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Susan Estrich
5 Feb 2016
Donald Trump: Sore Loser

It was the shortest speech anyone can remember him giving. He was clearly in a state of disbelief. How could … Read More.

3 Feb 2016
Rubio's the One

You can pick your headline for Iowa: "Trump Didn't Win!" "Hillary Didn't Lose!" "Rubio's the One!" I prefer … Read More.

29 Jan 2016
Donald Ducks

"I'm for Trump," the man across the room from me said. We were in the ICU family waiting room, and by that point,… Read More.

Karl Rove's New Adventure


Back in 1985, after being trounced in the general election, Washington strategist Al From and a group of Democratic elected officials founded the Democratic Leadership Council. Its stated purpose was to move the Democratic Party to the middle — particularly to deal with the influence of the ideologues and caucuses (and there were many of them) who dominated the presidential nominating process. Co-founders included then Gov. Bill Clinton, Sen. Sam Nunn and Rep. Dick Gephardt, among others.

It was not popular with everyone, including yours truly. We called it the "White Boys Caucus." We laughed when the "successful" effort to encourage more Southern states to move their primaries earlier in the calendar to "Super Tuesday" resulted (according to the law of unintended consequences) in a victory for Jesse Jackson, the most liberal candidate in the race.

Black voters dominated the primaries, much as tea party voters often do on the other side.

But three losses in a row at the presidential level convinced even the likes of me that we needed to put electability ahead of ideological purity, a conclusion that was easier to reach since the DLC candidate in 1992 was our friend Bill Clinton. By 2011, the DLC had dissolved, donating its papers to the Clinton Library.

The DLC could be seen as something of a model for the controversial group that former White House Chief of Staff Karl Rove has put together with the support of big-money Republicans. The stated goal of the Conservative Victory Project is to regain control of the Senate and build a winning Republican Party, notably by pumping money into primary races to assure that the most electable candidate is the one who is nominated. Critics complain that it was created to counter the tea party, and they are even unhappier — and more vocal — about that than we were with the DLC.

With reason.

Unlike the DLC effort, which was led by elected officials themselves, the Victory Project is seen as solely a Washington money group. Unlike the DLC, which from the beginning had a policy arm and by the end was led by Bruce Reed, Clinton's top policy guy, the Victory Project is seen as solely poll-driven.

Most importantly, unlike the tea party, liberals in the Democratic Party, many of us Washington insiders who did not hold elective office, had already come to the conclusion that winning was more important than ideological purity. And the DLC, as far as I can remember, never pumped money into contested primaries. That wasn't the point.

Conservative talk radio, cable hosts, activists and party leaders are in full attack mode. Chris Chocola, president of the more conservative Club for Growth, which has taken an active role in Republican primaries, has pointed reporters to the losses in Montana, New Mexico, North Dakota and Wisconsin to make the point that candidates selected by D.C. insiders often don't appeal to conservative activists, those "pesky voters" who get to decide on the nomination. David Bossie, president of the conservative Citizens United, went so far as to declare, "The civil war has begun."

No one doubts that money matters in primaries. But as long as the primary electorate is dominated by those most committed to voting, who tend to be the ideologues and activists, Rove and his supporters may face an uphill battle. That is why moderate Republicans in California, in an effort to shift the balance, pushed so hard against the establishment of both parties to "open" primaries to all voters.

I will never forget sitting in the nearly empty suite of Los Angeles Mayor Dick Riordan, clearly the Republican most likely to defeat incumbent Gov. Gray Davis, as we calculated just how few voters had made the difference in the Republican primary, picking probably the only candidate who couldn't defeat Davis. Two years later, Davis was recalled. In most people's view, the moderate Arnold Schwarzenegger won only because it was an open recall election in which everyone — Republicans, Democrats and undeclared voters — could participate.

Rove has his work cut out for him. But if anyone has proved himself capable of playing this game, it's him. Meanwhile, my friends on the Democratic side, more united than in the bad old days, can't help but witness the infighting with a sigh of relief. Been there, done that.

