March 17, 2005
Yuval Rubenstein Is a Genius!
The Left Coaster: Democrats Must Find the "Evolutionary Middle": By remarkable happenstance, I just experienced a 'mind meld' with Al From, Bruce Reed, and Ed Kilgore of the Democratic Leadership Council, similar to the one Marshall Wittmann experienced with Joe Lieberman. The occasion for this supernatural occurrence was a front-page article in the Washington Post highlighting a growing nationwide campaign to curtail the teaching of evolution in our nation's schools. Here is a summation of our 'meeting of the minds' (sorry, couldn't resist).
Fellow Democrats (even you, Chairman Dean):
We here at the Democratic Leadership Council were most distressed to read an article in the Washington Post highlighting ongoing efforts in 19 states to counteract the teaching of evolution:
Propelled by a polished strategy crafted by activists on America's political right, a battle is intensifying across the nation over how students are taught about the origins of life. Policymakers in 19 states are weighing proposals that question the science of evolution.
The proposals typically stop short of overturning evolution or introducing biblical accounts. Instead, they are calculated pleas to teach what advocates consider gaps in long-accepted Darwinian theory, with many relying on the idea of intelligent design, which posits the central role of a creator.
They are acting now because they feel emboldened by the country's conservative currents and by President Bush, who angered many scientists and teachers by declaring that the jury is still out on evolution. Sharing strong convictions, deep pockets and impressive political credentials -- if not always the same goals -- the activists are building a sizable network.
Undoubtedly, the liberal urban elites in our party, led by Michael Moore and Eli Pariser, will scoff at these latest efforts. But we believe that this attitude is dangerously misguided. By fully embracing the theory of evolution, Democrats risk alienating millions of voters in our nation's heartland who would otherwise be attracted to our party's agenda. Therefore, instead of turning their backs on these Red State evolution skeptics, we strongly encourage Democrats to embrace the 'evolutionary middle.'
What exactly is the 'evolutionary middle,' you may ask? Well, one thing it most certainly is not is a wholesale embrace of creationism. After all, we do realize that, however much we at the DLC may dislike it, the Democratic party will never turn its back on the scientific community, let alone rational empiricism. Instead, we believe that the 'evolutionary middle' involves accepting the basic tenets of evolutionary theory, but loudly and insistently reminding our Red State brethren that it is, after all, only a theory. Furthermore, we must also go out of our way to emphasize that there is room for both evolution and the rival theory of 'intelligent design.' Rather than adopting a Howard Dean-like rejectionism, we must find common ground with ID proponents. To that end, we are announcing a partnership with the Discovery Institute, the leading proponents of Intelligent Design. Our goal is to adopt a set of scientific principles that are acceptable to both evolution adherents and ID theorists.
The Democratic party is at a critical juncture in its history. Held hostage by militant secularists and anti-religious zealots, our party is in danger of ceding a wide swathe of political ground to Republicans by failing to heed the concerns of evolution-hostile voters throughout the country. This is why our initiative to reach the 'evolutionary middle' is such a pressing concern. Please join us.
I'm enough of a fan of the DLC to think that it has a powerful productive role to play in the Democratic Party (if it would do things like actually produce a reasonable Social Security plan rather than complaining that other Democrats haven't). But Yuval's parody of the DLC is *so* *so* true.
Posted by DeLong at March 17, 2005 11:23 AM