Notes on the Atrocities
Like a 100-watt radio station, broadcasting to the dozens...

Sunday, July 27, 2003  

The DLC's really starting to irritate me, and now they may actually accomplish what the Republicans haven't been able to--to divide the Dems as they enter the '04 election. The Post directed me to their newest assault.

The cover of their current issue of Blueprint (for failure) has the title "Bring him on!" looming in red over a picture of the President. But cripes, it's a mishmash of grapeshot (aimed at Dean, the Democratic frontrunner as much as the President), and lame pep talks for failed, half-assed policies.

Joe Lieberman is their man, and you can see a nice correlation between their "message" and his platform. For one, they're coming out with guns blazing:

We believe Americans once again face a grave threat to our security, and we will give top priority to mobilizing the nation's resources to meet and defeat our nation's enemies. We believe the most fundamental test of national leadership today is the willingness to stand up and fight for America.

National security is a HUGE issue--don't get me wrong. But there's not a word in that statement that couldn't have been written by Don Rumsfeld or Dick Cheney. Do the Democrats seriously want to run as neo-cons? And is that really the only policy they could come up with? If so, why not vote Bush? (Which will be the first, second, and last question Bush will ask any candidate with this message.)

We believe in expanding opportunity, not bureaucracy. We believe our elected leaders have a responsibility to spend every tax dollar as carefully as their own. Fiscal discipline is fundamental to sustained economic growth as well as responsible government. America cannot prosper if we don't live within our means.

Again, one might reasonably ask--where exactly does the DLC message deviate from the Republican? The document continues on with some nice language about helping everyone, not just the wealthy, but this seems disengenous: all the centrist Dems were in favor of the tax cuts; they didn't punish businesses who cheated shareholders; didn't look after those who were losing jobs. The DLC is funded by big money interests, and despite Clinton's popularity, no Democrat has ever been comfortable with their connection to big business.

But the worst part is the attack on Dean. And not only Dean, but his supporters. (Imagine a finger poking out from the middle of your monitor). You.

But the buzz largely missed what should be an alarming revelation for Democrats: The Internet may be giving angry, protest-oriented activists the rope they need to hang the party. The vaunted new medium for grassroots political organizing may in fact be contributing to the Iowafication of the nominating process, disproportionately magnifying the voices of the activist groups with the loudest, most combative, and populist voices.

They're not just pissed at Dean, they're pissed that the small voter has a voice--a voter they can't win over with pretty TV commercials. And pulling a page from the Bush playbook, they blame their opponents for their own bad behavior:

For instance, the defense forces fired angry emails at the Democratic Leadership Council's website after a political memo last May warning of the dangers of kowtowing to interest groups on the left.

Actually, the DLC is the only group to get nasty in the campaign. Deanies (I'm not one) rightly called them on it, and now the DLC calls the Deanies combative.

Meanwhile, in addition to its standard-fare official website,, the Dean campaign also maintains a weblog called that plays a curious role in keeping activist supporters emotionally invested and engaged in the campaign.

Good lord, noooooo! Supporters emotionally invested and involved in the campaign? That might make politics...relevant.

Oddly enough, the point of the article is that Dean's supporters are actually inconsequential--they're the freak fringe. I tell you, for a bunch of inconsequential freaks, they've sure got the DLC's attention.

In the last election, it was the DLC who complained so bitterly about the divisiveness of the Nader campaign. But it was exactly the short-sighted me-too-ism of the DLC that drove voters away from Gore. Like Mike Doonesbury said, Lieberman is the "safety Republican." People are excited by liberals because they have something to offer voters they can't get with Bush.

In 1985, when the Reagan Democrats were dictating who got elected, it made some sense to swing centrist. But in the age of a lying, war-mongering President, a McCarthy-like Attorney General, and the Supreme Court hanging in the balance, arguing that Democrats need to swing right is both idiocy and suicide.

So DLCers, you excoriated the Naderites in the last election; are you going to become them this time around?

posted by Jeff | 10:27 PM |
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