Since I took rather violent exception to a couple of posts by Digby last week, it’s only right that I should acknowledge that she has taken pains to explain herself much more clearly.

The first would be through protest votes for a third party that resulted in Republican victory. (There is virtually no chance that any third party will ever gain real power short of a fundamental change in the way we elect our representatives, so protest is all it will be.) It’s been done before. And if you can live with the idea of voting in a Republican party in the thrall of extremists that make Bush and Cheney look like Rockefeller Republicans, I suppose that might be the way to go. I won’t judge you, but I am personally unwilling to put the world through any more of this failed right wing experiment at the moment.

Ain’t got no major problem with that. And it seems clear that in her original post on this topic, she conflated the “cynics” she was attacking with the Nader supporters that TBogg was specifically attacking in the post of his that she enthusiastically linked to. I suspect she probably had bloggers like IOZ in mind, given his relentless needling of her, but didn’t want to name anyone in particular. Me, I think it should pretty easy to ignore that sort of jeering if you want, unless your conscience is telling you there’s a good deal of truth in what he’s saying. Looks like the strain of trying to keep the faith in the Democratic party is wearing on her. But anyway, best of luck to her in trying to do that. I’ll also say, with no sarcasm at all, that it would probably be easier to do that if she’d stop trying to reconcile the reality she sees with the rose-colored history she seems determined to hang onto.

There’s still the issue of how exactly you expect your party to not take you for granted when you take every opportunity to assure them you’re too terrified of the possibility of Republicans returning to power to even consider being unfaithful with your vote. Millions of evangelicals stayed at home in 2000 because of the news of Bush’s drunk driving arrest decades earlier; you guys can’t at least convincingly threaten to do the same over all the shit Democrats have handed you? If you’re not willing to make some basic demands and walk away when they’re not being met or at least taken seriously, you are not going to be respected or considered. This is just common sense and a basic understanding of human psychology; why does it seem so foreign of a concept here? Perhaps because of rhetoric like: “extremists that make Bush and Cheney look like Rockefeller Republicans”.

See? Once again, the fearmongering starts ramping up. Yes, I know, we were dead certain that the last group was going to start World War 3, cancel the 2008 elections and declare Cheney Dictator-for-Life, but this time…! Take…a…deep…breath and say it out loud: the country will survive Republicans in power again. Rinse and repeat. The country has been through a civil war, an actual civil war, and come out intact; I think it can handle most things short of nuclear war (and let us not forget which charismatic, young, intellectual Democrat got us closer than any other president to an actual nuclear exchange). Bargaining is much easier when you’re not hyperventilating.

I’ll say here that I’ve always voted for Democrats as well when I have voted, but I don’t begrudge anyone else feeling like they have to stick to their idealistic principles. I push back against thanksralph!ery because one, it’s flat-out incorrect to blame him for Bush getting elected in 2000; and two, it’s bullying, plain and simple. When you ignore several other, larger, more worthy targets of your anger in order to go after a smaller, weaker one, it says a lot about your own weakness. It’s misplaced aggression, a sign that you’ve internalized your own lesser standing and are now just looking to make yourself feel better by kicking someone even lower than yourself. It’s ironic to see how quickly all that “stupid, dirty, pothead hippie” rhetoric comes into play when respectable suburban liberals want to start bashing Greens and Nader supporters, especially given how these same people never get tired of preciously calling themselves “dirty fucking hippies”. And yeah, ask any kid who grew up with an Angry Dad Who Knows What’s Best For You, So Listen Up, Goddamnit — how often did that attitude inspire respect and deference?

I once asked a thanksralph!er why they blamed the 90-odd thousand Nader voters in Florida – who, by definition, were not Democrats – for costing them the election while studiously ignoring the 200,000 Democrats who crossed over to vote for Bush. The answer: those were Democrats In Name Only and old Dixiecrats who had never bothered to change their party affiliation, but since most of the Nader supporters were lefties, they should have been willing to support the Democrats (and they were obligated to even if they didn’t want to). Apparently, conservative Democrats have irreconcilable differences with the party and aren’t worth bothering with, but extremely liberal Democrats, Greens and independents are just spoiled brats who need a lecture and a spanking.

Got that? Democrats aren’t really Democrats. Which people really are Democrats, though? The people who aren’t Democrats. Even Zen Buddhists would throw up their hands in despair over a koan like that.

I remember in 2004, when the whole pwoggiesphere spent months and months obsessing over Nader running again, spewing all the venom and vitriol they could at him and anyone thinking of supporting him again. Of course, he had no discernible effect upon that election, but still, more than 50% of the population didn’t bother to vote. You’d think, if the pwoggies had even a glimmer of self-awareness, they’d have taken away the lesson that their time might have been better spent trying to convince some apathetic non-voters to give it a shot rather than preaching to the choir and trying to extirpate all the heretics, but you would be wrong. Here we are again, with the emphasis being placed on trying to scare people to death over the possibility of Republicans in power, rather than stress the positive accomplishments of the past year that might persuade people to actively support the Democrats.

Oh, wait…