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Thursday, January 27

WWRW? Not If You Want to Win  

Three issues with this post from Bull Moose. Quoth the Moose:

The Moose has also observed a certain cannibalistic tendency emerging on the left that is attempting to purge fellow Democrats who don't follow the party line. The latest example is the suggestion on some prominent lefty blogs to run a primary opponent against Senator Lieberman to punish him for his support for Rice's nomination and the war.

Is the Moose unaware that this cannibalistic tendency did not begin with the lefty part of the party after the election? It was not a proudly liberal Dem that penned:

When liberals talk about America's new era, the discussion is largely negative -- against the Iraq war, against restrictions on civil liberties, against America's worsening reputation in the world. In sharp contrast to the first years of the cold war, post-September 11 liberalism has produced leaders and institutions -- most notably Michael Moore and MoveOn -- that do not put the struggle against America's new totalitarian foe at the center of their hopes for a better world. As a result, the Democratic Party boasts a fairly hawkish foreign policy establishment and a cadre of politicians and strategists eager to look tough. But, below this small elite sits a Wallacite grassroots that views America's new struggle as a distraction, if not a mirage. Two elections, and two defeats, into the September 11 era, American liberalism still has not had its meeting at the Willard Hotel. And the hour is getting late.

Second issue with the Moose's post:

Lefties may have their differences with Senator Lieberman, but he has loyally served the party as its vice presidential nominee and he is a deeply honorable and decent man. Don't succumb to the temptation to become just a mirror image of right wing Freepers. Left-wing cannibalism - an infantile disorder.

There is no question that Holy Joe is a proud Democrat. Unfortunately as (most famously) his performance during the 2000 recount and (most recently) his bashing of Howard Dean on Fox show, Lieberman doesn't understand how to play the current political game. As such, he is unsuited to his current position as a spokesman for the centrist wing of the party. He is not, as the Moose correctly notes, a bad Democrat however. What he is is a pliable politician as well as an unquestioned vote for a Democratic Majority Leader in the Senate. And it is for those two reasons that I wouldn't mind seeing a primary challenge to Holy Joe. Being a pliable politician, Joementum could use a swift kick in the rear from the Democratic base. Joe will cruise to reelection in the mid-terms, but he needs a strong tug from his CT grass roots to reorient him. He needs to be reminded how his constituents really feel and get the bubble of DC politics that surrounds him popped. These two failings a strong primary challenge can correct.

I disagree with Kos that Lieberman must be ousted since I think Joe's lesser political qualities can be corrected, but I also wouldn't shed a tear if Joe were replaced by a Dem who understood the game a little better. That brings me to my third issue with Moose's post:

When Democrats either nominate a Chairman or take a position they should ask themselves "WWRW" - What Would Rove Want. Far more than most D's, the Moose understands the cunning and deviousness of the adversary. Don't make things easier for them.

And yet, Joe Lieberman is precisely what Rove does want. Joe has been rolled by the adversary's cunning deviousness more than any other prominent Dem. Even when the right telegraphs the pass, Joe is unable to see what's happening. Indeed, Joe grounds himself in whatever talking points the RNC produces. He takes those points, softens them a bit and calls himself a centrist. He does this because it ensures that he get invited on the talk shows and fawning comments from the editorial boards. Above all, though, he does it because he thinks it wins him elections in CT. A grassroots challenge in his home state will disabuse him of this notion. Like many DC Dems, Joe needs to reconnect with his constituency.

Dems must absolutely stop this nonsense of trying to decide which position or person will cause Karl Rove to play nice. Rove's game plan is the same regardless of what the opposition says or does. Negotiation is not a part of that plan; not with Democrats or Republicans.

Building a national party does not begin with coopting the talking points of the radical element that is now in power. It begins with opening up our party to the voices of the faithful in each and every state. In essence, it means getting the DC out of our representatives in DC. Asking WWRW means putting more DC in our representatives.



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