When Is Fighting For Your Principles Wrong?

The other day I praised E.J. Dionne for his column embracing an open debate on principles, in that case, between Democrats and Republicans regarding the Supreme Court. Today Dionne writes a column criticizing conservative Republicans for fighting for their principles in the Florida GOP Senate primary coming up in 2010:

When Charlie Crist, Florida's popular governor, announced this week that he would run for the U.S. Senate, it was the best news the Republican Party had had in an otherwise unpleasant year. The problem for the GOP is that its right wing quickly decided that the good news was very bad news indeed. . . . Florida will be one of the clearest tests of whether rank-and-file Republican voters are more interested in doctrinal purity, or in winning -- even if it means nominating an Obama hugger.

(Emphasis supplied.) Define "winning" E.J.? Do the actual policies matter anymore? After all, Florida is not Massachusetts. Or more interestingly, Connecticut. Because, columns like Dionne were written about the Democratic Connecticut primary in 2006, when Ned Lamont challenged "sure fire winner" Joe Lieberman. Back then, progressive blogs did not much appreciate being attacked by the Media for fighting for their principles (they had principles back then.) Today they join the pile on. As in the 2008 Presidential primary, the progressive blogs find themselves in tune with the Establishment. More . . .

The problem with conservative Republicans is not their willingness to fight for their principles. The problem is in fact the principles themselves. Republican policy views and principles are stunningly bad and simply wrong. Obviously conservative Republicans do not believe that. But fighting for your policy views is what politics SHOULD be about. It should not just be about rooting for a team.

Will fighting for their extreme conservative views hurt the Republican Party politically? I think so. But should that be the primary consideration for conservative Republicans? Should they stop fighting for what they believe in? Or should they try and persuade that their views are the right ones?

To me, the answer is obvious:

As citizens and activists, our allegiances have to be to the issues we believe in. I am a partisan Democrat it is true. But the reason I am is because I know who we can pressure to do the right thing some of the times. Republicans aren't them. But that does not mean we accept the failings of our Democrats. There is nothing more important that we can do, as citizens, activists or bloggers than fight to pressure DEMOCRATS to do the right thing on OUR issues.

And this is true in every context I think. Be it pressing the Speaker or the Senate majority leader, or the new hope running for President. There is nothing more important we can do. Nothing. It's more important BY FAR than "fighting" for your favorite pol because your favorite pol will ALWAYS, I mean ALWAYS, disappoint you.

In the middle of primary fights, citizens, activists and bloggers like to think their guy or woman is different. They are going to change the way politics works. They are going to not disappoint. In short, they are not going to be pols. That is, in a word, idiotic.

Yes, they are all pols. And they do what they do. Do not fight for pols. Fight for the issues you care about. That often means fighting for a pol of course. But remember, you are fighting for the issues. Not the pols.

The extreme conservative wing of the Republican Party is doing the right thing - fighting for the issues they care about. That's what progressive blogs urged for Democrats. Even in the political wilderness. It's why they opposed "sure fire winner" Joe Lieberman in the 2006 primary. It was not wrong then. It is not wrong now when conservative Republicans do it in the 2010 Senate Florida primary.

Speaking for me only

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    Finally (5.00 / 1) (#3)
    by andgarden on Thu May 14, 2009 at 07:40:28 AM EST
    I would say that Obama primary supporters should be eating a heaping of crow now for the various claims made about how he would transform politics, except that I have no doubt that the other candidates would likely have behaved similarly.

    The primary really wasn't issue-based.

    I do not think there is a thing (5.00 / 2) (#4)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Thu May 14, 2009 at 07:44:31 AM EST
    Obama has done that Clinton would not have done, nor has he refrained from doing anything she would not have done.

    Sorry, there was not a dime's worth of difference between them on policy.

    Anyone who could think straight knew this.


    "Obama has not done a thing that Clinton . . (5.00 / 2) (#13)
    by Capt Howdy on Thu May 14, 2009 at 09:19:57 AM EST
    . . . would not have done."

