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From Kaus's Lips...

11:05 AM, Feb 11, 2008 • By BRIAN FAUGHNAN
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Mickey Kaus:

"All of this discussion is irrelevant because John McCain is going to be elected president with 70 percent of the vote. So why do we even worry about what the Democrats are going to do for 2008. Half the Democrats are going to vote for McCain, and I'm going to be one of them."

Kaus and Bob Wright also engage in a lengthy discussion of why the Democrats may be headed for failure. They largely agree that a winning Democratic national security message may be that there is a real terrorist threat, but that President Bush has responded in a reckless and irresponsible way.

The problem with this approach is that the Democratic base is reflexively against treating terrorism as anything but a law-enforcement problem. To succeed in a general election, Barack Obama or Hillary Clinton will likely need to say that we are engaged in a war; that we need to keep military options on the table; that we will need to support aggressive terrorist surveillance. Yet Democratic activists are fighting tooth and nail against recognizing this reality.

To walk this fine line -- to appeal to the center while not angering the base -- takes a masterful politician. It takes someone like Clinton -- Bill, not Hillary. Because Democrats were desperate to retake the presidency, he was able to convince the base to back someone who campaigned as a moderate. It doesn't seem as if the Netroots are willing to make that concession this year.