creators.com opinion web
Liberal Opinion Conservative Opinion
Froma Harrop
Froma Harrop
30 Oct 2014
Fannie and Freddie Must Go

Say we didn't hear that. Say we didn't hear that rules for mortgages guaranteed by the taxpayers are going … Read More.

28 Oct 2014
One Sacrifice More for Ebola Medics

No, it was not OK that Dr. Craig Spencer ran around New York City upon his return from treating Ebola … Read More.

23 Oct 2014
Canada Can Be Tough on Immigration

Two years ago, Jeffrey Niehaus was a popular teacher at the University of Victoria in British Columbia. An American,… Read More.

Democrats Need to Think Purple

Comment

Democrats need their "Sister Souljah moment" with the outer left, and they need it now. The MoveOn.org ad — "General Petraeus or General Betray Us?" — was simply unacceptable. Not only was it dumb, but it created a distraction for Democrats trying to challenge Bush policy in Iraq.

"Sister Souljah moment" entered the political language in 1992, when presidential candidate Bill Clinton publicly rebuked black militant Sister Souljah over an outrageous remark. And he did it before a meeting of the Rainbow Coalition. Clinton took heat from Jesse Jackson and others, but he established his independence from radical elements within the Democratic Party.

MoveOn should be a positive force for Democrats. It raises lots of money and rallies disaffected liberals. But it has a history of dated tactics that — while gratifying to some on the fringes — alienates the moderate voters that Democrats need to win. Its messages too often make the left look juvenile.

In 2004, MoveOn ran a contest for anti-Bush ads and posted on its Website a submission that likened the president to Adolf Hitler. MoveOn leaders recognized the mistake and urged colleagues to discourage commentary that Republicans could use to make them look like extremists.

But now, MoveOn has made a nasty personal attack on David Petraeus, and the general is not nearly the unpopular figure that Bush is.

"Simply put, the MoveOn people are a gift to the GOP," Republican consultant Dan Hazelwood told Washington Post political blogger Chris Cillizza right after the ad came out. He is right.

Democrats showed great respect for Petraeus, even as they asked hard questions. But they had that silly ad hanging around their necks.

You can't get more "antiwar" than Illinois Rep. Janice Schakowsky. But even she had to take time out to respond to reporters' questions about the MoveOn ad, calling it "not an accurate statement."

Delaware Sen.

Joe Biden was on television calling Petraeus' claims of progress "dead, flat wrong." But he, too, had to interrupt his message to distance himself from the MoveOn statement. A Democratic candidate for president, Biden characterized the ad as "hard-edged" and Petraeus as misguided but "honorable."

The American people already agree that the war was a dreadful mistake and badly run. The new Associated Press-Ipsos poll has 59 percent of respondents saying that history will judge the Iraq war as a failure, and only 34 percent as a success. This doesn't mean that the public is in any mood for street theater directed against an admired general.

What is MoveOn.org up to here? Is this all about getting attention? If so, it's succeeded.

Political activists on all sides have ravenous egos to feed, and the netroots of the left are no exception. They demand constant tributes from Democratic candidates — note the fawning performances at the last YearlyKos convention.

In reality, the hard left is not where the action is for the Democratic Party. It is in the purplish regions where moderates and independents decide outcomes. The party's big victories in 2006 were in places like Missouri, Montana, Colorado and Virginia.

Rep. David Obey of Wisconsin had a near-Sister Souljah moment in March, when he argued that defeating the bill for funding the troops wouldn't end the war but would deny the soldiers body armor and good military hospitals. "It's time these idiot liberals understand that," the Democrat said.

To make it a full-Sister Souljah moment, politicians have to say these things to their friends' faces. Like Jackson in 1992, the targets of their censure will object, but they'll get over it. Speaking real-world truths to their brethren on the left could spare Democrats much pain later on.

To find out more about Froma Harrop, and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate web page at www.creators.com.

COPYRIGHT 2007 THE PROVIDENCE JOURNAL CO.

DISTRIBUTED BY CREATORS SYNDICATE



Comments

0 Comments | Post Comment
Already have an account? Log in.
New Account  
Your Name:
Your E-mail:
Your Password:
Confirm Your Password:

Please allow a few minutes for your comment to be posted.

Enter the numbers to the right:  
Creators.com comments policy
More
Froma Harrop
Oct. `14
Su Mo Tu We Th Fr Sa
28 29 30 1 2 3 4
5 6 7 8 9 10 11
12 13 14 15 16 17 18
19 20 21 22 23 24 25
26 27 28 29 30 31 1
About the author About the author
Write the author Write the author
Printer friendly format Printer friendly format
Email to friend Email to friend
View by Month
Marc Dion
Marc DionUpdated 3 Nov 2014
Mark Shields
Mark ShieldsUpdated 1 Nov 2014
Joe Conason
Joe ConasonUpdated 1 Nov 2014

5 May 2009 Better Service in Bad Times?

10 Apr 2008 Score One for Consumers

15 Oct 2013 The Generations Rock On