Strengthening Constitutional Self-Government

No Left Turns

The "Upscale Left"

Don’t miss Thomas Byrne Edsall, writing in today’s New Republic online about the role of the "upscale left" in the Lieberman-Lamont duel, and why the result is bad news for Democrats in 2008.

Sample:

The Lieberman-Lamont primary is a study, writ small, in what has ailed the Democratic Party over the last few decades. Simply put, Democratic presidential primary electorates continue to be dominated by an upscale, socially (and culturally) liberal elite. Democrats must first win the approval of this elite before they can compete in the general election. It’s a trap that no Democrat other than Bill Clinton has found a way to escape, and Lamont’s victory shows why.  

Discussions - 30 Comments

So does this mean then that America is more willing to tolerate candidates who pander to the right-religious wackos than the snobby left-wing dilitantes? (Hey John McCain don’t worry about speaking at Bob Jones University, the GOP is a big tent of ideas where no one has to pander to a psychotic base like that OTHER party!)

Good idea to attack the messenger. Except wait a second. This is ... The New Republic. Martin Peretz, Peter Beinart et al. Gosh these are died in the wool Democrats. WTF. Oh never mind Abbie. We know all the LSD flashbacks from the years of abuse make you a major Depends customer on occasion.

Gmax,



I think buried in Abbie’s frustration is a bit of truth, though. Quite frankly, you can’t run as a Republican if you doubt that there’s a heaven and a hell (or, in the least, it would be extremely difficult to get a nomination).



And, for the most part, you can’t run in either party unless you (and/or your friends) are part of the economic elite.



Quite frankly, I don’t see this as a problem for the Democrats. Each party has it’s out-of-touch-with-the-mainstream factions. The Pro-lifers on the Right, the Pro-gay marriage on the Left. The Bible-Thumpers on the Right, the Gaia-worshipping Feminists on the Left. It’s been that way for awhile now and the Democrats haven’t died yet. Honestly, I think that the worst the Democrats could do right now is just not gain seats in Congress. Public dissatisfaction with the Republican party is just too great right now (be it the Republicans’ fault or not).



So, yeah . . . I don’t see the long term consequences Edsall is predicting really coming to term . . .

Last time I checked the contingent of Pro lifers were very close to a majority, depnding of course on how the question in the poll was taken. And I dont think other than maybe Massachusetts, does there exist a place where the pro gay marriage are anything except a small but vocal minority.

But for this one thing we agree. The worst that Democrats can do, will probably be their default path. The Republicans have screwed up a lay down loaner hand but they are quite fortunate to be able to run against Democrats. For that I must say a prayer.

Abbie Hoffman asked, "Does this mean that America is more willing to tolerate candidates who pander to the right-religious wackos that the snobby left-wing dilettantes?"

Yes.

Which "main stream" is Lamont out of touch with? He’s being attacked because he’s opposed to the war in Iraq...along with about 60% of Americans. What is Lamont doing wrong? "Pandering" to the majority?

And, what’s with the "elitist" thing? Can the majority be called "elitist"? There seems to be a lot of labeling and name-calling going on here, but not much of a reasoned argument...

When Lamont talks about negotiating with our enemies, and says the answer to Iran is a carrot and stick approach (apparently he was on retreat for the last three years) he shows up out of the mainstream.

When Lieberman comes out in full support of the war in Iraq—the issue most important to Americans—Lieberman (and most of the Republican party)—shows itself to be out of the mainstream.

Relying on polls is a difficult thing to do Publicus (what a strange mix!). Americans are certainly upset with the handling of the war in Iraq, the strategy of the war in Iraq, and the leadership of President Bush. So...that means that we should pull out our soliders, attempt to deal diplomatically with terrorist groups and terrorist sympathizers, and operate on a level in a more globally frinedly manner?

Sounds like appeasement, reminds me of a certain time in history, and would certainly be "out-of-touch" with the majority of Americans.

It’s about strategy. The adherents of appeasement are in the minority. Things are stale and don’t seem to be moving, despite the money and the effort, and the people want more, so...

Apologies for the bold.

The unpopularity of the war is much like the unpopularity of the Korean and Vietnam wars. The American people want to see results, quickly. They don’t want to surrender, but they don’t want to see the fighting drag on. This is exactly why Truman decided to drop the atomic bombs on Japan. I suspect that, if asked, a sizable chunk of the American public would support the use of nuclear weapons (as they did in Korea and Vietnam) to settle things in the Middle East once and for all. Note that I’m not in favor of this option; it’s just worth pointing out that this is very different from a desire to withdraw.

