PPI vs. Kos?
Posted by Shadi Hamid
I'm not going to rehash the discussion regarding the ongoing "divide" between the DailyKos "wing" of the Democratic party and the DLC "wing" (for a taste, see here and here). However, I must say that I find the divide, whether real or perceived, somewhat baffling. I don't know, but maybe I'm one of the few people left on the planet who likes both Kos and the DLC (yes, simultaneously). I don’t see why the two camps have to be mutually exclusive.
I like Will Marshall, Mark Ribbing, and feel they’re doing some important work. (Full disclosure: I recently wrote a policy report for PPI). But I also like the Kossacks because they want to stand up to Republicans and fight fire with fire. They understand that the Republicans have, it seems, done all they can to destroy our country and shred our constitution, and they’re sick of Democrats backing down and taking it. Well, good for them. I'm sick of it too. (For example, we should be absolutely engraged that congressional Democrats allowed the recent Bush wiretapping bill to pass. It was nothing less than a surrender, and represented the worst political instincts of the Democratic party. We should not play politics with our constitution, but that's precisely what we did.)
In my more angry states, I sometimes wonder, like the Kossacks do, if Dick Cheney and Karl Rove are toeing the line between "bad" and "worse than bad" rather precariously. In my view, the word "evil" should be employed sparingly, if at all. It's poisonous to our political discourse, so I have no intention of going there. But let me also say that when I saw Rove speak in person, I came out genuinely frightened. It was one of the most chilling political experiences I can remember. And then I started watching clips of Cheney on youtube, and thought to myself: it's not just that I disagree with this guy - I honestly feel that he's a genuinely bad person, and that he's actively undermining our constitution, and, by extension, the very founding ideals of this country.
In an ideal world, I wouldn’t want to be too partisan, but, for reasons beyond my control, I am a product of partisan battles. I have seen what Republicans have done to this country in recent years, and I believe that we must fight back. But, at the same time, I also believe that there is a real war on terrorism (lowercase), and that there is a generational struggle ahead of us that requires that America remain the preeminent power in the world, and that we use our power (non-military, please) to promote the ideas and ideals that we hold dear. These two strands of thinking, if anything, go together. To put it more simply, there is a way to be both "tough" on the Republican party, and "tough" on national security.