ANOTHER LOVE NOTE FROM THE DLC….A few weeks ago the DLC’s Al From and Bruce Reed lit off a little nuclear torch aimed at Howard Dean, pissing off all manner of Democrats and assorted liberals in the process. Today in the LA Times they repeat almost exactly what they said back then:

Every weekend, yet another special-interest group hosts a candidate forum to pressure the presidential candidates into praising its agenda. Some of the candidates seem intent on running applause-meter campaigns, measuring success by how many times they tell the party faithful what they want to hear.

….Ironically, party activists are out of line not only with their party’s historic tradition but with their fellow Democrats. In 1996, a survey by the Washington Post compared the views of delegates to the Democratic convention with those of ordinary registered Democratic voters. They might as well have come from different parties. On every single social and economic issue, the views of the registered Democrats were closer to those of all registered voters than to those of Democratic delegates.

Almost two-thirds of Democratic delegates wanted to cut defense spending; most registered Democrats did not. A majority of Democratic delegates opposed a five-year time limit for welfare benefits; two-thirds of registered Democrats supported it. Democratic delegates were split on the death penalty; registered Democrats favored it by a margin of more than 2 to 1.

Now, candidates of either party making the rounds of interest groups during primary season is hardly cause for alarm, and considering the positions that most of the major Democratic candidates have taken, it’s hard to see why the DLC is so concerned about a return to McGovern style liberalism. What’s more, even those 1996 polling numbers they cite aren’t really that scary: they show that Democratic delegates are somewhat more liberal than Democrats as a whole, but not wildly so. I imagine that exactly the same is true on the Republican side.

I don’t mind that the DLC is pushing on the Democratic candidate to be tougher on foreign policy. That’s a perfectly defensible position, and one that makes sense. But what I do mind is that they seem unable to write an op-ed with the goal of bringing both activists and the rank and file together. Instead, their piece is overtly dismissive, seemingly telling activists to just get out of the party and go vote for Nader. What’s the point of that?

Republicans do a much better job of supporting their activists and making them feel wanted, but without letting them take over the party. Why can’t the DLC do the same?