Today, I attended a fundraiser for Darcy Burner, who is a candidate for Washington’s 8th Congressional district. She is challenging Dave Reichert, western Washington’s celebrity sheriff who coasted to victory on the strength of his capture of the Green River rapist (it only took him eight years to do so).
Darcy is a tremendous candidate and smart as a whip. In fact, given that she worked at Microsoft, she’s one of those almost terrifyingly smart people like you hear about all the time there. She came within 4,200 votes of defeating a Republican incumbent from a district which has NEVER elected a Democrat. And I hope she gains those 4,200 votes and then some come November.
I met a member of AIPAC’s local board at this fundraiser and she noted that AIPAC retains great respect for “Dave” since he’s “sung the right tune” for Israel. You can only imagine what that means. My expectation is that when Darcy wins, AIPAC will face a much more independent (though still supportive of Israel) Congressmember than the current officeholder.
There was a blogger in the audience whom Darcy introduced. I didn’t catch her name. She was recording Darcy’s talk and Darcy referred to the immense support she’s received from the online progressive blogging community. I didn’t realize until a few moments ago when I began writing this that the blogger was actually from Daily Kos (I misheard the name of the blog, which is why nothing clicked when Darcy said the name). Which will all begin to make perfect sense when I recount the following account of my interaction with her.
I introduced myself to the visiting blogger as a local political blogger who writes about U.S.-Israel relations and the presidential election. I asked her whether her blog (remember, I didn’t at the time know it was DK) ever covered the foreign policy implications of the Israeli-Arab conflict.
She shook her head sagely and said: “No.” I asked her why. “Because there’s just no upside in it for us. Too much dissension and disagreement.”
So there you have it folks: one of the most popular progressive political sites ignores the Israeli-Palestinian conflict in its election coverage because there’s just no benefit to them in doing so. I’ve written about this problem before after Markos condemned both sides at the beginning of the Lebanon war and rather obtusely and brusquely stated that the post would be his first and last word on the matter (i.e. “a pox on both their houses”).
DK is only interested in electing Democrats. It is not interested in governing wisely or well. It is not interested in promoting a sound or progressive U.S. foreign policy, at least not concerning Israel-Palestine. I find that simply astonishing. A regional war between Israel and any number of its potential adversaries could embroil this country in very major hostilities. It isn’t even out of the question that a nuclear conflict could break out there. Besides, there are clear lines demarcating Republican and Democratic approaches to the conflict. Democrats should and do score points by noting the bankruptcy of Bush Administration policy over the past seven years. Obama has presented a real alternative. Making the Israeli-Palestinian conflict a part of DK’s agenda should be a no-brainer. However, Kos’ attitude seems to be: “Don’t bother us with the sordid details of making policy, we’re busy electing Democrats.”
Now, don’t get me wrong. I’m a Democrat too. I want Democrats elected too. But I am not so single-minded in that pursuit that I don’t care what the quality of the political agenda will be for those Democrats who ARE elected. That’s why I think it is morally and politically bankrupt for Daily Kos to turn its back on Middle East peace.
Not surprisingly, this year’s NetRoots Nation conference did not include a single workshop or program on the I-P conflict. Are we surprised?
DISCLOSURE: I was banned from Daily Kos for mentioning the name of Armando in the DK comment threads. Yes, seriously that’s why. I kid you not.