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View Diary: Stephanie Herseth and the Hate Amendment (423 comments)

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  •  If you want the House... (3.76)
    ... these are the kinds of issues you must overlook.  A vote for Herseth is a vote for Pelosi and for the Democratic agenda.

    Now if you only want to promote progressive candidates, go give your money to Progressive Majority.  Or waste spend it in a primary by donating to someone like Haines, rather than Barrow.

    It seems clear to me that Herseth's position is strategic.  Good -- that means she knows how to chose what ground to fight on.  Stephanie and Tom are the best we can do in South Dakota.  

    So suck it up, send her some money, and put the Democrats back in charge.  Or save the dough, feel all morally superior about it, and continue to snipe at the Republican majority.  It's really that simple.

    •  Good enough? (4.00)
      Stephanie and Tom are the best we can do in South Dakota.  

      A valid point, but if that is the case, she's got no business sniffing around here for money.

      She's got room to wriggle back in the right direction. But in this forum, I don't think she has a lot of time to do it.

      "I'm so mad, I'm bulletproof!"

      by Mr Furious on Thu Feb 26, 2004 at 01:42:10 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  well... (3.66)
        depends what you think this forum is...

        Now I wasn't planning to just open my wallet hither and yon just because kos says so or Dean says so. I'm not that kind of person. But by the same token I'm not going to withdraw my support for someone just because kos says so or Dean says so either. In general, I think every person here has the right to do what he or she wants in terms of supporting candidates. If you want to join "the group" that's fine, but nobody should pressure you one way or another.

        I'm going to guess that a lot of people here see this issue the same way they viewed the war in Iraq. Just because the minority is a minority, if the minority is right, it should be supported, right? And yet now we're choosing between 2 presidential primary candidates who voted for the war, and even Kos says that's OK? That's where the litmus test hits the reality. If you can't do both, do you want to be right or do you want to win?

        Personally, I think my view is more nuanced. A war is a war: people are killed, nations destroyed, economies ruined.

        A culture war is a culture war. I think we can afford to back burner the issue of gay marriage specifically, if we can get more democrats into office. From a strategic view, I just don't see how all out support for gay marriage is going to help our candidates for president or congress in otherwise conservative leaning states. If you look closely, I think Howard Dean, whose political judgement I still respect highly, knew that as well. Why give people a reason to vote against the Democrat when they already have so many reasons to vote for that person? This is just not where the Democrats should be fighting the election, since we are starting with a disadvantage here and have so many advantages elsewhere.

        I know a lot of us feel disappointment that so many Democrats caved on Iraq and got voted out of office anyway in 2002. Did anyone consider the possibility that we might have lost worse if we hadn't caved? I never supported the war and I thought opposing it was the right thing to do politically--plus I think the public was thoroughly manipulated, and the Democrats had the opportunity to manipulate back, and didn't--but...let's at least consider the possibility that voting or not voting for the war may not have significantly affected the outcome of that election.

        By contrast, I think most voters already come to the table with at least some opinion about gays and gay marriage outside of what the political parties have been telling them. They will be open to certain types of manipulation (whether FMA is necessary--what should be left to the states, is Queer eye a good idea?), but other bedrock feelings predate the politics. Those societal type changes are "movement" issues not political issues, and they won't always follow the same timetable as elections.

        Ultimately, if you care about this issue and we manage to get these candidates into office, we'll have to push them. And the best way to push them, since they are politicians, after all, is going to be to mainstream gay marriage out in the real world. The majority of politicians seem to be terrified of going on the vanguard unless they know their jobs to be secure, so it may make more sense to pressure people who are in safe seats. But frankly the biggest pressure of all will be if their constituents start seeing gay marriage as a positive. Then they will have no choice but to go with the flow. The evidence as of this moment would seem to show that gay marriage is not popular in a broad cross-section of this country. Only VT actually has civil unions. Many many more states have passed DOMA type acts, and not just red states either. The work will have to come not just through politics, but socially as well.

