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July 26, 2005

DLC and Undermining The Democratic Party

Posted by tunesmith at 01:20 AM

David Sirota:

Democrats have consistently backed the military where the Republicans have not. That is a hard fact. But that doesn't fit the DLC's goals, which are to undermine the Democratic Party. Instead of working to debunk these right-wing stereotypes, these insulated Beltway snobs seem to only feel relevant if they reinforce the right-wing stereotypes parroted by Fox News and the Republican Party. It just shows that for Democrats who want to win - and not just preserve their status on the Washington cocktail party circuit - the DLC is really part of the problem, not the solution.

You know, I understand the criticisms that the DLC just doesn't get it, and I understand the criticisms that they are too corporatist, and I also understand the criticisms that the DLC is incompetently stupid in their framing efforts, playing into GOP hands. But I've never understood the accusations that the DLC actually has an honest goal of undermining the Democratic Party. I wish David would expand on what he means by that. I just don't see it. It's not as if they have this secret plan to physically replace all the progressives out there with other brand new DLC-believing Democrats that are under a rock somewhere. And I've got to believe they aren't so quixotic that they don't have a desire to actually win. This is just the point at which people that bash the DLC start to lose credibility for me. What possible self-interested motivation would they have to actually undermine the Democratic Party? Do people actually believe the DLC to be some sort of an undercover Republican plot? Given some of the more progressive policies the DLC members advocate, I don't see that reconciling with being compatible with the GOP platform.

This kind of hyperbole against the DLC, unfortunately far too common among the progressive wing, doesn't really help to encourage honest debate.

July 12, 2005

Rove Has To Go Etc

Posted by tunesmith at 11:52 AM

I find all the calls to fire Rove tiresome because of the gamesmanship behind it. Everyone knows Rove won't go, including the people calling for him to go. They're just doing it for the imagined political leverage. The right wing is probably just rolling their eyes at it.

For true leverage, you have to set up a true double bind, so they're damned if they do and damned if they don't. Scotty McClellan is definitely in that position and the questions the press are asking him are great. But Rove isn't really in that position, all he has to do is wait it out. Bush isn't really in that position either right now.

One way to put Bush in that position is to call loudly and repeatedly for a prime-time live presidential press conference and then make him choose to fall in with Rove or hang him out to dry.

July 07, 2005

London, and Two DLC's

Posted by tunesmith at 07:39 PM

It's hard to be DLC. There are two of them, just as there are two ways to approach being a centrist.

DLC #1: Expose false choices. Negotiate: find win-win solutions. Seek to separate your own side from old behaviors that don't serve your side's underlying principles. Offer original solutions.

DLC #2: Compromise, split the difference, and in moments of seemingly mutual need, express solidarity with your opponent even if they don't express solidarity with you. Capitulate, in the guise of offering original solution.

Ed Kilgore seems to normally have his head on his shoulders, but responses like his response to today's London bombing shows me that when it comes right down to it, he caves and enters the #2 camp. Is he weak?

In the wake of the horrific attacks on London today, there's little doubt a dangerous and predictable idea is kicking around the world, mostly unspoken: Britain was targeted for these attacks strictly because of its involvement in Iraq.  The corollary, of course, is that countries that don't want to be next in line for attacks--say, the rest of Europe--can make themselves safe by distancing themselves from Anglo-American policy in Iraq and elsewhere.

One of the most fascinating parts of Ed's post - and I see this a lot among the writings of so-called "centrists" - are the subjects he dances around and doesn't address directly. It's part of why it's their fault that so many progressives supposedly "misunderstand" their writings. For instance:

  1. What exactly does Ed mean by "standing together" against terrorism?
  2. What differences of opinion are allowable in Ed's world?
  3. At what point does a "difference of opinion" mean you are no longer "standing together" against terrorism?
  4. What part of George Galloway's statement crossed the line from "difference of opinion" to "not standing together against terrorism"?
  5. How exactly is it that Galloway's belief that US and British foreign policy increased the danger of terrorism is not "standing together against terrorism"? I can see the "not standing together" part, but it seems his point is that he is standing apart because he views US and British foreign policy as further enabling terrorism.
  6. What exactly is it about unity of ideology that is so important in opposing Al Qaida?

It's like he comes right up to the brink of saying something, so he can claim credit for the provocative nature, while hiding behind ambiguity if anyone takes him to task too much.

I don't feel much support for Galloway, because given everything I hear about him, it sounds as though while he may have been right on Iraq, he's still pretty crazy about everything else. But it's one thing to oppose Galloway's history. It's quite another to oppose an (ambiguously offered) idea of distancing oneself from US foreign policy simply because Al Qaida seemingly wants that too.

The same idea presents itself here:

Aside from the remarkable fact that "Gorgeous George" didn't have the decency to express solidarity with his own countrymen and wait a week or two to blame the attacks on Blair while counseling surrender to the aims of the terrorists[...] (emphasis mine)

And there it is, the caving. Expressing solidarity with Bush's bullying.

As I said in the comments over there, when I see thinking like that, it makes me think of a twist on an old phrase:

Would you jump off a cliff just because your enemy told you not to?

So Al Qaida wants Britain to withdraw from Iraq, or wants the United States to dismantle military bases from Saudi Arabia, or whatever. Big deal. Somehow that means that by definition, we can't even consider whether we would have our own reasons for doing so? It's more bully logic, the kind that makes one extremely susceptible to manipulation and reverse psychology. (Which, I'd argue, we've fallen victim to over and over again, thanks to Bush's stupid-minded foreign policy.)

I find myself wondering whether Ed believes that in response to the London bombings, we should just magically start seeing more value in Bush's Iraq foreign policy. As if the armor is now thicker, as if less U.S. soldiers have died, as if less terrorists have been created.

He of course didn't say as much; he crafted his statement with too much ambiguity. As it is, the comments over there are littered with defenders saying, "No, Ed didn't say that, what he really meant was..." A common technique from the DLC #2's.

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