The National Security Dilemma

THE NATIONAL SECURITY DILEMMA....Publius defends the Democratic Party leadership here. He makes some pretty good points. If you don't have the votes, you don't have the votes (though the whole Armenian genocide thing was pretty amateurish). Then he says this:
Granted, FISA is a different story. I strongly disagree with the leadership, but I also recognize it's a much thornier political issue in the swing districts and swing states that determine political power.
OK, so what do we think about this? The liberal blogosphere shares several widely held principles, and two of them come into conflict here:
  1. As political realists, we should give some breathing room to centrist Dems in reddish districts. Ideological straitjackets don't build majorities.

  2. The Democratic Party needs to get a spine. Nobody respects a weakling.
National security is where this particular rubber hits the road most conspicuously. The reason we can't defund the war is because Dems in swing districts think they'll lose their seats if a Republican opponent can club them over the head next year with a 24/7 barrage of grainy black-and-white commercials accusing them of not supporting our troops. Ditto for FISA, Kyl-Lieberman, the "General Betray-us" ad, shutting down Guantanamo, the Military Commissions Act, and a host of other related issues.

So here's my question: when we blogosphere types complain about this weak-kneed attitude, are we complaining because (a) we think the centrists are wrong; they could keep their seats in marginal districts even if they toed the progressive line on national security issues. Or (b) because we don't care; they should do the right thing even if it means losing next November?

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