Monday, July 19, 2010

The Democratic Civil War

The Democratic uncivil war has begun. Pelosi’s minions are hypocritically blasting Obama off-the-record for leading them off a cliff, progressives are whining and pointing fingers, moderates are abandoning Obama’s agenda, and in Iowa the Democrats are even running ads attacking the Republican’s health care plan for being too much like ObamaCare. Oh my. Over the past few weeks, I’ve written various articles explaining why the left is falling out of love with Obama. Today it’s time to speculate what will happen next.

Falling out of love is never a smooth process. So expect the uncivil war to take place in fits and spurts.

The first thing you’re going to notice is that over the next couple months, you will read a lot of off-the-record finger pointing. Fall guys will be vetted, and a list of people will be compiled to be purged after the election, including White House people, political directors, party leaders, pollsters, and consultants.

As the election nears, one of two things will happen. If the polls get closer, look for everyone except the extreme left to close ranks until the election. The extreme left will continue to attack moderates (and now Obama) because they have come to realize that this crew will not deliver the socialist utopia they crave, but the rest will talk about a “Democratic resurgence” and how much they love each other. If the polls don’t get closer, look for a true blood bath, with moderates literally running against Obama/Pelosi and leftists openly threatening to purge their party. This will be so bad that even the MSM will need to take note.

Once the election happens, behaviors will depend on how badly things turn out for the Democrats. Obama has been trying to lower expectations. His spokespeople have gone from “we always knew we were going to lose a few seats, but we’ll maintain our majorities” to “people are angry and I can’t blame them (Republicans and weak Democrats betrayed us)” to “we might lose the House.” And in truth, this has been somewhat effective. At this point, expectations are so low that anything less than losing the House could conceivably be considered a victory within Democratic ranks, which is why Obama is stupid to let Biden try to raise expectations as he is doing now.

Yet, "win" or lose, the Democrats face a huge problem. The Democrats’ loss will be the result of their leftist talk and leftist actions. But the people most likely to lose their seats will be the moderates, because the leftists represent socialist ghettos and are immune from the American people. With the moderates gone, the remaining crew will be made up of the most lunatic and most angry members of the party. They will not accept any interpretation of the election other than: “we need to go as far left as possible.” And the words “lost opportunity” will be their battle cry.

That presents a recipe for chaos. The Senate is likely to be even more moderate than before (especially with the loss of reconciliation -- something I think was done intentionally to give Democrats an excuse to moderate (see below)), and Obama is one of the most indecisive Presidents we’ve ever had. So this could turn into a battle royale between the desperate and the crazy, with Bozo the Clown mediating.

If the election does turn out as badly as expected, then look for open warfare, with both on and off-the-record sniping, challenges to committee chairman and party leaders, sponsoring of primary opponents, typical leftist tactics like protests and disrupting speaking engagement, attack ads, withholding of money, and calls for purges based on purity, rather than just looking for a few fall guys.

The war (open or guerrilla) is likely to continue right up until the early part of 2012, when the presidential election season really begins. If a prominent leftist chooses to challenge Obama, which will happen if their losses are big enough, e.g. they lose the Senate and 100 seats in the House, then look for a truly bloody war of leftist versus Obama, with all the recriminations including “sell out” and “failure” being thrown at him. A weakened Obama still would win the primary and then go on to a landslide defeat in the general election, unless we choose an unelectable Republican, which is always possible.

If the losses are not big enough to bring out a challenger, then look for behind the scenes sniping at Obama, but few public attacks. Although, the wild card will be how Obama handles the House-Senate war. His best bet would actually be that the Republicans win both houses of Congress. That would let him talk big to the left, but simultaneously would keep him from having to enact anything leftist because the Republicans would never send him anything like that. But it looks unlikely that we will win the Senate, so expect that Obama will need to mediate between the two wings of his party, and look for that to lead to disaster.

