The Local Crank

Musings & Sardonic Commentary on Politics, Religion, Culture & Native American Issues. Bringing you the finest in radioactive screeds since 2002! "The Local Crank" newspaper column is distributed by Community Newspaper Holdings, Inc.

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Location: Cleburne, Texas, United States

Just a simple Cherokee trial lawyer, Barkman has been forcing his opinions on others in print since, for reasons that passeth understanding, he was an unsuccessful candidate for state representative in 2002. His philosophy: "If people had wanted me to be nice, they should've voted for me."

Saturday, July 14, 2007

Wherein I Piss Off Liberals

See comments...


UPDATE: Creek Running North makes an excellent point that made me realize that I need to clarify my position. My problem is not with liberals who insist on supporting candidates that I find, frankly, to be pretty ludicrous. No, my problem is with liberals who either a) don't participate in electoral politics at all, content to sit in the cheap seats and chuck tomatoes; or b) cannot seem to grasp that the only point of an election is to WIN. It's not to "make a point"; it's not to "stimulate debate"; it's not to "take a stand." It's to pound the living crap out of the other guy. And to do that, inevitably, you're gonna have to support candidates who don't agree with you 100%. There's just no way around that. If you'd rather be right than win, stick to blogging. Ideological puritanism has no place in electoral politics, especially American electoral politics which are specifically Constitutionally rigged to require compromise. Could Abraham Lincoln have run on an explicitly abolitionist platform in 1860? Sure he could've; and he would've lost, and slavery would have stuck around for another generation (or more). Could FDR have run on a flat-out, anti-fascist platform in 1940? Sure, and he would've lost and Europe would likely still be run by the Nazis. Could JFK have run on a Civil Rights plank in 1960? Yep, and he would've lost (to, God help us, Nixon) and there would've been no Civil Rights Act of 1964, and no Voting Rights Act of 1965. Politics, to quote from Evita, is the "art of the possible." Sometimes, events come together in such a way that the IMpossible can be achieved, but your candidate has to first be in office to take advantage of it. Winners make history; losers whine about history.

UPDATE 2: Xanthippus sent this, which more or less tracks my views on the subject.

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13 Comments:

Blogger Eric said...

Watching Gravel in the "debates" made me want to volunteer to run for senator in Alaska. Seems they're not too picky up there.

7/14/2007 10:25 PM  
Blogger The Local Crank said...

Well, hell, you've already run for Congress from Texas and Lord only knows we ain't too picky.

7/14/2007 10:46 PM  
Blogger Xanthippas said...

I'm going to go out on a limb and say you pretty much p3ned the your opposition over there. I may think that just because I happen to agree with you, but whatever.

I would love nothing more than to see the system changed so that smaller-party candidates had some chance of getting elected in something other than the strangest of circumstances. I really would. But right now, reality is reality. I've refrained from criticizing Nader-ites because I sincerely believe that a vote, sincerely cast, is an exercise of one of the most precious freedoms in the world. But there comes a time when you simply have to own up to reality, and realize that you can either a)take action that makes a difference or b) take action that makes a "point." Right now is one of those times, and I'll take making a difference, thank you very much.

7/16/2007 4:25 PM  
Blogger The Local Crank said...

I was probably snarkier than I really should've been and Blue Gal was right to cut us off. But, dammit, people have got to realize, in politics, winning isn't everything; it's the ONLY thing. Unless your candidate wins, your influence on what comes next will be absolutely zilch. Ideological puritans from both ends of the spectrum seem not to get the irony of how they really are to each other.

7/16/2007 4:32 PM  
Blogger Blue Gal said...

Being wrong and conpromising hasn't won us any elections either, LC. See John Kerry. At my old age I've just decided it feels better to do the right thing anyway.

I hadda cut you both off or you guys woulda spoiled my birthday.

Let me just take responsibility here and say that I posted the original comments by Manila Ryce at my own blog and I stand by what he said about the bloggers. Not all of us are in this to win elections. There is the netroots, but that's not me. I AM blogging to take a stand. Rahm Emmanuel's powerpoint slides on how to appeal to the greatest common denominator do not appeal to me.

Love on ya anyhow, though.

