Friday, September 30, 2005

Barack Obama: Tone, Truth and the Democratic Party

Barack Obama's diary over at Kos is a must read:
There is one way, over the long haul, to guarantee the appointment of judges that are sensitive to issues of social justice, and that is to win the right to appoint them by recapturing the presidency and the Senate. And I don't believe we get there by vilifying good allies, with a lifetime record of battling for progressive causes, over one vote or position. I am convinced that, our mutual frustrations and strongly-held beliefs notwithstanding, the strategy driving much of Democratic advocacy, and the tone of much of our rhetoric, is an impediment to creating a workable progressive majority in this country.
Obama has the uncanny ability to weave practical politics and high purpose into a seamless narrative:

I am not drawing a facile equivalence here between progressive advocacy groups and right-wing advocacy groups. The consequences of their ideas are vastly different. Fighting on behalf of the poor and the vulnerable is not the same as fighting for homophobia and Halliburton. But to the degree that we brook no dissent within the Democratic Party, and demand fealty to the one, "true" progressive vision for the country, we risk the very thoughtfulness and openness to new ideas that are required to move this country forward. When we lash out at those who share our fundamental values because they have not met the criteria of every single item on our progressive "checklist," then we are essentially preventing them from thinking in new ways about problems. We are tying them up in a straightjacket and forcing them into a conversation only with the converted.
Beyond that, by applying such tests, we are hamstringing our ability to build a majority. We won't be able to transform the country with such a polarized electorate. Because the truth of the matter is this: Most of the issues this country faces are hard. They require tough choices, and they require sacrifice.
You can read theis thoughtful essay over at Obama's Senate blog as well.

6 Comments:

Blogger Jason said...

Tom,

Senator Obama sums up my feelings very eloquently.

"We are up against a sharply partisan, radically conservative, take-no-prisoners Republican party. They have beaten us twice by energizing their base with red meat rhetoric and single-minded devotion and discipline to their agenda. In order to beat them, it is necessary for Democrats to get some backbone, give as good as they get, brook no compromise, drive out Democrats who are interested in "appeasing" the right wing, and enforce a more clearly progressive agenda. The country, finally knowing what we stand for and seeing a sharp contrast, will rally to our side and thereby usher in a new progressive era."

Of course, he does so in order to knock down this position. The problem is that I think he has confused two things "how Americans think they behave" (non partisan and neutral) with "how Americans actually behave" (deeply partisan and team spirited). Otherwise how can you explain that Bush retains a positive rating with 40% of the electorate.

The democrats have a "brand" problem right now, and it is "a compromise here, a compromise there" approach that has caused the problem and will continue to leave Democrats in the minority.

3:14 PM, September 30, 2005  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

5 miilion vote majority - quit whining.

5:30 PM, September 30, 2005  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Jason does whine a lot, doesn't he? Must be that irrational and all consuming hatred of everything Republican. It;s going to be a nice, sunny day tomorrow. I'll bet he will be beside himself with anger.

6:10 PM, September 30, 2005  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You damn right I'm angry. There are still Republicans alive.

Jason

1:50 PM, October 01, 2005  
Blogger Jason said...

Nice one Hube!

I am cut to the quick.

9:41 AM, October 02, 2005  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Why do you think I am Hube? If dense came in a bottle, you'd own the glass industry.

11:57 AM, October 02, 2005  

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