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Shouldn’t partisan Democrats be happy about Unity08?

Shouldn’t partisan Democrats be happy about Unity08? That’s the question that I was confronted with when I made posts to DailyKos about Unity08, trying to get other people interested in this looming ethical disaster.

Joshua Lymon:

Democrats will be generally united I believe b/c of the disasterous last 6 years of GOP rule.

A substantial segment of the traditional Republican base, I believe, will migrate to the Unity08 candidate (if they run someone strong) b/c of the disasterous 6 last 6 years of GOP rule.

If the net effect of a Unity08 ticket is a few thousand votes in favor of the Democrats in Florida, then the Democrats will have won (remember Nader in 2000?).

Good for the Democrats.

and again:

Do y’all agree w/me that they’re more of a threat to the GOP? Democrats are quite united and we know who the real Dems are! I see Bloomberg and/or Lieberman further fracturing the GOP.

Why would any self-respecting Democrat vote for Michael Bloomberg over Clinton, Obama, Edwards, Richardson, Dodd, etc…?

I’ve heard this reaction from partisan Democrats in offline discussions elsewhere, and here at Irregular Times too, occasionally. The arguments I hear fall into two categories:

1. Unity08 is a joke that will go nowhere.

2. Unity08 is actually a good thing for the Democrats, because it will siphon off the votes of Republicans. Y’see, no “real Democrat” would consider not voting for a Democratic candidate in the 2008 elections…

To #1, let me just note that Unity08’s contributions have gone from a total of about $77,000 in reported donations in the 2nd and 3rd Quarter of 2006 to a much bigger $306,920 in the last three months of 2006. That’s not Hillary Clinton territory, but it will be soon if Unity08 keeps up that rate of increase in donations from its wealthy, powerful, elitist friends. Then there are the media pieces in the New York Times, Washington Post, USA Today, Philadelphia Inquirer, Denver Post, Atlantic Monthly, CNN, MSNBC, CBS NEWS… need I go on?

To #2, I have to say that Democratic partisans overestimate the number of “real Democrats” in this country at their peril. Democratic Party successes in the 2006 election were to a great extent due to popular anger at Bush and the Republicans. That’s not the same as love for Democrats. There may be reason to believe that a Unity08 ticket would be good for the Republicans, since Unity08’s fake populism and hypocritical rage at lobbyists and insiders could siphon off the fat ideological middle of the country that would otherwise go Democratic in 2008.

I have to be honest and tell you that I’m not a partisan — the Democrats have gone woolly too many times for me to ever consider joining their band, and you know exactly what the Republicans are. My reasons for coming out with this information on Unity is principled: I can’t stand it when rich, fat-cat insiders pretend that they’re a grassroots people’s movement, then use that edge to promote their own ego and power.

You may be (and I hope you are) critical of Unity08 for that reason, too. But my point is that you could be the most committed partisan, even eschewing your own ideals for the sake of the organization, and still have a lot to fear from Unity08.

2 comments to Shouldn’t partisan Democrats be happy about Unity08?

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