So much so that even Josh Feit at the Stranger has weighed in, noting the hypocrisy of poo-pooing results in West Virginia while cheering events in Mississippi…
Yeah… thing is… I never poo-pooed the results in West Virginia, because it never occurred to me that a Democratic primary there might say anything about a partisan, Congressional runoff in Mississippi. See, one was a contest between two Democrats, and the other a race between a Republican and a Democrat. So what’s your point?
But Eric continues…
An even more important take-away is that Democrats are winning in red districts by running conservative candidates… So, celebrate away, Democratic friends. Just don’t pretend this is some great advance for liberalism. It’s a reminder that the GOP brand name is in sorry shape, not that these red district Democrats are simpatico with urban liberals.
Huh. I keep re-reading that post of mine that Eric linked to, and for the life of me I can’t see where I made any reference at all to the triumph of liberalism. Perhaps it’s between the lines?
See, the mistake Eric makes is believing his own bullshit about the wide-eyed, radical “nutroots.” I know it must be comforting to believe that liberal bloggers like me are all batshit crazy, but it doesn’t do his side any good to have such an inaccurate psychological profile.
In fact, we are for the most part strikingly pragmatic. I’m perfectly happy to have Southern Democrats like Travis Childers and Heath Schuler in Congress, if that’s the best we can do in those districts, and I could really care less if Dems in Mississippi host NRA barbecues as long as voters in urban districts have the right to place sensible local restrictions on the sale and ownership of the kind of handguns and other weapons most commonly used in violent crimes.
The netroots strategy is also a lot more subtle than Eric or his legacy media counterparts give us credit for, as illustrated by a neat bit of analysis today from Matt Stoller:
Finally the GI bill passed with overwhelming margin of 256 votes in the House, including 32 Republicans. It included a war surtax of one half of one percent on people making over $500k a year to pay for the GI bill, at the behest of Blue Dogs. This might actually be the most remarkable piece of the votes today; conservative Democrats agreeing to raise taxes on the wealthy to pay for educational benefits for veterans. Bill Foster and Don Cazayoux both voted well on the new GI Bill and on the Responsible Plan bill with timelines, but were ‘yes’ votes on war funding. So yes, they are conservative, and I expect Childers to be conservative as well. Still, the MS-01, the IL-14 special election result, and the LA-06 special election result – all red seats picked off by Democrats – are devastating Republican discipline in the House.
This war is going to end because it is politically unsustainable. The Senate is going to add the funding back in and the House will make sure the money goes to the war, but recognize how big a deal this is. The Republicans in the House and the Senate are going to utterly collapse this fall, and Democrats will have a mandate to end the war. It’s something Obama has promised to do, and now the political logic there is undeniable.
Sure, I’d love for voters in Mississippi and Louisiana and West Virginia to self-identify as liberals (hell, they already agree with us on almost every major policy issue) but I’m more than happy if they merely call themselves “Democrats.” The purpose of politics is to seize, maintain and exercise power—that’s how we’ll get a progressive domestic agenda enacted, and that’s how we’ll end this goddamn war in Iraq—and we can’t do this without holding a comfortable majority in Congress. And that’s what my gloating over the GOP’s ass-whupping in MS-01 is all about.
Not that recent Democratic victories are entirely devoid of ideology. Eric got one thing right, “the GOP brand name is in sorry shape.” And it’s going to continue to stay that way as long as Republicans like Eric continue to deny that their sullied brand has anything to do with their party’s legacy of failed, ideologically driven policies.
Talk about a loss of perspective.