Taking a deep breath

A post at DailyKos.com by blogger "AnnArborBlue" is getting lots of attention and rocketing around the blogosphere. She opens by praising each of the candidates:

Why You Should Vote for Whomever You Want

Because none of the Democratic candidates suck. No. really. Despite what you've heard from various people around this place lately, none of the "Democrats" is really a Republican, none of them are Bush-lite, and none of them killed your mother and then hid her body. That evil, centrist Hillary Clinton has a Progressive Punch Score of 91%, good for 16th in the whole senate. And that noted hater of labor, Barack Obama, has excellent ratings from labor organizations. Joe Biden, despite an unfortunate tendency to open mouth and insert foot, has been the best critic of the Republican field. Dennis Kucinich, for all of his quirks, is the most uncompromisingly liberal voice in the race. Chris Dodd has been the loudest voice in the whole field on civil liberties issues. And John Edwards, well, read pretty much any diary on this site to find out why people like John Edwards.

So, seriously, there really isn't an obviously wrong choice in this cycle. There is no Zell Miller or Joe Lieberman running for president (Want proof? Lieberman had to back a Republican to find a candidate who was in line with his views). Vote for who you want.

And then she calls on the various supporters of the candidates to remember the real goal and remember that we'll all have to come together soon enough to defeat the GOP candidate.

And this is a message to some of the more zealous supporters of various candidates as well; if you truly believe that Barack Obama, or Hillary Clinton, or John Edwards, or any other candidate is a Republican in disguise, then you need to take a major step back. For a few months now, bloggers like Matt Yglesias and Ezra Klein have been pointing out how the primary process tends to turn molehills into mountains. It takes minor policy disagreements within the parties and turn them into blood feuds, while downplaying the truly immense differences that exist between the two parties. ...

I'll be frank, if you are incapable of recognizing that every candidate on the Democratic side shares the same core principles, and that every candidate on the Republican side opposes them (or at least pretends to), then you're a part of the problem. If you can't separate "I like candidate X" from "I must hate candidate Y", then you're a part of the problem. If you truly believe that someone is a bad Democrat for supporting a different candidate in the primaries, then you're a part of the problem. And frankly, the rest of us find your self-righteousness, really, really dull. We've spent 7 years now dealing with a leader who has total conviction and zealous certainty in everything he believes, and who demonizes anyone who thinks differently. And it's sucked a lot.

If you think "Candidate x is the best choice for America" means "candidate X is the only choice for America, and anyone who disagrees with me must be destroyed (or just annoyed for 6 hours on the internet)", then it's time for you to grow up. Because there's going to be a nominee, and the chances are it won't be your candidate. That's something you're going to have to get past, or, God Jed, I don't even want to know you.

Read the rest. Discuss.

Comments

  • admiralnaismith (unverified)
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    Well, yeah.

    I'd say the same goes for Steve and Jeff. May the better candidate emerge and stop the Dark Lord of the Smith in November.

  • Ron (unverified)
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    amen admiral... Smith is the real enemy. I made my $100 donation to the democratic nominee, whomever that would be. Could be a piece of toast for all I care, Smith has to go.

  • Ron (unverified)
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    OK, maybe not a "piece of toast" on second thought. But either Jeff or Steve will do fine.

  • LT (unverified)
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    Let me add my AMEN to these remarks:

    remember the real goal and remember that we'll all have to come together soon enough to defeat the GOP candidate.

  • Unrepentant Liberal (unverified)
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    A great point! If we could throw all the democratic contenders into a blender and mix,the results would be perfect. But, I like something about all of them, even Mrs. Clinton; you gotta say she just keeps on going no matter what. So, let the primaries play out and I'll gladly vote for whoever comes out on top.

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    Ayup. I'll support whichever chunk of clotted cream (or steaming turd) rises to the surface on the Dem side, what with not being a total idiot and all.......but as for these little zingers:

    I'll be frank, if you are incapable of recognizing that every candidate on the Democratic side shares the same core principles

    They are complete and utter Bullshit.

