Leaning Left

Kurt Andersen wrote one of the most prescient pieces I have seen on the challenges of leaning left. It ran in NY Magazine several weeks ago

In the piece, Kurt argues that liberals have a terrible option; to root for Bush to succeed in Iraq or to root against the possibility that he might succeed. I have personally struggled with this terrible choice for the past three years. And with the end of the election, I am not struggling with it anymore. Bush won a second term and I hope he succeeds in Iraq.  Success to me means a quick establishment of a democratically elected government that can keep the peace and allow the US to get out.  That would be a huge political win for Bush, but it would also be a great outcome for the US and our troops who are in harms way right now.

I’ve been meaning to post on that piece for several weeks but have not gotten around to it.

Then today, I saw Jeff Jarvis’ post railing against the liberal bloggers who have it out for him.

Jeff and I had some fun arguing about issues in the weeks leading up to the election last fall.  We agreed about most everything other than Iraq.  And he voted, very reluctantly, for Kerry.  Here are Jeff’s politcal views:

: I voted for Bill Clinton, eagerly.
: I am dying to vote for Hillary Clinton.
: I vote Democratic in local races in my corner of New Jersey, when they have the guts to run.
: I am pro-choice.
: I opposed the Bush tax cuts.
: I am against school vouchers.
: I am for gay marriage and quit the Presbyterian Church over its bigotry against gays.
: I am for universal health care.
: I fight for free speech in America and elsewhere.
: I wrote a cover story for The Nation.

Guess what?  I’d vote for Jeff if he ran for office.  He’s a left leaning guy. 

The war in Iraq needs to be buried in the past. It’s over as a politcal issue. The left lost that one. There are bigger battles to fight like fiscal responsibility, a sound social security system, a woman’s right to choose, etc.  That’s where my left leaning politics are strongest and its where the majority of the country agrees with the Democrats.

I wrote several weeks ago that the left needs to focus on Social Pragmatism and Fiscal Conservatism. That’s a winning proposition.  Opposition to the war in Iraq is not.