Tuesday, February 21, 2006


Digby nails it: don't compromise with the GOP

I want to give Digby props today. As you’ll see in the coming weeks, months, and perhaps years of 4&20 blackbirds, I’m a big fan of his site and his thinking. I’ll even go further: Digby is the conscience and brain behind the progressive blogosphere. Today I want to write about two of Digby’s posts attacking the Republican leadership and sending a message to the Democratic leadership: don’t compromise. In the first post, Digby makes clear that the baying of the left-wing blogosphere about the Democratic leadership is not directed at moderate and conservative Democrats who are betraying progressive ideology, but instead at those Democratic politicians who try to work with the GOP:
It's not "left" and "right" or "liberal," "moderate," or "conservative" that animates the grassroots. We argue some amongst ourselves on policy, of course, but that's not the rap on the establishment. It's the desire that our representatives wake up and recognise that we are in a new political era in which these designations take second place to "Democrat." That's the environment we are in whether we like it or not --- a country sharply divided by party, not ideology. The Democratic party did everything it could to alleviate the culture war and the partisanship in the 90's by electing southern moderates to the white house and helping the Republicans pass a lot of legislation born of major compromise of Democratic principles. Nothing was good enough. The culture war raged, not on the basis of policy --- there was much in Bill Clinton's policies for a Republican to love. It was based purely on the tribal instincts of the culture warriors who insisted that liberals not only be marginalized (fair enough in politics) but that they be annihilated. They gave no quarter unless public opinion absolutely forced them to. The grassroots believe that after all that, after moving to the right, after offering to compromise, after allowing our "red state Democrats" to run with the other side who then treated them with nothing but bad faith, now is the time for politicians to make a choice. Submit to them or stand with the resistance.
As usual, Digby nails it. Most of us in the progressive blogosphere aren’t raging socialists, many of us hold moderate or even conservative opinions. What we don’t like is watching our representatives toady up to the GOP to avoid gaining the label, “partisan.” Where has this gotten us? In the name of co-operation most of the Democratic party capitulated on the 2000 presidential election. The Democratic party handed Bush a blank check on Iraq intervention. Democrats backed away from Plamegate, Delay, Abramoff, and the NSA wiretapping. A number of Democrats refused to filibuster the Alito nomination. All to avoid the appearance of divisiveness. Let’s get something straight: none of these issues are about liberal ideology. They involve corruption, unnecessary and aggressive war, and the increasing use of illegal executive power. There’s a reason Bush’s approval ratings are in the 30s: these are issues Americans are concerned about. But the Democratic leadership has backed down on every one. Trust me, if they took a stand, Democrats would be more popular. In another post, Digby writes:
Sometimes I get criticism from my readers for suggesting that the Democrats must play on the same playing field as the Republicans. They say, "we shouldn't become them." But I never suggest that the Democrats should lie, cheat or play dirty as the Republicans do. I suggest that they wise up and stop pretending that Republicans are anything but ruthless adversaries and adjust accordingly. They can be beaten with smart strategies, but not unless the Democrats internalize the connection between the nice men and women they are working with on capitol hill every day with the thugs they hire to get elected. They are all cogs in the same cutthroat political machine.
The Republican leadership has hijacked this country. They manufactured evidence to start a war for unknown purposes; they have and continue to accumulate power in the hands of the executive; they rigged the last two presidential elections; they created a powerful, exclusive, and corrupt lobbying infrastructure. They are destroying the economy with unrealistic ideological fiscal practices. They created divisiveness throughout the country; lost a major US city, two buildings in New York, and a war no one wanted; security has worsened under their “leadership,” and even now are considering handing over port security to a company with terrorist ties. They are ruthless, extremists, and just plain bad for this country. These are the thugs the Democrats are trying to do business with. It is time to stop compromising.
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