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    Just because I'm smart enough to grasp the concept that the continued destruction of our country will happen more slowly under the "worst" of the Dem field than under the "best" of the Repub field, does not mean that I have to buy in to the author's pleas of equivalence.

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    So how's your year going so far, Pat?

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    More to the point, who do you favor, Pat? Please, let me be the first to try to coax you out of your shell. Tell us what you really think.

    I too, don't see a huge difference between the candidates, except on style. They all want to get out of Iraq. They all have a health plan. They all believe in the rule of law. The big difference isn't in the Democratic nominee. It's getting that nominee elected and kicking out so many Republican Senators the others are too scared to do anything but play ball instead of filibustering everything to death.

    But if you see a difference Pat, tell us who you're for. Because if all you want to do is throw insults at our near but not 100% perfect candidates, you really are part of the problem.

  • Bill Bodden (unverified)
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    I have a hunch, Pat, you could use a little company since you're not part of the chorus line dancing to the lead article. I'm with you because my historical memory extends beyond the last piece of bullshit on a campaign commercial or e-mail that I didn't want. And since I'm a NAV I'm not obliged to talk up the party line I can think independent thoughts. Hillary, Biden and Dodd all voted for the war on Iraq (remember that one? still going on! the one that has killed and maimed hundreds of thousands of people?) most likely for political expediency. If not for political expediency then because of incompetence. Edwards let himself be persuaded by Bob Shrum to vote for the war against his better judgment. He at least had the decency and character to admit he made a mistake which the others didn't. They tried to lie their ways out of it. In any event, they all betrayed their oaths to defend the Constitution after Senator Byrd explained their Constitutional responsibility to them. And they have been showing their contempt for the Constitution ever since.

    Some of the comments above remind me of an incident reported in a newspaper after Kennedy was elected in 1960 and people were talking about dead people in Chicago voting for Kennedy. Someone asked a local why people in Chicago voted for a crook - not Kennedy but a local pol. He answered, "Because he is our crook."

    Is that why you are all so happy with the Dem senators? They are all your crooks?

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    Honestly, I think y'all are overreacting to what Pat said. But I'll join with Bill and echoing Pat's sentiments because I agree with them.

    FWIW I genuinely like the vast majority of the Dem field of candidates. Obama is my favorite, but Edwards is an extremely close second. I have always liked Biden, and Dodd... What can I say? Dodd has been AWESOME in the Senate over the last couple months. This may be heresy in some quarters but I am actually pretty fond of Gravel too. I heard him interviewed on NPR last week and absolutely loved everything he said.

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    Like Steve said, the important thing is to get a Dem Prez - AND - improve the Dem majority in both houses, especially the Senate. The new prez can say whatever he/she wants about how to end the Iraq occupation and how to start a national health program, but a STRONG Dem Congress will bring better legislation to the next Decider, and is more likely to actually achieve the will of the people, without fear of veto or big arguments etc. Of course with a more progressive Prez, the goodness will happen faster with less pain. One of the first things the new Congress should enact is public campaign financing and severly limited private donations, to take those pesky industry lobbyists out of the equation. If corporations want to enjoy the rights of personhood, they should have the same election donation limits as living persons (and a sixty year life span, to reflect how long an adult human lives.) Dang, I'm getting all Thom Hartmann-y here.

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    The original author has an interesting point about Joe Lieberman and Zell Miller. On the other hand, that's a pretty low standard. That the pros at the center of the party didn't come up with someone better for Gore makes me worried that any of them may get pressured to move away from their best, strongest most honest features by the party apparat. But maybe not. Maybe Howard Dean has shaken things up inside.

    I think there are some significant differences. On trade, some are knee-jerk free-traders like Bill Clinton was, and some aren't. Unfortunately on Iraq I'm not sure there actually is any of them except the impossible Kucinich who is committed to really getting out, as opposed to working down to a 50-60,000 troop Korea-style decades-long occupation. Biden can be a real dope, he's a huge implosion risk (remember him ripping off the British Labour Party leader's ads in the 1980s?) and is an new empire guy of the first water in foreign affairs. Clinton and Obama both have taken the bait of trying to demonstrate foreign policy cred with bellicosity, esp. toward Iran -- Edwards was too for a while though I think has backed off.

