30 June 2008

Necessary Broderism: Fact or fabrication?

I know this is becoming the "link to Greenwald" blog, but seriously, it's like the guy reads my mind and then makes it roughly 100 times smarter. Today Glenn knocks around the received wisdom that Democrats must "move to the center" to win general elections.

He uses the example of a 2006 House race in Connecticut where Democrat Chris Murphy knocked off a 12-term incumbent Republican while standing his ground among a barrage of attacks calling him Soft on Terra. The example that came to my mind, though--when the idea for this post first occurred to me--is Sherrod Brown. Brown won a Senate race in Ohio running as both a social liberal and economic populist, a combination Beltway Dems and mainstream pundits assure us is strictly impossible. Especially not in Ohio, one of those "heartland states" we're told Obama can only win by turning into a meager, malformed Republican.

Greenwald writes;
The Democrats had such a smashing victory in 2006 because -- for the first time in a long time, and really despite themselves -- there was a perception (rightly or wrongly) that they actually stood for something different than the GOP in National Security (an end to the War in Iraq). Drawing a clear distinction with the deeply unpopular GOP is how Democrats look strong. The advice that they should "move to the center" and copy Republicans is guaranteed to make them look weak -- because it is weak. It's the definition of weakness.
The position the Democrats find themselves in this year is clear. The Republican brand has been so thoroughly damaged and discredited that Obama could waltz into the White House playing "The Devil Went Down to Georgia" on a tin whistle. The Dems don't have to listen to anyone's advice to win this year's election, yet they're still behaving as if driving hard-right is the only solution. This tells us something important; the Democrats don't cave to the right in general elections because they must, they do it because that's genuinely where the party leadership wants to be. That Obama is making "necessary compromises to win" is just a fiction gullible liberals make to rock themselves to sleep at night.

And why ought we believe that Obama will suddenly change costumes back to Progressive Man after Inauguration Day? A president's first term is merely an extended campaign commercial for his re-election effort, and his second term the same for his ordained successor. If Obama must Broderize to win the general election, he's never going to stop. Admit it, kids, this is all you get.