Brought to you by the department of redundancy department:
A charge implicit in the Moulitsas post is that moderate Democrats lack political courage—that they would do the right thing if only they were brave enough. This just doesn’t withstand scrutiny. We actually sat in meetings with Senate moderates during the darkest days of the ACA deliberations. They knew that voting for the bill could send them to the Valley of the Doomed, and for many it did or still could. They put their careers on the line and took that vote anyway—every single moderate named in the piece who was still in the Senate voted for the ACA. So did those unnamed, like Senators Begich and Hagan. That is political courage.
It was laudable, but hardly courageous, for a Democrat from a blue state to have voted for the ACA. The last time a Democratic Senate incumbent lost in New York was 1899, and in Massachusetts it was 1947. They don’t stare political death in the face on any vote, ever. The moderates do.
Moulitsas might have a stronger case if the moderates he abhors were replaced by more liberal members. But almost every instance saw the opposite result. Of the 10 former Democratic senators that Moulitsas identifies, seven were replaced by Republicans, one by Montanan John Walsh, who is in a fight for his political life this year, and another by Democrat Joe Donnelly of Indiana, who is unlikely to make the DailyKos Pantheon of Progressiveness. Just one, Joe Lieberman, of midnight-blue Connecticut, was succeeded by someone to his left. Meanwhile, the moderate Democrats in tough fights this cycle are running against Tea Party true believers.
Two Third Way hacks writing in the friendliest confines this side of the WaPo editorial page. This faux centrism will be the death of us all unless we beat them down. Markos responds:
But what’s truly funny about their attacks on me is that they have to invent words in my mouth to make a coherent argument. I’ve written over 10 million words the past decade, and yet we get passages like this:
A charge implicit in the Moulitsas post is that moderate Democrats lack political courage—that they would do the right thing if only they were brave enough. This just doesn’t withstand scrutiny.
You rarely see that blatant an example of a strawman argument. It’s actually a thing of beauty. “He didn’t say this thing, but let’s pretend that he did, and OMG that pretend argument that we invented out of thin air fails scrutiny!”
Note that bullshit arguments are part and parcel of Third Way’s repertoire. As they were attacking Social Security, they completely invented a Colorado ballot initiative that wasn’t (claiming it raised taxes on just the rich, when it raised taxes on everyone). So it’s not as if honesty comes naturally to that crowd. But for now, I’ll make one more observation. This appears to be the nut of their argument:
Of the 10 former Democratic senators that Moulitsas identifies, seven were replaced by Republicans, one by Montanan John Walsh, who is in a fight for his political life this year, and another by Democrat Joe Donnelly of Indiana, who is unlikely to make the DailyKos Pantheon of Progressiveness.
Donnelly didn’t replace Evan Bayh. He replaced Dick Lugar. But that simple fact check isn’t the point I want to make. The point is this:
Who cares if seven of the 10 were replaced with Republicans? Ten years ago, Democrats had 49 members in the Senate. Today they have 53 plus Bernie Sanders and Angus King. And even if they lose the Senate this year, which they won’t, it won’t be much more than a rental as 2016 is a stellar map for us (up to 10 potential pickups).
So is it better to have Ben Nelson, Joe Lieberman and Zell Miller in a 49-seat minority, or is it better to replace them with better Democrats in a 55-seat Democratic majority? Only morons would argue for the former, but apparently, that’s what Third Way wants to be.
The Third Way, from what I can tell, used to be called Country Club Republicans with an added modern dash of libertarianism and more new money. Think white elites in a 10k a month apartment in NYC drinking coffee while looking out over the city as they listen to vacuous TED lectures while doing the NYT crossword puzzle. They are ok with the gays and abortion, as long as the details remain at arms length and don’t get brought up over dinner, and the minorities and the underclass don’t bother them so much, because then they can visit “authentic” ethnic restaurants in Brooklyn and Queens on the one day a week they venture out of Manhattan (not counting the helicopter jaunts, or, for the “poors,” the livery service or the rental Mercedes to the Hamptons). But even then they are only ok with that so long as Times Square doesn’t have too many needles and porn sites and stop and frisk is still going on to keep them safe and the Hamptons are still clean and lily white. They basically have the same sense of entitlement as the rest of the upper crust in the GOP, and they know they are better than the rest of us, just the really over the top Jesus stuff bothers them, and they vent their fascism in other ways. See also, Mayor Bloomberg.
Fuck ’em all.