2006/05/24

Al From's thoughts

From Al From, who runs the Democratic Leadership Council:
"There's a group in our party that makes a lot of noise and I don't think they've ever won an election."

Let's look at how well the Democratic Party has done while under the influence of Al From's DLC , shall we?
(Source: Clerk of the House)

Year
Senators
Representatives
% Democrat
1992
56
258
59
1994
57
204
47
1996
48
206
47
1998
45
211
48
2000
45
212
49
2002
50
204
47

Democrats held a consistent numerical advantage over Republicans since 1956 and since 1984 had been slowly but steadily gaining seats.
The DLC basically ran Democratic Party political strategy from the time Bill Clinton assumed office until 2002. Democratic Senators and Representativess underwent a dramatic shrinkage in 1994, the first "mid-term" or "off-season" election cycle after Clinton took office, when Clinton should have been at his peak of political effectiveness. The last cycle here, the 2002 cycle, is especially troubling. During midterm elections when the Presidency is not at stake, the opposition party usually wins seats (Though usually not as dramatically as the Republicans did in the 1994 electios). The exceptions are few and far between. 2002 was a dramatic exception, with eight seats in the House being lost. Granted, in the Senate, Democrats saw a gain of five seats, but they quickly lost the majority they had as the result of the 2002 election.

In 2004, insurgents from what Howard Dean called "The Democratic wing of the Democratic Party" made a strong, but unsuccessful attempt to seize control from the DLC. As our wing of the party has argued, Democrats have gained from the extra energy and enthusiasm that our wing has brought into the party.

A further thought from Al From:
"A very simple thing happened that changed Democratic politics dramatically, and that was that the [Iraq] war turned bad."

"Turned" bad?!?!?! The war "turned" bad?!?! Er, when exactly was it ever good?!?! The problem, obviously, was that the Iraq War didn't stop when US troops captured Baghdad. Instead, the war simply changed shape and metamorphosized into a guerrilla struggle. It took awhile, things were pretty quiet from about April 2003 until August/September 2003, though sniping and small ambushes never truly stopped. The US had a very narrow window of opportunity where a vigorous reconstruction project might have done a bit of good, but it's doubtful that the guerrilla war could have been avoided. By September, it was pretty clear that the war had begun again in earnest.

All that being said; yes, it's clear that the war in Iraq prevented a dash into Iran or Syria, prevented a victory parade down the main streets of Baghdad a month or two before the 2004 Presidential Election and made it possible for opponents of the war to make their case to the public that those who went along with the war were acting against the interests of the American people.

Al From is a perfectly good American, but an absolutely useless Democrat. The sooner the Democratic Party gives him and his group the boot, the better.

2 comments:

Craig said...

I hope a strong liberal Democrat is nominated in 2008 but there are some things to keep in mind. Only three liberal Democrats have been elected to their first full term in the last hundred years: FDR, Kennedy and Johnson. Neither FDR nor Kennedy ran as liberals. Johnson was liberal but he had Texas, he had a weak opponent who was considered extreme at the time and he had a large sympathy vote because of Kennedy's death.

I don't believe that a Mondale or a Kucinich can win the presidency. If a liberal wins, it's because that person shows backbone, clarity, pragmatism and shows a level of toughness that matches what FDR, Kennedy and Johnson had (without Johnson's flaws). I can think of maybe three candidates that fill the bill: John Edwards (maybe not liberal enough), Russ Feingold (but is he electable?) and the new improved Al Gore (can he overcome the baggage of 2000?).

Democrats might elect a moderate with backbone but that candidate will fail if he or she is Republican lite. I think we all have had enough of that. Whether liberal or moderate, the issue this time may be clarity of voice and backbone.

Rich said...

I note that "clarity of voice and backbone" is a quality very much present in this post.