Progressives Unite!

There is something strange going on in the progressive blogosphere these days: instead of uniting against Republicans, progressive bloggers like Matt Stoller have decided to declare war on every Democrat who they consider not to be progressive (read anti-war) enough. Seemingly frustrated that there are actually Democratic Congressmen that do not necessarily always vote along party lines – but make up their own minds – they have decided to ask their readers to make profiles of so-called “Bush Dogs” (Blue Dogs and New Democrats) as to be able to target them in the coming years, and to replace them with progressive, left-wing Republicans.

An example of a so-called Bush Dog they are targeting is Brian Baird. Baird opposed the war against Iraq from the get-go but believes that since the US went ahead and attacked anyway, it should persist and be successful. He believes that the surge might be paying off, at least to a degree, and that – therefore – the troops should not be withdrawn soon. So, Open Left and Daily Kos have decided to target Blair – they are writing negative posts about him, etc.

Of course, Baird is not the only victim. Once one pays attention to what is happening, one also sees that they are targeting Hillary Clinton. Obviously not to replace her, but instead to make sure that she does not win the nomination. Besides attacking Hillary straight on, the left-wingers of the Daily Kos, Open Left and MyDD, also seem to have declared Bill Clinton their enemy. Their new best buddy? Al Franken.

Those who dare support non-Democratic candidates for president – like Independents – have to be put away as well well. As a result of all their actions, Chris Bower believes that “progressives are moving closer to Democratic Party control.”

This prospect should – as far as I am concerned – scare the hell out of everybody who thinks that some independence of thought is actually a good thing. We have seen some of this being done by conservative bloggers and activists, but never on the scale as we currently see (it being done by progressives). The intention is clearly to stifle all dissent, and all debate. Whether one is a Democrat or not, and whether one is more progressive than conservative, and left-of-center is irrelevant to these people. Nor do they seem to care that the voters voted these people into office in the first place. They have decided that they are enemies of the Democratic Party (even though they are Democrats themselves) and therefore enemies of the people.

The most important issue according to the progressives? Iraq. it is all that matters. In this instance they decide not to go after someone for not being progressive enough on certain issues, because this person opposes the surge. In other words, one might argue that it is not so much about progressive vs. less progressive, but about anti-war vs. open-minded. Make no mistake about it however: once these people get their way regarding Iraq, they will target politicians who they deem not progressive enough on other issues.

And so, slowly but surely, these people are destroying the Democratic Party. The average American does not favor truly progressive policies nor does the average American think highly of the anti-war crowd (led by Kos and Stoller). They might have their fair share of groupies, but so did other totalitarians in the past. These people are totalitarians because they do not accept any dissent. It is not as if policies are up for debate: they have made up their minds about certain issues, everybody else must agree. If they do not, they have to be targeted. More, Chris Bowers, Matt Stoller and “Kos” are now even making themselves unpopular among local Democratic activists. These activists basically tell Stoller and Bowers to bugger off. They know what is happening in their districts, they know what to do. National activists, they argue, do not have any idea what is going on in certain districts and / or states.

Of course, these concerns are easily dismissed. Indeed, one could argue that these bloggers have to be careful: otherwise they may be targeted soon as well. The Minnesota blogger has already turned against Bower et al.: instead of going ahead and endorsing other, more progressive candidates, he has decided to actively support the person (so-called Bush Dog) his more totalitarian thinking colleagues are attacking. The Ohio blogger I link to basically did the same thing by asking fellow Democrats to donate some much-need money to the two Ohio Representatives who Stoller and Bowers labeled “Bush Dogs.”

The centralization aspect of the campaign is quite interesting to see as well. One could argue that Stoller et al. believe that the centralized government knows best, or at least does not know less than the governments at a state level. The result is that they want to centralize politics as much as possible. This does not only reveal itself in their politics, but also in their campaigning. In essence, they want to centralize local campaigning with the goal of making every Democrat – in whatever district – a copy of every other Democrat – in other districts thus with different constituents.

