If there's one thing I'm great at (and trust me, I'm great at many many things), it's strategy. I understand strategy like fish understand water. And one of the oddest pieces of "strategy" I keep hearing from progressives is their insistence that we'd be better off if Dems lost Congress next year, as it would sweep out the sell-out centrist Dems and we could finally get the liberal Democrats we all desire.
But as a top-notch strategist, I can assure you that this "strategy" is complete and utter horseshit. Past history guarantees that, were Democrats to lose Congress next year, it would be loudly announced that they lost because America is a conservative nation and Democrats were too liberal. And Obama would be roundly derided for his liberal push on healthcare reform and other "socialist" issues, and Dems would be warned to never attempt anything liberal again.
And why not? Isn't that exactly what we said after our victory in 2006 and 2008? We insisted that the election results were proof that Republicans were too conservative and America had rejected their agenda. So why shouldn't they say the same when conservatives defeat liberals? And we insist that Republicans can only regain popularity if they reject their ultra-conservativism. So why wouldn't the same be true for us if we lost? I mean, if the moderate-liberal loses to the ultra-conservative, wouldn't that mean that America supports conservatives?
And come on, conservatives keep saying that they lost because their candidates weren't conservative enough; and everyone knows how laughable that claim is. These progressives are making the same dumb argument. It'd be like if a manufacturer saw that people preferred DVD over VHS and decided to start making more VHS machines. Dumb. Just dumb.
How to Win
And so the end result of this would be an immediate shift towards conservativism in 2010, as well as a delayed shift in 2012, as Dems struggled to become more conservative. And that's exactly what we've seen after every Republican victory. Can anyone seriously suggest that 1994, 2002, and 2004 gave us the awesome progressive Democrats these people think a 2010 defeat would give us? I can't imagine how.
But you know what could give us more progressive Dems? Victory. Sweeping victory. Every time Dems win a landslide, it shows how liberal the nation is. And the easier the win, the more liberal we must be and the safer it is for us to run ultra-liberals against them in primaries. That's why we think it's ok to have primary challenges in safe blue districts, while allowing "blue dog" centrists run uncontested in red districts. But if all the districts were safe, then we'd have hard-liberals contesting all the primaries.
And that just makes sense. Only partisan extremists believe in the myth that the base stays home if they're not satisfied. That's bullshit. The base is the last group that will allow the other side to win. It's the rest of the electorate that you have to please. If you don't excite the less political voters, you'll lose. But the base will always show up; guaranteed. That's why they're called "the base." I'm not sure who created the myth that you have to please the base in a general election, but I doubt they knew anything about strategy.