All right, the hed’s a joke for Arrested Development fans I really wish I’d thought of that name first. But it was the first thing that came to mind when a reader pointed me toward this wankery:
The liberals’ hope that Democrats can win back the presidency by drawing sharp ideological contrasts and energizing the partisan base is a fantasy that could cripple the party’s efforts to return to power, according to a new study by two prominent Democratic analysts.
In the latest shot in a long-running war over the party’s direction an argument turned more passionate after Democrat John F. Kerry’s loss to President Bush last year two intellectuals who have been aligned with former president Bill Clinton warn that the only way back to victory is down the center.
Democrats must “admit that they cannot simply grow themselves out of their electoral dilemmas,” wrote William A. Galston and Elaine C. Kamarck, in a report released yesterday. “The groups that were supposed to constitute the new Democratic majority in 2004 simply failed to materialize in sufficient number to overcome the right-center coalition of the Republican Party.”
Since Kerry’s defeat, some Democrats have urged that the party adopt a political strategy more like one pursued by Bush and his senior adviser, Karl Rove which emphasized robust turnout of the party base rather than relentless, Clinton-style tending to “swing voters.”
But Galston and Kamarck, both of whom served in the Clinton White House, said there are simply not enough left-leaning voters to make this a workable strategy. In one of their more potentially controversial findings, the authors argue that the rising numbers and influence of well-educated, socially liberal voters in the Democratic Party are pulling the party further from most Americans.
Because, you know, Americans have just been trampling the weak and infirm in their rush to embrace the Democratic party these past five or six years. Damn those liberals for interfering!
But the most extraordinary bit comes in at the very end of the article:
They suggest that Democratic presidential candidates replicate Clinton’s tactics in 1992, when he broke with the party’s liberal base by approving the execution of a semi-retarded prisoner, by challenging liberal icon Jesse L. Jackson and by calling for an end to welfare “as we know it.”
And there you have the centrist wisdom in a nutshell: You want to win over some Republicans? Find yourself a retarded prisoner to execute.