I think it's safe to say that most of us on here are liberals. But let's face it: this ain't a representative sample of the country. According to Rasmussen, we only make up 25% of the electorate at most...only 8% of which call themselves "very liberal" (which is half the number that consider themselves "very conservative".
To top it off, we are coming off possibly the most fringe right-wing authoritarian government in our nation's history. The mood of the electorate is changing, but attitudes of the electorate in general make the neuronal response time of a brontosaurus look like an Intel Quad Core. We have to face it: we were asleep at the wheel, and we lost badly. And we are still paying for those losses. But we have to take them in stride, and remember "Never Again". Never again will we grow complacent and apathetic in regards to our government. But this does not mean abandoning progress, incomplete though it may be.
Barack Obama, despite his flimsiness on the FISA issue and his more recent centrist positions (I actually agree with him on faith-based initiatives), is dealing with an electorate that has been pummeled over the last 25 years with a highly effective conservative propaganda machine, consisting of AM radio, Fox News, conservative bloggers, and the RNC itself. And despite the resurgence of the Democratic party, the fact is that there are many even within our own party that don't consider themselves to be "liberal". Of these people, there are many who buy into the national security scaremongering that the right-wing hate machine peddles on a daily basis. So if you were expecting some sort of perfect Ralph Nader except with the resources of the DNC and the backing of Nancy Pelosi to come out of the South Side of Chicago and deliver us from conservativism, you had better readjust your expectations.
Barack Obama cannot get elected by focusing on purely liberal issues. Barack Obama has to attract conservative Democrats and independents to win. Many of these people do not understand politics the way we do. Many of them pay little attention to the details of the world around them. Many don't share our values 100%. But their viewpoints are just as important as ours in a democracy.
We have to face it. We can't run Dennis Kucinich on a presidential ticket and expect to win. Because right now, despite what we think would be good for them, strict adherence to liberal ideology turns people off. You have a problem with that? Change the attitude of the electorate. Don't blame our politicians during campaign season. What good is a politician that can't win? We just have to face it: we're going to have to swallow our pride a little bit, and take our progress one step at a time. Today it's Barack Obama. Tomorrow (2010) it's the Democratic primaries. And the time in between, it's influencing the rest of this nation around you.
You're not going to win people over to your side by rejecting all those who don't fit your narrow ideology, however righteous it may be. You'd never win a significant other this way, you'd never get a business deal done this way, so why do people think this kind of approach is going to work in politics? The fact is, over the last 20 years, we have had our asses handed to us. WE have to turn that around. Nor our politicians. We have to have a strong, unified message, but we also have to tolerate some deviance from that. FISA is disappointing, yes, but it's not the only issue out there.
I think we all know that we need tolerance and unity within our own party. It's what separates us from the narrow, extremist agenda of the other side. Yes, we should worry about things like civil liberties, but it would be better to worry about them after our side has been elected when they actually have the power to do something significant about them.
Just because most of this country rejects Bush doesn't mean that they are ready to embrace liberalism in its purest form. We need to keep fighting for and defending our ideology every day, but we need to take our progress one step at a time. Fight over who is liberal enough in the primaries -- not the general election.