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Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Adam Nagourney and the Democratic leadership

I'm sick of articles like this from Adam Nagourney and, to be frank, I'm sick of the New York Times political coverage in general. Sick to the point of being done with it. These two quotes (here and here) from Josh Marshall strike me as right on. Basically, after years of reading this stuff, and hearing similar sentiments echoed on NPR, I think blog critics of mainstream media political coverage are right. There's a persistent media bias that has the genetic code of GOP spin and there's no point in giving it energy or credence. The press is no friend of the Democratic Party and has not been for years.

Now, despite this "press reality" it's also true that the Democratic leadership has contributed to this situation. Simply put, our leaders fail us. For myself, the idea that in 2006 Durbin, Kerry, Dean, Obama, Kennedy and Edwards all supplied Adam Nagourney with quotes for this article is pretty lame. What the hell did our leaders think Nagourney was going to make out of these quotes other than another "Dems are flailing and disunited" hit piece? That line that defines insanity as "doing the same thing and expecting different results" rings really true right now. My advice to our Democratic leaders: do not give Adam Nagourney interviews. Tell the Times "No interviews for Adam." If I were Senator, I would say exactly that.

I would like to take this moment to reiterate a point I've been making repeatedly: it's time for a generational change in the leadership of the Democratic Party. And the people we need to replace or sideline are, for the most part, long-standing liberals. I supported John Kerry in 2004. I no longer support Senator Kerry's national ambitions and would advocate that he consider retirement when his term is up. I admire and respect Senator Kennedy; but, personally, I think it's time for him to retire as well. I would support a primary challenge of my own Senator, Dianne Feinstein. I thank her for her service and her part in the history of the Bay Area in particular, but I don't think Senator Feinstein is relevant to California anymore and I have little desire for her continued leadership of my state in any way shape or form.

I will write more at length about what I expect and hope for out of a new generation of Democratic politicians. One thing, however, is crystal clear. Our current leadership bears a strong responsibility for the results we've got, not just in the press, where its galling, but in the political arena as well.

It's time for new leadership in the Democratic party, for a new generation to take over. While NPR and the New York Times aren't going to help us get there, it's pretty clear that some our longstanding leaders are less of a help than a hindrance in making this needed change as well.

My message to the grass roots: it looks like we are going to have to make the change we are looking for by ourselves. If we don't demand it, it's pretty clear that no one else will.


  • you have spoken what is plaguing my own mind, kid. these old dogs apparently cannot learn new tricks, and as such have become a hindrance, no matter how well-meaning they might be. the next question is, of course, who are our young champions who do get it, and how do we go about getting them into leadership positions, and running for the big ticket senate seats?

    while i do not think that he is willing to risk rattling the cages, i would be pleased to see newsom challenge feinstein this time around, if only because he knew a smart political play to shape the political consensus when he saw one with the marriages at city hall.

    the same is true on the state level here in california as the national level, too, which makes this more difficult in that we're lacking a bench, save for the usual suspects who play musical chairs every other year for the statewide seats. how do we get people to run from within a new paradigm when all the folks available have risen through the old system?the CBC and progressive caucus might be one place to start, but at any rate, it's long since time to start looking.

    By Anonymous wu ming, at 10:13 PM  

  • Kennedy staged a fit of pique at the DNC, for the cameras, in 1980 and as Carter has recently clearly stated, led a revolt of the "Kennedy liberals" to vote for Anderson. [As for Kennedy, been recently going back and reading the reality of the 1973 HMO legislation. One can track Democratic party failure in this country thru health care, from the '48 platform forward.]

    Carter had his faults he surely did, but helping to engineer Reagan was despicable. And the Democrats labeled Reagan "stupid" for 8 years, same game as tired Bush Hate now, it was not a remarkably successful demonization, they too often lay down for him.

    Kerry: ABB was badly flawed. It stank of sour scared flop sweat. But it also engineered the nom of a so-called (but hardly) Big Liberal, then it fails (predictably) and so, with hardly a whimper, we will get some version of Vilsack or Bayh or Hillary, if the Clinton strangle on the party continues. With, I suppose, a pliant and nearly boring OBama (read Black Commentator on him, all of their entries).

    nagourney is not a big issue. Democrats themselves are, for decades.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 8:08 AM  

  • It's up to us. There is no point in incessantly whining about the media. Yes, they're terrible. But I look at it this way, the public has no patience for legitimate complaints from the Democrat's constitutuents about their legitimate grievances: discrimination, declining incomes, no health care. Hence, nobody is going to be interested in the Democrats whining over media coverage. Yes, the Republicans were able to get traction for a generation complaining about the "liberal media." We're not going to get the same traction.

    I think it's important to point out misinformation wherever we can of course. Media Matters for America is superb at this. But the sort of article that appeared in the New York Times is not something I blame them for. I blame the idiots in the Democratic Party who publicly whine and expose their identity crisis. It's legitimate for those of us on the outside to hammer away abou the party's identity. But insiders such as Kerry doing it is about as useful as tits on a bull. He should be forcefully articulating an alternative for the American people that's easy to understand and credible. Not whining about how Democrats are perceived or the lack of a single leader to rally behind (because he's hoping to be that leader).

    By Anonymous Intrepid Liberal Journal, at 10:38 AM  

  • Don't try to save the New York Times. Destroy it.

    By Blogger Carl Nyberg, at 11:46 AM  

  • Cancel subscriptions to crappy media outlets.

    The blogosphere should create a foundation (foundations?) to fund a new generation of media outlets.

    We should create our own reality.

    By Blogger Carl Nyberg, at 11:48 AM  

  • I totally agree. That list that Atrios posted of Nagourney's headlines was nauseating. Should be circulating to all Washington Dems. How can they not ee what is going on?

    By Anonymous Kathleen, at 4:41 PM  

  • I have to disagree with some of your choices. Feinstein, okay.

    Look, Kerry and Kennedy have their faults, but, just for the record, they are the two guys who at least TRIED to do something about Alito, albeit too little, too late.

    I rather target the Liebermans, Byrds, Nelsons, et al.

    And one more thing. As a perhaps fading baby boomer, I'm getting a little fed up with this "generational" characterization of who's good and who's not. It's surely time for a change in leadership in the Democratic party, but it has less to do with "generation" than principles. We need Dem leadership who wilm fight for Dem principles, regardless of whether they are baby boomers or GenXers.

    By Blogger leftvet, at 6:18 PM  

  • re: Leftvet and "age"

    It's not based on age, it's based on this factor: "Are you able to deliver in a convincing manner a new message for the Democratic Party in 2006 that will help us win in currently GOP districts?"

    Unfortunately, many of our leaders, including Senators Kerry and Kennedy, aren't. (And that includes those of ideologies from Jackson to Lieberman...they are same old, same old.)

    However, to any leader, WHATEVER THEIR AGE or previous history, who is able to advance a fresh Democratic message in 2006: I say let them come forward.

    As a matter of politics, we need fresh faces. I don't care whether they are young or old.

    Joe Biden, for example, is KILLING our party.

    By Blogger kid oakland, at 7:26 PM  

  • bernie sanders strikes me as someone who, while fairly old, is exactly where we need the senate to be, part of that "new generation". he may be part of that "class of 2006" that you make reference to above.

    By Anonymous wu ming, at 10:44 PM  

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