Right now, I have a million thoughts swimming through my head. I’m waaaaay behind this week and I’ve been procrastinating, but I didn’t want this day to go by without making a post. What is this about? As the title suggests, this post is partly about the meme of “ideological purity.”
This past day, I decided to debate another lefty. We have some key disagreements about policy (and recent history) but so far, our discussions have been pleasantly civil.
However, some of the things we were talking about make me want to go off on a rant.
What I Was Arguing About
The other lefty is a Clintonite. While I have had nostalgic feelings about Bill Clinton’s administration, I’m at the point where I want to look at presidencies objectively. Thus, our discussion eventually drifted toward the 1994 Crime Bill.
We also talked about the Affordable Care Act, and, of course, the past presidential election. Now, we both agree that Hillary Clinton would be a far more palatable president and that she should have done a better job in swing states (like Michigan and some others that Obama had won), but we disagree on where the Democratic Party should sit on the ideological spectrum and what the Democrats should have done to keep their seats across the country.
Again, this has been a respectful conversation, so it’s interesting for me to see how the other person sees things. It is also exciting to get the chance to debate with another person, especially in a respectful manner.
However, some of the things the other person has said trouble me. One is the anger the person still expressed of people to the right of him. Since this person is a Clintonite, he might be more of centrist. The other thing is the idea about “ideological purity.”
Why the ‘Ideological Purity’ Argument Fails
I have heard something along the lines of “Stop being ideologically pure” since 2016, and that charge has been levied against Bernie Sanders supporters and anyone to the left of Clinton who expressed their concerns about her (but may have still voted for her anyway). Progressives have been blamed for turning the election in favor of Trump although people with policy about HRC tended to have harsher criticisms of Trump on principle.
Now, I hear the phrases whenever any Democrat is criticized. Former Democratic National Committee Chairman Howard Dean has used it. Freshman Senator Kamala Harris (D-California) has used it. But there are fair criticisms of some Democrats, including these two.
Dean has been compromised. After leaving the DNC, he joined Dentons, a lobbying firm that has also employed former Republican Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich (who praised the technical prowess of the Japanese bombers who attacked Pearl Harbor, BTW). Ain’t that nice? And we’re not supposed to bring up concerns about money in politics?
Sen. Harris is also compromised. Do you despise Trump’s Treasurer? If so, why can’t we bring up the fact that she allowed him to escape justice after receiving campaign funds from him? She also received funds from someone else most people can’t stand. Guess who.
In general, some Democrats and centrists are now the term “ideological purity” (or “litmus tests”) as a means to shut people up. These phrases are used to diminish a person’s complaints, handwave their concerns, and kind of discredit them. But it makes the person doing this look foolish and hypocritical.
This is basically excusing corruption. Trump is corrupt and we scream that from the rooftops, but we shouldn’t make excuses for corrupt Democrats. It doesn’t help us at all.
Why Some Democrats Are Not Worth the Trouble
There are at least a few Democrats in Congress who need to be replaced because they’re liabilities. And two of them are Joe Manchin and Claire McCaskill.
Earlier this year, Bill Scher wrote this steaming pile of garbage called “Leave Britney Alone!!!” “The Left Should Leave Joe Manchin Alone.”
Attorney General Jeff Sessions is the Trump administration Cabinet member for whom Democrats harbor the most disgust. He was accused of making racially insensitive comments while serving as U.S. attorney in Alabama. In the Senate, he voted against bills supportive of gay rights, and he voted against legislation authorizing programs that protect domestic violence survivors. His complaints about “voter fraud” worry Democrats who see the phrase as cover to push an agenda of voter suppression.
So whatever one thinks of the propriety or utility of the Democrats’ blistering verbal attacks on Sessions, it’s understandable. But what’s the point of going after Joe Manchin?
Dude, you just explained it: Manchin voted for Jeff Freakin’ Sessions, a bigot who was not fit for a judgeship! I don’t care if the Democrats were outnumbered, it’s the principle of the thing and Manchin’s reasoning was one the stupidest things I’ve ever heard.
I can’t stand Joe Manchin because he’s essentially a Republican. He voted for a few of Trump’s picks, including Gorsuck, and he voted the nuclear option to get Gorsuck’s butt in there! What the hell, man?
But that’s not all. As Scher put in his own piece:
He takes many positions that offend my liberal sensibilities. He opposed President Obama’s efforts to avert a climate crisis. He opposed federal funding of Planned Parenthood. He has expressed support for requiring photo IDs to vote. Any West Virginian sitting in that Senate seat is going to take similar positions. But not every West Virginian would help make Chuck Schumer Senate majority leader and stifle the vast majority of Trump’s conservative agenda.
But we should keep Manchin in office because he’s a Dem holding red real estate. Herpity derp, derp, derp.
