Friday, October 12, 2007

Democrats Eating Their Old

The party that prides itself on being a big tent for diversity is showing signs of cannibalism since it took over Congress a year ago and, in a reversal of eating its young, is threatening to devour some of its long-standing stalwarts.

After all the furor about anti-war legislators not being anti-war enough, now we have Rep. Barney Frank, of all people, defending himself from charges of not being pro-gay enough by backing a bill to protect homosexual men and women in the workplace that might leave transsexuals vulnerable.

“There is a tendency in American politics,” he said yesterday, “for the people who feel most passionately about... a single issue to be unrealistic in what a democratic political system can deliver, and that can be self-defeating.”

In an era when George Bush is still blocking almost everything with his veto power and remnants of a monolithic Republican minority, Democratic activists only play into his hands by forgetting that politics is the art of the possible and that the perfect can be the worst enemy of the good enough.

Push for perfection by all means, but don’t trample those who are out front navigating the minefields.

Incremental improvement in energy standards and cutbacks of farm subsidies are not very exciting for generations that want it all now. But politics has never been the best place for instant gratification, except for those who exercise their mouths rather than real power.

From half a century of observation and activism emerges the lesson that inertia, while it slows progress, can also be the best protection against violent, destructive change.

Those who find that old fogeyism can eat me, too.


Unknown said...

No thanks, too tough and stringy.

A friend of mine likes to say "The mortal enemy of "good" is "great."

GiromiDe said...

Rep. Frank's quote is spot on. Too often, reason is cast aside for The Single Most Important Issue Ever.