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Rob Kailey is a working schmuck with no ties or affiliations to any governmental or political organizations, save those of sympathy.

Integrity or Agreement?

by: Rob Kailey

Mon Dec 20, 2010 at 12:50:30 PM MST


In some respects this post is 'johnny come lately' to Matt's post below.  That's what I get for having to work this weekend.  But a peculiar question has been nagging at me since the Great Orange Satan had his meltdown concerning Jon Tester's vote on the DREAM act.  In most low-brow form, the question can best be posed as "What the hell did you expect?"

Back in 2006, I attended 3 functions in which I got to meet and talk with Jon Tester or hear him debate.  One was the Democratic candidates debate  in April 2006.  Concerning immigration, I noted this at the time:

I don't agree with Jon on immigration policy, because he wants secure borders and no amnesty for law breakers.

The very next day, in response to Jay, I noted again:

I agree that Tester's stand against amnesty is impractical, and indicated my disagreement with him on the issue in my summery of the debate.

After spending maybe a total of 5 hours in the Jon's presence, I voted for him knowing that he and I disagree on the issue of any amnesty for illegal aliens.  Markos Moulitsas spent much more time than that with Jon Tester while finishing his book, Crashing the Gates.Yet somehow, what was clear to me was lost on Kos.  Tester was not going to vote for amnesty, and a look at his voting record shows clearly that indeed he has not.  Either Markos is exhibiting a terribly poor judgment of character, or his expectations are a little out of line. In truth, it appears that Kos thinks progressive support is a purchase arraignment, very similar to what many claim exists between our congress-persons and their plutocratic overlords.  That's a lovely fear narrative, speaking truth to power by purchasing the power.  Some would tell us rather condescendingly that Washington corrupts and that's why we're not getting from folks like Tester exactly what we want.  "Triangulation", they will cry.  "Appeasement" they will sigh.  The gaping hole in that story is that Tester has done exactly what he said he was going to do, before he ever went to Washington.

Which brings us back to the question:  What the hell did you expect?  I have a great deal of sympathy for Markos' reaction.  Kos is a child of immigrants, and proud veteran of the US Armed Forces. The DREAM Act is probably the mountain upon which I would post my flag, were I him.  But I'm not.  I'm more concerned about the ill-conceived ideas that change our culture, for instance, is integrity the same as agreement?  On the surface, it would seem that the answer is "No WAY!"  Yet that clearly appears to be the answer in this case.  There is a right and wrong.  Most of the Montana left disagrees with Tester on this vote, me very much included,  and yet we expect the man to break faith with what he said he believes/would do/has done.  There is no politician alive today who us good voting folk will agree with 100% of the time.  So, what can be expected?  The cynic says:  they will vote as get's them re-elected.  The purist says: they will vote as I want them to vote (when I want them to vote that way.)  Some might say that they will vote as they told us they will vote, and it's our bad if we didn't pay attention.  The latter is becoming very rare.  Simple fact; honesty and integrity are intertwined.

Back in 2006, I asked:  "Who do you have to primary Max?"  ~crickets~  I've asked less than two short weeks ago, "Who do you have to primary Jon?"   Tester has disappointed on several levels, given a person's pet issues.  I'm asking now, what is the reason you would primary Jon?  Is it because he hasn't done what he said he would?  Or because you didn't get what you want?

Update:  When the wingnut right is agreeing with you, could it maybe, possibly sorta be the case that you've tacked the wrong wind?

Rob Kailey :: Integrity or Agreement?
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Agreed (0.00 / 0)
I am so sick and tired of the whining progressives who won't lift a finger to defeat republicans but will go out and attack democrats if they don't meet their secret liberal checklist. Thanks for an informative and reasonable post.

Tester wouldn't be Senator (0.00 / 0)
without all of the "whining progressives who won't lift a finger to defeat republicans " that donated to his campaign, and worked on his efforts to defeat Conrad Burns.

Go ahead an lambast progressives all you want. You're just hurting your own cause. In fact, your comment sounds pretty whiny to me.

And "secret liberal checklist"??? Gimme a break. There's nothing secret about what liberals want. Nor that they all don't want the same thing much of the time.


[ Parent ]
asdf (0.00 / 0)
"There's nothing secret about what liberals want. Nor that they all don't want the same thing much of the time."

I feel like this is the point I've been trying to convey. There are lots of people I like as progressives who step outside liberal orthodoxy fairly regularly. As some people on this site would accuse, I do it all the time myself.


[ Parent ]
Curious as to your take on cramdown (0.00 / 0)
For me, being "on the left" means primarily working on economic injustice issues, racism, and militarism, Dr. King's triple evils.  In the last weeks of his life his emphasis was on the economic inequality that existed here in America for both whites and blacks.

Creating good laws and institutions that will keep a balance of power between the rich and the rest of us is what Madison tried to do in the constitution.  Hamilton on the other hand wanted an elective monarchy with finance very much partnered with government; a rule by the few. "The people are turbulent and changing; they seldom judge or determine right," he said. This is the continuing debate and divide in this country.  

It is Jon's votes on economic issues that are most disturbing and are not in keeping with traditionally Democratic values of being the party of the middle class and working poor. (Yes, I understand that the Democrats started embracing corporation money and influence in the 1970s, but that doesn't mean that was right).  His opposition to mortgage write down in bankruptcy (bankster language calls it cramdown) was a real wakeup call for me.  He sides time and time again with the perpetrators of the crime and blames the victims.  This is classic conservative libertarianism.  Fine.  But don't run as a Democrat.  
jhwygirl has a good essay on Tester and the Financial Regulation Bill and the lobbyists who have his ear. http://4and20blackbirds.wordpr...

And he voted against capping usury rates.  

And he just recently signed a letter with 14 other Democrats to ask Harry Reid to look at the Cat Food Commission's recommendations.  The Cat Food Commission was set up to privatize Social Security.  That Jon wants to lend this idea legitimacy is alarming, but no surprise.

To say that he has an occasional disagreement with core liberal values is blatantly untrue.  And this vote against the DREAM act follows a pattern of blaming the victim.

Howard Zinn said that it was the job of a politician to do what is necessary to win.  It is the job of a citizen to do what is right.  So it is not our job to defend politicians.  People get paid to do that.  It's our job to educate people with solid facts and real situations and not demagogue an issue. An example of that would be the excellent essay by the Missoula human rights attorney. http://www.bordercrossinglaw.c...
My conservative rancher husband even got it that you shouldn't punish the victims.

I get it that we have two right wing parties; one crazy and one craven, but that doesn't mean I have to like it.


[ Parent ]
Just to attribute that correctly (0.00 / 0)
the 4&20 post was written by the most awesome JC (who comments here regularly.)

I'll add: Feral Cat lays out more of the reasons why I can't say just look at this as one blip on the screen.

I'm mad and moreso because I believed we had an ideal progressive guy.  


[ Parent ]
Wow (0.00 / 0)

Rob that was probably the most intelligent, well thought out and articulated posts you've ever made.

I hope nobody from the left reads it, because it makes good points.


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