Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Molly Ivins takes a swing for the "progressives"

Hey now, you think it's hard to be a moderate, centrist Democrat? Try surviving this during your primary season:
I don’t know about you, but I have had it with the D.C. Democrats, had it with
the DLC Democrats, had it with every calculating, equivocating, triangulating,
straddling, hair-splitting son of a bitch up there, and that includes Hillary
Rodham Clinton.

This kind of thing is good news for Democrats and Republicans both.

For Donkeys: you're either leftist, or you're not. Molly Ivins is a standard Democratic Progressive. Aka, typical Austin-style leftist. There are a lot of leftists in the Democratic Party, and the Dems have a serious identity crisis that is not going to be papered over without a serious party struggle. Any Democrat who tries to sail between the Scylla of the DNC and the Charybdis of Harold Ickes' new database is going to suffer the slings and arrows of "Flip Flop!" But this time, it's going to be from a very loud, very vocal, and thanks to leftist softies with deep pockets and an atrocious taste in ties like George Soros, probably well-financed. The Dems, if they are going to survive as a party, need to decide whether they are the 1930s torchbearers of Progressive Socialism, or whether they are going to reinvent themselves as something else.

For Elephants: short term, anything that divides the Dems is good news. Medium-term, if the Progressives win, the Republicans are likely to wipe the walls with them electorally, forcing the emergence of a new party as the tension between the ideological and the "country club" wings of the party finally can no longer be contained.

Either way, it's a plus for voters, because all of this potential for conflict is predicated on politicians actually paying a slightly higher percentage of lip service to what their constituents want. Rove has the Republicans play to the base for a reason, and had Bush not consistently governed as the Country-Club semi-moderate that he is, he'd have higher approval ratings. Senator Clinton's crowd would govern as socialists... but don't dare actually say that in public... and their constituents who are honest-to-goodness '68ers have finally decided to truly call them on it.

Should be interesting.

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