J: Re your blog, try to not be so hard on Obama. He's doing what he can--which, in view of the hate campaign Fox and the republicans are waging, is not a whole lot. The democrats are terrified of the republicans and the republicans are out to do whatever it takes to regain power. Let's not forget Jimmy Carter's last year in office when democrats decided that since he was not doing what they perceived to be a perfect job they would get even by electing Reagan. It see that same sort of thinking now--we can't allow ourselves to fall for that again...Interesting point - we both swooned for John Anderson in 1980, and look what happened. Age makes us bitter, I suppose:
M: Don’t worry, I’ll vote, and vote Democratic. But I’m also of the persuasion, along with a number of liberal bloggers, that purging the moderates and the Blue Dogs is a necessary thing to do, even if you lose in the short term. In the 70’s, the conservatives purged moderate Republicans, and lost elections as a result. Nevertheless, by the 80’s they had a unified, conservative, and above all, dominant operation running things. Compromise can get you places if you have two strong operations, but when the Democrats are just a bunch of scared surrender monkeys, compromise gets you nothing but surrender.J. doesn't like the urge to purge:
Obama may have some valid complaints, but remember, he had a hand in getting himself boxed in. The public option was the only effective cost control mechanism in the health insurance reform. By surrendering that, and delaying implementation until 2014 he decapitated his own troops – and got nothing in exchange. The stimulus is too small, but it was his plan and his people who put it together. Guantanamo lives on, even though Obama has the power to do something about it even now. Liberals had nothing to do with these bad decisions: Obama did.
One can go too far, of course: the Tea Partiers today are a prime example of the purging mentality run wild. But that’s a problem for another day.
I'm not sure purging the party of less liberal elements at this point is a good idea. The purge of moderates from the republican party starting in 1980 made the once proud GOP the domain of liars and hypocrites who appeal to the fears and emotions of those whose well being is of no real concern to the party elite. The atmosphere of hatred toward anyone "not like us" has poisoned a large part of the nation. Democratic candidates in such areas must compromise on some issues that the national party considers non-negotiable. In other words, I have no problem with a democrat from a rural area opposing abortion on moral grounds while at the same time blasting republicans for supporting laws that help US business to ship jobs overseas. For example, the two candidates for governor in Oklahoma are both quite conservative but I feel better about supporting the democrat who I know will not resort to fanaticism in her policies.I'm less sanguine:
Obama is fighting on several fronts. The economic disaster he inherited--created by republicans and democrats alike--is unknown territory. Roosevelt made plenty of mistakes in a similar situation and Obama will continue to veer off course now and then. Health care is a prime example of how republicans have manipulated people they care nothing about into voting against their own well being. It's remarkable that Obama was able to do anything with the combined attacks by big business and the entire republican party. Afghanistan is another terrible problem but Obama is doing what he can to try to balance the interests of all parties from the US military to the women held in conditions of slavery in that country. I would like to have seen him repeal don't ask--don't tell, but the religious fanatics--with the full support of the republican party--would have made that the only issue before Congress for the entire session. Still, depending on if democrats can hold majorities in both houses after the November elections (I think they will), I suspect there will be a presidential order on the matter sometime before the end of the year.
Having said all that, I feel that our nation's problems are very intractable. Both parties are afraid to admit that middle class entitlements (including Social Security and Medicare) will have to be cut along with military spending in order to even begin to restore any degree of fiscal sanity to the federal government. Boehner's comments Sunday that the American people "don't need to hear solutions right now" are typical of the thinking in both parties--understandably so. If the American people had a clue just what kinds of sacrifices will have to be made in the next 20 years they would be outraged.
So it just comes down to which side has a better track record of doing what is best for our country. One party has run up massive deficits without a word of dissent when they held power but now they have suddenly decided that deficits are terrible when they are not in control. One party--to a much greater degree than the other--has tried to take away fundamental rights under the guise of "national security". One party has repeatedly tried to keep the American people in fear of nebulous "threats". One party has shamelessly used religious fanaticism to promote their agenda. Democrats need to keep reminding the nation of these things. Obama is starting to do so during the last couple of weeks. I hope he ratchets it up and helps hand the republicans the defeat they deserve.
M.: I have no problem with compromise on secondary issues if that helps electability. Fortunately Democrats are less strident than they used to be regarding apostasy. For example, I have no problem with Harry Reid wandering off the reservation on abortion rights (which he does routinely, since he’s anti-abortion, as is virtually required in Mormon-heavy Nevada) as long as he is solid on Social Security and health reform, etc. Someone like Joe Lieberman is anathema, however. He routinely bucks the Democrats on everything. He caucuses with Dems while he plots and votes with the GOP. There are others like him. These jerks need to be maneuvered into defeat, even if the seat goes GOP for awhile, because they do the Dems no good.
Middle class entitlements need not be cut if the nation’s leadership values them high enough: high enough to favor them over defense spending, for example. The nation is rich enough to afford the entitlements, if the rich don’t insist on looting the programs for their own enrichment first, through their unreasonable demands for low taxes.
I think people ignore the extent to which mid-term elections revolve around local concerns more than national concerns. Despite the media warnings, and the recession, I’m optimistic the Dems won’t suffer too much this election, because the GOP offers few real alternatives. The Dems that lose won’t be the liberals, but rather the Blue Dog compromisers who offer no one anything of value. (Then again, I live in a Blue State, you live in a Red State, and things can look different from the two perspectives.)