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The Democrats’ Civil War

Jacob Heilbrunn in the National Interest:

But the notion that discontent is a basis for governing is another matter. Just because these sentiments are passionately and genuinely held does not mean that they are practical or even beneficial economically or politically. The fact is that Third Way has performed a valuable service by calling out the Democratic left. Its criticisms of proposals to expand Social Security and Medicare benefits as half-baked are eminently sensible. There is no cogent reason that the Democratic party should allow itself to be dragged back into the morass it floundered around in during the 1980s before the DLC helped to resuscitate it. To their credit, Third Way’s leaders show no sign of being cowed by the campaign of intimidation being waged against them by their detractors. Still, given the levels of hostility being displayed toward business, it won’t be easy to overcome them. But if Cowan and Kessler succeed in mobilizing centrist Democrats, they can show that where there is a will there’s a way.

I keep reminding my Republican colleagues that the Democrats have all the same challenges as a political coalition as we do: conflicting interests, and ideological fissures. Republicans would be wise to exploit those, to the extent possible.  The idea that there are people out there who think that Obama hasn’t been tough enough on his political opponents is astonishing.  Nevertheless, should the Democrat nominee for President lose in 2016, this split will become every bit as open, obvious, and destructive as the so-called Republican Civil War going on now.

As for Heilbrunn, I haven’t done extensive research, but from the list of publications he’s written for, and the bits I’ve dug up, I can’t detect an obvious bias, which is a good thing.  He seems to think the Third Way is on the whole a good thing, since it keeps one of the two major parties sane, and while I don’t want them anywhere near the levers of power, I would tend to agree.

Posted in Culture.