I’m a Pragmatic Liberal

One of the things I’ve been doing here is taking some some slaps at the frustrati – those who call themselves “true progressives” – which is amusing, since their actual “progress” and “action” is to  spend most of their time on the Internet telling everyone how disappointed or angry they are at the President.   If you read their postings, they’ll give you a list – often quite lengthy- of how the President has “failed,” or “betrayed” them.  It turns out, according to them, that he’s not a “real progressive.”

I don’t take slaps at them because they’re criticizing the President and want him  to fulfill his campaign promises,  implementing the party platform.  It’s not because they’re looking at what was done, and debating  how something could have done better or planning on implementing something what was missed.    If they were doing that, I  probably wouldn’t say much.  The reason I take my shots at them is because they don’t do that.  In fact, they’ve been attacking him since virtually the day he took office, they haven’t stopped, and a good percentage of the time their attacks are based on something they made up.

Seriously, they attack him for not implementing – right away – whatever  issue or action they have on their fantasy progressive agenda.  I call it the fantasy agenda, because it’s an agenda they made up, not necessarily what the actual agenda is.   In a more recent post, one of the commenters posted a list of “what he hasn’t done.”   Again, a good example of “I wanted this, and he hasn’t done it.”  OK, they’re disappointed, right?  Except that it was mostly either a) something he hadn’t said he was going to do, in fact, he said quite the opposite; or b) Seriously obstructed by state governments and Congress; or c) wishful thinking.  Back at the beginning of November, I looked at a prime example.  As I said back then, “So they were angry at him for not doing something that no one else expected him to do in the first place.”

It’s a common thread in their postings on the Internet,  and why I get irritated with them.  It’s obvious that they aren’t interested in making progress, or making sure that the President lives up to his actual campaign promises and implements his actual platform.  They want it their way, regardless of reality.  That’s why they continue to make specious attacks.  They’re specious because they’re based on a false premise to begin with, or blithely wave aside real obstacles.

The frustrati are more interested in their “ideal” than in people.  They’re remarkably callous about the harm that other people will suffer.  During the health care reform debates, one of them actually called the people who would die if the bill failed  “martyrs to the cause.”   In short, they were perfectly willing to let any number of people die if it meant that they could use that to achieve their goal.   The same mentality was obvious during the screaming conniption they had over the tax bill compromise.  It was more important to them to “stand on principle” than to help people.  If millions of people lost their unemployment and everyone received a tax increase, it was a small price to pay for the principle.   They have issues which are not in the party platform or what the candidates promised, but they’ll spend a great deal of time telling you about the failure of the Party to implement it.    They’ve placed all the blame on the President  because they can’t imagine that there are politicians of an opposing party who might actually be to blame, or that other priorities may take precedence over theirs.  Rather than study history, and look at the overall picture, they deem not getting their way as a blanket failure of the President and the Democratic Party.

I’m a pragmatic liberal and a realist.   What that means is that I will always go with “what works” over an impractical solution, or take what is achievable for now versus doing without anything in the vague hope that “the perfect” will somehow happen.   I recognize that “all or nothing” often means nothing, and that if nothing hurts a lot more people than something, I’ll take the something – every time.   I’m  someone who has bothered to read the party platform and what the candidates said when they were running.   Were any of them my “ideal?”  No, and I never expected them to be.  If I can agree on most of what they say, and another candidate only agrees with me on a little, then I’ll take the most, recognizing that what we disagree on is not a “deal breaker.”  I recognize that I will have disappointments, even serious disagreements on occasion with them.  I also realize that not everyone agrees with me, and that in the legislative process that will mean problems and obstructions.  I accordingly fix any “blame” where it belongs, not on a handy scapegoat.   I’ve had enough experience to know that sometimes priorities clash or change, that budgets can – and will – limit what you can do, and the world has a nasty habit of reshuffling those.  I’ve studied enough history to know that the great progressive advances of the past were agonizingly slow in coming, and seriously flawed when they were first passed.

That’s why I support this President.  Is he “perfect”?  No, and I never expected him to be.  I have, however, been exceedingly pleased with what he has accomplished, despite the obstructions.  It’s why I plan to continue to take shots at the frustrati.  They like to whine a lot every time someone like me does it.  They call it “hippie punching.”   My response to that?  Line up.