    I agree.  the difference is, I believe, the reaction from the "base".  if Clinton had done any one of the many many things Obama has done in the last few months there would have been rending of garments and gnashing of teeth all over left blogistan.


    So instead (5.00 / 3) (#16)
    by Ga6thDem on Thu May 14, 2009 at 09:23:20 AM EST
    they now look like a bunch of insipid fools.

    for many of us (5.00 / 3) (#19)
    by Capt Howdy on Thu May 14, 2009 at 09:27:14 AM EST
    they did that during the election season.

    I disagree re the economy (5.00 / 3) (#20)
    by Cream City on Thu May 14, 2009 at 09:27:38 AM EST
    as I think Clinton would have done more by now -- something, anything, Obama! -- about jobs and less about Wall Street, bankers and big business as well as HOLC, health care, etc.  

    But ya got what ya voted for, Amurrica.  


    You keep saying that (5.00 / 4) (#23)
    by sj on Thu May 14, 2009 at 09:43:50 AM EST
    And I keep disagreeing.  

    Sorry, there was not a dime's worth of difference between them on policy.

    I don't know what she would have "done".  I don't know whether it would have been different than what he has "done".  And frankly, it doesn't matter.  

    But on health care policy there is more than a dime's worth of difference.  And when it comes to background knowledge and understanding on the issue, there are years and thousands of pages between the two of them.  Maybe you think that is worth less than a dime, but I do not.

    But I agree with your primary point.  Fight for the issues.  As long as you can anyway.  My Dem activist soul is really, really tired of running up hill on a treadmill.


    Well (4.00 / 3) (#15)
    by Ga6thDem on Thu May 14, 2009 at 09:22:01 AM EST
    actually the difference I'm seeing now is that Hillary had positions that she had thought out over the years. Obama has now adopted these policies for reasons unknown to me other than he never has really held any position long enough in his political career for it to become something that he believes in. Another difference is that Hillary's knowledge of Washington would have been more effective at getting things through. Obama seems in over his head.

    all true (none / 0) (#18)
    by Capt Howdy on Thu May 14, 2009 at 09:25:35 AM EST
    but its also true that the press that has drooled and fawned over Obama for the last few months would have been in an endless grab for Hillarys jugular.

    when it comes to actually enacting an agenda this is no small thing.


    Well (5.00 / 0) (#22)
    by Ga6thDem on Thu May 14, 2009 at 09:31:47 AM EST
    so far the press thing really hasn't helped push an agenda has it? I actually think in the long run this will turn out to be a negative for Obama much like it did Bush. When you're dependent on these idiots you get things like "oh, we must protect the Bush Adminstration from prosecution" etc. instead of affecting real change for the country. I'm waiting to see what happens here. The press was starting to turn on Bush in the summer of '01. We'll see if the same thing happens to Obama. Once the approval ratings go down, then they turn like a pack of wolves.

    And, worse, when the media (5.00 / 0) (#24)
    by Cream City on Thu May 14, 2009 at 09:57:56 AM EST
    have become so personally invested in Obama, as they have in violation of professional norms, they could react with anger driven by a sense of betrayal.  I've seen it happen at the local level, and it can get very ugly for a pol.

    Can you give a national-level example of this? (none / 0) (#27)
    by Addison on Thu May 14, 2009 at 10:03:53 AM EST
    To me the national mainsteam media seems more stubborn than that. Their views (common wisdom)  on major pols seems remarkably static for the most part. With the notable recent exception (largely due to 9/11 and the cheerleader status of the press during wartime) of George W. Bush. But I don't think journalists' turn in that case had much to do with personal betrayal as much as the callow need to keep their jobs in a Bush-phobic political climate.

    Only by going back decades, perhaps (none / 0) (#31)
    by Cream City on Thu May 14, 2009 at 10:11:28 AM EST
    and there really may be no comparison in recent times, within most of our lifetimes, for the obvious reason:  That no candidate has caused the modern media to so abandon their professional norms.

