The problem is Bill | Arkansas Blog

Sunday, May 7, 2006

The problem is Bill

Posted By on Sun, May 7, 2006 at 5:52 AM

Daily Kos, the blogger known in real life as Markos Moulitsas,  in an op-ed for the Washington Post, says Hillary Clinton spells trouble for the Democratic Party. Why? Because the likely presidential nominee represents the failed political strategy of her husband. Yes, failed. Kos refers to the "third-way" strategy that isolates the progressive wing of the party and, so far, has ignored the powerful  net-connected groups that demonstrated their grassroots power in the rise of Howard Dean..

Democrats haven't won more than 50 percent of the vote in a presidential election since 1976. Heck, we haven't won more than 50.1 percent since 1964. And complicit in that failure was the only Democrat to occupy the White House since 1980: Bill Clinton.

Despite all his successes -- and eight years of peace and prosperity is nothing to sneeze at -- he never broke the 50-percent mark in his two elections. Regardless of the president's personal popularity, Democrats held fewer congressional seats at the end of his presidency than before it. The Democratic Party atrophied during his two terms, partly because of his fealty to his "third way" of politics, which neglected key parts of the progressive movement and reserved its outreach efforts for corporate and moneyed interests.

While Republicans spent the past four decades building a vast network of small-dollar donors to fund their operations, Democrats tossed aside their base and fed off million-dollar-plus donations. The disconnect was stark, and ultimately destructive. Clinton's third way failed miserably. It killed off the Jesse Jackson wing of the Democratic Party and, despite its undivided control of the party apparatus, delivered nothing. Nothing, that is, except the loss of Congress, the perpetuation of the muddled Democratic "message," a demoralized and moribund party base, and electoral defeats in 2000, 2002 and 2004.

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