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66 Comments

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66 responses to “I’m a Pragmatic Liberal

  1. Mary

    Yeah, I made a comment similar to that idea recently too–that what we are seeing is essentially *fantasy politics* which is like fantasy football or baseball or whatever.

    People think it’s a game. They have some player stats, and they think they can pick some scenarios and take a shot. I think there is a video game mentality to this now that it takes place on the intertubz.

    But it’s not fantasy. It’s real.

    • Exactly. It’s the same theme – they’re picking politicians based on whatever scenario they believe, and then moaning when it doesn’t happen. It’s like the fantasy football players who bitch about their quarterback not throwing for 400 yards, or the fantasy baseball players who bitch about one of their players not hitting 70+ home runs. That the team those players were on won a lot of games isn’t relevant. The same thing here, in many ways – they’re expecting all these things to happen, when the reality is what they expect is unlikely in the first place. 99 yard touchdown passes are an anomaly, not the norm. Usually you run when you’re at your own 1 yard line.

      They also don’t seem to grasp the difference between “real life” and “game life.” Real life politics is messy, frustrating, and hard work.

      • Fonsia

        What’s fun is that they’re now calling themselves the “reality-based community.”

        The irony just gushes.

        • Oh, they were calling themselves that a long time ago. Back then, they actually did have some reality they dealt with. They filed for divorce when they decided to go purist, and I think it’s safe to say that the divorce for reality has been finalized.

  2. MMonides

    One minor correction: they started criticizing him before he even won the election.

    • True, some of them did. There were even more who seemed to come out of the woodwork once he’d won, and then went into full-blown screaming mode right after the inauguration.

  3. rian90

    Thank you. You have very eloquently repeated what I have been feeling for months. I withdrew from all my political connections because I was so worn out by the liberal mantra’s I have seen everyone on the internet. I am also a pragmatic liberal and was beginning to wonder if many of us existed. I appreciate you taking the time to write this.

    • Welcome! I understand what you went through, because I went through much the same thing. The problem is that everyone thinks the “liberals” are all hanging out on places like HuffPo, Daily Kos, FDL, and so on, and most of those sites have been taken over by what we’ve come to call “the frustrati.” The absolutist, purity-driven people who simply want their agenda (whatever it is) yesterday, and are going to scream constantly about that. Then there’s the pragmatists. There are actually a lot of us out here on the Internet, as you can see from my blogroll. :) I’d suggest checking out “Pragmatic News” for the overview of just how many of us there are – it’s growing by leaps and bounds. :D

  4. majii

    Norbrook,

    I couldn’t have said this any better than you have. I’ll take the possible over the impossible; reality over fantasy; and moving forward an inch over retaining the status quo.

    Another issue I see the president labeled a failure on is closing GITMO. The PL/frustrati have memories as short as the tea partiers they ridicule. I recall that when the president moved to close GITMO last year, the republicans obstructed and the majority of the democrats joined them in Congress in voting against closing.

    I also recall the democrats crafting a bill to keep the DOJ from trying GITMO detainees in this country earlier this month. The PL/frustrati have short memories, deny reality, and refuse to pace the blame where it should be placed: on the members of Congress who lack courage to vote to close GITMO even though they know it’s a huge smear on our country’s reputation.

    • Exactly. Gitmo is a perfect example of their blithely ignoring everything else so they can label the President a failure. Let’s see, there were major conniption fits about moving trials to this country. There’s the issue of “no one wants them,” when it comes to the various detainees – including other countries. A lot of the states are doing the NIMBY routine when it comes to imprisoning them in this country. Despite that, it’s all Obama’s fault to them. :roll:

  5. Thanks, Norbrook. I commented thismorning in a snark diary about how to start flame wars OT (over there, lol) that most of my far left wing friends are not even Democrats any more. (The title made the diary irresistable)

    You will never find my far left wing friends (and I have many) at Democratic HQ making phone calls or participating in a committee meeting, they rarely even volunteer to become PC’s or more, My yellow dog Dem friends (count me in) don’t blog – they are too busy planning for the next election, debating issues of local import (I live in Arizona, this is SERIOUS work)

    • Oh, if I wanted a flame war, all I have to do is drop this one on DK. ;) There have been a few posts here where I’ve been tempted – and had some people egg me on about it – but I’ve been good. :D

      I’ve even, on several occasions here and elsewhere made the point that if they’re really interested in moving the party to the left, that means rolling up their sleeves and getting involved in their local party. Which, of course, they don’t, because they’re too involved in “issues of national importance” – and it’s a lot easier to be a keyboard commando.

