On Wednesday, David Sirota, in conjunction with Josh Keefe and Andrew Perez, broke a story about Republican New Mexico Governor Susana Martinez being involved in exactly the kind of "pay to play" scheme she was elected to stop. It's journalism at its best and even though it's unlikely to take Martinez down (because Republicans rarely ever pay for their scandals), it's exactly what the point of a free press is.
Yet, just a few hours before that, Sirota tweeted what is possibly the stupidest "both sides are bad" comparison I've seen since the election:
Poor America! Trapped between Democrats trying to get healthcare to millions of people and Republicans trying to take it away. It's like two sides of the same coin! If that coin existed in an alternate reality where getting healthcare and losing it were morally equivalent.
But since we don't live in that bizzaro reality, it begs the question: What the fuck is Sirota talking about? He's clearly not stupid but is he seriously suggesting that the Democrats' efforts to stabilize the insurance markets and get more people insured is the moral equivalent of the Republican effort to abolish Obamacare?
The answer, sadly, is "yes" and this is where the full hideousness of purity politics comes into focus. Sirota, safe in his well paying career, is all in on Bernie's single payer plan. Not symbolically, but literally. As in he clearly believes that if only the Democratic Party clicks its heels and wishes upon a star really, really hard, it can will it into existence. In this fantasy, the mere act of fighting to save Obamacare is a betrayal of progressive values because Obamacare itself is the Original Sin that Sirota has been whining about since 2010:
Clearly, this is a telling indictment of the health care law itself, strongly suggesting that it was constructed by the Obama administration — as some progressives argued — as a massive taxpayer-financed giveaway to private insurers like WellPoint.
Sirota, still safe in his career and free from worry about affording healthcare, has had the luxury of railing against a law that has saved tens of thousands of lives and lifted hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of people out of poverty. Sirota has never had to worry about getting breast cancer and having his policy canceled. Or worry about lifetime caps. Or pre-existing conditions. Or any of the other myriad problems Obamacare solved for the people Sirota claims to fight for.
He doesn't have to worry so he's free to ignore the destruction of Obamacare next week because it won't affect him and, hey, when the system collapses, Republicans will have no choice but to pass single payer. If that sounds breathtakingly stupid, well, that's purity politics for you. It's the art of abandoning what works in favor of not getting anything done at all so you can sulk about it in perpetuity. Republicans will allow single payer right about the same time the Sun burns out and the universe goes dark for all eternity. Sirota knows this. He knows single payer cannot pass as long as Republicans wield even the tiniest crumb of power.
His solution? Undermine the Democratic Party at every opportunity to keep them from amassing the overwhelming power necessary to effect real change.
Sirota has spent so much time in the anti-establishment echo chamber he's lost sight of what it is he's fighting for. You cannot call yourself a progressive and be willing to throw millions under the bus for a fantasy. Sirota will sneer at me as an "establishment shill" and send his gaggle of useful idiots after me to fling poop on Twitter but none of that changes his underlying calculus that sacrificing millions is worth it as long as he gets what he wants. He won't be doing the sacrificing, of course, but he'll be happy to blame Hillary for their suffering way up there in his ivory tower of moral purity. And if the Democratic Party gets kicked in the groin as their signature healthcare achievement of the last 50 years gets repealed? Well that's just fine and dandy with Sirota.
Sirota is an excellent reporter who just happens to embody everything wrong with the Purity Left. They accuse everyone else of selling out their principles but they've become so obsessed with petty revenge against "the establishment", they're blind to the damage they're doing to everything they say they believe in. Trump and the GOP are destroying civil liberties, the environment, world peace, everything Sirota champions but he's so consumed with rage at the Democratic Party, he'd rather watch them fail then help them stop the destruction.
I tweeted a prediction to Sirota a few months ago and he dismissed it as nonsense. I hope I'm wrong but the Purity Left has been painfully easy to anticipate for the past two years and I can see this coming from a mile away. Nothing makes the Purity Left angrier than the success of the Democratic Party because being right has taken on far more importance than making actual progress:
Remember this article in 2020 when Warren runs and Sirota declares that she's an establishment sellout. He's already started on Kamala Harris.
At this point in time, with the GOP being led by a white supremacist openly supporting white nationalism while pursuing an agenda of pure destruction and greed, there is no conceivable way to look at both parties and judge them to be in the same moral universe. Republican leadership is so comically dishonest and nakedly hungry for power they are aiding and abetting literal treason.
The Democrats, on the other hand, are fighting tooth and nail to keep Dreamers from being deported, healthcare from stripped from millions, and to keep Russia from stealing another election.
Yet Sirota and his cohort can't stop drawing breathtakingly dishonest false equivalences between both parties. You don't have to be a neo-liberal status quo loving Wall Street sellout like me to recognize that something has gone terribly wrong in the progressive movement that when confronted with actual Nazis, the Purity Left looks at the Democratic Party and doesn't really see a difference.
If you feel I'm being divisive but can't see how Sirota seriously equating Trump's Republican Party to Schumer and Pelosi's Democratic Party is a direct assault on the concept of unity, you might just be part of the problem.
There are 410 days left to the 2018 elections. That's how long Sirota has to convince everyone he can to not vote for Democrats.
- This article kills fascists but not when my own side is trying to stab me in the back because I hurt their feelings.
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