Blogometer: DEM STRATEGY: Fighting Back The DLC Wing

Blogometer

DEM STRATEGY: Fighting Back The DLC Wing

Liberal bloggers are criticizing recent columns by Dem strategists Doug Schoen and Mark Penn, who urge the hypothetical Obama administration to stick to “centrism” and “conciliation.” Liberal bloggers perceive Schoen’s and Penn’s argument as an attempt to pre-emptively constrain Obama’s progressive agenda:

  • The Washington Monthly‘s Steve Benen: “We’ll know soon enough whether Democrats have a good Election Day or not, but Doug Schoen is already urging the party not to perceive potentially sweeping victories as an endorsement of the Democratic agenda. […Schoen argues that] if voters turn out in record numbers, elect Democrats to control almost everything, and deliver a ‘wholesale rejection’ of conservative Republicans, Democratsshouldn’t consider this a mandate for change. Indeed, as far as Schoen is concerned, if Democratic policy makers try to implement Democratic policy ideas after Democratic victories, the party will surely be punished by voters. […] I suspect Obama, given what we know of his style and temperament, would make good-faith efforts to encourage Republicans to support his policy goals. But Schoen’s advice seems misguided — if Obama wins, he should scale back on the agenda voters asked him to implement? He should water down his agenda, whether it has the votes to pass or not? He should put ‘conciliation’ at the top of his priority list? And what, pray tell, does a Democratic majority do if/when Republicans decide they don’t like Democratic ideas, don’t care about popular mandates or polls, and won’t work with Dems on issues that matter? Do Democrats, at that point, simply stop governing, waiting for a mysterious ‘consensus’ to emerge?”
  • Open Left‘s David Sirota: “Mark Penn joins fellow corporate pollster Doug SchoenPeggy NoonanCharles Krauthammer and Jon Meacham as the latest member of the Punditburo to insist that no matter what happens on election day, America is a center-right nation, and therefore a President Obama must not govern as a progressive. […] Penn is following Schoen’s lead in making the Democratic side of this Establishment argument — using the manufactured storyline of Bill Clinton‘s supposed actions to claim that if a President Obama governs as a progressive, he will end up like Clinton in 1994. Not only is the storyline wholly fake, it implies that nothing has changed in America since 1994. That is, it implies with a straight face that the [George W.] Bush years and the backlash to those years did nothing to move the country in a progressive direction. […] Look, I’m all for Obama governing as a ‘centrist’ — as long as he recognizes that the actual ‘center’ of American public opinion is far different from the ‘center’ as defined by corporate-hired pollsters like Penn, and the rest of the Establishment Punditburo.”
  • Think Progress‘ Matthew Yglesias: “The real thing that the next administration needs to do is to avoid failure. In particular, the country clearly faces a serious economic challenge. What the next administration needs — and what the next congress needs — is policies that will work to restore prosperity. If the administration signs into law a recovery program that, whether popular or not at the time, delivers the goods in terms of restoring prosperity, then the president and the congress will be in good shape politically. By contrast, if they can’t do so, they’ll suffer. Similarly, a health reform plan that works will be rewarded. That’s the real issue here — not policies that ‘are seen as too far left’ or policies that are seen as too far right, but policies that are seen as failing.”

Atrios makes a similar argument: “No matter how much Obama wins by, if he wins, the media will have Joe Lieberman and Harold Ford explain to us what it really means, which is that the American public supports exactly what Harold Ford supports. The establishment is ‘center right,’ whatever that means, and no matter what public sentiment actually is, they will tell you that the American People support their agenda.”

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Blog for our Future: “Center-Right Nation” Watch – Mark Penn Edition

Blog for our Future

“Center-Right Nation” Watch – Mark Penn Edition

Mark Penn joins fellow corporate pollster Doug SchoenPeggy NoonanCharles Krauthammer and Jon Meacham as the latest member of the Punditburo to insist that no matter what happens on election day, America is a center-right nation, and therefore a President Obama must not govern as a progressive. Here’s the excerpt from Penn’s screed in the Financial Times:

The history of 1992 contains a clear warning that a centre-left coalition can fall apart quickly if the policies are seen as too far left. In 1993, Mr Clinton raised taxes on the wealthy, adopted the “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy in the military, proposed and lost universal healthcare and adopted gun safety measures, banning assault rifles. (emphasis added)

Penn is following Schoen’s lead in making the Democratic side of this Establishment argument – using the manufactured storyline of Bill Clinton’s supposed actions to claim that if a President Obama governs as a progressive, he will end up like Clinton in 1994. Not only is the storylinewholly fake, it implies that nothing has changed in America since 1994. That is, it implies with a straight face that the Bush years and the backlash to those years did nothing to move the country in a progressive direction.

Give all of these hacks credit. Out of their hysterical fear of waking up to irrelevancy on November 5th has come a disciplined strategy of lying – lying about where polling data shows the country is on issues, and lying about what an election of Obama actually means in such an ideologically polarized context.

OpenLeft: VIDEO: Center-Right Nation Highlight Reel

OpenLeft

VIDEO: Center-Right Nation Highlight Reel

Just to follow up on Chris’s last post – yes, the “center-right nation” meme is out in full force. ThinkProgress, in fact, has put together a fantastic video highlight reel of how this phrase is now being parroted everywhere.As I said in my column, “the ‘center-right nation’ phrase is being parroted with the propagandistic discipline of Cuba’s Ministry of Information.”

OpenLeft: Get Ready To Turn Inward

OpenLeft

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.