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It's what the VOTERS think that matters.

First, two pieces of housekeeping:

  1. Gibbs said something in a way that sounded offensive to some and sounded inoffensive to others. Check.
  1. Some people here are more to the left and some are less to the left. Check.

Now we've got that out of the way...

I'd like to ask folks to try an experiment for the next 24 hours: When someone says something about a policy or a candidate, before commenting, please think about why the poll numbers from Joe and Jane Average show the democrats losing ground in both the House and Senate in November (theories about bad polling aside). Let those thoughts inform your comment.

[small update to fix a typo]

Think about whether or not Joe and Jane Average (who, by the way, are most decidedly NOT reading this site) might be feeling whatever the other commenter posited. Decide - BEFORE commenting - no matter where you stand on the great dailykos "more leftish" <-> "less leftish" spectrum, to make your comment about the strategic or tactical reason for YOUR opposing opinion. Try really, really hard not to ascribe negative motives or desires to the other person. You're not in their head. You are not in their life. You don't know what kind of work they might be doing for which candidates. You don't know where they live, and you don't know what events in their political experience led them to the place they're in.

I will now post two pairs of comments. Based on a coin toss, I'll start with a pair that starts with a more-left comment answered by a less-left comment. Then I'll do the opposite pairing. I'm going to TRY to find comment pairs that seem, to me, to represent "respectful disagreement/discussion." Your mileage may vary.

I am simply going to open a dozen tabs in my browser and skim the comments to find pairs. If I don't find pairs, I'll open more tabs. When I find pairs, I will not link to the specific comments or the diary(ies) in which they're located, nor will I put the user names in, because I want them to be read for their content, without the biases that come with name recognition or recognition of diary titles if they turn out to be in ones that are slippery from all the pie being slung. I'll simply copy & paste, then close the tab, so even I won't know where they came from. If not knowing where things came from annoys you, feel free to skip this diary, or try the google. They'll be copied and pasted straight out of the diaries. Let's see how this goes:

[Sigh. It's hard to find pairings of strong opinions respectfully shared. This took waaay too long...]

:: Pair #1

Comment:

I can't imagine that people think Obama is a liberal. He ran as a moderate and is governing as a moderate.

We're still in Afghanistan and Iraq and Gitmo. We still don't have marriage equality. We still don't have network neutrality. We're still bailing out banks but not mortgage holders. We still don't have a public option.

Look, I'm glad Obama is president and not McCain. But we have to be realistic. And calling him a liberal is not realistic. Perhaps I am not as upset about these things than some others because my expectations were never that he would govern liberally. And he hasn't.

Those of us who are actually liberal have to continue to fight for what we believe. If that means criticizing Obama, then so be it. Those of you who don't like the criticism don't really have any say. I will continue to criticize him when he deserves it and praise him when he earns it.

Response:

He's about as "liberal" as this country would elect at this point in time. Yes, he is a centrist (and ran as one) in the commonly accepted political spectrum. However, that all goes out the window after 30 years of shoving the Overton window to the right (especially with the corporate media reinforcing all the right wing nonsense).

Centrism is the new liberal until we can push the window back to the left. The only way to do that is to keep electing progressively more left candidates. All it takes is President Romney or Palin in 2012 to set us back another decade.

If Pres. Obama can continue to make lots of (IMO good but not enough) small steps to the left, the public will become more open to accepting "traditional" liberal values. Then, in 2016 or 2020 or 2024 running a more progressive candidate for President becomes more realistic.

If we don't start in the center and inch our way left, we will never get to where we want to go. It's the same way the GOP pushed us to the right. It took them 30+ years. It will take us the same before this country can get back to the days of FDR.

These people both expressed strong opinions, with opposing points of view, but note that the second comment didn't accuse the first of some untoward motive. It simply stated WHY this person thinks the way they do about this "touchy" subject. Respectful. Clear. Concise. Opposing.

Sadly, the response was then followed by a snarky comment attacking the primary premise in one of the two comments. I won't say which one. This particular thread could have been built upon constructively by subsequent commenters, or even by the initial writers, to work toward a strategy that could be used to bring the voters into the fold, or an agreement to disagree, or some other constructive result, but that's not what this site does anymore.

:: Pair #2
Comment:

Not sure I agree with that as I live in red red state and my Bluedog Dem congressman is a better more rational representative than what is on offer from the right, which is far right tea party right.   What you are saying may make sense politically for the Dems but, as RM, talking about tea party type candidates versus establishment GOP ones, said the other night, which should one be rooting for, the country or the party?

Response:

and as I stated the house seats most endangered are blue dog ones. your red red state might do better if they gave a real Democrat a chance. Look at Grayson he comes from Orlando, he belies the myth that only conservadems can win in red states. People respect pols that stand up and speak out instead of calling themselves moderate when they are not even that they are just corrupt hacks.

Once again, opposing opinions, but respectfully argued.

In both pairings, the response is focused on getting the voters out. The opposing opinion is written without attacking the motives or intelligence of the prior commenter. The opposing opinion is written in a way that describes a tactical or strategic viewpoint on effective GOTV.

Can. We. Please. Do. More. of. This.?

Please?  

Originally posted to mataliandy on Tue Aug 10, 2010 at 06:42 PM PDT.

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