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September 01, 2005

The Dems: Fraying at the Edges

Town Hall columnist Emmet Tyrell discusses the current state of the Democratic Party, and from where he stands, it doesn't look good.

Hillary Clinton, easily the Democrats' most popular leader, is in dutch with the "progressive" left. Why?

...late last month she was the object of obloquy from what is being called her party's angry left. All that she had said, aside from her usual denunciations of the Republicans and of the diabolical George W. Bush, was that "It's high time for a ceasefire. It's time for all Democrats to work together É let's start by uniting against the hard-right ideology."

Reading that statement, one might wonder what they're complaining about. After all, talking about "uniting against the hard-right ideology" sounds like it's right up their alley. But here's what the hissy fit is all about:

The next day the angry blogs and activist groups were at her neck. She had been speaking at a meeting of the moderately liberal Democratic Leadership Council (DLC). Her plea for a "ceasefire" enraged Democrats further to the left.

Moderation obviously isn't on the far left's agenda. It's because of that that Howard Dean got as far as he did, before imploding when all of the Democrats had a stab at choosing their presidential candidate. This split within the party is becoming more like the Grand Canyon rather than just a difference of opinion. Tyrell sums up the problem with the split between the moderates and the hard left:

The problem for the Democrats is that their so-called liberals have been for decades living in a fantasy of self-congratulations. They see themselves as responsible for all that is good in America and the hated Republicans for all that is bad. Anything that the Republicans have done right the liberals see as bad, for instance, cutting taxes and thus encouraging the economic growth that has revived the country since the mid-1980s. They are smug and ignorant and now they are at each other's throats. What in terms of policy does the angry left offer, beyond abominating Republicans and the DLC? Well, they hate Halliburton and Wal-Mart. They love the environment and would improve the lives of whooping cranes and rare grasses in Nebraska.

Real life is not like pencil and paper. Simply erasing what you think is wrong achieves nothing if you have nothing to write in the blank spot. And that's why the Democrats are, as Tyrell says, "fragmented and in disarray."

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