    Well, I disagree with that... (5.00 / 1) (#39)
    by Addison on Thu May 14, 2009 at 10:26:08 AM EST
    ...as far as journalists losing their professional norms Bill Clinton certainly did, but to the opposite effect. Reagan had his thing. And of course on the national scale McCain was perhaps the best example until Obama came along and supplanted him. And the mere office of the presidency seems to make journalists lose their minds a little bit, permitting all sorts of abuses and unethical behavior.

    However, with rare exception it seems to me that the media is has a mulish stubborness when it comes to their personal narratives. If Obama is to fall I imagine it will be sympathetically portrayed by the media (even W's fall was portrayed this way somewhat). Whereas with the hated Clinton the "fall" was portrayed salaciously.


    "so abandon their professional norms" (none / 0) (#46)
    by Capt Howdy on Thu May 14, 2009 at 10:38:18 AM EST
    I remember a good deal of abandonment in the Clinton administration.
    in the other direction of course.

    Cap, only looking at one factor (none / 0) (#54)
    by Cream City on Thu May 14, 2009 at 10:52:52 AM EST
    in the equation leads to a facile conclusion.

    Yes, of course, the media have abandoned their norms before.  But they never personally invested in the Clintons.  Indeed, the Washington press corps especially joined in the ridicule of the hicks from Arkansas (although Hillary is from Chicago, of course) who brooked the Washington establishment.

    So I repeat that, when including the factor of the personal investment, the adulation of Obama by the media, we may not have a recent precedent to project how ugly a media flashback may be.  They put a lot of the sugar in the kool-aid, and their withdrawal from a sugar high can mean real meanness to come.


    I guess I would say (none / 0) (#56)
    by Capt Howdy on Thu May 14, 2009 at 10:55:50 AM EST
    that I think the DC press corps was invested in the failure of the Clintons.

    Exactly. Invested in the failure (none / 0) (#63)
    by Cream City on Thu May 14, 2009 at 11:53:57 AM EST
    of the Clintons is the opposite of the press investment in Obama.  So you see the need to not ignore all of the variables in an equation.

    It happened (none / 0) (#59)
    by Ga6thDem on Thu May 14, 2009 at 10:59:33 AM EST
    with Bush II. The Obama situation is just a repeat of the Bush II Administration.

    Press adulation... (none / 0) (#25)
    by Addison on Thu May 14, 2009 at 09:59:10 AM EST
    ...was a vital part of getting the enormous  stimulus package and omnibus budget through. Reversals on the abortion gag rule, abstinence "education" funding, and the Ledbetter ruling all went virtually without comment. Certain parts of the defense budget were cut with nary a peep. And we will soon see what is done about about Cuba, Health Care, and Iraq.

    There have been disappointments, of course -- the fault of weak leadership in the White House and the Senate -- and some promises broken. But I don't think someone can look at what did get accomplished during the past 3.5 months -- and what is likely to get done over the summer -- and not see the role the press has played. I think it's easy to look at the first few months of the administration, find it lacking, and assume that the press therefore didn't play a helpful role in getting done what was done (and yes, of course they could have been more helpful) . I think it's easy to forget that if the press had been out for Obama's blood (as history shows they would've been out for Clinton's) even what we dismiss now as poor compromises might have been worse.

    Of course you're right about what happens when the ratings go down. But of course that's true of everyone. What's true of some (Hillary Clinton) is that even when their ratings are relatively high and their policies are popular they still get lambasted.


    Press adulation... (none / 0) (#41)
    by Capt Howdy on Thu May 14, 2009 at 10:29:43 AM EST
    will continue to help us with things like health care and cap and trade.

    the effect of a fawning press as opposed to a confrontational aggressive press can not be underestimated.


    There are two sides to that coin. (5.00 / 4) (#45)
    by Dr Molly on Thu May 14, 2009 at 10:36:52 AM EST
    A fawning press may help for getting legislation passed, but a fawning press will also never object to bad legislation (e.g., weak health care policy, weak cap and trade bill, no cap on credit card interest rates), nor bad decisions (e.g., not releasing torture photos), nor when he does nothing at all on certain pressing issues.