    Of the candidates besides single-payer Kucinich, only Edwards offers a healthcare plan with a serious public provision component enabling people to experiment with that & see if they like it. Clinton's wins the prize for greatest pretzel imitation to protect existing corporate interests thereby limiting employee/patient/"consumer" freedom and preserving or even expanding fragmentation & inefficiency.

    I think there are significant differences about who each of the candidates would bring to the table.

    As both the author and as Pat said, not one of them would be nearly as bad for the country and the world as any of the Rs, and not one of the Rs has much to offer. Whatever Ron Paul's virtues as a civil libertarian, his social and economic policies are just monstrous.

    But I'm not going to give up thinking critically about any of them.

    One thing that has me particularly worried is foreign policy: I fear that a D president may drag out the Iraq occupation / adopt a D version of Bush's "Korea-style" model and that it could actually be harder to challenge because of "don't embarrass our president" pressure. As with Bill Clinton, welfare deform and his broken promise to come back and fix it. As with Bill Clinton and NAFTA.

    On the domestic side its easier to find something to be enthusiastic about with any of them and quite a bit with some. And I could have saved myself all of this typing with two words: the courts.

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    Oh, and Bill, I'm a registered D.

  • Bill Bodden (unverified)
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    The important factor to consider about the candidates is what they REALLY are likely to do if elected. We have seen Hillary do whatever she considers to be in her interest without regard to the national interest. Iraq war, Kyl-Lieberman Amendment, etc. Obama: I would really like to know who is behind him. Edwards: His problem is that if elected he will very likely be like Carter, a president without a party supporting him while two will be tearing him down and apart. Biden: He has to be one of the dumbest senators or one who is convinced the American people are dumb as door knobs. He was on a Sunday talk show a couple of years ago and Iraq was in such a mess it was obvious even to him. Then he said that what the president should do is speak to the American public and let them know the facts about Iraq. This, after every story that Bush told about Iraq proved to be hogwash.

    So, the questions are, "If elected who will he or she be in league with? Will the new president help continue the trend concentrating power in the White House while continuing the process of neutering Congress? Will president 44 continue the process begun under Clinton of concentrating media control in still fewer corporations? What deal towards that end has Hillary made with one of the biggest of her supporters - Rupert Murdoch?"

  • Gil Johnson (unverified)
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    Hey, it took me awhile to figure out what NAV stood for (some kind of military status?) and then I find out I am one. Yup, not a Democrat. Not a Republican, either.

    That said, I'm in total agreement with the DailyKos post. No Democrat running for president is worse than the best Republican running for president. If John McCain were elected president, I might believe the nation could survive, but not make progress in getting America back to the balance it had prior to Bush. Any Democrat will do some good for the country. Edwards has the best message, though Obama and Clinton might get more done. They all have their hearts in the right place.

    By the way Bill, as for Biden, what do you make of his comments following the assassination in Pakistan? Still dumb? I have to say his foreign policy expertise is way ahead of the others on either side and would thus make him a great vice president.

  • Bill Bodden (unverified)
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    By the way Bill, as for Biden, what do you make of his comments following the assassination in Pakistan? Still dumb? I have to say his foreign policy expertise is way ahead of the others on either side and would thus make him a great vice president.

    Given what a windbag Biden is the law of averages suggests he has to get something right some times, but in my book he will be very unlikely to ever get enough right to make up for abandoning his Constitutional responsibilities to give Bush authorization for this monstrous war that so many people have considered the greatest monumental blunder in American history. Biden also proposed that Iraq be split in three. More knowledgeable authorities who have spent their entire careers in the Middle East disagree with him.

