Lemons and Lemonade
I want to respond to a comment that was made in response to the last diary and the comments that it engendered. Specifically, I want to respond to this:
This has got to stop. This is absolutely insane. Has anyone noticed what happens on this blog? A post attacking Pombo -- 0 to 5 comments. A post about Filson -- 25 comments of all of us bitching at each other, pointing fingers, and now, calling one of the candidates a condescending asshole.
I am going to respond to this in two ways. One way is probably defensive. The other way is probably constructive. But I believe both and want to put both out there.
So first, the defensive and unrepentant part.
I think we try to limit the extent of the finger-pointing and name-calling to a minimum here. But one of the purposes of this blog is to hash out in a public way some sort of shared (truthful) understanding of who the candidates are and what their strengths and their weaknesses are.
So let us take the case of Steve Filson. Both Filson and his backers have proclaimed Steve Filson the “electable” candidate capable of wooing the swing voters. This is not something that has been mentioned in passing. This has been made one of the central arguments in favor of Filson.
Well suppose Filson comes across to a lot of people as a condescending asshole. I mean, really, let’s assume he’s a genuinely nice guy and something in the tone of his voice or how he carries himself (something unconscious and unreflective of his true nature) really comes across badly. I think that might make him a lot less electable. And if so, why ought it to be illegitimate to bring up? I know it’s not pretty or polite to discuss, but screw politeness.
Honestly, nothing Babaloo or I say will come close to the type of things Pombo and his people is going to say about the eventual Democratic nominee. There is a difference between creating an issue where there is none and addressing an issue that isn’t being addressed. I know some of the Say No to Pombo readers want a completely positive, no criticism of Dems allowed, discussion. But at a certain point that becomes indistinguishable for wishing that the Democrats live in denial. And the call for restraint simply becomes a palliative that makes us feel better but does not address the underlying issues at hand.
To be clear, I don’t want to make it an issue about who he is; to me it’s about how he will be perceived. And ever since I first met Filson I have been concerned that he will be perceived in a way that will prevent him from connecting with the people he will need to connect with. And my perception has been borne out by further experience and by what a ton of people have told me, including people who are by no means on the McNerney bandwagon.
I have no doubt that if Babaloo had not posted her transcript of the MySpace diary, then the speech would still be up there. And Pombo’s people would have been just as able as I to find it on MySpace. Now it’s down from the site, which means on some level that someone from Filson’s campaign agreed with me and Babaloo that it wasn’t Filson’s most shining moment. Great.
Hopefully he’ll avoid making such mistakes in the future. God only knows that Filson made a similar mistake in San Ramon. At this point, if Pombo tries to make hay all Filson needs to do is own up to his mistake and apologize. But if he kept on saying similar things the entire primary, he’d be in a lot worse shape come June. And frankly, if Filson continues to say such stupid and needless things I don’t see a problem in pointing out that Rahm Emanuel’s Great Democratic Hope for CA-11 can’t even act like he respects the voters of the district.
Now the productive part.
Part of the reason there are so few comments about Pombo is because it’s really hard to write up new stuff about him. At least that’s true in my experience. So what I’m going to try for the next week is to start posting open threads in which people can comment about good articles they read, thoughts they had about the articles, questions they’d like to see answered, etc. Hopefully the open threads will open a new space for people to discuss important developments without feeling constrained by the framework one of the Say No to Pombo authors imposed on a post.
Also, I am hoping that if some authors choose a pseudonym to use in an open thread, we will see voices developing that have different takes on Pombo such that the open threads will have dialogues as interesting to follow as normal posts are to read (I hope the posts are interesting to read). I have become more and more convinced that Say No to Pombo needs more authors, and maybe if people start commenting consistently in the open thread that will make them comfortable enough to periodically write guest posts of one sort or another. I don’t know. But I’ll do it for the week and see what happens.