    In short, they will always be apologists, and never discuss things in a critical or substantive way.


    on the whole (none / 0) (#47)
    by Capt Howdy on Thu May 14, 2009 at 10:39:45 AM EST
    I will take the apologists if it means getting rid of the pantie sniffers.

    I see another coin. (none / 0) (#51)
    by Addison on Thu May 14, 2009 at 10:46:41 AM EST
    Well, I think you misjudge the other side of that coin.

    Now, perhaps if the fawning press weren't so favorable toward Obama they'd be on our side pushing for single-payer or torture prosecutions.

    Recent history argues otherwise. I think they would not be taking our side in criticizing Obama, they'd be taking the GOP's side. I see no evidence the press has ever been interested in pressuring Democratic politicians from the left side. That's what primaries are for.


    So, do you mean to say (none / 0) (#53)
    by Dr Molly on Thu May 14, 2009 at 10:50:43 AM EST
    that we have two choices? One being that the press will always attack the left and the other being that the press will attack the left except in the case of Obama?

    The press doesn't like the left... (5.00 / 3) (#58)
    by Addison on Thu May 14, 2009 at 10:57:29 AM EST
    ...I'm saying that historically the press has not been on the left's side on many issues. Or, rather, that facts have not been reported, or public approval ratings of lefty policies ignored.

    As far as favorable coverage goes, it isn't a matter of specifically Obama or not. It's any Democratic politician or lefty interest group that they like. As of now they like Obama.

    Mostly, though, I was referencing the current situation. I find it hard to believe that ifthe press "defects" from Obama that we'll see the major networks take up the single-payer banner or run nightly calls for the prosecution of Bush and Cheney. I don't think they'd swing that way, if they stop favorably covering Obama.


    OK, I see. (5.00 / 3) (#61)
    by Dr Molly on Thu May 14, 2009 at 11:09:16 AM EST
    Well, in the end, I think Obama has just about everything going for him that any president could ask for - high approval ratings, a fawning press, legions of adoring fans, a majority in both houses, and a completely emasculated and eviscerated opposition. I don't think you could ask for much more. And, so basically, I think he can do whatever he wants.

    I just wish he wanted more of what I want.


    well (5.00 / 1) (#65)
    by Ga6thDem on Thu May 14, 2009 at 12:55:12 PM EST
    outside of rewarding the masters of the universe I wish I knew what Obama wanted. I dont' know whether he agrees or disagrees with me on a lot of things because what he says doesn't necessarily correspond to what he does.

    How can (none / 0) (#62)
    by Ga6thDem on Thu May 14, 2009 at 11:14:15 AM EST
    you say press coverage will help with health care when the press is against a public option so far? The press really doesn't like policy change I've decided. It seems everything that Obama does that helps the Bush Administration like not prosecuting for torture gets praise from the press. These people are so out of touch it seems.

    Sorry (none / 0) (#55)
    by Ga6thDem on Thu May 14, 2009 at 10:53:42 AM EST
    but I disagree. The press was extremely negative on the stimulus outside of the usual Obama boosters. I think what has been accomplished has been due more to one party rule than anything else.

    Your post shows what is wrong with the Democratic party right now. It's so afraid of offending the press (which is notoriously unreliable) that's it's basically laying prostrate on the floor.

    We should quit having elections and just let the press pick who they like then? How soon everybody forgets that these are the same people that thought George W. Bush was the best thing since sliced bread until the last year or so of his administration. Follow their adulation of Bush along with his approval ratings and you'll find it corresponding to the reporting.

    What are you going to do when the press turns against Obama? They always turn and I don't think this time it will be any different. And if press approval is so vital, then why isn't Obama pushing for the things that are really going to help the country instead of agreeing with the press that the masters of the universe must be saved?


    You've replied to some other comment. (5.00 / 1) (#60)
    by Addison on Thu May 14, 2009 at 11:07:40 AM EST
    I disagree that the press was negative on the stimulus. Frankly, considering its massive size and the number of programs included in it the coverage was tame.

