Progressives and their acolytes in the media are seething over the Democratic National Committee appointing the old guard to positions of power and influence for the upcoming Democratic National Convention. Just hearing the names of John Podesta and Barney Frank is triggering the PTSD of many in the progressive wing of the party and giving them flashbacks of 2016.
Hillary Clinton’s former campaign chairman, John Podesta, is a flagship member of the Never-Bernie movement. You may remember that in one of Podesta’s leaked emails, he suggested that the Vermont senator should be “ground to a pulp,” while another message wondered where to “stick the knife” in Bernie.
Then there’s good old Barney. The Hill harkened back to those halcyon days when the former representative from Massachusetts was referred to as “an aggressive attack surrogate for the Clinton campaign.”
There are so many clichés and more than a little schadenfreude running through GOP ranks regarding this latest move by the Democratic Party to eat one of its own:
“Wait – didn’t we already have Groundhog Day?”
“Is this déjà vu all over again?”
“Never interfere with an enemy while he’s in the process of destroying himself.”
“The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.”
Bernie – The Sequel
DNC Chair Tom Perez has certainly managed to rile up his base with these appointments to key platform committees for the Milwaukee convention. One leftist whined in Salon, “[It’s like] a who’s-who of people explicitly opposed to the progressive agenda.” It’s as if the hand that rocks the DNC cradle is saying – in no uncertain terms – that progressives can play in the sandbox all they want, but they’d better not climb out into the big playground because that’s where they can get hurt.
Last time this movie was made, you may remember that Bernie lay down and rolled over. He threw his support to HRC – much to the dismay of his partly angry, but mostly depressed, supporters. Yes, all those little people who threw Bernie a fin only to find that it wound up in Hillary’s coffers.
One wonders whether the leftist outrage will channel itself into something meaningful this time around. Have Bernie and friends learned a thing or two about how to wield the sword of their party, or are they still just playing around the edges?
Perhaps they might take a lesson or two from their nemesis. Donald Trump was certainly not the party favorite of the GOP in the last election, but Republicans that did support Trump would not hear of the shenanigans that are prevalent in the Democratic Party. Oh, it’s not that they didn’t try, but eventually, Reince Priebus and his satraps had to raise the white flag in surrender to the Trump machine.
Questions abound regarding this apparent move of self-immolation by those in charge of the Democratic Party:
The timing: Why would Perez make public this list of the old guard right before the Iowa caucuses when Bernie appears to be running hard and well in that neck of the woods?
The message: Are the party faithful trying to send up a smoke signal to the progressive wing of their party that socialism is not a winning platform for 2020?
The upshot: Has Bernie grown a spine since 2016? Or is the senator’s innate socialist character incapable of triumph over his establishment masters?
To Trump supporters and much of the GOP, this Democratic civil war is – in the president’s words – a beautiful thing. Should this move by Perez prove to be a warning shot fired at the Bernie Sanders campaign, indicating they are headed for a bloody and costly conflict – much like the Battle of Antietam – the road to 2020 for Sanders has narrowed down to a single lane.
Republicans can only hope.
Read more from Leesa K. Donner.