Thursday, May 10, 2007

2 different Freshmen classes

Matt Stoller at MyDD is cribbing the Atrios list of freshmen Democrats who voted against the McGovern bill for a fully funded withdrawal within the next nine months and an interesting set of comments at the end. I'll reproduce a good chunk of text here:


Most of the new Dems backed the amendment, including every winner on the netroots page except McNerney (who is losing his base)....

Most of the others are Rahm-bots

As I am looking at the vote counts, I am more and more struck by the divide in outlook on politics between the Clinton team and the rest of the Democratic Party. The Clinton political tree which includes Rahm Emmanual sees America as a fundamentally conservative country where cheap appeals of simple rightist nationalism and slams against the liberal and progressive base should be standard operating procedure. This showed in the candidates that Emmanual initially recruited and supported at the DCCC in the 2006 cycle. They were mergers and non-differentiaters who sought to keep the distance close between their policy positions and their Republican opponents.

For instance, the first press release for the 2006 Red to Blue program which is one of the premier DCCC targetting programs never mentioned Iraq. Instead it talked about higher gas prices and higher education affordability. This winning strategy worked so well in 2002 and 2004 we had to repeat it again.

The blur the difference strategy was not the only strategic choice Democrats who won against Republican incumbents could make. Clear differentiation and an anti-war message was another choice that many winning Democrats were able to make while winning difficult seats. These Democrats received significant netroots support and they are also clearly in line with an America that is digusted with the failures of the conservative movement and George W. Bush. This vision and analysis of America believes that the country as a whole is moving to the left again and that a clear distinction of choice is a viable winning strategy.

The Class of 2006 is an odd class as it is composed of so many different types of Democrats who were able to get elected as part of a significant wave that what it all means is still unknown. I believe that 2008 is looking to be as good of a year for Dems as 2006 was and from there the tone of the Democratic Party will be set for the next generation. Is Rahm and Clinton right that the only way America votes for Democrats are by them blurring the difference or out of disgust at Republican failure, OR are the netroots and many new progressive activists right in that the country's political landscape is in the midst of a serious realignment? Let's see

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