When the Ohio blogger wrote that his reps. are targeted, Stoller told him that they are not targeting them (yet) and that he was free to write a positive profile of his Reps. The only problem with that is, of course, that they are already forced to play defense. If they do not, one can count on it that the Reps. from Ohio will be targeted – soon and aggressively. O, and then there is also the fact Stoller already labeled them “Bush Dogs.” I especially liked a comment from someone who supports the initiative: ‘You have no damn business telling the rest of the country to leave your “candidates” alone.’ Of course they do not: the ‘centralized and big campaign’ (governments) knows best.

Always.

The Minnesota blogger wrote: “Chris, you’re not the DSCC, and this revolution wasn’t about creating an online movement that would be as abusive as the old system.”

Quite right. But this is the result of the political theory people like Bowers adhere to. To them, any and all dissent should be destroyed. That is how they think and that is how they (now finally) act. It has been said for a long while already, but these people reflect totalitarian movements more than they reflect the spirit of liberty and diversity.

Author: michaelvdg

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69 Comments

  1. If someone believes that a war is wrong (as Senator Brian Baird apparently does), then he/she has the responsibility to end it.

    This blows right past the question of HOW to “end it”. Some ways of ending it might cause even more damage while other ways might at least mitigate some portion of the damage.

    Think of it like a person sinking into a hole of sticky mud. Sure, we have to pull him out. But if we tie him to a Jeep with a rope and stomp on the gas, we might pull him out of the hole while ripping his shoulders out of their sockets. You’ve got to pull him out a bit more slowly to avoid exacerbating the damage.

    Same with pulling troops out of Iraq. Even many of those who agree that they should never have gone in recognize that now that they are in there, we’ve got to be smarter about pulling them out then we were about putting them in in the first place.

    Put more simply: Two wrongs don’t make a right. And those who take such a position should not be demonized as “neocons” for doing so.

  2. Jason,

    do you prefer to endlessly bring up a previous conflict on every single thread you comment on, as you have been doing for the last couple of months, both here and at another site?

    As I’m sure you’ve been told a million times, don’t exaggerate. This is the second time I’ve mentioned it and on both occasions it was pertinent to your accusations towards others. Be that as it may, thanks for the admission at last. I’ll drop the subject now.

    Regards, C

  3. Note to all: In my previous posts, I said Brian Baird was a U.S. Senator. This is incorrect. Brian Baird is a member of the U.S. House of Representatives, representing Washington’s 3rd Congressional District.

  4. The intention is clearly to stifle all dissent, and all debate. Whether one is a Democrat or not, and whether one is more progressive than conservative, and left-of-center is irrelevant to these people. Nor do they seem to care that the voters voted these people into office in the first place. They have decided that they are enemies of the Democratic Party (even though they are Democrats themselves) and therefore enemies of the people.

    For a moderate, that seems like a pretty extremist statement.

    I now of no-one trying to stifle all dissent and debate.

    What’s occurring is the ‘middle’ has been moved so far to the right that conservative Dems are claiming they are moderates. So liberals are needed at the edge to tug the whole spectrum back to a more moderate center.

    It’s an ongoing process and is healthy imho. The analogy I use is that MLK Jr was viewed as a radical till Malcolm X came along. Then MLK was viewed as more moderate with more moderate solutions. Without X, who knows if the CR movement would have its successes? Each was integral to the outcome.

    And I’d add that when wars are fought for questionable rationales and tens of thousands (at least) are perishing, it’s fairly human for many to get upset about it and take more hardline positions.

    Much in politics has an ideological tinge and it’s a push-pull game. But in life-and-massive death matters, it’s really not about partisanship and ideology. It’s about being human and wanting elected officials to represent a level of civil ethics that is quite above the political frat.

    As a liberal, I respect that moderate and conservative Dems may hold differing views on a host of issues. But when it comes to war, the real extreme ae those that can overlook and accept mass murder by government based on theories about outcomes.

