Wednesday, December 08, 2004

Is the DLC Even Relevant At This Point?

Oliver Willis clued me into this on-the-money essay over at Orcinus, a dead-on critique of Peter Beinart's recent piece in The New Republic. Beinart and the DLC have been a-whoopin' an' a-hollerin' about how we lib-ruhlz need to get firmly behind Bush's "War on Terror" if we expect to win elections. More than that, we need to turn our backs on the anti-Iraq war element because they're weak and unpopular and probably high on drugs.

"Wrong," says Neiwert,
They've also bought into the right-wing paradigm of what's wrong with liberalism: namely, the antiwar left. This is self-serving not just for those on the right but for the liberal hawks who now seem too chagrined to acknowledge that they were wrong and -- gulp -- Michael Moore was right.

Kevin Drum put the hypocrisy inherent in this position on display the other day responding to Atrios:

And evading the issue by constantly implying that no one who supported the Iraq war is morally qualified to criticize those who opposed it doesn't really help matters.

This has it exactly backwards. No one is saying the Beinarts and Drums of the world don't have anything to contribute. What Beinart is explicitly saying is the reverse: That the Michael Moores and MoveOn folks have no value to the party.

So really, what doesn't help matters is evading the issue by implying the people who opposed the Iraq war -- that is, the people who were right -- not only are unqualified to contribute, but must be evicted from the ranks of liberalism. That, in fact, is the opposite of an honest conversation.

The problem with the DLC (and its Right-leaning clones like Kevin Drum and Peter Beinart) is that it confuses the medias pro-war cheerleading and the bleeting of gung-ho NASCAR sheep, all wrapped up in empty, masturbatory displays of patriotism as success. Screw the fact that the Iraq war is a massive failure, if only Dems could get behinf THE BIG LIE then Dems would be winning elections.

Except that was tried. Kerry was no anti-war candidate and one of his biggest blunders was not articulating a stronger anti-war message or a coherent plan for combating terrorism. What the DLC fails to see is that liberals are strongly in favor of a sane plan of attack - going to Iraq was not (nor would ever be) part of that plan.

Maybe it's because I mostly hang with left-leaning Dems (and read mostly lefty blogs) but from where I sit, the DLC has pretty much lost any credibility it might have had. As long as your philosophy is, "If we can be almost as blindly militaristic as the GOP", the second part of your bi-conditional will be, "Then we can almost win elections!"


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