        What will you do when the fighting is over and the nation building begins?

        by JMS on Thu Feb 26, 2004 at 10:41:41 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  back burner? litmus test? bullshit. (3.50)
          "I think we can afford to back burner the issue of gay marriage specifically, if we can get more democrats into office." i disagree. it's all well and good for those of us who are straight to say "we can afford to back-burner the issue" - we already have these rights. if democrats come out strong on this issue; if they answer the misconceptions; if they show this is a fight for civil rights - then they will win. all they need to do is explain that civil marriage is not equal to religious marriage. there are oodles of straight couples who can get a civil marriage, but can't get a religious marriage (divorced catholics, interfaith couples, etc). there are oodles of gay couples who are already have a religious marriage. for most straight people, gay sex is unappealing. but then if anyone really thinks about it, watching two other people having sex no matter what their gender is unappealing. gay marriage does not equal public gay sex. in fact, as a fair number of comedians will point out, gay marriage is one of the best ways to reduce any sex - ask any straight married couple! show the pictures of gay couples in sf. have them come on talk shows and morning programs. tell people the 1,000+ rights AND responsibilities that marriage entails. back in the early years of clinton's presidency, i was annoyed at gays pressing the issue of gays in the military. but i was wrong. every day that civil rights are denied to gays and lesbians is a day that millions of my fellow citizens are denied rights that i've taken for granted my entire life. not addressing that issue is just plain wrong.
        •  This forum (none)
          All I mean by "this forum" is that people around here are paying close attention. Closer in all likelihood than many of her constituents.

          Herseth should represent South Dakota, but she is running for national office and seeking support outside of SD, and the greater battle everyone keeps talking about is to be fought in Washington. If she is going to solicit us for donations, she has a responsibility to at least address our concerns as well as those in SD.

          Now I respect that her job is to actually represent her constituents, but it is also to lead. She has room to refine a position that allows her cover at home, while still maintaining a position on the Amendment, while not as pure as some would here prefer, is still not in favor of it.

          I also think that many Democrats are reflexively too defensive. She came out too soon, in my opinion, with a statement if she didn't have it all nuanced out. Better for her to have taken a powder on the issue than have it appear to flip three times on it.

          I am very clear in my posts on this thread that everyone is free to make up their mind how to handle this, and whatever their decision, they are the ones that have to live with it. If you are still going to give her your support, I commend you, not condemn you.

          "I'm so mad, I'm bulletproof!"

          by Mr Furious on Thu Feb 26, 2004 at 02:53:37 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

      •  suggestion from a dakota native (3.80)
        I grew up in North Dakota about 5 miles from the SD state line.  I lived there for 17 years and currently reside in CA.

        My first campaign donation ever was to Wesley Clark at the end of 2003; I've been thinking about making my second one to Ms. Herseth after the end of the month, with the $.01 attached.  It was sad to see her lose to the lying, scheming, demagouging, racist political vermin (and probably worse) Bill Janklow in 2002 and nice to see her get a second chance, despite the tragic circumstances involved.  A win would give the two Dakotas a solid Democratic Congressional delegation.

        As I'm sure most people here agree, the FMA is an abomination against the Constitution, against the principles upon which it is based, and against humanity.  If I could think of a stronger word in English, I'd use it.  That being said, many people who might be inclined to reflexively support it certainly do not see it at all as a hate amendment and would take strong exception to the implication that this inclination might be due to hate.  In places like the Dakotas, there are very large numbers of people who might be so inclined not out of fundamentalism or commitment to any hard-core reactionary ideology, but simply out of traditionalism, or true cultural "conservativism" in the old-fashioned sense of the term as opposed to the kind the real haters peddle.  These states are simply not places that are anywhere near the cutting edge of cultural progress, and most people there are skeptical toward ideologues of all sorts and toward people who seem to be pushing any kind of radical change.  Thus otherwise decent people might initially be swayed by GWB's claim that he is simply trying to defend tradition and the foundations of civilization against all of these radical activist judges and renegade local officials (with smooth smiles and fancy suits and slicked-backed hair) and in-your-face gay rights militants who are trying to overthrow it all against the will of the majority.

