Tuesday, June 13, 2006

The Urge to Purge

The instinct to purge the Democratic Party is foreign to me. The way to build a majority is to add to your numbers, which necessarily means tolerating, and even seeking, folks with different points of view.
Which is why I find it odd that some Democrats seem so intent on fighting with fellow Dems. The argument usually goes, "We would win elections if it weren't for so-and-so." We hear this from Deaniacs and DLCers alike, but I'm not buying it.
First, speaking from the progressive side, David Sirota voices his disappointment with Barack Obama in the current issue of The Nation:
Obama certainly talks a great game--but then, so have many false prophets over the years.
Sirota's religious tone makes me nervous. I'm not seeking prophets; I'm interested in political leaders who can win elections, build a governing coalition and, on a good day, speak to the better angels of our nature. Based on these criteria, Obama's okay with me. But Sirota faults Obama for not undertaking a more frontal attack on the system:
Obama carefully answered the question about how he wants to define himself: "The amount of publicity I have received...means that I've got to be more sensitive in some ways to not step on my colleagues." For those who see him as a bold challenger of the system, this may be disappointing. After all, it oozes deference to the Senate clubbiness that has killed many a populist cause.
In the centrist corner, The Bull Moose rails against the progressives:
Unfortunately, the Deanification and Kossackification of the Democratic Party continue apace. John Murtha (with likely support from Pelosi) seeks to split the party in a divisive race for Majority Leader even before the Democrats are in the majority. The anti-war forces are out to purge the most genuinely Trumanesque Democrat in the United States Senate.
And a gaggle of supposedly centrist Presidential wannabees flocked to Vegas to genuflect before a blogger convention that had as much to do with winning mainstream America as Paris Hilton does with winning the hearts of Focus on the Family.
I can heartily endorse the Moose when he calls on Dems to embrace the Clinton legacy. We won, we governed, and the country prospered. In his keynote to the Texas Democratic Party, Wes Clark wasn't embarrassed to mention Bill Clinton and the 22 million jobs that were created on his watch.
But I think he is unduly alarmed at the growing influence of the netroots. Yesterday, Markos Zuniga singled out Mark Warner and Wes Clark as the two potential candidates who impressed the YearlyKos gathering. Warner and Clark both hail from south of the Mason-Dixon line and are widely considered contenders who could reach voters who might not go for a Kerry or Dean.
As for the primary challenge to Joe Lieberman, it is worth noting that challenger Ned Lamont has pledged to support Lieberman if he emerges as the Democratic nominee:
Joe, let's both go to the Democratic primary on August 8th, and let the people of Connecticut decide. I'll pledge to back you one hundred percent if you win. And for the good of the party, you'll pledge to support me one hundred percent if I'm victorious. What do you say Senator?
It's a pledge I wish Lieberman would make--and a sentiment I wish all Democrats would voice.


Blogger jason said...

I'm with you to a point.

From a marketing perspective the DLC'ers seem(ed) determined to kill the Democratic "brand" that has been so successful and so good for the country and the world.

They misinterpreted Clinton's success and overreacted an imagined "move to the right" in the electorate. [Of course you know all of this, so I will not go on except to say] I'm glad the "brand" is back and maybe the DLC'ers will overreact again and embrace traditional Democratic values.

9:40 AM, June 14, 2006  

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