And if bloody, nasty, scarring internecine battles are your thing, make sure you keep your eye on Hillary’s move to the center:
The Democratic Leadership Council, an organization of influential party moderates, named Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton today to direct a new initiative to define a party agenda for the 2006 and 2008 elections.
The appointment solidified the identification of Clinton, once considered a champion of the party’s left, with the centrist movement that helped propel her husband to the White House in 1992. It also continued her effort, which has accelerated in recent months, to present herself as a moderate on issues such as national security, immigration and abortion.
In her new role, the New York Democrat immediately called for a truce between the DLC and liberal elements of the party, which have engaged in a ferocious war of words over the Democrats’ direction since President Bush won reelection in November.
“Now, I know the DLC has taken some shots from some within our party and that it has returned fire too,” she told a gathering of the group here. “Well, I think it’s high time for a cease-fire, time for all Democrats to work together based on the fundamental values we all share.”
“We Democrats have not yet succeeded in isolating and defeating the far right, in part because we have allowed ourselves to be split between left, right and center,” she said. Noting that the DLC had often been in the forefront of those intraparty battles, she said all Democrats should agree to a truce and unite around shared values, “values violated every day in Washington by the ideologues of the Republican right.”
Bill Clinton used his chairmanship of the DLC in the early 1990s to engage in some of those intraparty fights, urging a break from traditional liberalism and emphasizing “New Democrat” themes that foreshadowed his 1992 campaign. But in taking on a central role with the DLC, the New York senator suggested she would use her position less to create intellectual friction in the party than to serve as a voice around whom all Democrats can rally. “It is vital that we bring everyone’s positive Democratic progressive ideas to the table,” she said.
And as if to prove the futility of tranquility within the Democratic party, the disparate factions open fire on each other:
This is an event that accentuates the positive. Leave it to others to talk about internal divisions within the party or nasty polarizing polemics. While someone from the daily kosy (misspelling intended) confines of Beserkely might utter ominous McCarthyite warnings about the “enemy within”, here in Columbus constructive committed crusaders for progressivism are discussing ways to win back the hearts of the heartland. This is a time for Democrats to be ecumenical rather than suggesting a pious inquisition.
I like the Bull Moose, but I would suggest that any attempts at a truce will fail when your opening line is “Hey lunatics- Can’t we all just get along?” For their part, the ‘Beserkely’ residents respond:
Marshall Whitman can slam me all he wants. I can take it. But notice how he slams everyone in Berkeley? No good vital-center-seeking Democrats there! They’re all “berzerk”, ha ha! I bet he called up his old friends at the Christian Coalition and his current friends at PNAC to share that gem.
Cease fire, DLC style! Pleas take note, Ed Kilgore.
Marshall also hilariously calls the 300 elected officials at their conference as “grassroots”. Um, my dictionary defines “grassroots” as:
Ordinary people regarded as the main body of an organization’s membership.
Elected officials are not “grassroots”. The people licking envelopes and getting out the vote and manning phone banks and attending rallies and helping build the party from the ground up — those are the grassroots. And they weren’t at the DLC’s little shingding. But it’s cute that they’re trying to claim the mantle. If they had real grassroots supporters they wouldn’t have to try so hard. Democracy for Texas had over 1,000 people at their event down in Austin. But then again, the grassroots likes DFA.
But hey, that’s all fun and games, despite Marshall’s and Ed’s weird obsession over the words written on this site. (The “enemies within” line obviously struck a nerve.)
When you guys are running around lopping off each other’s heads in the public square, a nerve or two is bound to be struck. At any rate, Ken Mehlman is loving this…
*** Update ***
Nobody said it better than London Mayor Ken (“Red Ken”) Livingstone, a leading leftist. Though openly critical of Tony Blair for his support of the war in Iraq, Livingstone was eloquent and unequivocal about the terrorists. Pointing out that London had been chosen for the 2012 Olympic Games partly because 300 languages are spoken in his city, Livingstone said the jihadists’ “cowardly attack” was aimed not “against the mighty or the powerful, it was aimed at ordinary working-class Londoners. Black and white, Muslim and Christian, Hindus and Jews, young and old. It was an indiscriminate attempt to slaughter, irrespective of any considerations for age, class, religion whatever.”
