Since 1980, when I voted for Anderson instead of Jimmy Carter, I have followed the rule that unless the man or woman the Democrats elect is Adolf Hitler, I will support her or him over the Republicans. That is my personal narcissistic contribution to the defeat of good Democrats. But I have seen white male progressives repeat the act over and over again. And they do it when it is most critical that they don’t.
The first time was when a fine Senator named [[John Tunney]] (father of [[Robin Tunney]]) was defeated by [[S.I. Hayakawa]] back in the seventies. Tunney’s crime was that he had withdrawn an early health care reform bill. Otherwise, his record was exemplary. But the white male progressives who first ran [[Tom Hayden]] against him and then either voted for Hayakawa in the final race or didn’t vote at all saw the health care move as unforgivable. An example had to be set so that future Democrats would understand that you don’t do this kind of thing. So Tunney went down and California was stuck with a conservative who spent his six years sleeping in the Senate chamber, earning him the sobriquet “The [[Sominex]] Kid”.
They did it again, with Carter and Anderson, then again with [[Al Gore]] in 2000. You can thank them for ensuring that [[George W. Bush]] became our president. You can also thank them, in part, for the results of the year 2010 election when many worthy Democrats went down to defeat at the hands of the Tea Party. And some are talking about doing it all over again even though Social Security and Medicare are both on the block.
The style of white male progressive of whom I speak is to throw tantrums — perhaps we should refer to them as Tantrumists — and not brook any discussion.
Perhaps because of their affluent backgrounds, Tantrumists don’t worry about economic matters such as these. They can ride out the major disasters in a way that the rest of us can’t. They keep hoping that one day society will shut down and they will will rise to power, worshiped as all-saving and sanctifying deities. Do one thing wrong, make one compromise and they feel that you have betrayed them.
But there’s another angle: does this make Democrats listen to them more? I think Leftist Democrats do, but they peeve Centrists off because of the no-compromise matters. It must all be done now whether or not you have the votes. If it is not done now, they will work towards your political doom. Who wants to listen to someone who will not hear a word you say or engage in discussion that is not entirely accusatory?
Let’s also not forget their tendency to abuse or to limit their political activity to flaming people on billboards. They claim not to be racist, but they attack other whites as inbred and stupid. And they are not there when minorities and women truly need them such as is the case now. The higher the price that will be paid by Republican victory, the more strident the Tantrumists are.
I am white, male, and a progressive. I do not understand the testosterone poisoning that impels Tantrumists to fling the whole Center and Left onto the sword that Right wing extremists gleefully hold out for them. In these times what we need is unity so that the Tea Party may be defeated. But the Tantrumists would rather that the Tea Party triumph again and destroy everything than acknowledge one good, make one tentative compromise to save citizen rights and security from the plutocrats.
We can’t afford this kind of narcissism in 2012. That is why I am calling them out.