During the primaries, vote with your heart. In the general election, go with your head.
Now that sounds like a damned pragmatist, doesn't it?
When there is a serious primary on the Democratic side - like the one we had in the 2008 presidential election - that's when its great to fight it out amongst ourselves as Democrats. Many times, that's our one opportunity to vote outside the confines of "the lesser of two evils." After hearing Molly that day, I went with my heart and worked my ass off for Howard Dean in the primaries. But even though I wasn't a big Kerry fan - it never occurred to me not to vote for him in the general election. In a two-party system like ours, you do what you need to do to make sure your team is in charge.
If some idiot Democrat decides to get in a primary race against Obama for 2012, I'd suggest to all the poutragers that they feel free to work for that candidate and vote for him/her in the primaries. But once that's over - buck up and get the job done. That's the reality in a two-party system.
While I was thinking about Molly's words of wisdom, I decided to check out what she said about President Clinton while he was in office. We all know that she's one of the most outstanding progressives of our time. How did she handle her disappointments in our Democratic President?
You all need to go read this column she wrote back in December 1999. She's clear she wasn't a big Clinton fan.
Anyone volunteering a kind word for Clinton nowadays has to issue the obligatory disclaimer. In my case, it's easy, since I barely agree with him 50 percent of the time.
He's not my kind of Democrat and never has been. But at least I have the sense to recognize the man's merits, whatever his failings.
She goes on to summarize some of his successes and shortcomings. And then she says this:
Given the amount of personal abuse the man has taken, his resilience is just extraordinary. Apparently, he really does get up every day and start over.
We've never seen him get mad in public as the president, and I have often wanted to congratulate his late mother on his manners. Would that Trent Lott's momma had done half that well. Given the circumstances of his presidency, Clinton deserves a medal just for being generally cheerful...
Whatever Clinton's mistakes, they don't seem to have stemmed from malice. I may be wrong, but I don't see much mean in him.
Whoever wins the election next year, I give him six weeks and one good screw-up before someone in Washington has the simple honesty to say, "You know, Clinton coulda handled that with his eyes shut.''
This isn't an homage to Bill Clinton. I'm with Molly on her critiques of him. But it does make me wonder how she'd be talking about President Obama if she were alive today. This is an example of what a progressive Democrat sounds like when they disagree with a President but have an ounce of sense about politics. And its why I miss Molly so much these days. I suspect she'd be rapping these poutragers on the knuckles and telling them a thing or two about how its done.