just saying, whether or not the political climate would have permitted vigorous opposition in 2002, it certainly will right now, and Beinart is right to recognize that.

    Daschle lost in 2004 (none / 0) (#63)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Sun Jul 06, 2008 at 11:58:35 AM EST
    I think that actually helped the Dems (5.00 / 4) (#65)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Sun Jul 06, 2008 at 11:59:39 AM EST
    truth be told. We needed Daschle gone.

    I for one will strongly object to his having a role in an Obama Administration.

    But who cares what I think?


    Sure (none / 0) (#72)
    by Steve M on Sun Jul 06, 2008 at 12:05:25 PM EST
    But Tim Johnson only won by a handful of votes in 2002.

    The argument from our side typically goes like "if they're going to question your patriotism no matter what you do, might as well do the right thing and die with your boots on."  But would Cleland really have won reelection if he had actively opposed Bush rather than just being falsely portrayed as opposing Bush?  Would Daschle have been reelected?  Those are pretty red states, I can't say for sure that they were looking for a Democrat who would vigorously oppose Bush.

    One of the problems we have in the Democratic caucus, and probably always will, is the lack of a unified message.  It's hard for anyone facing a close race to be strong the way we want them to be, because they're going to have colleagues in their own caucus undermining their vote and their message.  What we really need is for the whole caucus to grow a spine at once, and I don't see how that's going to happen.


    tim johnson did what he had to do (none / 0) (#73)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Sun Jul 06, 2008 at 12:06:14 PM EST
    Kerry, Clinton etc? they blew it.

    Well (5.00 / 1) (#77)
    by Steve M on Sun Jul 06, 2008 at 12:13:14 PM EST
    I don't know who voted for the war because they thought it was right and who voted for the war because they wanted to win reelection or run for President or whatever.  But if Obama gets elected, I hope everyone who voted for the war in hopes of becoming President will eat some crow.

    Not that I really believe Obama would have voted against the war if he had been in the Senate in 2002.  I mean, look at the guy.


    The people who should be eating crow (none / 0) (#90)
    by Edgar08 on Sun Jul 06, 2008 at 01:00:56 PM EST
    Are those who thought Obama would be any different.

    And no you don't know who voted for the AUMF on princinpal or out of political expedience.  Nobody does.

    Well.  We do know that Shrum accused Edwards of co-sponsoring and voting for the legislation because his political advisors told him he had to if he wanted to run for president.  Shrum said Edwards wanted to vote against it but caved in to political pressue.  Shrum, for one brief moment, sounded like an Obama blogger ripping on Clinton.  and it was funny!

    And guess what Edwards said???  He denied that.  LOUDLY!  

    So what do we conclude from Edwards???  That he co-sponsored and voted for it on principle but then had to admit he was wrong to make a principled vote for something he believed was right?????


    What funny is that Shrum only... (5.00 / 0) (#100)
    by Salo on Sun Jul 06, 2008 at 02:32:44 PM EST
    ...does damage. Everytime he say or does anything he ought to seen as a reverse barometer.  He's neatly damaged perfectly good candidates, and ably left a feeble one standing. Again.

    don't forget brazile! (5.00 / 0) (#112)
    by hellothere on Sun Jul 06, 2008 at 03:40:02 PM EST
    It could have been a slaughter. (none / 0) (#85)
    by Salo on Sun Jul 06, 2008 at 12:37:39 PM EST
    And there would have been no base with which to take anything back in 2006.  As it stands the elction of Dems in conservative constituencies hasn't shifted policy a single jot.

    It's all couterfactual of course.


    No (none / 0) (#44)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Sun Jul 06, 2008 at 11:46:02 AM EST
    He was wrong in 2002 imo. I think Max Cleland's fate makes that pretty clear imo.

    Wasn't Beinart one of the outspoken (none / 0) (#47)
    by pie on Sun Jul 06, 2008 at 11:48:23 AM EST
    liberal hawks?

