T Nation

Dems Warned About Leaning Left

This is a summary of a report commisioned by the Democrats. Very similar to what Carville said at Northwestern the other day.

Any thoughts?

Report Warns Democrats Not to Tilt Too Far Left

By Thomas B. Edsall
Washington Post Staff Writer
Friday, October 7, 2005; A07

The liberals’ hope that Democrats can win back the presidency by drawing sharp ideological contrasts and energizing the partisan base is a fantasy that could cripple the party’s efforts to return to power, according to a new study by two prominent Democratic analysts.

In the latest shot in a long-running war over the party’s direction – an argument turned more passionate after Democrat John F. Kerry’s loss to President Bush last year – two intellectuals who have been aligned with former president Bill Clinton warn that the only way back to victory is down the center.

Democrats must “admit that they cannot simply grow themselves out of their electoral dilemmas,” wrote William A. Galston and Elaine C. Kamarck, in a report released yesterday. “The groups that were supposed to constitute the new Democratic majority in 2004 simply failed to materialize in sufficient number to overcome the right-center coalition of the Republican Party.”

Since Kerry’s defeat, some Democrats have urged that the party adopt a political strategy more like one pursued by Bush and his senior adviser, Karl Rove – which emphasized robust turnout of the party base rather than relentless, Clinton-style tending to “swing voters.”

But Galston and Kamarck, both of whom served in the Clinton White House, said there are simply not enough left-leaning voters to make this a workable strategy. In one of their more potentially controversial findings, the authors argue that the rising numbers and influence of well-educated, socially liberal voters in the Democratic Party are pulling the party further from most Americans.

On defense and social issues, “liberals espouse views diverging not only from those of other Democrats, but from Americans as a whole. To the extent that liberals now constitute both the largest bloc within the Democratic coalition and the public face of the party, Democratic candidates for national office will be running uphill.”

Galston and Kamarck – whose work was sponsored by Third Way, a group working with Senate Democrats on centrist policy ideas – are critical of three other core liberal arguments:

? They warn against overreliance on a strategy of solving political problems by “reframing” the language by which they present their ideas, as advocated by linguist George Lakoff of the University of California at Berkeley: “The best rhetoric will fail if the public rejects the substance of a candidate’s agenda or entertains doubts about his integrity.”

? They say liberals who count on rising numbers of Hispanic voters fail to recognize the growing strength of the GOP among Hispanics, as well as the growing weakness of Democrats with white Catholics and married women.

? They contend that Democrats who hope the party’s relative advantages on health care and education can vault them back to power “fail the test of political reality in the post-9/11 world.” Security issues have become “threshold” questions for many voters, and cultural issues have become “a prism of candidates’ individual character and family life,” Galston and Kamarck argue.

Their basic thesis is that the number of solidly conservative Republican voters is substantially larger that the reliably Democratic liberal voter base. To win, the argument goes, Democrats must make much larger inroads among moderates than the GOP.

Galston, a professor of public policy at the University of Maryland, and Kamarck, a lecturer at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government, in 1989 wrote the influential paper, “The Politics of Evasion,” which helped set the stage for Clinton’s presidential bid and the prominent role of the centrist Democratic Leadership Council. In some ways, the report released yesterday showed how difficult the debate is to resolve.

Their recommendations are much less specific than their detailed analysis of the difficulties facing the Democratic Party.

They suggest that Democratic presidential candidates replicate Clinton’s tactics in 1992, when he broke with the party’s liberal base by approving the execution of a semi-retarded prisoner, by challenging liberal icon Jesse L. Jackson and by calling for an end to welfare “as we know it.”

It’s always nice to hear democrats talking about their own failings.

They just corroborated a lot of what has been said on here wrt the death rattle of the left.

What happens now? Will the left continue to ignore this? Or will they actually try to come up with a new play book? At least one that isn’t 60 years old.

Nice find, Hedo.

"In one of their more potentially controversial findings, the authors argue that the rising numbers and influence of well-educated, socially liberal voters in the Democratic Party are pulling the party further from most Americans. "

I could have told you that being well-educated pulls you away from most Americans. For a lot cheaper too.

I personally don’t care which way the Democrats lean. My vote won’t be going Democrat no matter what (unless, of course, they run an ostrich…and then all bets are off).