If only we could hear such moral clarity from our own party’s left! Instead, we heard from Daily Kos, the ur-liberal ur-blogger, whose blog included a cheer for, among others, outcast Labourite George Galloway, who blamed the attacks on Blair’s Iraq policy — and was roundly denounced by virtually all British politicians. “See, Democrats? That’s how it’s done,” lectured the blogger ignorantly. Likewise, Matt Yglesias, an articulate liberal voice at The American Prospect, who belittled Marshall Wittmann’s call for moral clarity as a phrase never used “unironically” anymore. No wonder Democrats are perceived to have a values problem.
Is Mehlman loving it? If the moderate DLC and the left wing are widely perceived to be at each other’s throats, and Hillary is the candidate of the DLC, it becomes that much harder to tie her to the “loony left.” By much the same logic, Democrats who hope to tie the GOP to religious extremists like James Dobson will have a much easier time if the nominee is Bill Frist as opposed to, say, John McCain.
The squabbling definitely hurts the Democrats if the left wing defects en masse from Hillary and votes for some Nader-like person, but we’re not there yet. You would THINK that rationality would require even the mooniest of bats to back the eventual Democratic candidate to avoid a replay of 2000, but maybe rationality shouldn’t be taken for granted…
Mehlman is currently too busy spouting insanity laden material that shuns reality to take notice of what is happening around him.
All the democrats will have to do is spread some Santorum onto Mehlman and his actions and everything will just fall apart.
Thank you Rick!
I’m glad that it’s not just people like me on the Loony Left who think that Whitman’s tone is utterly unhelpful. (Although let it be noted that even he doesn’t think Howard Dean should shut up.
Mehlman’s glee can’t exceed mine. The Democrats’ circular firing squad is practicing early, this time.
The DLC is just in a panic and lashing out because they haven’t won a single race. Even Clinton’s first victory, which the DLC credits to themselves, would not have been possible without Perot sucking up the Bush Sr. vote.
Oh, the revisionist history about Perot again. When will it end.
& online: Somerby V Marshall http://www.dailyhowler.com/
Also, multiple polls showed Perot voters would’ve otherwise broken towards Clinton.
Or mine. :)
The best thing about that attack on Kos is that it isn’t even a quote from him! It’s a random comment/diary pulled from his site.
The DLC can bite me. Believe it or not, I’m a center-lefty, but why one would form an organization the purpose of which is to do nothing but publicly savage the Party to which you theoretically belong in order to pull in some corporate cash is just beyond me.
The DLC would have some credibility in these fights if they actually criticized Republicans. Instead, 90% of their efforts and platform is to lecture liberals in the party to be more like Republicans.
If Hillary can get the Deaniacs and the DLC’ers working together, forget the nomination–she should get the Nobel Peace Prize.
“…make sure you keep your eye on Hillary’s move to the center….”
What year would you say Hillary peaked in her “left”-ness, and when would you say she significantly moved “to the center”?
It seems to me that campaign finance reform may have hurt the Democrats by pushing money into 527’s. The message is diluted, with any yahoo who can afford a megaphone spouting off. Add a good dollop of BDS to the mix and you have a witch’s brew that most voters (who have other things of interest in their lives outside of politics) run away from.
Thank God the blogosphere was not up and running during the Clinton years as it is now or all of the Republican’s crazies would have been displayed in the shop window like the Democrats’ are now.
No reputable surveys have shown that Perot voters were anything other than evenly split. So enough of that myth, please.
Non-Fat Latte Liberal
Yeah, I’d go so far as to say 100% of their efforts are lecturing liberals in the party to be more like Republicans in one way–Winning!
The DLC’s only problem is that they even offered an olive branch, the loony left belongs where the loony right does–on the powerless fringes of national politics. Let them outlaw the UN in their county or outlaw logging in their county if they want but keep them off the national stage, they’re only doing us harm.
Glad to see that the DLC has finally figured out the fine art of tarring individuals with the opinions of their loonier followers. Let’s hope that after practicing on Kos, they try it out on the Republican party next time.
