Well, it is showing signs of starting: true to form, we Democrats seem about ready to start assembling for the usual circular firing squad. We do this often, and, to some extent, it is natural. While Republican Radicals take it on Faith, we Democrats, as a whole, tend to think and to analyze. As a result, while we all reach the same broad conclusions, we each come to believe that we, and our intellectual allies, have the most finely nuanced version of "the Truth" and, that those who don't possess the same intricate insight are just as doomed to failure as our benighted Republican neighbors.
In other words, we spend a lot of time arguing violently with each other about how many Liberals can dance on the head of a pin.
And, if you trip lightly through the blogosphere this morning, you can see the signs for yourself. Philip Baruth, in Vermont Daily Briefing, rides dramatically to the "Rescue" of Howard Dean, the Party Chairman sprung from the self-named "Democratic Wing of the Democratic Party". I don't begrudge the Governor a little "crowing" about his 50 State Strategy. And I think,(despite my personal doubts about the "DWOTDP") that this "No State Left Behind" policy, as it has been dubbed, worked like a charm.
At the same time, the good folks over at the Democratic Leadership Council, have posted that:
This is a victory for the vital center of American politics over the extremes. In pursuing the Bush-Rove formula over the last six years, Republicans have deliberately abandoned the political center, and invited Democrats to occupy it. If you look at the victorious Democratic candidates in "red" and "purple" states and districts, it's clear that they did. And while Democrats benefited from an energized party base, the key to the victory was in the contested center of the electorate, among moderates, independents, middle-class voters, and suburbanites. These voters could represent an expanded Democratic base, and an enduring progressive majority, if Democrats use their new power wisely.
In defense of their position, the DLC points out that Joe Lieberman, running as an independent, kicked the crap out of the challenger who knocked Joe out in the Democratic primary. Ned Lamont won the Democratic nomination by motivating the "democratic wing of the democratic party", yet the voters of Connecticut as a whole said "NO" and chose the more conservative (yet still Democratic, as it turns out, Lieberman) The implication presumably is that, like Dean, while this wing won in cyberspace, it loses in the real world of a general election.
It seems to me that we must, as a party, take the time between now and the New Year to find out where our BASIC COMMON INTERESTS are, and fight, hard, for those. When he re-forged our modern Democratic Party, Franklin Delano Roosevelt managed to unite disparate wings into a unified center- it is time to look at moving in that direction again.
What are those basic interests?
- Social Security
- A Vital Middle Class
- A Decent Minimum Wage
- A Less Reckless Military Strategy
- Rebuilding Our International Relationships
- A balanced Budget and a Healthy Government
There are even more things we, as Democrats, can agree on. But this is certainly a start to the list.
It is time to dig down to the bedrock of what makes us Democrats and fight on those lines. I don't think I'm engaging in hyperbole when I say that the future of the nation is dependent on our success in finding common ground.