In what Kos probably aptly nominates as "most misunderstood Kos post of all time" within its text, he takes the rank-and-file Dems to task for ignoring the core principles of the Democratic Party—right to privacy and equality under the law are the examples he uses—in favor of individual issues:
So while Republicans focus on building an ideological foundation for their cause, we focus on checking off those boxes on the list. Check enough boxes, and you're a Democrat in good standing.

Problem is, abortion and choice aren't core principles of the Democratic Party. Rather, things like a Right to Privacy are. And from a Right to Privacy certain things flow -- abortion rights, access to contraceptives, opposition to the Patriot Act, and freedom to worship the gods of our own choosing, or none at all.

Another example of a core Democratic principle -- equality under the law. And from that principle stem civil rights, gender equity, and gay rights. It's not that those individual issues aren't important, of course they are. It's just that they are just that -- individual issues. A party has to stand for something bigger than the sum of its parts.
For the record, I understand what Kos is saying. (Also for the record, if he doesn’t want his posts to be misunderstood, perhaps he shouldn’t include passages like “Didn't we know, they demanded, that choice was a core principle of the Democratic Party? To which I have a simple answer: The hell it is.” There are, even if he doesn’t agree or like it, a large number of Democrats who do indeed feel as though choice is a core principle of the Democratic Party. Continuing to regard himself as the arbiter of all things Dem undermines his points more than strengthens them, in my opinion, and often makes him unpleasurable to read. Anyhow…) I take his point in the post, that Dems lack cohesion, and that it may well in part be the fault of people just like me, who insist on pro-choice and pro-gay rights candidates (for example). That I don’t like giving a pass to candidates who don’t share my views does undermine the cooperation and compromise that is necessary to build an overarching ideological foundation. I’m the first to admit it; I’m guilty as charged.

That said, here’s my problem with Kos’ post: I would be more than happy to toe the Dem party line, and stop harping on about gender politics and civil rights, if the Dems actually gave a shit about those things once they got into power. But they don’t. As I’ve pointed out before, it was the Dems’ refusal to enact legislation providing for civil unions long ago that forced the LGBT community into challenging the constitutionality of state marriage laws, and now the Dems have the audacity to back away from supporting those challenges, offering nervous lipservice in support of civil unions, if anything at all. It was our last Democratic president who gave us the dreadful DOMA, not to mention DADT, which is the only law in the country that authorizes the firing of gays and lesbians. Their best idea to address inequalities for women and minorities is still the controversial affirmative action program, but it’s so divisive that they run away from it every chance they get. And forget legislation—how many Dems can even be credited with vociferously denouncing the president’s decision to fire US Army linguists with critical Arabic translation skills, simply because they were gay? What about Clinton’s recommendation to John Kerry to throw gays to the wolves during the last election, or Kerry’s recent disingenuous criticism of gay marriage equality in Massachusetts, in spite of residents’ wide support for it?

Kos is far too astute to be accused of naïveté, so I’m not sure what’s going on here. Theoretically, there’s nothing wrong with this assertion: “Another example of a core Democratic principle -- equality under the law. And from that principle stem civil rights, gender equity, and gay rights.” But it conveniently avoids reality. Dems haven’t been great friends to those who are still fighting for civil rights (which, as an aside, includes gay rights) and gender equality, even though they reliably depend on our votes. Of course they haven’t been as bad as the GOP, but when, exactly, is our support going to pay off? The reason it’s so easy for the GOP to peel off black religious voters using gay marriage as a wedge issue isn’t just because of homophobia, but also because the Dems have taken “the black vote” for granted for decades, yet have shown little resolve to fix the endemic problems that plague the poorest black communities.

I’m not a member of the Democratic Party for very good reasons. I vote for Democrats because they (generally) don’t try to undermine the policies and programs in which I most strongly believe, and because the legislation they champion is (generally) in alignment with my policy objectives. But I still find them wanting in many ways, and I’ll be damned if I’m going to sacrifice my passion for equality and reproductive rights to help them get elected when they have yet to prove to me that they’ll pick up where I left off.

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