Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Ideological Purity: More Republican than Democrat?

MSNBC's Rachel Madow drew a interesting distinction between Republican in-fighting and Democratic in-fighting during tonight's election coverage. She argued that Democrats do not challenge the ideological purity of their opponents in the Party like Republicans challenge the conservativeness of their GOP opponents. Hillary Clinton said something similar the other day during a video-taped Politico interview: she was asked whether she wanted to criticize Barack Obama for being rated as one of the most liberal Senators; she brushed aside the question, saying that she would leave those kinds of attacks to the Republicans because it is one of their "talking points," and she argued that her fellow Senator should be judged on the positions he takes.

I do not know whether I agree that Democrats do not question one another's ideological purity like Republicans, although I will admit it seems a strong and intriguing argument. Is there a certain pragmatism among Dems that trumps liberal litmus tests?


  1. Hillary has attacked Obama's commitment to choice as well as his health care plan pretty vigorously, and Paul Krugman has been spewing anti-Obama vitriol to the point where you'd think Obama was a Republican. But even these things pale in comparison to the wrath unleashed by Rush Limbaugh, Laura Ingraham, Ann Coulter, and the dittohead community with regard to John McCain. I think one of the narratives that doesn't get enough mainstream media play is that much of the conservative wrath actually hinges on the courts. McCain is hated precisely because he's viewed as risky on judicial appointments. Remember the last time Republicans were so outraged? Her name was Harriet Miers.

  2. Well, if we don't, maybe we should. Then we might not have 20 DINOs crossing party lines to vote for retroactive immunity for Big Telecomm. Another big fat wet kiss for the Bush Administration, because it means whatever law-breaking Bush authorized is now, retroactively, legal.

    In essence: if the president does it, it's not illegal.

    This isn't a Democratic principle, it's a Republican one. Shame on the DINOs who voted for it.