The Democratic failures to end the war in Iraq and to move against the Bush administration has opened a split on the Left, according to The Hill. Calling the leftist group MoveOn a shill for the Democratic Party, antiwar and other leftist activists have split from the group. They plan to lead attacks against Democrats in Congress in 2008:
Congress’s failure to secure a timetable for withdrawing American troops from Iraq has split anti-war activists on the tactical question of whether to attack Democrats, who now control Capitol Hill.
The split has also underlined accusations among some activists that MoveOn has abandoned its credentials as an issue-based advocacy group and now instead provides cover for Democratic Party leaders.
Anti-war activists throughout the country are united in spending August pressing lawmakers to bring U.S. troops home. But tensions within the movement have been bubbling for months over tactics and whether their fire should be aimed exclusively at Republicans.
The divisions underscore the tough position Democrats are in — short of the 60 votes needed in the Senate to pass binding restrictions on the war and far shy of the two-thirds majority in both chambers required to override a presidential veto.
The sixty-vote threshold argument may have worked until last weekend. When the Bush administration pushed for its controversial FISA rewrite -- which gave some conservatives pause -- they didn't use the 60-vote threshold to their advantage to block it. Instead, sixteen Democrats crossed the aisle to give Republicans 60 votes to pass it. In effect, a substantial number of Democrats endorsed and legitimized a program that they decried as unconstitutional in the last elections, on the way to a majority that was supposed to end that program.
Now the hard Left feels betrayed, and they should. MoveOn, however, has continued to engage in the kind of enabling one needs to hang onto a majority in Congress. They have revealed themselves to be an annex of the Democratic Party rather than any kind of issues-based political action group. Despite the obvious failures of their majority to deliver on their hysterical and unrealistic election promises, MoveOn keeps prescribing the hair of the dog as the path to those goals.
Quite obviously, the Democrats have decided that they cannot win the next election on the platform of United for Peace and Justice, or Code Pink, or Voices for Creative Non-Violence. They represent the fringe of American political thought, and that path takes the Democrats right back to 1995. That's why they can't vote to defund the troops in Iraq, and why they couldn't stand up to the supposedly-irrelevant George Bush on FISA. In short, they want to take the money from the fringe-Left groups, but they won't deliver on their agendas -- for which we should all be grateful indeed.
That sets up an interesting dynamic for 2008. If the Democrats lose the fringe-Left to Ralph Nader again, with MoveOn losing that edge in financing for its more mainstream veneer, they could find themselves unable to hold the House as these groups target conservative Democrats. It could even endanger what should be an advantage for them in next year's Presidential race. This is what happens when political parties and groups overpromise and underdeliver -- which the Republicans found out in 2006.
UPDATE: From the port side of the blogosphere, Jazz warns about the dangers of ignoring the center at Middle Earth Journal.