The Finch Formerly Known As Gold

3 August 2003

DLC on the right?

Matt Deatherage objects to the standard description of the Democratic Leadership Council as "moderate" or "centrist":

This is only true in a world where nutcases who want a theocratic government are "mainstream conservatives" — that is, the world our media describes. The DLC believes in lower taxes, higher defense spending, privatizing public programs, and that the role of government is more to enable business than to ensure equality.

The DLC is conservative. This is a classic conservative agenda. Just because it's too progressive for Tom DeLay and his corporatist agenda does not make it "centrist" or "moderate." What today's media calls "conservative," the media of 30 years ago would have called "John Birch Society member."

The DLC believes the only real choice in America is one between a conservative agenda and an insanely conservative agenda. Even though the vast majority of Americans agree with progressive principles in most polls, the DLC's sole job is to sell Democrats on a conservative agenda, so of course they're going to attack anyone who is not hewing the conservative line. That's why they exist.

For "anyone who is not hewing the conservative line," read "Howard Dean," who has indeed been getting flak from the DLC.

The John Birch reference isn't a cheap shot, either. For example: thirty years ago, the Birchers were just about the only group urging that the US back away from the United Nations, an idea now being bounced around the mainstream.

Still, something sounds odd here. Do the vast majority of Americans really support "progressive" ideas? And if so, why is it that Naderites and Greens and their friends do so poorly in actual elections? Surely it isn't just the buckets full of GOP cash. And if it is the buckets full of GOP cash, doesn't that suggest that the voters' "support" for leftish causes is awfully tenuous at best?

This may be ultimately a matter of semantics. The DLC is clearly to the right of the Democratic base. Does this make them "conservative"? If you think the Democratic base is somewhere in the middle, perhaps it does. I've got my doubts.

Posted at 1:39 PM to Political Science Fiction


I think it is safe to say that people that support traditional liberal stances have watched for the past decade or more as their opinions have been derided as being "outside of the mainstream" to the point where people are unwilling to vote their conviction out of a sense that doing so would be foolish.

To a true progressive Dean is not even that far out on the left. He is a token candidate that will pass through the mighty wurlitzer of media criticism for having even slightly liberal views.

What you do not see is a decidely liberal group called the RLC amongst the GOP pushing them to nominate candidates that a slew of New Deal like programs.

lack of support for the greens is due in some part to a practical sense by voters. Why vote for a party that has no chance of winning, eben if they reflect your opinions? The same is true for other parties as well. The Dems and Reps have trapped people into voting for them even if they only marginally reflect what they want.

Money is a huge factor. We cannot deny this fact. How else was W. able to rise up through the ranks as a political lightweight into a juggernaught? Dubya running as a third party candidate would be lucky to get 5% of the vote, but as a republican he squeeks into the whitehouse.

Perot, even as a fringe candidate was able to launch a new political party with his own personal fortune.

The difference between so called liberals and conservatives are not that far apart, most people want the freedom to be left alone and take care of themselves and their families without a whole lot of outside meddling. Yet we get politians that consistently enlarge the power of government into matters of economics and personal affairs, be it liberals with more regulations on business to conservatives with odious laws about what we can do in our own bedrooms.

Does that reflect what people want or does it reflect what institutions with lobbying power want?

you know the answer.

Posted by: bruce at 2:36 PM on 3 August 2003

>And if so, why is it that Naderites and Greens and their friends do so poorly in actual elections?

I would have voted for Nader but the state wouldn't let me. I live in Oklahoma. (I'm not sure Nader would be a great president, but like the idea of having more than two viable parties.)

And I'm sick of voting for the lessor of two evils. But alas, most people who vote are more "logical" than that. The majority of folks who are eligible to vote and don't, probably are disgusted with their choices, as am I.

Those who want to be politicians are probably the least desirable ones to have do it.

Posted by: Mike at 5:32 PM on 3 August 2003

I didn't see Perot as getting so much support because he spent a lot of money. He got a lot of support because he got a lot of attention -- and that came from Big Media (and no, Bruce, I'm not talking about commercial time, I'm talking about how every edition of the nightly news had a story on Perot).

