Stephen Bittel, David Brock and the continued Clintonian third way control of the party

By FrigeEnterprises - Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=45694888

By FrigeEnterprises – Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=45694888

This past Saturday, Florida Democrats elected Stephen Bittel as the new party Chairman by a wide margin. Bittel’s first major event in his honeymoon period appears to be meeting with billionaire donors and Clintonian propagandists. Bittel as FDP Chair has taken office in time for this coming weekend’s billionaire retreat hosted by David Brock, the former right-wing hitman toward the Clinton’s of the 1990’s turned Democratic sympathizer of the late 1990’s/early 2000’s and Clinton propagandist since the mid 2000’s.  The Democrats answer to Davos will take place here in Florida and will consist among other things of a cattle call for potential DNC Chairs – following the Florida model of the newly elected Chair here being vetted by top donors and a process being manipulated to ensure his election (though it could be argued such an illogical process as the FDP has deserved to be manipulated the way it was by Bittel’s team) .

Since the mid 1990’s the Clintonian wing of the party has played the politics of personal destruction and demonetization every bit as well as the Republicans. Sidney Blumenthal’s attacks on reporters in the late 1990’s including former liberal allies such as Christopher Hitchens helped create a culture of submission among Democrats and many in the media world toward Clintonian measures. Those like Hitchens who didn’t play ball or felt Bill Clinton was a genuinely dishonest and flawed character (how could any objective individual feel differently?) were marginalized or even driven to the other side of the political ledger.

Blumenthal then helped spread the salacious rumors about President Obama during the 2008 primary that made its way into the more pro-Clinton elements of the press and continued this pattern into the 2010’s. It’s often forgotten in 2017, how nasty the Clinton forces were toward the Obama candidacy in 2007 and 2008, subtly yet aggressively spreading the same sort of false innuendo that Donald Trump did after Obama’s election. Blumenthal was the architect of this strategy along with Howard Wolfson who had served in consulting role for Rupert Murdoch’s NewsCorp and was also a FOX News contributor.

Brock, whose background included involvement with the R. Emmett Tyrrell Jr. publication The American Spectator which dug dirt up on the Clinton’s during the first Presidential term wrote a sympathetic biography of Hillary Clinton while still ostensibly a conservative in 1998. From that point forward, Brock became an integral part of the Clintonian team serving on the outside in a similar capacity that Blumenthal, an ex- New Republic and New Yorker writer did on the inside of the Clinton team.  In 2016, with Brock and Blumenthal helping to create the national narrative, the Clinton campaign focused on demonizing Donald Trump and those who supported him rather than engaging voters in an uplifting and positive manner. The results as we have discussed for two months on this site were nothing short of disastrous.

With local anger at the grassroots level throughout the country spilling over toward the Democratic establishment, billionaire donors and Clintonian friends, Brock and his allies are doubling-down on trying to crush dissent via control of the party infrastructure and apparatus. Those who thought the end of the “Third Way” had come with the 2016 Presidential Election have to be sorely disappointed with how things are playing out. Despite Democrats being at the lowest ebb in terms of officeholders nationally since the late 1920’s, the establishment is clearly trying to hang on and thus far seems to be doing so with much success.

Where does Stephen Bittel fit into this? The new FDP Chairman is comfortable in a world with billionaire donors and party elites. Perhaps that isn’t a terrible thing as he will give some parties a seat at the table, but he certainly isn’t the type of individual to shake up the controls establishment figures are putting on the party once again in the wake of a humiliating electoral defeat.

The Democratic Party has become more of an elitist country club with a price of admission than grassroots driven political party. With continued losses mounting it appears the critical moves by party leaders are to maintain control so that the spigots stay on. When so many are feeding at the trough financially or professionally of third way politics, it’s difficult to effect any positive, long-lasting change within the party infrastructure.  The Clintonian wing of the party will stop at nothing to retain control even if that means circumventing the party infrastructure itself.

While elites from coastal areas like Miami benefit from a Democratic Party controlled by billionaires and Clinton allies, working class people from the interior of the country suffer from Republican policies and not only losing their voice in the Democratic Party- but from being treated with utter contempt bordering dismissive disdain by those running the party.

Thanks to Counterpunch.org for heads up on this weekend’s event and we will be monitoring what results closely.

 

9 comments

  1. I, as well as other Progressive Grassroots Activists will be active and vocal concerning the FDP. I am hoping for the best, while being prepared to speak truth to power and making sure all voices are heard. Everyone deserves a seat at the table and it will be the only way we can turn this ship around and raise all boats. Remember, it is not progress if it isn’t “Progress For All”.

