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The Democratic Strategist

Political Strategy for a Permanent Democratic Majority

St. Matthew

In the midst of an insane week here at the Day Job, I’ve been laboring away at a response (which Prospect Executive Editor Mike Tomasky asked me to do) to David Sirota’s American Prospect piece, “The Democrats’ Da Vinci Code,” which among other things demonizes the DLC and the “pro-corporate” tendencies of Bill Clinton that the author feels have inhibited Democrats from the winning red-state message of 100% pure economic “populism.” I’ve been laboring at this, because the industrious Mr. Sirota has the rare ability to knock out, oh, about 10 questionable assertions (and in the case of the DLC, outright distortions) per paragraph, so it’s tough to cover it all without sounding defensive or quarrelsome.
So: after returning from a long but useful session on the future of the Democratic Party in the South sponsored by Ruy Teixeira and Todd Lindberg’s “Left-Right” discussion group, I fired up the email and literally groaned when I saw yet another message from Mr. Sirota (this one, usefully, did not include any supplementary insults) advertising yet another DLC-bashing piece he’s written for The Nation. Other than observing that Sirota had finally found an appropriate venue for his venom, my main reaction was to think: “Jesus, man, how can you make a career out of demonizing us if you don’t give the devil his due opportunity to respond?”
Fortunately, the Prospect’s Matt Yglesias intervened (on his personal web page) and quickly “debunked” Sirota’s “Debunking Centrism” piece, through the simple expedient of showing that Sirota’s characterizations of the DLC are entirely at odds with what the organization actually says, does, and stands for.
As Matt notes, he’s no syncophant or regular supporter of the DLC; nor has he been the beneficiary of any of that satanic corporate money that Sirota thinks we keep in big sacks around the office. So far as I know, Matt has never even had the opportunity to chow down on any corporate-funded sandwiches at our frequent policy forums. But he does think, as I do, that intra-party disputes, and especially those as unprovoked as Sirota’s, ought to be based on actual disagreements rather than straw-man charicatures or ad hominem attacks, and for that, I offer Matt a very hearty thanks.

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