Man, I can't wait to get home to start writing about the great races shaping up this fall and into next year. Someday (soon I hope), we'll have a strong bench of dynamic progressives to take to the airwaves, and I can get back to doing what I do best -- blogging.
But I have to say, the Meet the Press thing made me hopeful about our party's future. A couple of observations:
- The "debate" over our party's future featured a young Latino and a young African American. That was kind of refreshing. And yeah, while I might've looked 20 years younger than Ford, who looks pretty darn young himself, we're only about a year apart in age.
- They put pillows on my chair so I wouldn't look so short compared to Ford. I alternated between bemused and horrified at the humiliation
- Yeah, I know I should've said X, Y, and Z. You get a few minutes, you don't say everything that could've been said. You get an hour, you still don't say everything that could've been said
- It was odd seeing Ford come out conciliatory from the start after spending all week trashing us on Fox News, in the Wall Street Journal, and in the Washington Post. If this signals a real change in tone and not a (effective) debate strategy, then that's a great thing.
- There were lots of diaries about who "won" and "lost". I don't think I won or lost. I think I was able to clearly state -- both on the show and afterward -- that my objections with the DLC have less to do with their "centrism" and more to do with their refusal to play within the Democratic coalition. We can and often will disagree on policy, but that is no different than my disagreements with some unions on environmental issues (like CAFE standards), or other groups on gun issues, or whatever. None of us will agree with anyone else on everything. But we get more of what we want with Democrats in charge, and so we need to work together.
- I made an error when I said the DLC supported George Bush's tax cuts. As Ed Kilgore notes, they actually opposed it. That was surprising because of the Democrats who backed the measure, many are straight out of central casting for the DLC. (Here's the full list: Baucus (MT), Breaux (LA), Carnahan (MO), Cleland (GA), Feinsten (CA), Johnson (SD), Kohl (D), Lincoln (AR), Zell Miller (GA), Ben Nelson (NE), and Toricelli (NJ).)
But to be fair, many DLC stalwarts also voted against it, like Bayh (IN), Carper (DE), Clinton (NY), and Lieberman (CT).
So on this issue, Kilgore is right. I screwed that one up. I apologize.
- Kilgore also says that Breaux, a former DLC chair, wasn't an architect of the tax bill. He was -- in his signing statement, three Democrats were singled out for their "leadership" on making the bill happen -- Zell Miller, Max Baucus, and John Breaux. In later remarks, he once again thanked Breaux:
I thank all the members of the conference committee, especially Chairman Chuck Grassley and Chairman Bill Thomas, Senator Max Baucus and Senator John Breaux, who worked tirelessly to make tax relief a reality.
- I know the conversation ended up being about "factions". I find it odd since there are so many "factions" of the party represented in the netroots. We in the netroots aren't ideologically homogenous. The "netroots" is defined as people who wage politics online. And they span the entire range of Democrats -- including "centrists". The DLC doesn't represent all of them. It's just one organization of many, just like the Daily Kos is one blog out of many and not a "faction" of the netroots.
- I asked Ford to avoid trashing Democrats on Fox News. He didn't promise to do that, and I don't expect him to get off Fox News. But I did hope to impress the importance of denying the conservatives on Fox News the ability to manipulate them into justifying attacks on Democrats.
This is what I hope the biggest takeaway is for Ford and the DLC after Sunday. If they can stop being the go-to organization when the media needs a "Democrats fighting each other" story, then we've won. And I don't mean "we" as in the netroots, I mean "we" as in the entire Democratic Party, including the DLC.
And on that front, this was very encouraging.
In his previous appearances on Hannity & Colmes, Ford has taken a gratuitous swipe at Moulitsas as well as Senator Harry Reid (hardly a far lefty). But last night, Ford seemed to finally get with the program. “My fight is not with (Moulitsas),” Ford repeatedly said as both Hannity and Beckel tried to goad him into going after Moulitsas.
Beckel, on the other hand, was a disgrace. I have no problem with a Democrat criticizing DailyKos, Moulitsas, or any other Democrat but FOX News is hardly the place for it, much less when you’re sitting in the Democratic co-host chair on a debate show squaring off against the likes of Hannity. As Ford deflected crticism of Moulitsas, Beckel added to it with glee. “If that were me, I think I’d been across the table and whooped that boy… I have a problem with THESE PEOPLE.” He went on to complain about MoveOn.org saying they own the Democratic Party.
“My fight’s not with him,” Ford repeated. “I hope we can merge these factions.”
(Read that link to see how Laura freakin' Ingraham, of all people, actually defends the netroots and puts Beckel in his place.)
If they decide to play nice and join the discussion, then by all means, I'll follow through on my pledge to attend their conference next year, and I'll look forward to having another partner in our fight against the George Bush Republican Party next year.
This doesn't mean I join the DLC or agree with their agenda (it happens but not often), but it means we've convinced them that there is no point in waging a war against informed citizenry waging politics all over the country.
Again, none of us agree with anyone else among us on everything. It's folly to think we can. So we accept that we'll have differences, yet work together for the broader good of our country.
Update: An interesting little statistic -- check out the word counts:
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