Carville occupies a weird niche in politics in that he’s a Democrat to the core but hates the left almost as much as righties do.
To which I suppose progressives would say, “That’s not a weird niche, that’s like 98 percent of the Democratic establishment.”
Fair enough. The weird niche, then, is that Carville vocalizes his contempt for them pretty much every time he’s mic’d up.
As amusing as this clip is, though, is it actually true?
James Carville: Roe opponents are “justified” in their belief that even if the case is overturned, “all Democrats are going to do is sit around and talk about veganism and pronouns.” pic.twitter.com/PYHMHFbkP3
— Virginia Kruta (@VAKruta) May 6, 2022
Leftists are going to sit around after Roe goes down yammering about pronouns or “Latinx” or defunding the police or one of their other little cultural hobbyhorses that polls at like 4/96? I tend to doubt that.
Frankly, judging by the reaction to Carville’s segment on social media, many are indignant at the accusation:
I legitimately don’t understand why people listen to Carville bashing Democrats for talking about “pronouns” when Democrats haven’t been talking about transgender rights; it’s been Republicans in Texas and Florida and Iowa that have gone after transgender kids. https://t.co/BmiNzJstU0
— Eric Michael Garcia (@EricMGarcia) May 6, 2022
The weird thing about Carville scolding the left for going off-message amid a major political opportunity is that, if anything, Democratic candidates have been too on-message this week. Senate prospects like John Fetterman in Pennsylvania and Tim Ryan in Ohio have every electoral reason to moderate their views on abortion in a post-Roe landscape. Fetterman’s running in a purple state as a working-class small-town guy whom you might mistake as a Trump fan if not for the fact that he’s hyper-liberal on policies across the board. Taking a middle-ground position on when abortion should be permitted would help him connect with rural voters who are curious about him but may end up scared off by his progressivism. But when Fetterman was asked at a recent Democratic primary debate which limits he’d support on abortion, he said none. Madness.
As for Ryan, he already sounds like a moderate Republican on other policy matters in his ads, a rational move to make when you’re a Democrat in a state Trump won by eight points. But ask him about abortion and suddenly he sounds like a member of the Squad:
BRET BAIER: My question was about any limits to abortion at any point. Late-term, anything?
TIM RYAN: Look, you got to leave it up to the woman. You and I sitting here can’t account for all of the different scenarios that a woman, dealing with the complexities of a pregnancy, are going through. How can you and I figure that out?
I don’t think Carville needs to worry about Ryan or Fetterman running on proper pronoun use or lapsing into lectures about “birthing people.” He should worry that even the blue-collar guys his party has recruited in the Rust Belt sound like abortion fanatics.
Let’s say Democrats take his advice, though. They backburner the left’s obsessions and go on offense in support of mainstream Democratic cultural positions, starting with protecting Roe. Gavin Newsom called on his party to do exactly that a few days ago, complaining that “we sit there 24-7 taking it from the … misinformation and rage machine on the right” instead of defending the virtues of liberal beliefs. That idea, that “our side” is too passive in the face of attacks from “their side,” is always in vogue among activists of both parties but it’s been especially popular among lefties since the clip of Michigan Dem Mallory McMorrow responding to “groomer” accusations went viral a few weeks ago. This is how we win, liberals told each other afterward, excitedly. We fight the culture war by telling voters that Republicans are bigots and haters.
That’s not how you win, replied liberal Ruy Teixeira, whose efforts to reason with his own party have become regular must-reads. Teixeira is begging Dems to let go of what he calls “the Mallory McMorrow fallacy.”
[Y]ou can see why this approach appeals to Democrats, who are loathe to admit there are any real problems in the areas on which they are attacked by their conservative opponents, from schools, race and gender to crime and immigration. I have termed this the Fox News Fallacy—if conservatives criticize you for something, there must be nothing to it. In fact, I would say the Fox News Fallacy and the Mallory McMorrow Fallacy are closely connected. If you believe, under the sway of the Fox News Fallacy, that all conservative criticisms are completely made-up, then it follows that the Democratic message in these areas shouldn’t bother with any defense but simply denounce the lies Republicans tell to fan the flames of hatred. And the sterner and more uncompromising the better—hence the Mallory McMorrow Fallacy.
This has not worked and is highly unlikely to work for the midterms and beyond. The Democrats cannot escape the necessity of moving to the center on sociocultural issues which does not consist of simply opposing hatred, but rather of making it clear that Democrats have a common sense approach to these issues that is different from the approach pushed by their woke activist wing. Until that is done, the Democrats will continue to be highly vulnerable on all these issues.
You can call Ron DeSantis anti-gay all day long, says Teixeira, but the bottom line is that most Americans agree with him that teachers shouldn’t be providing any sort of instruction about sexual orientation to young kids. You can and should go on offense about Roe, he advises them, but only by bearing in mind that most voters support restrictions at some point during pregnancy. “Democrats should be cognizant of this and stick to a simple message of preserving basic abortion access and opposing blanket, no-exception bans,” he writes.
I don’t think they have it in ’em.
In lieu of an exit question, read this piece about just how eager centrist congressional Democrats are to distance themselves from the worst excesses of progressives. They’re lobbying Pelosi to … increase funding for the police.