Sunday, August 16, 2009

Should The Ends Justify The Means?

Per my post yesterday about the lies of Sarah Palin and others concerning so-called "death panels" essentially killing the end-of-life provision in President Obama's health care reform legislation regular reader Truth101 left the following comment:

I've been a low level hack since I was 13 JBW. One recurring theme to winning elections in my view is that lies and distortion win more than they lose.

I can't go into it here but the ones I worked on that lost, most of them we ran positive campaigns.

I wouldn't lose any sleep if the DNC or Move On or something else decided to make the scumbags that lie about health care pay. Fighting the good fight isn't doing any good against these assholes. Losing this with dignity is not going to insure 47 million people without and the millions more that will be added as business decides it can't afford the expense.

I don't know how much experience you or your readers have with politicing and working elections. But this my friend is "nut cutting time."

I regret if I your opinion of me has been diminished.
First and foremost, let me say that I've known Truth101 online for some time now and despite his occasional lapses of decorum (you know of which I speak, amigo) I can say unequivocally that he's a real stand up guy. And I recognize the compulsion to fight dirty when dirty is the only way the other side will fight. Regardless, I have to say that this line of reasoning takes me down a road that I am somewhat loath to travel upon.

To address T101's query about my own political experience, I only made phone calls to voters in other states from my home on behalf of Barack Obama last year (in Northern California it seemed like it would do more good than walking precincts) but two years before that I was a paid staffer on a federal congressional campaign. The reason I bring it up now is because at one point the campaign manager (also a stand up guy, as far as I knew him personally) wanted to engage in some rather nefarious tactics against the Republican incumbent and trust me: This guy deserved it and much more. But my boss (we referred to him as a "boy scout" because he was so straight-laced) wouldn't have it. He felt that we should be able to win the fight based on the issues and their merits, and we ultimately did. I'm very proud to say that he's now my congressman, having been reelected last year and I couldn't wish for a better or more honest human being to be working within the House of Representatives on my behalf.

So I understand T101's compulsion to fight fire with fire, or dirt with dirt if you will. And I'm not so naive to think that the ends do not justify the means in certain cases. My real concerns arise when that philosophy becomes the working strategy for the majority of situations. Now, do I think that Obama and his Democratic cohorts should take the figurative gloves off and start ramming health care reform legislation through the House and Senate, regardless of Republican obstructionism? Absogoddamnlutely. This man was elected with what can only be described as a real mandate for change and if the opposition party can't accept that then I say steamroll over them and count the flattened corpses at your leisure. That's fucking democracy. We put up with it for eight long and agonizing years. It's time for the righteous side to chalk a few up in the win column.

But having said all that, do I think that we should use lies and deception to insure our side wins the debate, in essence scaring the American public into endorsing our vision? No, we don't need to and we should not. We've won two consecutive national elections, both rather decisively. We don't need to lie or obfuscate the truth to ram our legislation home, we just need to flex the legislative muscle we've built up over the last four years while also disregarding the whining and dithering of the political pussies we've picked up along the way. And yes, I said pussies. Every hemming and hawing Democrat, every Johnny-come-lately fiscally conservative Blue Dog, every spineless poll-following career politician on our side of the aisle needs to either throw down with the good of the American people or decide that they want to go it alone because there shouldn't be a third political option for these weasels.

Now I don't know if President Obama will follow the strategy I've just laid out. Aside from the fact that he rarely calls me for my advice, he seems like he genuinely cares about this whole "bipartisan" thing although I hope the last couple of months of rabid Republican obstructionism has at least somewhat cured him of that apparent weakness. It has also become glaringly obvious at this point that the political right in this country is not at all interested in any type of compromise whatsoever, and I am now of the opinion that we should no longer even give them the time of day as far as that's concerned. They've had ample chance to work things out in a civilized manner and the time for engaging in that course of action has long since passed.

I only hope that at the end of these proceedings we can still in some way come together as a unified and civil society. I've been on the losing end of the political policy debate before and I can say unequivocally that it definitely sucks mucho ass on a personal level, but that's the system we have and I still think that in the end it's a pretty damn good one. If the other side continues to fail to recognize this then I honestly don't know how we should proceed from this point but if selling our souls for a victory is the only way to ever win I have to say that I'm not sure how much longer I can continue to play this game. I'm all for the good of the American people but if this is how we're going to win the fight from now on I fear that the majority of good men will henceforth opt out of the political process altogether. It's sad but it's also unfortunately the truth.


JoeBama "Truth 101" Kelly said...

There are times you have to send the message that you will not take their shit. I never heard of Sarah Palin until she appeared on McCain's short list for VP. She may have been a nice person before. Don't know. But when she or her handlers have her saying lines like "Palling around with terrorists." Throwing the word "socialism" around. She needs to pay. Despite what the base of bigots, homophobes and idiots think of their hero, Sarah Palin, to the majority of us, she is a punchline for late night comedians.

I don't like this kind of politics. I hope my involvement is over and this is one of the reasons. But personal destruction works and it's easier and cheaper.

Leslie Parsley said...

"But personal destruction works and it's easier and cheaper."

Whoa, I hope I'm misinterpreting this. Granted her followers are loud and even thretaening but on the good side her polls are falling pretty drastically.

The media has contributed to the ugly behavior on the part of the lunatic fringe but I think they're beginning to show the error of their ways. Let's hope so anyway and let's hope it's not too late.

I don't know what to say about the Dems. They've been pretty spineless so far. I agree with a poster, either here or on Liberal Values, that its time for citizens to mount a counter offensive by writing letters, etc.

Truth 101, this contry has survived many crises - McCarthy and the assassination of John Kennedy to name just a couple. The despair the country felt after the shooting is akin to what we're feeling now.

These people are a serious threat to our way of life and should be dealt with accordingly. I've said it before, if it were the 60s they'd be tear gassed, cuffed, beaten with batons and hauled off to jail. Such actions now would probably stop all this crap because basically they are a bunch of cowards.

But back to you. This is of more concern to me. If you're saying what I think you are, and I so hope I'm wrong, this ain't the answer. We need you to fight the good fight and I, personally, enjoy reading your posts. Besides, you're only one of about four who visits my blog. I need you, guy. Keep writing us.

JBW said...

I understand your frustration T101 but Leslie's right: We can't let these people and their tactics scare us away from politics. It's too important.

And as I said in my post, I agree that sometimes the ends do justify the means but I do not think that this should be the way we always operate. Our ideas and arguments are better than that.