Monday, April 02, 2007

Inventing Intra-Democratic Fights

Last Thursday, in the wake of Harold Ford's kickoff speech as chairman of the DLC, the Washington Times published a toxic little article entitled "Ford Splits With Democrats On Iraq," by Brian DeBose. It somehow interpreted a comment by Ford warning against too precipitious a withdrawal from Iraq as meaning he opposed the withdrawal language in the supplemental appropriations bills passed by both Houses of Congress. The article--surprise, surprise--led to fiery posts at DailyKos and at MyDD suggesting that Ford and the DLC were supporting Bush, dissing all Dems, etc., etc.

Ford put out a statement on Friday disputing the WaTimes piece and making it clear he supported the supplemental, withdrawal language and all. I'm not holding my breath in anticipation of an acknowledgement of the statement by the WaTimes, Kos, or Matt Stoller. And none of the three are likely to pay any more attention than they already have to the main point of Ford's speech last Wednesday, which was to deplore the obsessive focus almost everywhere on fundraising by presidential candidates in lieu of a discussion of policy and ideas.

The main progressive blogospheric rap on the DLC has been the organization's "divisiveness" in failing to tow the party line (except on those occasions when progressive bloggers don't want to tow the party line, either). Fine; make that case if you wish, though it would be nice if everyone accepted that there's a debate that must precede the definition of the party line in any given circumstance. But when a right-wing reporter just invents an "intra-party fight," it would be prudent to check with the source before immediately piling on. To the extent that many folks on the Left think the DLC exercises vast influence in the Democratic Party, you'd think they would be a little less eager to assume the organization or its chairman will always go in the wrong direction, on the evidence of the Washington Times.

UPDATE: Contra my cynical expectation, Matt Stoller of MyDD promptly and graciously noted the Ford repudiation of the Washington Times story, and even praised him for it.
-- Posted at 12:46 PM | Link to this post | Email this post

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