Democrats Behaving Badly

(44diaries welcomes Ogenec to our family of contributors!)
posted by Ogenic

Is the Right, well, right?  If you, dear reader, are a Democrat, then you probably just shouted “hell no!!!”  or words of similar effect.  And yet, there are disturbing portents that Democrats wish to ape Republicans in a number of ways.   First, you hear many Democrats mumble under their breath that they wish Obama were more like Bush when it comes to forcing his agenda through Congress, damn the consequences. The problem, they complain, is that nobody “fears” Obama.  Dear God.  Haven’t we learned the consequences of a government that uses fear as its primary motivational tool???


Second, Democrats are proving to be just as vengeful as Republicans.  Remember how Democrats — correctly — rose up in arms when Republicans refused to be requited by Obama’s apology in the
Gates incident?
  We denounced their antics for what they were — less about actual contrition and forgiveness, and more about keeping an explosive and divisive issue festering.  Well, Democrats are pulling the same trick with Joe Wilson.  I’ll stipulate that the man is a disgrace.   But he apologized and Obama accepted his apology.   Why, then, the push to censure him on the House floor, or exact some other form of retribution?


The reason, of course, is that it is not about punishing him for some breach of decorum.  It is about partisanship: firing up the base, and fundraising.   Which is great.  Except it is a double-edged sword.  Sure, Joe Wilson’s opponent has raked in a million dollars since The Outburst.  But umm, newsflash — so has Joe Wilson.  In this perpetual game of partisanship, neither side wins.  Meanwhile, lost in all of this petty bickering are the people, whose real concerns go unattended to.  As the African proverb so eloquently puts it, “When two elephants fight, it is the grass that suffers.”  (The quick-witted among you should resist the urge to point out that, technically speaking, I’m complaining about a fight between an elephant and a donkey.  The point still holds.)


I didn’t just vote for Obama because I thought he had the right ideas.  I voted for him because he promised to try to bring an end to the increasing bitterness and rancor in today’s politics.  Sure, six months in, Republicans have shown little interest in joining Obama to forge a bipartisan path.  So now what?  If you can’t beat ’em, join ’em?  I would argue that Obama’s task is made harder, not easier, when we resort to these kinds of tactics.  Because if Obama cannot get his team to play nice(r), then there is absolutely no reason for the other side to give an inch.

And the weird thing is, I’m starting to think that many Democrats like it that way.  Enough with this rapprochement, they seem to be saying.  This is a war, and you shoot ’em dead between the eyes.  You don’t make nice with the enemy.  And you make sure they fear you, literally quake with terror when your name is mentioned.  That, they say with a stern visage, is how you win in Washington.


I have two pieces of advice for such folks.   Go read Animal Farm, because you strike me as Democrats of the “Four legs good, two legs better” variety.  Also read this from Michael Kinsley:
“Free Joe Wilson Enough With the Phony Umbrage”

Moral: the way Democrats advance their agenda is just as important as the substance of their agenda, if not more so.

16 Comments

Filed under Change, Democrats, Editorial, Partisan Politics, Politics, Republicans

16 responses to “Democrats Behaving Badly

  1. audiegrl

    Excellent piece Ogenec! What a way to start! 🙂

  2. My problem with Joe Wilson’s apology is that subsequently he refuses to acknowledge that what he was claiming was a “lie”, that H.R.3200–

    http://www.opencongress.org/bill/111-h3200/text

    will cover illegal aliens…

    That is simply not true, thus Joe Wilson is lying. He needs to apologize (which he did) then get behind the concept of honest brokering.

  3. betsmeier

    A great thread ogenec. Thank you for writing it. 🙂

  4. audiegrl

    What I never understand about Dems who are upset with Obama, is the fact that he is not confrontational, and never has been. Its like they built up 8 years of anger at the Repubs and now they want Obama to act like this is a Dictatorship. Its not, that’s what we had with Bush.

    Being from Illinois, I’ve been following him since 2003. He even shared an office here in town with another one of our politicians.

    This is just not who he is, and never has been.
    One of the things that people fail to understand is that he has always been reluctant to come across as the ‘angry Black man’. If he had been doing that last year during the primaries and general election, we would all have President McCain to deal with right now. Yikes. Its scary even to type that. 😉

    IMHO, if he came across that way, his campaign would have been doomed. He cannot get away with that type of angry action, that other traditional politicians could.

    Obama smartly realizes that he is not just the President of Democrats, but of Independents, and Republicans too.

