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What do you get when you throw Rep. Ellen Tauscher, a moderate Democrat from northern California, into a pit with a few ultra-liberal activists, online and off?

The answer, apparently, is political road kill.

As recounted in the WaPo earlier this week, that situation is neither a work of fiction nor a twisted childhood riddle. It’s very real and remarkably sad, and it’s precisely why I have such distaste for partisan politics and extremists on both the right and left.

Note, in particular, this dizzy trip on the merry-go-round …

Progressive blogs – including two new ones, Ellen Tauscher Weekly and Dump Ellen Tauscher – were bashing her as a traitor to her party. A new liberal political action committee had just named her its “Worst Offender.” And in Tauscher’s East Bay district office that day in January, eight MoveOn.org activists were accusing her of helping President Bush send more troops to Iraq.

Helping? Jennifer Barton, the lawmaker’s district director, played them a DVD of Tauscher blasting the increase as an awful idea in a floor speech eight days earlier.

“The words are fine and good, but we are looking for leadership,” scoffed Susan Schaller, one of the activists.

Leadership? Barton showed them the eight golden shovels Tauscher had received for bringing transportation projects to her suburban district, along with numerous awards she had won for her work protecting children, wetlands, affordable housing and abortion rights.

“That’s fine and good,” Schaller repeated, “but this is about Iraq.”

[Continued at Central Sanity.]
PETE ABEL
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