More like blue-on-blue than red-on-red (it is one of the great ironies of American politics that these days the Right is designated as red while the Left has blue, to both side’s secret annoyance. Or not-so-secret annoyance) – still, Weasel Zippers (H/T: …somebody) is correct: watching Establishment Democrats try to get their base under control is pretty funny.
Let me give you the gist of the article: Stephen Lynch of Massachusetts, still smarting over the way that the dirty, smelly union hippies (I paraphrase) dared to challenge him in the last election primary, came out to tell progressives that their refusal to rubber-stamp incumbent Democrats cost the party eight seats, so shut up. This did not, as they say, go over well: particularly funny was watching DCCC chair (read: “designated scapegoat for 2012”) Steve Israel practice the arcane art of sounding confident and declarative while at the same time saying nothing at all, but the progressives made up for that lack of semantic content with… an entirely different lack of semantic content.
Look, it’s very easy to understand why the Democrats got shellacked last November. Here’s the list:
- The Democrats shoved through a lot of unpopular legislation.
- The Democrats were arrogant in both the way that they did the shoving, as well as the clumsy (at best) and ethically dodgy (at worst) way that they did it.
- The Democrats ignored the opinions of their constituents, unless of course they agreed with those opinions already.
- The Democrats hid from their recalcitrant constituents. Arrogance and cowardice: a heady combination.
- The Democrats never missed a chance to insult their recalcitrant constituents.
- And, yes, the Democrats let their base have far too much of a say in the process. In the wrong places.
That last one needs a little expansion. Like it or not – the Democratic base certainly didn’t – the Democrats were in such a commanding position in 2006 and 2008 because they were able to convince independent voters that they were a better choice than the Republicans. That didn’t mean that independent voters wanted the Democrats to legislate like liberals; they wanted the Democrats to legislate like a big-tent national party. The Democrats declined; so independents spanked them. Where progressives should have done their own spanking was in liberal districts and states where they knew that they’d still win; that’s how you make it clear to a party leadership that they messed up and need to start paying attention to business*.
It’s what the Republicans did ourselves in 2010 to our most egregious incumbents, and we got away with it. Only two incumbents lost, and both of them were in districts that were realistically out of reach anyway.
*So: Maryland or Vermont, not Arkansas; CA-30 or WA-07, not OH-18.
[UPDATE] That’s right; it was Jim Geraghty’s Morning Jolt. Good thing that he excerpted the right portion…