Tactics Over Policy: The New Party Divide
by Chris Bowers, Tue Mar 01, 2005 at 08:30:05 AM EST
The new party divide has become one of partisan Democrats versus partisan ideologues. At least one member of the DLC is finally starting to recognize this:DLC VP for policy and in-house blogger Ed Kilgore observed that the overall left-leaning, Internet-driven movement is focused on "debating tactics and attitude, not policy." All the DLC officials interviewed refrained from criticizing Dean. Kilgore needs to clue in some of his fellow members that one of the main tactics we believe needs to be instituted is to refrain not only from bashing the new party leadership, but also from bashing vital, activist elements within the Democratic Party:"You've got to reject Michael Moore and the MoveOn crowd," DLC CEO Al From said in an interview about how the Democratic Party should rebuild after 2004. From argued that the anti-war Moore and MoveOn have hurt the party on national security, the issue which he says the party needs to make "central to our cause." Rank-and-file Democrats "are more like us than MoveOn," which From called a group of "elites, people who sit in their basements all the time and play on their computers."(...)
On the blogosphere in general, DLC senior fellow and longtime blogger Marshall Wittman sounded a cautionary note, arguing that the 'sphere "not representative of most of the American people," and that it actually could have a "pernicious effect" on how the party is viewed because it's getting "too much" media attention and is having a polarizing effect.For fuck's sake, what are these morons doing? Why are they painting vital elements of their own party as extremist and/or elitist? How can Democrats win if we use Republican language to describe members of our own party? Conservative want to paint Democrats as elites, and From is more than happy to help them out. Conservatives want to paint Democrats as out of touch with America, and Marshall is more than happy to help them out. How will we ever get more votes if Democrats like From and Marshall, like Lieberman and Jarvis, are more than happy to repeat Republican attacks against Democrats? How will that do anything except serve as a justification for the Republican attack in the first place?
As if those quotes weren't bad enough, here's the kicker:The DLC believes the party needs to emphasize values and reform, along with national security. In talking about social issues, From said, "We don't show enough respect for people who might disagree with us." Whoa. Wow. Amazing. He wants to show respect to Republicans who disagree with him, but happily paints members of his own party as extremists and elites. How much less partisan can someone get? This guy could share my stance, word for word, on every single policy issue ever invented, and I would still hate his guts because of the damage I feel he causes to the party.
Kilgore spends a lot of time online, so among the DLC at least he is aware that the rising tide of the netroots is much more concerned with opposing Republicans and developing new tactics to help Democrats win than yanking the party to the left. This is one of the reasons it is easy to hold a conversation with Kilgore: even though I imagine we are at least somewhat different when it comes to policy positions, we dispute tactics, not policy. As we stand together against bush, that is what we should be doing. He should tell people like From and Marshall that being a partisan is widely accepted tactic number one, since it is impossible for me, clueless, extremist, elitist that I am, to imagine a way that bashing your allies and reaching out to your opponents helps your allies win.
I am a partisan Democrat, not a partisan ideologue.