Here’s something to practice with, that I found while looking for a ref that Bush supported New London:
“If Hillary can get the Deaniacs and the DLC’ers working together, forget the nomination—she should get the Nobel Peace Prize.”
She shouldn’t get them working together, she should ignore the Moonbats. She’s a smart lady and she knows the only way to win is to NOT come across as a lefty. If she’s a sincere Moderate (and I don’t think she is), more power to her.
You know, after reading all the crap on this subject over at Kos (this one was among my favorites):
“Fuck the DLC Fuck Hillary and fuck Democratic appeasers! Making nice with these Repugs is like making nice with Nazis.
– This is not hyperbole – these people are willing to commit treason – willing to lie about treason – willing to cover up treason – they are happy to use the Constitution to wipe their feet on – They absolutely want to impose their will on everyone who doesn’t see things their way – Things are getting worse and Hillary and her ambitions are no help!
As much as I loved the Big Dog he was a weak President with no coattails who never would have won without the help of Ross Perot – Their day for what it was worth has come and gone.
Sic ’em kossacks!”
I’m seriously thinking about when I get back from business travel, of changing my party affiliation to Democrat just so I can vote in the Democratic Primaries and maybe even work towards getting Moderate Democrats elected to office. I WANT Moderate Democrats to win at all levels just for the express purpose of showing the Kos/MoveOn.Org/Soros/Atrios crowd that they are not needed, nor wanted for Democrats to win elections. One guy can’t do much, but I can do all I can.
I think the DLC’s slogan is “Two political parties? That’s 0.75 too many!”
Gee, Galloway says the London underground attacks had something to do with Blair’s Iraq policy? How shocking!
And what might the motivation for the bombers have been instead of the obvious?
This is the same empty-headed rhetoric. If people strap bombs on themselves and blow themselves up in your country, and then you refuse to listen to the reason their comrades offer, then you are doomed to more suicide bombings.
Galloway acknowledged the truth. You may not like it, you may not think that they were justified in such a horrible act, but to ignore the reason they did it is just stupid.
The DLC did the heavy lifting for good things like NAFTA. Sorry, all that, and GATT and all the other trade deals have shipped off American jobs to places overseas where the free market is enforced by jackboot and machine gun. Without the right to organize all the workers of the world can do is race to the bottom.
“Galloway acknowledged the truth. You may not like it, you may not think that they were justified in such a horrible act, but to ignore the reason they did it is just stupid.”
I think this is among the best responses I’ve seen to the above:
“We also need to spotlight the “excuse makers,” the former State Department spokesman James Rubin said. After every major terrorist incident, the excuse makers come out to tell us why imperialism, Zionism, colonialism or Iraq explains why the terrorists acted. These excuse makers are just one notch less despicable than the terrorists and also deserve to be exposed. When you live in an open society like London, where anyone with a grievance can publish an article, run for office or start a political movement, the notion that blowing up a busload of innocent civilians in response to Iraq is somehow “understandable” is outrageous. “It erases the distinction between legitimate dissent and terrorism,” Mr. Rubin said, “and an open society needs to maintain a clear wall between them.”
How could anyone vote for Hilary after Ed Klein’s book about her? Klein showed her for what she is: a power-mad lesbian trapped in a bizarre marriage to an abusive womanizer. Is that really anyone’s image of what our first woman president should be like? Condi would trounce her in the general election.
I’m not sure if you’re being sarcastic here or not, but I think most generals would agree with Bob’s point–you can’t hope to overcome the hydra-like monster of terrorism without understanding what drives it. Most of the people accused of wanting to “understand” the terrorists do not want to “understand” them in terms of extending compassion and making excuses, but want to understand the problem in order to come up with more effective solutions. When I spoke with a NATO officer not long after 9/11, he said basically the same thing as Bob. I’m guessing the “Art of War” probably makes a similar point somewhere, although I’ve only read excerpts from it. The desire for intelligent planning rather than blind rage is not a sign of weakness.
