Winning

Now Harry Walker is the one that manages this crew

He doesn’t like it when we drink and fight and smoke and screw

But when we win our games each day

Then what the fuck can Harry say?

It makes a fellow proud to be an Astro.

— Ball Four, by Jim Bouton

I hate to interfere with a good fanwank such as that going on over this profile of Kos in Washington Monthly, but it was actually something the author said not about Kos but about his readers, his “generation” if you will, that pissed me off:

The younger-than-35 liberal professionals who account for most of his audience seem an ideologically satisfied group, with no fundamental paradigm-changing demands to make of the Democratic Party. They don’t believe strongly, as successive generations of progressives have, that the Democratic Party must develop more government programs to help the poor, or that racial and ethnic minorities are wildly underrepresented, or that the party is in need of a fundamental reform towards the pragmatic center—or at least they don’t believe so in any kind of consistent or organized manner.

Jesus Christ and A Pimp Called Slickback. It’d be nice if the author could quote anybody saying you know, we’re just fine with how the party’s managed to lay down and open its legs for any pro-business, anti-immigration, marriage-“protecting” lobbyist who wants to come around with flowers, so long as we win and they don’t. I love how a conversation about tactics becomes a conversation about how tactics is all we’ve got.

We’re not changing paradigms enough for this guy? The dominant paradigm of the Democratic Party for the last decade has been to be as close as we can get to Republicans without them taking out a restraining order, in order to confuse voters into forgetting which candidate is which and voting for ours. I’m sorry, I’d like to change the shit out of that paradigm, if you please.

We don’t believe the government should develop more programs to help the poor? We aren’t concerned about underrepresentation for minorities and women? What the fuck are we here for then? The Republicans’ cocktail parties have better food. There must be some reason we’re over here sipping stale ginger ale and eating Fritos.

I’ve been reading Kos’s site, and sites of Kos bloggers and Kos readers and others, for a good couple of years now, and I’ve come to the conclusion that what this “generation” wants is a return to the traditional values of the Democratic Party, the values that made us the party of America for decades. And if that wasn’t important to us, we wouldn’t do this work.

However, we’re not college sophomores. We do recognize that without any kind of political power, any apparatus with which to convince people of the veracity of our vision, that vision and a sack gets us a sack. We’d like to win our games each day, and then we can get back to talking with Harry about our fighting and drinking and smoking and screwing. First things fucking first.

If that makes this “generation” of Democrats seem shallow to Mr. Benjamin Wallace-Wells, I suggest he go examine the high-minded, ideologically pure and policy-driven campaigns of the Republicans in recent years. He might want to start with something called the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth.

A.