Today I'm officially moving the Bull Moose blog, along with its founder, Marshall Wittman, from my blogroll to the Box.
It's not so much that the Moose--as a lapsed Republican and Christian Coalition member, and now a member of the Democratic Leadership Council (sort of a Betty Ford Clinic for those types, it seems)--appears at times to lack the proper suspicion of concentration of political power that would be appropriate to its progressive namesake. Although that's true.
It's not even his adoration of all things Joe Lieberman--and that's painfully, embarrassingly true, as well.
On environmental matters, for example, the Moose is true to his Rooseveltian heritage. Same with his disdain of government corruption. And besides, he's a pretty good writer, which makes you forgive a lot. (It's about the only reason I still browse The New Republic from time to time.)
No, what it boils down to is that his kind of why-can't-we-all-get-along? faux centrism too often boils down to helpfully suggesting that Democrats should simply concede more to the Republicans (as if they've needed much coaxing there).
The Moose is going to the Time-Out Box for reasons I'll let David Sirota sum up:
The Democratic Leadership Council has really gone over the line. In today's Washington Post, their staffer Marshall Wittman - who used to be a Republican operative and top official at the Christian Coalition - said that Democrats who are pushing for an exit strategy from Iraq are "offering surrender." This is an organization that continues to say it wants to "help" Democrats - but as we can see, they aren't interested in anything like that.Sirota is stretching a little to get his shot in: Wittmann's point is actually that, by coming out against Bush's war, Pelosi and Murtha have made it easy for Rove and his minions to play the "Democrats are soft on national security" card. Here's the full quote:
The Post quoted me responding to Wittmann. I said, "It is not surprising that a bunch of insulated elitists in the Washington establishment -- most of whom have never served in uniform -- would stab the Democratic Party in the back and attack the courage of people like Vietnam War hero Jack Murtha and Nancy Pelosi for their stand on Iraq."
"If Karl Rove was writing the timing of this, he wouldn't have written it any differently, with the president of the United States expressing resolve and the Democratic leader offering surrender," Wittmann said, referring to Bush's top adviser. "For Republicans, this is manna from heaven."So he's putting the "offering surrender" phrase in Rove's mouth, presumably as a cautionary tale for the Dems. It's off-base for Sirota to say Wittmann slandered Pelosi and Murtha.
Nor did he stab them in the back (as if either of those two would turn their back on someone from the DLC anyway).
Instead, the Moose is dropping a big banana peel under their feet. For someone claiming to be on the side of the Dems, it's striking that his first impulse is to consider what opportunities Murtha's stand against the war offers for Karl Rove, and not the opportunities it presents for the Democrats, his adopted party. This is not a moment to be offering Rove help coming up with talking points.
At a time when a majority of Americans distrust Bush, distrust the Republicans, and believe correctly that we never would have found ourselves mired in a counterinsurgency war in Iraq if Cheney, Rice, Rumsfeld, and the rest hadn't told lie after lie to get us there and keep us there--at a time when the Democratic leadership has its best chance in years to stand, with every legitimate weapon at their disposal, against a disastrous foreign policy combined with rampant corruption--the Moose is urging more of the same timidity and deference that got them into this mess. If they fall for that, they probably deserve the treatment Sirota says they got.
Resisting, at long last, the foreign and domestic policy path that the Bush administration has put us on is not only the progressive thing to do, it's also smart electoral strategy for the Democrats (two things the Moose claims to care about).
So enough's enough. Wittmann, aka the Moose, goes to the Time Out Box to think about his behavior. If he figures out which side he's on, he can come out before the elections.