Thursday, December 09, 2004


While I think Confessore is not so far from the mark here in some ways, I think it's really important to highlight what really pisses people off about the DLC.

Look, back in the 90s what pissed people off about the DLC and Clinton forays into Republican-lite policies were the policies. But, that was yesterday's DLC. Today's DLC isn't out there pushing a particular policy agenda, they're just out there throwing bombs onto everyone who is to the left of them. No matter what the merits of any particular DLC policy, their MO isn't to advocate those policies - their MO is to go out there and say "you're all a bunch of l0000zers for not agreeing with us and everything is your fault!!!!!!" to, well, 80% of the people who tend to vote Democrats.

Now, inside the beltway democrats who count among their friends plenty of DLC types and have serious discussions about policies and strategy and whatnot probably perceive this as a serious debate about the direction of the Democratic party in terms of its policies, but the rest of us just see the DLC as a bunch of smug bratty assholes who pop up every few weeks to write nasty polemics against everyone who doesn't agree with them. Everyone, of course, being most Democrats. It's not exactly a winning strategy.

Basically, From likes pissing people off. From Josh Marshall:

Suffice it to say that I asked my friend whether he thought From and Reed were fully aware of the 'optics' of running such a 'Dems get your house in order' piece on the Journal's editorial page. He said yes, they did and that they enjoyed the optics of it. I responded, yes, I knew that; but still really didn't think they quite 'got it'.

Let me explain what I meant and didn't mean. I didn't mean that Democrats should boycott the Journal OpEd page or restrict their writing to house organs -- plenty of liberals write pieces there and that's fine; I wouldn't want it any other way. Nor do I mean that Democrats shouldn't air their dirty laundry. They should. And now, frankly, as far as you can get from an election, is the time to do it.

But to advise Democrats you've got to be a Democrat, part of the Democratic party. And what that means is a certain threshold level of lack of contempt for people who, day in and day out, are the Democratic party. I don't mean 'the base'. I mean everyone -- right, left and center, the volunteers, the funders and the intellectuals, the issue activists and the occasional voters. And this shows a basic unwillingness to do that -- even in the most simple symbolic ways, indeed, a delight in not doing so.

The point is that the DLC gives off the impression, quite understandably, that they're not actually interested in convincing anybody they're correct about whatever it is they're advocating that day. They just want to be smug and look down upon all the pissants who aren't on board. While they write about how the problem is that some people actually disagree with them, they don't really seem to concerned with changing anyone's mind. Peeing in people's cornflakes for fun and sport isn't a way to win friends and supporters.

I'm sure some good folks at the DLC, and they of course exist, might object to this characterization. But, that's the image people have of them -- if they want to fix it they should try.