Not sure about this mousepad.
Two guys whose commentary on the world I really trust are having a disagreement.
Steve Gilliard fired back:
Billmon returned to his theme:
And Gilliard shot back:
So there we are. I feel as if I had been living in this discussion all my political life.
After all, I work in elections -- or to get people involved in elections. Third parties in my lifetime merely served as platforms for prima donnas; anyone else remember Audie Bock? So I've done my bit for a lot of Democrats.
I'll work for campaign finance reform, but I'm not going to pin my hopes on it: most elections I've actually worked under various political reform packages have shown me that money always finds a way to throw weight around.
So what to do about the spineless, Israel-accomodating Democrats?
I can't really get on board with either Billmon or Steve. There's another fact in all this: at the base level, where folks outside the beltway live, Israel's attack on Lebanon has already opened a partisan divide. According to polls in both the Miami Herald and the Los Angeles Times, Republicans are saying "bomb, bomb, bomb." Democrats are already, despite being deluged in biased news, moving toward thinking the United States should be working for a cease fire. Now a cease fire is not a just solution, but it sure beats another U.S. war. Supposing we don't quickly get Billmon's version of Armageddon, this divide will only increase as the reality of Israel's war congeals with the extremely unpopular Iraq war.
Republicans think the divide is just fine. They hope to peel some of the Jewish vote from Democrats. And they may get some, though unless Israel's survival is really at stake (not likely), I'd be surprised if much of the Jewish community actually votes based on Israel policy. They just have noisy "leaders" that claim they do.
Meanwhile, I think this growing polarization is good for the Democrats because it will force the empty suits who occupy political office to recognize the real base of the party. And not only the politicians. Much of the Democratic blogosphere is as out to lunch on this as the Beltway crowd. We too sometimes think and write as if Democrats were really middle class liberals. This assumption is simply false. As I emphasized in a recent post, the core of the Democratic party consists of "people of color, the working class and poor, and women heads of households."
This 35-45 percent of the electorate is not invested in wars. Because its children provide the cannon fodder, after five years of Administration belligerence, most of them know better. They'd fight if this country was actually threatened, but Bush has taught them to be suspicious of the peddlers of easy victories over unknown, remote enemies. A Democratic party that stuck up for them would pick up the rest of us, those chatty upper middle class liberals, along the way.
In the end, this isn't about Democrats. It is about democracy with a small "d". I remain committed to work that presumes that the people who are the core constituency of the Democratic party do matter.
I guess this conclusion brings me a little closer to Steve than to Billmon. I refuse to believe that we can desist from the project of getting the majority of the Democratic base into power. A lot of good outcomes will follow as we work to do so.