Tuesday, May 11, 2010

When Perfect is Off the Table

One of the most obvious tells about Obama's critics on the left is how they really don't give a damn if their criticism is based upon reality.  Like with Kagan being Obama's newest nominee: She's the fricking nominee.  It's done.  It's over.  Whatever you thought before the nomination was announced is no longer applicable.  Kagan is the nominee.  The choice isn't about the "perfect" candidate versus Kagan.  It's Kagan. 

And so at this point, the question is: What do we do now?  For me, that means supporting Kagan.  What other choice do I have?  If she goes down in flames, then Obama takes a serious hit, and the media will finally be able to paint his presidency as being weakened; thus empowering conservatives.  And that's certainly not good for liberalism.  But even worse, Obama would be stuck picking someone conservatives would like even more.  So any criticsm of Kagan will only make things worse for us all.

Yet many progressives aren't happy with her, primarily because she's not a strident progressive intended to shove Republican faces into the dirt.  More than anything else, progressives want a fight and their entire political strategy is designed solely to maximize fight potential.  And so they see Kagan as the sell-out choice.  Not because they have much against her (how could they), but because they wanted a fight.

Fighting for Nothing

But what exactly do they plan to achieve?  Again, if Kagan sinks, then we'll get someone worse than Kagan.  That's a guarantee. 

Yet all the same, progressives seem to imagine as if there's some other alternative.  As if they're fighting for a more liberal choice.  As if "The Perfect" is somehow still an option.  And so they're debating Kagan's unknowns against an ideal they can't get.  And they'll raise a snitfit any chance they can, to remind you how pure they are, because they want a nominee they can't get; while their actions, if anything, could lead to us getting an even worse nominee.

But there's nothing new about that.  They didn't want Obama and would rather have had a pure candidate who loses than an imperfect one who wins.  And they'd rather sink the Stimulus Bill last year, rather than give any concessions to Republicans.  And they'd rather keep the status quo healthcare that was failing us, than the reasonable healthcare we got.  It's a theme with them.  Apparently, losing makes it easier to win later; in accordance with no known rule in the universe.

And yeah, I get it.  You're pure.  You're holier than us.  You have the perfect political solution to every policy debate, and it always involves taking a hardline liberal stance and fighting it to the end.  Bully for you.  But in the meantime, your politics suck.  And were these people in charge of the party, McCain (or worse) would be in the Whitehouse, the Republicans would control Congress, and rather than debating the merits of Kagan's hiring practices at Harvard, we'd be howling about how horrid the next Scalito is.  But hey, you'd have your purity, so that'd count for something.

And yeah, I understand the idea of having ideals and being pure.  But at the end of the day, I'd still rather have an impure president than an evil one.  No, you can't sell-out all your ideals.  But if what you're fighting for is something you can't get, then you're not fighting for anything.  And I'd rather fight for a little of something than a lot of nothing.


Anonymous said...

"But what exactly do they plan to achieve? Again, if Kagan sinks, then we'll get someone worse than Kagan. That's a guarantee."

What? If the left 'defeats' Kagan, he'll pick someone even more right?

"What do we do now? For me, that means supporting Kagan. What other choice do I have?"

So, whatever Obama does, we support him and the right will attack him, leading him further right with no penalty from the left. Accountability much?

Doctor Biobrain said...

Anonymous - First off, exactly HOW does the left "defeat" Kagan? They don't. At least not on their own. But they CAN help Republicans bring her down. And if that somehow happens (which is a very long shot), then it goes down as a victory for the right, not the left. And the only solution would be for him to pick someone the right wants more.

And your other point is even weirder. So, if liberals support Obama and conservatives attack him, he becmes even MORE conservative? NO, that's backwards. He'll go to where his support is. Yes, there is an element of him considering the left to be already in his pocket, giving him breathing room to manuever against his critics on the right. But ultimately, he's STILL our guy. And if we abandon him, he'll have no choice than to go to the middle and right for support. We'll have left him with no choice, because he won't be able to get anything done otherwise.

Honestly, we're to imagine that politicians move TOWARDS the people who attack them and AWAY from the people who support them? In what universe does that make sense?

Anonymous said...

It makes sense in the universe we live in. You know, the one where Obama desperately wants everything to be bipartisan? If you think he might "move to the middle," you aren't paying attention. Every initiative of his has been pre-compromised to appeal to the right and then further compromised when even the initial giveaway wasn't sufficient. I don't think "center" means what you think it means.

Doctor Biobrain said...

Anonymous - Have you actually noticed what Republicans want? They didn't want ANY of this stuff. Forget about their current opposition to his agenda, just look at what they got with Bush and you'll see what their policy ideas are.

They didn't want healthcare reform, or a stimulus bill, or a jobs bill, or extended unemployment benefits, or Wall Street reform, or Studen Loan reform, or ANY of this stuff. And if the DID, they would have given it to us. But they didn't. None of this is palatable to conservatives.

So yeah, I guess he's NOT center, but only if we pretend that the far-right doesn't exist. There's a loud minority of folks who want us to abolish all entitlement and welfare programs, disband the IRS and other agencies, and even move back to the Gold Standard. If you imagine that Obama's compromising with these people, you're lying to yourself.

If your model of the political spectrum doesn't include the nutjobs who consider Limbaugh to be a moderate, you're not paying attention. Obama is a moderate-liberal and that's all he's pretended to be.