I sometimes hear Democrats grumbing about George Pataki having moved so far to the left that he's getting support from unions and other groups that normally align themselves with Democrats. In fact he's become almost indistinguishable on most issues from his Democratic challenger, Carl MCCall (really indistinguishable, not the faux-indistinguishable muddying the waters that we get in many other races). He's even provoked a real conservative into running against him as an independent. Lots of proggressives are treating this as a bad thing, since it hurts McCall's chance at election. What the fuck are they thinking?
This isn't a sports league in which I want my team to win no matter what, but where winning or losing doesn't have much of a real world effect. This is the real world, and I only care about winning because political decisions affect real people. I want the policies I favor put into place, and I couldn't care less who does it. If the Monster Raving Loony Party took over the White House and pushed through an increase in the minimum wage, a steeply progressive tax code, relaxed drug laws, and starting building high speed rail, I'd be all for it. The policies are what matter, not the labels attached to them.
Progressives should cheer like mad when a formerly conservative Governor (and Pataki was first elected as a conservative) starts governing like a liberal in order to get reelected. That's really good news. We should welcome anyone who wants to support our causes, regardless of their affiliation.
Of course, this only goes for people willing to actually push for legislation and vote the right way at crunch time, rather than just mouth the proper words at election time. I couldn't give a shit how moderate Gordon Smith, Lamar Alexander, and Susan Collins claim to be, they'll still be voting to make Trent Lott the Majority Leader and they'll still support the wingnuts in the leadership on any close votes. They're not really supporting the things they claim to care about. Lincoln Chafee is a different case, because he votes the right way on most close votes. He walks the walk. Now, if he'd just stop voting for Trent Lott as Majority Leader.......