Wednesday, May 03, 2006


alas, thomas friedman's latest is hiding behind the NYTimes firewall. it's too bad more people won't get to read it. not because i agree with what he says, but because the column itself is a perfect example of what is wrong with people writing about what is wrong with the democratic party.

here's a quick summary: tom is proposing a third party, an environmentalists party. never mind that we already have one, the greens are too liberal for tom. what he wants is a party that's not only environmentalists, but also "big, strategic, centrist and forward-looking." isn't that what these guys have been trying to turn the democratic party into?

that's just it, for more than a decade the leaders of the democratic party have been trying to remake it into a centrist party. and to a large extent they have succeeded. as real liberals become rarer and rarer in the national party, the bland pro-war pro-business democrats are now the norm. whenever the grassroots starts to rebel and push someone who doesn't fit with the DLC's agenda (e.g. the howard dean nomination), panic ensues and there is an inevitable clampdown by party leaders.

thomas friedman is the classic DLC-brand centrist. he's pro-business, pro-war and pro-environment (in that fuzzy, don't-rock-the-economic-system kind of way). and yet even with the national democratic party already largely remade in his image, friedman is dissatisfied. in his proposal for a new third party, the democrats are lumped in with the republicans, as politicians who do little more than pandering and point-scoring "masquerading as governing." and on this point friedman is right. but what he doesn't get is the pandering is largely a product of people like friedman; people who shriek about the values of centrism whenever the national party tries to take a principled stand.

friedman's column is a perfect example of why the DLC is so wrong for the democratic party. the last 14 years of "stealing republican issues" and pandering to wall street doesn't make him any happier with the democratic party. the strategy was supposed to cater to people like friedman and yet friedman himself doesn't even notice.