I don’t know how else it say it, considering I’ve said it a thousand times. I want my country to stop killing innocent people. […] And the innocent people we kill the most, these days, are Muslim. And the policy of the Obama administration has expanded the zone in which we kill innocent Muslims, they have shown no interest in stopping killing innocent Muslims, and in fact their campaign constantly brags about the drone program which kills innocent Muslims. That’s just true. All of it is just true. Obama is directly responsible for the expansion of hostilities against Muslims targets which result in the death of people who have taken no violent action against the United States. Voting for him cannot, does not, and will not challenge that reality.
I would probably object at the margins but in general I agree with Freddie’s assessment of the Obama Administration and the death of innocent Muslims.
I don’t like the drone program, and I especially don’t like that the whole subject of the global war on terror goes essentially undiscussed. Romney’s non-discussion of war was no accident – it’s the product of the same political discomfort Democrats feel taken to its political extreme. The ugliness and waste of the war, and the death of innocents, is something that most politicians believe is a political dead end. So if there was some way to get a discussion of drones, and war in general, back into the political conversation, that would be the first step in changing the political reality Freddie decries. But the rest of Freddie’s piece, including part I cut from that quote, doesn’t get us there. It’s essentially a screed against a couple of liberal blogs and some imaginary kind of liberal, the nut of which is this:
This is the most elementary, most important point of all: there is no internal pressure for Democrats to reform, precisely because of people like Tbogg and the crew at LGM. Defenders of Obama lay down lines you can’t cross in every direction, shrinking the bounds of the responsible or the fair or the mature or the realistic or the pragmatic or the strategic… And then you look up and there is nothing for you to do. You become Paul Begala or you are a traitor. […]
LGM, TBogg and Balloon Juice commenters are not the reason that there’s no internal pressure to reform in DC. The reason is that Obama is the left extreme of acceptable DC conversation, for a wide variety of reasons most of which involve the DC culture’s perception of power. Speaking of power, in case you missed it, Democrats got pasted in the last election because they championed the healthcare law Republicans would have supported a decade ago. Here’s Freddie’s gloss on that:
Not that this will help them win. They’re Democrats, after all; they lose more than their share and then they making winning a kind of losing. It looks like Obama is going to win, and this will occasion another orgy of liberal self-congratulation and overconfidence. And then they will find that on issue after issue, they lose. They will lose on what the wonks consider “the serious issues,” the policy issues, the votes in Congress. But they will also lose in their broader goals of making the world a more just, equitable, and peaceful place, for the simple fact that they will mercilessly attack anyone who demands justice, equality, or peace. They will never ask themselves if their own behavior is in part to blame, the way that they make the logical extension of their own ideas into a matter of shame far worse than the revanchist conservatism they say they hate. This is the privilege of the people who anoint themselves the arbiters of responsible liberalism.
Freddie apparently sees Obamacare as a “loss” rather than an ideologically disappointing yet politically effective compromise. I see it as the latter, but if he doesn’t, perhaps a discussion of how he would have moved single-payer through the Senate as it was in 2009 would be worth having. And as for the sneering about self-congratulation after the Obama election: if you don’t understand why there was a great celebration over his victory, then you really don’t get the kind of hard work and sacrifice that led to his election, which means your political judgment is suspect, to say the least.
I really don’t know how to have a conversation with someone who has a view of politics that is out of contact with reality in a fairly fundamental way. The 2010 election was not the result of insufficient liberalism on the part of the Democratic Party. It was the direct result of a politically risky move to go all-in on Obamacare. Perhaps it was poor salesmanship of what should have been a popular reform that lost the 2010 election, but no matter: Democrats lost power, and the only way we get it back is to keep the White House, keep the Senate and get rid of the filibuster, and regain the House.
The “aribiters of conventional liberalism” look at the polls and see the reality that drones are not an issue that will win an election. A vast majority of the American people support drone warfare in the Middle East. Hell, a recent poll shows that an almost majority of Americans don’t care if the police use drones in our own country. Drones are not a politically relevant issue, and it wasn’t LGM, Balloon Juice commenters and TBogg who made that so. All of those not-liberal-enough-for-Freddie liberals will vote for Obama because he will harm fewer people in the United States and around the world than Mitt Romney. That seems obvious, and if you can write a post excoriating liberals without even mentioning Romney, which Freddie did, then you’re going to get some static, no matter what people feel about drones.