"All Democrats are insane, but not one of them knows it."
"I belong to no organized party--I am a Democrat."
"When the Democratic Party forms a firing squad we form a circle."
Just what is a Democrat these days? A liberal, a progressive, or a centrist? A brain-dead tree hugging nutjob or a sober fiscal conservative? A commie pinko peacenik or a chicken hawk? A champion of the middle and lower classes, or a puppet of the elite corporate special interest groups?
If you answered "yes" to all the above, you're right. Therein lie all the critical factors--strengths, weaknesses, vulnerabilities, and centers of gravity--of the Democratic Party.
These days, in analyzing the Dems, it's simplest just to start with their weaknesses. It seems that nobody hates the Democratic Party than the so-called "left." In fact, many liberals seem to despise the party more than they despise the neo-concentric GOP.
Carla at Preemtive Karma , a self-professed liberal, gives us a pretty darn good insight as to why the left is so angry with the "putrid fetid heap" known as the Democratic Leadership Committee:
The DLC isn't an organization that represents anything but GOP-lite. It's an organization that takes in cash and sells out to whoever will give them the most. If that was my set of values I'd vote Republican.
The big DLC claim to fame is the presidency of Bill Clinton. Except that Clinton didn't run as a soft Republican. He won on a populist message that was founded on the progressive values of fundamental fairness and equal opportunity for all citizens. Those values have nothing to do with the DLC.
They muddy the waters with their mushy conservative rhetoric in an effort to pander for votes.
The DLC claims to aim for the center...but no such thing exists. It's an offering to the public of "we don't suck quite as bad as the real Republicans do".
Americans want a viable alternative to corporate shills, Wall Street hackery, big oil corruption and the Christian conservative mockery of civil rights. They want an alternative to the Iraq War, undermining labor and workers, anti-choice screeds and politicians who've sold out to the highest bidder.
Hillary Clinton says that there ought to be a "ceasefire" between factions of the Democratic Party. I say to Hillary...get stuffed, woman.
On the one hand, you'd think, "with supporters like this, who needs the GOP?"
On the other hand, you might think that just maybe there's something healthy about a party that encompasses a broad political spectrum, where open dissent is the norm, and which isn't driven by the ideology of a relatively tiny cabal of rich friends of a big oil family.
And that, in my opinion, is the foundation on which the Democratic Party can begin to build the strengths that can bring it back into power. Keep in mind, the party has been in power before, and as the quotes from Twain, Rogers, and Udall illustrate, it's always pretty much been a herd of cats.
More on this next week...