        That being said, on the other hand, there are ways that you can argue effectively against this kind of right-wing abomination in these kinds of places, so I have no idea what Ms. Herseth is trying to do right now.  I'm still not clear what exactly her position is.  Has she unequivocally stated that she would vote for some kind of FMA or for the Musgrove Amendment in particular?  I don't see this kind of solid declaration in the statements that kos posted; on the contrary, there seems to be a whole lot of wiggling going on.  Maybe she simply hasn't settled on a public position yet; she's a rookie, she knows that the eye of Sauron is on her, and the election is coming up fast.  This can't be a comfortable position to be in.  Maybe she's still feeling out various kinds of statements and word choices to see what kinds of reactions she gets.  Maybe she needs to be encouraged to move in the right direction.

        So maybe people here could help do so by sending her some emails explaining why she should do the right thing.  And maybe everyone who was considering donating to her should make an explicit commitment to actually do so provided she back away from the amendment.  This is what I plan to do today.  She'll probably never go nearly as far as some people would like, and whatever backpeddling statements she might be persuaded to make may seem incredibly weak-kneed to many people in NYC or the SF Bay Area (e.g. Daschle's statement), but please try to understand where she is and what kind of position she's in.

        But the important thing is that if people do this, please don't send her anything that could even be interpreted as a moralistic screed or denunciation or a threat to withhold support (as opposed to a conditional promise of support).  I want to believe that her heart is in the right place; if this is so, what she needs to hear are the principled, value-based reasons for not supporting this awful thing, articulated in as generous and well-reasoned a manner as possible, and perhaps also suggestions as to what kinds of arguments can be used to mainstream and traditionalist audiences.  Appeal to her heart and her brain, her sense of decency as well as her sense of pragmatism.  If you don't know enough about SD culture or politics to give sound advice on the latter point, speak from whatever roughly analogous experience you might have.  Be kind and respectful.  And the offer of conditional financial support couldn't hurt.

        Just a suggestion.

        a vote for Kerry = a vote against Bush

        by human on Thu Feb 26, 2004 at 11:03:24 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Wise counsel (none)
          While you're probably right that her initial response was probably rookie floundering, it's still disappointing even to moderate, thoughtful folks here both because this issue has been out there long enough for her to think through a clear response before she had to go public with it, and because the simple, right -- and for Saouth Dakota, perfectly workable politically -- answer is so easy to find:  "I agree with Cheney and -- and we now have found per his Larry King interview -- Bush in their 2000 position, that this should remain as it's been for 2 centuries, a matter left to the states."

          I gave you a 4 because I thought you had a very reasonable take on this, especially warning people here not to fly off the handle before giving Herseth a chance to see reasonable and workable arguments against the whole federal action or amendment approach.  

          But the argument I outlined above should be what we're telling her we think she should say.

        •  Sorry, But I See A Problem (none)
          "Many people who might be inclined to reflexively support [FMA] certainly do not see it at all as a hate amendment and would take strong exception to the implication that this inclination might be due to hate."

          Well, tough. If it's not hate, it's at the absolute minimum an irrational fear that springs from ignorance. And I can't endorse it.

          Your take on the issue, as a whole, is perfectly reasonable, but I'm not interested in giving money to someone who's willing to accede to an effort to make some Americans permanent second-class citizens. Call it a litmus test if you want, but I'm only going to do so much for a lesser of two evils situation.

          Then again, I've never set foot in South Dakota.

          Re-Defeat Bush/Cheney in '04!

          by Answer Guy on Thu Feb 26, 2004 at 12:28:04 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

        •  Hate or not hate? (none)
          I agree with:

          "In places like the Dakotas, there are very large numbers of people who might be so inclined not out of fundamentalism or commitment to any hard-core reactionary ideology, but simply out of traditionalism, or true cultural "conservativism" in the old-fashioned sense of the term as opposed to the kind the real haters peddle.  These states are simply not places that are anywhere near the cutting edge of cultural progress, and most people there are skeptical toward ideologues of all sorts and toward people who seem to be pushing any kind of radical change.  Thus otherwise decent people might initially be swayed by GWB's claim that he is simply trying to defend tradition and the foundations of civilization against all of these radical activist judges and renegade local officials (with smooth smiles and fancy suits and slicked-backed hair) and in-your-face gay rights militants who are trying to overthrow it all against the will of the majority."

