Wipeout, pt. II

3 11 2010

I am an ideologue.

No, not particularly happy to write that, and as quickly as I might state that that’s not all that I am, I also have to admit that it is also that I am.

I bring this up to consider the interpretations of elections. After the Republicans suffered reverses in 2006 and 2008, a fair number of activists blamed those reversals on the lack of conservative steadfastness. Had the GOPers only stuck to their guns, these folks said, we’d a-won.

Yeah, right, I thought.

But that same thought skittered around my mind in the lead-up to this election. If only the Dems hadn’t been so pusillanimous, election night would have been a bleed rather than a hemorrhage.

In my defense, I was thinking more about tactics, whereas the conservatives were thinking more about policy. I’m not a moderate, but I think welcoming moderates (and even conservatives) into the Democratic party isn’t a bad thing: I am most decidedly not a purist on political matters.

But that interpretation rather too conveniently lets me off the hook. I want the Dems to push hard, to ignore squeals about the supposed unfairness of maneuvering to enact their agenda, and I want that agenda to reflect my leftist views.

When you win, goddammit, you act as if you’ve won.

And when you lose, you obstruct and resist and dissent and do what you can to limit the damage likely to flow from the other side’s win.

That’s how it is, for Dems and GOPers, liberals and conservatives. Shut up about the process—really, SHUT UP. It’s terrific when you win and terrible when you lose and all your whining about fairness or rudeness or partisanship is just so much rote rot. If you truly think it’s unfair, then change the process; otherwise, shut up.

So that’s how I know I’m an ideologue: However annoyed I may be when political adversaries obstruct what I want done, I don’t think they’re wrong to obstruct. In fact, if they think they can best achieve their aims through obstruction, then they’re fools if they don’t obstruct.

That’s not cynicism; that’s smart politics.

And finally, I know I’m an ideologue because however fatigued or Machiavellian I may be, I do believe ideas matter, so much so that I find it easier to deal with those who actually want to do something—even if I hate that something—than those who want to win just to win.

Even I’m not that cynical.

 


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3 responses

3 11 2010
geekhiker

I, too, wish the Dems would stick to their guns more. Even at the start of the healthcare debate, when they took single-payer off the table first thing, showed they’d already conceded part of the debate, moving it just that little bit towards the other side. Coupled with the fact that, with the new “we’re always campaigning” style of governance, votes are being cast not for what’s best for the country, but what’s best for the next election. *sigh*

4 11 2010
emilylhauser

My problem is that I don’t see ideas coming out of the GOP. I see nothing but cynical, ugly use of the process (which, otherwise, I pretty much agree with you on) in order to screw the Democrats and get back in power. I don’t see ideas, I see the employment of vile bigotry and bald-faced lies in order to frighten and belittle the people they are meant to serve, in order to get back in power. I see hypocrisy and bullying and a complete lack of anything approaching a moral code.

Oh, ideas, what I would give for an actual Republican idea!

6 11 2010
absurdbeats

What was that old Elvis Costello song? ‘Every day I write the book’. The Dems not only don’t have a book, they can’t even keep their notecards straight.

Tell us a story, goddammit, and tell us how you’re going to make it come true. We’re tired of the GOP nightmares.

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