“Progressives” Want It Both Ways

This is ponderous. For six years Karl Rove outmanuevered and outsmarted Democrats, it seems, at every turn. “Where is OUR Karl Rove?” Voices would ask from the left. “We need someone not afraid to play dirty!”

Well, it appears our guy is Rahm Emanuel, outgoing chief of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee and widely credited with putting the House back into Democratic hands. But we’ve covered that before, have we not?

Emanuel has been called by some “Bill Clinton’s Karl Rove.” During the President’s 1992 campaign, according to Wikipedia, Emanuel insisted that Clinton schedule a lot of time for fundraising rather than campaigning in New Hampshire. After much dispute within the campaign about the issue, Clinton eventually agreed, embarking on an aggressive fundraising campaign across the nation. The fundraising paid off later, providing the campaign a vital buffer to keep buying television time as attacks on character issues threatened to swamp Clinton’s campaign during the New Hampshire primary. Clinton’s most serious primary rival, Paul Tsongas, later withdrew, citing a lack of campaign funds.

Emanuel reportedly told British Prime Minister Tony Blair, “This is important. Don’t fuck it up,” prior to Blair appearing in public with Clinton for the first time after the Lewinsky scandal emerged.

Earlier this year, Congressman Emanuel stood on the floor of Congess and condemned conservative writer Ann Coulter for slandering the widows of 9/11. He said, and I quote: “The hate she spews is the same kind of hatred we’re battling in the war on terror. As a country of thought and reason, I urge all of us to reject it. I must ask my colleagues on the other side of the aisle: Does Ann Coulter speak for you when she suggests poisoning Supreme Court Justices or slanders the 9/11 widows? If not, speak now. Your silence allows her to be your spokesman.”

Yes, Emanuel is the “fighter” we’ve longed for. He’s not afraid to do or say what it a takes to win. Yet now that we have our Karl Rove, there are whines from the left that he isn’t fit to lead. Why? Because he may have done something we all secretly were hoping he did back before we won. He may have been behind the Mark Foley e-mail leaks.

Oh, the horror to think Emanuel may have engineered the whole sordid thing. He may have stretched the truth a wee bit on national TV. He may have known about Foley back in 2005 (back when the Foley story was originally shopped to the TV Networks, remember?) and he may have timed it to come out mere weeks before the election to further expose the stink of the Republican congress.

To all my “progressive” lurkers – what do you think would have happened if the proverbial shoe was on the other foot? Do you think Republicans would have sat on that information about a Democratic congressman? It would have been on the CNN and FOX news tickers 24-7, Drudge would have been blaming Bill Clinton, and Democrats would once again be wringing their hands in frustration over how the GOP beat us once again on the “family values” plank.

So take your high horse riding “more progressive than thou” act somewhere else. This was one the most important elections of our lives. The people charged with winning it did what had to be done. If you can’t stomach the reality of politics and of the enemy we face, the game isn’t for you.


3 Responses to “Progressives” Want It Both Ways

  1. SaveElmer says:

    What progressives failed to mention…is that they wanted one of their own chosen ones to be that Democratic Karl Rove. It galls them that a member of the DLC became that person, and was successful. Just as it galls them that Bill Clinton, of the DLC, was a highly successful President. And they will go through Republican like gyrations t o prove to you that Rahm had no hand in that success, and Bill Clinton was just another failed loser moderate!!!

  2. I think Emmanuel deserves some credit, but I think the lion’s share of the credit should go to Howard Dean’s 50 State Strategy. Although he’s taken some flak from Washington insiders like Carville, the Democratic swing in governorships and state legislatures indicates that the strategy extends beyond Congressional campaigns.

    Progressive America Times

  3. donkeydigest says:

    Jason – nice of you to stop in.

    You didn’t really comment on the post but rather re-enforced you belief in Dean’s 50 State Strategy and it’s role in the last election. But I only half agree with your accessment and here is why.

    Emanuel was not charged with winning governorships or state governments. He was charged with winning the US House. And he did.

    Now, I’m a firm believer in the 50 State Strategy as a long term goal but it simply did not and could not have played a role in the 2006 elections because it is a long term strategy. But instead of me fumbling through a lenghty explanation, I’ll be lazy and refer to Ezra Klein, commenting at The American Prospect:

    I think folks need a bit more precision in discussing what’s at issue here. The 2006 election… wasn’t a test of the 50 State Strategy. It was nearer to Chris Bower’s 435 race concept, where every seat is challenged. The 50 State Strategy relies on funding state parties to put down infrastructure and staff to create long-term change. It simply couldn’t have worked yet, not in any meaningful way… It’s an actual long-term vision, not a next-election gambit…. Dean both didn’t raise as much as some Democrats thought possible and didn’t devote as much to 2006 as some — like Rahm — thought necessary. There’s an argument to be had there. But it’s a different one.

    The conversation going on now obscures this. David Sirota, for instance, mocks (James) Carville for thinking “Howard Dean’s 50-state strategy had nothing to do with Democrats winning in places like Kansas and New Hampshire, where groups like the DCCC all but abandoned its own candidates.” Carville’s right, it didn’t. And Dean would agree. Credit for the Kansas win should largely go to Kathleen Sebelius, whose skillful exploitation of a moderate vs. conservative crack-up in the state was the greatest, and most underappreciated, political performance this cycle. As for New Hampshire, the Northeastern conversion was largely a structural occurrence — as Tom Schaller has repeatedly pointed out, it was a realignment. The three or four staffers Dean may (or may not) have put on the ground there likely had little do with it.

    None of this is an attack on Dean nor, for that matter, Rahm. Defend Dean’s resource allocation if you want. But this election was not a referendum on the 50 State Strategy. It wouldn’t have been had Democrats lost, it isn’t now that they’ve won. The 50 State Strategy is an actual long-term strategy, the success of which won’t be measurable for many cycles yet.

    I can state with authority that in GA, where the GOP targeted to House seats held by Democrats, Dean’s strategy was nowhere to be found. We retained those seats as a direct result of Emanuel’s DCCC pumping money into those races.

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