Wednesday, August 28, 2019

On Being a Partisan Democrat in the Age of Bernie

The Times of Israel
I was just reading about the plight of Maine Senator Susan Collins, running for her 5th term in the US Senate while dragging the heavy steamer-trunk baggage of her vote putting party-boy Brett Kavanaugh on the Supreme Court. I actually found myself feeling sympathy for her. I feel sympathy because she's a good person saddled with loyalty to her party (loyalty to the point of saying she'd still again vote for Mitch McConnell as her Majority Leader). 

I take some heat for loyalty to my party. I've been called "just another partisan Democrat" by conservatives, and that's the absolute truth. But I'm not a partisan hack. I break with the leaders when breaking's called for, like over principle -- I still have some -- or over political realities. Obama pissed me off more times that I can now remember, and there was plenty of evidence of that on this site. Obama was wrong -- or weak -- as Obamacare got hammered out. He was right and strong about many other things. 

I'm loyal to my party but not to the extreme of a Susan Collins, not to the point of putting a tookus lingus like McConnell in charge of the Senate or an arrogant prick like Kavanaugh on the Supremes.  

But because I purportedly act on principle at least some of the time, my failure to do it all the time -- that's where I take the most heat, especially from activists who declare "It's Bernie or Bust!" Because I voted for Bernie in the 2016 primaries and generally approve of his ideas, some of my closest friends assume that I should be supporting him for president in 2020 -- I'm not, nor am I yet supporting anyone. 2016 was then. This is now. New actors, new scenery, new plot.

I'm accosted daily that Biden -- not to mention every other Democratic presidential candidate whose name isn't Bernard Sanders -- is, and has always been, a conservative dupe about radical change, like every "moderate" who's fooled about what "moderation" really amounts to -- shoring up a corrupt status quo. Biden's a resister of real change because he's as indebted to the corporate masters as any Republican hack -- just like Hillary was -- which makes Joe Biden just another part of the problem not the solution. I'm warned daily that if the nominee is Biden, none of the Bernie supporters will follow that parade, nor will "the young people," and Trump will surely be reelected. 

About me, truth is if Biden is the nominee, I'll be working for him as hard as I ever worked for Hillary, or for Obama before her, because I'm a loyal Democrat (who incidentally believes that a broken clock would be better in the White House that what we have now, who isn't even right twice a day).

Loyalty means taking the not-pure on faith as something incrementally better than what we have. I have sympathy for those demanding purity of purpose as well as purity of personal history -- I've been there. I was young. I wouldn't compromise. I was an absolutist with fire in my eye. If any politician ever said anything wrong ever in his life, it meant I could hold it against him for the rest of his life.

I ain't quite like that any longer.

I'm not big on conspiracy theories, and I'm not big on purity. Clearly, some of the people running for president right now under the Democratic label are unacceptable to me, but they're not threats to anyone, really (unless national polling and big assumptions turn out to be totally and palm-facedly wrong). Any of the top current five or six, I could support and work for, though I'll be a lot more rattled and nervous if it's Biden.

He's too old, and now his fumbles with language seem like the fumbles of old age and advancing superannuation. He looks obsolete, especially when he starts defending Obamacare. Who wants to hear that? Not in an age of other, more interesting health-care proposals.

Biden's a good man (just like Susan Collins is a good woman). I've always liked him, his working-class pimples and warts, his straight-arm counter-punches, even when some of them go wide. He's got a good heart, and I care about heart.

But Generations Y and Z don’t really know him that way. They were teenagers, or younger, when he was vice president -- which just makes him some vague appendage to the big man Obama, about whom they remember much more (and virtually none of it negatively, like I do).

1 comment:

Unknown said...

I guess I would feel better about Bernie if he didn't become a Democrat when the presidential election rolls around and then go back to his independent status in the Senate. I would no doubt work on his behalf if he were the nominee but really dislike the notion that his supporters are all or nothing folks. Moreover, if we go that far left, I'd rather it be Warren. She doesn't come off as always being angry. Frankly, the most interesting candidate in the race is Buttigieg.