Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Walk left side, safe. Walk right side, safe. Walk down middle, sooner or later, get squished.

I would hope that Democratic leaders would take Matt Stoller's advice...

The admission that progressives are winning influence within the party is something I've noticed since my four years in politics. The party has been moving away from the DLC model of triangulation, and towards the politics of contrast. This is natural for an opposition party, but it also means that not listening to the progressive base could cause an increasing number of problems for centrists Democrats. heart but I won't hold my breath.

Stoller is commenting on a piece by Ben Smith claiming Hillary Clinton is a shoe-in for the Democratic nomination (tons of money) and has a "50-50 chance" of actually winning the White House. Amazingly he doesn't say a thing about this bombshell.

I'm going to go out on a limb here and say that despite Hillary's money she doesn't have a chance in hell of winning the Democratic nomination and, were she to beat those odds she would be squashed like a grape in the highway in the general election.

Centrists and DLC types have consistently underestimated the strong sentiment against the Iraq war among the Democratic base. They have continued to try and play the middle by taking a powder on confronting the President both pre-war and, even more importantly in my view, after the invasion as the country sank into a bloody civil war. More than anything the Democratic party nominee for President in 2008 cannot be a pro-Iraq war candidate. The base simply won't have it.

But were she to beat the odds and slap the base down by winning the nomination her candidacy would be DOA. The political strategy she's been operating under seems to be an assumption that her base is in the bag (hardly) so she can afford to take "centrist*" positions early on in order to attract undecideds in the general election. Conventional wisdom has held that undecideds are the ones that actually decide elections.

George W. Bush has proven that this particular bit of conventional wisdom is wrong. Voters have become increasingly apathetic over the last several years with the importance of undecided voters diminishing as fewer and fewer actually go to the polls. The important thing to winning an election now is getting out your base on election day.

Short of a very public mea culpa and a loud denunciation of the war in Iraq and Bush's handling of same there's no way the Democratic base would turn out vote for Hillary and she would lose the election handily.

(* With over half the country now opposed to the Iraq war I'm not even sure you could say that a position supporting the President's handling of same could be deemed "centrist.")

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Centrist = Conservative toady.
Liberal = Actual Centrist.
Reasonable Opinion = Hating America.