Sunday, January 18, 2004

Michael Moore: 'We're going to have the best chance with Clark'


Wolf Blitzer interview with Michael Moore. Check out this part:

"BLITZER: What do you have against Joe Lieberman?

MOORE: Well, he's running in the wrong party. Lieberman is kind of like a liberal to moderate Republican. You know, he's Bush-light. And God bless him, but he just doesn't really belong in this party."

As I said before, the Democratic party needs to figure out what it is. Is it the party of the Michael Moores or of the New Republic? It doesn't seem good at being both.

I mean, when was the last time a Republican said, "our so-and-so presidential candidate should really be a Democrat." Even John McCain wasn't susceptible to that critique - the conventional wisdom was that he would go independent, if anything, because he was too fiscally conservative to be a Democrat. In fact, the other two Republicans who did leave the party within the last 40 years (Bob Smith and James Jeffords) both became independents, not Democrats (Smith rejoined the Republicans a few months later). Meanwhile, Strom Thurmond, Phil Gramm, Richard Shelby, and Ben Nighthorse Campbell all switched from Democrat to Republican (and Campbell shows it's not just a southern thing). Only Harry Byrd Jr. went Democrat to independent.

All of this brings me to a tentative conclusion: the Democrats may have a bigger tent for the public, but the Republicans offer a bigger tent for politicians. Moderate Republicans just wouldn't feel comfortable in the Democratic party, because they wouldn't be sure what they're joining. With the Republicans, you basically know what you're getting (the ol' less taxes, strong defense, pro-business routine), and, as Tom mentioned in a comment to my previous post, the Republicans seem adept at coopting politicians who believe in some, but not all, of the party's principles. Thus, Republicans are better at embracing politicians at the margins. Certainly Jeffords is a counterargument to this point (he felt the party ignored moderates). But the fact that Jeffords only felt comfortable caucusing with the Democrats, not joining them, supports my larger point that the Democratic party has serious identity problems. They need to see a psychiatrist. What's Jim McDermott doing these days?

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