06 December 2009

Political divisions and political reality

Obama's plan for a surge in Afghanistan has caused a great deal of discontent around the left-wing blogosphere. I disagree, but I understand how people feel. As long-term readers know, Obama has done a lot of things I objected to, and protested against.

However, there is a political reality that must be kept in mind when feelings run high.

Look at what the right-wingers are doing now. They are devising ideological purity tests and purging candidates who aren't quite ideologically perfect and talking about third-candidate challenges. This is a good way to lose elections. NY-23 was a microcosm. In a historically-Republican district, the hard-line right backed a third candidate because the Republican wasn't conservative enough -- and the Democrat won.

When we on the left start proposing purity tests, or denouncing people as "not real liberals" because they have the wrong position on one or two issues, or talking about backing third candidates or forming a third party -- that's when you'll know it's our turn to start losing.

Obama wasn't my choice for President. I wanted Hillary. But he is the President and he will be the Democratic candidate in 2012. The right may well back a third Presidential candidate in 2012. If they do, Obama will win in a landslide. But if they don't, and many on the left back a third candidate due to anger over Afghanistan or whatever, then the Republican will win in a landslide.

And in the end, the only thing of any practical importance is who wins, not how. We learned that in 2000-2008.

For the foreseeable future, the President will be either a Democrat or a Republican, and the House and Senate will be dominated by either Democrats or Republicans. There is no third possibility. Maybe there should be, but there isn't, and there isn't going to be. That's the reality of the situation.

If you don't like what Obama is doing, then protest and pressure him to change. Don't put the country at risk of seeing a Republican replace him in 2012. We can't afford that.

[Adapted from my comment here.]


Anonymous d.eris said...

"And in the end, the only thing of any practical importance is who wins, not how."

Then maybe Republicans should support the superior conservative third party candidate and Democrats should support the superior progressive third party candidate, rather than continue to spoil elections.

06 December, 2009 06:12  
Blogger Holte Ender said...

I agree, letting the republicans in through back door, front door, any door would be bad for the country and watching them purify themselves is interesting. But I can't see the leadership allowing the party to fragment, they will have pacify their base by including "pure" candidates in the conversation which would be more interesting.

06 December, 2009 07:03  
Blogger Infidel753 said...

DE: I'm talking about the real world here.

HE: If you're referring to the Republican leadership, I'm not even sure who that is any more. If you mean the Democratic leadership, I think they realize they can't keep disappointing the base forever. My concern is the risk that the base will hold them to an impossible standard.

06 December, 2009 07:54  
Blogger Leslie Parsley said...

I've felt and said for a long time that the Republicans are self-destructing. The conservatives are going to jump ship and either sign up with the Democrats or form a third party. In either case it will signal the end to the Republican party as we know it today.

06 December, 2009 08:03  
Blogger Karen said...

"If you don't like what Obama is doing, then protest and pressure him to change."

Hubby and I was just talking about that yesterday after I saw on HuffPo Jon Stewart and Keith Olbermann going after Prez O.

That said, we both campaigned and supported Prez O and still do.

06 December, 2009 09:54  
Blogger Holte Ender said...

I was referring to the republican leadership not allowing their party to become fragmented, don't know how they will be able to keep Beck and Limbaugh quiet though. Palin will be easy to keep quiet, just throw money and importance at her.

06 December, 2009 11:07  
Blogger Infidel753 said...

LP: I hope you're right. I do think there's a real possibility that could happen. I'd hate to see our side count on it, though.

Karen: I think supporting a leader and encouraging him to do better when you're not satisfied with his performance are perfectly consistent with each other. I hope that's the direction we'll take.

HE: The thing is, in a very real sense Beck, Limbaugh, and Palin are the Republican leadership. Who else has an influence on the Republican rank and file even approaching theirs? Certainly not Michael Steele!

06 December, 2009 11:25  
Blogger Leslie Parsley said...

HE: The thing is, in a very real sense Beck, Limbaugh, and Palin are the Republican leadership.

But this what I meant above. The conservatives have been too scared or too intimidate to speak out against the Becks and Palins. It is going to cost them, I think. As you say, though, the Democrats better not get too complacent.

06 December, 2009 13:45  
Blogger w-dervish said...

That would be awesome if Republicans voted in large numbers for a third party canidate. As for me, even though I strongly disagree with the Afghanistan decision, I'm planning on voting for President Obama in 2012. Although I live in Tennessee, so my vote won't really matter...

06 December, 2009 14:29  
Blogger Infidel753 said...

2012 could be a real circus. If Palin (or someone equally nutty like Jindal) exploits the Republican winner-take-all primary system to grab the Presidential nomination, Obama wins in a landslide. If the moderates manage to nominate somebody non-crazy like Romney, the teabagger base either stays home or votes for a third candidate like Palin or Jindal and Obama still wins in a landslide. Unless they can somehow get the teabaggers back down to the planet Earth over the next three years, they haven't got a chance -- unless the left becomes divided and hands it to them.

06 December, 2009 15:57  

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