    When you have certain Democrats in your "one-party rule" like we do, and a filibuster happy opposition, it still takes some effort to get things through.

    Your post shows what is wrong with the Democratic party right now. It's so afraid of offending the press (which is notoriously unreliable) that's it's basically laying prostrate on the floor.

    Nonsense. I was stating what the press would do. Not what we should do. Your final three paragraphs are based on that misunderstanding. What will I do when the press turns on Obama (which they will, eventually)? The same thing I'd do if they don't (I'll likely be out of the country, limiting whatever that action is, but whatever).


    This was always my problem (5.00 / 2) (#64)
    by Spamlet on Thu May 14, 2009 at 11:56:28 AM EST
    We should quit having elections and just let the press pick who they like then? How soon everybody forgets that these are the same people that thought George W. Bush was the best thing since sliced bread until the last year or so of his administration. Follow their adulation of Bush along with his approval ratings and you'll find it corresponding to the reporting.

    with the "media darling" argument for Obama.


    Well, yeah, (none / 0) (#5)
    by andgarden on Thu May 14, 2009 at 07:46:08 AM EST
    but lots of pretty extreme claims were made in that area.

    What do you think Kid Oakland circa 2008 would say about Tim and Larry?


    As I wrote then (5.00 / 2) (#6)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Thu May 14, 2009 at 07:50:30 AM EST
    A lot of people proved they are no different than a Limbaugh or an unprincipled right wing blogger.

    In fact, while criticizing Clinton for "saying and doing anything to win" (not an untrue claim imo, the same was true of Obama and ANY POL), they proved in fact that they were willing to say or do anything - and for what? to favor one center left Dem pol over the other?



    At least Limbaugh is well paid (5.00 / 0) (#7)
    by andgarden on Thu May 14, 2009 at 07:54:02 AM EST
    These folks were just cul. . . .  Never mind.

    In this context... (none / 0) (#8)
    by Dr Molly on Thu May 14, 2009 at 08:04:44 AM EST
    y'all might be interested in reading Anglachel today, as well as the Somberby post she references.

    Well (5.00 / 2) (#17)
    by Ga6thDem on Thu May 14, 2009 at 09:24:38 AM EST
    as someone who posts on bipartisan blogs I can tell you that many conservatives don't even know what their principles are past hating the government.

    Exactly. Oldtime Repub principles (5.00 / 3) (#21)
    by Cream City on Thu May 14, 2009 at 09:29:48 AM EST
    had some merit, but oldtime Repub pols are about gone.

    Then again, this sadly can be said about a lot of Dem voters -- and pols -- who vote against the party's alleged principles, too.

    So there's no sense to being in a party now, either party.


    I hear what youre saying... (none / 0) (#66)
    by Thanin on Thu May 14, 2009 at 02:19:42 PM EST
    but I dont think theres a good enough reason to be that defeated.  Even in your own post you allude to a time when dem voters and pols werent always this way.  So if all the real idealists leave and never reenter, how could it ever get better again?

    I'd like to think Hillary Clinton, (5.00 / 1) (#28)
    by oculus on Thu May 14, 2009 at 10:05:49 AM EST
    as President, would have taken a more principled stand against torture, Gitmo, and open inquiry into both.  Would she?  No idea.

    One difference (5.00 / 4) (#32)
    by lilburro on Thu May 14, 2009 at 10:13:25 AM EST
    I think is that nobody would believe Hillary had some master 11 dimensional chess plan.  I think we would get better explanations on some things than we are getting from Gibbs and co.  Personally, I am tired of having to wait for MY elected government to unveil its secret amazing strategies.  I don't think a Hillary government would proceed that way.

    I forgot one piece of evidence: she (5.00 / 5) (#34)
    by oculus on Thu May 14, 2009 at 10:17:21 AM EST
    voted against the FISA revise.

    Would she have done so (5.00 / 2) (#69)
    by MyLeftMind on Thu May 14, 2009 at 03:09:15 PM EST
    if she won the Dem nomination?

