Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

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January 17, 2005
By: Kevin Drum

BIG TENT?....Tim Roemer, who is running for DNC chair, apparently got upset over the weekend after an anonymous memo was circulated that criticized his stand on various liberal issues, notably his pro-life abortion stance. I'm not quite sure what his real beef is, since criticizing someone's policy positions seems pretty legitimate to me, but I'll let that pass since I don't know just how nasty the memo was. This, on the other hand, is ridiculous:

Roemer said Democrats should learn from the Republican Party, which has allowed former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani and California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger to play prominent roles. Both of them support abortion rights.

"Republicans have a big tent; why can't we?" he asked.

The fact that liberal states sometimes elect moderate Republicans to state office doesn't mean the Republican party is a "big tent." Quite the contrary. The very fact that these guys are so famous for their moderation is an indication of how rare moderate Republicans have become. It's also worth noting that the actual leadership of the Republican party is a very small tent indeed, and uses guys like Giuliani and Schwarzenegger strictly as window dressing. They have exactly zero influence on Republican party policies and exactly zero chance of ever having any influence.

Now, DNC chair is not primarily a policymaking position, so to that extent I don't think Roemer's positions disqualify him from consideration. However, I would like to have a DNC chair who doesn't publicly glorify as a "big tent" an opposition party that in reality has become nothing but smaller and ever more insular over the past two decades: more ideological, more extremist, more intolerant, and increasingly self-righteous. Praise their organization and their zealotry if you will, but not their openness to opposing views. Enough's enough.

Kevin Drum 2:18 PM Permalink | Trackbacks

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