  • Bill Bodden (unverified)
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    Before everyone goes over the cliff with the lemmings it might be a good idea to read this article and consider that since the election for president doesn't take place until November it might be a good idea to keep an open mind. This nation has been going downhill since Reagan and the decline appears to be on a steeper grade. Casting the right votes for the president and Congress is critical. And, I'm taking my own advice keeping my mind open; although, the door is almost shut tight against Hillary.

  • Pat Malach (unverified)
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    An interesting documentary on PBS about Ralph Nader featured an interview with Lawrence O'Donnell, who confessed that when he worked for the Democratic Party establishment he-- and most of his cohorts-- never gave a thought of listening to anything "the left" of the party had to say because they knew Democrats already had those votes sewn up.

  • Bill Bodden (unverified)
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    Obama: I would really like to know who is behind him.

    Surprise!! Surprise!! It's corporate lobbyists!!

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    Bill B.,

    Well I thought I understood at least roughly where you're coming from, but I guess I was wrong.

    Leftist fascination and willingness to play footsie with Ron Paul is a bizarre form of delusion that appears either to reflect residual Reaganite cultural hegemony, or derangement by despair at powerlessness.

    The man is a deep-dyed reactionary on nearly everything social and economic, whatever the merits of his anti-imperialism.

    "Constitutional money" = deflationary policy. Good for workers? Not historically.

    Wants to abolish social security. Very progressive.

    Opposes workplace wage, hour and health and safety regulations. I.e. wants to restored Gilded Age economics.

    Believes the remedy if a woman is sexually harassed at work is for her to quit.

    Believes in absolute right of employer to fire employee for any reason whatsoever, or for no reason, i.e. favors repeal of the Norris-LaGuardia act which prevents requiring pledges not to form or join a union as a condition of employment.

    Believes freedom of association trumps civil rights.

    Wants to sell of national public lands.

    The man is a reactionary compared to William McKinley, & wants to return us to a gilded age economy. No friend of the working person or any even minimal form of social justice.

    Bill, what is wrong with you, man?

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    Biden also proposed that Iraq be split in three. More knowledgeable authorities who have spent their entire careers in the Middle East disagree with him.

    With all due respect to whomever those "experts" are, Iraq is and always has been a British-fabricated entity. Ditto for "Afghanistan" and to a large degree "Pakistan." The ethnic groups in each of those regions who are warring today have zero history of willingly cooperating to become a single entity.

    Biden's solution may not be the best one or even the correct one. But any self-described experts who are saying he is wrong are doing so without the benefit of one iota of historical evidence to back them up. Indeed, the historical evidence is on Biden's side.

  • Bill Bodden (unverified)
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    The man is a reactionary compared to William McKinley, & wants to return us to a gilded age economy. No friend of the working person or any even minimal form of social justice.

    Bill, what is wrong with you, man?

    Chris: There were points in the article about Ron Paul that were worth considering like getting us out of Iraq and not getting in more wars and adhering to the Constitution. I'm well aware of Ron Paul's problems as I have indicated on other threads. But there are also problems with the other leading contenders. Their votes to go to war on Iraq (except Obama) and willingness to go to war on Iran (all). Their links to corporations except (Edwards) will practically guarantee the final corporate nail in the republic's coffin. Ron Paul may want some of the points you cite, but he is not going to get any of them if Congress doesn't want him to have them.

    Chris, I suspect you blew a fuse after reading the article about Ron Paul and didn't finish reading the rest of what I wrote: "And, I'm taking my own advice keeping my mind open; although, the door is almost shut tight against Hillary." That means I'm not endorsing Paul or any other. It means what I said, "I'm keeping my mind open."

    You said you have a problem figuring out where I'm coming from. Simple. I'm coming from an independent position so I'm not obligated to vote for one party or the other. The odds are that I'll vote for the Democrat in the general election, but that will depend on who the candidates are. If Mike Bloomberg gets in the race, I might vote for him, but don't tell me. I know. He, too, has his problems. If you let me know which one doesn't have a problem, please feel free to announce this miracle candidate.