    • But Beck and Hannity and the rest of them are still trying to hang that moniker on Obama, that he is “angry” and “has a problem with white people”

      Where the anger is coming from is quite apparent right now.

      • Audiegrl

        For sure, those knuckleheads what to label him like that. The problem for them is every time people see him on TV he is cool, calm, and collected.

        They know that if they succeed, then he will be finished.

  5. betsmeier

    I personally think that his calm demeanor drives the right crazy. And even some progressives. I really never thought that Obama was a liberal throughout the entire campaign. I felt he was more of a centrist just like Hillary. The only difference between the two is he opposed the war. I think had she apologized and denounced the war she may very well have won. Mark Penn did her no favors, but he sure did Obama a big favor.

  6. betsmeier

    I also think that ogenec’s piece certainly makes you think. Am I one of those vengeful people? I hope I’m not. But I also know that Republicans believe that nice people finish last.

    • audiegrl

      For me, at times it is really hard not to feel vengeful. When the right-wing leadership (LOL) tells outright lies, it really makes me angry. Seeing those video’s of TeaBaggers who believe all this racial crap about Obama, makes me upset. Because in my mind, they are not just talking about him, but all people of color.

      Maybe we can all learn something from Obama, about being able to disagree without being disagreeable. But trust me, its not going to be easy. 😉

      • ogenec

        I understand what you guys are saying about Republicans. You extend a hand in friendship, and they spit in your face. It gets rather tiresome after a while. But my point is that spitting back doesn’t really solve problems, and is counter-productive in the long run.

        In my view, Democrats can maintain something close to a permanent majority if they hold the center-left and independents. These are the folks who focus on actions, not words. They believe strongly in a more equitable society but they also worry about the cost of reform. To reach these folks, we need to demonstrate that we are addressing both sets of concerns, AND tamping down on the more extreme elements in the party.

        Which is why I can’t get excited about WH doing away with Van Jones. However impressive his environmental credentials might be, he signed a petition accusing Bush of being behind the 9/11 attacks. That is some kind of crazy, and we cannot have that thinking anywhere near the WH, or even in polite society. The only mistake WH made was not vetting him to begin with. You do not give this kind of ammunition to your enemy. But at least they fired him and stanched the bleeding.

        Same goes for ACORN. After they were recorded advising on how to set up a sex-slave ring, they gots to go. No point accusing the Republicans of conducting a witch hunt. Which, of course, is true. But just because you’re paranoid doesn’t mean they’re not out to get you. And just because Republicans are conducting a witch hunt doesn’t mean we don’t have witches in our midst.

        Get rid of them, and let’s focus on the folks that matter. When the people see us solving problems while Republicans sit on their hands, our political problems — such as they are — will take care of themselves. No need to throw ourselves into the Republicans’ briar patch.

  7. audiegrl

    Ogenec,

    I agree that we need to keep Independents by having a center-left WH. I’m fine with that. Just so we don’t end up with a center-right administration. Its amazing to me after the last eight years of failure, that people still want center-right. LOL

    This is of course a classic Ogenec line… 😉

    But just because you’re paranoid doesn’t mean they’re not out to get you.

    Spitting back? Please don’t let the Teabags hear you say that. They will go from shouting down our President, to spitting at him, Jerry Springer style!
    😉

  8. ogenec

    AG, that’s too funny!!

  9. Audiegrl

    Ogenec,

    I thought you would like this comment from DKos poster thereisnospoon:

    What lies on the horizon is troubling.

    Employee Free Choice Act.

    Cap and Trade.

    Wall St. Regulation.

    Immigration Reform.

    If the libertarian hysterics about parasites living off the backs of “real” workers are at a fever pitch now, how much more so will they be during the fight over unions that the Employee Free Choice Act will provide?

    If the crazed anti-science, anti-UN, anti-all-things-global wing of the pink elephant parade is this far gone over rescission, what happens when we really get going on a debate over dreaded Globull Warming?

    If the threat of corporate dollars and the astroturfing of big-money corporate organizations are this petrifyingly effective when it comes to Blue Cross/Blue Shield, how much more chilling will it be when the targets are Goldman Sachs and Bank of America?

    And my mind can barely ponder the perfect storm of racist xenophobia that will erupt screaming from under the venting surface of the GOP base as we approach the subject of immigration reform.

    So these are probably the things that the President is thinking about, for down the road.

    We have a lot of work to do… 😉

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