Where is "the center"?
The future of the Democratic Party depends on how they answer this question. Joe Lieberman, Chuck Schummer and the rest of the DLC types don't represent "the center" in spite of the bull being pushed by the MSM. David Sirota explains:
Dobbs-style populism, along with opposition to the Iraq War, was the overwhelming theme of the 2006 elections. There is no denying it. In the last few days, there have been a barrage of right-wingers and DLCers trying to hide this very simple fact. They have said the election was about Democrats pretending to be Republicans, citing people like Virginia Senator-elect Jim Webb - even as Webb himself has appeared on Dobbs’ show to give voice to the very kind of economic populism many of us have been pushing for years. And, of course, even in the face of the New York Times’ own news page admitting the rise of populism, we are asked by the Establishment revisionists to simply forget about the election of red-region economic populists like Sherrod Brown, Jon Tester, Heath Shuler, Nancy Boyda and others.If the corporatists of the DLC gain control of the Democratic Party again 2006 will indeed be just a blip on the radar.
Writers like Tom Frank, Chris Hayes, Matt Taibbi, Bill Greider and I have for years been pushing this brand of politics, and for our efforts we have all been attacked by Washington insiders and Big Money interests. I remember vividly the DLC attacking me for publishing The Democrats’ Da Vinci Code back in 2004 that proposed a populist national campaign strategy, citing real-world examples of how this strategy works in red regions of the country.
But we have stuck to our guns because polls show populism (aka. challenging economic power) is the “center” position in the public, even though it may not be the “center” position in a K-Street-owned Washington, D.C. On Tuesday, the true “center” won out over Washington’s faux “center” - whether our status quo opponents in Washington’s think tanks, cocktail parties, congressional cloakrooms and lobbying firms like it or not.
Oh, sure, there will continue to be efforts to revise history. We can look no further than the recent New York Times Sunday Magazine piece about populist leader Brian Schweitzer that shows just how desperate those Big Money representatives who have run the Democratic Party into the ground really are:“’He’s as much a prairie centrist as he is a prairie populist,’ Bruce Reed of the Democratic Leadership Council told me. Schweitzer has the ability to reduce a complicated issue to a few sharp lines, reframing it with themes of patriotism and underdog know-how. ‘I was a critic of Nafta, I was a critic of Cafta and I’ll be a critic of Shafta,” he says of free-trade agreements, long the hobgoblin of even the most articulate liberal politicians. “Why is it that America supposedly creates the best businessmen in the world, but when we go to the table with the third world, we come away losers?’”It’s true - Schweitzer is a “centrist” in that he is at the center of American public opinion in his efforts to take on Big Money interests and give voice to Americans’ justifiable anger at the sellout trade policy pushed by the DLC. But that’s not what Reed is trying to say - he’s trying to claim Schweitzer as one of the DLC’s own, implying that the Montana governor is yet another mushy corporatist - an insult to what Schweitzer and other red-state populists have built. Still, I guess we shouldn’t be surprised at this kind of revisionism. Dishonesty knows no bounds when irrelevance and rejection is in the air.