Politically, the netroots are probably the worst thing that could happen to the Democratic Party. They got lucky in 2006 — endorsing Democrats in a Democratic year will guarantee you win, but for the long-term future of the Democratic Party they’re only going to push the Democrats farther and farther to their radical leftist vision. You have a group of people who have absolutely no sense of compromise and will try and destroy anyone who doesn’t meet their ideological purity tests now grabbing the Democrats by the hair and screaming if they so much as protest.So that's it--we just got lucky. Reding's idea of good politics means compromise and avoiding idealogical purity. I happen to believe compromise is a good thing at the right time and place. I do not believe in compromising one's values, which many politicians (e.g. Biden, Clinton, Tauscher, Lieberschmuck, et al.) have been doing for years but have now in the Bush era refined it to a high art. Tauscher, in supporting the anti-citizen bankruptcy reform law, in supporting rollback/repeal of the estate tax, among other decisions demonstrate she deserves a push from the left. Those votes prove Tauscher is a representative in the pockets of the financial institutions and the wealthy right. There is no defense of those votes. But that isn't all.
Here are some more sage words for us to take to heart:
There is no litmus test or requirement for idealogical purity, there is only policy which is good for people or bad. If attacking those that supported the abysmal Bankruptcy reform law loses us some moderates then they weren't going to stay with us anyway. If attacking on principle those that support rollback of the estate tax--one of, if not the single biggest piece of shit law proposed by the Bush administration, loses us some "moderates" well then we don't want them.
There’s no question that the “netroots” can do what they’re doing. If they want to drive the Democrats over a cliff, that’s their prerogative. However, the question that the “netroots” should be asking is whether they should be engaging in activities that alienate their own moderates.
That’s the problem with extremists. They never bother to examine the consequences of their actions, and in a party motivated by the most base hatred of the opposition, disagreement is treason and moderation is evil. It’s interesting how much projection is involved in all the critiques of the “vast right-wing conspiracy” that float around the left-wing of the blogosphere.
Sooner or later the Republicans will wake up to the fact that moderates define elections — and when they do, the result could well be a political realignment the likes of which we haven’t seen in a very long while…
You see, Jay, what we in the netroots are building is real democracy. It isn't the shitty pandering phony-baloney democracy of Karl Rove, Ken Mehlman, James Carville, Terry McAuliffe, the DLC, Charles Schumer, Rahm Emanuel, Ed Gillespie, et al. They are all the same and they stand for nothing but the accumulation of power and pandering to the great center in an effort to hold on to it--power (they don't really care about the center). The problem is, in the process of accumulating and hanging on to that power, they stand for nothing for fear of alienating the squishy middle.
We don't want them pandering to us, we want them responsive and responsible. And the fact is, if we stand firm on some core principles, we'll get most of those so-called moderates. And while we're doing it, we won't lie to them so they support horrible policies like invading and occupying foreign countries that pose no threat to us, we won't support repeal of the estate tax so that multi-millionaires can pass along their estates tax-free. When we can afford them, we will not support tax cuts more generous by an order of magnitude for the wealthiest among us over those who have the least. We will not alienate our allies by bullying. We will not appeal to the lowest common denominator by playing on people's fears.
And I would say, in closing, it takes a lot of guts for any conservative to lecture any of us on the left about base hatred of the opposition. Karl Rove and the Swiftboaters really took our political discourse to a new low. And as to his prediction for realignments, that train already left the station. Let's hope that by insisting on accountability it takes the Democratic party a few generations to do to the political discourse what the Republicans did in less than a decade.