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February 4, 2008

Family Feuds On The Left

Apparently, the pressure of the Democratic primary has begun to fracture families on the Left -- at least the political families. The Kennedys have made headlines with their competing endorsements of Hillary Clinton, but at least they're still speaking to each other. The Sanchez sisters in Congress have turned the primary into a real family feud (via Michelle Malkin and Memeorandum):

Take the Sanchez sisters, whose dispute has the contours of a classic big sister-little sister fight. It started with a pact: Though both are California Democrats, neither would endorse a presidential primary candidate.

But last month, after listening to her older sister praise Mrs. Clinton to a colleague, Linda T. Sanchez, 39, realized that she fervently disagreed. Swept up in excitement, she endorsed Mr. Obama — without calling her sister, who found out through aides. Hours later, Loretta Sanchez, 48, issued her own opposing endorsement. For weeks afterward the two spoke together only in joint interviews.

Loretta Sanchez, who has been in Congress for 12 years, twice as long as her sister, scoffed at what she implied was her sister’s immaturity and lack of gratitude. “Her one comment was, ‘He reminds me of John F. Kennedy.’ I was like, You weren’t even born when he died!” she said, laughing. “She was tilting at windmills, with stars in her eyes and her feet off the ground.”

“My sister benefited from so many things the Clintons did,” Loretta Sanchez continued, mentioning student loan legislation. Obama supporters “don’t understand what it took to get all those things done.”

In an interview of her own, Linda Sanchez defended her choice — and her youth. “I know the frustration of being young, of being someone who has ideas outside the box and has difficulty making change in Washington,” she said. Sometimes, her efforts are rejected “because I’m seen as too young or naïve, and I hate that,” she said.

It's not exactly like Loretta had a ringside view of the Kennedy administration, either. She was three years old when Kennedy was assassinated, which doesn't make her a first-person expert on what JFK did or did not accomplish, or the kind of optimism his candidacy generated. Having lived in Loretta's district, her strange logic here doesn't surprise me, but it does explain why Linda might not want to speak to her condescending big sister.

It seems as though families get more passionate about political gaps as those gaps narrow rather than as they expand. Perhaps relatives simply agree to disagree when the differences get large enough to make debate difficult, but when two candidates with such similar policy stands compete for the same nomination, it puts the differences into higher relief. The Admiral Emeritus and I agree on 95% of politics, but we used to occasionally engage in red-faced shouting over the remaining 5%.

As Michelle says, politics are a poor reason to alienate loved ones. For Democrats in that difficult position, I'll offer one potential solution: vote Republican. It will bring peace to the family, or at least it will convince relatives to quit talking politics in your presence.


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It’s the day before the much-awaited 24 state primary/caucus day better know as “Super Duper Tuesday.” Tomorrow I’ll be liveblogging the ups and downs of the day, and plan on being awake until we know who the winner is in Cah... [Read More]

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