7/16/2007 6:34 PM  
Blogger The Local Crank said...

I absolutely agree that there is a fine line between "being realistic" and "selling out." The prime example of the latter would be the Democratic Leisure Class' wholesale adoption of "Free" Trade dogma at the behest of the Master Triangulator. On the other hand, I think many (though not all) of the Netroots are woefully naive about how you win elections. It's sort of like LBJ once said about JFK's earnest young Eastern campaign workers as they swarmed into the South, "I'd feel alot better if some of these guys had run for sheriff."

7/16/2007 8:14 PM  
Blogger Xanthippas said...

By the way, given your opinion on the topic you might enjoy this particular post here:

http://xpatriatedtexan.com/index.php/stupidity-doesnt-help-anyone/

7/17/2007 11:33 AM  
Blogger Eric said...

I don't want to stir up the hornet's nest, and I haven't read (nor do I have the time to read) the long exchange leading up to this, but here's my two cents worth: I don't think there's anything particularly wrong with voters pushing their favorite candidate in the primaries, even if that candidate may not be the most electable (which is, after all, a fairly subjective judgment determined FAR too much by the media than voters). I, personally, AM a little annoyed by how the media focuses on two or three candidates on each side to the exclusion of all others. Yes, there are a couple of obvious idiots on each side that don't deserve our time or attention, but there are also some fairly thoughtful and competent politicians on both sides who are being completely ignored by the media in favor of the "sexier" candidates. Some of our finest past presidents couldn't survive the modern primary process because they weren't "sexy" enough, or they weren't slick fundraisers, and that's a damn shame.

But yes, when it comes to the general election, I wholeheartedly agree that idealogical purity must be put aside in favor of reason. I am guilty of voting third party for the past two presidential elections, and I can't help but feel partially culpable for the national calamity that is our current president. I wish I could take back those votes and recast them just to ease my own sense of guilt.

7/17/2007 6:25 PM  
Blogger Eric said...

So to finish my thought, which I kind of left incomplete: I wonder if by voting for the "most electable" candidate in a modern primary process that inherently rewards good looks and fundraising ability, we aren't to some extent contributing to a declining quality of political leaders in this country? Sometimes those candidates may indeed be the best leaders, but a lot of times they are definitely NOT.

Hell, I don't know.

7/17/2007 6:44 PM  
Blogger The Local Crank said...

"I don't think there's anything particularly wrong with voters pushing their favorite candidate in the primaries, even if that candidate may not be the most electable"

Yeah, and I am sympathetic to the idea of voting your heart in the primaries and your head in November (remember, I was part of the Harkin Bandwagon in '92), but realistically what's the use of pushing a candidate that you realistically know can't get the nomination and would likely lose the election even if he or she did?

'I wonder if by voting for the "most electable" candidate in a modern primary process that inherently rewards good looks and fundraising ability, we aren't to some extent contributing to a declining quality of political leaders in this country?'

Yes. And my solution is abolish primary elections altogether and have the party delegates pick their candidates in conventions, thus lowering the cost of running by limiting the pool of people you need to reach to those who actually care enough to want to be delegates. Combine that with public financing of general elections (a position I have been drug kicking and screaming to) and maybe, just maybe, you could have a little more democracy and a lot less plutocracy and oligarchy.

7/17/2007 9:15 PM  
Blogger Eric said...

"And my solution is abolish primary elections altogether and have the party delegates pick their candidates in conventions"

I could live with that. Hell, for that matter I could live with going back to the way U.S. senators used to be elected, by state legislatures. I'm not at all convinced that the direct vote gave us a better quality of senator. If anything, all it did was allow businesses and organizations from far and wide, outside of the state, to be able to influence senate elections (and thus senators' decisions) with their money.

7/18/2007 8:08 PM  
Blogger The Local Crank said...

Not sure I'm quite ready to end the direct election of Senators. I mean, have you gotten a good look at the Texas Legislature lately? I wouldn't trust that gang to pick their collective noses, let alone pick a Senator.

7/18/2007 11:38 PM  
Blogger Eric said...

Well... yeah. The idea does have its limitations. It's irrelevant anyway, because we're never going back to something like that.

7/19/2007 8:06 PM  

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