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I've reached the point of wanting to cast a pox on both houses, on the gangs that will defend President Obama and the health care plan against the slightest glimmer of apostasy no matter what and against those who will attack President Obama and the health care plan and those who defend them with slashing swords.

A pox on those who routinely, as a first weapon, fire the weapon of "you must be an unacknowledged paid shill."

A pox on those who assume that if someone favors something that would probably be a really a bad idea, like primarying President Obama in 2012, they are thus a troll and should be told to shoot a bottle rocket up their ass.  (No kidding.  This was the closing message of an an otherwise cogent diary that is currently #2 on the Rec List.)

But enough with my poxing -- I have a question for those who are casting pox at their opponents day in and day out here:

What the hell do you imagine you're going to accomplish?

Seriously, spell out the theory for me, please.  You go into a diary that is written by someone in your camp, and that generally has comments from people within your camp, and you piss all over the other side, reveling in the camaraderie of it.  Other people are, meanwhile, in other diaries doing the same to your side.  What's the freaking point?  Seeing which side has the higher ranked diaries?  If so, then you claim some final victory in the battle over what "DKos thinks" about these issues?

If you win this battle, how do you see that translating into a larger effect in the "real" political world?  If you defeat your opponents here, you win elsewhere too?

After a while, doesn't it make sense that you can rehash the same disagreements without the invective, without provoking other people to strike back as you just as hard because they've been personally attacked?

I know what I, and various other people, are doing here, in the vain hope that it might be useful to the progressive side: asking questions, making proposals, giving feedback to others.  We hope that if we do so maybe we'll be better off when it comes to health care, maybe we'll be stronger when it comes to fighting other battles with our real opponents.

Doing that requires surprisingly few insults.

But I ask those of you who seem to be driven and lured back here by the chance to mix it up with your ideological opponents within the DKos community: how do you see whatever success or failure you have here ultimately making a goddamn bit of difference to our political leaders, to the broader public, or to the outcome of many of these issues?

That sort of vitriolic fighting makes us look like squabbling children a good part of the time, but I assume that that's not the goal.  Right?

(Update: diary written in haste; some bad grammar and phrasing corrected at 3:40 a.m. EST.)

Originally posted to Doane Spills on Sat Jan 02, 2010 at 08:59 PM PST.

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