Saturday’s Washington Post carried an op-ed from Daily Kos founder Markos Moulitsas (also co-author of Crashing the Gate) and Susan Gardner. Apart from the oddity in seeing an avowedly new media web 2.0 kind of guy publishing in the sort-of old media, Gardner and Kos laid it down by attacking not the GOP, but the old-skool Dems:
In the House, Democrats chose Nancy Pelosi to lead them over current DLC Chairman Harold Ford, who warned of disaster if Pelosi won. Calling her a “throwback” who practiced a “destructive and obstructive” style of politics, Ford proclaimed, “I don’t think Nancy Pelosi’s kind of politics is what’s needed right now.” Today, Nancy Pelosi is the first female speaker of the House.
Their point was that the old Dem leadership, by tracking to the center, not only wasn’t successful, but wasn’t even attractive politically because it took away our ability to make a true choice:
Convinced that this is fundamentally a conservative nation, Ford demanded that Democrats unceasingly inch toward the right or risk electoral irrelevance. As then-DLC official Ed Kilgore put it in 2005, “If we put a gun to everybody’s head in the country and make them pick sides, we’re not likely to win.” But we who live outside the D.C. bubble — in all 50 states, in counties blue and red — were hearing voices at odds with the Washington consensus. People wanted real choices at the ballot box. And given the disastrous rule of the Bush administration, they wanted a Democratic Party that stood tall and pushed back like a true opposition.
Fords has been proved wrong, and Kos right, for now. Why should we accept that this is fundamentally a conservative nation? Why shouldn’t there be a true choice politically?
Sure, you could say that Kos has nothing to lose. He’s not a consultant and regularly attacks them as deviating politicians from their core beliefs. You could say, as the MSM often does, that he’s pulling the party to the left (as if that’s somehow something inherently scary). Sure, we don’t know if he’ll be proved right, or not, in the next election (though polls certainly indicate another Democratic success).
But so what? His vision is so much more attractive and principled. The netroots movement has built some amazing coalitions and raised real, Washington DC kinds of money from millions of small, individual contributions. It helped Jim Webb get elected, it helped Ned Lamont get nominated. And this push to the left? Oh yes:
In fact, we pushed the party so far left that we positioned it squarely in the American mainstream and last year won a historic, sweeping congressional victory, something the “centrist” groups had been unable to accomplish for decades — not even in the DLC’s glory days of the 1990s.
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