Sunday, July 31, 2005

Comment of the Day

I'm on a short vacation/business trip in Tampa, Florida this weekend, through Monday, so the posting will be light. However, I had to share this comment I recieved because I found it interesting.

"The DLC is the "GOP Lite" wing of the Democratic party. These people have NO vision for America, and it's a lack of vision that's cost the party elections.

A hard left agenda will not win elections, this is true. But a populist agenda will. The party needs less Bayhs and Vilsacks and more Deans and Feingolds.

The Democratic party doesn't need to go extreme--it just needs to become more, well, liberal. It needs to be more than GOP Lite or the Party that Isn't GOP."

I have a few questions for this person. First, what does it mean for the Democrats to become more "liberal?" What is a "liberal" vision? Will that vision play in the "red" parts of the country? And how is that different from a hard left agenda?

This person's critique of the Demcratic Leadership Council is interesting. Like many on the liberal wing, this person thinks that the DLC is "Republican Lite." But what does that mean? That might be a somewhat true if you are comparing the DLC-type Dems to Republians in the mold of the Republican Main Street Partnership, but it sure isn't if we are talking about the hard right of that party occupied by Rick Santorum or Tom Delay. I don't think anyone could confuse a centrist like Bill Clinton with, say, Sam Brownback.

The thing is, the centrist agenda of Clinton was what got the Dems back in the White House after 12 years. Al Gore could have ran on that sucessful agenda, but veered left and lost the White House. John Kerry wasn't that much better. Both men went to the party's liberal base and neither had a vision for America.

I guess what I find interesting is liberal Democrats and conservative Republicans tend see their centrist brethern as traitors. Centrist Republicans are called "RINOs" or "Republicans in Name Only," while centrist Democrats are called "Republican Lite." Neither epithet is helpful. I think both are loyal to their parties, but they are not willing to have ideology become a straight jacket.

I just don't think the "Dean" strategy is going to work for the party. It might fire the party loyalists, but it won't sway the middle. I guess my view is that the liberal base needs to stop seeing Centrist Democrats as traitors and find ways to work together to build the party again. Otherwise, don't expect to win the White House anytime soon.


At 9:33 AM, Blogger Brian said...

Interesting. I offered you the very same challenge (apparently several notes in that entry have disappeared) to get specific following your Does It Play in Topeka? entry but you have not done so, as yet. (I can repeat my comments if you wish)

Perhaps the Democrats theory is that whipping the base into a frenzy worked well for Bush (twice) so why not try themselves? Politics is like Hollywood. If something succeeds once, everyone copies it. Perhaps they feel that they ran a moderate (both in positions and language) liberal who was a distinguished war hero and despite the last four years of Bush, he STILL lost... this time unquestionably it appears. And lost to an ideologue. A smart one (smarter than critics give him credit for) but an ideologue nonetheless. Are you surprised some Dems are drawing this conclusion? They tried one approach, it didn't work. So now some are calling for a different approach.

Furthermore, the DLC-Left contempt is mutual, not one way as you suggest. The DLC sees the Left as the black sheep of the family, the cousin you wish wasn't related to you. The DLC has spent the last 12 years saying that the Left was responsible for allowing Reagan to come in and therefore should never have any influence again. Are you surprised that some people who've dedicated their lives to building the party don't quite take kindly to this? So the rappochement you call for has to be a two-way street.

At 8:14 AM, Blogger Blue Box Citizen said...

I have a range of blogs I have begun to read, from centrist to liberal to conservative to libertarian to center-left and center-right (such as your's). I used to be a Republican until they chased me out; I feel your pain, as we've heard before.

The problem with the DLC is that they are not truly centrist. I don't believe either party has a truly centrist organization. The closest is the RMSP on the right, or some of the pro-gay groups, like LCR or RLC.

The Democrats don't like the DLC because of their ideology, but rather because the DLC doesn't like anyone else. It would be like a moderate republican group always being quoted when a newspaper needs someone to criticize the GOP. The Democrats do that. But who do they find to criticize the Democrats? Republicans, of course, but the DLC is always out in front.

The better group of centrist or moderate Democrats (which I consider myself to be one, until the GOP can kick it's anti-anyone but hard right habit) is the National Democrat Network, NDN. They have the ideology, but not the pissy mood of the DLC.

I look forward to the day when the DLC is dead and we can work at a truly concensual and centrist group within the Democrats.


Post a Comment

<< Home

!-- End .box -->