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  7. Aquagranny911

    Another excellent diary and OT I have been catching up with your diaries I missed over the holiday. I nearly spewed my coffee when I read the commentator who suggested a coalition of left/libertarian and Ron Paul for Prez. Some of these people have seriously gone off the deep end.

    I agree with revgerry about the serious work we have to do here in AZ. I don’t have time for BS I’m doing my best for ways to stop our Repugnants from doing any more damage to this State. At this point I think it will just be trying to hold the line, while promoting some decent candidates for 2012 and 2014. I’m preparing a fax for all our Dems in the Legislature letting them know where I stand and that they have my support. The Repugnants will be getting a message too that they can’t have it their way and some may actually be reasonable. Not all of them agree with Russel Pierce.

    • Oh, I agree that they’ve gone off the deep end. When Ron Paul was running for the Republican nomination, I did look at what he his stances were. Yes, there are some things I like, but there’s even more that I don’t like, or think are just plain nuts. That someone who claims to be a progressive would tout him shows that they aren’t thinking, and haven’t bothered to look at whom they’re suggesting.

  8. kittypat

    Left to their own devices most of them couldn’t organize their way out of a paper bag. Some of what you address above reminds me of experiences in my childhood, playing with kids who had preconceived notions of how playtime should go. Deviate from the script, play with a toy in the wrong way and all of a sudden it’s “time for you to go home!!!

    And this “The frustrati are more interested in their “ideal” than in people. They’re remarkably callous about the harm that other people will suffer.” is the reason I’ve turned my back on them, actually talked to someone who proposed allowing HCR to go down in flames because it didn’t go far enough. When I inquired about what was to become of the people who needed it and would benefit from it, I got an “oh well that’s how these things go” answer. No thanks.

    • Kittypat–

      I had the same experience with my Liberal friends. I mean, I actually had to ask my friend *twice* if she really meant that allowing people to die because the HRC wasn’t perfect– wasn’t single payer, etc, etc, . –was acceptable. Please. Wanna talk about holding America hostage? The Frustrati are just as guilty of that impulse as the Republicans are .

      • kittypat

        So true Raven, I just don’t get it, that type of thinking should fly in the face of everything liberals stand for. And D. Kucinich who is their favorite fantasy candidate voted for HCR and the tax cut deal, probably because he has a streak of pragmatism and must serve his constituents.

        • They wanted to primary Kucinich when he decided to vote for HCR, and were going nuts about it. Hamsher even threatened Bernie Sanders with a primary if he didn’t vote against it, for crying out loud. Which really shows how stupid Jane is, since Bernie is an Independent, so he isn’t subject to a primary.

    • The “martyrs to the cause” line I used was an actual quote from one of them (one of slink’s crew) in the comments on one of my diaries over at DK. My jaw dropped, particularly when I realized they weren’t snarking. To my mind, one of the things in being a liberal is that you care about people, which apparently they don’t – the “ideal” is the “greater good” in their minds. :roll:

      • kittypat

        Martyrs to the cause?!? I’d venture a guess here and say that I think 95% of them have never missed a meal or gone without basic necessities in their lives.

        As for the primary everyone and their brother idea, think you pointed out in earlier posts that did not..go..well. :p

        • Oh, yeah. My friend who was so eager for HRC to fail, so that they cold “force” Obama to wave his magic wand and create Single Payer/Public Option– at the cost of hundreds of thousands of lives– had just returned from a vacation in South America; last year she went to Greece. By the way– she’s a PUMA who had reservations about Obama even before he ran.

          • kittypat

            Raven, the same is true of the individual I was speaking of, nice home, nice vacation home, flies all over the country at a whim. I just don’t understand the disconnect, supporting policies to help those in need and yet a willingness to throw them under the proverbial bus if said policy isn’t exactly right. It is a patronizing attitude of I know what’s best for you.

