July 7, 2003
To the Heads of the DLC Who Seem More Interested in Following Than Leading: They Too Have Failed and Now are Frantically, Recklessly Trying to Preserve a Power Base Within a Losing Strategy
A BUZZFLASH READER COMMENTARY
I have just responded to Al From and Bruce Reed's wrongheaded op-ed piece from several days ago that appeared in the Los Angeles Times [LINK]. I thought it might be of interest to your readers.
Thanks for all of your great work,
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Dear Los Angeles Times and Heads of the DLC:
I was deeply distressed to read Al From and Bruce Reed's divisive and unhelpful article about how Democratic "activists" are "out of step" with the Democratic "rank and file." Their continued (intentional?) miscomprehension of what motivates Americans, and especially Democrats, is enormously harmful to the Party. The myths that they perpetuate about liberal "activists" may as well have been written by Karl Rove (and most definitely serve his interests).
Your declaration (in the earlier version of this piece posted on your website) that "Real Democrats are real people, not activist elites," is so infuriating that I can barely respond to it. In the Los Angeles Times, you write, "The fact is, 'the Democratic wing of the Democratic Party,' as former Vermont Gov. Howard Dean likes to call it, is an aberration, a modern-day version of the old McGovern wing of the party, defined principally by weakness abroad and elitist interest-group liberalism at home."
If you were ever to attend a Dean Meetup (even for the purpose of opposition research), you would see nothing but real people there. I am a real person, as is my wife, as is our two year-old son. Neither of us has ever participated in any political campaign or donated to any candidate before. Our household income is less than $50,000. We are not even close to being "activist elites" (one of the many Roveian phrases in your article).
The people who are attracted to the Dean campaign are precisely the kinds of grassroots activists that the Democratic Party needs to get involved (or re-involved) in politics. Your snide dismissal of our enthusiasm is extremely counter-productive. We are not wide-eyed radicals, just taking off our turtle suits from the latest WTO protest (they are more likely to be supporting Kucinich, or even Nader, but I don't think it is wise to dismiss them either). We are the rank and file. We are ordinary Americans (it would be far more appropriate to apply your "activist elites" epitaph to the leaders of the DLC, needless to say), who have been energized by the willingness of Howard Dean to do what the DLC and the Democratic leaders in Washington have been so unwilling to do: match George W. Bush word for word, and call every lie he tells a lie.
Is it in your interest to distort Howard Dean's record as if you were Fox News talking heads? Do you not realize that he is closer to your positions than he is to Paul Wellstone's? That he represents a fiscal conservatism very close to Bill Clinton's? That he now supports the death penalty? That he is more conservative than liberal on gun control? That his opposition to the Iraq war does not mean that he is weak on defense but rather that he was smart enough not to accept Bush's lies for the truth? (Much like Bob Graham, I might add, whose courage on this issue has been a breath of fresh air.)
That those who support the Dean candidacy see him precisely as a pragmatist and not an "ideologue"?
Finally, it is extremely counterproductive of you to alienate all of those (55,000 and counting) who have been energized by the Dean campaign. If Joe Lieberman wins the nomination, don't you want to reach out to us, to use our fierce desire to get rid of George W. Bush on his behalf? And if Howard Dean does win the nomination, would you rather have four more disastrous years of the Bush presidency? Don't you realize that your bold claims that he will be another McGovern, another Mondale, will feed directly into the Republican/cable news echo chamber and become a self-fulfilling prophecy?
Please don't divide the Democratic Party any more than it already is. We need to marshal our forces together to get rid of this disastrous administration. We may disagree on what candidate we support, and the primaries are all about disagreeing on the issues and selecting the candidate we favor most, but do this in a way that furthers the interest of your candidate and the Party, not Karl Rove.
A BUZZFLASH READER COMMENTARY
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BuzzFlash Note: BuzzFlash Has One Question for the DLC. Except for Bill Clinton, Your Strategy Has Been a Losing One. Who Controls the White House and Congress? Look at the Election of 2002. Case Closed. And Bill Clinton Won Because He Was a Fighter, a Charismatic Candidate and a Brilliant Strategist. The DLC Was Just Window Dressing.
The DLC Preaches a Policy of Following the Polls Like One Husky Sniffing the Behind of Another. That's Not Leadership. That's Just Butt Sniffing.
Additional BuzzFlash Note: Just for the record, BuzzFlash has not endorsed a Democratic candidate yet -- and we may not. At some point we might, but for the moment, we prefer to let democracy take its course.
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