In response to Fred, I think a better comparison for the Iraq conflict is the American revolution, not 1930’s Germany. Playing the part of the England....us. Read about the Howe brothers strategy for winning the hearts and minds of the people of NJ and how it backfired.

I’m going to make two predictions here, and if anyone wants to refute them please be my guest. My predictions: 1. The U.S. will eventually leave Iraq. 2. When we do Iraq will be better off than when our military was there.

I think many people (myself included) don’t know what Bush’s policy IS except to "stay the course" and most people believe that the current course isn’t working.

Many people think wer are losing at that civil war is inevitable or that Iraq is ALREADY in a civil war. Is Bush’s position STILL that we’re winning? If so, he may have a hard time making his case because the reports we get from Iraq don’t look so promising. And, we’ve been at it since 2003.

I guess what I’m saying here is, whatever you think about our policy or what it should be, the war in Iraq is the most important issues to voters and they don’t like what Republicans have done there.

That doesn’t mean the Democrats will win Congress, but it can’t be a plus for the Republicans. I think the voters want to hear a new approach—from either party—that suggests what we should do NOW.

Abbie

I probably shouldn’t bother responding. I think a few elements are missing (you may want to consider the role of "one people" "all men are created equal" and "life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness." Also, does the recognition that all men are created equal presuppose liberty? Consider). I was not comparing this war to WWII, that is historically inaccurate and stupid. I was comparing Publicus’ push for appeasement to Neville Chamberlain and "Peace in our time!"

Publicus

I agree with everything you say, except what I think some of the hiding meanings are. I thought this:

Many people think wer (we?) are losing at(or?) (and?) that civil war is inevitable or that Iraq is ALREADY in a civil war.

What does that mean? If there is civil war, then what? People throw around that term as if the significance or consequences are obvious. If there is civil war, does that mean we ought to leave? I would argue that it creates a bigger incentive to stay.

When the war began, I was an opponent of it. I was an opponenet because some undeniable features about the Iraqi people stood out. Sunnis, Kurds, and Shiites have fought and killed each other for centuries. Sectarian violence did not suddenly appear upon our arrival. The reason for its increase afterwards is that one faction believes the other might be gaining the upper hand in the political realm, and (obviously) it doesn’t want that to happen (these people don’t know democracy, they never have, and I suspect most believe a factional tyrant will arise, regardless of the outcome of our presence). John Stuart Mill and Churchill have said some very intriguing things about a people’s ability to govern themselves, and it may apply to this context more than any other.

I believe democracy spreading is possible (but, the tyrant’s favortie phrase "I come to liberate these people from..."). I believe it is a good. So, once we were there, handing over sovereignty so soon (prematurely perhaps) and allowing popular elections (which, I admit, had better results than I expected) so early, were probably a strategic error (but politics is a tricky game, especially with global pressure). Dr. Moser is exactly right, the people want A and not A at the same time, and popularly elected officials act accordingly. As a consequence (and as I said earlier), Publicus, you are correct in all of your assertions.

"hiding" in the first line to Publicus should be read as "hidden"

Fred!

I’ve been out for awhile. Your observation about "civil war" is astute! I, indeed, don’t know what the policy implications should be of a civil war—you see that as a reason to stay.

However, as an analysis of voter behavior, I think that most people see a civil war as an unwinnable war, and a reason to leave. (Whether or not they are right about this is a separate question...but I believe that would be the common perception of the implication of a civil war.)

In any case, I enjoyed your post. Anyone on either side of the political spectrum wins my respect by quoting the Declaration of Independence!

(and most of the Republican party)—shows itself to be out of the mainstream.

Good one...?... That WAS a joke wasn’t it?

The unpopularity of the war is much like the unpopularity of the Korean and Vietnam wars. The American people want to see results, quickly. They don’t want to surrender, but they don’t want to see the fighting drag on.

There’s a big difference between being unhappy with the war (due almost entirely to misconceptions of a lack of progress brought about by an agenda driven media coverage of it) and wanting to cut and run from it and cede it to al qaeda and Iran. Lieberman went to Iraq twice. He was astonished the second time to see the progress we had made there and he committed the secular sin of saying so.

People who perceive a lack of progress in Iraq are not contemptible; people who want us to lose in Iraq are.

Uncle Guido—

The American people and the Iraqi people want the U.S. troops out of Iraq. That’s contemptible, isn’t it?!

Before the job is done? Yes.

The job IS done. There are no WMD in Iraq. (That WAS the job, wasn’t it?!)

Uh sure that’s the ticket. Forget about about regime change.

To the United States military:

Job well done. You’ve found some, but not nearly all of the WMD. Your efforts to rebuild the infrastructure to Iraq and to establish democracy in the middle east, while commendable, is, according to Publicus, aka the American people and the iraqi people, not your job so GET OUT!