        • I’d say you’re right on that. They don’t really grasp what it’s like to have to decide whether you’re going to eat or whether you’re going to pay for heat – or if you’re going to be able to do any of that at all.

          You’re right, I have pointed out how their “primary everyone” threats have worked. :D Which is why I make fun of them every time they start pounding their chests about how “powerful” they are. People with real power can find lots of candidates for primaries.

          • Aquagranny911

            Norbrook:

            “Summer soldiers and sunshine patriots……”

            They talk plenty but they are not the ones who have to suffer. It is easy to fight from keyboard or armchair but another thing entirely to really stand for all those who will be hurt if we don’t stop the worst of the worst from hurting those must vulnerable among us.

            Anyone who has ever been cold, hungry, sick, or in real need understands that half a loaf is better than none at all.

  9. Norbrook– I just wanted to say thank you!!!! for this wonderful article– you’ve said this much more clearly than I could have. I’ve been increasingly dismayed at the Frustrati punditry’s attempts to take down this President– it makes me wonder who they’re *really* working for.

    And yeah, Thom Hartmann , on his radio show, has been nudging Progressives to ally themselves with the Tea Party. YIKES.

    What saddens me the most is that I’m now at odds with a lot of my friends and social circle– you can’t say anything in praise of Obama without being called an “apologist”, “Obamabot”, etc, etc, …

    If nothing else, I get accused of being fanatical, or just not realistic– because I *don’t believe the that the President is Bush2*, or that his Presidency is a complete failure. It’s really affirming to read your blog and the other comments here– it gives me hope that we’ll be able to win in 2012, even though–I’m pretty much writing off the Far Left.

    • Thank you. :) As I said, I wouldn’t have problems with them if they were criticizing, but they can’t seem to get it that they’re not doing that – they’re attacking. As I pointed out in my earlier post, when you look at the “failures,” they don’t stand up to examination of the facts. It’s things like their attacking him on Gitmo, or on Afghanistan. The facts, and what he actually said when he was running just don’t back them up.

  10. juturna

    Most excellent post, Norbrook. I’ve saved it as fodder for any future discussions with purity progs.

  11. krispyjala

    Great post, Norbrook. Thank you for voicing what many of our positions are. Too often, the pragmatic liberals are automatically labeled as pro-Obama supporters, and when you place these plain facts in front of the frustrati, they just simply ignore it and call you a troll. This is the reason I stopped going to DKos, where they all seem to live now, because they cannot be reasoned with. When one fails to admit 1+1=2 then we cannot have a thoughtful, constructive discussion on anything. Hopefully, the frustrati will just become irrelevant as they keep spewing more of their blind hatred for PBO despite his solid list of accomplishments.

    • I think it’s safe to say that I’m a “pro-Obama supporter,” but that doesn’t mean that I agree with him on every policy or action. It means that I recognize in general he’s doing things I’d hoped he’d do (or is working on them) when I voted for him.

      Being a realist, I recognized even before the election that all the Democrats in Congress were not going to change overnight into philosophical clones of Bernie Sanders and Dennis Kucinich. While I was surprised by the monolithic opposition on the part of the Republicans, I accepted that it was there once it became obvious.

      I’m pragmatic because I’ve been around long enough, and had enough experience in various organizations, to recognize that sometimes what you want to do turns into what you can do. That what you can do is often a matter of deciding to accept the “least worst” option because there’s no chance of getting the the “best option.”

  12. I’m really stoked that this and other Pragmatic sites exist– and I think it’s becoming important–imperative, even– that we get our voices heard: on the radio–through mediums like this blog. Part of the problem is that, up ’till now, there’s not been much in the way of Pragmatic media– the only folks being heard seem to be extremist.

    Here’s one commentator/pundit to support: Stephanie Miller– and her guest host/weekly co-host, Hal Sparks. They are the only two people on the radio that seem to be able to think past Far-Left-Frustrati rhetoric.