    That’s really what it boils down to. Iraq will be a mess that will never begin to heal while people propose courses that run counter to Ethics 101 based on an indifference to the value of life.

    If conservative Dems want to throw in with Bush on that one, I reserve the right to mock their tender sensibilities mercilessly. And if they whine, well, good. They endure far less than all the people, Iraqi and American, who suffer far worse.

    Moderation in defense of perpetual murder is no virtue.

  5. Third paragraph, above:

    “I know of” instead of “I now of”

    Sorry for not proofreading before I posted.

  6. Moderation in defense of perpetual murder is no virtue.

    And neither is lying about what other people believe.

    Few of the people being targeted have “thrown in with Bush”. Most of them simply have grave reservations about what the outcome of a hasty, ill-thought, “wash our hands” withdrawal would be.

    And no one — certainly no one here — has made a “defense of perpetual murder”. That kind of outrageously over-the-top characterization is exactly why so many people have left TMV.

    I now of no-one trying to stifle all dissent and debate.

    Well, someone who characterizes everyone that disagrees with them on any issue, even one as important as war, as making a “defense of perpetual murder” certainly appears to want to “stifle all dissent and debate”. I can’t think of any other way to read such an extreme interpretation of others’ views. I mean, who would want to continue a discussion under such conditions?

  7. Few of the people being targeted have “thrown in with Bush”. Most of them simply have grave reservations about what the outcome of a hasty, ill-thought, “wash our hands” withdrawal would be.

    But Jason, you will concede that the overwhelming majority of the people now opposing withdrawal from Iraq also supported the invasion of Iraq in the first place, won’t you?

  8. No, I won’t concede that. Living and working in a graduate political science department with a “foreign policy community” dominated (contra Greenwald) by staunchly anti-war people, I was struck by how many of them acknowledge the very real problems with a “wash our hands” withdrawal. Once in to a war that they opposed, they would prefer that we not make it even worse by getting out as poorly-planned and poorly-executed as we went in.

    IMO, far too many people on both sides of the issue treat it as an “all or nothing” situation.

    The President and his supporters represent the “all” option, where both the invasion and the continued occupation are absolute goods upon which no compromise is tolerated. Those who dissent are “unpatriotic” advocates of “cut and run” who “want the terrorists to win”.

    And purists in the anti-war movement represent the “nothing” option where the war and the occupation are absolute evils where no good news is ever acknowledged and where no option short of immediate, unconditional withdrawal is tolerated. Those who dissent are “neocons” and “warmongers”.

    The moderates (both pro-war and anti-war variants as well as those who switched from a pro-war position to a critical position as they saw how disastrously the war effort fell apart) always get caricatured and shouted down by both of these groups (both of which insist on their own absolute moral purity and the other’s absolute moral evil even while they both use the exact same techniques of name-calling and demonization), but there are an awful lot of them with an awful lot of expertise.

  9. Getting back to Michael’s post, I think you are painting this with too broad of a brush. There are conservative Democrats who represent conservative districts. There are principled conservative Democrats who represent moderately liberal districts. There are Democrats who take conservative positions because they are cold and calculating and heavily funded by corporate interests. It strikes me that Stoller and co. are going after the latter. They may also be going after the second group, which is unfair and will only tend to polarize politics on both sides. What angers me is when they target the first group.

    I live in Tennessee, which, despite its “red state” reputation has a majority of its Congressional delegation in the Democratic column. And these Democrats will never be defeated unless they get involved with scandal. One is a genuine liberal and represents solidly liberal Memphis; Steve Cohen, in fact, represents his constituents better than the ultimate triangulator Harold Ford ever did. But Bart Gordon, Jim Tanner and Lincoln Davis represent rural, white, Southern districts that the national imagination identifies as solidly Republican. Why? Because they are conservative Democrats who represent both the partisan tradition of those districts and the ideology accepted there. They are an asset to the Democratic Party not only because of their regional perspective, but because of the ideological brakes they can put on when the party veers too far to the left. But theirs is a tough road to hoe. They don’t gratuitously bash “liberals” in the party leadership. But they do quietly distance themselves from Pelosi when necessary. Pelosi returns the favor by appointing them to committees that serve their districts.