No, Pub, it wasn’t. We are good Boy Scouts...we have to leave the area better than we found it. There is nothing people like you would like better than for us to leave a raging civil war behind us. Hey, if you think they hate us now, wait until we cut and run.

Like so often in our history, this is probably a "no-win" situation, at least in terms of public relations. I therefore recommend we do what’s in OUR best interest.

If dain were President:

1) Partition Iraq...the Kurds will be our good buddies. We play the Sunni and Shia off against on another (e.g., hey, Sunni folk, do you want us to side with those crazy Shia? Better get your act together.) When Turkey gets upset about an independent Kurdistan, we remind them about the 4th ID and how it WASN’T in Iraq on time.

2) Terrorize Iran by funding insurgency and occasional special ops against their military sites. Nothing to go to war over, but lethal as hell nonetheless. Also, assassinate the current rulers (hardball, that’s right).

3) We allow Israel to finish the job. Instead of tit-for-tat, we run interference for them (against world opinion) and let them TAKE Lebanon...and maybe Syria as well. But no occupation...that’s a loser’s game. Just kick the $hit out of them like in 1967. War of symbols, etc.

4) We give Musharraf an ultimatum...massively invade the mountain country and clean the $hit up, or we’ll move everything we’ve got into that area (even without his permission). Time to get Osama.

Now, I realize the trolls will come out of the floorboards to say how grateful they are that I’m NOT the POTUS...irrelevant. I would expect to be a one-termer. What we need are men who aren’t worried about their personal futures..we need men to make hard decisions about the future of our nation.

Dain, I have cheered you in the past for disengaging trolls. Now I’m engaging one myself. Appologies.

Re partitioning Iraq: Wouldn’t it be nice. Let the Islamist Sunni and Shiite jihadists kill each other and themselves. Somehow the world will survive without them. Eventually it will probably have to come to the partitions you describe. Oh, and won’t the Sunnis just be tickled to find themselve alone in the baron desert, unencumbered by the decadence oil riches bring?

Re terrorizing Iran: I wish you’d used a different word than "terrorize," but then you were always one to call a shovel a shovel. Agreed. Our special ops guys HAVE to take out their nukes.

Re letting Israel finish the job: Israel’s job won’t be finished until Syria is incapable of re-arming Hezb’allah. Israel has no intention of taking the war to Syria and Condi and the Fwench wouldn’t let that happen in any event. I’m not happy with the efforts of the BUSH ADMINISTRATION (ptuey) to handcuff Israel. Neither am I happy with Ohlmert’s decision to stop in Lebanon. I could be wrong. This whole diplomacy thingy may just be a trick to make Hezb’allah, Lebanon and Syria reject the deal so that we can put the blame on them for what Israel is about to do.

Re Musharraf: Works for me.

How to tie all this back into the "Lieberman-Lamont duel?" Lamont wants the international community to stop doing what it’s doing with Iran(talking) and...ahem...start talking with Iran. You know, offer them things. Carrots.

dain for president sounds good right now. The new Cincinnatus? Your methods would either create world war or make for a much shorter hard slog through the war on terror. But wait, a world warr is what we are having, already.


The Jurist bit was funny. Oh, my goodness! That whole line was the most amazing bit of comment linkage I have seen and I so admire that it works so well. I am dizzy with envy and a case well built.


The war is a political problem for the Republican party, but I do not see how it is a moral problem for the US.

dain for president sounds good right now. The new Cincinnatus? Your methods would either create world war or make for a much shorter hard slog through the war on terror. But wait, a world war is what we are having, already. Shall I start the petitions?


U.G. The Jurist bit was funny. Oh, my goodness! That whole line was the most amazing bit of comment linkage I have seen and I so admire that it works so well. I am dizzy with envy and also with awe at a case well built.


The war is a political problem for the Republican party, but I do not see how it is a moral problem for the US. If we just get out, as in Southeast Asia, then we have a moral problem and doom those people to years of tyranny by the violent minority in their midst. Who wants to see the retribution paid to those who sought democracy through American intervention? Killing fields, anyone?

"I realize the trolls will come out of the floorboards to say how grateful they are that I’m NOT the POTUS...irrelevant. I would expect to be a one-termer."

The delusions of grandeur are awesome.

Aw, c’mon troll. He’s just funnin’.

Thank you Kate.

Uncle Guido,

You’re welcome. Look, I can’t even manage a normal blog with efficiency. I wonder how I did that.

You know, I think the war is as much of a problem for the Democrats as it is for the Republicans, if not more so.

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