Monday, February 04, 2008

Gerstein nails it

In an op-ed that ran this past weekend in The Wall Street Journal, Dan Gerstein nailed it right on the money.
The Decline of the Angry Left

Last Saturday's South Carolina Democratic primary will probably be remembered as the day when the party's emotional dam burst and many of the personal grievances and tensions that have built up over the past generation spilled out into the open -- unleashing a cascading series of freighted squabbles starring a who's who of post-Reagan Democrats (Ted Kennedy, Jesse Jackson, John Kerry and of course Bill Clinton).

That's a shame, not just because it undermined the feel-good storyline of party unity, but more because it overshadowed a fateful statement South Carolina's Democrats made by embracing Barack Obama and exiting John Edwards out of the race. Indeed, at the exact moment their party leaders were loudly replaying the psychodramas of the 1990s (and to some extent the '60s), voters of both races were quietly resolving the pre-eminent conflict of the party's present -- between the politics of hope and the politics of Kos. (That being the Daily Kos, the nation's most influential liberal blog and the left's poster child for partisan pugnacity.)

This conflict is not about ideology but about style. The truth is, over the past several years Democrats have bridged or buried most of the major issue splits that hobbled the party in the past, as evidenced by the absence of big policy debates in this campaign. That's left us to stew, particularly in the wake of John Kerry's embittering loss in 2004, over how we fight the other side. There is a clear generational split.

The Kossacks and their activist allies -- who skew toward the Boomers -- believe that Republicans are venal bordering on evil, and that the way Democrats will win elections and hold power is to one-up Karl Rove's divisive, bare-knuckled tactics. Their opponents within the party -- who skew younger and freer of culture war wounds -- believe that the way to win is offer voters a break from this poisonous tribal warfare and a compelling, inclusive vision for where we want to take the country.[...]

This analysis will likely be seen as a bit of grave-dancing on my part, given that I have been an occasional target of the wrath of Kos. But while I am troubled by their hostile, hyper-partisan tendencies, I think the Kossacks have at their best made enormous contributions to the party over the last few years -- most noticeably by stiffening the Washington establishment's spine in confronting President Bush and energizing and organizing the base. One could credibly argue, in fact, that Mr. Obama would not be in the position to inspire the base if Kos and his allies had not first helped to get them "fired up, ready to go."

In this, you might say that Mr. Obama did not kill Kos-ism so much as co-opt it -- by harnessing its most powerful forces and channeling it in a more constructive, convincing direction for a new political moment. He recognized early on that the primary electorate was changing in the wake of Mr. Bush's departure, and that it was hungry (post-Boomer voters in particular) for something bigger and better than the same polarization wrapped in a blue ribbon.

The signs of change are unmistakable. Over the last year, the Kossacks themselves seemed to be waning -- the number of monthly page views on the site is down dramatically.
Read the article in full but I must tell you in advance that it's a great read and nails the hammer on the money. I'll probably get attacked by my fellow bloggers for running this but I don't mind seeing as how I am an independent Democrat. I don't care because this blogger usually goes against the fray of other Democratic bloggers although we all share the same opinion: Mitch McConnell must be ditched. It's going to be a huge money race to defeat him, and that is a major fact. Whoever our candidate is, be it Horne, Lunsford, or Fischer, they have to raise the money to get the message out. Now, there's no doubt on the matter that Horne is the candidate of choice amongst Democratic bloggers but the list of folks that I've seen go on record as supporting very surprising. But as I have said time and time again, everyone is entitled to their own opinion, whether you agree with them or not.

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