OpenLeft: Get Ready To Turn Inward


Get Ready To Turn Inward

Inevitably, there will be a plethora of talking heads tonight arguing that while Obama and Democrats won, this was really a center-right, “bi-partisan” victory. Or, at least, they will argue that Democrats better govern in a center-right, bi-partisanship fashion, or else. Such comments will, inevitably, be just about the least enjoyable part of what otherwise should be a fantastic night.

It will be a sad sight to see so many people praise certain sections of the Democratic effort this year, while dumping on the rest. Specifically, the left-wing and the netroots will be dumped on the most, as always. The Village must never credit the DFHs with anything. For example, Adam Nagourney is on MSNBC a few minutes ago talking about how Dean doesn’t deserve any credit for the 50-state strategy, even though that was really the entirety of his tenure at the DNC.

This should be a victory for all Democrats, given how hard everyone has worked. However, it just won’t be spun that way. It was clear in 2006, for example, that certain sections of the party were eager to demean all others after our victory. Jim Wallis’s trumpeting 2006 as a defeat of the secular leftRahm Emanuel’s media deification, and the constant pundit drumbeat of just how conservative all these new Democrats were (a claim that was based almost entirely on Heath Shuler being anti-choice), are just some examples of what happened.

This time, it will be key for progressives and the netroots to claim victory, too. Republicans will be reduced to such small numbers in Congress, that Democrats will be governing virtually unopposed. As always happens in such situations, the dominant majority party will factionalize quite a bit. We have to be aware of this, and ready to fight. After today, the struggle will take place almost entirely within the Democratic Party, not between Democrats and Republicans. If you are a progressive or a grassroots activist, and you expect unity and praise for your efforts afterward, then you are being very naïve. Tonight is the end of one phase of the fight for a progressive governing majority, and the full-fledged start of another.


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