Sunday, February 10, 2008

We need polarization in politics

itsthemedai over at mydd gives a great argument of why elected officials who get things done must necessarily be polarizing:

The "she is too polarizing" argument often raised against Hillary Clinton is amazing to me. It is pretty much a given that someone who is attacked continuously and visciously, not just by political opponents, but also by very powerful media and other interest groups for 16 straight years is going to wind up being "polarizing". I won't go into the unfairness of using the fact that she has survived and thrived under the constant assault of such vitriol as an argument against her, but I really don't even see why it's a bad thing to be "polarizing".
Think back on all the greatest public figures in our history, and you can make the "polarizing" argument against just about every one of them. To be "polarizing", all you have to do is go against some powerful entrenched interests, and insist that they change for the public good. FDR was most certainly polarizing, as were MLK, Lincoln, TR, Susan Anthony, Rosa Parks, Cesar Chavez, and on, and on, and on.
A common (and I think somewhat valid) criticism progressives offer of Bill Clinton is that he "triagulated" too much. In other words, the liberal complaint is that Bill was not polarizing enough. Ironically, some of the same people in the 2008 primaries who complain about Hillary being too polarizing, complain with their next breath that she will not fight hard enough against entrenched interests. In other words, "She is too polarizing, and I fear she will not be polarizing enough".
If Obama is nominated, he will have my vote. If he gets elected, I fervently hope that by 2012, he will have become the most polarizing figure on the national scene. If he hasn't, it will mean that he hasn't accomplished any of the progressive policy goals he claims to espouse.

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