          However...  The fact that many Americans (probably the majority of the amendment supporters) aren't true "haters" takes nothing away from the idea that Bush has floated this proposal in an effort to use the politics of division for personal gain.  I esteem that to be cynically hateful.  In that sense, this is a "Hate amendment".

          Funny thing - I called my local conservative talk radio host this morning.  I asked him, "What is your opinion about the Hate Amendment Bush has decided to push?"  The guy went apoplectic at the term "Hate Amendment".  My point?  I think it's our turn to start using the vernacular to our advantage.  Republicans have their "Death Tax" - we have the "Hate Amendment".  Why don't we shape the debate this time?

          •  How about giving her talking points? (3.50)
            Human,
            I like your call for people not to morally screed against her, but how about this.  Tell her,

            I was going to send you money but let me send you advice first.  Here's how you get yourself out of this pickle
            [insert clever talking points on the FMA issue that work with SD voters].  
            I'll check back in a couple weeks and send my contribution then.  Keep fighting and good luck.

            •  talking points (none)
              This is pretty much along the lines of what I was thinking.  My opinion is that the tone should be polite, respectful, in a spirit of dialogue, etc., while at the same time the gist of it, which you just highlighted, should be clear.

              a vote for Kerry = a vote against Bush

              by human on Thu Feb 26, 2004 at 02:36:54 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

        •  A great post, BUT..... (none)
          It reminds me of the tack taken by Southern reps during the Civil Right's battles...that is to say, a lot of people were turned off by froathing at the mouth types, so the idea was to tone down the rhetoric to not be so alarming. This part really irks me:

          ".  In places like the Dakotas, there are very large numbers of people who might be so inclined not out of fundamentalism or commitment to any hard-core reactionary ideology, but simply out of traditionalism, or true cultural "conservativism" in the old-fashioned sense of the term as opposed to the kind the real haters peddle"

          If you read through the speeches of Southern pols during the Civil Right's battles they used exactly the same message, ie. 'this is about tradition'...this is about 'keeping familes intact'...this is about not 'pushing too fast'...this is about 'keeping the peace, and not tearing at society's fabric'...'this has nothing to do with hate, we love our neighbors'.

          All of that- as reasonably and rationally and as eloquently stated- was simply code and cover and excuse for racism and discrimination. This is no different.

          Over time, the people that spouted this crap were proved wrong, wrong, wrong. Just as they are wrong now. But in the interum people went to their graves never experiencing the freedoms and protections of our Constituion because either people were afraid to take the stand they knew in their hearts was right, or because they were truly just wrong. Covering it with appeals and feelings for tradition just don't cut it.

    •  The party (4.00)
      A couple weeks ago, I posted some points which I thought the Democratic Party ought to know about "Dean Democrats" - that particular brand of people who wanted to get involved in the party again; what they need to know to win support (at least, from this person).  This was one of the points:

      We are looking for a party with open borders.  We are no longer looking for a reasonable facsimile.  Just as we insist that gay Americans are not third-class citizens of America, we insist that they are not second-class citizens of our party.  Having heard of a politician and leader who once wore a bullet proof vest as a result of helping to gain civil rights for gay Americans, and having seen him not back down from boldly affirming their rights during a presidential campaign, this vision of our party cannot now be erased out of our eyes.  We are looking for a party with open borders.  We are no longer looking for a reasonable facsimile.  Just as we insist that gay Americans are not third-class citizens of America, we insist that they are not second-class citizens of our party.  Having heard of a politician and leader who once wore a bullet proof vest as a result of helping to gain civil rights for gay Americans, and having seen him not back down from boldly affirming their rights during a presidential campaign, this vision of our party cannot now be erased out of our eyes.  If Democrats can respond to this immutable fact, they might receive the reply they are looking for.

