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Hullabaloo


Monday, January 31, 2011

 
Pushing The Left

by digby


If you have any interest at all in having one of the two major political parties in the United States being something other than a brothel servicing the wealthy and fundamentalist know-nothings, then you should be interested in this Down With Tyranny post which features this little piece of advice from a Democratic politician:

"There was a lot of money spent against Democrats by Democrats. That contributed to the scale of our losses... I think if we had avoided that, we would have saved, maybe, six or eight more seats,” said Lynch. “I don’t think it would have stopped the overall result, but maybe six or eight seats” could have been held.

Clearing primaries for members and discouraging liberal groups from spending against incumbents should be a priority for the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, he said. “It would definitely help, I think. You need to talk to those groups.”


Lynch basically wants to put the Democratic Party up for bid to big business, telling labor and liberals in the party to get with the program or shut the hell up. The people shall have no say in who represents them. This shall be done solely by the powers that be.

It's quite an interesting contrast to the GOP which really felt the lash of their Tea partiers and lost some long time stalwarts. Perhaps that's because they won big anyway, but their public response has been pretty muted nonetheless. Of course, their uprising is being financed by the same people who currently call the shots in both parties, so I suppose any conflict is more cosmetic than anything. And they are rarely contemptuous of their activists the way Democrats are.

This is incredibly arrogant and stupid. I suppose that the Democrats believe that they can shut liberals and labor out of the nominating process because at the end of the day, they will have to come back home and vote for any anti-choice, right wing shill the party vomits up. But as I've said before, they're playing with fire. This country is still polarized (at best) and they need every vote they can get.

After all, they lost the presidential election in 2000 by an extremely close margin in one state. We'll never know if the people who voted for Nader in Florida would have voted for Bush, Gore or stayed home, but we know damned well that nearly a hundred thousand Florida liberals were disenchanted enough with the Democrats not to vote for their presidential nominee. Indeed, there were over two million of them across the country.

We also know that the disenfranchisement of African Americans in Florida had an effect and the latest news from the Republicans is that they are putting a huge emphasis on vote suppression going into 2012. It will undoubtedly have at least some effect, particularly since the Democrats already helped them destroy one of their most important voter outreach organizations.

It's a huge political mistake for the Democrats to be telegraphing this attitude. But more importantly, it shows a total lack of respect for the democratic process. People have a perfect right to organize on their own behalf and try to gain proper representation in the congress. In our two party system this is done through the primary and caucus process. Since many Democratic politicians have made it quite clear over the past few years that they are unprepared to even consider arguing for progressive values in their campaigns and are instead merely using the Party as a convenient line on the ballot, primary challenges are inevitable.

The DCCC can "talk" all it wants to liberal groups but what's it going to say? Please don't run candidates against our corporate shills because then we won't be able to have a majority that works with corporate shills on the other side to sell out ordinary Americans? That even with a Democratic president and a large majorities in both houses we couldn't pass a public option or allow obscene tax cuts for the wealthy to expire, but we need even more conservatives and centrists in the congress? That's not very persuasive.

We all face the dilemma of going into the voting booth for the general election and picking our poison. I'm not going to tell anyone what to do in that situation. I have more often than not picked the lesser of two evils because that's how our winner take all system works. But I deeply resent this notion that we cannot even challenge incumbents in our own party and I think it deserves widespread condemnation. They might as well tell us to stop worrying our little heads about politics and go out any buy ourselves something pretty. This is the only electoral mechanism by which we can influence the party. If they want the left of the Party to split off and seek something outside the system, like third parties or nihilistic sabotage, this is the perfect way to go about making that happen.

I don't know about you, but it makes me want to redouble my efforts to support worthy primary challengers wherever they may be, for the principle alone. Who do these people think they are?

If you'd like an example of how much this has seeped into the conventional wisdom, listen to Chris Cilizza a few minutes ago on Andrea Mitchell's show, talking about how difficult it is for the President to stay on message when the world is full of crises:

Cilizza: There are just so many things that are distracting you at all times. We saw this in the run up to the 2010 election. The Obama administration kept wanting to talk about the economy and they got sidetracked by things like the "Professional Left".


I seem to recall that the Professional Left was quite concerned about the economy while the administration insisted that happy days were here again. But perhaps I was dreaming.


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