Everybody, take a deep breath.
Once again, Barack Obama gets it right. This was posted on Daily Kos as a rebuttal against some postings that skewered him for his statements about John Roberts. What he really nails is the fact that many folks on the left continually shoot themselves in the foot by demanding rigid adherence to every far left position on every issue. What results, usually, is the appearance of a scattershot approach to policy - witness the Iraq War protest last weekend which included protests against numerous issues that have nothing to do with the Iraq War.
Obama has a more sensible approach, and one that is much more in line with the majority of Americans, without being a sellout fake "centrist" like Hillary. It's not going to be in 2008, but this guy could easily be the Democratic nominee shortly thereafter:
A pro-choice Democrat doesn't become anti-choice because he or she isn't absolutely convinced that a twelve-year-old girl should be able to get an operation without a parent being notified. A pro-civil rights Democrat doesn't become complicit in an anti-civil rights agenda because he or she questions the efficacy of certain affirmative action programs. And a pro-union Democrat doesn't become anti-union if he or she makes a determination that on balance, CAFTA will help American workers more than it will harm them.
Or to make the point differently: How can we ask Republican senators to resist pressure from their right wing and vote against flawed appointees like John Bolton, if we engage in similar rhetoric against Democrats who dissent from our own party line? How can we expect Republican moderates who are concerned about the nation's fiscal meltdown to ignore Grover Norquist's threats if we make similar threats to those who buck our party orthodoxy?
I am not drawing a facile equivalence here between progressive advocacy groups and right-wing advocacy groups. The consequences of their ideas are vastly different. Fighting on behalf of the poor and the vulnerable is not the same as fighting for homophobia and Halliburton. But to the degree that we brook no dissent within the Democratic Party, and demand fealty to the one, "true" progressive vision for the country, we risk the very thoughtfulness and openness to new ideas that are required to move this country forward. When we lash out at those who share our fundamental values because they have not met the criteria of every single item on our progressive "checklist," then we are essentially preventing them from thinking in new ways about problems. We are tying them up in a straightjacket and forcing them into a conversation only with the converted.
We had an interesting discussion the other day, and I sadly couldn't come up with an answer for the following question - will America elect a woman to be President before a black man? Or the other way around? I can't really see either of those happening anytime soon, which maybe is just me being biased against the majority of the idiots in this country...I hope so.