Okay, for starters, I find this story entirely understandable and plausible. Political liberals would be nuts to sell out their constituents by not pressing on the issues from a liberal perspective. To paraphrase “The Reverend,” your typical mainstream liberal-but-still-among-the-adults Democrat can’t really go anywhere else but to the base — the “moderates” are primarily concerned with their own pocketbooks, and thus are tax-averse, and Chuck Schumer or Harry Reid trying to pick up Republican base votes would be like Boy George playing at a Klan rally. Ain’t happening.
I see this working in three directions:
- Republicans are generally right that this isn’t going to work out well in general elections — ‘tax and spend’ proposals are losers lately, and Bush sustained an amazingly low amount of damage from his recent SChips veto. If Democrats/Real Liberals had more than a 20-something stake of the voting population, that’d be different, but hard-core liberals are simply outnumbered by hard-core conservatives, and the swing moderates and libertarians are very much in play this season.
- On the other hand, they’re also right to downplay Iraq in a big way: for starters, most of the “adult” Democratic leadership would have gone in, too (and does anybody doubt that Senator Clinton Fn1 who can’t even manage to treat her Secret Service detail like human beings, would lose an ounce of sleep over spending soldiers’ blood?), and it’s only the snappy also-rans who are really daring to try to pull a Vietnam-Era guns-vs-butter campaign at this point.
- I also see a danger for the Republicans, however: they had “the world in their hands,” and fundamentally proved that they were more interested in becoming a perma-power than in governing well. The old Rockefeller Republican wing of the party, which doesn’t give a crap what its base thinks, is alive and well. Between McCain-Feingold trampling on the Constitution and Bush passing both steel tariffs and a massive new unfunded entitlement, foreign policy is about the only reason I can think of why a voter would bother to hold one’s nose in order to keep the Dems out of power. The Democrats “going liberal” in an old-school way isn’t going to help the Republicans if the voters recall their last election campaign and “where ya gonna go” attitude towards the voters. The answer just might be, “out to dinner, and into gridlock, chump.” And that definitely includes local congressmen. At this point, larded up with pork as he is, I wouldn’t cross a room to talk to Pete Sessions (my local porkmeister, currently sucking an extra mil out of taxpayers just for an overpass designed to keep rich real-estate bankers from having to move their cars around uptown).
Anybody disagree on the assessment?
Fn1Sorry folks, but Sen. Obama’s campaign is imploding in a major way, and it’s entirely self-inflicted wounds — precisely the predictable gaffs that one expects from any Democrat foolish enough to take Hollywood money and players seriously. He’s not going to get the nomination.