      I dunno.  This is still true for me.

    •  backwards (3.91)
      "If you want the House... these are the kinds of issues you must overlook."

      If these are kinds of issues I must overlook, I don't want the Democrats to have the House.

      How about this?  I don't send her any money.  A lot of people don't send her money.  It becomes clear to her and other Democratic candidates that to gain that financial support they have to take stands on issues like this.  They do so.  They get money.  They win the House and so with a clean moral compass.

      •  Well that would be nice... (3.42)
        ... but I don't think you've got the ending quiet right.  In the real world, the Republican wins the race over, and over, and over again.

        Look at it this way.  Nobody likes trolls.  And everybody thinks they have just the right witty put down to shut the troll up.  But it never works.  The troll just keeps on trolling.

        The best thing you can do is ignore the trolls.  And in this case, the best thing you can do is ignore the wedge that Republicans are trying to drive into the heart of our country.  Don't reward them by giving up on Dems winning in places like South Dakota.

        •  You're right about keeping eyes on the prize (3.33)
          But the progressive left has been falling back for years. "Give up your POV for the greater good". I'm sorry, but I'm sick to death of it.

          If not now, when? If not us, then who? SD is just not as important as the presidential race. So I'm not willing to hold my nose and help her if she's not progressive.

          I thought Herseth was supposedly all blogocentric? I can't find her blog, if it even exists. We shouldn't be stuck with "sending a message" via coughing up or withholding $$. We ought to be able to send her a message directly.

          Be afraid. Be very afraid.

          by ebie on Thu Feb 26, 2004 at 12:24:22 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Good post and question for KOS... (none)

            When are you going to remove the paid Herseth advertising on your site?  I am assuming you wouldn't run ads for a politician who advocated repealing civil rights for blacks or women, would you?  This is certainly no different.

            There are nuanced policy difference, then they are abhorrent appeals to enshrine bigotry in our shared Constitution.

            Pragmatic political considerations stop where detestable policy advocacy on par with racial segregation begins.

      •  Clean Moral Compass? LOL (none)
        "How about this?  I don't send her any money.  A lot of people don't send her money.  It becomes clear to her and other Democratic candidates that to gain that financial support they have to take stands on issues like this.  They do so.  They get money.  They win the House and so with a clean moral compass."

        Let's see:  withholding financial support in return for something...hmmmmm....Isn't that  BRIBERY? and or just simple 'influence peddling ;)

        AND by calling on others to join you, that'd be a Conspiracy to Bribe a Public Official in Exchange for a Vote on an Issue!

        Some High Moral Ground you're on!  lol, lol

        'I came to a fork in the road, and took it.' Yogi Berra

        by PhillyFilly on Thu Feb 26, 2004 at 02:45:34 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  More Laughs (none)
          10 people rated your post "Excellent"  lol

          There's 10 co-conspirators right there!

          "Let's Break Laws to Make Laws"  

          'I came to a fork in the road, and took it.' Yogi Berra

          by PhillyFilly on Thu Feb 26, 2004 at 03:06:32 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

        •  bribery is such a harsh word (none)
          If it works for gas companies, energy companies, foreign bankers, wealthy ideologues, and newspaper editors, why shouldn't we make it work for us too?

          We can do two things: get money entirely out of politics (not gonna happen anytime soon) or use our money to buy some votes. I choose B.

          (Yes, I know you were being sarcastic. :)

    •  Amendment has no Chance.... (none)
      So I don't care how Congressional Dems posture on this!

      In an ideal world, we wouldn't be struggling to re-gain our natural majorities. And we could all voice strongly our true beliefs.

      But welcome to Politics. I would far rather disagree but support a compromised Realist, than agree and support a pie-eyed Idealist.

      And this is nothing but a lose-lose issue for Democrats. We are so divided on this evolutionary issue.

