This Might Be Why You Say Dumb Things

by Brien Jackson

At the risk of delving too far back into the realm of criticizing the netroots, I’ve made the point before that I think a lot of netroot progressives thrive on feeling scorned by the Democratic Party, to the point that they need such a feeling, both professionally and personally. And this little missive from Chris Bowers might illustrate that better than anything I’ve ever seen:

So, here is how I understand things:

  1. We get no new votes on legislation from Specter
  2. Democrats are given no opportunity to challenge Specter in either the primary or general election, thereby locking all of his bad votes into place even though he is in a blue state.

So, we not only get no new votes, but we lose the ability to challenge those votes. Apart from the image of total Republican fail, this isn’t a good thing at all. Not only do we have to deal with Specter’s voting record, which is worse than any other Democrat in the entire Senate, but we are denied the opportunity to even challenge him.

This is so absurd, I almost can’t imagine that even Bowers actually believes it. I realize the netroots isn’t big on Harry Reid, and that Bowers was a frequent critic of Barack Obama’s political strategy, but even granting that, surely Bowers realizes that you don’t get to be the leader of the largest Democratic Senate caucus since the late 1970’s, or elected President of the United States when your middle name is “Hussein,” by being as naive about politics as Bowers seems to think the Democratic leadership must be.

Let’s game this out a little bit. What Bowers is basically saying is that Harry Reid and Barack Obama were looking at a Republican Senator who was in a tough spot in his own party, and was holding a seat that Democrats would likely pick up in 2010 anyway, and decided to offer that Senator a very generous offer to join the Democratic Party in exchange for absolutely nothing. That’s just a cartoonishly caricatured level to take the netroot loathing of Harry Reid, and Bowers’s dislike of Obama too. It’s just unspeakably absurd. Did they”promise” Specter that they would try to dissuade challengers from running against him in the primary? Perhaps, but if that’s the best Specter got, netrooters ought to be thrilled, given that there’s no way for them to actually back that promise up. Ed Rendell can’t, in fact, prevent anyone from running against Specter, even someone of high profile in the state. They can support Specter, obviously, but if the next year sees Specter take positions and cast votes that are unalatable to the median Democratic primary voter, it’s going to be very hard for even Ed Rendell to deliver a primary victory to someone who just joined the party after 40+ years in the GOP.

To be as gentle as I can, Chris Bowers needs to grow up.

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