  13. Excellent, excellent post. Thanks for speaking for me.

    • Thank you! Not a problem, although I note that you’re doing a terrific job of speaking for yourself. ;) :lol:

      • Na, this is so much more eloquent. And you’ve got so much more patient than me. At this point I’m reduced to just badmouth them without any explanation…;)

        • It’s been my technique for a long time. “Hi! Did you know you’re an idiot? Let me explain to you exactly why you’re an idiot, and while I’m doing that, I’m sure I’ll think of a few more choice ways of expressing my opinion of your idiocy.”

          • Perfectamundo! Those who screech so loudly at being “disrespected” by President Obama, they need to get a bellyful of real disrespect. Outright contempt for their foolishness works too!

  14. Bob

    The profound display of arrogance and lack of empathy of the frustrati throughout the past two years invalidated any pretense of them being liberal or progressive.

    What has been most heartening in the face of their incessant screeching has been the steady growth of an eloquent community of liberal bloggers and an expansion of liberal activists in communities throughout the country – all dedicated to advancing, at whatever rate achievable, the rights and opportunities that are the realization of the goals of our Constitution.

    Thank you for being among the most cogent and persistent of those messengers.

  15. Lovely

    This is such a great piece of writting and much better than my ” he’s the president not jesus” come back.

  16. There really should be only one criteria for judging the value of legislation and that is if people are helped or harmed.

    It is as simple as that. People willing to declare that others should become “martyrs” to their causes deserve to be ignored. And I do it pretty often.

    Back in July, I was startled to hear a frustrati talk show host saying we should “punish” Democrats by not voting for them in the Fall elections. And a prominent progressive blogger saying that 54 Senators are just as good as 59. It made me think: R U Nutz?

    Thanks for this excellent post, Norbrook.

    • You’re welcome. :) The idea of “winning by losing” when it comes to elections is one of the stupider things I’ve seen from them. You win by … winning. One of the older rules in politics is “first, you have to win.” If you look at the far Right, and in particular the Religious Right, they didn’t instantly become a major force in the Republican Party. Even during the Reagan years, they weren’t all that “powerful.” It really took them almost two decades to get themselves to that point. It’s pretty straightforward: First, you work for a Party, and get into the local political structure. Then you running people for local offices. Then you start going after state positions. Then some national ones. After a while, you’re a “base,” and able to select candidates – including primary opponents. While all that was happening, there were still a lot of moderate Republicans getting their support and votes, to build a “habit” of voting Republican.

      The frustrati don’t have the patience to begin with, and they don’t seem to grasp that in order to get your legislative agenda introduced in the first place, you have to have control of the legislative body. If you don’t, you’re just on the outside looking in.

      • The next big GOP war is going to be between the religious right and the tea party right. They do not have identical agendas and they will be fighting for the attention of their congresscritters. In Wisconsin, the newly red state legislature has a bunch of state senators who have been waiting to bring out all the social issues (abortion restrictions, benefits for same-sex state workers) and start working on them. The tea partiers want taxes reduced first. It will be interesting to see if those who built the party are shoved aside for the new face of the GOP.

      • What? You mean to tell me, one doesn’t become The Base by screaming louder than everyone else, insulting all who disagree with you, and figuratively holding people’s feet to metaphorical fires, all from the comfort of one’s computer?

        But…………. what you describe sounds dreadfully like work! HARD work. That can’t be right.

        • Awful, isn’t it? ;) Why, you might even have to work with people who disagree with you! Besides having to work with icky people who aren’t like you. Oh, and going to the polls and voting. Awful stuff, I know.

  17. Nathan Katungi

    Norbrook,

    To repeat what many have said, thank you for this fantastic article; and thank you for ably articulating what many of us in reality based politics would wish to say to the “holier than thou” bashers of this President. With your permission, I would like to share it with many of my friends. You, Blackwaterdog, Deaniac, and others have completely restored my faith that, contrary to what the shouters and those in MSM media are saying, the Democratic Party is still home to people focused on solving real problems.

  18. Great post. As I said today in recommending your blog in my blog post today about building a pragmatic progressive movement online –

    “Norbrook’s Blog – a blogger who does a great job explaining the need for pragmatism in the progressive movement”

    Keep up the great work!

    http://www.winningprogressive.org/building-a-pragmatic-progressive-movement-online

    • Winning Progressive, I appreciate your site, and especially he action tools you provide. Except I can’t leave you a comment. Let me suggest BPI Campus as a site to visit and bookmark http://bpicampus.com/ and also Eclectablog has his own blog in addition to posting on TPV and, I think, BWN. at http://www.eclectablog.com/

      • Thanks, revgerry, for the feedback and the recommendations of other progressive blogs.