After November 2012, which I can’t see Obama winning -- to win, he would need to move far to the right to meet the American people, but his instinct and his party will demand a strong move to the left -- look for the floodgates to open. That’s when they will abandon Obama and treat him like they treated Jimmy Carter in the 1980s, as an incompetent pariah. (We might even hear, as some on the left incredibly claimed about Carter during the later part of the 1980s, that he was really a right-wing President.)

Of course, by then, they will have their new Messiah, so odds are that the savaging of Obama will be short and nasty and that they’ll quickly move on to worshiping their new hero.

That’s how I see things over the next two years.

*** The reconciliation thing: By not passing an omnibus budget this year, the Democrats have lost the power to use reconciliation next year. This means they can't get around the filibuster with a 51-49 vote. Some have suggested this was a mistake by Harry Reid, but I think it was intentional. I think that Reid did this either (1) to prevent a possible Republican majority ramming things through -- which means Reid sees things as much worse for Democrats in November than others are saying, or (2) it means that Reid wants to ensure that the filibuster is there to allow them to argue that a far-left approach (the one that will be advocated in the House) is not possible in the Senate. Thus, he could protect moderate Democratic Senators from an out-of-control House minority or, even worse, a very small ideological-lockstep majority.


Ed said...

Heh heh heh. Man do I hope you're right. That's interesting about the reconcilliation thing, I had not heard that before. I always learn something here!

AndrewPrice said...

Thanks Ed, We try to keep it educational around here! I think this is what will happen -- or I wouldn't have written it. This seems to be how these things have played out in the past.

Ed said...

Educational it is! Plus entertaining.

AndrewPrice said...

Thanks Ed, We do try! :-)

Unknown said...

I haven't had this much fun since the Democrats ripped each other to shreds in 1968--and I was one of them!

AndrewPrice said...

Lawhawk, The fun is just beginning. . . unless you're a Democrat.

Laughably, the MSM is now trying to focus on how much Republicans are going to fight if they win. Yeah, ok.

Unknown said...

Andrew: The MSM will report on any kerfuffle among Republicans in order to make it look like the party is falling apart. The only reason they're reporting on the Democratic falling-out-among-thieves is that they're completely mystified by it. How could it all have gone so wrong? Tee-hee.

AndrewPrice said...

Lawhawk, I agree 100% with that. They will report the slightest hint of anything between Republicans and call it "a fissure" or "a civil war" or "Republicans tearing each other apart."

At the same time, they would ignore open dueling in the Democratic ranks. Except, this time, they are stunned because they truly don't understand how things could have gotten this way, and they don't know which side to pick.

StanH said...

Great article Andrew, and great fun! I get a sick pleasure watching liberals squirm…come on November!

Lawhawk I watched Chicago ‘68 on TV, and my oldest brother took me to the protest in Miami ’68, much to my mothers alarm. The country was ripping itself apart more specifically the Democrats, so you are seeing a potential repeat?

AndrewPrice said...

Thanks Stan! I think it's always fun to peer about into the future.

Things could always turn out differently, but history and the personalities of the various players says this is what will happen. :-)

Unknown said...

Stan: The antiwar crowd has not reached nearly the mass numbers it had in '68, so it won't be as potentially violent as it was that year. But I see many parallels. The Democrats have an unpopular President, a Congress which has openly defied the American people, and incumbents galore who know that sticking with Obama is likely political suicide outside the deep blue states. And then there's that rumor about Hillary quitting to make another run. Whether or not that's true, there is definitely a lot of bad blood there, particularly after the latest revelations about Obama supporters possibly driving Clinton supporters away from the polls.

So like '68, there's a big ugly split developing within the Democratic Party. But unlike '68, there are no large numbers of angry Democrats who are taking it to the streets (yet?).

Joel Farnham said...


What you forget is that back then there was the draft. Average students didn't like the draft and the only way to protest it was to go to the streets and join the angry democrats.

Now, no draft, no swelling of ranks. Most of the citizens in the United States, people who earn a paycheck, are extremely tired of our servants calling us lazy and unpatriotic for demanding them to get out of our collective wallet. We collectively are tired of the elected telling us to shut up and sit down and drool over the goodies offered. We KNOW who bought those goodies. Servants using our money offering us 2nd hand goods at best.

