If the DNC reads this Max Sawicky post, they might be able to stave off their free-fall into irrelvance:
Dean’s comments about seeking the votes of people who put Confederate flag stickers on their trucks are not objectionable; they are praiseworthy. The other candidates are indulging in cheap moral posturing and race politics. As public policy, we can criticize hanging the Stars and Bars on the Courthouse without futile attempts to marginalize individuals for their own choices in this vein.
What’s at stake is whether we are going to have class politics in the U.S. Cultural conservatism, which in the South can include some type of sentimentality for the Lost Cause, or resentment of what is perceived as excess in the name of civil rights, should not be treated as an enemy ideology. I am not talking about adherence to segregation in public accommodations, denial of the right to vote, or other obvious breaches of democracy that nobody in good faith could endorse.
Coalitions are about reaching understandings through dialogue and/or compromise with people of different views. The Democratic Party needs to be a coalition of working people. It needs to ease up on cultural and social liberalism. I mean fetishes about gun control and tobacco. It needs to stop pretending that Southern whites are more racist than other people. It needs to welcome the “seamless web” Catholics who oppose both abortion and the death penalty. It needs to stop overselling rehabilitation and underselling punishment. It needs to find ways of establishing reasonable environmental regulation other than on the backs of workers. What it endorses as a party is ideally the outcome of a rational debate and compromise on these issues. For some, one or another such compromise could be a ‘deal-breaker.’ So be it. That’s the process we need. The constant and lodestar should be an unwavering commitment to the living standards of working people, and opposition to the corporativist, war-mongering ways of the Republican Party.
Granted, I do not necessarily agree with his final remarks about the Republican Party, but if Democrats ever intend to win again, they need to stop acting like the only people who live in the South are the Dixie Chicks and a few former slaves. To show you what Max’swing of the Democrat party is up against, a commenter to this very reasonable post from Max attempted to do just what Max had cautioned against- ‘cheap moral postuing and race politics’- when he said:
Max: you think you can win majority support for your “progressive” economic agenda returning the socially marginal–uppity blacks, feminist women, gays–to their proper places at the back of the Democratic Party bus. To which I can only say, not with my vote you won’t, pal. This is the same game the smart-ass White Boys at the DLC have been playing for years (albeit with a very different economic agenda from yours). Well, here’s a news flash for you *and* the Bubbas: that game’s over.
And I find his empathy, if not sympathy, for the neo-Confederates deeply repugnant. If they are not representatives of an “enemy ideology,” then I don’t know who is.
*** wants to have his/her cake and eat it too. Also his/her pie, sorbet, and chocolate mousse. If the full plate of progressive positions was a going political concern, we wouldn’t be having this discussion. So demanding it embodies a desire for political irrelevance, or some kind of elaborate wishful thinking. Multiple organizing principles mean no principles at all.
The rest of your argument is just inflating my words until they look like something ugly. Sorry but opposition to affirmative action does not equal racism; opposition to gay marriage does not equal homophobia; etc. I don’t have those positions, but making any deviation from liberal orthodoxy on them into a moral indictment is obnoxious and, as we have all seen, spectacularly ineffective politics. If you want to bear moral witness, I suggest joining a monastery or a trotskyist sect.
It just sounds so much better when a limousine liberal is smacked down by a progressive than when they are smacked down by a conservative.