        I am constantly debating in my head whether to bring comments back to my site or not. I don’t want to distract from the action component, and most comments I received early on were from teabaggers. However, I also understand the value of comments for building a community and for receiving useful information and feedback from readers. I’ve tried to take the middle ground by urging people to e-mail me, but comments certainly work better. I’ll keep giving it some thought and perhaps try adding comments back soon.

        • What I like about having my own blog is that I get to decide just how far I’m willing to let things go when it comes to comments. Mostly, I’ve been pretty loose about it. I’ve only had to delete two comments – one was a threat from some idiot coming over from Democratic Underground, the other was an off-topic comment.

  19. Fonsia

    Marvelous post Norbrook!

  20. Just got home from conducting a wedding, sorry I was gone all day. I have read over this whole lovely conversation, and feel really happy to have found a new home, the “pragmatic progressive blogosphere.”
    yippee.

  21. MB32

    Nice blog! I can’t tell you how grateful I am to have found sites like yours.

    Also, your post made me think about this NYT article I read in Oct. http://www.nytimes.com/2010/10/28/books/28klopp.html
    Harvard historian James Kloppenberg wrote a book called “Reading Obama” about Pres Obama as a “philosopher president” and a “pragmatic intellectual” taking the long view because “change happens over decades” and not practicing “vulgar pragmatism” or “triangulation” aka “expedient compromise.” Although some historians mentioned in the article disagreed with him.

    Interestingly, another NYT article said that Obama has even banned the word “triangulation” saying its not exactly his approach: http://www.nytimes.com/2010/12/24/us/politics/24obama.html?_r=3&hp

    At any rate, Kloppenberg’s book sounds like a good read. Especially since I’ve come to realize that I’m also a pragmatic progressive (who knew lol)…although not on the intellectual level of the President :)

    • I think anyone who has studied history – or at least has more than a passing familiarity with it – should be taking the the long view. Last year at this time, I was over on DK posting some “history of progressive legislation” articles, which of course were ignored by the people they were aimed at. When you look at civil rights legislation, you see an over 80 year interval between bills, and even then, the bill that was passed was definitely weak. Environmental legislation started years before the ones with teeth came into being, Social Security in its original form didn’t cover a considerable range of people or have the benefits it does today, and Medicare wasn’t quite what it is today. But the first laws established the principles, then, after surviving their share of court challenges, were built on. So much of the actual history has been one that is not sudden sweeping changes, but incremental change.

  22. Eric

    ” I recognize that “all or nothing” often means nothing, and that if nothing hurts a lot more people than something.”

    This is why I was so angry with the frustrati during the HCR debate with their “Kill the bill” crap, because it wasn’t their perfect Public Option, and none of the backers of the PO couldn’t demonstrate how it would ‘control insurance company costs’ when it would only insure 2 million folks vs the 30 million insured under the current plan. Politics is the art of the possible, not the wishes and hopes of a small segment of ‘progressives’ who think bitching ad infinitum is gonna accomplish their ill defined goals. Thanks Norbrook for an awesome post!

    • I was angry with them because most of them couldn’t define what they meant by a “public option” in the first place, and secondly because they had no plan in place for a follow-up if the bill was killed. Every time I asked them those two things, I got a brush off – which didn’t convince me that their idea was a good one.

  23. Bob

    I hope everyone here views the following link and passes it along to all you know:

    http://www.eclectablog.com/2010/12/spanair-best-marketing-event-ever.html

    The empathy demonstrated is a model for what all of us could be doing, every day, in whatever small way we can, for every person we might connect – even if we do not know the person and never will.

    Thank you.

  24. Politics is the art of the possible, and the way the US system is designed, President Obama has accomplished an amazing amount in his first term — and his party paid a political price. This isn’t Great Britain where party discipline and a parliamentary system allow massive changes to be implemented quickly. I tell students active in politics (I teach Poli-Sci) that they have to be pragmatic idealists, ones who recognize progress is slow and requires compromise. I warn them that ardent idealism easily becomes frustrated idealism, which ultimately leads to bitterness and cynicism. Democracies weaken if political discourse devolves to ideological jihad.

