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July 22, 2005

Who's Divisive?

Kos says:

As we strive to find our core convictions, and define who we are and what we stand for as a party, the DLC is one of the roadblocks -- a divisive, fundamentalist organization willing to sell any and all progressive ideals to the altar of big business. And anything that threatens their dominance has met with their ire -- be it Howard Dean, the netroots, or regular people suddenly interested in transforming and reforming the Democratic Party.

And then, next paragraph, Kos says:

Democrats have a choice to make -- stand with the DLC, or stand with the grassroots and netroots of the party. It's interesting that Democrats with a strong sense of self -- those who truly know what they stand for and are unafraid to say so -- are those least interested in the DLC's snake oil.

If you want to blast the DLC for being a divisive organization that lashes out towards those they don't like, then you better be an inclusive organization that respects differences and allows for tents including all sorts of members. Calling the DLC divisive and then pledging to poison the Fruit Loops of any Democratic politicians who happen to associate with the group just makes you look silly.

You may not like Al From -- hell, I don't like Al From -- but Hillary Clinton, Evan Bayh, Tom Vilsack and all the others can certainly address a DLC meeting without signaling a disrespect for "the netroots". That's what "inclusive" means, that one is willing to work with groups that may naturally be in opposition to each other. It's fine if you don't like that, but then whipping around to attack others for intramovement intolerance looks, well, kinda bad.

July 22, 2005 in Democrats | Permalink

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» Geez MarKOS from Dispassionate Lib
But Geez, using that megaphone over a Daily Kos isn't exactly constructive. I'm with Ezra on this one. Especially when they haven't said anything yet. [Read More]

Tracked on Jul 23, 2005 12:42:33 AM

Comments

DLC has had some valid points and is certainly the "bridge" to centrists and Republicans. There's just no gain in burning it. I agree on the divisiveness - it's what the Republicans have used to tear the country apart and rule by. We have to be better than that and bring a lot of diverse groups back together.

Posted by: donna | Jul 22, 2005 5:25:55 PM

Who's divisive? The DLC, that's who.

Ezra, it appears you didn't get Kos point. Either that, or you do not know the history of the DLC and the contempt it has displayed for the netroots. They've blasted us to smithereens. They've said that we're a bunch of wacko lefties that should be expunged from the party. Now, Kos takes issue with this and so do I. If something has to go... according to the DLC, well, then I'm damn sure going to try to make it them.

Kos too.

Posted by: manyoso | Jul 22, 2005 5:43:17 PM

Has a party we need to look at who has won national elections and who has not.

Shouldn't it be the success that we emulate?

Posted by: Don | Jul 22, 2005 5:45:32 PM

In some ways, that's just the thing. The DLC's ascendance was part of our only win in the last 30 years. But then, it did us no good during the next six. On the other hand, this netroots record isn't so hot either. 2002? 2004? Did any of the Kos Dozen win?

We're one sad sack of a party sometimes. A bunch of losers demanding the other losers step back so they can show them how to win.

Posted by: Kate | Jul 22, 2005 5:53:41 PM

I think the point Kos should have made is that the DLC has been attacking to the left instead of to the right.

However the DLC leadership is chosen, it is overdue for a change. A DLC focused on a centrist approach to attacking the Repubs is fine. But they don't do that.

The left-of-the DLC folks should send the message: don't attack us and get rid of Al From and we can be happy and productive together.

(I get so confused about Al From and David Frum that the only solution is for both of them to leave the scene).

Posted by: JimPortlandOR | Jul 22, 2005 6:23:11 PM

Manyoso's comment brings out how much the DLC vs. Left fight looks like one of those big ethnic grievances where the cycle of violence has gotten out of control.

Al From and David Sirota have built so many straw men that it's destabilizing the farm economy.

Posted by: Neil the Ethical Werewolf | Jul 22, 2005 6:27:13 PM

I like a lot of DLC politicians, and I like Ed Kilgore. But it'd be very, very nice to see them bring Al Frum-type circular firing squad exercises under control. The tenor of the DLC opposition to Dean (not opposition to Dean, mind you, but the tenor of it) was shameful and showed that whatever they may have to offer the Democratic party, it's less in volume than what they have to take away.

Posted by: djw | Jul 22, 2005 7:32:07 PM

Kate, Barack Obama was a Dean dozen candidate, but I wouldn't give Kos credit for that.

Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Jul 22, 2005 9:04:10 PM

Ezra,

this is going to sound repetitive to some other comments, but here goes.

The Problem wit hthe DLC is that it attacks the wrong party. I have ZERO clue what they are trying to achieve by constantly undermining other democrats and their allies.

As for their "centrism". Just what is that exactly ? They do appear to be a tool of big bidness and little else judging by the voting records and the positions they take.

Frankly the sooner the DLC steps out of the way the better. I certainly would not support a DLC candidate in a primary, and i am no lefty.

We are fighting partisan politics now, its open warfare for those that havent noticed. Triangulation is so 1990's.

Posted by: Pounder | Jul 22, 2005 10:42:55 PM

Looks like a garden-variety power struggle to me.

Posted by: Roxanne | Jul 22, 2005 11:07:57 PM

I think this is scratching the itch of why I don't read Kos anymore... he in particular seem to have developed quite a messiah complex, or at least a complex for things that he cares about. Isn't that the argument we make against the death penalty? That just because someone killed someone else doesn't mean they should get equal punishment? So how then is it not hypocritical to go after a group going after you in similar fashion?

Because it's a power struggle in a teapot. Or at least, only one in peoples' minds. What politicians are beholden to these "netroots" or whatever more than any other group? What senators does, say, Atrios and friends have in their pocket? None.

What Kos is trying to say is that this netroots idea is the new face of the democratic party, with as its central cause. The only defining characteristics are that a) we are all democrats, b) we all are angry at the modern republican party and c) we all have internet connections. And people accuse the DLC of having no message? At least they have a paean of centrism. What do the "netroots" have besides some shiny money-raising figures and a stupid spot on CNN? There's no influence at any level of the party (though there may be some among the press and therefore the populace). Sure, there are ideas, but they, for the most part, aren't ideas that are unavailable from other sources or weren't already available today.

It just seems that the internet-dems are creating a left-wing version of the republicans' echo chamber, and aiming it squarely at themselves.

Posted by: Fnor | Jul 22, 2005 11:10:35 PM

A DLC focused on a centrist approach to attacking the Repubs is fine. But they don't do that.

Of course they attack the Repubs, they do it a lot more than they attack anyone to their left. Which, of course, they also do, sometimes very stupidly and counterproductively, and which they deserve to be called on. But they should be called on it honestly, and accurately, and anyone paying even slight attention knows that they attack Repubs a lot more than they attack other Dems (again, not that I'm excusing that or agreeing with everything they do).

Posted by: Haggai | Jul 23, 2005 1:11:28 AM

the DLC has spent too much time riding the Bill Clinton's coattails. Bill Clinton won his elections because people liked him, not his ideas, and when he ran in 96 the economy was rolling along and there was really no reason to change at that time. Now, the DLC triangulation approach is not good when people keep stating over and over again they do not know what the Democrats stand for, and here is where the split begins. Do the Democrats stand for the working folks or do they stand for big business? If you ask the liberal net folks they'd say the working folks, if you ask the DLC they'd be busy threading the needle between the working folks and big business. That is just one example of why the DLC way is not good for a party that is in the minority. We can't be busy threading needles, we need to run on a simple platform and sell it to the people. We need to not be hedging our bets and trying to please too many people, we need a strong set of ideas, kind of like a "contract with America", it may be idealistic and tough to obtain, like Newt's version, but we need it and we need to start selling it soon.


The DLC has had there moment, it's time for them to step aside and allow some other people to step in and see if they can make their ideas work.

Posted by: jbou | Jul 23, 2005 2:31:23 AM

The main problem with the DLC is its institutional mindset. It was formed to answer the question: What is wrong with the Democratic Party? The DLC has a spastic urge to answer that question, and to answer it as if it were posed by a person who does not like the Democratic Party.

Since 2000, the DLC's only function in American politics is to provide institutional cover for those who don't like the Democratic Party or its ideas.

Posted by: James E. Powell | Jul 23, 2005 5:24:12 AM

The DLC: The Democratic Party is a piece of shit. Unless you do precisely what we say, we will savage you like a rabid monkey.

Kos: The DLC is divisive and needs to be shunned. We need to enforce this by making it clear to our leadership that associating with the DLC has consequences.

Klein: Kos is being divisive.

I mean, yes, he is, but come on, man.

