Sunday, March 23, 2008

An ephipany on the primaries

By Libby

I realized what is really bothering me about progressive bloggers who have gone partisan in the primary battle. Obama supporters seem to spend more time talking about Clinton and vice versa for Clinton supporters, than their own preferred candidates. Meanwhile, it's like the disaster otherwise known as conservative politics and the GOP has ceased to exist.

Checking the buzz today I see my plea for unity has had a negligible effect. Skippy noticed it too and has this to say.
but to mark's question: yes, you did miss the memo, mark. the left side of blogtopia (and yes, we coined that phrase) did agree a few months ago to abandon principled debate in favor of duplicitiousness, invective and logical fallacies in lieu of actual points and structured argument.

we're sorry, we didn't keep the memo, so we can't really tell you exactly when this was decided, but we're pretty sure it was sometime early in the primary season.

that's when lefty's decided it was not only all right to utulize the same unprincipled screaming tactics to pollute public discourse as the righties, but it was also quite acceptable to use them against fellow progressives.
My unity plea engendered a private email exchange among a few bloggers and the critical response surprised me. So let me add to skippy's observation, an abbreviated summary of what I told that group in one last attempt to find some comity.

I don't love either Democratic candidate but despite my own protestations to the contrary from last year, I'm going to vote for the Democrat no matter who it is because another four years of Republican administration, especially under McCain, would destroy anything remaining that is good about this country.

Presuming we can prevent that, no matter who is elected, we are not going to get the progressive agenda we want. Politicians lie, all of them. They tell you what you want to hear, but they don't deliver much. Did we get what we thought we would out of 06? What makes anybody think that's going to be different in 08? Whoever gets in, we're still going to have to fight for our agenda every step of the way. With a Democrat, any Democrat, at least we have a better chance of succeeding. I would think that would be more important than which Democrat it ends up being.

I'm not suggesting self-censorship so much as I'm saying to choose our battles well, and deploy our ammunition wisely in furtherance of the long term goal. Nobody can blog about everything. We consciously choose our topics on any given day, so why not choose to spend our energy targeting the final opponent, the Republican, instead of sniping at the guys on our side, one of whom will ultimately carry our banner into the deciding contest?

Ask yourselves if any of these points of disagreement that we now have with each other are going to feel all that important if McCain ends up appointing the next Supreme Court justice and comes on teevee to announce he just had to bomb Iran because the AQ are there. As far as I can see, as long as we're sniping at our own candidates, we're doing the wingnuts' oppo work for them.

If you believe in your candidate so much that you want to vehemently support them, fine, but how hard is it to promote them by highlighting their superiority to the GOP candidate, instead of why they're superior to the other Democrat? The contest is so close either one could end up pulling this out. We have a named GOP opponent who is running to beat all of us, and whose transgressions are being ignored and excused by his free booze addled, barbecue bribed press corps.

As far as I can see, when someone makes their case by tearing down another Democrat instead of targeting the Republican, they're building a frame for the GOP, not advancing progressive values. For myself, I'm going to choose to let the primary play out as it will on our side and start building a narrative for the contest that really matters in November. I see the next three months as an opportunity to defeat McCain before he gets out of the gate. I'm going for it.

This isn't about Democratic loyalty. I have none and come mid-November I'm happy to bash the Democrats when they fail to advance progressive values. But it's clear to me that McCain has sold his soul to the same neo-cons who have propped up our present administration for the last seven years. We can fight against McCain, or we can fight with each other. I'm sure I don't need to point out which choice advances the progressive values I thought we all shared.

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