    Many of the new Democratic reps fall into this same camp. The three new reps from Indiana, Shuler from NC, Carney from PA, and McEnerny in CA all represent conservative districts. Progressives should lay off these folks or else we’ll see the return of jerks like Charles Taylor, Richard Pombo, and John Hostettler. Nothing is to be gained for progressive causes by purging folks like these.

    I have no problem going after self-serving Democrats who bash their party in hostile quarters; Lieberman deserved to be primaried not for his conservatism but for his obtuseness. Hillary Clinton must watch this as well, as her mangled terrorism comment recently suggested. There she was revealing her cold, calculating self and reinforcing largely outdated prejudices toward the GOP on matters of national security. There’s a reason progressives don’t trust her.

  10. So let me get this straight.

    Democrats win in a record-setting election because people are tired of the Republicans being Bush’s rubber-stamp. And the Republicans ignoring health care. And, basically, ——– this country up to an unheard-of amount.

    Democrats take office. They…do nothing to oppose the president. They…do nothing about health care. They…do nothing at all. Yes, they’re ‘opposed’ by Republicans, but they don’t actually seem to make it clear what’s going on, and they don’t fight anywhere near as hard the Republican did.

    Their ratings start sliding, then plummeting, and now they’re about as popular as the president. I wonder why?

    Meanwhile, certain Democrats do things like passing FISA.

    Democratic-supporting bloggers (Which Kos explicitly is, remember), outraged that Democrats aren’t doing what they said they’d do, and worried sick that the Democrats are going to manage, once again, to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory by being too far to the right, start opposing this.

    The recap of this:

    Progressive bloggers are evil because they expect actual things to happen. Progressive bloggers are evil because they expect Democrats to actually do what they said they would do, and were elected to do.

    I really have two words for this author, but as we are not supposed to make personal attacks here, I am required to merely think them at you. There. I hope you got that message loud and clear.

    The reality:

    Americans are amazingly progressive, and amazingly antiwar. Period.

    It’s not even vaguely debatable. Something like 60% of people would be willing to pay higher taxes to cover other people’s medical expenses, and another 30% are only on the fence because they have bought the lie that national health care would cost more to them. 55% of Republicans support it, again presumably while still believing the lies about the cost and lines and stuff.

    The battle is well past won, all the soldiers are dead or have already gone home and the losing general is running around holding their flag in the air, convinced if he can keep it from touching the ground, and saying ‘The battle is not over’, he’ll win. We’re entering ‘delusional’ territory at this point about national health care.

    Likewise with the war, except using a ‘war’ metaphor there would be rather bad taste. People want out.

    Huge historical elections don’t just randomly happen by themselves. It happened for a specific reason: Americans are fed up with the right. The right has demonstrated, while it can complain about governing when it’s not doing so, it cannot actually govern when it’s in power.

    Attempting to convince people otherwise is, yes, working on the Democrats, because a large amount of elected Democrats are complete and utter cretins, apparently. Maybe it’s something in the DC water supply.

    So those people will have to be replaced. We would have replaced them last election if they were up and we knew about them. We did replace Lieberman, although the Republicans managed to win that election, at least he can’t wander around calling himself a ‘Democrat’.

    The real question, the most important question here, is ‘If those people are destroying the Democratic party…why are you complaining?’ Isn’t that a fundamental rule of war, never interrupt your enemy while he’s making a mistake?

    No, I think you know quite well it’s not a mistake, and I think you see exactly where it’s leading. At some point, pretending it had continued for several decades, yeah, it would be some sort of mistake, almost exactly like the one the Republicans are making right now with their purity drives.