However, I find it amusing that the bias of these “scholars” is spelled out right from the beginning: they’re Clintonites. The Clintons have been struggling and manuvering against leftists and liberals in the Democratic party for a long time (hence the nomination of John Kerry: Hillary would lose against an incumbent Democrat in 2008).

I believe that this move is part of the Hillary '08 campaign. They need to neutralize the left before presenting their savior: Hillary, a centrist woman who can unite the party AND bring in new voters who lack critical thought. Right-wingers may not like the electability of Hillary, but my money is on a serious power move from the Clintons.

Hillary v. Jeb in '08.

[quote]FightinIrish26 wrote:
"In one of their more potentially controversial findings, the authors argue that the rising numbers and influence of well-educated, socially liberal voters in the Democratic Party are pulling the party further from most Americans. "

I could have told you that being well-educated pulls you away from most Americans. For a lot cheaper too.[/quote]

I and my wife are well educated. My wife is a college professor. We both tend to vote Republican.

In my own personal observations the more capable people in many fields tend to leave school after a bachelors and do something productive.

Some that stay in the university system are very bright and capable. Others stay in because they have no other place to go and they are indocrinated by the liberal BS so prevelant in colleges today.

When I talk with many of my wifes co-workers I am amazed how people with PhD’s can be so clueless in so many areas. This may be due to the focus they tend to put in one field and ignore other things.

It is also kind of ironic that the Democratic Party often brags about the education level of some of its members, yet draws a lot of votes from the least educated.

Also:

"With all of President Bush’s political troubles, it’s Democrats on Capitol Hill who are complaining that they still can’t get a unified message out. House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi refused to appoint members to a bipartisan committee investigating the failures of Katrina aid relief, but she is being second-guessed by more moderate members who say her actions make the party look obstructionist.

Liberal Washington Post columnist E.J. Dionne last week acknowledged the Democrats’ incoherence and said “the party’s problems are structural” and rooted in the fact that 21% of Americans call themselves liberal while 34% identify themselves as conservatives and 45% said they were moderate. That means “liberal-leaning Democrats are far more dependent than conservatively inclined Republicans on alliances with the political center. Democrats second-guess themselves because they have to.”

That indecision explains why Democrats can’t seem to resolve the tension between their more moderate members and the Howard Dean/MoveOn.org crowd that is always calling for a political jihad on the Bush administration. The party’s differing wings were on full display two weekends ago in Wyoming when Democratic National Committee vice chairman Mike Honda, who is also a liberal California congressman, addressed state party leaders. He got an earful. The state’s Democratic governor, Dave Freudenthal, bluntly told his fellow Democrats that they should distance themselves from liberal party leaders at the national level. “This is a [state] party that’s not afraid of firearms,” he said. “I don’t care about Howard Dean,” he added, referring to the chairman of the Democratic National Committee.

Mr. Honda gamely acknowledged that national party organizations had some work to do to understand local concerns. “We lost touch at the federal level,” he admitted. “Our job is to correct this with you.” He urged his audience to put Mr. Dean and his role in the party “in context.”

Despite those soothing words, it’s clear that Democrats are no closer to solving the internal contradictions within their party than Republicans are. Right now, both parties seem to be doing a pretty good job of presenting a picture of disarray and confusion to the American people."

http://www.opinionjournal.com/best/?id=110007367#Arnold%20Schoenberg%20Would%20Have%20Recognized%20the%20Tune

[quote]Zap Branigan wrote:

When I talk with many of my wifes co-workers I am amazed how people with PhD’s can be so clueless in so many areas. This may be due to the focus they tend to put in one field and ignore other things.[/quote]

I work with academics on a daily basis, and this trend is spot on. Not all academics, of course, but I see the same thing all too often.

The other thing I see is a level of suffocating smugness surrounding their self-worshipping academic posts and self-professed enlightenment. How this differs from the same type of country club snobbery they claim to despise is beyond me.

I don’t want to overgeneralize though - I know a great many academics who are sharp and grounded.

[quote]Zap Branigan wrote:
FightinIrish26 wrote:
"In one of their more potentially controversial findings, the authors argue that the rising numbers and influence of well-educated, socially liberal voters in the Democratic Party are pulling the party further from most Americans. "

I could have told you that being well-educated pulls you away from most Americans. For a lot cheaper too.

