by John Hawkins | March 14, 2005 9:38 pm
Austin Bay thinks that the era of the hard left is over, and the Truman Democrats will reemerge:
“9/11 marked the end of multi-cultural nostrums dear to the Democrat’s hard left. It marked the end of welfare states as we know them –now the strategic game’s either globalize or die. The “die option” bifurcates: either shrink and die slowly, or submit to a fascist tyranny with borders closed by violence.
9/11 also marked the end of Vietnam as a political syndrome. Defeatism, cynicism, and anti-military anger don’t sell.
We have entered the Era of the Armed Liberal. The smartest Democrats know this. The next successful Democratic charge will ride a Truman-Jackson “defense Democrat” horse—and the candidate will be a populist. The candidate (he? she?) will damn the Republicans for fiscal irresponsibility.”
Sadly, I have to disagree. The Democratic Party is too firmly entrenched with the far-left radicals to change at this point in time. When Howard Dean is the head of the party, and Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid are the Congressional leadership, you don’t have a party that’s concurrent with the mainstream of American politics.
Figures like Sen. Tim Johnson (D-SD), Rep. Stephanie Herseth (D-SD), Gov. Phil Bredesen (D-TN), and Sen. Joe Lieberman (D-CT) represent the old Truman/Jackson tradition within the Democratic Party, but they’re a relative minority compared to the more radical fringe. Certainly with MoveOn.org and the Kossacks becoming an increasingly influential subgroup in Democratic politics what little impetus there is to swing to the middle is being overwhelmed by a tide of partisan rancor and defeatism. The ghosts of the 60s counterculture have yet to be exorcised from the Democratic Party, and until they do the Democrats can’t quite embrace their anti-totalitarian roots.
On the other hand, with Hillary scrambling to build up some centrist street cred, at least some Democrats seem to understand which way the winds are blowing. It’s those politicians that have the best chance of electoral success, which will lead the inevitable swing of the Democratic Party back to the vital center — the question being how long will it take them to get there?
Content used with the permission of Jay Reding. You can read more of Jay’s work by clicking here.
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