    But requiring some sort of ‘You must be this progressive to enter’ is not an unreasonable requirement, especially if that bar is set at ‘You must be at least as progressive as the US population is on average’, which I think is a reasonable requirement for a party on the ‘left’.

  11. With tolerance and respect for disagreement like you show in your comments, DavidTC, I can see why you can criticize the Republicans for being intolerant and abusive. You certainly made me want to embrace the “progressive” cause, there, and to entrust your mentality with the power of governance. Not.
    :rolleyes:

  12. I stopped reading after the first few sentences of that comment so yeah, he persuaded me as well.

  13. Nic: But Jason, you will concede that the overwhelming majority of the people now opposing withdrawal from Iraq also supported the invasion of Iraq in the first place, won’t you?

    Jason: No, I won’t concede that.

    Let me get this straight, Jason. You disagree that the overwhelming majority of people opposing withdrawal from Iraq also supported the invasion of Iraq in the first place?

    Let’s get this straight right now.

    A majority of the American people support a withdrawal of American troops from Iraq, while a minority of the American people oppose a withdrawal of American troops from Iraq. The exact numbers vary with each poll, but here’s the most recent poll that I could find.

    Do you think the United States should keep its military forces in Iraq until civil order is restored there, even if that means continued U.S. military casualties; or do you think the United States should withdraw its military forces from Iraq in order to avoid further U.S. military casualties, even if that means civil order is not restored there?

    7/18/07 – 7/21/07
    Keep forces: 39%
    Withdraw forces: 59%
    Unsure: 3%

    Only 39% of the American people oppose withdrawing troops from Iraq. Given that roughly 40% of the American people also believe our government did the right thing by invading Iraq, I think it’s pretty obvious that there’s a significant overlap between the people who oppose troop withdrawal and the people who continue to believe that our government did the right thing by invading Iraq.

    Moreover, when you consider that about 70-75% of the American people originally supported the war, the likelihood that the 39% of those opposing troop withdrawal were original supporters is even greater.

    I’m curious. Of the 39% of Americans who oppose troop withdrawal, what proportion do you think are people who originally supported the war? You seem to imply that a significant porportion of the people who oppose troop withdrawal are opponents of the war.

    I argue, however, that of the 39% of Americans who oppose troop withdrawal, only a small minority are people who originally opposed the war. The rest (the overwhelming majority) are people who originally supported the war.

    I’m curious to know what you think.

  14. Ah, yes. Just call me intolerant without, you know, actually pointing to any example of that in my post, or any way that I’m actually, you know, wrong.

    However, I am, indeed, pretty intolerant of politicians were elected to do one or two specific things and then don’t appear to be trying very hard. Intolerant merely means ‘Do not tolerate’. Not tolerating someone of a certain skin color sitting next to you on the bus is not quite the same thing as not tolerating a half-cooked pizza or not tolerating your political party running people who don’t reflect the policies of the voters. It’s not ‘intolerant’ in any negative meaning to say ‘I think this person would make a better elected officer than that person I voted for last time.’

    But I like being called intolerant on a discussion that started out by calling me a communist, though, the irony tastes great.

    And, incidentally, ‘all or nothing’ is a complete strawman. Most people who elected Democrats to get us out of the war expected us to be near finished withdrawing now, because we would have, I dunno, spent six damn months doing so, instead of screwing around for six months to give the President’s idiotic plan time. (Six months? Almost eight now, isn’t it?)

    Absolutely no one is saying, or has said, ‘Let us leave tomorrow’, they are saying ‘Let us say, tomorrow, that we are leaving, period, and then start doing so over a reasonable period of time’.

    Well, they were. Now they’re saying ‘We should have said that six months ago, Congress is a bunch of idiots.’. And they’re setting backup plans into motion to challenge incumbents if this sort of insanity is still going on at the end of this year to replace the elected Democratic cretins who couldn’t find their ass with both hands and a map, and think their job is to hang out slightly right of center to balance out the people hanging out far right of center.

    The real question is: Why does the right care that certain people on the left are trying to move the Democrats to the left? In RightWorld, isn’t the left already ‘too far to the left’ and ‘out of touch’?

