As I wrote days ago, Kos has been rallying his forces against the Sierra Club for daring to endorse an environmentally friendly Republican. Now his embarrassing tirade has landed on the pages of Salon. As I explained in my earlier entry, Kos's position on this reveals him as the authoritarian, anti-democratic bully he is. It also shows him to be a poor political strategist.
Kos would like to relegate issue groups like the Sierra Club and NARAL to props for the Democratic Party. He thinks they should serve the Party. Whom, then, does the Party serve? What is to motivate Democrats to consider the agendas of organizations who sit squarely in their hip-pocket? Is Kos really so ignorant of the voting records of Democrats that he thinks they'll just automatically champion women's rights and environmental protections? Kos expects us to trust that even though some Democrats are anti-choice and consistently vote to allow ANWR drilling, that if the party retakes the House and Senate, they will control the agenda and do the right thing. Was he asleep in the year plus when Jim Jeffords defection allowed the Democrats to retake Senate? Beltway Democrats had an opportunity to check the unbridled aggression of the Bush Administration, insist on facts regarding the march into what is likely the greatest military blunder in US history, and prove their worthiness to maintain control of the Senate. Why on earth should any progressive believe that they will not snatch defeat from the jaws of victory once again?
It would be a very gullible issue group who put blind trust in Democratic leadership. Why would a group like NARAL want to be a cog in a machine that would replace one anti-choice Senator, Rick Santorum, with another, Bob Casey. But those are the options Democrats are handing Pennsylvania voters, by throwing their weight behind the backwards son of a former Governor, putting name recognition before principle. Someone has to put the issues first and thank goodness the Sierra Club has the courage to do so.
As quoted in Salon, Carl Pope explains, "It is absolutely vital that environmentalism be nonpartisan." Well no kidding. They would be fools to trust the future of the environment of the mostly falling fortunes of the Democratic Party.
As Martha Marks, president of Republicans for Environmental Protection, further explains, "If the environmental community turns its back on Lincoln Chafee, who is one of the strongest environmental leaders of our day -- Democrat or Republican -- then it will have no credibility with any Republicans going forward…. The only time you make any long-term, permanent progress on anything in this country is when you have bipartisan support." Pay attention Markos. That is a strategy for success. These issue groups aren't so dumb as you think. They are actually considering the possibility that the Democratic Party will continue its losing streak, a fairly safe bet, and putting the advancement of their cause first.
It's that kind of bipartisan approach that makes victories like this one possible.
Here's the latest on the battle over the refuge:
Thanks to the heroic effort of 29 moderate Republicans (who were encouraged, no doubt, by the many letters they received from activists like you), the House of Representatives decided to strip from its budget reconciliation bill language that would have authorized oil and gas drilling in the refuge. The House bill narrowly passed, which sets up a showdown with the Senate, whose version of the bill includes Arctic drilling.
As this issue goes to the Senate, where Democrats are currently in the minority, Republican opposition to ANWR drilling is crucial. It has thus far been blocked only because there is bipartisan support for the environment. Democrats Akaka, Inouye, and Landrieu have repeatedly demonstrated their willingness to give the entire candy store to the oil companies as in this March 2005 vote, which was only blocked because of Republicans crossing party lines. Would that happen if environmental groups only approached Republicans with sticks and no carrots?
Kos may think politics are a game and that what's important is what team jersey you're wearing, but some of us care about the future of the planet, a woman's right to choose, and host of other issues that must transcend petty gamesmanship. Especially when the Democrat team keeps handing off the ball to Republicans and walking them walking them into the end zone.
Kos can promise all he wants that, "when Democrats regain power, choice, the environment, worker's rights -- the whole gamut -- will be protected." But I don't like the odds and I think his despised "single issue" groups are wise to hedge their bets.