Late Nite FDL: Failing Upward
I've always maintained that the lefty blogosphere appears to be more cohesive than it actually is because we've been united together in opposition to the mind-numbing irrationality of people who think a petri dish full of blastocycts is worth more than the life of a two year-old child, or someone suffering from Parkinson's disease, or that over half a million dead is an acceptable price to pay for a bungled war if they happen to be Iraqis who did not greet us with flowers.
But if in time there is some sort of pendulum shift and we do switch into a mode where it's possible for Democrats to take a proactive stance rather than just play defense, our differences will become more apparent. And battle lines will start to emerge over stuff like this:
One thing to keep your eye on is emerging tensions inside the Democratic Party which find their locus in the persons of Nancy Pelosi and Rahm Emmannuel. Essentially, the way the centrist side of the argument is trying to set things up, insofar as the election returns are in some sense disappointing, this will be blamed on Pelosi, Leader of the House Democrats. But insofar as the election returns are encouraging, credit belongs to Emmannuel, Architect of the Great Victory. Damned if she does and damned if she doesn't, in other words. This Bull Moose post gives you a good example of the genre. He's expecting big things for the Democrats, and hails the wisdom of the House Democratic leadership, with said leadership comprised apparently of Emmannuel and Steny Hoyer. Pelosi, a liberal who thought invading Iraq was a bad idea before it was cool, who also happens to be the actual leader of the caucus, doesn't come into play.
Hoyer was a major proponent of the bankruptcy bill, and someone whose position on Iraq was sculpted by political calculation. According to a recent profile in the Washington Monthly:
Unlike Pelosi, he voted to authorize Bush to invade Iraq. Then, last November, after Murtha—a longtime Pelosi ally who had run her whip campaign in 2000—called for an immediate withdrawal, Hoyer and Rep. Rahm Emanuel (D-Ill.) urged Pelosi not to join Murtha, arguing that doing so would hurt Democrats politically. The leader’s camp reacted angrily. George Miller, Pelosi’s best friend in Congress, accused Hoyer of trying to undermine her. Murtha ordered Rep. Joe Crowley (D-N.Y.), a close Hoyer ally, “tell your friend Hoyer” to stop stirring up trouble, then gave a speech in which he defended his call for withdrawal, saying he was more concerned with saving lives than with playing politics, and “looking right at Hoyer,” according to a Democratic aide quoted in The Hill. Pelosi did ultimately back Murtha, but Hoyer, voicing the concerns of more conservative Democrats, prevailed on her to allow members to come up with their own positions on the issue. And on the day that Pelosi announced her support for withdrawal, Hoyer released a statement of his own, declaring that “a precipitous withdrawal of American forces in Iraq could lead to disaster, spawning a civil war, fostering a haven for terrorists and damaging our nation’s security and credibility.”
I don't know how the power structure will shake out in the House, but I'm going to invoke Bill Maher here (video at Crooks & Liars). He was talking about think tanks, but I think the same thing goes for politicians:
Maher: And finally, new rule in two parts: (A) You can't call yourself a think tank if all your ideas are stupid; and (B) If you're someone from one of these think tanks that dreamed up the Iraq War and who predicted that we'd be greeted as liberators, and that we wouldn't need a lot of troops, and that Iraqi oil would pay for the war, that the WMD's would be found, that the looting wasn't problematic, that the mission was accomplished, that the insurgency was in its last throes, that things would get better after the people voted, after the government was formed, after we got Saddam, after we got his kids, after we got Zarqawi, and that whole bloody mess wouldn't turn into a civil war, you have to stop making predictions.
Lord knows there aren't many of them, but I would like to begin looking for leadership from the members of the party who got it right. I know it's a novel idea, but really, I just don't understand why we want to be led by someone responsible for that kind of collosal fuckup, who really just ought to cop to awfully bad judgment and STFU about Iraq.
I am aware, however, that there are those who admire these men for their "political pragmatism," and I can see over time that these differences could start to define us. Bush was often times right when he called himself a "uniter not a divider," though perhaps not in quite the way he meant.