THE BLOG

Don't Dis the Dems

09/07/2010 04:59 pm ET | Updated May 25, 2011

Don't diss the Dems ... not now, when there's so much at stake. Remember how we liberal folk liked to scoff at Reagan's "eleventh commandment"? Thou shalt not speak ill of thy fellow Republican? Take a look in the rear view mirror and note how the Republicans have taken this seriously (it's a shame they took the rest of Reaganism seriously too, or we wouldn't be in the mess we are now!) Note, too, that it has resulted in the rigid party unity that now successfully hamstrings the whole country.

Successful strategy? You bet! Yet here we go again, we Democrats, gleefully assaulting each other at every opportunity and undermining every effort by our own administration to get anything done. And it's not only the Democrats in Congress. It's we, the people out here in voter-land. Every day I hear and read this indignant, self-important, self-destructive screed from bloggers, acquaintances, even friends who should know better. Just yesterday I heard -- from a fellow Democrat and one who, I believe, believes as I do -- that Obama is a "warmonger." That he's a "politician," no different from the others who disappoint our lofty ideals.

Well, yeah! Big surprise! Had he not been a politician, he would never have been elected. As for the "warmonger" part, it seems to me naive in the extreme to expect immediate departure from all parts of the world where we have stirred the hornets' nest of violence and hatred -- directed, for the most part, against ourselves. (It's not paranoia: they are out to get us!) My own instinct is to believe that Obama loathes war as much as I do. That, if he could, he would bring our fighting forces home tomorrow; deliver universal health care overnight; devote the federal money needed to stimulate our desperately ailing economy; and without delay divert the funds needed into our education system, into job creation and justice, earth stewardship, world peace...

Have these people who carp at Obama bothered to read either one -- or both -- of his books? Have they really taken the trouble to find out who this man is? Not a superhero, certainly. Not a Messiah. Nor a witch-doctor or miracle-maker. And certainly a politician. Granted. The man's a pragmatist. Advertised himself as such, never claimed to be anything but. He weighs what can be done and does his best to get the result he wants. That he faces sullen and implacable opposition from the "loyal opposition" makes it hard to get those results. That he faces a lack of solidarity in his own party makes it nigh impossible. It amazes me that he has managed to achieve as much as he has done, these past twenty months or so -- achievements that are sniffed at or ignored by those who believe they know better.

No one is, or should be, above criticism. Like others who believe as I do, I would want faster and more tangible results. I want, particularly, an end to war. But we left-leaning people elected this man to do precisely what he said he would attempt to do, and many of us now join in the chorus of those who would destroy him simply because he has not been able to do it fast enough to satisfy our high-minded expectations. I want to scream when I hear these nay-sayers and lofty idealists say that Obama and the Democrats will deserve the loss they can expect to be handed in November -- as though they themselves have no responsibility.

I say, these people will be as much to blame for an electoral defeat as those they choose to heap their blame upon. I happen to deplore the lock-step discipline of Republican lawmakers and Republican voters alike. I happen to disagree fundamentally with their positions ... and fear their (to me incomprehensible) power. But on my side of the political fence, I see nothing to be happy about. Will those who are now so dissatisfied be content when we end up with a Republican-dominated Congress? Will they relish the vindication of their own opinions and predictions? The spectacle of Obama rendered effectively and truly powerless is the one that haunts me much more than the spectacle of Obama struggling against the odds to achieve a modicum of success.

There's a certain satisfaction in believing in one's own moral rectitude -- in standing by one's ideals no matter what. Unfortunately, we seem to have reached a historical moment when the "art of the possible" is severely reduced by the press of rigid and irreconcilable differences. If we fail to be realistic, if we fail to achieve the solidarity we need to move forward, I fear we we all be a good deal sorrier than we are today. We must learn to moderate our rhetoric and take a broader, more realistic view of things if we are to inch forward, ever so slowly, into a viable future for this country. That "change we can believe in" will not happen with the wave of a magician's wand.