    Won’t moving leftward just make the left increasingly irrelevant, just like it did the last election?

  15. Nick,

    I think that there is ambiguity in this conversation about who exactly we are talking about. By “Americans who oppose withdrawal” do you mean those who oppose immediate withdrawal or do you mean those who oppose any withdrawal?

    If the former, then I do not agree that an “overwhelming majority” of that group is constituted of original war supporters. There are a LOT of very intelligent, well-read, well-credentialed people who oppose an immediate withdrawal because of the chaos that would ensue in the aftermath of such a withdrawal. I also think it is a slander on many of these people to conflate them with blind war supporters, because many people who oppose immediate withdrawal either opposed the war from the beginning (i.e. my professors and colleagues as well as several of the Democratic presidential candidates) or grew to oppose it after learning that it was a mistake and badly executed (i.e. me as well as several other Democratic presidential candidates and even several high-profile Republicans). I also think that the only possible purpose of conflating all opposition to immediate withdrawal is to taint the more reasonable opponents of the immediate withdrawal position by lumping them together with a group that is widely seen here as unreasonable, and that amounts to an ad hominum attack by proxy.

    If the latter, however, then you may be right. But in that case I also don’t think that we are talking about a group of people who’s opinion I care about either.

    To rip off from Barack Obama, there are a lot of people who do not oppose all withdrawals, only dumb ones.

  16. Jason,

    Perhaps my original question was a bit ambiguous. When I speak of withdrawal, I basic have in mind what the poll above has in mind.

    We all agree that our soldiers are going to be withdrawn from Iraq, whether it’s four months, four years, or four decades. But there are people who believe that we should withdraw, even if stability is not achieved in Iraq. And there are epople who believe that we should withdraw only after stability has been achieved in Iraq. According to the poll above (which is about a month old), 59% of Americans support the former position while 39% of Americans support the latter. And it is my contention that the majority (the overwhelming majority) of the people in the latter group (oppose withdrawal until stability is achieved) are people who originally supported the invasion of Iraq.

    And here’s another point. If you listen to the most adamant critics of withdrawl from politicians and pundits, theses critics OVERWHELMINGLY were people who originally supported the war. It’s not even close.

    Think about all the people in the U.S. Congress who are arguing that we must not withdraw from Iraq.

    Think about all the people on the cable news networks who are arguing against withdrawal.

    Think about all the bloggers in the blogosphere who are arguing against withdrawal.

    The OVERWHELMING majority of these people originally supported the invasion of Iraq.

    People like Democratic Congressman Brian Baird, who voted against the resolution authorizing force in Iraq and continues to believe that invading Iraq but nonetheless believes that we cannot withdraw any time in the near future…he is but a slim minority of the people arguing against withdrawal. The overwhelming majority is made up of people who originally supported the invasion of Iraq.

    I can understand (though I do not agree with) the position of those who believe the war was wrong but don’t want to withdraw from Iraq prematurely

  17. Also, referring back to MvdG’s original post, I think I’ve found what I perceive to be an incongruity in MvdG’s criticism of Democrats and liberals.

    Previously, MvdG wrote a post in which he criticized Democrats for trying to have it both ways on the war–that is, criticizing Bush for war while they themselves do absolutely nothing to end it. I largely agree with MvdG on this issue.

    However, when progressive bloggers target those Democrats who support continuing the war, MvdG criticizes them as well.

    I don’t get it. It’s a damned if you do…damned it you don’t type scenario. If Democrats and liberals continue to criticize Bush for the war but do nothing to end it, they’re partisans and hypocrites. Yet if they put pressure on those Democrats who are opposing withdrawal, then they’re extremists and purists.

    Frankly, I agree with some aspects of Barry Goldwater’s quote “Extremism is defense of liberty is no vice. Moderation in pursuit of freedom is no virtue.” There are matters on which Democrats and Republicans should compromise on for the sake of the common good.

