I think Matt (Singer) gives Joe Klein and the Moose too much credit on this one. The answer to a radical right challenge is to fucking crush it. Seriously. I try to be reasonable and even-tempered here, but this is an ideological invasion. The way to repel it is not to run some mushy centrist campaign with vouchers and "personal accounts" and empiricism, it's to detonate the extremist philosophy underpinning the fools. Look -- I'm a moderate. I probably agree with Joe Klein on lots of things. I'm a big fan of growth and market forces and lots of other stuff that regularly shows up in DLC dispatches. But you know what? Americans don't want to hear about our plans for better management of electrical grids or more equitable distribution of Medicaid spending. They want us to do those things, but they're going to vote us in or out based on our strength, our conviction, and our self-confidence. Which means they're going to vote us in when we speak like this again:
The thing that makes me angriest about what has gone wrong in the last 12 years is that our government has lost touch with our values, while our politicians continue to shout about them. I’m tired of it! (Applause)
I was raised to believe the American Dream was built on rewarding hard work. But we have seen the folks of Washington turn the American ethic on its head.
For too long those who play by the rules and keep the faith have gotten the shaft, and those who cut corners and cut deals have been rewarded. (Applause)
People are working harder than ever, spending less time with their children, working nights and weekends at their jobs instead of going to PTA and Little League or Scouts. And their incomes are still going down. (Applause) Their taxes are still going up. And the costs of health care, housing and education are going through the roof. (Applause)
Meanwhile, more and more of our best people are falling into poverty even though they work 40 hours a week. (Applause)
Our people are pleading for change, but government is in the way. It has been hijacked by privileged private interests. It has forgotten who really pays the bills around here. (Applause) It has taken more of your money and given you less in return. We have got to go beyond the brain-dead politics in Washington and give our people the kind of government they deserve, a government that works for them. (Applause)
That was Clinton accepting the Democratic nomination for president, and doing it with conviction. That was him exposing Bush's father as an out-of-touch technocrat, and we'll win when we do the same to his son's successor. I was there, in 2004, when Kerry stood on the stage and assumed the mantle of standard-bearer. And I listened to his proud and stirring defense of Democratic ideals. But it was just that -- a defense. We ran a defensive convention and they ran an offensive (in more ways than one) convention. That allowed them to challenge our nominee and philosophy while theirs emerged untouched. We can't do that again. So no, Joe Klein, the response to a radical right challenge isn't some pablum about changing economies and the vital center, it's an overwhelming counteroffensive. It's an exposition of everything that's morally bankrupt, spiritually unsound, and empirically unstable in their ideology. And it has nothing to do with industrial societies. Your boy, our boy, Clinton, knew that. And so his position as a New Democrat never interrupted his attacks on old Republicans. See that his second-term strategy of triangulation, a strategy that was mandated by his weaknesses and had the long term effect of weakening the party, does not obscure your vision of his entirely successful strategy for toppling an incumbent by exposing his ideological deficiencies.