Wednesday, April 29, 2009

A Note to Idaho Progressives

I've seen this graphic floating about on progressive blogs (this came via Crooks & Liars) over the past two days, blogs that are both accepting of Senator Arlen Specter's recent announcement that he will run as a Democrat for his Pennsylvania Senate seat in 2010 and those that are appalled that their party would welcome Specter with open arms.

The more I think about what Specter joining the Democratic Party means, the more I realize that there will be plenty of good, upstanding Democrats who will be livid if the party supports Specter in a 2010 Democratic primary. To those Democrats who reside in this state, Idaho, I have these two words: Walt Minnick.

Granted, Arlen Specter has been a thorn in the side of the Republican and Democratic parties and a Republican in the public spotlight for much longer than our 1st district congressman has been an elected representative of this state, but if we're going to talk track records we can always discuss a stint in the Nixon White House. Let's please remember the situation we find ourselves in here in our home state before we start echoing the national sentiment about sending "a real progressive" to the Senate.


Benjamin said...

Excellent counsel. While many of us believe that Walt Minnick isn't progressive as we would like him to be, we have to remember:

1) This is Idaho. We're lucky to at least have SOMEONE from the President's party represent us, even if he does associate with 'wingers like Steve Symms.
2) At any rate, he sure the hell beats Bill Sali.

Does it make me happy, no, but I would rather see the Democratic tent opened up to disaffected with the Republican Party, showing that we are able to accept a diversity of viewpoints. I'd hate to see a litmus test in our party, like that being imposed inside of the G.O.P. by people like Limbaugh and Steele.

Idaho Democrats have always been diverse, but yet we seem to somehow embrace a positive message to bring forward our state and nation. Take Richard Stallings, for instance. He has taken a strong pro-life position, as has Jerry Brady. The difference is they don't ram their position down others' throats.

We have room in the tent, and we need to make that message clear to clear-thinking Idahoans who may be on the verge of telling the Republicans to "Go to hell!"

Tony said...

I don't think the comparison holds up all that well. Toomey will be beaten by the Democrat, be it Specter or an actual progressive candidate, so why not take advantage of this opportunity? The only reason Minnick won is that his opponent was cuckoo for Cocoa Puffs. I'd bet a buck that Minnick will be a one-termer - it's the exact opposite situation of Pennsylvania. I'd just as soon see him get primaried and run a real Democrat in the election. Pennsylvania and Idaho voters are different breeds.

Benjamin said...

Tony, I'm in your camp. I don't necessarily disagree. And despite my disagreements with Minnick, I don't want to see a Republican in his seat. It does not benefit us.

Idaho and Penn. are different animals, but we are both reflective of the big tent the Democratic Party has in the country. I made my comments not wanting us to end up with a lack of defined image and the rigidity of the Republicans. We have to have some elbow room to welcome disaffected Republicans into our party.

Again, don't misinterpret me, I too am a progressive and Specter is not! But...