Phoenix Woman Gets It Right On The ‘Purity Obsession’

Phoenix Woman expresses exactly what many of us on the (formerly) Democratic left wing have experienced from self-proclaimed “sensible” or “centrist” Democrats:

Recently, in a Twitter discussion with a normally-sensible person, the topic of Obama vs. the Progs came up, and the first thing Normally-Sensible Person did was to start yammering about the alleged progressive obsession with “purity”, when in fact the discussion wasn’t about purity (whatever that is nowadays) at all.

It occurs to me that in fact the self-styled sensible types are not arguing against “purity” but the progressives’ right to exist, much less speak out. …

The Sensible Centrists, not the progressives, are the ones who truly cannot tolerate any deviation from what they consider the norm, which as practiced by the controlling corporate-based wing of the Democrats is the slow strangulation of Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, the VA, and pretty much everything else good that came of the New Deal and the Great Society. Torture and rendition and murder are apparently just fine when done under the watch of a Democrat, …

I regret to say that I have experienced this excoriating damnation by “sensible centrists” mostly on sites like Talking Points Memo, where the commenters seem mostly to be those self-advertised centrists. Many of them are young adults who seem not to know a damned thing about the history of the Democratic Party either in the FDR era or more recently after the departure of the Dixiecrats. There was a time in which a Democrat was expected to express liberal views. Now, apparently, a Democrat is expected not to express such views, tradition be damned. So those liberals in the Democratic Party who labor under the term “progressive” as at best an inadequate expression and at worst a burden are labeled with derogatory names (“Firebaggers” by analogy with “Teabaggers”) and rudely invited to absent themselves from “serious” discussion: we aren’t serious because we aren’t centrist.

Excuse me, but fuck that shit. I have absented myself from the party instead.

TPM remains on the blogroll because it is a useful news site that I am reluctant to give up. But I don’t frequent the comment threads anymore, or only very selectively. There is no forgiveness there of any departure from conservative Democratic orthodoxy. If you are an Old Democrat who feels no one in Washington represents you in these troubled times, you are not welcome there. Based on Obama’s advisers’ remarks, they are just fine with this sort of schism in the party; they are confident we all will vote for him in 2012 for lack of any other suitable presidential candidate.

I regret to inform them that I was once part of the base of the Democratic Party, and having been shamed and sent away along with my principles, I will vote for whomever I damned well want to… and it won’t be Obama.

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  • MandT  On Saturday September 10, 2011 at 5:35 pm

    Ours is a similar experience, but you were ahead of the curve. I think there are millions of us, however, who will punish Democrats in local and State elections. I feel the same about TPM and also over at Hullabaloo, where I have been called a troll for criticizing obama. What did I say wrong? oh, it must have been the O’Bozo remark. These days I enjoy the America blog.

    • Steve  On Saturday September 10, 2011 at 5:46 pm

      MandT, ironically, I tend to support local and state Democrats on an individual basis, voting for those that are the best in a given race rather than because of their party. I feel free to omit as many individual Democratic candidates as I like. (I never have the least temptation to vote for a Republican; all their candidates suck.) And as of the past year or two, I have unapologetically absolved myself of any bad consequences as long as (a) I vote, and (b) I vote my conscience. These days, that’s all I require of myself.

  • Carlos  On Sunday September 11, 2011 at 11:50 am

    I have to agree with you and Ted Rall, there is no point in voting for Obama again because that would be a vote for continuing to do the same thing which is basically to continue George W. policies. I’m going to write in Bernie Sanders just for fun. I live in Idaho which will never vote in a Democrate for President any way but will vote for lesser Democrates if there is one available. Many offices here only have one candidate which is a Republican.

    • Steve  On Sunday September 11, 2011 at 1:43 pm

      Welcome, Carlos!

      I have no idea who I will vote for in 2012 for president. It will not be Obama. It will not be any Republican. Bernie Sanders is a hero of mine, but he’s made it clear he isn’t running for president, and at his age, I think he knows his own mind. I do wish I could find a suitable candidate, but so far, I’ve had no luck.

  • Madeleine Begun Kane  On Tuesday September 13, 2011 at 1:27 am

    Excellent post! I agree with you completely. I’d add, though, that I detected this intolerance back during the Obama versus Hillary primary. Back then, anyone who dared favor Hillary over Obama (as I did) was treated with contempt.

    As for Obama, I have a new routine whenever I get an email from his campaign. I reply with this:

    Limerick Ode To A Failed Presidency
    By Madeleine Begun Kane

    Dear Obama, I’ve had it — you’ve failed.
    It was time to be strong, but you bailed.
    The Dems needed “bold.”
    But instead you got rolled.
    You’ve undermined all that we hailed.

    • Steve  On Tuesday September 13, 2011 at 8:53 am

      Great limerick, Mad, one of your best among many fine ones. I, too, supported Hillary and reluctantly switched to Obama when he won the primary. But after the treatment I’ve received, I shall not vote for him next year. The Obama wing of the Democratic Party has made it clear that it doesn’t want me or need me… fine; good riddance to Obama & Co.

  • Madeleine Begun Kane  On Tuesday September 13, 2011 at 1:35 pm

    Thanks, Steve! Yours is a very understandable viewpoint! I’m not sure about voting yet — have to see the choices. But he sure won’t get a dime or any help from me this time around.

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