    We'll never know.  My guess is that FISA is one of those things she and Obama discussed in that late night private meeting the two of them had before she conceded.  

    I think they're a lot more alike than people want to admit.  Or if not alike, than at least that a Hillary Administration would look very similar to Obama's.


    Any support for your guess? (none / 0) (#70)
    by oculus on Thu May 14, 2009 at 03:36:22 PM EST
    One word: Plutocracy (5.00 / 2) (#72)
    by MyLeftMind on Thu May 14, 2009 at 05:58:32 PM EST
    Or kleptocracy as lambert puts it. The super rich buy off both parties in our government, and most of our elected officials are completely beholden to them. The financial industry, the medical industry, the telecommunications industry and the war profiteers have their pockets open to Congress and their hands around our necks. In our glorification of capitalism, we have allowed stealth plutocracy to destroy our economy,

    I'd like to believe that Obama and Hillary are the populist leaders our country needs to reverse the pilfering of our resources, but I think both of them would justify the ongoing transfer of wealth from the middle class to the super rich by believing they are at least helping a portion of Americans.  


    Didn't the vote happen before the nom? (none / 0) (#73)
    by nycstray on Fri May 15, 2009 at 02:53:36 AM EST
    she released a statement on her vote. You may want to look it up. She was pretty thorough, iirc, in her reasons for her vote.

    Neither one of my senators voted for it.


    So then is her vote for the war in Iraq... (none / 0) (#67)
    by Thanin on Thu May 14, 2009 at 02:25:22 PM EST
    also evidence of how she'd have governed too?

    I have no idea. Although I did (5.00 / 1) (#68)
    by oculus on Thu May 14, 2009 at 02:59:12 PM EST
    respect her comments during the Senata Armed Services Committee at which Gen. Petreaus testified.

    Have you read her floor speech? (5.00 / 0) (#74)
    by nycstray on Fri May 15, 2009 at 02:54:39 AM EST
    That might answer your question . . .

    I'd like to think that a lot of things (none / 0) (#29)
    by andgarden on Thu May 14, 2009 at 10:10:25 AM EST
    that probably aren't true.

    For instance, I'd like to think that this President will actually take some action on DADT or DOMA. I am not hopeful.


    Pam (5.00 / 0) (#33)
    by lilburro on Thu May 14, 2009 at 10:15:28 AM EST
    has been doing a great job documenting his administration's callousness on gay issues.  Esp. their inability to react to all the recent gay marriage legalizations.

    So far he gets a big fat F on gay issues.  And he looks more like a fool than ever for inviting Warren to the Inauguration, IMO.


    On DADT... (none / 0) (#35)
    by Addison on Thu May 14, 2009 at 10:20:06 AM EST
    ...I think the argument is out there right now that we're losing skilled soldiers for no good reason. It's a compelling argument, and I wish Obama would deploy it when he has a few spare policy days to push it. I imagine that it will be tackled in the first term, but who knows.

    With the Defense of Marriage Act I think -- given the contents of the bill -- it makes sense to let certain states erode the substance of the law (by legalizing gay marriage and recognizing each others, leaving islands of states where DOMA actively applies instead of a nation of them --  before going after the federal portions of it. It will then be easier to rip it to shreds, IMO.

    Both DOMA and DADT represent Clinton-era compromises (actually not bad ones, given the politics of their time ) that have, happily, been made obsolete by time and a new generation of voters.


    Obsolete policies/laws causing continual harm (none / 0) (#36)
    by andgarden on Thu May 14, 2009 at 10:22:20 AM EST
    And IMO, both are probably unconstitutional (though you'd never get the current Court to say so).

    Rather surprising Uraguay is (none / 0) (#40)
    by oculus on Thu May 14, 2009 at 10:26:14 AM EST
    ahead of the US on DADT.

    they are ahead of us on many things (none / 0) (#42)
    by Capt Howdy on Thu May 14, 2009 at 10:30:30 AM EST
    like gay marriage for one.

