I got an email this morning from a New Dem friend alerting me to the column by Al From (CEO) and Bruce Reed (President) of the DLC on the Wall Street Journal editorial page.
The essence of their argument is that Democrats must put back into play most, if not all, of the red states if they're to have any hope of winning presidential elections or again becoming the majority party. Some of the particulars I agree with; others I don't.
I first considered printing the exchange my friend and I had, but quickly realized that expurgation would rob it of its meaning.
Suffice it to say that I asked my friend whether he thought From and Reed were fully aware of the 'optics' of running such a 'Dems get your house in order' piece on the Journal's editorial page. He said yes, they did and that they enjoyed the optics of it. I responded, yes, I knew that; but still really didn't think they quite 'got it'.
Let me explain what I meant and didn't mean. I didn't mean that Democrats should boycott the Journal OpEd page or restrict their writing to house organs -- plenty of liberals write pieces there and that's fine; I wouldn't want it any other way. Nor do I mean that Democrats shouldn't air their dirty laundry. They should. And now, frankly, as far as you can get from an election, is the time to do it.
But to advise Democrats you've got to be a Democrat, part of the Democratic party. And what that means is a certain threshold level of lack of contempt for people who, day in and day out, are the Democratic party. I don't mean 'the base'. I mean everyone -- right, left and center, the volunteers, the funders and the intellectuals, the issue activists and the occasional voters. And this shows a basic unwillingness to do that -- even in the most simple symbolic ways, indeed, a delight in not doing so.
I've come to expect this sort of thing from Al From, but I was more surprised to see it from Bruce Reed, who, from personal experience, has always struck me as a different sort of player.
My disgruntlement over this, I should add, is not rooted in an opposition to the DLC, but a belief in how much most of those associated with the organization have to offer the Democrats. On most issues, I probably see more eye to eye politically with my friends there (who, for the purposes of this post, I will mercifully leave nameless) than I do with those in "the base" of the party. (The last 9-to-5 job I had I basically got run out of for being -- allegedly and rather ridiculously -- a DLC plant. But that's another story.)
But for folks who often, unfairly, get charged with being Democrats in name only, they manage to find awfully good ways of playing the part.