  25. Good points. I’ve noticed that the purists demand a strict party discipline, which the Republicans have to a large extent achieved. The problem is that even with them, there are still a number of “breaks” in that, as local or regional concerns take precedence with them. The flip side of allowing massive changes to be implemented quickly is that they can also be reversed quickly.

    What I laugh about is both sides will (when in power) complain about the inability to move to one extreme or the other, or that various states are “over represented” or “under represented.” Which, of course, is exactly what the system was designed to do, and the difference in representation to population is the result of one of the first compromises made in designing it.

    • I had a short conversation back in October with Senator Olympia Snowe when she visited the campus to campaign for local Republicans running for the State House and Senate. I told her I really admired her efforts to build compromises and try to solve problems rather than fight ideological wars. She seemed upset and even sad about what’s going on with the political discourse in DC. I’m liberal, but I’ll vote for Snowe over even candidates I might agree with more on the issues because we need people like her. A rising star in the Maine Democratic party, Rosa Scarcelli, said she might run for Senate in 2012, though if Snowe maintains her moderate voting record (doesn’t get pressured to the right), she won’t for that very reason.

      • I think she is going to get pressured from the right, mainly because from what I’ve seen in the “conservative” blogs, she’s got a big target on her back. Of course, that may change depending on how your incoming governor does. :roll: I had a front row seat to watching a fairly respected, moderate Republican Assemblywoman get absolutely pilloried by them – leading to the verb “scozzafava’d” What I found more disturbing than anything was the lack of backbone when it came to the Republican establishment in supporting her. They caved so fast it wasn’t funny. Now, on the bright side, it did open up the field for the Democrat, and he’s not a “progressive” either. He’s very much a moderate – he has some positions I disagree with him on, but he’s willing to listen, so on the whole, I’ll take him. I think the insistence on “purity” just means that very little actually gets done, and both sides get to point at the other as being “to blame.”

  26. sg

    And it is absolutely amazing what they will get up in arms about.
    Apparently the GOS has been up in collective arms the last few days over a transparently bullshit posting (claimed that her 20-year-old granddaughter had TWO PHds) that turned out to be written by previously banned zombie diarist received something like 300 comments and over a hundred recommends because it essentially said that Barack Obama doesn’t understand the needs and travails of black people. So the diarist was re-banned by Meteor Blades (after he retracted his recommend (which to be fair he was totally honest about)). The next day, another diarist, one of the few remaining pragmatics at the GOS, Blue Jersey Mom, wrote a diary pointing out the BS, and this developed into a 1200+ comment behemoth with charges and counter-charges of racism, lying, purity trolling, trolling, and everything else you can think of, and it spawned at least two GBCW-TTFN diaries of which I am aware.
    Good times. Good times.
    But the problem here is that there is a faction of the left that is more interested in being pure than being effective, and that other community just spent a week undergoing a collective freak out because of what appears to be some BS that got rightly called out.
    I go there less and less. I may even restart my old blog, not that I have a lot to say.

    • It’s aided and abetted by Kos and Meteor Blades. Quite frankly, outrage drives traffic – for now – so the more outrage, even over manifestly stupid things, the better. I did take a look at the GBCW and TTFN, and noticed that they’re starting to lose some more “regulars.” I think the new DK4 will cause them even more problems, since it’s tailor-made for slinkerwink and crew, but lousy for anyone else.

      What I find amusing about them is that for all their protestations, they’re not really effective.

      • sg

        Well, they ARE effective at what it is they actually do, which is gin up and maintain outrage.
        Governing and actually fixing problems while minimizing or preventing others–not so much.
        Whether one likes it or not, compromise happens because not everybody on the face of the earth agrees with us, and some of those who disagree are honorable, decent people.

        • True, and I can hear the “ka ching!” going off over at DK because of it.

          What I meant by ineffective was not just governing, but in being able to do what they say they want to do. They’re lousy at pressuring Congress, and for all the protestations about primarying people, they haven’t been able to do it.