    Indeed... (none / 0) (#43)
    by Addison on Thu May 14, 2009 at 10:31:51 AM EST
    ...both should be reversed. With DADT I think the time is now, an overwhelmingly persuasive argument is right there on the table. With DOMA I think waiting for the states themselves to weaken the purpose of the law seems a better approach to getting it overturned.

    And you're right about the current Court, I think. Though depending on what seats become vacant (and whether Obama gets a second term, of course) I could see both overturned by the Supreme Court by 2016. Fewer and fewer people in our society have any patience for nonsense about what gays can and can't do, we're tired of it, and the SCOTUS -- given the right case and a 5-4 split our way -- wouldn't encounter much resistance (which they shouldn't care about, but...).


    have to wonder if the DADT issue will pushed (none / 0) (#75)
    by nycstray on Fri May 15, 2009 at 02:57:22 AM EST
    seeing as the guy who is challenging it has written to Obama. Just saw him on the news tonight talking about it.

    yes (none / 0) (#37)
    by Capt Howdy on Thu May 14, 2009 at 10:25:42 AM EST
    though I would say that more of DADT than DOMA

    asdf (none / 0) (#48)
    by Addison on Thu May 14, 2009 at 10:39:51 AM EST
    Well, I think they're just both obsolete period. It will just take time for the law to catch up with reality. Conservatives have been decimated on issues surrounding gay rights, not because of the boogieman of activist courts, or dastardly liberals, but due to society mostly just ceasing to care about sexuality when it comes to pretty much anything.

    Gay rights advocates and select politicians did a very good job over the past two or three decades. It has been one of the fastest status transitions for a group in American history (and of course it's not done yet). I think it's a model that shows all the faults with, let's say, the antiwar movement.


    The difference is (none / 0) (#49)
    by andgarden on Thu May 14, 2009 at 10:42:50 AM EST
    that unlike war, a successful Presidency does not make us go away. We are still members of your family.

    I completely agree (none / 0) (#50)
    by Capt Howdy on Thu May 14, 2009 at 10:46:25 AM EST
    I never expected to see the evolution in thinking that has occurred in my lifetime.  back in the 90s when Clinton was ready to help us get civil unions I thought many activists were nuts to insist on gay marriage.
    loaded word.  marriage.
    I was wrong.  I see now it was not only the right thing to do but the smart thing to do.
    equality has a different meaning for people who never  had to sit in the back of the bus and who grew up with role models in politicians Olympic atheletes and music and film stars.

    Well I don't know about the term "nuts" (none / 0) (#52)
    by Addison on Thu May 14, 2009 at 10:49:53 AM EST
    But I think it could be argued that the gay rights movement has done pretty much the right things at the right time and that leaving "marriage" largely out of the conversation in the 1990's was part of that. Again, it's one of the fastest transitions of a demographic in American history. Could it have gone faster? Yes. But it also could've gone much slower.

    I disagree that (none / 0) (#57)
    by Capt Howdy on Thu May 14, 2009 at 10:57:14 AM EST
    the term marriage was left out of the conversation in the 90s.
    I remember it coming up every time the subject of civil unions came up.

    Specifically (none / 0) (#71)
    by lilburro on Thu May 14, 2009 at 03:51:03 PM EST
    Hillary was in the early-going not as anti-torture as some of the other candidates.  Source:

    "Upon reflection and after meeting with former generals and others, Sen. Clinton does not believe that we should be making narrow exceptions to this policy based on hypothetical scenarios," said campaign spokesman Phil Singer.

    Clinton (D-N.Y.) came out against all torture - "period" - in Wednesday's Democratic debate after previously telling the Daily News last October it would be okay to torture a terrorist to foil "something imminent."

    And she did eventually back the anti-torture pledge of the American Freedom Campaign.

    But how can any of that be measured in terms of today?  I dunno.


    I don't even think the premise of Dionne's (none / 0) (#1)
    by andgarden on Thu May 14, 2009 at 07:35:45 AM EST
    column makes any sense. Because of this move, the next Governor of Florida will likely be a Democrat, as Crist well knows.

    Unless E.J. thinks that it's good news for the Republican party to be out of power, this is actually "bad news" for them.

