Friday, February 10, 2006

Vichy Dems vs Establishment Dems

Regarding my posts (here and here) about Hillary Clinton's premature and disruptive support for pro-life Democrat Bob Casey, who is seeking the Dem nomination to challenge uber-conservative (and uber-mensch) Rick Santorum's Pennsylvania Senate seat, ErinPDX has asked: what's the difference between "establishment" Democrats (a term I used there) and "Vichy" Democrats?

Which had me scratching my head a little. I suppose I meant the term "establishment" to imply a centrist Democrat entrenched enough (i.e. successful enough under the current system) that he or she doesn't really want to rock the boat, the way we want it to be rocked. A Vichy, in my mind, is someone who is actively selling out to the other side, or is so spineless that they might as well be. If the Establishment moves left again, then Establishment Dems might move left too, while Vichys would be left behind. Establishment Dems might be worth leaving in Congress (e.g., I suppose, Hillary Clinton); Vichy Dems are the ones who need to be actively opposed, at least in the primaries and sometimes, as in the case of Joe Lieberman, maybe even in the general elections. (There ARE Republicans I'd vote for over Lieberman. We can argue about that later.)

I'd love to hear your comments, and your suggestions about who falls where. In the meantime, I leave you with this delightfully balanced tidbit from the always delightfully balanced (/snark) Adam Nagourney, who consistently proves that even the venerable NY Times can't always be relied upon to separate news from editorials. (And no, I didn't get the term from him.)

[A]mong more establishment Democrats, there is concern that many of the party's most visible leaders — among them, Howard Dean, the Democratic chairman; Senator John Kerry, the party's 2004 presidential candidate; Mr. Kennedy; Representative Nancy Pelosi, the House minority leader; and Al Gore, who has assumed a higher profile as the party heads toward the 2008 presidential primaries — may be flawed messengers.

In this view, the most visible Democrats are vulnerable to Republican attacks portraying them as out of the mainstream on issues including security and budget-cutting.

One of the party's most prominent members, Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton of New York, has been relatively absent for much of this debate, a characteristic display of public caution that her aides say reflects her concern for keeping focused on her re-election bid.

Thanks to thereisnospoon for reminding me about the Nagourney piece.


wet pants said...

Even though he is gone, Dick Gephardt I would list as Vichy. He and Lieberman kicking Daschle under the bus a few weeks before the 2002 midterms on the AUMF and standing with Dear Leader in the Rose Garden I think did more to damage Dem chances in 2002 than anything else.

And I definitely agree that Lieberman should be opposed, vigorously, in the primaries. But in the general, well, it takes numbers to be the majority party in either the House or the Senate. The Vichy give numbers to the overall Dems in Congress. If majority status can be attained, there is a lot more leverage in passing out committee assignments, chairmanships, and helping bills come to the floor for a vote.

For example, take a look at what happened with Specter. He was opposed in the primary, bruised and battered by his own party, but backed in the general election. He's been cowed ever since, had to take back remarks on SCOTUS nominees, and unable to be independent. And the GOP can count his seat in determining the majority party.

Same goes for Chaffee, a few threats, and he goes lockstep with the party (though it is making his Senate race tougher because of it).

Primaries are a useful tool, they can steer a candidate going into the general election.

Christopher said...

I have a ton of issues vis a vis Hillary Clinton. Some are political (her support of Bush's Iraq war) and some are more personal (she's against gay marriage, but supports civil unions.)

But, former treasurer Bob Casey is a Democrat and he's the only chance I see to topple and bury Sen. Rick Santorum.

Democrats -- bloggers and political pundits alike, must focus our energies on winning and not on a single issue. Whether the issue is choice, gay marriage or the Iraq war.

We can't afford to lose any more seats in either the House or the Senate.

The midterms must be about winning and not about squandering our energies on single issue politics.

Just my opinion.........

Anonymous said...

Despite my general "no troll" policy here, I tend to bend over backwards to give people chances to participate here, even if they're critical. And when I do delete a post, it's usually because it's simply a rude distraction from our business, not because I'm personally offended by the personal attacks the cons seem to love leveling at liberals.

I would love to hear from other posters what they thing my policy should be: ignore all of them? Do a "slow delete" after 24 hours? Give them leeway?

Anyway, today someone named mti posted a comment here that included an email he had received from me, taken out of context, and essentially dared me to delete it. For now, I won't delete it. Instead, I'll simply put it IN context:

mti originally emailed me with rants like this one:

The NSA And President Jack Bauer Are Heroes.The Democrats Are Whining Ancient Buffoons.

I had a tough time last week deciding what was more fun--the Alito Supreme Court hearings and watching the liberals shoot blanks while making fools of themselves, or the season Premiere of 24

I love the TV show 24. The hero of the show, Jack Bauer, is a no-nonsense protector of American security. He shoots terrorists at will, tortures those who deserve it and works day and night to protect the United States from fanatics of all stripes. That must be why Democrats and the liberal media hate the show.

