Mistermix at least attempted a response. But he ignored important issues of considerable substance: he ignored the fact that (and it is a bare fact) many in his community at Balloon Juice and the larger progressive world hate left-wing critics more than conservative Republicans, and this has serious consequences for our politics. He ignore my suggestion that, taking the “if you don’t support Democrat you support Republican!” thinking to its extreme limits, it asks you to support any reprehensible candidate whatsoever as long as the other guy is worse. Would Mistermix vote for Zell Miller, if the alternative were, say, Todd Akin? And would he be similarly angered by criticism of Miller as he is towards that of Obama? He doesn’t say. Nor does he address the issue of drones in anything like a substantive way. Like many of my critics, he addresses the drone killings by waving them away: I don’t like drones, but…. My purpose is exactly to make people stop changing the conversation and focus on the actual issue. I believe that the refusal to do so reveals that the continued support of Obama’s foreign policy is predicated on emptiness. More than anything, he has failed to articulate what I am supposed to do, given that these issues for me are truly non-negotiable. If people don’t want to engage with me personally, then fine, think of it as a hypothetical: what is someone who has a profound and unyielding opposition to our violence against the Muslim world supposed to do? If just getting over it is not an option, what are people supposed to do?
As I said in the piece, it’s not commenters on Balloon Juice who are keeping the drone discussion buried in the media and off the political agenda. Freddie can feel aggrieved all he wishes about the criticism that he gets, but being criticized on a few blogs isn’t being silenced, and Freddie gets all kind of attention (example) that commenters here don’t, so there’s nothing being said at the small indy blogs he mentions that’s keeping him out of the conversation. Freddie’s argument isn’t going over well, so maybe he needs to work harder on convincing us, not bitching about some perceived lack of true progressivism.
Freddie can attribute any position to me that he wants, but the silly Zell Miller/”Democrats über alles” position is his attempt to muddy a clear choice between a decent Democrat like Obama and a really retrograde Republican like Romney. Betty Cracker and Noam Chomsky are right: in a swing state, there’s no other choice. Politics is not morality, and each political decision is made based on how that choice will advance the voter’s core principles, however imperfectly. The choice is often between the lesser of two evils. I didn’t make that reality, I’m just pointing it out.
Finally, what are people supposed to do? Pick something politically achievable on the path towards military disengagement from the Middle East. Here’s one: advocate an accelerated withdrawal from Afghanistan. Does anyone doubt that a hell of a lot fewer innocents would be killed if there was no standing army in the region? As a political proposition, it’s probably achievable. Write your Congressman.
Update: I didn’t mean “write your Congressman and shut up” as jayackroyd took it. I meant that here’s something that if you write your Congressman, and advocate in other ways, would get some political traction and perhaps lead to positive change.