I and my wife are well educated. My wife is a college professor. We both tend to vote Republican.

In my own personal observations the more capable people in many fields tend to leave school after a bachelors and do something productive.

Some that stay in the university system are very bright and capable. Others stay in because they have no other place to go and they are indocrinated by the liberal BS so prevelant in colleges today.

When I talk with many of my wifes co-workers I am amazed how people with PhD’s can be so clueless in so many areas. This may be due to the focus they tend to put in one field and ignore other things.

It is also kind of ironic that the Democratic Party often brags about the education level of some of its members, yet draws a lot of votes from the least educated.

[/quote]

I’m not saying the more educated people vote Democrat. Idiots come in all states of mind and with all kinds of degrees. We all say that about personal trainers and all, about how being certified and taking classes doesn’t mean as much as a smart guy with a little book reading.

But for every uneducated ghetto guy that votes my way, a piece of trailer trash votes yours.

[quote]FightinIrish26 wrote:
Zap Branigan wrote:
FightinIrish26 wrote:
"In one of their more potentially controversial findings, the authors argue that the rising numbers and influence of well-educated, socially liberal voters in the Democratic Party are pulling the party further from most Americans. "

I could have told you that being well-educated pulls you away from most Americans. For a lot cheaper too.

I and my wife are well educated. My wife is a college professor. We both tend to vote Republican.

In my own personal observations the more capable people in many fields tend to leave school after a bachelors and do something productive.

Some that stay in the university system are very bright and capable. Others stay in because they have no other place to go and they are indocrinated by the liberal BS so prevelant in colleges today.

When I talk with many of my wifes co-workers I am amazed how people with PhD’s can be so clueless in so many areas. This may be due to the focus they tend to put in one field and ignore other things.

It is also kind of ironic that the Democratic Party often brags about the education level of some of its members, yet draws a lot of votes from the least educated.

I’m not saying the more educated people vote Democrat. Idiots come in all states of mind and with all kinds of degrees. We all say that about personal trainers and all, about how being certified and taking classes doesn’t mean as much as a smart guy with a little book reading.

But for every uneducated ghetto guy that votes my way, a piece of trailer trash votes yours. [/quote]

Why do the democrats win big in major metropolitan areas where poverty levels are so high and education levels so low?

[quote]ZEB wrote:
FightinIrish26 wrote:
Zap Branigan wrote:
FightinIrish26 wrote:
"In one of their more potentially controversial findings, the authors argue that the rising numbers and influence of well-educated, socially liberal voters in the Democratic Party are pulling the party further from most Americans. "

I could have told you that being well-educated pulls you away from most Americans. For a lot cheaper too.

I and my wife are well educated. My wife is a college professor. We both tend to vote Republican.

In my own personal observations the more capable people in many fields tend to leave school after a bachelors and do something productive.

Some that stay in the university system are very bright and capable. Others stay in because they have no other place to go and they are indocrinated by the liberal BS so prevelant in colleges today.

When I talk with many of my wifes co-workers I am amazed how people with PhD’s can be so clueless in so many areas. This may be due to the focus they tend to put in one field and ignore other things.

It is also kind of ironic that the Democratic Party often brags about the education level of some of its members, yet draws a lot of votes from the least educated.

I’m not saying the more educated people vote Democrat. Idiots come in all states of mind and with all kinds of degrees. We all say that about personal trainers and all, about how being certified and taking classes doesn’t mean as much as a smart guy with a little book reading.

But for every uneducated ghetto guy that votes my way, a piece of trailer trash votes yours.

Why do the democrats win big in major metropolitan areas where poverty levels are so high and education levels so low?
[/quote]

The same reason republicans do in rural trailer parks where the mentality is you will pry my bible and moonshine from my cold dead hands.

Stereotypes are lovely aren’t they?

[quote]Dedicated wrote:
ZEB wrote:
FightinIrish26 wrote:
Zap Branigan wrote:
FightinIrish26 wrote:
"In one of their more potentially controversial findings, the authors argue that the rising numbers and influence of well-educated, socially liberal voters in the Democratic Party are pulling the party further from most Americans. "

I could have told you that being well-educated pulls you away from most Americans. For a lot cheaper too.

I and my wife are well educated. My wife is a college professor. We both tend to vote Republican.

In my own personal observations the more capable people in many fields tend to leave school after a bachelors and do something productive.