I have no doubt one part of why he got so much media attention was because he was so rich, except that if rich people running for president is some special kind of newsworthy the news media are even more far gone than us righties have been saying.

The real reason Perot got so much attention was, quite frankly, he was a wacko. In a one-and-a-half-party system like ours, starting a third party to become president is a wacko thing to do.

But since he got so much uncritical -- even fawning from some quarters -- news coverage, a lot of people flocked to his banner in 1992. Most of them had learned enough about him by 1996 to avoid him like the plague.

As for Bush, I'd like to ask Bruce who in the Republican field did he think should have broken out to become the nominee in 2000? The way presidential campaigns are structured, latecomers like McCain are doomed from the start (another media darling wacko, IMO), so you'd have to point to Steve Forbes or Gary Bauer or Liddy Dole as your preferred alternative.

Posted by: McGehee at 8:11 AM on 4 August 2003

clearly mccain was going to be the nominee in 2000, he barely lost out to dubya due in part to some ugly tactics by Rove (you cant say "well, thats politics" in one breath and "he's bringing honor and dignity to the WH" in another")

I remember watching the 30min or 1hr PRIME TIME informercial slots that Perot bought to present his platform. We wasnt just some media curiosity because he was rich it was because he was getting his message out through the media and his network of workers. The media will cover celebrity and by that time he was a celebrity... by virtue of of being rich and challenging the two parties. And yes that is a newsworthy event.

Perot was not entirely whacko, I dont think he ever expected to actually become president, but he succeeded in pushing the terms of the debate in his direction. He asked some questions that the reps and dems would rather ignore. One of the big problems with our two party (one source of funding) system is that many of the important issues get placed "off the table" in favor of most idealogically driven issues like abortion, or tax cuts. Our last election was about who would get to spend the "surplus" when it was obvious to many that the surplus was a fantasy to begin with.

forbes, bauer = whackos!

Posted by: bruce at 12:10 PM on 4 August 2003

clearly mccain was going to be the nominee in 2000, he barely lost out to dubya

ROFLMAO! You have to tell me what planet that was on, because it sure as shootin' wasn't earth.

Posted by: McGehee at 5:54 PM on 4 August 2003

On the other hand, Forbes and Bauer were fairly dismissable, though I thought Bauer got something of a bad rap in some quarters for his conservative-Christian stances, and Forbes's anti-estate tax slogan is still the best bit of electioneering I've heard in a long time.

"No taxation without respiration!"

Posted by: CGHill at 9:12 PM on 4 August 2003

funny, I just looked over the primary voting totals for the 2000 election and I did remember correctly, it was a tight race for part of march until Bush sewed up enough votes in the southern state to pull away as the frontrunner. McCain won a few states and its pretty clear to say that without Bush in the race the republican nomineee would have been McCain. Its also safe to say as well that even with Bush in the race but without the Millions from his Pioneers it would have been alot closer.

Sure, its all speculation but my original assertion is still not ROTFLMAO preposterous. Or maybe you're just easily amused.

2000 PRESIDENTIAL PRIMARY ELECTION RESULTS

Posted by: bruce at 1:22 AM on 5 August 2003

without Bush in the race the republican nomineee would have been McCain

Right. And without life on earth the planet would be uninhabited.

The reason Bush had the money is because He Got Started Two Years Before McCain Did.

Bush had the organization. Bush was serious about running for president. Neither of these things could be said about McCain.

McCain won a few primaries in March but his delegate count was never a threat. I was telling people in at the time that McCain couldn't stop Bush.

Blame it on money if you want, Bruce, but the real reason I was right is because McCain wasn't serious. No, strike that: McCain isn't serious. He is an unserious person.

Republicans know them when they see them. Which is why McCain's bubble was fueled by non-Republicans.

Posted by: McGehee at 7:33 AM on 5 August 2003