Can We Agree That Dems Do Not Want To Lose In November?

Three categories of arguments, at least three major groupings of valuable members of the Democratic base, not one whom is calling for for Dems to vote for Republicans or stay home in November.

Roughly speaking, there are three different strains of argument or sentiment on the left right now. The first is the Dem base’s lack of enthusiasm. This, obviously, concerns rank and file voters who, from the point of view of the White House, are not sufficiently happy with Obama’s performance. This is what Biden was referring to when he urged Dems to “remind our base constituency to stop whining and get out there and look at the alternatives.”

The second group on the left constitutes high-profile commentators, such as Rachel Maddow and Glenn Greenwald, who are mounting a detailed, substantive policy critique of the Obama administration on issues that are important to them. These folks see their role as advocates for a particular policy agenda, and they don’t hesitate to whack the White House when it commits what they see as grave policy missteps. For them to hold their fire because the White House wants them to would be an unthinkable betrayal of the role they’ve carved out for themselves. This is the “professional left” Robert Gibbs sneeringly alluded to — even though Obama himself has said he craves such criticism.

The third group constitutes operatives like Adam Green of the Progressive Change Campaign Committee, Jane Hamsher of FireDogLake, some labor operatives, and groups like MoveOn. These folks are making a largely political argument. They are not merely griping because the White House failed to be as left wing as they would have liked on the public option or the big banks. They are making the case that fighting harder for liberal priorities — even if that battle is hopeless in some cases — is better politics for Democrats overall, because it might leave Dems with an energized base heading into the midterms.

Just sayin’.

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