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12/07/2004

Orgy

The Drum-Beinart orgy of recrimination has everything exactly backwards.1 I really detest DLC strategic posturing. They and their ilk are the primary impediment to the electoral success of the Democratic Party. Until they understand that there is no opportunity for good faith discussion with the GOP, our party will be mired in purgatory.

The DLC policy platform has a place in politics - it should be the Republican Party. The DLC holds a (usually) reality-based conservative position, occasionally capable of adding real meat to a conversation. The problem is who they are talking to, which is generally either the non-reality-based GOP or the mythical swing voter. The DLC should be talking to the reality-based progressives, best represented by, yes, Moveon.org. Instead, they want to purge them.

The only way to reclaim the mantle of the party of ideas2 is to learn to love the tension within our own party. Democrats are capable of holding policy debates where every legitimate opinion across the spectrum is represented. Conservative hawks can engage liberal doves. Mulilateralists can engage isolationists can engage unilateralists can engage world government folks. We can recognize the legitimacy of each others' positions, the factual and normative underpinnings, and then actually talk about them. That is part of what it means to belong to the Democratic Party - that we grant to those who disagree with us the courtesy of engagement, rather than a boot in the ass.

There is an easy way for the DLC to belong to a party that suppresses disagreement. Join the GOP.

1 See Kevin Drum, Kerry v. the Base, Liberals and Terrorism, Liberals and Terror, Liberals and War; Beinart, A Fighting Faith; Yglesias, Pacifists and Alternatives, Okay, Whatever. See contrary, Atrios, Icky People, Honesty, Asshats, No.

2 How fucking embarassing is it that we "lost" that mantle? Thanks, Daniel Patrick Moynihan.

Moynihan finds much to criticize among all Democrats. They are filled with hubris and "ideological certainty," he maintains. Clinton "won by default as much as anything, but set out to govern as if he had a mandate for all manner of governing." Meanwhile, the Republicans were "becoming the party of ideas," as congressional Democrats were stuck defending the status quo. [Business Week]
Republicans have ideas, but they are bad ideas, characterized by reactionary hostility to the left hand of the state.

 

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