Oh I see. Moderate Dems get elected through the assistance of fake Democratic voters in order to show that the real Dems aren’t needed. Do you understand that the above statement actually confirms the opposite of what you are arguing?
DougJ’s turned on by all the blood on Condi’s hands.
The DLC seemed almost more panicked by the surge of grassroots political action from the left than the GOP did. I really wonder about their commitment to democracy, as well as to traditional Democratic values. I haven’t trusted their leadership for some time, but now I’m rapidly losing my trust in their intentions as well.
” The desire for intelligent planning rather than blind rage is not a sign of weakness.”
I don’t disagree with your point. If we can intelligently use propoganda or whatever to help our side, so much the better. But that doesn’t mean that we should ever go down the path of saying their attacks were in some way “justified”. I don’t buy it. There have been many “downtrodden” folks over the years that have chosen other ways (think MLK, Ghandi, etc.)that didn’t involve blowing up buses and trains and slamming planes into buildings. This assumes that you believe that that’s at the root of the terrorist’s world view. I don’t. I think it’s basically that they hate those that don’t believe like them and they feel that we are nothing more than dogs so deserve only to die.
“Oh I see. Moderate Dems get elected through the assistance of fake Democratic voters in order to show that the real Dems aren’t needed. Do you understand that the above statement actually confirms the opposite of what you are arguing?”
How am I a “fake” Democrat if I vote for those that I agree with ? I’ve voted for Democrats before, but only in some general elections. I’m saying I’ll take it the next step. Also, your view only makes sense IF you believe that the Left Wing Moonbats are the “real” Democrats. I think that’s a bunch of crap. I think the Kos Krowd and their ilk are a fringe, and hardly “mainstream”. I also think they should be shown the door. Do you understand that?
I’m delighted with moderate Dems winning at any level, so long as those moderates are aware of the fact that the current Republican leadership is mendacious and incapable of compromise or being appeased. As long as we can agree that the folks in power need to be beaten — that, in short, we are an opposition Party — then we can enjoy some delightfully spirited policy debates.
Until then, I will do everything in my power to marginalize the factions of the Party which retain an accomodationist stance. I’m not a Republican, and I have no intention of supporting a Party which is uninterested in providing a serious alternative to the current Republican Party leadership’s theocratic, crony capitalist, soft-authoritarian theory of government.
“I’m delighted with moderate Dems winning at any level, so long as those moderates are aware of the fact that the current Republican leadership is mendacious and incapable of compromise or being appeased. As long as we can agree that the folks in power need to be beaten—that, in short, we are an opposition Party—then we can enjoy some delightfully spirited policy debates.
Until then, I will do everything in my power to marginalize the factions of the Party which retain an accomodationist stance. I’m not a Republican, and I have no intention of supporting a Party which is uninterested in providing a serious alternative to the current Republican Party leadership’s theocratic, crony capitalist, soft-authoritarian theory of government.”
Then we’ll just have to disagree. I want no part of something that is just “against” something else without offering something decent in return. I don’t agree that all Republicans are “evil”, I just think for the most part many Democrats and Republicans, at least those willing to meet in the middle just have a different point of view about how to solve the same problems.
Please understand that this is not at all what I said — I said that the current Republican leadership is mendacious and uninterested in any sort of discussion or compromise. Some of my favorite people in the world are Republicans. I would be also delighted to revisit this issue in, say, four years. However, it is foolish to discuss policy differences when the phrase “reality-based” is an epithet. First we have to create a political atmosphere where debates happen in the context of a generally accepted objective reality; then we can start getting into the meat of what to do about Medicare.
Whos the grassroots, the activists, or the voters? Polls have repeated shown democratic activists to be to the left of both democratic officials AND democratic voters. As long as democratic officials are closer to democratic voters then activists are, I think its at least as justified to use the term grassroots for them as for activists.
Activists are voters and they tend to be far more likely to vote than the average citizen.
I find these arguments interesting coming from those whose party is being run by their activists. They own the Congress, the presidency and the SC. So listening to their base sure appears to have worked for them.
If the Dems move to the center, they may pick up moderates. The question is whether they’ll pick up enough to compensate for losses in their base. I’m not sure anyone has the answer to that.