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Friday, September 29, 2006

The self-destruction of the Democrats: History repeats itself? 


I am enjoying Lanny Davis' book Scandal: How "Gotcha" Politics Is Destroying America quite a bit more than I would have predicted. This passage on the self-destructive bent of the "anti-war" faction within the Democratic party -- in 1968 -- perhaps has some lessons for today (even if Davis does not make the point explicitly):

So, almost without noticing, the legitimate anti-Vietnam War opposition within the mainstream liberal readership of the Democratic Party had become tarred with the same brush as those who looked, acted, and talked in ways that threatened the broad American middle class and middle-American values. With only a few exceptions, Democratic liberals were not willing to challenge them or disown them. Indeed, many -- perhaps it is accurate to say, most (including me) -- facilitated, enabled, or even defended these nihilists of the left.

During the 1968 general election campaign, the far left so dominated and intimidated many Democratic Party liberals that they actually decided, at least until the late fall of the presidential campaign, that it was not worth trying to help Vice President Hubert Humphrey defeat Richard Nixon for the presidency. I remember attending a meeting of Connecticut liberals in Hartford, Connecticut, where someone actually said that it would be better to let Nixon defeat Humphrey and his "fellow pro-War Democrats," so we could "take the country back in 1972." I actually felt some sympmathy for this stupid position after the 1968 Chicago Dedmocratic Convention. I and many other young liberal activists were furious with Democratic presidential candidate Vice President Humphrey for not criticizing the police clubbing of anti-War demonstrators on the streets outside the hall of the Democratic National Convention in Chicago in August 1968. And I almost agreed that it would be better for Humphrey to lose.

One is tempted to believe that this business of shooting their own is a phenomenon of Connecticut Democrats, but I somehow doubt it. It is obvious, though, that they are doing it again.

5 Comments:

By Anonymous davod, at Sat Sep 30, 06:51:00 AM:

I recall some prominent Republicans suggesting that it would be good for the Republicans to loose in 2006 so they can be reinigorated for the 2008 fight.  

By Anonymous davod, at Sat Sep 30, 06:52:00 AM:

Ps. That should be reinvigorated.  

By Anonymous BIRD OF PARIDISE, at Sat Sep 30, 10:07:00 AM:

The demacrats should be very careful after all it was a demacrat LBJ that got us cuaght up in vietnam and the liberal left-wing demacrat fovoring news media why we lost and a notorious liberal demacratic draft dodger that sold out this nation to the chicoms  

By Blogger chsw10605, at Sat Sep 30, 11:06:00 PM:

As I recall, Davis was one of the antiwar Democrats in the late 1960's and early 1970's. He even ran for the House (MD-8) opposing Nixon's war policies. Moreover, his conversion to opposing "gotcha politics" appears rather late, as he was one of the best hatchet men for President Clinton.

chsw10605, once a campaign volunteer for Davis  

By Blogger TigerHawk, at Sat Sep 30, 11:50:00 PM:

Well, chsw, he is very up front about all of that in the past. He throws in little admissions about his own transgressions throughout the book, which is one of its more refreshing aspects. He seems to have had a conversion of some sort.  

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