Narrative: "The Democratic party is captive to the left."
Today's Broderian twist: "It has been an Iowa pattern to tilt the Democratic race leftward and the Republican race to the right."
What does this even mean? In 2004, the darling of the left got a smackdown in Iowa. Howard Dean placed third and John Kerry, the "mainstream choice" won and went on to win the nomination. This time around, I don't even know who the darling of the left is. John Edwards? Clinton and Obama both take real hits from lefties. Even at this blog, Fester wrote a liberal critique of Obama yesterday.
That recurring theme -- that the Democratic party is held hostage by some leftist activist rump -- is as pervasive as it is incoherent. The front runners throughout the year, Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama, are so far from the leftward fringe of American politics that no credible observer considers them anything but mainstream.
While Republican candidates have spent the year contorting themselves to fit into the special interest boxes of the GOP base -- anti-abortion, anti-gay, anti-immigrant, God-fearinger-than-the-other-guy -- Dem candidates have consistently critiqued supposedly cherished tenets of our coalition. Hillary Clinton called abortion a tragedy that should be reduced. Barack Obama gave no love to the teacher's unions. John Edwards' agitated populism has been a strong rebuke to the party itself.
It's a lazy kind of journalist who watches the action of 2007 and opens 2008 with the old refrain that the Democratic party is beholden to the left.