      If Herseth's vocal support for the FMA amendment really meant something, I would balk. To date it doesn't, and without a better candidate, I will still support her over the Repug.

      •  It's compromisers... (3.83)
        ...who are pie eyed. They think voters respect candidates who straddle on every issue. That's been the campaign strategy of the Democrats who have been losing since 1994.

        It's one thing to compromise ultimate goals during the legislative process in order to get something accomplished. During the campaign process candidates who weasel-word on important issues attract no swing voters and drive off core supporters -- witness 2002. And this year Democrats who weasel-word on the Hate Amendment are going to lose.

      •  Then racism is realism (4.00)
        Because if the Democratic Party went back to letting the racists in, we'd have a much better chance in the South.

        There is a right way and a wrong way to deal with grenades like the Hate Amendment.

        The right way is to frame the issue directly and say "I'm against amending the constitution in any but extreme cases. This doesn't meet that test. The only reason it is coming up now is because George Bush Jr. has raised the burdens on working families, allowed health care costs to spiral, imposed unfunded mandates on education - while cutting funds. My concern is the millions of married couples who are trying to make ends meet, raise their children and save for their retirement. Most marriages that end do so because of financial difficulties - that means that if we really want to treat marriage as sacred and the basis of our society, we must do more to make it easier for people to stay married. "

    •  Are you pro Barrow? (none)
      I think I prefer Haines, and I'm wondering if you feel that giving money to Barrow is the pragmatic, prudent thing to do.
      •  If I was picking... (none)
        I'd probably pick Haines, though I think they'd both be great representatives.  But I doubt either of them will have a long hold on the seat.  

        Either they will be beaten in a future primary by a minority candidate, or the district will get redrawn depending on how the next state elections turn out.

    •  She deserves our well wishes, but not our dough (4.00)
      I think the Kos community should act as something like the Club for Growth for progressives.  Don't try to influence the whole game.  We don't have that kind of influence, but lets get progressives into office and only support progressives.  The fact that she is in favour of the Hate Amendment should stop us from donating.

      Politicians listen to money more than their constituents.  We have to use this power to get progressives in office.

      •  cool perspective [n/t] (none)

        The right hates better than we do.

        by matt le w on Thu Feb 26, 2004 at 03:55:41 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  I agree 100% (none)
        Actually, I'm not crazy about donating to candidates directly at all.  If there is some kind of "Dean-ish" organization to contribute through, I would be very interested.  But just sending some Democratic candidate my $50 --- NO! I think thats naive.  The people who get "access" don't donate their money like that.  They can only donate $2,000 or $1,000 or whatever and that isn't enough to buy access so they bundle the money and their company/organization gets a chit.  Thats what we need to look to do.  

        Otherwise, that person you gave money to might get into office and a few years down the road, you watch her being part of something you really don't like and she won't care what you think.  You'll get a form letter like you get from your own Congressman when you call up and voice your opinion.

    •  On litmus tests and the bigger picture (none)
      OK, I think part of the debate we should have is..

      First, is it Kos himself who is encouraging support of Stephanie Herseth?  Or is it that Kos is taking advertisements from Herseth's campaign?  

      I think what has to happen is.. this is a community, but Kos is the mayor, and if there will be a litmus test for Democratic candidates, or definite issues over which Kos is unwilling to compromise, this should be made entirely clear before the candidate comes to us asking for support.  At least it should be clear whether or not we might put conditions on that support somewhere down the line.  If it's just a matter of taking ads from the campaign, I think we have even less leeway to make demands here.

      If it was agreed with the Herseth campaign that we'd support her, than it seems it is not a good idea to now decide to withdraw or put conditions on it.  If she decides that she must take a certain stance because of the voters in her district, than can we, who are not the voters in her district, demand that this change?  

