Feingold rides the zeitgeist over Eleanor Clift

This post first appeared on Digby's Hullabaloo and the Huffington Post.

Eleanor Clift has penned a column that sounds like she wrote it after playing spin the Jameson's with Chris Matthews and John McLaughlin at Bob Shrum's St Paddy's Day bash. A bigger puddle of misguided conventional wisdom I have not seen in quite some time.

Democrats must have a death wish.

Just when the momentum was going against the president, Feingold pops up to toss the GOP a life raft.


How many more years are we going to hear this tired nonsense from establishment pundits before people wake up and realize that ever since the Democrats took on this kind of appeasment strategy they have been losing. I have written before that I was an enthusiastic New Democrat at one time --- embracing all the stuff about modernizing politics and marginalizing the "crazies" and creating a new, technocratic party where our "competence" would so dazzle the population that we could set aside all that unpleasant passion and ideology and just simply run the government "the smart way." Man, did I like the sound of that.

There was only one little problem, after we were done patting ourselves on the back for being more brilliant than everyone else in the room, the Republicans beat the crap out of us over and over again. And over time that vision has been whittled down to a belief that if we just wait them out, the country will wake up and realize that we aren't really worse than the other guys so don't make waves.

The conventional wisdom in DC has now ossified into a reflexive notion that Democrats must do nothing. Ever. They must hold back and say nothing when the Republicans are on top and they must hold back and say nothing when they are on the ropes.

Naturally, Clift turns to ex-Republican and current DLCer, Marshall Wittman:
To win in '06, he says, "Democrats need to take the Hippocratic Oath: first, do no harm."
To the Republicans.

But the scruffy, louts out in the country disagree that taking on the Republicans while they are down is bad politics. With a president at 33%, they wonder why in the hell they shouldn't do any harm? What kind of margin for error do we need, a president in the 20's? A negative 10? How low does a Republican have to sink before we aren't afraid to take him on?

Clift assumes, without any kind of proof, that Feingold's motion is going to help Republicans in the polls. Why? The polling suggests that there is a very sizeable minority, in one poll a plurality of people who favor censuring the president. Her own magazine has censure favored by 42% of the country.

But nobody in DC even entertained the possibility before dismissing it out of hand. Jim Lehrer was gobsmacked last Friday night when Tom Oliphant suggested that this wasn't such a left field move after all:

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