The netroots effort to move Congress even further to the left have failed. But that hasn't stopped the leftist efforts to turn the US into a socialist paradise.
Texas Democrat Henry Cuellar is today fond of quoting a famous Lyndon Johnson line: "You know the difference between cannibals and liberals? Cannibals only eat their enemies."
But perhaps the Netroots biggest failure, suggests Mr. Cuellar, is that it hasn't bludgeoned his party's leadership into abandoning the middle. It was moderate Democrats who won their party the majority last year (the New Democrats now boast 60 members; 13 new additions), and Mr. Cuellar claims few people understand that better than Speaker Nancy Pelosi. "I've seen her behind the scenes, and I've always thought she was liberal, but she's done a good job of trying to bring us more to the middle."
If Pelosi is trying to get the party towards the middle, then how far out to the left are the radicals? I'd say that she's anything but a moderate. If she is considered a moderate, then the party has already succumbed to the left.
Despite all the blogger bravado that they now run the show, Mr. Cuellar's experience has been more the norm than the exception. The press may adore them, but the Netroots simply haven't notched many concrete victories. "Every time I see [Sen.] Joe Lieberman in the hall, we like to say 'we're still here, aren't we?'" says Mr. Cuellar, a spunky tone in his voice. California's Jane Harman, reviled as a "warmonger," last year whipped antiwar activist Marcy Winograd in a primary, 62%-38%. Ellen Tauscher, who heads the New Democrat Coalition in Congress, was savaged by left-wing blogs for her votes authorizing Iraq and free trade, and in particular for her warning to her party not to "go off the left cliff." She walked away from her re-election with 66% of the vote.
If the netroots folks do drive more of the moderates out of the party, then it's quite possible that the Democrats will see their majorities in the House and Senate evaporate as the American public sees them for what they are.