Below is a diary that I published here back in January of this year. I have copied it in its entirety. I think the message I was hoping to send then is even more germane now. I truly believe that, in order to be a successful political force in this country, progressive must stay committed to the political process with the understanding that we are in this for the long haul. Here it is:
I've written here before about the small industry group meetings I had last year with Jim Inhofe, our crazy Senator from Oklahoma. He assumed that everyone at those meetings was "friendly to the cause" as he likes to say. Some of the things Inhofe said were truly amazing. The guy is nonsensical, anti-science, misogynistic (context in which I wrote about this before) and overall, just crazy. Worse yet, and contrary to my prior thoughts on this matter, I don’t think he’s putting on an act or that he is just saying this stuff to get a rise from the rest of us rational human beings. He truly believes what he says.
Anyway, in these meetings, he constantly talked about "the country needing to just hang on until November 2010". According to Inhofe, it is then that the GOP will take back control of the House and make significant gains in the Senate.
As support for this belief, Inhofe cited to a metric he had formulated under Clinton which he called the "libral dissatisfaction quotient" or number or something. He said this number was higher than it ever was under Clinton and that its trajectory all but assured that a significant portion of "librals" would simply abandon the political process prior to 2010, "like they always do". With a devilish grin and an evil laugh that would give Pat Buchanan goose bumps, Inhofe explained how easy it is to demoralize "librals" and make them disillusioned. He then went on to add that "librals" will never accomplish anything in this country politically because "they don't have the guts for it and just like to cry about things all the time".
I'm a "libral" progressive and Jim Inhofe is not right about me. Also, I truly belief he is not right about the vast majority of progressives in this country.
I understand that political success is measured in decades, not years. Politics is a long-term process and victory goes to those who understand the value of diplomatic outreach and the ability to influence the long-term trend of a Party. In this regard, it's my goal to get true progressives elected as the Democratic candidate and I work my ass off trying to do that (I’ve succeeded twice in a very conservative red state). If I fail, I'll support the Democratic candidate as best I can 99 times out of 100 (I won’t do it if the Dem candidate is clearly more conservative that the GOP) and I will stay engaged in the political process. I know my efforts within the Party will engender loyalty and respect which will further enhance my ability to make the Party more progressive.
I've had some glorious progressive victories within the Party over the years. And yes, I've also had some setbacks that have been so painful it physically hurt. I'm nonetheless going to continue to work my ass off to get more true progressives to run as Democrats. If they win, that’s great. If they lose or if I'm not entirely happy with the policy objectives of the current Democratic leaders, I'll strongly but respectfully voice my objections. I'm not, however, going to piss in the water and cause internal strife within the Party. Simply put, the last thing I'm going to do is whine and cry about how the Party has failed me and threaten to take my ball home - absolutely nothing constructive results from this.
Jim Inhofe is not right about me and don’t let him be right about you.
Again, I say, Jim Inhofe is not right about me.
I’m excited about this election. I think the Obama administration has done more for progressives in its first 18 months than most administrations are able to accomplish in 4 or even 8 years. I think Pelosi has done a masterful job in navigating some very difficult legislation through the House. Reid, on the other hand, has been something far short of masterful in terms of leading the Senate but that's not going to sour me on the Democratic Party as a whole. I'm not going to be that kind of political weenie.
I understand that in order to have any chance at political success in the long term I must work with progressives and moderates to move our agenda further. Inch by inch, day by day, and one race at a time. I'm not going to nitpick my Party and foment discord and conflict among my fellow progressives and within my party - especially during this election season. I'm going to get out there and support my candidates with my all energy and all my available resources. I'm going to do everything I can to defeat this crazed right-wing hoard. I hope you do too. I hope Jim Inhofe is not right about you.