Read "The Obama Party"
As I finish editing this, I am aware that there is a lot going on in the world that requires more immediate attention than ruminating about something so minor as internal Democratic party politics. There is havoc in Lebanon and the ghastly tragedies that have befallen Myanmar look like they will be exponentially increased by the stupidity of its malicious rulers. Still, if you have a few moments, I'd like to urge anyone who hasn't yet read dday's post, "The Obama Party" to read it.
Win or lose, for good or otherwise, it really appears that Obama is in a position to renovate the Democratic party. As dday mentions, this does not necessarily mean that that reform will make the party more conducive to liberal and progressive ideas. As I see it, however, by displacing the sclerotic leaders who managed, incredibly, to make both the 2004 election and the 2000 race so close that a candidate as clearly awful as Bush could steal the presidency (once if not twice), there are potential opportunities for liberals.
LIke Krugman, I think Obama's call to transcend partisanship, while it appeals to many, is neither realistic nor desirable. The Republicans have adopted numerous diseased ideologies and coupled them to scorched-earth political tactics that have resulted in a presidency that has replaced the rule of law with that of man. The result we all know: - an authoritarian United States in which the president has granted himself the right to trample on anyone's rights if he deems it in the "national interest." The torture and murder of prisoners; widespread spying on Americans; and the use of government infrastructure to destroy those who oppose not the US but the president's political cronies were inevitable.
Perhaps opposing this monstrous perversion of American governance shouldn't be labelled "partisanship" but something else, maybe even simple commonsense, to evoke dear Mr. Paine. But whatever we call it, oppose Bushism we must. Unequivocally, and loudly. Yes, I would agree with those who say that Obama's initiatives can be seen as taking an oblique, and therefore, very effective strategy of opposition. But for this liberal at least, it is not enough.
The United States is a liberal nation. It was founded by people who, for all their failings and inexcusable compromises, despised authoritarian and monarchial systems, and prized "government by the people." If Obama can, in fact, create a newer, larger, broader, and more responsive party infrastructure - and I think he can - then liberals have a chance to have their influence felt once more in a substantive way, as they haven't for what seems like aeons. But, as is the case now, it will require concerted effort on the part of groups like Moveon to apply both political and financial pressure on the Democratic party in order to have a voice. The difference is that with an Obama Party, there actually is a chance that voice may be heard sometimes.