Posted by: Kimmitt | Jul 23, 2005 5:49:47 AM

Dean Urges Dems to Court Pro-Life Voters

DEVLIN BARRETT
Associated Press Writer
July 22, 2005, 10:02 PM EDT



WASHINGTON -- Democrats need to reach out to voters who oppose abortion rights and promote candidates who share that view, the head of the party said Friday.

Posted by: Robert Zimmerman | Jul 23, 2005 9:09:02 AM

Kimmitt: the DLC says nothing on the kind. Their rhetoric suggests nothing of the kind. Sorry, but that's a totally false comparison.

Posted by: Ezra | Jul 23, 2005 9:37:37 AM

Ezra, Kimmitt wasn't quoting the DLC directly, he was summarizing for brevity and clarity, and he is spot on. I'm sure you could quite easily find quotes from DLC members criticizing Republicans. This doesn't mean, however, that Kimmitt's point is wrong: the DLC spends an inordinate amount of time going "Sista Solja" on fellow Democrats, and they seem to be the go-to organization whenever Fox News, CNN, or any newspaper needs an anti-democrat quote from a non-republican.

Posted by: Matt Taylor | Jul 23, 2005 11:49:24 AM

Absolutely. He was paraphrasing what they say. And they don't say that. In any form. You would think that with the power we give to the DLC, they'd have blacklisted us, that Dean would be dead in a ditch somewhere, that the netroots would be radioactive to any respectable politician. But...what? So they send off an e-mail saying they don't like Dean? That's their right. Is this really what we're scared of? A couple mean words from an organization teetering on the edge of obscurity?

Kos says much worse and does it daily -- which is fine, welcome to politics. But we cry salty tears of pain when they tap us and then cackle like maniacs while a thousand blogs call them every nasty name we can think of. And then, when we represent the situation, we make the DLC sound as if they're mugging bloggers in the street while Kos innocently pleads for civility and procedural reform. It just ain't so, folks. They say mean things, we say them back. But that's all it is. And that's fine, intramovement debate is healthy, but jesus christ on a popsicle stick, let us not pretend that the blogs aren't as divisive and aggressive as everyone else. We're not innocent victims anymore, we're players -- particularly Kos! -- and we should act like we know it.

Posted by: Ezra | Jul 23, 2005 11:57:47 AM

Democrats cannot win elections without appealing to the center, quite simply. There are fewer liberals- by a wide margin- than conservatives, so Democrats cannot emulate the Republicans' "base strategy". We all benefit when Democrats hold power, right? The DLC is fighting for the same things Kos and others farther to the left are. Needlessly alienating them would be politically suicidal for progressives.

Posted by: Matt | Jul 23, 2005 12:49:42 PM

The point is NOT that the DLC attacks Democrats more than Republicans. The point is, as Matt Taylor points out, that the DLC is the primary source for FOX News Democrats, those Democrats that the Republican Noise Machine can most rely on to use Republican talking points in shooting down other Democrats.

Even if Al From only uses one Republican talking point out of one hundred public statements, and the other 99 are vehement attacks on the Republicans, the ONLY statement from From that will get publicized is the one that uses the Republican talking point.

The thing that frustrates so many of us about the DLC is that they don't F*CKING get this point! They seem totally oblivious to the fact that they are being used as conduits for Republican spin. Even the suggestion that such is the case is greeted with anger and derision.

The DLC is not the source of evil within the Democratic Party. I find myself agreeing with a lot of their position papers. But I consider them to be worse then useless as a political organization because they simply have no clue how much damage they cause Democrats with their public pronouncements!

The DLC mode of thinking, the cluelessness in the face of the obvious, is the primary reason they should be shunned. Until they wake up and realize what tools they have become then it doesn't matter if they really are Republican-Lite or not. That is the way they will be perceived.

Posted by: Chris Andersen | Jul 23, 2005 7:08:00 PM

Andersen has it -- the problem is that the DLC is on Fox News's speed-dial, and they make sure everyone knows it.

You're right that the DLC is hardly omnipotent. But they do an awful lot of damage, and they don't spend much time or energy building up the Party.

Posted by: Kimmitt | Jul 25, 2005 4:34:32 PM

It's probably too late to make a comment of any worth, but those who simply claim that the DLC spends too much time attacking the liberal-democrats are idiots and lazy. If they could bother to read thier posts once in a while, they would realize that they hate the Republicans probably about as much.

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Posted by: peter.w | Sep 17, 2007 2:41:15 AM

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