September 14, 2005

REPACKAGING DERANGEMENT (via David Hill, The Bronx):

The Democrats' dilemma: An independence versus capitulation wrestling match (Howard Fineman, 9/13/05, MSNBC)

If I am hearing Simon Rosenberg right (and he is worth listening to), a nasty civil war is brewing within the Democratic Party, and Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton – the party’s presumptive 2008 nominee – needs to avoid getting caught in the middle of it.

“It’s not a fight between liberals and conservatives,” Rosenberg told me the other day. “It’s between our ‘governing class’ here and activists everywhere else.” [...]

Rosenberg rejects that notion that the bloggers represent a new “Internet Left.” It’s not an ideological rift, he says, but a “narrative” of independence versus capitulation: too many Democrats here are too yielding to George W. Bush on the war in Iraq, on tax policy, you name it. “What the blogs have developed is a narrative,” he told me the other day,” and the narrative is that the official Washington party has become like Vichy France.”

In the 1980s, he said, a generation of Democratic strategists reacted to the rise of Ronald Reagan by looking for ways to co-exist with his brand of conservatism. The result was the Democratic Leadership Council, founded in 1985, which mixed cultural traditionalism with pro-market economics and hawkish foreign policy. It worked: Bill Clinton became chairman of the DLC in 1990, and used it as a launching pad to the presidency.

But, in the view of the Blogosphere, the DLC model is outmoded and dangerously accomodationist, in the manner of the allegedly independent, but in reality pro-Nazi, regime of wartime of France.

Yeah, that narrative about how Bill Clinton and Joe Lieberman are crypto-Nazis is a sure winner, huh?

Posted by Orrin Judd at September 14, 2005 1:57 PM

See the Sorrow and the Pity, always good advice for any member of the
human species. Fineman, an idiot, misses the point. The phrase "Vichy
Democrats" does not mean that Lieberman and Clinton act or acted like
Nazis, but that they see positive value in backing down from fights.
Marshal Petain achieved his massive popularity among a population weary
from World War II because his position was that Germany's renewed
imperialism wasn't worth going to war over.

Posted by: Rick Perlstein at September 14, 2005 2:54 PM


If Republicans are Nazis, as you guys insist, it only makes sense
the Third Way folks are collaborators. You're just hoist on your own

Posted by: oj at September 14, 2005 2:54 PM

Yes, "turning" Senator Clinton into an angry hectoring scold is sure to pay off in electoral triumph in 2008.

Is anyone on the Left thinking?

Posted by: cornetofhorse at September 14, 2005 3:11 PM

What the blogs have developed is a narrative, he (Rosenberg) told me the other day, and the narrative is that the official Washington party has become like Vichy France. Smashing metaphor Simon and you're ready to rumble. You have cinched at least six zip codes in NYC and LA, like FOREVER, man.

Posted by: at September 14, 2005 3:13 PM

Sorry, the comment was mine.

Posted by: Luciferous at September 14, 2005 3:39 PM

If he is correct, then who is Churchill (not to mention De Gaulle), and when will we see Oran?

Kos predicted a few weeks ago that the 'battle' against the DLC would be joined in two weeks. Nothing happened. If the angry ignorant left attacks Hillary Clinton, my guess is she would withdraw or supplicate before fighting back.

Howard Dean, Barbara Boxer, John Kerry, the CBC, Pat Leahy, Ted Kennedy, Joe Biden, the whole bunch - they are so wrong in the head that they don't know when to retreat or just shut up. That makes it very difficult for another Democrat to rein them in. 20 (or more) years ago, the Democrats had Bob Strauss, Clark Clifford, Henry Jackson, etc. to smite any over the top leftist who might hurt the party. Now, the idiots have taken over. The GOP doesn't need to refute these loons - talk radio and the blogs can do that. But for 'centrist' Democrats, it's like moderates fighting against the radical imams. They just can't do it.

Posted by: jim hamlen at September 14, 2005 3:45 PM

Rick: The Germans attacked France on May 10, 1940 and France and Germany signed an armistice on June 22, 1940. I understand that France gets tired easily and that even a phony war might be beyond them, but six weeks of combat is not what is usually meant by "war weary." Although I suppose this does explain a lot about the left's approach to the Iraq war.

Posted by: David Cohen at September 14, 2005 3:54 PM

David: Slight correction. Germany and France were at war from September 3, 1939. Durning the drle de guerre ("strange war") or "Phony war," there was only a limited amount of land combat, including a desultory French offensive in the Saarland in September '39 that killed more cows than Germans. May '40 was the start of the German offensive into France, and of the real fighting, but not (technically speaking) the outbreak of war.

Posted by: Mike Morley at September 14, 2005 4:06 PM

This "Vichy Democrat" theory is much like the take over by the McGovernites of the party in 1972. It worked so well then, it should have equally good results now.

Yes, I know the Dems made great gains in 1974 but that was strictly a Watergate benefit. Despite the current views on the left, President Bush is not likely to be caught as a crook like Nixon was. The "reforms" of 1972 marked the beginning of the end for the Dems as the majority party.

Posted by: Bob at September 14, 2005 4:11 PM

I am rooting for the purists to take over the Democrat party. Luciferous forgot Cambridge MA, Berkley CA, and Boulder Co.

Posted by: Robert Schwartz [TypeKey Profile Page] at September 14, 2005 6:06 PM

And King County, Wash., although it might take a recount or two.

Posted by: Raoul Ortega at September 14, 2005 7:34 PM

Despite actions to the contrary, I still think if the bulk of the core Democrats think Hillary has a chance to win in 2008, come voting time they'll abandon the foaming left and pull the lever for the missus even if she hasn't been a down-the-line true believer.

The right's dislike of her has given Hillary enough "street cred" within the party to weather all but the most severe storm, and if the far left does start pulling their hair out and rendering garments over some of her votes or her DLC ties, it's an asset in portraying her as a moderate for the '08 general election (which is why the Senate Rpeublicans had better start brining up some issues that are controversial and narrowly decided, because without that, Mrs. Clinton never has to do more than just offer rhetoric on those items to the left or to the swing voters, as opposed to actually casting a vote to show where she stands).

Posted by: John at September 14, 2005 7:56 PM

She certainly has the best chance to win of any Democrat.

Posted by: oj at September 14, 2005 7:59 PM