ARE YOU KIDDING ME?!!!! He might as well put an R to his name and make it official.
I’ll make this short and sweet. When I saw this tweet:
I thought, “And so should you.” McCaskill gots to go because she voted to reconfirm Ajit Pai, the shameless corporate shill who is kill net neutrality despite the public outcry. She and Manchin were among the 4 Democrats who voted for that clown. Without those votes, his nomination was dead in the water.
McCaskill gots to go because she refuses to consider a better health care plan, although more Americans are coming around to wanting single payer.
She gots to go because she lampooned people’s concerns about money in politics by saying she would consider giving up corporate cash if people would first give her their money.
At this point, she has become a joke. What point is there to the #Resistance if there is no real resistance?
With friends like these …
What the Real Problem Is
The real problem is centrism. It’s this dogmatic belief that the Democrats must “move to the center,” but all they’re doing is moving to the right to appease Republicans. You see, centrism never calls for Republicans to move to the left to please the Democrats.
No, Democrats moved to the right to … get that money, really. Republicans had already sold out to corporations, and the Democratic leadership thought, “Hey … why we be bought and sold too?” And that’s when they said, “Screw the poor, the coloreds, the unions, and all the people who we used to represent. But they’ll vote for us anyway because the Republicans are worse.”
All the presidents after FDR have been crap (although the internment camps and redlining drag down his entire legacy). I’ll exempt JFK, but all the rest were crap. And Nixon, Reagan, and Clinton were the worst three.
There, I said it.
Don’t Believe Me?
Nixon started the War on Drugs, he was a crook, and he started the Southern Strategy.
Reagan made the War on Drugs worse, “Trickle-down” BS started under him, his tax cuts exploded the deficit, he was partly behind the installation of Pinochet, and he armed what became the Taliban.
Clinton pushed the 1994 crime bill, NAFTA, the Telecommunications Act of 1996, “Wellfare Reform,” Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell, and the Defense of Marriage Act. Centrism reached its apex with him.
Since the 1970’s, Democrats were told that they needed to “move toward the center” to get anywhere, even when they lost. But when they lost, they blamed liberalism, saying that those who lost “were too liberal.” Maybe they lost because they were “Republican-lite” and had no distinguishable message.
But no, they were too liberal.
Yet this insanity lives with us today and those to the left of centrists are called crazy, which weakens Democrats. We’re told that Democrats need to act like Republicans to get anywhere, but even some Republicans will come around when they’re sick and tired of their situation and want someone to vote for.
No, but going too far left is suicide.
THIS IS COMPLETE AND UTTER BS!
Democrats need to truly represent the left. The fact is, they have more in common than Republicans than they let on. What good is a party that fails to distinguish itself from its opposition? We need a real alternative.
What I’m All About
I am for policies that do the most good and help as many people as possible. I also reassess my positions based on research, what I think is right, and what is humane.
This is what I’m all about:
The well-being of the earth is our top concern. As such, we should employ green energies, wean ourselves off fossil fuels, and clean up our oceans.
I’m not an animal lover, but I’m animal cruelty. I’m against poaching and destroying entire species, especially because that could harm ecosystems.
My positions on gay marriage evolved to full acceptance.
I personally hate abortion, but I feel it should be “safe, rare and legal.” On a related note, contraceptives should be available and people should have sex education to prevent unwanted pregnancies, abortions, and stop the spread of diseases.
I believe health care is a human right.
I fully support the First Amendment. That includes freedom of the press, freedom of speech, the freedom to worship, the freedom of petition, and the ability to peacefully assemble. Net neutrality is an extension of this right, as is voting. I support the separation of church and state.
More specifically: We need a vibrant press, with freedom for independent journalists to do their job and reach their readers.
Money needs to be taken out of politics.
Judges should not be partisan positions.
We should get rid of the two-party system. At the very least, the two parties should present true alternatives to each other.
I believe in gender equality, but we must be honest about physical differences between men and women.
I despise racism. While we might not be able to fully eradicate it, it can be managed and we should refrain from codifying it into law.
I am an anti-interventionist. I disagreed with the War in Iraq and felt that the U.S. should have stayed out of the Syrian war (outside of helping the Kurds fight against Isis). I wish we were never in Libya or Yemen.
I believe our policies must support social equity.
I believe in due process.
I’m against police states and I believe there should be holistic approaches to fighting crime. As such, we need to reform police culture.
I have a healthy distrust of the intelligence community and all governments, including my own.
We must always ask questions and refuse to take everything at face value.
The lawmakers and politicians I complain about generally disagree with some or all of the bolded. Is this me being “ideologically pure” or is it the politicians being corrupt pieces of crap? It’s the latter.
I’m going to come out and say it: I hate centrism because it’s a damn lie. And those who call me or others “ideologically pure” are full of crap. Come at me.