Al From Takes a Shot at Michael Moore Democrats

March 1, 2005

Sorry for my blogging absence lately, but I have a good excuse. But enough about me. Thanks for hanging in there — assuming you have.

In an interview with NBC’s “First Read,” the Democratic Leadership Council’s (DLC) inspiring member, Al From, said this about what the Democratic Party needs to do to resurrect itself:

You’ve got to reject Michael Moore and the MoveOn crowd.

I love these ongoing intramural struggles in this deeply troubled party. From went on to say that Moore and the anti-war faction of the Dem Party have hurt the party on national security, the issue the party needs to make “central to our cause.” A couple of observations about this:

1) With respect to the War on Terror, does From want the Democratic Party to have its cake and eat it too? That is, does From want the Democratic Party to make hawkish noises but not support its words with policies? What does he really believe about Iraq when the rubber meets the road? Is he advocating a position akin to that of Joseph Lieberman, one of the few Democrats who mostly supported the Iraq effort from the beginning? Or is he saying Democrats merely need to flex their hawkish muscles publicly, like Hillary Clinton, with no intention of truly following up on their bravado? Does From, like 90% of the Democrats, split hairs between the War on Terror and our action against Saddam Hussein? Or is he now willing to admit that his party has been on the wrong side of history all along on this thing? I suspect that if you probed, if you pressed, you’d find some conflict stirring within Al From. I doubt that he’d be willing to concede that we were correct to dethrone Saddam. And you see, if he won’t admit that, he might as well forget his little fantasy. Democrats, even From, want to jump on the bandwagon, but want to reserve the right to slam the President for his Iraqi action. Their position remains incoherent, which means they won’t be able to sell it to the public any better than John Kerry could sell his inconsistent ideas.

2) The nearly insurmountable hurdle Democrats face concerning national security is that they are congenitally dovish. They are congenitally anti-military, they are congenitally anti-just war. They are congenitally opposed to American foreign policy guided by America’s sovereignty and national security interests. They forever romanticize a super League of Nations where all national identities would merge, all silly nationalism and patriotism would whither away in favor of a multilateral, anti-nationalist utopia.

3) What Al From is really saying when he says we need to reject Michael Moore and the MoveOn crowd, is that we need to reject most of our party’s base, we need to reject the chosen leader of the DNC, Howard Dean; essentially we need an entire transformation. Can you imagine being a Democrat and believing the only way you can remake your party into a winning entity is to eradicate most of its elements. It’s not just heart surgery the party needs — if you trace From’s prescription to its logical conclusion — it’s a complete body transplant. This party needs an Invasion of the Body Snatchers moment. It needs to dissolve and start all over.

4) From’s fantasy is further incoherent because most of those who share liberal views on social and economic issues, are predisposed against the military, against many just wars and soft on defense and national security in general. So by the time From would complete his wish of eradicating from the party its antiwar elements he would have also gutted the rest of the party rank and file. It’s a worldview thing, Al, so you better get used to it. If you truly disagree with the antiwar types in your party, you should be looking for a new party, or looking to destroy the party and start all over, because you really can’t have your cake and eat it too.