Thursday, March 08, 2007

Mike Lux, a good friend and progressive in DC, has written a great piece about the current divide in the Democratic Party. He puts it like this:

Something new, though, is going on inside the Democratic Party, and as someone who is both a strong progressive and a loyal Democrat, I am paying a lot of attention to the action. This is not just a little bit of a dust-up or some catty dueling between factions. This goes much deeper than that. It is the divide between the party establishment and the emerging (and rapidly strengthening) outsider progressives.
He goes on to define who these people are and does it quite well, in my humble opinion:

In Camp A, the establishment camp, I am thinking of people nervous about Democrats being too aggressive in ending the Iraqi war; former Democratic staffers who are comfortable about going to work as a lobbyist or consultant for big corporate clients; people who endorsed Lieberman in his primary last year; people who are strongly pro-free trade; campaign consultants who still believe in spending most of a campaign's budget on broadcast TV ads; and people disdainful of bloggers and

In Camp B, the outsider/progressive camp, I am thinking of writers and avid readers of the blogosphere along with members of; supporters of Howard Dean's 50-state strategy; people who believe Democrats should do everything in their power, ASAP, to get us out of Iraq; and people who believe that strong labor and environmental problems should be negotiated into trade packages.
I find this piece especially interesting, because Mike describes himself as being politically aligned with Camp B, but knowing many folks in Camp A, after working for Clinton and being in DC for a while. Now I don't have Mike's rolodex, but similar things could be said about me.

One small difference is that he thinks a less agressive approach should be taken by progressives in taking on the establishment, "picking fights where we can." I believe this is a fight for the soul of the party. If you are cool with not pulling out of Iraq, with that crappy bankruptcy bill that passed, with free trade deals that are actually quite costly to American workers due to their lack of protections, then I must aggressvively oppose you not only because I believe it to be bad politically, but also morally.

Don't get me wrong, I have a lot of respect for Mike and he has done a great job breaking this down, I just happen to disagree with his conclusion.


At 12:14 PM, Blogger Cliff Schecter said...

Please weigh in folks...

At 1:14 PM, Blogger Jeff said...

The Democratic division is portrayed quite accurately and I agree with your more aggressive tack. One correction -- both Mr. Lux and yourself accept the corporatist frame: "free trade". Please spend a few minutes reading Dean Baker, to understand that US trade policy is quite protective of privileged workers, like doctors, lawyers, artists and other professional service providers. Advocate free trade or protection, just don't assume existing policy is free of huge economic distortions.

At 4:23 PM, Blogger basheert said...

Cliff, Mike did a great job defining what is happening. I do find it interesting however, that both Dems and Reps in Congress have chosen to simply ignore what the American people are saying to them.

It appears that our commitment to Iraq IS open-ended and indeed, will continue in perpetuity if the "conservative warhawks" have their way.

Pendulums swing both ways. Our country is now less divided due to the rampant corruption and total ignorance of the people that were hired to represent us. Bush and Cheney have finally succeeded in uniting the American people - against THEM!

There is a new day coming ... the 2006 midterms were a runup to 2008 (again that pesky pendulum). People are sick and tired of the war, the economy, the war on the middle class, free trade, amnesty for illegals - and Congress making a pile of money on the backs of it's own citizens.

Plus, people are disgusted with the fact that Congress works for us and they seem to be forgetting that salient point.

The Reps are dooming themselves - happily for our country. This Republican party is NOT the true Republicam party. These people are simply thugs and carpetbaggers masquerading as politicians to gain millions of dollars for lobbying.

That pesky pendulum is swinging back...will be fun to watch!

At 6:12 PM, Blogger Ken C. said...

A possible difference between Camp A and Camp B, related to some of what was mentioned, is that Camp A seems to still be operating as though "triangulating" toward the South and "moderates" is still a useful strategy, while Camp B believes it isn't, that there is no reason to pussy-foot around various issues, trying to hold onto enough Southern Democrats to swing some states.

At 7:02 PM, Blogger basheert said...

While all that may be true, we still have this problem where no one is actually "doing" anything...and our soldiers are dying by the scores on a daily basis for NOTHING.

The Dems were elected for a far it's not happening. Although they are limited in the Senate, they should at least listen to the American people and try to look like they really are trying to be effective.

Democrats, whether moderate or conservatives, CAN toss many monkey wrenches into this horrible mess and they should be doing it.

Someone needs to get a handle on the fact that they are simply spending all their time fiddling and that's about it.

At 7:41 PM, Blogger Syd said...

I'm all for vigorous academic discussion over drinks, but I have a more basic concern than which Dem Camp takes over:

Many of us are more worried that no matter who may dominate the "soul of the party" in this next cycle, Camp B will just morph into Camp A after they get in Washington for a little while.

The lure of lobbying jobs, hyper adulation and graft have become the bigger problem.

At 9:36 PM, Blogger GottaLaff said...

I'm with Cliff and Basheert. I get frustrated watching the Dems pussyfoot around. It hasn't gotten them anywhere, so why persist in behavior that fails to produce an effective result? Yes, there are attempts made, but they get watered down and are embarrassingly weak compared to their initial burst of activity and optimism.

As for Syd's concern, it's legit. I'm just hoping that after seeing what's happened with the Repugs, and with unwise Dems, they're smart enough to resist the usual temptations.


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