      What I'm worried about is.. there is a bigger picture.  We in the blogosphere want to help get Democrats elected, want to have collectively some influence in this process... and money, of course, plays a big role in this.  But if one of the first candidates we're throwing support behind suddenly finds that there is a litmus test, and is put in the difficult position of either shifting to accomodate the blogosphere, or risking the loss of a major source of funds.. what happens then?  Will candidates be less likely in the future to even consider turning to us - to Kos?  Because there's also the newness of the blogosphere to be taken into account; it's not as familiar and reliable as the usual sources of campaign support, and if in this case we cause a huge headache for Herseth's campaign at a crucial time, will this hurt the chance to develop relationships and influence other candidates in the future?

      Supporting a cabinet-level Department of Civility. Bracing myself for what's ahead: GWBFMDGS.

      by daria g on Thu Feb 26, 2004 at 04:29:44 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  We didn't throw support behind anything... (none)
        Kos has been talking up this race for the past couple months.  Now there's blogads on the site.  No one is under any obligation to give anything to her campaign.  I think the issue is whether Kos actively supports the campaign by encouraging people to donate and volunteer, or basically just ignores it.  I'm sure he's not going to come out against any candidate.  

        Also, why shouldn't there be a litmus test?  Candidates have to earn peoples vote and support, it's not just granted.  If Herseth fails to live up to the standard we have set, why should we feel obligated to support her?

        Deaniacs- support Dean in spirit by voting for Edwards! Kerry is the ultimate Washington insider!

        by Asak on Thu Feb 26, 2004 at 06:01:20 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Certainly, no one is obligated (none)
          But I gathered from the fact that Kos asked the campaign for a clarification and got a reply, there must be some sort of relationship.  

          Maybe there should be a litmus test.  Maybe not.  I'm saying it is probably not wise to get involved in supporting a candidate without some indication before the fact that there might be a litmus test, that there are certain conditions to this support.

          Or, better, you speak of Herseth failing "to live up to the standard we have set."  But did we? Is Herseth's campaign aware that we had set any standard?  If so, what is the standard?  I wasn't aware of it.  Perhaps nobody can be, until a candidate is deemed to have crossed it.  But I am sure this comes as a surprise to the Herseth people.

          Supporting a cabinet-level Department of Civility. Bracing myself for what's ahead: GWBFMDGS.

          by daria g on Thu Feb 26, 2004 at 06:07:38 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

      •  I think we need to be careful... (none)
        What's clear to me from reading people's posts is that there is NO CONSENSUS of opinion here about how to react to Herseth's position.

        As a person who abhors discrimination of any kind and who believes all citizens should be treated equally, I am disappointed in Ms. Herseth's statement.

        As a Democrat and political pragmatist living in a very conservative state (Texas), I understand why she probably did it -- she wants to fight battles she can win.

        What I believe makes us Democrats, and what will ultimately get us back on top in the country, is that we are the BIG TENT party. We don't all agree on every issue, but we tolerate disagreement. This is what sets us apart from the Republicans! Look at them -- they control everything these days, and they're beginning to tear each other apart. They demand lock-step allegence on everything, and it's beginning to weaken them.

        Remember, there are large groups of voters within the Democratic Party (particularly in the African American and Latino communities) who are deeply religious and simply believe homosexuality is a sin and wrong. That doesn't stop them from unfailingly supporting Democratic candidates year after year. They are sophisticated voters who realize that, though they may disagree with elements of party platform and agenda, OVERALL the Democratic candidates are their best choice.

        So, many people here will decide that, based on her position on the amendment, they cannot support Herseth in any way. We understand. Others, however, will weigh this issue in perspective with everything else, and still decide to support her. Those people are OK too.

        I don't presume to think my opinion on any issue or candidate reflects those of the whole community (witness all our presidential primary fights here), and I think it's counterproductive for anyone else to do so, and try to hold the entire community to his or her standard.

        My two cents.

    •  Damn It (4.00)
      I still support her bid, in the sense that I want her in office.  I don't know the dynamics of South Dakota and maybe she feels she has to say this to win the election.  I'm not sure that's truly the case much of anywhere, but hey, I'm sure that's what she believes.

