Ron Browstein writes
in the LAT:
Democrats have now moved back to the barricades, at least in their intellectual circles. The lines of battle evident in these disputes also could resurface in the race for the DNC chairmanship, which will pit liberals Dean and party operative Harold M. Ickes against centrists such as former Indiana Rep. Tim Roemer and Simon Rosenberg, president of the centrist New Democrat Network.
This is craazy, crazy shit that only someone wearing blinders -- or getting quotes from the DLC -- would write. Ron, you blew this big time.
The battle for the head of the DNC has nothing to do with ideology, and everything to do with reform. "Liberals" like Dean, and "centrists" like Rosenberg are on the same side, while establishment status quo candidates like Tim Roemer on the other.
It's that simple. Now, the DLC is itching for that ideological battle (as much as Ed Kilgore would have us believe otherwise). But fact is, we've generally moved beyond that as a party.
Is there a place for policy differences? Sure. But enough people have realized that the rigid ideology of the DLC doesn't pave the way to electoral victory. Remember, even while they flog that Clinton horse to death, the Big Dog never scored 50 percent of the popular vote. Heck, we have to go back a generation, to 1976, since a Democrat presidential candidate last hit 50 percent of the presidential vote.
Thing is, the RNC is 20 years ahead of us both in techology, and in modernizing the way they conduct politics. The Bush campaign spent $6 million in media development and placement services to their media firm. The Kerry campaign spent a minimum $12 million (likely more) because it used the outmoded and corrupt practice of paying its media firms on commission. So, the GOP had more money to use against Democrats, while we were busy making Bob Shrum richer.
Technology. Consultant compensation structures. Heck, the building of a VLWC -- those aren't ideological issues. They are structural. A reform candidate recognizes the need to reform the party and modernize it. A status quo candidate is interested in preserving the existing power fiefdoms in the party heirarchy. Because even out of power, those running the Democratic Party get to wield a great deal of it.
There is a definite ABD movement still in operation, and the status quo forces will use it to fight back the forces of reform. And if you think Dean is the only person that is in the crosshairs, consider this quote from a year ago:
But a serious rift has opened between the [the DLC and Rosenberg's NDN]. "There's a debate in the New Democratic world about where we are going," Rosenberg told me diplomatically. "And if it's true that the ndn and DLC are no longer 100% aligned, it's a sign of health and maturity."
Rosenberg says the rift is more style than substance. From says it's about Howard Dean. "Simon jumped on the Dean bandwagon and abandoned the New Democratic movement because he wanted to be a player," From says, making the dispute public for the first time. "Dean didn't work out and now I guess he's trying the next thing." [...]
Rosenberg is a reform candidate, hence watch as the DLC and the rest of the ABD movement use his admiration for the Dean movement as ammunition against him.
Again, to be perfectly clear -- this isn't about ideology. As a party we'll find plenty to agree with and plenty to disagree with. It's a fact of Democratic life.
It's about taking our losing formula and throwing it out the window. Time to try something new.
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