Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Two... not Three

One of the more annoying trends recently has been this general agreement among the online left that even though the primary is getting rough, it's not the end of the world, because there are three good options for the nomination. Thereisnospoon on dailykos tackles that nonsense today in We Do NOT Have "Three Great Candidates":
Granting that Democrats start at a level 1,000 times better than Republicans, an honest observer must still admit that for a Democrat, the presidency and politics of Bill Clinton were just as unacceptable for a Democrat as the presidency and poltiics of George W. Bush were for a Republican. The last thing we need is another Republican President. But the next to last thing we need is another Democratic president in the mould of Bill Clinton.

Our principles as progressives should lead us to reject DLC politics, centrism, dirty tricks, cheating, scandalous royalistic behavior, swing-state strategies, baby-step incremental changes, and "whatever it takes to win" ideologies. Our desire to crash the gate and change such behavior should make us fight like crazy to keep our Party from becoming associated with such things ever again.


The politics of fear that lead us to take any viable candidate lest we get a Republican elected must end.

The short-sighted thinking that leads us to believe that any win is a win no matter the cost must be rejected.

The stupid acceptance of uninspiring Democrats, while counting on public and Democratic-base revulsion toward Republican policies to carry the day, must finally die.

The selling out of progressive principles in the sevice of a misguided view of what "victory" means must no longer be tolerated.

And the idea that we are trying to end the politics of the last 8 years, rather than those of the last 16 and beyond, must finally be put to bed.

This notion that we have "three great candidates" is false. We have two great candidates. The third is a candidate we may have to choke down our throats when push comes to shove--but any progressive worth their salt should be doing everything in their power to prevent that terrible choice from needing to be made.
I could not agree more. The whole diary is definitely worth a read for a general look at what the goals of the progressive movement SHOULD be, and how this primary cycle is making people miss the forest and focus on the trees.

If you watched the debate last night you might remember Edwards and Obama describing their work on behalf of their goals throughout their life (Obama as a community organizer, Edwards as a lawyer... etc) You may also remember Hillary Clinton's response that she worked for the Children's Defense Fund as proof that before she was a corporate chill on Walmart's board and and before she was a corporate chill masquerading as senator, that she once did something admirable. And fair play to her, that is important work. But as Sirota discovered, it should probably be pointed out that this was the response of the Children's Defense Fund after the Clinton administration passed the welfare reform bill in 1996:
"President Clinton's decision to sign a Republican welfare bill brought qualified praise from political opponents, muted criticism from some close political allies and expressions of deep dismay from an array of social welfare organizations, religious groups and advocates for the poor. The most scathing response came from Marian Wright Edelman, president of the Children's Defense Fund and a friend of Mr. Clinton and his wife, Hillary, who worked as chairwoman for the organization from 1986 to 1992. The legislation will 'hurt and impoverish millions of children and abolish the 61-year-old national safety net for children' and 'makes a mockery of his pledge not to hurt children,' Ms. Edelman said in a statement. 'It will leave a moral blot on his Presidency and on our nation that will never be forgotten,' she said."
Ouch. That doesn't sound like much of an endorsement. There are two acceptable options here, not three.

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