Where Did My Tent Go?
I’m all for Party unity, but as I’ve said before, unity requires compromise from both sides. As I see it, the Democratic Party has moved too far to the right that has resulted in a blurring of the lines and contributed to the idea that there isn’t much difference between the two Parties. We, of course, have learned over the last five years that there are very real differences, but that doesn’t negate the fact that the center has been artificially moved to the right. With Democrats poised to make some serious gains in November, it is more important that ever that we work together to make that happen, but it is also critical that we force the center back to the center again.
Targeting Democratic Senators and Representatives that have conservative views that are out of step with the American people and way out of step with the Democratic Party, is a good thing. Sure, it’s better to have Joe Leiberman in the Senate than a moderate Republican, but targeting him in the Primary is exactly what needs to be done. If it’s possible to replace a DINO with a progressive, we should do that, but there’s another reason to vote for Primary challengers to less than satisfactory incumbents. It may very well pull those incumbents back to the center and give them the courage to speak the truth and cast votes out of conviction rather than fear.
The liberals on the left are not trying to divide the Party, we are trying to strengthen it. We are not going to shoot ourselves in the foot by voting for third party candidates that will result in Republican wins. Some will, but more and more of us are choosing to make our Party better rather than abandon it all together. We are taking the advice that our grandmothers gave us, “if you don’t like it, change it,” and the Primaries are the perfect place to do that.
Just because I would like to Leiberman’s seat go to a more progressive candidate (that would better represent Connecticut voters, by the way) doesn’t mean that I am any less committed to a Democratic majority in the Senate than those continuing to prop Senator Leiberman up. We all want the same thing. It’s just that many of us in the left wing of the Party happen to think that Leiberman will be a hindrance to any meaningful investigation into Bush administration misdeeds while his challenger, Ned Lamont, would be of great help. We are looking past the election and are greatly concerned about what will happen once it comes time to govern. So far, the Democrats in Congress have been unwilling to unite and be even a small speed bump on this President’s road to complete and unfettered power, and it is the DINOs, the triangulators and the fearful moderates who most often fail to act in “unity” with the rest of the Party, making them a problem that must be solved.
I believe a “big tent” is what the Democratic Party should be, and I do believe that there is room for all points of view. It’s okay to not agree on abortion, gun control and gay marriage, but there must be a cohesive underlying set of principles that guide our Party and make it easy for us to come to consensus on the other important issues. That is all we are looking for. Liberals haven’t moved, but the tent has and we’re tired of standing on the outside. And rather than join the Party in its current location, on the rocky slope to our right, we’re using our muscle to move the tent back to where it used to be, just a little to the left, in the nice green plain where we can put down roots and grow. It’s nicer over here, plus, it’s where most Americans are making their way. It would be a shame to erect a new tent when the one we have is big enough, just in the wrong place.