      I'm a realist, understand.  I want us to win and if that involves being on the wrong side of the issues sometimes . . . well, I'm not eager to crucify a Dem for that, because probably every time the Republican is going to be worse.

      But, damn it, there are some issues I just can't sell my soul on, and this is one of them.  Hate cannot be written into the Constitution, no matter what.  I don't like it, but I could live with her coming out against gay marriage, but she should have left it at saying that the issue needs to be left to the states to decide.  It is wrong and immoral to support writing hate into the Constitution.

      So while I still hope she wins this seat, I simply won't be able to give her more money.  I probably would have given her at least another $10.01 at some point before the election, but not now.  I can't support someone who supports putting hate in the Constitution, period.

      Damn, this is sad.

      •  Putting hate in the constitution (none)
        Now, I must say, for all this talk about Ms Herseth writing hate into the Constitution, I don't believe there is any sort of actual legislation up for a vote...Don't we still need 66% of Congress AND 75% of each state?  Doesn't that seem like a hard vote to muster?

        It would be wholly different in my mind if her state was about to vote on an already mandated (by the feds) amendment.  But there isn't.  There is no vote, no amendment, no legislation, nothing.  There is simply the political reality that she needs to get elected.

        A previous poster talked about compromise in certain situations to gain a larger politcal goal, I agree 100% and encourage everyone to take GW's entry in Constitutional politics for what it really was...a political wedge attack launched from a safe position.  GW supports a Constitutional amendment on redefining marriage...wonderful.  Last I checked GW has exactly squat to do with Constitutional amendments.

        If everyone decided that this is indeed the new litmus test for Dems, then Rove has you by the balls anyway.

        •  Not quite (none)
          It's 66% of Congress, and 75% of the states. And each state has it's own rules on how to ratify. I suspect that it's 66% for most of them.
        •  Litmus Test (none)
          I'm just saying that I can't personally support Herseth financially now.  She supports putting hate in the Constitution and that's not something I can explicitly endorse with my money.

          I still want her to win.  If I was in her district, I would vote for her.  Everything will still be much better with the Dems in control of the House and I want that.  But, in this way, I can make a small stand.

          It's just my personal stance.  And obviously not everyone will take the same stance.  If that were true, every member of the house would be a progressive Democrat.  Which sounds great to me, but unfortunately won't happen.

          I realize this is exactly what the Republicans want, but that doesn't mean I'll change my behavior.  The ACLU was right to defend Rush Limbaugh even though he's a despicable person.  I'm right, on my own personal level, to withhold financial support for Herseth, even though I want her in the House rather than Diedrich.  I don't fault anyone who continues to donate to her, but I can't do it myself.  Sometimes I can't and won't separate out moral convictions for political necessity, and I make that decision with a clear conscience.

    •  Well then (3.00)
      Don't you have to be honest with yourself and ask, "What is the difference between Stephanie Herseth and George Bush?  What is the difference between Stephanie Herseth and Marilyn Musgrave?"  

      At least Bush and Musgrave are out front with it.  Herseth, Kerry and Edwards want to have it both ways:  Diddle you along to think they are intellectually on your side but when it becomes personally expedient, they will do what they need to do.  

    •  Wasting money? (none)
      Call me idealistic, but since when is giving money to someone you support ideologically a "waste?"  I know the end results didn't indicate it, but a whole lot of voters donated to Howard Dean when he was a long shot candidate and made him (albeit temporarily) into the frontrunner.
    •  "overlook" the constitution?! (none)
      The content of the amendment, though reprehensible on its own, is beside the point.  IMO the key issue is that the president is trying to hack the constitution for their political gain.

      If gaming the cornerstone of our government is worth "overlooking" then we don't deserve a government.

      If a candidate is willing to overlook it, then she doesn't deserve to serve in our government.

      Honestly, other than war I can't think of anything less deserving to be overlooked.

      -- Since there's a "Charles K" here at dKos predating me, I've changed my account from "charlesk" to "ckerr". Cheers

      by charlesk on Thu Feb 26, 2004 at 03:04:37 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

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