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November 10, 2006

The DC Democrats

-- by John Emerson

I've felt for a long time that the DLC party pros absolutely believe in their policy proposals -- hawkishness, anti-populism, free trade, corporate-friendliness -- and just use the argument that "The voters won't accept anything too liberal" as a way to bully the majority of the Democratic Party into fake political realism.

What's toxic about this is that the worse Democrats do in elections, the more effective this argument is in intra-party debates, and the more secure the DLC control of the party is. I don't think that it's an accident that Democratic campaigns have been weak for at least the last 6 years.

A second problem with this approach is that when Democratic intra-party debates end up being framed this way, Democrats end up looking opportunistic. The DLC leaders themselves are as enthusiastic about dropping bombs on foreigners as any neocon, but most Democrats aren't, and candidates who've obviously been bullied into pretending to be tough for opportunistic reasons don't sound tough at all. This is about as counter-productive as you can get.

All this sounds paranoid, and I'm sure that very few of the party pros clearly conceptualize things exactly that way, but you will often hear people at The New Republic -- people not running for office, and not working for the Democratic Party -- let the cat out of the bag. "It's better to lose than do the wrong thing".

To them it's win-win: they keep their cushy jobs, and they get their Republican-lite policy proposals enacted. The only cost to them is that they often enough see high-octane Republican policy rammed through too, but to them that's not as bad as seeing liberals have any success.

Yes, I sometimes use hyperbole, but I really do believe exactly this. I hope that Dean and Kos are able to terminate about half of the Dem pros and consultants, the ones who have weakened the party, and I'm just sorry there's no way to prosecute them or to ruin their lives some other way.

(Note: this is me talking. My more moderate statements just now were for public consumption, but not this one. Let's keep this all a secret, OK?)

Posted by John Emerson at November 10, 2006 4:28 PM

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Comments

I couldn't agree more.

But, honestly, do you know what really kills me? I wish these a-holes would just go join the GOP, already. I don't mean that as a toss-off insult. I am serious. If I were them, and I agreed on 90% of policy with the corporate wing of the GOP, I'd change parties, make common cause with the Bloomberg wing of the GOP, and kick out the James Dobsons.

I suspect that the reason they don't is that the DLC/D.C. Democrats can't hold the jockstraps of the GOP. The only reason that the GOP loses elections is because their policies suck so bad that when they are enacted, you can't hide the stench even with billions in campaign funds. They simply will NEVER be outspun by the likes of Carville and Emanuel.

But, if Carville, Emanuel, Al From, Bruce Reed, Marty Peretz, etc., etc., etc., switched parties, they wouldn't have gotten their calls returned by like of Karl Rove. Better to be a big fish in a small pond, than to get eaten by the sharks in the ocean.

Interestingly, the collapse of the GOP offers these pseudo-centrists an opportunity: Clean the GOP house and bring the party back to reality. Then you can run every election against the lefty boogeyman and never feel an ounce of regret.

Posted by: space [TypeKey Profile Page] at November 11, 2006 5:14 AM

I couldn't care less what the the DLCers really believe. I don't care what's in their heads -- just as long as their heads are on sticks.

Posted by: richard [TypeKey Profile Page] at November 11, 2006 8:42 AM

"...they keep their cushy jobs." There's the key. It's no skin off them if people get hurt by their suck-up pro-corporate whoring. And they don't get hurt in the empire's wars.

Have to clean them out periodically, but they always recur and some of us even become them. Onward.

Posted by: janinsanfran [TypeKey Profile Page] at November 11, 2006 9:20 PM

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