Look, I get it.
Many of the people who read this blog, as well as many “progressives” who would never read ths blog because I’m not “progressive enough,” think they’re passionate because they choose stupid shit to support, often over and above everything else. Most of the time, their “passion” comes in support of something I share the same interest in. However, The difference between us is, I know that, in addition to wanting something to happen really, really badly, I should also advocate for a strategy to make that happen.
This is the defect that most Bernie Stans have. They are so enamored with everything Bernie Sanders SAYS, it doesn’t even cross their minds that their hero has no strategy to make any of it happen. For example, the issue with higher learning is that colleges cost too much and require massive amounts of debt to get a degree that everyone MUST have to make a living and pay their taxes, so that we can build a great country. “Free College tuition” solves one of those problems, in theory, but it ignores the rest of them. And make no mistake, there are several problems in the above that must be solved. Also, you’ll note there is no “Plan B” in “free college.” Any good strategy for getting something done must have a “Plan B,” because politics is the art of compromise, and “My Way or the Highway” is a formula for disaster.
This is happening this morning, as Democratic Senator Joe Donnelly of Indiana announced his support of Gina Haspel to lead the CIA. Immediately, the freak-outs started, as if “Freak-out” was an effective political tactic. (It’s not.) In my Twitter feed (@miltshook, if you’re interested), there have already been a number of declarations that “both parties are the same” and calls of “traitor” to Joe Donnelly, as if every Democrat must comply with the professional left’s definition of “progressive.” It’s ridiculous, but it has become de rigeur on the part of certain types on the left these days.
Look; I can say, I would never support Gina Haspel for CIA Director, ever. However, I would also not live in most of Indiana, let alone represent them. (The Michiana potion around South Bend is the exception). I was lucky, I suppose; I grew up in heavily Democratic Maryland, and even times when I lived in Arizona, I have lived in Tucson, which is something of a blue oasis in this heavily reddish-purple state. If I had grown up in Indiana. I might have turned out differently. And make no mistake; if I was elected to represent the state in the Senate, I would be beholden to THEM, not the professional left.
Besides, the professional left hold as much responsibility for our current government as anyone. They spent two years thinking the best way to support Bernie was to attack Hillary Clinton mercilessly, which had as much a hand in electing Donald Trump as anything the Russians did. In fact, in an election that was decided by about 88,000 votes in 3 key states, anything could have made the difference. And since Trump is playing “president,” he is the one who nominated Haspel. While I don’t believe these, there are rational reasons for supporting Haspel’s nomination. For one thing, as head of the CIA, she will be under greater scrutiny than she was previously, so it will be easier to hold her accountable should there actually be any torture on her watch. For another, many politicians believe that every president should have the autonomy to choose who runs agencies on their watch, and a block of Gina Haspel now could lead to a greater likelihood of a block of a much better appointment under the next Democratic president, which is not as far off as you think.
There is also the possibility of Lord Donny being hoisted by his own petard. His wholehearted support of torture, which violates the Geneva Conventions and many treaties we have signed, could very well be another in the long list of impeachable offenses that tears his ass out of office.
Like I said, I get it. I don’t want Gina Haspel to be CIA Director, either. I think it’s offensive that she was even nominated and I wish the Senate would just reject her altogether. However, if this is the hill you have chosen to die on, you need to reset your priorities. Even if we managed to win this one, what would we gain? Whomever Trump chose to replace her would be as pro-torture as he is. And like I said, he’s very much pro-torture, so all of our efforts should be on dulling his influence. That means making sure Democrats take over the House and Senate and making sure Democrats win every election at every level going forward. If we lose the Gina Haspel nomination, we still have a lot of winning to do going forward.
Also published on Medium.