  • Bill Bodden (unverified)
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    Biden's solution may not be the best one or even the correct one. But any self-described experts who are saying he is wrong are doing so without the benefit of one iota of historical evidence to back them up. Indeed, the historical evidence is on Biden's side.

    The following was posted by Juan Cole - www.juancole.com - on 11/27/2003. Juan Cole is not a "self-described expert" but one who is recognized by many scholars and other authorities as an expert. My understanding is that he speaks and reads Arabic.

    "Journalist Nir Rosen, writing from Baghdad, replies to Gelb's suggestion that Iraq be divided along ethnic lines in the Asia Times:

    "International law prohibits an occupying power from altering the structure of the occupied country, let alone dividing it up. This perhaps is not a good argument because international law was ignored throughout this conflict and continues to be flouted as the occupying powers impose their economic philosophies on Iraq . . . Gelb views Sunnis as the "bad guys" American foreign policy always seems to need and seeks to punish them further until they behave, a course of action sure to fulfill his prophecy and indeed make all Sunnis the enemy. What "ambitions" is he referring to? Shouldn't Sunnis be encouraged to participate in the new Iraq? Shouldn't they feel it is theirs as well? Most of the resistance in Iraq is spontaneous and a reaction to the occupation, not part of some Sunni conspiracy. Iraq's Shi'ites are as eager to see American troops leave as the Sunnis are. Even moderate Shi'ite clerics have recently called for an immediate American withdrawal . . . "

    "And veteran journalist Helena Cobban argues against it (partition) in her Just World News, "For several reasons. The first and most serious one is that the US has no right simply to split up Iraq into three states or make any other such serious changes in the country's administration. No right whatsoever. The Geneva-based International Committee for the Red Cross is the body which, under a series of international treaties, is the international depository for the body of "laws of war" called "international humanitarian law" (IHL). Therefore, the ICRC's commentaries on various aspects of IHL-- including the Hague Regulations, the Geneva Conventions, etc.-- are considered authoritative. In a useful factsheet on the rights and duties of an occupying power, the ICRC notes: The Occupying Power cannot change the status of the territory it occupies. Though it becomes the de facto administrator of that territory, the Occupying Power must maintain and preserve the economic and social structures and respect the customs. It can amend the laws and regulations in force in the territory only to the extent needed to enable it to meet its obligations under the Fourth Convention, and to maintain orderly government and ensure its own security."

    See also Divide and Rule.

    and Support for Iraq Partition: Cynical and Dangerous.

    and Robert Fisk: A constitution that means nothing to ordinary Iraqis. Robert Fisk is one of the most respected journalists writing about the Middle East where he has spent almost all of his career. He, too, is fluent in Arabic.

    Those of us who have been paying attention to Iraq know that it was constructed by cobbling together three distinctly different regions after World War I. That was about 90 years ago. Since then there has been much fusion between these regions. Intermarriage between Sunnis and Shias is one factor. So in 2008 it is not as simple as going back to the original political geography.

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    Thanks for that last, Bill. BTW, being registered doesn't make me feel obligated to vote that way just because. It's not like they give out ankle bracelets or something.

    The idea that "partitioning" a country that is a colonial creation is easy or falls along natural lines is just bunk. Go take a study of what happened with the partition of "British" India in 1947 & the Pakistani civil war/ war of Bangladesh independence. The civil conflicts in the Balkans in the 1990s were part of the partitioning of Yugoslavia, itself, like Iraq, a post-World War I fabrication out of parts of an even larger reactionary empire.

    South Africa is a creation of colonialism. Was the old apartheid government right to suggest the a twelve way ethnic territorial partition (in the 1980s the National Review supported an more strictly racial one to create a white homeland).

    Iraq has existed for close to 90 years now. The way it was formed makes it not organically integrated, but 90 years of building the modern state & society with institutions and infrastructures oriented to the shape of the post-WWI creation has created realities that are not just figmentary and that would be the objects of most vicious and bloody struggle if Biden-like idiocy were to force it upon Iraqis.

    Biden is a dope.

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