    Side note: why Crist wants to be part of a small minority in the Senate I don't really know, so I'm almost waiting for him to pull a Specter.

    But to address your point (none / 0) (#2)
    by andgarden on Thu May 14, 2009 at 07:37:58 AM EST
    almost everyone is schizophrenic when it comes to caring about issues.

    I would have to disagree (5.00 / 1) (#11)
    by samtaylor2 on Thu May 14, 2009 at 08:49:10 AM EST
    Schizophrenics hold onto their beliefs VERY strongly.  That is what makes them schizophrenic and not politicians

    I would disagree, too. (5.00 / 1) (#26)
    by Cream City on Thu May 14, 2009 at 10:02:47 AM EST
    Some voters may only appear that way, only because they do not agree with a party all down the line.

    But it could be that those voters have a fairly coherent belief set, and it only appears schizophrenic because you are measuring against a party's belief set -- but it is the parties that have split personalities now, attempting to be "big tents" when they really are just badly divided camps of lots of little clusters of tents . . . and lots of unhappy campers.

    Reminds me of the stupid studies that measure ethical behavior, based on Western ethics systems, and conclude that everybody but Americans are unethical.


    then (none / 0) (#14)
    by Capt Howdy on Thu May 14, 2009 at 09:21:16 AM EST
    what is it that makes politicians schizophrenic?

    Is it in progressives' interest (none / 0) (#9)
    by lilburro on Thu May 14, 2009 at 08:33:13 AM EST
    to respect/support conservative Republicans fighting for their principles?  It seems like if a progressive wants to forward an agenda, there could be different strategic advantages to dissing hardline Republicans for opposing Crist.  

    Do any come to mind right now?  Er...not particularly.  If Crist doesn't win the nom, he seems like a loser and his political power would be weakened (easier Gov race for Dems).  Plus a conservative Republican is probably easier to beat than a sitting Governor.

    The one thing I guess you could say is Crist would be easier to negotiate with in the Senate.  Still, not as easy as negotiating with a Dem.  

    To echo andgarden's point it seems to me that the country (or at least our government) is as  divided as ever.  Is it in any way to progressives' advantage to attack Republicans when they forsake a more moderate candidate?

    Well (5.00 / 1) (#10)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Thu May 14, 2009 at 08:44:48 AM EST
    I do not know about political advantages. I suppose it would be enjoyable for some to see the Right get the treatment the "hard Left" got over Lieberman.

    In terms of issues, I do not see the advantage.

    In terms of forwarding debate in the political arena, I think the issue is pretty clear - we want party primaries to be open to debate on the issues - that's how you get those so called "better" Democrats.

    But I think that the whole Netroots thing is pretty much dead anyway.

    I am sure they would want to rally against Jane Harman but they really can't muster anything, to busy ignoring some of the things Obama does.


    The only advantage I can think of (none / 0) (#12)
    by lilburro on Thu May 14, 2009 at 08:58:15 AM EST
    is that Crist's success would signal that the Republican Party (or at least, the teabagger element) actually is dead.  And maybe it would screw with the pundits on Fox News?  The only good thing I could see is watching Fox News implode.

    Fox News is in its glory (5.00 / 1) (#30)
    by gyrfalcon on Thu May 14, 2009 at 10:11:19 AM EST
    screeching in opposition.  It's altogether much happier now than it was defending the Bush administration and Republican Congress, almost as happy as it was back in the Clinton administration.  Its ratings go up and its talking heads get to tell themselves they're "speaking truth to power."  Sends lots of tingles up their legs.

    So Ned Lamont's (none / 0) (#38)
    by me only on Thu May 14, 2009 at 10:26:03 AM EST
    loss means that the regressive element of the Democratic party is dead.  Right.

    during the LIEberman/Lamont race (none / 0) (#44)
    by Capt Howdy on Thu May 14, 2009 at 10:32:20 AM EST
    it may have been on life support but I think it may be recovering.  Arlen vs Sestak may show where it is one way or the other.