Every Senator plays an important role in the crafting of laws, and has a duty to uphold the Constitution. When one is in an elected office and seeking a higher office, how seriously one takes their job can say a lot about how they will perform.
A Senator, however, is utterly benign next to the power of a President - especially a President with the powers established over the last fifty years, ESPECIALLY a President with the exponentially greater powers established over the last seven years. If there were any doubt what the Presidency can accomplish even when facing an opposition party Congress, this weekend, if not the year preceding it, shattered those illusions.
Obama's main job, to put it bluntly, is to become President and prevent another eight years of this shit, and then reverse damage to our government and our standing in the world that has set us back fifty years.
That's a BIG job. It was a job that I thought would be utterly impossible in anything less than fifty years until I heard about this Barack Obama guy. No one has a bigger job, or a more important one. It is so profound in its historical implications, so sudden a pivot from the arc, that it makes the impact of most Presidencies pale in comparison.
What's more, the fact is that I am no less enthusiastic or impatient today for the implementation of universal health care, a sane foreign policy, and a solvent fiscal policy. None of those things are any less urgent.
In addition, everything objectionable that has happened to the Constitution in the last seven years has happened due to a neoconservative Republican President. The first logical route towards defending the Constitution, therefore, is to prevent more time under a neoconservative Republican President. We nominated a candidate with an unparalleled record on ethics reform and Constitutional expertise, and no single matter of tactics should allow us to forget the level of trust that record built, or we didn't really appreciate that trust in the first place, and certainly not enough to convince undecided voters to share in that trust with us over anything that is flung at Obama this fall; for those who find Obama's methods fundamentally too cautious, it is all the more reason that he will need as a big an electoral victory as possible, as opposed to thinner margins that would inevitably lead to more compromise. Pulling back somewhat on support for the Obama campaign so that he gets less of a mandate is only a way to guarantee more cautious behavior, not more bold behavior, by the same logic that finds him too cautious to begin with, but everyone is reacting so emotionally that many are not considering that fact.
Let me be absolutely clear: I believe in pushing candidates to embrace more progressive positions, and using donations and time as levers to make that happen. However, deciding to pull back any time and money from a Presidential campaign that means what this campaign means in the course of history - a chance to elect a Constitutional expert after the worst Presidency ever, a chance for a truly ethical government after the most corrupt administration in history, a chance for global reconciliation after the worst President in history - is not progressive. It's just not. To do so completely ignores the historical uniqueness and value of this moment, and one of the best things about the progressive mentality is its inherant sense of history, which sees us in the middle of the journey - moving forward towards achieving our ideals in an endless march - as opposed to the here-and-now reactionary mentality that believes the perfect manifestation of all our ideals has already been met, and to question it is betrayal. It was progressives who, despite loving the Constitution and the rule of law, pushed against slavery, who pushed for women's suffrage, who pushed for civil rights, who still push for equal rights for GLBT citizens to this day, and do so because our sense of history makes us humble enough to acknowledge that reaching our ideals is work in progress, and not an annointed gift to be worshipped at a silent altar. I appeal to that sense of history today, because someone with the unique strengths of Obama, having talents so perfectly suited to make up for the dire problems we face that it's almost impossible to believe, will likely not happen again in our lifetimes. It probably will not happen again in our republic.
So criticize, write, call, make your voice heard; I say nothing here for a moment to suggest people shouldn't publicly hold our leaders to the highest standards, and be ardent and vocal in the defense of our most basic rights. Beyond that, you can give to candidates who made the correct vote, and withold donations from the DCCC while giving to individual House candidates if you prefer.
However, if you intend to work any less hard for the election of our nominee - and the strongest possible Congressional majority behind him - then you have lost the very sense of history our future Presidents must have to prevent this era's affronts to the Constitution from happening again.