21 June 2019

No more circular firing squads

Tengrain at Mock Paper Scissors made an important point today about Biden's recent gaffe:

I've been asked repeatedly what my thoughts are on Joe Biden's talking about working with segregationists as an example of being able to work with anyone.  All I can/will say is that I am not going to tear-down any of our candidates.  It is just playing into the Republicans hands to have our traditional Democratic circular firing squad.....

It's important to keep this in mind.  My point yesterday was that Biden's choice of Eastland and Talmadge as examples of worthwhile cooperation with opponents was a serious mistake which casts doubt on his perceived electability relative to our other candidates -- and to affirm the point that Eastland in particular was a genuine monster and should be considered beyond the pale, as opposed to a politician one merely has disagreements with, such as (say) McConnell or Grassley.  I don't believe that vetting a candidate's electability at the pre-primary stage constitutes an attack.  But if anyone interpreted what I wrote as an attack on Biden, please be aware that I did not intend it as such.

Tengrain:  The candidates that go after Biden with hammers and tongs are making a mistake.  They must sell their own goods and services and convince us to support them, not to go after each other.

I've made the same point a couple of times.  I think Biden's lead with Democratic voters stems partly from the fact that he's consistently directed his rhetorical fire at Trump, not at his Democratic rivals.  The candidates who snipe at each other generally seem small and petty by comparison, practicing politics-as-usual.  If they want to overtake Biden, then rather than attacking him, they should be making the case that they have a better chance of beating Trump.  That's what most of our voters care about.

That being said, the criticisms raised by Booker and Harris go deeper than politics-as-usual, affirming that there is a serious issue here; Trevor Noah provides some context.  To be blunt, it's not up to me to say how black people (politicians or otherwise) should or shouldn't react to Biden's words.

I don't attack Biden for what he said.  And I certainly won't attack Booker or Harris for what they said.  We need to be able to discuss things like this while remaining aware that we are all fundamentally on the same side.

Tengrain:  I’m still (as of right now) favoring Warren and Harris, but I will absolutely support our final nominee.

As will I, emphatically, whoever it is.  As must we all.


Blogger dellgirl said...

I agree with you. The candidates must “sell themselves” in order for me to hear and understand what they have to offer. If they can do that, I will lean toward supporting them.

In other words, if the only thing they can do is “nit-pick” at each other, I will tune them out. I will be on the lookout for a candidate with policies I can support.

21 June, 2019 20:00  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This seems to me like a variant of "purity trolling". I firmly believe that candidates NEED to attack other candidates in their party. I'm sick of seeing certain candidates behave (and vote), in ways often distinguishable from Republicans only in being more courteous. They SHOULD be attacked for that. Party should never be an excuse for bad policy, and saying "but Republicans are worse" is not an approach that even attempts to gain my vote. It's no wonder that so many people have just decided "a pox on both your parties".

22 June, 2019 07:43  
Blogger Mary said...

The final point is we must vote for whoever the democratic nominee is. We must defeat trump at all costs.

22 June, 2019 08:57  
Blogger Infidel753 said...

Dellgirl: I really don't think most Democrats want to hear all the usual squabbling between candidates. They're focused on beating Trump.

Anon: The problem with the squabbles between candidates is that (a) it provides the enemy with ammunition for the general election, and (b) it feeds antagonism between supporters of rival candidates and increases the risk that some will refuse to support whoever the eventual nominee is.

None of our candidates has a voting record "indistinguishable from Republicans" across the board, even if they do on one or two issues. Certainly none of them is remotely comparable to Trump.

Anyone who could live through the last two years and still think the two parties are at all comparable to each other, is simply delusional and probably beyond the reach of any kind of argument. They are just write-offs and one more problem our GOTV efforts will need to offset. I don't think there are many such people now, though.

Mary Amen to that!

22 June, 2019 10:27  
Blogger Adam said...

I hope Biden doesn't get it, but it's amazing how many left-leaning folks would vote for a 3rd party, ensuring a much worse person becomes president.

"You don't serve Pepsi? Well I just take boiling acid then."

22 June, 2019 14:25  
Blogger Infidel753 said...

Adam: That's pretty much it. The trouble is, everyone else gets stuck with the boiling acid as well.

22 June, 2019 16:34  
Anonymous PsiCop said...

It's clear that American politics has become a cluster. The "purity trolling" mentioned by Anonymous has reached absurd proportions. One can debate the merits and value of, say, talking about the deal-making capabilities of deceased segregationist Congressmen, or comparing the conditions in which immigrant children are being held with "concentration camps," or myriad other statements like that. Yes, maybe some of those things shouldn't have been said, or maybe they could have been worded better, or yada yada yada.

But the people who said those things (and those are just two I could have cited out of countless others) were making larger points. Again, those are debatable in and of themselves ... but they're now ignored because of sanctimonious rage that gets kicked up over the specific references made, during the course of explaining those points. Quite frankly, it's all very childish.

I've only been saying for decades that the single largest problem in the country (and maybe the world) is this epidemic of immaturity. People just can't seem to handle talking to each other, and talking things out. They actually want to get infuriated over stuff, because they're childish and self-righteous. It really needs to f-ing stop already.

Maybe the best thing for Biden to do (and again I'm using him only as an example) is to get up and say, "Look, everyone chill out. You're acting like infants. I was explaining something. Getting your knickers in knots over how I chose to make my point is exactly why politics is broken. Getting infuriated doesn't accomplish anything. Oh, and if you rage even more that I said this, that'll only confirm how immature you really are. So stop screaming and act like adults, for once."

That won't happen of course. Bulworth moments like that are the stuff of fiction. Still, it'd be nice ...

24 June, 2019 09:21  
Blogger Infidel753 said...

But politicians have a responsibility to get their points across in ways which aren't objectively outrageous. Biden failed that responsibility. It's a valid question how many more times during this campaign he might fail to meet the standards of how to express himself which we legitimately expect and which most politicians do manage to meet.

24 June, 2019 12:08  
Anonymous PsiCop said...

I don't consider mentioning the deal-making abilities of any particular members of Congress to be "outrageous." Not at all. Yes, even if some happen also to have been segregationists. Deal-making and segregationism are, in fact, two complete different things. (Yes, really!)

The reaction to Biden is just an example of how people are simply incapable of thinking logically. They're looking to be outraged over stuff. It's childish, plain and simple. What's worse is, ideologues tend to think they have special license to remain infantile forever, 'cause their cause is so all-fired wonderful that they're entitled to scream and holler and pitch fits in order to ensure it's pursued.

Time for people to grow the hell up and put the sanctimony away already. Their act, and this tendency toward "ideological purity" (on the part of both the Left and Right), has gotten real old, real fast. It doesn't impress me, and only further proves how infantile the country has become.

25 June, 2019 09:11  
Blogger Infidel753 said...

Choosing segregationists as examples of people with whom it is praiseworthy to make deals is outrageous, and is also a blunder which raises the real possibility that he might make similar or worse blunders during the general campaign. I explained those points clearly. These are legitimate issues to take into account in choosing a nominee. What matters is winning the election, therefore what matters is how people will vote, not your opinion of their reasons for voting that way.

This is a good example of why these back-and-forth arguments are pointless. You aren't paying attention to what I'm actually saying, you're just reacting to clichés in your own head.

Your last two paragraphs are just insults. Never talk to me like that on my own blog again.

25 June, 2019 10:39  

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