Wednesday, October 19, 2005

With Friends Like These, part 56

From MyDD:

"...what I would like to discuss in this post is not conservative code, but instead Democratic hawk code. This is a code that is starting to rise to the surface more and more as the country turns in favor of withdrawal, against the Iraq war, and all the dreams of Democratic hawks are crashing down around them.

For example, look at this code-laden excerpt from Amy Sullivan (emphasis mine):"

'The conclusion in many liberal circles seems to be: We just need to talk about those issues more. Voters don't seem to realize what our positions are. No, voters know damn well what you stand for. They simply aren't listening to you because you haven't satisfied their initial conditions: credibility on national security and on culture. It doesn't matter that you'd prefer to talk about domestic issues. If you can't pass the threshold of convincing them that you can be trusted on those other two fronts, they're not going to listen to a word you say about the other stuff.

This doesn't mean Democrats have to make their campaigns all about national security and culture. Far from it. But they do need to suck it up and accept something Republicans realized a long time ago: You can't tell Americans they must care about what you want to discuss; you must discuss what they care about.'

"This is an amazing excerpt. It contains what strikes me as the ultimate piece of Democratic hawk code in the first quoted paragraph: "credibility on national security." If you don't believe that this is Democratic hawk code, just plug "credibility on national security" into Google and here is what you get, in order:

1. Evan Bayh on Fox stating that Democrats lack "credibility on national security.
2. The "Progressive" Policy Institute (aka the DLC) arguing that Democrats need to re-establish "credibility on national security."
3. Democracy Corps arguing that Democrats must cross the threshold of "credibility on national security."
4. A post from the Left Coaster about a New Yorker piece that quotes Democrats with the most "credibility on national security," but actually only seems to be about Kerry and Lieberman railing against "blogger types."
5. A Washington Monthly blog post about Howard Dean lacking "credibility on national security."
6. An article from the National Review discussing how the Bush campaign successfully raised questions about Kerry's "credibility on national security."
7. A piece from Mathew Yglesias about how Democrats have never had "credibility on national security" since he Vietnam era.

And on and on and on. The pattern here is obvious. The vast majority of uses of the term "credibility on national security" come from people who fit all of the following characteristics:

-They are self-identified Democrats.
-They have strong ties to center-right Democratic organizations.
-They were openly in favor of invading Iraq.
-They are vehemently opposed to withdrawal from Iraq.

"Credibility on national security" is actually DLC-type code for "continue neo-con military policies, especially in Iraq." The majority of people who seem to be trumpeting that Democrats are lacking "credibility on national security" are Democrats. They are, without fail, Iraq hawks. "

As Chris Bowers accurately notes, public opinion is on the side of us lefties here. So we don't need no damn national security credibility. But even if public opinion wasn't on our side, or was more muddled, the "Democrats lack credibility on national security" rhyme being put out by the DLC and other pseudo-Democratic neocons would still be nonsense. With the administration finally on the ropes after enduring four post-911 years of being labeled traitors, Democrats and the left have an opportunity to reassert ourselves, change the debate, and ultimately change policy. Instead, the DLC is chirping in with their favorite past-time activity--bashing other Democrats.

Lest we think maybe the DLC is just engaging in some much deserved tough love and forget the DLC's lack of committment to the Democratic Party's cause, consider these statements from Rick Perlstein:

"After the 1994 elections Joel Kotkin, a senior fellow of the DLC's Progressive Policy Institute, called for New Democrats to cut Clinton loose in favor of a primary challenger in 1996 or even think about leaving the Democratic Party alltogether. The DLC's Progressive Foundation put out feelers to begin a third-party movement--'a new approach' according to the PPI board chairman, Michael Steinhardt, 'to separate ourselves from the Democratic Party'.

taken from The Stock Ticker and the SuperJumbo by Rick Perlstein, page 111.

As Iraq continues to crumble into anarchy, and the administration that propagated the rational for becomes bogged down in the corruption of its own making, let's not let the DLC force the Democratic Party to carry the baggage of this botched invasion around in 2006 or 2008 because the DLC doesn't have our best interests at heart.

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