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Cowardice would imply they wanted to do something different, knew it to be the right thing, and yet voted against their own principles.  That seems hard to believe. One can see, for example, that Carl Levin from MI continues to push for military detention of civilians - even against the wishes of the Obama administration. More accurately, many Democratic party representatives are supporters of the national security state and happy to support their local corporate oligarchs. And the people who do vote tend to agree with them.

A habit I'm trying to cure myself of is the "left" habit of considering it "betrayal" or "cowardice" or some other similar sin when politicians act in accordance with their political interests/programs.

by rootless2 on Sun Nov 20th, 2011 at 02:27:44 PM EST
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I did not state nor do not make the assumption that Senators have principles over and above seeking power and seeking to maintain power.

"Avowed" principles are what they say. Whether their avowed principles are in line with any deeply held personal convictions ~ well, I do not believe that we have any reliable means to determine what they actually believe, and a term which cannot be identified with an empirical observable is pragmatically irrelevant to the issue at hand.

The language of "cowardice" only assumes that they believe that they face greater risks of being punished from moving from center right positions to centrist positions than they do in moving from center right positions to further right positions. Or, in rare cases, greater risks of being punished from moving from centrist to center-left positions than they do in moving from centrist to center right positions.

Of course, under universal LOTE voting by the left, that belief is warranted so long as there the rival party of government is always even further right than they are.


I've been accused of being a Marxist, yet while Harpo's my favourite, it's Groucho I'm always quoting. Odd, that.

by BruceMcF (agila61 at netscape dot net) on Sun Nov 20th, 2011 at 02:49:28 PM EST
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The problem with "craven" is that it distracts from issues of power politics to issues of celebrity character. The leadership of PSOE may well be craven, the leadership of the British Labor party might be corrupt, but the forces governing their decisions are economic, geopolitical and sociological. No? Railing about the perceived character flaws of political figures seems a distraction.

And it's peculiar to me how focused on national politics the "left" has become. Why are there not left wing mayors and regional/local officials making the case for radical politics in most western nations? It's quite interesting to see how much of an effect Laguardia had on New Deal politics - the populist mayor of a big city with a huge media presence.

by rootless2 on Sun Nov 20th, 2011 at 04:34:22 PM EST
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Just to add, this is why Greens in France recently, DLinke in Germany, Working Families in NYState and others are so interesting.
by rootless2 on Sun Nov 20th, 2011 at 04:35:11 PM EST
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Its your decision to view it as railing at character flaws, as that's not what I was doing.

I understand that that reading is more convenient for your argument, since pigeonholing what I said into a category for which you have an already established argument allows you to soapbox rather than discuss.

And while economic, geopolitical and sociological constraints determine the present terrain within with individual and community action takes place, it would be a quaintly 20th century approach to presume that they strictly determine the outcome, and to ignore the role of individual and community action in reproducing those constraints, and in so doing, shifting the boundaries of what is possible.

Take the US 2000 election, for example ~ the then members of the Green Party have every right to be upset at the strategic blunder from a Green Part perspective that Nader made in focusing his attention on swing states, when the tweedle dee and tweedle dum argument could have been made with far stronger total electoral effect for the growth of the Green Party if taken to the taken for granted states instead.


I've been accused of being a Marxist, yet while Harpo's my favourite, it's Groucho I'm always quoting. Odd, that.

by BruceMcF (agila61 at netscape dot net) on Mon Nov 21st, 2011 at 12:04:25 AM EST
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rootless2:
Why are there not left wing mayors and regional/local officials making the case for radical politics in most western nations?

Because the big conservative or the big socialist or liberal (depending on country) usually wins those seats too. But, in Europe it is more common to find small parties of any color locally then nationally, for the simple reason that it takes a smaller critical mass to gain local seats. And any party that is represented nationally is likely to be represented locally too. So I am at loss why you seem to argue that there is anything special in this regard with the french Greens or Die Linke in Germany.

Sweden's finest (and perhaps only) collaborative, leftist e-newspaper Synapze.se

by A swedish kind of death on Mon Nov 21st, 2011 at 07:04:02 AM EST
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