Some that stay in the university system are very bright and capable. Others stay in because they have no other place to go and they are indocrinated by the liberal BS so prevelant in colleges today.

When I talk with many of my wifes co-workers I am amazed how people with PhD’s can be so clueless in so many areas. This may be due to the focus they tend to put in one field and ignore other things.

It is also kind of ironic that the Democratic Party often brags about the education level of some of its members, yet draws a lot of votes from the least educated.

I’m not saying the more educated people vote Democrat. Idiots come in all states of mind and with all kinds of degrees. We all say that about personal trainers and all, about how being certified and taking classes doesn’t mean as much as a smart guy with a little book reading.

But for every uneducated ghetto guy that votes my way, a piece of trailer trash votes yours.

Why do the democrats win big in major metropolitan areas where poverty levels are so high and education levels so low?

The same reason republicans do in rural trailer parks where the mentality is you will pry my bible and moonshine from my cold dead hands.

Stereotypes are lovely aren’t they? [/quote]

They may well be the case. But I think over all democrats draw both ends of the spectrum. The highest educated and the lowest educated (and incomes follow).

Does anyone have any hard stats on this?

Zeb,

Here are exit polls from 2004 and various demographic stats:

http://www.cnn.com/ELECTION/2004/pages/results/states/US/P/00/epolls.0.html

Thanks Thunder,

Just as I thought

          Bush      Kerry

Under $15,000 36% 63%

$15-30,000 42% 57%

$30-50,000 49% 50%

However, it seems that the higher income levels went for Bush:

              Bush     Kerry

$100-150,000 57% 42%

$150-200,000 58% 42%

$200,000 or More 63% 35%

I think the number of PhD’s out there is fairly minor compared to the size of the voting public.

Who gives a crap if professors tend to be elitist smug bastards – and I expect most of them are. What the heck does this have to do with anything?

What democrats have to do is find a way to electrify their voters with hot button issues as the republicans have. The current issues on the plate generally unite republicans and divide democrats.

Unfortunately, the general public doesn’t care to dig into the details and think through the issues… and no, it isn’t elitist, it’s just that nobody has time and nobody cares enough to, at least in the general public.

It’s short sound bytes and vital topics of interest. You have two seconds to get that vote and later have something in place strong enough to withstand the onslaught of distract, deflect and discredit surely to follow.

Dammit, there you go, get rid of poverty and you win the elections… what more reason do you want to fix this issue once and for all?

Silly republicans… too bad the poor are a segment you continually wash your hands of.

Of course the higher incomes go to Bush. They hate Democrats with as much passion as they hate the poor.

[quote]thunderbolt23 wrote:
Zap Branigan wrote:

When I talk with many of my wifes co-workers I am amazed how people with PhD’s can be so clueless in so many areas. This may be due to the focus they tend to put in one field and ignore other things.

I work with academics on a daily basis, and this trend is spot on. Not all academics, of course, but I see the same thing all too often.

The other thing I see is a level of suffocating smugness surrounding their self-worshipping academic posts and self-professed enlightenment. How this differs from the same type of country club snobbery they claim to despise is beyond me.

I don’t want to overgeneralize though - I know a great many academics who are sharp and grounded.[/quote]

In general I see three types of academics. Brilliant, Befuddled and Bullshitters.

[quote]vroom wrote:

What democrats have to do is find a way to electrify their voters with hot button issues as the republicans have. The current issues on the plate generally unite republicans and divide democrats.

Unfortunately, the general public doesn’t care to dig into the details and think through the issues… and no, it isn’t elitist, it’s just that nobody has time and nobody cares enough to, at least in the general public.

It’s short sound bytes and vital topics of interest. You have two seconds to get that vote and later have something in place strong enough to withstand the onslaught of distract, deflect and discredit surely to follow.[/quote]

Very true. Unfortunately for the Dems they have bungled key hot button issues such as healthcare.

This is one reason I think Hillary won’t be a good candidate for the Dems.

She is the one that had an opportunity to modify health care already and she messed up so badly they were afraid to touch it again for 8 years.

[quote]FightinIrish26 wrote:
Of course the higher incomes go to Bush. They hate Democrats with as much passion as they hate the poor. [/quote]

Interestingly enough however many very wealthy people remain quite liberal. I find that interesting.