    But when it comes to prolonging an unnecessary war waged on false premises, one shouldn’t support the continuation of a policy that they believe was the wrong policy to be enacted in the first place.

    Also, I say let’s not pretend that it’s only the anti-war left that is being “purist” on the war issue. Ron Paul and the Libertarian Party have been far outspoken in their criticism of the war than just any Democrat has been and consider the Democrats to be no better than the Republicans. There are also a number of prominent paleoconservatives (some of whom served in Ronald Reagan’s administration such as Paul Craig Roberts) who have opposed the war and criticized Democrats and Republicans alike for refusing to end it.

    If it’s alright for paleoconservatives and libertarians to criticize Democrats who refuse to end the war, why is it wrong for progressives to criticize these same Democrats? Is there some kind of double standard here where criticism of withdrawal opponents is only tolerated when it comes from non-progressives? Or does it reflect a refusal to acknowledge that some of the harshest criticism of the war and withdrawal opponents comes from libertarians and paleoconservatives?

    Dennis Kucinich is about as left-wing as you can get. Yet there’s a reason why Republican Congressman Ron Paul is friends with him…it’s because unlike other Democrats, Dennis Kucinich has stood his ground on Iraq and criticizes both Democrats and Republicans alike for the war.

    I would think that a progressive criticizing a Democrat for the war (rather than criticizing only Republicans) are the principled ones. Conversely, those progressives who criticize Bush and the Republican Party for the war but give Congressman Baird and other Democrats a free pass are the ones being partisan.

  18. Nick,

    Like anyone else, I am only legitimately responsible for what I advocate. I am not responsible to defend, explain, or justify what others may or may not advocate.

    Thus, when you say,

    It’s a damned if you do…damned it you don’t type scenario. If Democrats and liberals continue to criticize Bush for the war but do nothing to end it, they’re partisans and hypocrites. Yet if they put pressure on those Democrats who are opposing withdrawal, then they’re extremists and purists.

    I think that doesn’t apply to me. I don’t criticize the Democratic presidential candidates who have begun to grapple with the difficult issues of what withdrawal actually means in practice. Rather, I applaud them for it. I shows that they are preparing to actually govern rather than taking the cheap and easy 2006 method of criticism without a realistic alternative.

    And I should not need to remind you again that I do not equate “anti-war” with “left” and I have on several occasions now gone out of my way to rephrase in order to accommodate your objections in that area.

  19. The thing that really gets me about all this is that progressive bloggers are the sole reason any politician is even talking about withdrawal. I don’t want to dis the Libertarians (At least not for this, I’ll dis them for other things when we return to a normally functioning political system.:) ) and various other people who were right from the the start, or right earlier. Good for them. The problem is, none of those people actually appear to have any political power.

    It’s progressive bloggers who made this an issue in the 2006 election and it’s the anti-war left, lead by Dean, that managed to step in in the ‘ 50 State Strategy’ that led to the huge power shift in Congress. There may be almost as many people against the war on the right, but they have managed to elect almost no one, and can do nothing at all.

    So then critizing them for putting pressure on the people they elected to do the things they elected them for seems a bit absurd, considering that no one else has managed that. If anyone else has an idea on how to stop this war, they should feel free to go ahead and do that. Meanwhile, anti-war bloggers will continue to do the only plan that even vaguely looks like it has a chance of working: Pressure the people elected to end the war into ending the war.

    And the only way I know how to pressure politicians is to threaten to incite their voters against them, and then actually do so. If someone’s got some other way to pressure them, then they should feel free to do that instead.

    Considering that this plan actually appears to be working, and would have worked already if not for a) people not up for election last year and b) the Republicans in unwinnable states. As there is not an election before 2009, the only way to end this war before that is pressuring politicians who are up for election at that time, by threatening their reelection chances.

    Hey, here’s an idea: The left can treat their anti-war elected officials how they want, and the right can treat their anti-war elected officials how they want. How’s that sound?

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