I saw a left wing blog where they were saying Bush thinks he is Jack Bauer, as if that is an insult. What the liberals fail to see is that the American people WANT a Jack Bauer as President. They want Bush to protect us anyway he has to, including monitoring conversations from overseas by Al Qaeda.

He goes on like that for a while. I just ignored him.

Today, he emailed me again to say:

You're seeing a whole team of doctors aren't you? You people on the left crack me up.

Where is your anger at the NY Times for leaking TRUE National Security secrets that protect the country. Not some stupid already known info on a CIA "agent".

Keep wasting your time on this stuff and we will control the House, Senate and White House for a generation.

To which I responded:

Recent news: Plame's status as a covert agent at time of leak confirmed.

Freedom of info act request confirming Plame's covert status coming, not from the New York Times, but from the "liberal" (?) .

Career CIA agent who coordinated White House Middle East intelligence until last year confirms that the White House was
cherrypicking intel to justify the war.

That's just a handful of links I could come across quickly.

Look, whoever you are: someone said a long time ago that when fascism comes to this country, it'll be wrapped in the flag and pretending to be patriotism. Imagine if Al Gore had told his chief of staff to leak classified material to reporters to make Clinton look good. Imagine if Clinton had cherrypicked intelligence to make a false case for going into Somalia. Imagine if Clinton had been warned, a month earlier, that bin Laden was "determined to strike in US" using airplanes, and didn't stop it? You'd be calling for his head. But since it's Bush, you'll let him fuck your wife and tell me he did it to keep you safe.

You're not a patriot. You're a yellow-undied coward who is willing to sacrifice everything our forefathers fought and died for in the hopes that a Daddy-President will keep you safe from a bunch of scraggly guys living in caves in Pakistan. I, on the other hand, understand that freedom isn't free, and am willing to live more dangerously, and stand up for my civil rights, because to do otherwise is to let the terrorists win.

You're a coward and no patriot. Don't post here, and don't email me, until you've educated yourself and found a spine.


In response to which, he whined that I had used a swear word and posted my comment, out of context, here.

He's right on one point: I should be above cussing, even at the cussable. And frankly I should have used the word "rape" instead of "f***", since that's a more accurate description of what Bush et al. are doing to the country I love. And I mean that carefully, with consideration; I believe people like this are defending a regime that's raping our beloved country, and it makes me angry enough to act inappropriately at times.

So why am I cluttering up this thread with all this junk? Mainly in hopes that mti will swing back by long enough to see that while I won't stand for being abused or taken out of context, I am willing to say what I believe, and stand behind what I say.

I'll remove this whole fiasco after a couple of days, just to streamline things again. Again, any real citizens of VichyDems, please let me know your thoughts about how to manage these situations. I admit I'm (a) still relatively new to this, and (b) too angry about what's happening to my country to always act moderately, and so I'm open to good advice!

Anonymous said...


Please visit Chuck Pennacchio's site, look over the poll numbers he has up there, and get back to me about whether you think Casey's the best candidate. Seriously, no snark! I'd like to talk about this some more.

Pontificating Weasel said...

Plame"s status as a covert agent has not been confirmed. The opinion of DC Circuit Court of Appeals Judge Tatel that Special Prosecutor Fitzgerald had concluded Plame was a covert agent was based totally on the following footnote in Fitzgerald's recently released documents:

"If Libby knowingly disclosed information about Plame's status with the CIA, Libby would appear to have violated Title 18, United States Code, Section 793 [the Espionage Act] if the information is considered "information respecting the national defense." In order to establish a violation of Title 50, United States Code, Section 421 [the Intelligence Identities Protection Act], it would be necessary to establish that Libby knew or believed that Plame was a person whose identity the CIA was making specific efforts to conceal and who had carried out covert work overseas within the last 5 years. To date, we have no direct evidence that Libby knew or believed that Wilson's wife was engaged in covert work."

If, If, If. Nowhere in that paragraph does Fitzgerald say he has the evidence to show Plame was a covert agent. He merely recites the elements of proof required to prove a violation of the act. What Judge Tatel seems to be saying is that Fitzgerald's statement doesn't completely eliminate the possiblity that Plame might be a covert agent and instead goes directly to the issue that kills any indictment of Libby, to wit: it is impossible to prove Libby thought she was a cover agent because everybody and his dog already knew she worked for the CIA. Either that or Tatel is an idiot.

Look, I don't know why I care about this. You are working with a fringe left wing group here that consitutes 10% of voters and can be whipped into 12% if you package the propaganda well. It is just that you seem to have decided in advance what unsupported claims you believe and then link to someone else who has swallowed such claims whole as proof that you are right. At this particular point in history you can find a CIA traitor to leak any piece of information, or just fabricate any piece of information, you might want to publish and the Bush administration can't seem to get a handle on it. That is what will get the Republicans in trouble at election time, not whether some DC socialite's CIA desk job is mentioned to a reporter by the VP's gofer. The CIA isn't covert any more.

Coining slanders like a mint.