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As erratic as the Bush administration execution has been in Iraq, the Republicans at least do not have this problem:

“House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) said yesterday that Democrats should not seek a unified position on an exit strategy in Iraq, calling the war a matter of individual conscience and saying differing positions within the caucus are a source of strength for the party.

Pelosi said Democrats will produce an issue agenda for the 2006 elections but it will not include a position on Iraq. There is consensus within the party that President Bush has mismanaged the war and that a new course is needed, but House Democrats should be free to take individual positions, she sad.

“There is no one Democratic voice . . . and there is no one Democratic position,” Pelosi said in an interview with Washington Post reporters and editors. “

A “source of strength” ? Give me a break. The antiwar wingnut, DailyKOS contingent are ready to lynch Joe Lieberman and Joe Biden and pelt Hillary with rotten eggs. That kind of fratricidal feeling is a sign of strength ? Shades of the Whigs in 1852 and 1856. And the Democratic Party itself in 1860. Can you imagine Pelosi or any other top Democrat saying that Abortion, Gun Control or Tax cuts ” were a matter of individual conscience” ?

The Democratic Party is torn on foreign policy itself, not just the war in Iraq. And they are torn because a significant part of the activist base are ideologically motivated by the New Left critique of America from the Vietnam War era that views the United States as fundamentally unjust, racist, imperialist and illegitimate. They view Bush as a war criminal, the attacks of 9/11 as just deserts or at least an understandable Muslim response to U.S. support for Israel. They hope for an American defeat and sometimes call for it openly. To them events today are to be viewed and analyzed through the prism of the politics of the long-ago 1960’s antiwar movement.

This stance puts them at odds with those Democratic activists who are ” party regulars” interested in winning elections and at least half of the rank and file Democratic voters ( to say nothing of independents, moderate Republicans and conservatives). When Mayor Richard Daley of Chicago blasted Illinois Senator and Democratic whip Richard Durbin’s ” gulag ” comments it was because Daley the political boss knew that while such remarks might please Hollywood, Manhattan liberals and readers of The Nation, they didn’t play well in Peoria. Senator Durbin, with a relatively safe seat, was playing to national party activists, not to voters back home but eventually he backed down and apologized rather than cross the powerful Daley machine.

There is however, no equivalent to the Daley machine in the national Democratic Party. The left-wing extremists can and do censor the internal party debate required to formulate innovative Democratic positions for national security and foreign policy. Hence, the situational paralysis that Pelosi was trying to spin into a positive.

A major political party that cannot bring itself to speak at all on a fundamental component of national policy because of deep internal divisions is not just a party that is going to lose elections.

It is a party that is going to split.

6 Responses to “”

  1. Larry Dunbar Says:

    I am not so sure it will be the Democrats that split. I really don’t see much difference between nation building, free spending, and open borders Democrats and the Republican Party. It is not that the Democrats are fighting among themselves; it is the Republicans and some other party emerging. On one side we will have the Democrats and Republicans; on the other side we will have, I don’t know, Conservatives?

  2. Dan tdaxp Says:

    The Republican Party has been more willing to purge ideological insurgencies. Objectivists and John Birchers were both shown that they were not welcome. The only such movement that stayed within the GOP has been the Christian Conservatives, who have since become a pillar of the party.

  3. mark Says:

    “On one side we will have the Democrats and Republicans; on the other side we will have, I don’t know, Conservatives?”

    LOL ! Good one.


    Well, the Birchers were loons.
    ( they were also BTW, in their heyday, primarily Democrats. They switched parties to vote for Goldwater).

    The Objectivists, and I say this as someone who has probably read every word Ayn Rand wrote, were miniscule in number and completely useless in terms of practical politics. The ones who were helpful were like Alan Greenspan, energized by Rand’s philosophy but not prisoners of it

  4. phil Says:

    This has become one of my favorite topics. I keep waiting for Democrats to have their “Baghdad Bob moment”. I remember reading a story back in 03 of an Iraqi Army officer who had been captured after Americans seized the Baghdad airport and he was listening to Baghdad Bob on the radio asserting that the Iraqis had beaten back the US troops and were not in control of the airport. And the Iraqi officer wept as he realized that they had been lying to him all along.

    At some point here more and more Democrats are going to (I hope) realize that the liberal media and the leaders of their Party have been lying to them all along.

    But the biggest problem the Democrats face is that their ideas are passe. We have evolved a dynamic, entrepreneurial, information age society. The old Big Gov’t-Big Labor-Big Business industrial age, technocracy is about as relevent to our reality as absolute monarchies and a landed nobility.

    Now and again there is a poll that shows that there are millions of people who are fiscal conservatives and social liberals and hawks on nat’l security. I think this is an untapped constituency. The Democrats should abandon the 1930s vintage technocracy, tell the Left to kiss off, and develop a platform based on fiscal conservativism/social liberalism/hawkism.

    Will the Dems do this? Of course not. They are going to continue to take the “Weekend at Bernie’s” route by putting sunglasses and a new shirt on their dead ideology.

  5. Tequila Says:

    You do realize that Bush’s Iraq approval numbers are @ 53% disapproval?

  6. mark Says:

    “You do realize that Bush’s Iraq approval numbers are @ 53% disapproval?”

    Interparty and intraparty factors are different things.

    Bush’s popularity rating at its exteme points has had only middling effect on internal Democratic Party clashes. 90 % approval did not change many antiwar voters into war supporters. It doesn’t work in reverse either. The reason being that ideological factions inside the party developed their frames for viewing events long before Bush ever became governor, much less president.

    If anything, Bush being a lame duck makes the Democratic problem worse because they will have to offer up a war policy in 2008.

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