Sunday, 16 March 2008

Policing Your Own

I realise I'm a bit behind the curve on this one (partially because my computer detonated itself yesterday morning, and it's taken Senior Spielbergo and Big G most of the weekend to fix it, which was very nice of them), but I wanted to log my surprise at the reactions some people seem to have had to Keith Olbermann's special report over the Ferrarro fiasco (I never get tired of typing that).

Some have criticised Olbermann's style, which is a sufficiently subjective topic for it not to really be worth adding my tuppence worth. Others (The Daily Howler, for example) objected to Olbermann's assumption that it is/was Clinton's advisors who were the problem, rather than the candidate itself. I can't possibly claim to understand the workings of a presidential campaign to the stage where I would be comfortable judging the truth of that idea, although I would point out that making attempts to dissect organisations from the outside in an attempt to apportion blame is liable to be a mug's game.

What I find a little odd is the idea I've seen expressed or implied several times on various websites that Ferraro shouldn't really be on our radar, because we have, y'know, an actual enemy to fight, and we should all join hands to fight the villainous McCain. This argument pops up a lot, not least because the Democrats do genuinely have a problem with constant infighting and backstabbing, and it can be more than a little irritating to look across the aisle and see the Republicans presenting a united front. As long as the have liberals to bash, it seems plenty of them are happy to ignore whatever unpleasantness is being perpetrated by their own people.

And yes, obviously, it would be nice if we could get our shit together and act a little more like a cohesive unit and a little less like screaming children. But the key thing to remember is that working together only makes you virtuous if you're acting virtuously. If someone in your camp is clearly doing something they shouldn't, you have to at least try to get them to knock that shit off. Or demand they resign, or set up an inquiry, or whatever. Those Democrats who are insistant about keeping their house in order go a good way towards demonstrating that we genuinely have picked the right side in this. Loyalty is generally seen as a virtue, but of course it all rather depends on those that you are loyal to. There's a reason why most people have a higher opinion of von Stauffenberg than of Goebbels (an analogy not meant to imply parity between the Republicans and the Nazis, I'm as leary of Godwin's Law as anyone else, I'm just saying loyalty to a cause can probably only be as noble as the cause itself).

Of course, it's one thing to infight over genuine wrongdoing, it's quite another to do it over differing opinions on approach or policy. If the Democrats have a problem in this, that's where it lies. Policing your own is a pretty good idea, eating your young not so much.

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