The Other McCain

"One should either write ruthlessly what one believes to be the truth, or else shut up." — Arthur Koestler

MSNBC’s Lawrence O’Donnell Admits: ‘I Am a Socialist. And, Yeah, I Checked Out Those Demi Lovato Bikini Pics, Too.’

Posted on | November 7, 2010 | 3 Comments

Wait. Maybe I need to double-check that quote:

O’Donnell was arguing on “Morning Joe” with Glenn Greenwald, who accused him of “trying to blame ‘the Left’ and ‘liberalism’ for the Democrats’ political woes.” O’Donnell responded:

“Glenn, unlike you, I am not a progressive. I am not a liberal who is so afraid of the word that I had to change my name to progressive. Liberals amuse me. I am a socialist. I live to the extreme left, the extreme left of you mere liberals, OK? However, I know this about my country. Liberals are 20 percent of the electorate. Conservatives are 41 percent of the electorate, OK? . . . You can sit there and pretend that liberals should run more liberal in conservative districts. You love the loss of the Blue Dogs. The only way, the only way you have a chairman Barney Frank, there’s only one way, that’s by electing Blue Dogs. It’s the only way. That’s the only way you have a Speaker Pelosi.”

And in so arguing, O’Donnell makes the case that my friend Ali Akbar has often made: Nothing is more important for Republicans than the defeat of “Blue Dog” Democrats, because it is only by the aid of these alleged “moderate” or “centrist” Democrats that liberals can achieve majority status.

This was what Bill Clinton taught me, by the way. I used to be what was called a “Sam Nunn Democrat,” and thought that Clinton was the same breed. After the useless folly of the Dukakis campaign in 1988 (when I didn’t even bother to vote), I was enthusiastic in 1992, putting a Clinton-Gore bumper sticker on my car and everything.

So I voted for a centrist Democrat and what did I get? Gays in the military, HillaryCare and the so-called “assault weapons” ban. In other words, a vote for Clinton was a vote for the Dukakis agenda.

People who say, “I vote for the man, not the party” are idiots. When you vote for the man, you’re voting for his party. Having been born and bred a loyal party-line Democrat, my experience with the first two years of the Clinton administration convinced me that I could no longer in good conscience vote for Democrats. (It was the infringement my Second Amendment rights that was the deal-breaker. I got my first semi-automatic rifle for Christmas when I was 11.)

But in becoming an ex-Democrat, I did not become a “moderate.” Instead, I became a right-winger. Why? Because I recognized that politics is a tug-of-war, and Clinton convinced me that I’d spent my entire adult life pulling on the wrong end of the rope. So I went way over to the other end of the rope, and started pulling as hard as I could.

Having recently had some disagreements with fellow conservatives over the Delaware Senate campaign, I reiterate my position: Conservatives win when they offer America, as Phyllis Schlafly famously called it, “a choice, not an echo.”

Mike Castle was an echo of liberalism, and not a choice. While I regret the GOP defeat in Delaware, I refuse to accept the idea that Mike Castle was the best Republicans could have hoped for in that campaign. Notice that Republicans just elected Pat Toomey to a Senate seat in Pennsylvania, where we were told — just six years ago — that Arlen Specter was the best we could hope for.

Liberalism always fails as policy and will also fail as politics, so long as Republicans are willing (a) to identify liberalism for what it is, and (b) to oppose it coherently and without apology.

One ought to add the caveat (c) that GOP opposition to liberalism should be presented by credible candidates running competent campaigns. But we should never assume that, because any state, district or demographic group has previously supported Democrats that we should abandon conservative arguments and instead adopt a Republican “me, too” approach to liberalism. I was not won over by “me, too” arguments, and I don’t think any other Democrat voter ever will be.

The key fact that Lawrence O’Donnell points out — twice as many American voters identify as “conservative” than identify as “liberal” — tells us that conservatism can be, and should be, the politics of Republican victory. But people will never be persuaded by an argument they never hear, and we thus do ourselves no favors by supporting Republican politicians who are unwilling to make the argument for conservative policies.

And I apologize for mistakenly suggesting that Lawrence O’Donnell had checked out those Demi Lovato bikini pics. Must have confused him with multimillionaire cradle-robber Keith Olbermann.

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Comments

  • Adobe_Walls

    We learned a few things from our failures. For one thing the independent voters may have been more willing to take a chance on a an extremist House Rep than a Senator. Easier to rectify buyer’s remorse. All so clearly Christine O’Donnell was not prepared to hit the ground running after winning the primary. In my opinion Sharon Angle was always at risk of being seen as too extreme that was the upside as well as the downside it’s called pushing the envelope. I suspect that she may have gone too far in her anti-illegal ads. Here in NC2 the only negative reaction Renee Ellmeers got from the local paper editorial staff was for her GZM attack on Ethridge.