I’ve also seen a lot of opposition here and elsewhere to Elena Kagan. I agree that she has taken some troubling positions, and I would have probably preferred that she didn’t get the nomination. However, she got the nomination, so we have to accept it now. The only way to not have Elena Kagan become our next Supreme Court Justice is to have her not be confirmed by the Senate. This is what the Republicans want, and we should not ally ourselves with them over a competent nominee who merely takes some troubling positions
Politics is about compromise. If we could always push through everything we wanted, there would be no need for elections. Unfortunately, it is impossible to get everything we want. We saw this with healthcare. The bill that passed was about the best thing that could have passed. However, it got much opposition from the left. We need to realize that we need to encourage compromise, and try to get the most out of compromises. This is where Teddy Kennedy made a great senator; he was a master at compromise in spite of being a strong and vocal liberal. We need to learn from him, and fight hard for what we want, but also accept a compromise when necessary.
I am not asking you to sell out on your positions. Keep them. However, I am asking you to support things that might not fully line up with your positions. Support compromises, rather than advocating that they be killed, thus ending our chances at doing anything about that issue. In the current system, issues only usually have one chance to be solved. If a compromise bill fails, we will probably never see any more action on the issue it dealt with for years. For that reason, we must accept them. I encourage all of you to be as far left as you want in your beliefs, but not to turn down compromises that aren’t exactly what you want.
Finally, we must rally behind practical candidates. We can’t always push for ideological purity. We need to elect people who won’t necessarily agree with us on everything. The last thing we need to start doing is driving Democrats out with our equivalent of tea party primaries. While I will say that Stephen Lynch is an exception to this rule, I will warn against future challenges of this type. The fringe must not start to take over the party. If it does, we are doomed to lose many seats on Capitol Hill and on Beacon Hill.
So, I ask all of you to think before going on the attack against the more conservative elements of the Democratic Party. I know you disagree with them. I do, too. However, conservative Democrats are better than Republicans, and conservative compromise bills are better than inaction.