To find out more about Susan Estrich and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate website at



7 Comments | Post Comment
"Most importantly, unlike the tea party, liberals in the Democratic Party, many of us Washington insiders who did not hold elective office, had already come to the conclusion that winning was more important than ideological purity"

No Estrich for the left winning is more important than anything and the left will do anything, absolutely anything, legal or illegal to win.

For the left the end always justifies the means, whether the means be widespread voter fraud, intimidation by union thugs, treachery and treason, the dumbing down and indoctrination of children in public schools and the masses in general, the teaching of false revisionist history, character assassination through lies and deceit abetted by a complicit media, propaganda distributed as news by the media propagandists, dishonesty in general, promises of el Dorado to the mooching thieving hand out seekers and parasites of the recipient class, by demonizing the productive, by class warfare, by division, by Balkanization etc etc.

Whatever foul means one can dream up the left is already there and implementing it full steam ahead.
And what is the end for those on the left? Easy, it is the theft and then and retention of power. Power to dictate. Power to destroy individualism and freedom. Power to drag the productive down into the hole that the moochers, the thieves, and the looters all live in. Power to corrupt. Power to rule. Power to set in place the pure liberal ideology of enslavement of the masses to the State and to the ruling Statists and liberal fascists and all in return for scraps from their benevolent master's tables.

Liberalism, which routinely manifests itself in liberal "smiley faced" fascism, is not just a sickness of the mind, it is inherently evil. And it is that evil that its pure ideological devotees wish upon all of us.
Comment: #1
Posted by: joseph wright
Fri Feb 22, 2013 6:49 AM
Joe, Joe, Joe...I've been away from this board for awhile. But I see some things haven't changed: Same old tired Fox and Rush marinated rhetoric. And you're still MR. WRONG!
Comment: #2
Posted by: cadbury
Fri Feb 22, 2013 8:19 AM
Did Mr. Wright mention the Republican voter suppression efforts of last year? The Pennsylvania legislator who announced their suppression efforts would win the state for Willard? No? Shocking.

You want voter fraud? How about Ann Coulter voting outside her district and Willard voting as a resident of his son's unfinished basement?
Comment: #3
Posted by: Bruce Strickland
Fri Feb 22, 2013 10:09 AM
All this hatred of wealthy white men. Our Declaration of Independance an Constitution were produced by wealthy white men. Some were old, too.
Comment: #4
Posted by: David Henricks
Fri Feb 22, 2013 3:38 PM
Re: Cadbury
Remember the big Obama lie, there will be no tax increases on those earning less that $250K.

There is already in play, a triple whammy of taxes for the low income earners (1) higher gas prices because of the EPA and other environmental BS from this administration that acts as a tax on income, (2) stagnant employment (unemployment) and employers cutting workforces and or cutting working hours to avoid obamacare costs that acts as a tax on income, and (3) the reinstatement of payroll tax, that is already hitting the said low income low information morons who re elected the liar in chief the hardest. Screw them I say. Bring it on. Its all just marginally relevant for me, but it will become critical for them. Too bad so sad they bought the big lie and will pay for it. LOL!

Oh and while on the subject of lies and the sequestration that Obama insisted upon, the lies and hyperbole from the lying liar in the WH about its effects are legion, but you know I kind of hope they are not lies and it all comes to pass because once more the ones to suffer most will be the assholes that put barry boy back in. Bring sequestration on and on.
Comment: #5
Posted by: joseph wright
Sun Feb 24, 2013 2:03 PM
Joseph points out that there are ways of taxing people without calling it a tax. He's right. And he left out the 2 biggest ones. All this fake money the fed is printing up (with Obamas blessing) is a huge burden on the lower class. And the biggest one is of course Obamacare. Even though that bill so complex and long, every expert and doctor out there knows that healthcare is going to skyrocket.
Comment: #6
Posted by: Chris McCoy
Sun Feb 24, 2013 4:46 PM
Re: Bruce Strickland
If Coulter and Willard voted frauduently they should be procecuted and jailed!
Me thinks 'fraud' is when you vote many times. Now who does that?
Comment: #7
Posted by: Oldtimer
Tue Feb 26, 2013 6:53 AM
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