Fanmail from a flounderer

Susan Estrich, who managed the Dukakis campaign to a stunning 122 electoral votes,

has some advice for the Democrats:

There’s no question what the Left wants. Why don’t these guys (and girls) have any courage, a very left leaning friend demanded of me recently. Why aren’t they angry? Why don’t they start screaming bloody murder? Why don’t they demand that the troops start coming home NOW?

That is, figuratively speaking, not only what MoveOn is doing, but what it is demanding. In his new book, “The Argument,” Matt Bai, after carefully researching MoveOn and other new generation Democratic activists and bloggers, concludes that what they are offering is not so much a new vision as a new strategy; that they are seeking to match the “right wing conspiracy,” which spews out faxes and statements every day, blogs on Drudge and speaks through Rush and Hannity, with a left-wing version, which spews just as much ink, blogs on Huffington, and speaks through Olberman.

You control fires by building new ones, or at least you meet fire with fire, and if we all end up in the rubble, you certainly can’t blame the people who fought back second rather the ones who started it first. The Left has, in a word, adopted the tactics of the right. What’s good for the goose is good for the gander.

Primaries are won on the Left and Right. General elections are won in the middle. That’s the problem Petraeus poses for Democrats. If he could convince MoveOn, this would be easy. But he can’t and won’t. The danger is that he convinces folks in the middle that it would be irresponsible to simply pull out troops now, rather than trying to stabilize the situation further, that there is enough improvement both politically and militarily at the grass roots level to follow his schedule, rather than a Democratic one, that he knows what is happening on the ground in Iraq better than people who aren’t there.

The risk for Democrats is that those who take him on will be seen as naïve or weak or beholden to the Cindy Sheehans, which is not a direct route to the Oval Office. The other risk is that those who don’t will be attacked and belittled for failing to do so, and will never make it to the finals in this contest. It was a whole lot easier when this was just Bush’s war.

Oddly enough, Americans disagree with Susan.

Well, to her credit, it’s not the first time.



Yeah. Like I would tell you....