The Democratic Leadership Council’s meeting in Columbus has highlighted some divisions within the Democratic Party which I suspect exist primarily in the blogosphere and are of little concern to the saner members of the party (such as those who overwhelmingly voted to nominate John Kerry last year). If progressive bloggers want to criticize the DLC on principles, that would be one thing. I certainly don’t agree with their members on all issues, although an analysis by Chris Bowers has shown that their members do not actually vote very differently from other Democrats in Congress. What I find particularly absurd is a claim seen in multiple anti-DLC blog posts blaming them for Democratic defeats.
If the ability to win elections has become the question, it is hard to argue with the DLC’s success. The DLC had a President in the White House for eight years. We all know what happened to the favorite candidate of the bloggers in last year’s Democratic primaries, and would expect an even worse showing in a general election campaign. I’ve previously discussed polling showing the advantages of moderation over moving to the left in terms of winning Presidential elections.
The Bull Moose has his own response to the frequent attacks on party moderates from the progressive blogosphere:
Leave it to others to talk about internal divisions within the party or nasty polarizing polemics. While someone from the daily kosy (misspelling intended) confines of Beserkely might utter ominous McCarthyite warnings about the “enemy within”, here in Columbus constructive committed crusaders for progressivism are discussing ways to win back the hearts of the heartland. This is a time for Democrats to be ecumenical rather than suggesting a pious inquisition.
Personally I prefer the big tent, finding that I don’t agree with either the DLC or the progressive wing on all issues. Such diversity of opinion is also necessary to win elections. Some progressive bloggers have complained that the dominance of the DLC has led to a lack of progressive candidates for 2008. If they would get past the biases developed during the 2004 primary battles, they might realize there is one candidate who is sticking to progressive principles, even if he (thankfully) does not accept the far left line on all issues–John Kerry.