I've always been back-and-forth on Kos: sometimes I think he's all right; sometimes I admire him for his tenacity; sometimes I think he couldn't be a bigger tool.
Right now, I'm thinking he is a tool.
He posts today
about NARAL's decision not to endorse anti-choice Democrat Jim Langevin in the Rhode Island Senate campaign. Now, it should be understood that Kos is not complaining about the fact that NARAL endorsed Chafee over his Democratic opponent, for Langevin didn't make it out of the primaries. But Langevin was the candidate of choice for many Democratic insiders, and they are angry because he didn't get the chance to go up against Chafee in the general election.
I think NARAL should base its endorsements solely on the abortion issue, but I don't think it's unreasonable to ask them to look at the 'bigger picture'. But that's not what Kos is complaining about; he's complaining that they didn't back his preferred candidate in the primaries.
NARAL was one of the groups that fully opposed anti-abortion Democrat Jim Langevin's short bid for the Senate seat.
Nevermind that Langevin would've crushed Chafee and gotten us one seat closer to a Democratic-led Senate. And a Democratic-led Senate wouldn't ever let any abortion legislation see the light of day. But NARAL, myopic fools that they are, think Chafee is a better bet, despite his vote for Trent Lott, Bill Frist, and their allegiance to the James Dobson, American Taliban agenda.
NARAL, and many people here, whined and cried about Langevin, the way they whined and cried about Harry Reid, because of those Democrats' personal opposition to abortion. Didn't we know, they demanded, that choice was a core principle of the Democratic Party?
To which I have a simple answer: The hell it is.
One of the key problems with the Democratic Party is that single issue groups have hijacked it for their pet causes. So suddenly, Democrats are the party of abortion, of gun control, of spottend owls, of labor, of trial lawyers, etc, etc., et-frickin'-cetera. We don't stand for any ideals, we stand for specific causes. We don't have a core philosophy, we have a list with boxes to check off ...
Problem is, abortion and choice aren't core principles of the Democratic Party. Rather, things like a Right to Privacy are. And from a Right to Privacy certain things flow -- abortion rights, access to contraceptives, opposition to the Patriot Act, and freedom to worship the gods of our own choosing, or none at all.
This is lame. He's trying to evade the protests of pro-choicers who are rightly appalled that the Democratic Party couldn't come up with a decent pro-choice candidate by playing semantic games. Reproductive choice, he says, is not a 'core' principle--the right to privacy is. Fine, whatever. Put it like this, then: a pro-choice position should be a necessary condition to be a Democratic candidate for Congress. If you want to define choice as a 'core' principle or just an ancillary one, fine, I don't care. But it doesn't change the fact that Democrats should not be helping to rob women of their reproductive rights.
He tacks on a lame caveat at the end, clearly trying to cover his ass:
p.s. I nominate this post for "most misunderstood Kos post of all time" before I even submit it.
Yeah, well, if you know that what you're saying is going to be your 'most misunderstood' post of all time, maybe you should try writing a second draft so you can express yourself more clearly. In the meantime, I'll just remember Kos as the person who said that choice was not a core principle for Democrats.
Party hacks like Kos get so caught up in the 'game' of politics--we would have been one seat closer to a Democratic Senate! Wow, good for you, you'd still be the minority by a significant margin--that they end up seeing everything else as subordinate to winning.
I support the Democratic Party, in most instances, not because 'I'm a Democrat'--this isn't football; you don't just root for your team. The Democrats are skating on thin ice with progressives anyway, and the last thing they need to be doing is bashing NARAL for refusing to endorse their buffoonery. Earlier, I excerpted a passage from a post by Brian Leiter, but I left out a paragraph which seems awfully relevant here:
You must understand, of course, that the Democratic Party in the United States today is to the far right of the Labor Party in Britain and the Liberal Party in Canada; it is, in most respects, to the right of the Conservative Party in Canada. Its social and domestic policies are roughly in line with those of the Nixon Administration, perhaps a tad to the right.
In other words, the Democratic Party is already much, much more conservative than most progressives are comfortable with. For many of us, a betrayal on abortion will be the last straw. So instead of getting pissed at NARAL, maybe you can help them try to pull the Democratic Party at least to the left of the fucking Nixon administration, for Christ's sake.