When I came into politics in 2002, I thought that the only problem was that the media was a bit broken, and that Bush was in charge of our country. As I've looked deeper into Democratic Party politics, it's become clear that political discourse in this country is very sick. Today's episode is Michael O'Hanlon and Ken Pollack, both 'liberal' foreign policy experts talking about how the surge is working. I have a friend who used to work for Pollack in 2001, and she's embarrassed to have ever been associated with him. As Glenn Greenwald brilliantly shows just how dishonest these people are, and yet they still get on CNN and have cushy think tank jobs. Even Joe Klein whacks them hard today to his credit.
There's another side to this problem, though. O'Hanlon and Pollack are called to testify before Congress as experts, and many foreign policy staffers rely on them for guidance. This is the unseen influence they have, even when they are not on CNN. This is because our candidates bear little accountability for their support of right-wing politics, and we support them. That needs to stop, and it needs to stop with people like Jeanne Shaheen.
Patrick Hynes and Eyeon08 pointed me today to this series of videos on Jeanne Shaheen, front-runner for the Democratic nomination in New Hampshire's Senatorial bid. Shaheen is the DSCC favorite in the race, though she hasn't jumped in, and
I suspect that the Senate Republican caucus has someone on staff who is working internet sites, like Wikipedia and Youtube, to undermine Democratic candidates. It also is possible that it is someone on Sununu's campaign. Who else would have kept copies of the 2002 NH debates?
As I keep reminding people, there were people willing to commit felonies to elect John Sununu in 2002; they will throw in the kitchen sink to keep him in office in 2008. If Sununu loses, the last Republican left standing in NH is Judd Gregg, and then you will have at least three incumbent officials (Lynch, Hodes and CSP) who would be great candidates, not to mention other potential candidates who would match up well against Gregg.
So, expect more interesting developments; the Republicans will try to interfere with the Democratic primary, no matter who runs. They will do their best to set the candidates for the Democratic nomination and their supporters against each other, in the hopes that a divisive primary will encourage supporters of the defeated candidate(s) not to vote for the nominee.
I respect Kathy, and I respect elwood at BlueHampshire's defense of Shaheen, which focuses on her Kerry-like attack on the war in 2004. The problem for progressives is that her record is pretty clear. She's against a progressive fiscal policy and she supports Bush's approach to national security, even if she's turned against the war. I don't really know what to do about that, or if there's anything that can be done. It looks to me like Shaheen is a somewhat weak candidate, but that won't be clear until the general.
Shaheen looks good now because she is a generic Democrat, but she will look worse when these statements are associated with her, as they should be. As a Senator, someone like Shaheen would have no problem letting O'Hanlon and Pollack give her advice. I mean, she screwed up just like they did, and no one has had any accountability moment in the whole neoconservative framework. Tax cuts for the rich and war make sense to her, just as they do to O'Hanlon and Pollack.
Her support for Bush was not soft, she clearly was strongly pro-war and strongly pro-Bush on economic policy. She was a neoconservative politician, and such instincts do not change easily without a full accounting of how badly she went wrong. The right-wing blogs are serving a useful purpose here. There are 'wiki wars' where Shaheen's support of the war are constantly being highlighted, and my guess is that attacking her from the left as a flip-flopper is the chosen strategy by the NRSC (as it is with Al Franken).
Anyway, I'm not going to pretend like Shaheen is a terrible choice, as she is much better than Sununu. But New Hampshire has the opportunity to elect a progressive fighter, a Carol Shea Porter-type. We don't have to accept an establishment choice whose instincts are neoconservative, someone who will have to be lobbied to not listen to O'Hanlon and Pollack or who will go on Fox News and say 'hey, I want to talk to all sorts of people, not just liberals', as if Fox News is anything but a GOP propaganda outlet.
Shaheen needs to know that she has some mending of fences to do, and we need to work to help her understand this. I don't know how else to make that point except to back someone else in the primary. Thoughts? Am I off base here?