Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Lanny Davis and Michael Steele: bipartisan scoundrels

Jon Chait wrote yesterday about a new venture involving "Democrat" Lanny Davis and Republican Michael Steele:

Howard Kurtz reports — or, at any rate, writes down — that Steele and Davis are pitching their firm dedicated to urging people to "tone down the negativity and personal attacks." 

A more specific sense of what they're after can be gleaned by comments such as this, from Davis: "I get more heat and more vitriol from my side than from conservative Republicans." In Democratic politics these days, he says, "you're not allowed to deviate from a purist, absolutist position. It disturbs me that people who are supposed to be tolerant of dissent are so venomous."

In other words, they want less negativity against them. The firm is a nice way for Steele and Davis to reframe criticism of themselves as mean-spirited opposition to bipartisanship. In reality, people like Steele and Davis get attacked not because they break from party dogma but because they are, respectively, a buffoon and a sleaze-merchant. (To be fair, Davis is a buffoon as well.)

Needless to say -- if you know anything about these two -- this is just plain ridiculous, just the sort of right-leaning, Republican-friendly "bipartisanship" that passes for centrism these days, and all the more ridiculous for being peddled by a couple of clowns.

But let me address what Davis said...

Actually, what the fuck was he talking about? The only reason he might get more criticism from the left than from the right is that the right doesn't give a shit about him while some on the left still bother to call him out for being a corrupt and morally bankrupt lobbyist. Otherwise, though, what party does he belong to -- and does he know anything about American politics these days?

The Democratic Party is the party of purity and absolutism, a party that allows for no deviation -- and purges its ranks of dissenters? Really? Is he that stupid?

What's he was describing is the Republican Party, not the Democratic Party. The latter, after all -- his party, supposedly -- is the party that can rarely get its act together given all the divisions within. It's the party of progressive activists and Wall Street insiders, the party of Blue Dogs and the CPC, the party of Dennis Kucinich and, well, Barack Obama. It's the former, the GOP, that is the party of extremist absolutism, the party of right-wing Bolsheviks purging its ranks of moderates and others, like Richard Lugar, deemed insufficiently conservative, the party of the Tea Party, the party that required a former Massachusetts moderate to suck up shamelessly to its right-wing base and even then threw up every obstacle it could to block him from winning its presidential nomination.

Let me ask again, is Lanny Davis really that stupid?

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