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Hey Nutroots, You Lost

The Wall Street Journal's lead editorial today catalogues Barack Obama's dramatic reversals on a wide array of issues over the last few weeks alone. From NAFTA, to the Iraq War to the FISA bill, Obama is now taking positions markedly at odds with what he said were his positions during the Democratic primary. One can chalk this up to the usual gymnastics that a candidate has to perform to win a general election. To a degree, that's true (it also shows Obama's steep political learning curve). What it all underlies, however, is just how politically marginalized are the "Netroots," and, by extension, the left-wing of the Democratic Party. The Journal goes so far as to label these series of shifts as an indication that it is Obama, just as much John McCain, who is running for "Bush's Third Term."

And it's hardly just the conservatives on the Journal editorial page noticing these moves. Witness the ever-excitable Glenn Greenwald throwing hissy-fits. Markos Moulitsas announces that he's holding off on giving money. Arianna Huffington huffs 'n puffs. By rejecting these people and their radicalism, Barack Obama isn't just showing that he wants to win, but that he wants to govern the country responsibly.

All of this reminds me of something the New York Sun's Eli Lake wrote just over a year ago:

I bet at least half of the netleft are failed professors, over-educated literary theory PHDs, who make themselves appear more numerous than they are through their anonymity and deliberate manipulation of google. Their real audience are the technocrat staffers for Dems on the Hill, who agreed with them that their bosses were pushovers during the Bush presidency.

What if the netleft, that has created the impression that there is a rising plurality that would like to abandon Iraqis to Qaeda, Quds and the Ba'ath, are just a few thousand committed Marxists in their pajamas? What if the Dems have strategically miscalculated? What if their over-compensation is to appease a vocal 1 percent of the electorate that actually draws contempt from the rest of the country?

Why Democrats have ever listened to these people is beyond me. Let's applaud Barack Obama for ignoring the nonsense wing of his party.

--James Kirchick