I love that the elected Democrats are trembling in their boots. Next, the elitist Republicans.

LL said...

Things would have gone splendidly for barack hussein obama if only he wasn't preceded into the White House by George W. Bush.

Unknown said...

Joel: I hardly forgot it, I was 1-A for nearly two years. If anything, students today are even more heavily antiwar than they were in '68.

But I also didn't mention that you had to be 21 to vote then where today you only have to be 18 (they got the vote in 1971, but their first election year was 1972). So not only is there no draft, but the students don't have nearly as much need to take it to the streets because they can take it to the caucuses and the polls. That doesn't mean they're any happier with the government or the moderates in the Democratic Party. The question now is, can they drop their bongs long enough to participate in electoral politics?

Today's college students are comprised of two generations of leftist indoctrination, unlike mine. The split is just as wide, if not wider, but the need for violent confrontation with the "establishment" has declined since the left is now a major part of that establishment.

And let's not forget that a huge number of those rioting students from '68 are college professors and elected politicians. They no longer need to riot, but they can still exacerbate the rifts within the Democratic Party that just two years ago thought they had a permanent, monolithic majority.

Joel Farnham said...


Good point. I don't see the college students getting out and about this time. I am not sure why though. Maybe there isn't that much angst this time around.

Tennessee Jed said...

Obama as a Dino!!! Now there is a thought. When I think about this, the old media will paint anything but a Republican takeover of both houses as a "win" for Obama. I think it is extremely important for the good of the country that the legislation rammed through this year (Obamacare comes to mind) is repealed and replaced with something saner such as Commenterama care.) Realistically, that cannot happen while Obama is president since he has veto and override is extremely tough in a house divided. I cannot see Obama doing a "Clinton" an becoming a "moderate."

For these reasons, my preference might just be for us to take the Senate and come extremely close in the House. This would prevent further damaging legislation, but continue to build to 2012 with the need to sweep B.O. out of office.

AndrewPrice said...

Joel and Lawhawk, I think the thing the keep in mind is that the left has become radicalized. So while the whole radical thing was new for the Democratic Party in 1968, there is a sizable cadre of violent protestors and bomb throwers already out there now, just looking for an excuse.

If they can attract even a small percentage of additional Democrats, then you're looking at a comparable 1968 situation -- especially if the primary turns nasty.

The biggest difference is that the American public won't be surprised this time. We've seen it all before and we have no tolerance for it. In 1968, people were horrified and didn't understand what they saw and didn't know how to deal with it. This time the cops will be ready for them and the public won't be impressed or stunned. All they'll end up doing is hurting their own side even more.

AndrewPrice said...

LL, That's the story they are telling themselves. But it won't help them. That worked for a while, but it doesn't explain how their super-majorities failed to deliver on paradise. So I'm thinking that this is going to get really nasty.

AndrewPrice said...

Lawhawk and Joel, I think Obama has done a lot of harm to student activism. I think that he managed to bring a lot of them out into the political process for the first time by playing to their idealism. But he's shattered that idealism with old-style dirty politics, interest group pandering, never really following through on anything he promised, and his famous "cool" now looks a lot like "indifference."

I think he has basically de-radicalized a generation of students.

AndrewPrice said...

Jed, The media will definitely paint anything less than a capture of both houses as a Democratic victory. But what the media says is less relevant than what the Democrats really expect. I think the loss of either chamber will be enough to start the blood bath in earnest, and I think they will be fighting over the identity of the party in the future. Sadly for them, the far left will have the numbers they need to win that war, which will hurt them a lot with the public.

As for capturing only one house, I think you're right that would be best for the Republicans because it provides a ready excuse for them not to pull off a full agenda immediately. That gives us paralysis until 2012, which helps us finish the takeover.

The only problem with that scenario is that the activist base is likely to consider the Republicans sell-outs if they don't start repealing things on day one, even if they don't have the power. That could present a public relations problem.

MegaTroll said...

I love it when liberals start taking each other down. Let's arm both sides and hope they kill each other off.

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