( – promoted by buhdydharma )
Crossposted at Daily Kos
Of all the screwed up things the Republican party and their Corporate Media enablers have done maybe the worst is the souring of the debate on whether President Obama is doing the right thing or not. When the “faithful” opposition in American politics is more concerned with ACORN and socialism than it is with Corproate malfeasance or the corrupt status quo, it just isn’t worth debating with, but that debate is necessary and our system does worse without it.
Similarly, the left has been conditioned by the raving right to interpret ALL criticism of President Obama as an attack on him. Many on the left see activists who criticize Obama as if they were joining in on the hyperbole, and they fear that Obama, and Democratic majorities, might fall if pressure from the left and the right becomes overheated. These people are often the loudest defenders of Obama, but are they really helping his cause?
I firmly believe that we MUST, as activists and voters, be able to hold President Obama and the Democratic party accountable, otherwise they will walk all over us. In order to do this, we MUST be able to constructivly criticize our leaders, and since the right wing of American politics long ago left the reality based world, it is the left which must provide this criticism. The problem is, will others on the left allow it to happen?
More below the fold.
Now, one person’s laughable “Death Panels” may be another person’s reality, but we can not waste time debating whether 2+2=4 or 5, as the Corporate media that supports the status quo would gladly prefer us to do. It wastes time and accomplishes nothing, so I won’t be addressing that right now, nor do I seek to lead the reality deprived elephants to water they think might be a government conspiracy of some sort or another. At some point we will have to address the tin hatters, but now is not the time or the place.
But we MUST be able to address President Obama’s shortcomings if we are to push for Progress, and in order to do that we must be able to criticise Obama and the Democratic party. The fact is Obama is making mistakes, and some of them are really, really bad mistakes. You know what those mistakes are, so I won’t go into specific details, but if we can’t call it a mistake and offer reality based criticism without being shouted out or called a troll by those on our own side who we need to work with in order to effect that change, we might as well give up on the whole Democratic process. This is not Hating the President, it is trying to improve the situation by calling out the problem.
At the same time, we must protect President Obama from the reality deficient criticism that says Obama = Bush or Hitler or socialism or fascism or death panels or whatever fevered nightmares lurk in the heart of his detractors, but we can not defend Obama from himself. It doesn’t help the President, and it does help his supporters either. Without reality based criticism there is nothing, NOTHING to stop Obama from making more mistakes, or repeating the blunders of his predecessors. Simply put, cheerleading doesn’t help. Yes, we should defend Obama and Democrats from reality deficient attacks, but we should NOT defend Obama and Demcorats from ALL criticism, for it is that very criticism which is the greatest incentive to not make poor decisions or mistakes in the first place.
Personally, I have many complaints about the job President Obama has done in his first year in office, bt I am glad to admit that there are many reasons Obama deserves praise. That is the thing, if you have nothing but praise for Obama you are NOT helping, and if you have nothing but criticism that doesn’t help either. Either extreme is not productive for progress. Of course, one side of the debate does not want progress, they hope he fails. At the same time, activists who have nothing but criticism make themseleves irrelevant to the debate, and quickly lose the interest of those who they seek to appeal to among the reality based left. Equally, those who have nothing but praise for President Obama and Democrats despite their obvious shortcomings are NOT living in a reality based world, they are living in a candy land America where everyone is either with us or against us, and that does not give them any more credibility than if they were on the other side of the debate holding an Obama = Hitler zombies from hell protest sign. There must be a middle ground, and that middle ground must be constructive criticism with progress as it’s goal, otherwise you can onl.y appeal to those who already agreed with you, and that gets you no where, and worse, it turns away from you people you might have been able to find common ground with.
Yesterday, I wrote a diary titled I demand PURITY!!!!!, and though it was more focused on the right’s search for ideological purity, it was intended to be critical of those of us on the left as well who would live in a “You’re with us or against us” kind of world. That approach simply DOES NOT WORK. Either extreme only appeals to those who already agree with you, and it makes you irrelevant to those who do not agree with you, even if you are right.
Strangely, there is a lesson to be learned from Joe LIEberman, of all people. That lesson is to keep yourself relevant to both sides of the debate. By being a Republican in his principles but a Democrat by choice of caucus Joe LIEberman keeps himself relevant to both sides despite his station as only 1 of 100 Senators. I am NOT offering praise for Joe LIEberman, I am simply making a point, which is this; there is no debate to be had with the right, they do not live in a reality based world, the only debate that can be had must come from the left, but if you are a guaranteed YES or NO you make yourself irrelevant and there is no reason to offer you anymore than the bare minimum.
In conclusion, if Progressives, Liberals, Moderates and Independants who agree with Democrats on the majoirty of the issues wish to be relevant to the Democratic process while Democrats are in power, they must be both for AND against President Obama and the Democratic Party. They must be able to praise AND criticise President Obama and the Democratic party if they wish to be able to influence the debate. If all you can do is praise and defend Obama you are NOT living in a reality based world, and you will become irrelevant to the process because you can be depended upon and thus require no more than what you will be offered, which you will surely accept without criticism. Similarly, if Obama can do no right in your eyes and has already failed, you might as well have a Obama = Hitler sign in your hand, because that is how seriously the people in power are going to take you. I do NOT mean to portray all criticism of President Obama as being anything other than reality based, nor do I wish to portray all praise that way. I simply mean to say that both must exist, in a reality based discussion, if we are to be relevant to the Democratic process.
If you want to live in a reality based world and be relevant to the process, you must be able to praise AND criticise the people in power. Doing only one makes you a cheerleader who can be dumped at a moments notice for the next best thing, doing only the other makes you irrelevant to the process, since you were against it anyway.
In a reality based world, sometimes things are good AND bad. That is how adults see the world, unless you were still waiting for your pony.
Also crossposted at The Progressive Electorate.com