I just read Digby’s take on the Democratic Establishment’s attempt to get rid of Howard Dean, and while he’s close to getting the answer, I suspect he doesn’t quite have it. This isn’t about pissing people off. This is a Rovian-style plan for taking credit for the Democrat’s win and seriously damaging the left’s abilities to get what they want from the incoming Congress. In other words, this is a bare-knuckled powerplay.
They’re trying to put some sort of blame on Dean. After all, if they got rid of him, he obviously wasn’t the solution and doesn’t deserve the credit. And with him gone, they can solidify their hold on the Democratic establishment and totally marginalize the rest of us. Because to them, the netroots really weren’t the solution. Because they’re totally buying into the idea that this wasn’t a win for the Democrats, but a loss for the Republicans. And are upset that this happened to happen at a time when they had allowed rabble-rousers some sort of power.
To them, it’s like they loosened the jar before handing it to us; and perhaps even believe that we made things worse before the jar opened by itself. And the fact is that they were turning the lid in the wrong direction the whole time.
So they really don’t see us as being a legitimate part of the victory. And getting rid of Dean is the perfect symbol for that, as well as being a good way of grabbing the reins. And that is a sure doom for the party. As has been pointed out, the only people who want centrism are the Beltway elite. But most of America is quite liberal, whether they agree with the term or not. Even now, the conservatives and centrists are trying to define the word “conservative” as “winner” and “liberal” as “loser”. But that was a conservative trick from the start; a semantic trick to pull the rug out from under America's true policy goals, which are fairly liberal. Once you got underneath all the rhetoric, people still want a responsible government that takes care of problems that individuals can’t do on their own.
But again, this really is a powerplay, and I’m not so sure we can stop it. The centrists got what they wanted, and now they’re going to try to store us away until the next election. And that’s a huge mistake. Despite their hopes and pipedreams, we ARE the Democratic Party. They’re the minority. And if they’re allowed to firmly grab the reins of power in their own hands, we will be screwed in 2008. These people aren’t powerful and even most Dems don’t like them. What they want is the same thing that the Republicans had: A rabid base that isn’t aware that they’re being used. And somehow, the Democratic Establishment hasn’t yet noticed how that strategy totally screwed-over the Republicans. People aren’t nearly as stupid as they imagine, and eventually notice when they’re being screwed over. And they’re not happy about it.
I was never a Deaniac and don’t think we should pull America to a hard-left progressive agenda (not that Dean was ever a hard-left progressive). But America certainly doesn’t want the centrist’s right-of-center policies which only play into the Republican’s hands. I was never one to throw the “Bush-lite” label around, but that is the exact place the centrists will take us if we can’t do more to stop them. People don’t like pansies and they hate the Beltway pundits. The Democratic Establishment must be reminded of that fact.
Oh, and I am somewhat saddened to see someone like James Carville in on this. He was always the epitome of the Fightin’ Dem to me. Much more so than Dean ever was. And I find it somewhat troubling to see him siding with the milquetoast mush that makes up much of the Democratic Establishment. Nobody likes a loser. Nobody wants appeasement. We all want strong people who stand-up for what they believe. I always put Carville in that category. Now I don’t know what to think.