Monday, October 24, 2005

Pact with Satan

Matt Bai on Hillary's prospects for 2008 (-- link ---):
In addition to voting for the Iraq war resolution, Clinton broke with some of the more liberal Democrats who tried to hold up $87 billion for reconstruction in Iraq and Afghanistan, and she was one of only six Democrats to oppose a measure that would have effectively killed the president's missile-defense plan. (Clinton has taken a skeptical view of the plan's potential to work properly, but unlike most Democrats, she is willing to explore it.) The Pentagon even asked Clinton to join a select panel that is weighing future options for improving military readiness. Among the Senate as a whole, according to National Journal's latest rankings, Clinton's voting record on foreign policy last year was more conservative than all but five current Democratic senators.
Can she overcome the doubts of most of the base of her party about her position ?
And the thinking among her closest advisers holds that unlike other prospective candidates with conservative leanings  [...] Clinton doesn't have to worry about winning over more liberal base voters; she's an icon of the left, and short of climbing into a tank and invading a country all by herself, she couldn't do much to change that. By this theory, Clinton gets to have it both ways: her consistent centrist record will convince general-election voters that she is not the archetype they thought she was, and Democratic-primary voters will forgive her more conservative positions because, in their minds, she is saying such things only to make herself "electable." It's a strategy so elegant that even Karl Rove would have to smile in appreciation.
There are new forces out there, though:
What Dean's candidacy brought into the open, however, was another kind of growing and powerful tension in Democratic politics that had little to do with ideology. Activists often describe this divide as being between "insiders" and "outsiders," but the best description I've heard came from Simon Rosenberg, a Democratic operative who runs the advocacy group N.D.N. (formerly New Democrat Network), which sprang from Clintonian centrism of the early 1990's. As Rosenberg explained it, the party is currently riven between its "governing class" and its "activist class." The former includes the establishment types who populate Washington - politicians, interest groups, consultants and policy makers. The second comprises "Net roots" Democrats on the local level; that is, grass-roots Democrats, many of whom were inspired by Dean and who connect to politics primarily online, through blogs or Web-based activist groups like
Clinton's advisers disagreed about whether a bunch of 20-something bloggers really mattered. In a conversation last month, Mark Penn scoffed at my suggestion that there might be a strong backlash in the party against the ethos of Clintonism.  [...] It's true that most Democratic voters are probably too busy working and raising kids to spend a lot of time debating political tactics online, and the importance of the "Net roots" can be overstated.
As many have pointed out, it is hard to agree that the Iraq issue has 'little to do with ideology'. Someone complained about the dismissive attitude towards online activists ( comments here by: ck at October 4, 2005 12:49 AM ):
As a 50 something blog poster, I am completely dismayed at the utter cluelessness of the Beltway Democrats. They just don't get it -- the net roots are not a bunch of crazed 20 somethings...
Meanwhile, Matthew Yglesias opined : [Posted at 11:45 AM  October 14, 2005 - via ]
I'd support Satan's domestic policy in order to stop the Lawrence Kaplan strategy for Iraq ("mobilizing national power on a scale not even contemplated by the administration") from taking power.


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