Seriously, Folks? “Progressive” Kos Wants GOP Teabagger to Win?

The neocons have held a disproportionate share of the government and basically have run things for the last 32 years now.

When do we progressives get tired of that?

When do progressives, as a whole, stop listening to the professional left, and realize that most of these people know exactly nothing about how politics works? I’m getting really sick of these people saying things that demonstrate a complete numbness as to how politics actually works.

Politics itself is NOT ideological. If you think it is, then you need to learn the difference between ideology and politics. While our ideology (and common sense) tells us we need to wean the country off fossil fuels, politics delineates the strategy by which you actually wean the country from fossil fuels. Our professional left understands ideology really well, and they know how to press lefty buttons so that you’ll keep reading them and giving them money. But very few of them understand politics.

One of the latest examples of this is a short piece written by Markos Moulitsas on his “Daily Kos” blog. Check out the title:

Why I want Bob Kerrey to lose

Yes, you read that right. A prominent liberal, who spends a lot of time on television, parading as an expert on politics and its workings, wants the Democrats to lose a potentially crucial Senate seat because he doesn’t like one candidate running for Senate. Not only does this smack of something of a “purity test” that is better suited to the right wing; it also demonstrates a lack of understanding of the political system that is absolutely breathtaking for a guy who is regularly paraded as an "expert.".

It should surprise no one that Kos used to be a Republican, because he obviously still thinks like one.

He starts off by citing a paragraph from a piece from last weekend’s New York Times Magazine about Kerrey’s latest candidacy for the Senate:

Kerrey is adamant about enacting a bipartisan debt-reduction deal like the one the [Gang of Six] has proposed. When I asked him why he thought he could achieve what others have failed, he said, “I’ve actually given this a fair amount of thought,” and then he let me in on his theory of success. “It’s got to be somewhat larger. You’ve got to get it to the 10-, 12-senator range. At that point, you can start to have an impact. ”

Okay, not the most progressive thing in the world, I admit. Or is it? You'll note that the "Gang of Six" was quite useful, in that it made crystal clear that Republicans couldn't care less about deficits. But even assuming that the above is a conservative thing to say, one must remember that the man is running for Senate in NEBRASKA. 

Apparently, Kos doesn’t understand that, because this is his response. I apologize for reprinting the entire post, bu it's really short. 

Given the choice between a "Democrat" that will lend a bipartisan veneer to efforts to dismantle Social Security—the most popular and successful government program in American history—and a Republican that simply reinforces GOP efforts to do so, I'll take the Republican. Easy. Any day of the week.

It's not as if we're losing a voice in the Senate. The seat belongs to outgoing right-wing Democrat Ben Nelson.

The only benefit to Kerrey's candidacy is the millions that the GOP, Karl Rove and the rest of their allies will spend to (inevitably) defeat him. That's money that won't be available to dump on real Democrats like Elizabeth Warren, Sherrod Brown or Tammy Baldwin.

Wow, no wonder this post was so short; there’s no way to support any of this.

Kerrey’s a Nebraska Democrat. He can’t win a statewide race by running as a full on progressive, at  least, not now. We have to do some groundwork if we’re going to turn Nebraska blue. It'll take a lot of grassroots organizing and a long, positive campaign to instill progressive values on the population as a whole. IOW, you have to convince about 10-15% more Nebraskans that our way is right, if you don’t want Ben Nelsons to keep winning there.

Also, Ben Nelson is NOT right wing. Mitch McConnell is right wing. Rick Santorum is right wing. Ben Nelson is a conservative, and there is a profound difference. Nelson has never voted against cloture, has never cast the deciding vote on an important bill, and he voted with Democrats more than 80% of the time. And he did have to grandstand a bit to keep his seat blue.

And I hate to break it to Kos, but there are no individual “voices” in the Senate. Or the House, for that matter.  The Senate operates as a body of 100 Senators, not as a series of 100 individuals. And since bills can’t pass without a majority (these days a majority of 60), the majority party  gets to make policy. No single Senator can do anything on his or her own; they need 59 others to agree. Therefore, it doesn’t matter what Kerrey says he wants, just as it didn’t matter what Nelson demanded. Unless a majority goes along with it, what they want will never happen. In other words, Bob Kerrey's voice won't matter on its own. But it would help keep Democrats in charge of the Senate, which one should take on great importance at this point in time.

But, just for the hell of it, let’s imagine Kos is right, that individual voices in the Senate DO matter. He's advocating for a teabagger over Kerrey. In what way does replacing Ben Nelson with a teabagger a progressive strategy? Basically, if Kos’ wish came true, Ben Nelson would be replaced by Deb Fischer. Here is her record, from her very own website. Please explain to the class exactly how rooting for this teabagging loon over Bob Kerrey would be a net plus for the progressive movement?

How can we call these people “progressive” when they advocate for the least progressive candidate to win on a regular basis? When the choice is between a conservative-leaning Democrat and a right wing loon, how does a real progressive come down in favor of the right wing loon? 

Why do we listen to former Republicans tell those of us who have been progressive since we were kids, when they tell us how a progressive should think? Even if he’s not purposely undermining the progressive movement, an article such as this does exactly that.

These people are always on about messaging. What the hell kind of message is our professional left sending, when they are actually advocating in favor of a teabagger. And if he claims he's not doing that, then he doesn't know how messaging works, either. 

This year, because of the 2006 election that swung control of the Senate to Democrats, there are 23 Democratic seats up for grabs (including Bernie Sanders and Joe Lieberman), while only 10 Republicans face election. Since Democrats only have 53 seats right now, the odds are actually against the Democrats keeping the Senate. If they lose net four seats, Miss McConnell would become Majority Leader, all of the committee chairs would become Republicans, and would have Republican majorities. Basically, if Kerrey loses, there is a chance that other Democrats, including the three he lionizes above, would have no power to do anything. For anyone to think there is anything to gain from having Warren, Brown and Baldwin in the Senate minority is just ludicrous. Is that why we want those progressives to win? So that they can lead filibusters against Republican lunacy? That’s not very progressive. 

Wishing Bob Kerrey loses is about as NON-progressive as it gets, folks. And this is why we lose. Our highest-profile professional lefties are ex-Republicans who claim their "politics" has changed, but they retain a right wing mentality. They can only think in ideological terms, and have no clue how politics actually works.

If you don't want Kerrey to win in a landslide, you're NOT a progressive.