    He's been wrong about important stuff.  That he's flip-flopped again doesn't make me less suspicious.


    you assume, incorrectly, (none / 0) (#48)
    by cpinva on Sun Jul 06, 2008 at 11:48:26 AM EST
    But now in Obama adoration mode, they forget their original raison d'etre.

    that they had one, other than obama adoration. the truth is that most have been in full-bore "golden child" mode since day one; that is their reason for being. they've brainwashed themselves, beaten silly on the rocks of the river fantasy. attempting to change would cause their collective heads to explode.

    not that there's anything wrong with that!

    the Left blogs existed (none / 0) (#51)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Sun Jul 06, 2008 at 11:50:17 AM EST
    before we even knew Obama existed.

    yes, but since his (none / 0) (#104)
    by cpinva on Sun Jul 06, 2008 at 03:25:10 PM EST
    the Left blogs existed before we even knew Obama existed.

    "coming out", they've mostly been subverted. he has become their sole reason for still being around.

    seriously, how many times can you say "bush is a putz!"? i think we've all pretty much known that for some time, repeating it endlessly doesn't make your blog unique.

    so, sen. obama came along and breathed new life into them. sort of.


    for the time being i think. (none / 0) (#116)
    by hellothere on Sun Jul 06, 2008 at 05:25:36 PM EST
    i believe most sincerely that the one theme blogs won't last long because people will tire of one note johonnie. they want variety and intelligent feedback. i used to like some other blogs but have chosen not to participate. so i think blogs like talk left will do well and even better whereas the others may have more of a struggle. kos? i can't say. interesting discussion for another diary.

    Obama's patriotism speech (none / 0) (#74)
    by CodeNameLoonie on Sun Jul 06, 2008 at 12:06:19 PM EST
    was pretty strong. I think he's taking a progressive political position there. One that should help Dems overall PR image.

    Pretty significant too, in the context of a GE campaign being run uphill in the middle of a seven-year long (and counting) constitutional crisis.

    Oh NO! St. Barry is just another sycophantic (none / 0) (#78)
    by tokin librul on Sun Jul 06, 2008 at 12:16:30 PM EST
    tool of the oiligarchy?

    Say, o say it isn't so...

    What did Atrios mean when he (none / 0) (#79)
    by Dan the Man on Sun Jul 06, 2008 at 12:19:39 PM EST
    wrote, "Amazingly, on every single issue there is, both political parties get it wrong but Peter Beinart gets it just right."

    Is he disagreeing with Beinart when he wrote, "the Democrats' biggest political liability is not that Americans believe they are too liberal but rather that they believe that Democrats don't stand for anything at all."  Does Atrios believe the Democrats are too liberal, as opposed to Beinart?

    Sincere or sarcastic? (5.00 / 1) (#82)
    by EL seattle on Sun Jul 06, 2008 at 12:30:52 PM EST
    Usually I can't tell without wading through the back issues to determine what the mood of the blog was on that particular day.

    And who has time for that?



    Beinart finds an acorn! (none / 0) (#102)
    by bayville on Sun Jul 06, 2008 at 02:58:01 PM EST
    And by the way, what is this hippie crap doing on the editorial page of the So Serious, Sober Editorial Page of the WaPo?!

    Perhaps he is inauthentic and insincere. (none / 0) (#117)
    by masslib on Sun Jul 06, 2008 at 09:25:44 PM EST

    Peter Beinart has always (none / 0) (#119)
    by SamJohnson on Mon Jul 07, 2008 at 02:56:19 AM EST
    been a favorite of mine. Of course he gets what the public may be thinking. After spending the 4th with family and friends, it is very clear that few people (at least among those I spoke with) believe that McCain is anything more than a tolerable old vet with some quirks that make them very uneasy. None have a sense that he would do anything but serve as a loyal guard of the failed policies of the Bush administration, standing until he is relieved of his duty. As for Obama and his forays into refining what he says: they are watching.  They wish he would not back the really over-reaching FISA bill that is currently proposed, but they think it makes McCain look like an idiot shuffling through his papers to decide what he believes should be done. They want Republicans cleaned out of government so badly they are willing to let a lot slide - for now.