    1. the old man sitting on the green bench · · Reply

      The society that we all live in demands compromise. The old saying goes that a rising tide raises all boats. The problem is that some boats don’t hold water like they did, their hulls are rotted out. What I am hearing you say is that if you don’t get your way, not just your voice heard, you will continue to flail into the wind. We have issues we all must work on. We must protect the 30 million people that got health insurance under Obamacare. Or would you rather walk out in the name of purity? We must move strongly to protect voting rights for all. We make sure the gains our LBGT brothers and sisters have seen remain. Joe these will be trying times. We need everyone working together. Will you join the effort?

  2. barbara miller · · Reply

    Our local Broward County DEC meeting last night was not anything like you have described. Cynthia Busch and the new officers have recruited and opened up the party for all. There were over two hundred diverse and enthusiastic attendees. And Stephen Bittel called and asked if he could come to introduce himself, which he did. When was the last time that the state party chair showed such appreciation for the grass roots? It is time for all Democrats to accept differences but stop attacking each other and realize that we all need to work together.

    1. Progressive Democrat · · Reply

      Barbara, That’s ridiculous. “Let them eat cake”. What on earth is happening to well meaning people, so easily manipulated by the rich and powerful. OMG did he look at you? Where you able to touch him? Let’s see results before we bow at the shrine.

  3. Daisy J. Baez · · Reply

    If Democrats want “good” people to run for office (non elite, working class folks) then the party will have to be ready to support their races since most good people are not millionaires (I know, I work two jobs to pay the mortgage…) Right now a State house race is costing about half a million dollars and a senate race about a million. If the party supports ten of each (and that is a stretch) we are talking about 15 million dollars that someone will have to cough up. So, this money has to come from somewhere. No, I don’t like this system, but its the one we have. And the only way to change it is to elect more Democrats. And we will not elect more Democrats on charisma specially with Republicans willing to run opponents at a million each (I know, I had one…). Maybe you can put a plan together on how to raise this money that does not require the party to fundraise from millionaires and I offer to personally walk it to the party for their review and consideration.

    1. the old man sitting on the green bench · · Reply

      Your comments are spot on!!!

  4. Yes, we need money, but we need so much more. We have to show voters that we stand for something, something worth switching their voting habits for. You who live in cities, surrounded by Democratic voters, have no ideas and apparently no interest in the rest of the state. We don’t win the state by ignoring everyone who lives outside the blue counties. We need the party to make big changes, and the point of this article was that the same political control is not likely to bring the changes we need.

    I hope the progressive wing of our party does something powerful to regroup and reorganize after this terrible defeat. If the party doesn’t stop being an elitist organization, doesn’t turn and listen to ordinary people, and offer real solutions, there is no point in being a part of it.

  5. mike coleman · · Reply

    We are all here to give our point of view.

    It is true that Politics without big money is a losing proposition no matter how anyone disects the issue.

    “theFloridaSqueeze” is a good forum with a lot of very dedicated people writing, reading and commenting.

    There are a number of elements that appear in the Writing and Commenting that express frustration with Democrat’s election success in Florida as a whole and in Florida’s Districted elections.
    I’m pretty sure we know that only Alex Sink has been elected to a Florida Statewide Office this century.
    I see frustration in commentary and in articles discussing the “South Florida Elites”, “grassroots” and other political descriptives each having it’s own particular way of dividing us into a less than whole Florida Democratic Party.

    There are discussions about DINOs and TRANSACTIONALs which when boiled down to an essence means the writer disagrees with that particular persons point of view or an Elected Democrat’s voting activity.

    Make no mistake, these are valid points about our political views, and the state of our Party but also understand that it is also a mistake to divide ourselves further when what we need to do is come together and win the winable elections.

    I believe that everyone who comes here to read and discuss is dedicated to creating and sustaining better government that what we currently have.

    I also believe that our Party hasn’t lost it’s soul, or does anything close to selling it’s soul for campaign contributions.

    My belief is we have failed to establish OUR BRAND and have simply forgotten that almost every American depends upon and takes far to much for granted the programs. philosophy and actions of our DEMOCRATIC PARTY BRAND.

    Democrats are responsible for American financial security through the establishment of Social Security and Medicare.
    Without these particular programs our entire economy would face uncertainty as these basic elements designed for Retirement provide a consistent set of consumers who spend their benefits throughout the economy and Healthcare system.

    We have failed to do the MARKETING necessary to ensure every American understands these programs can be drastically altered or completely changed in the name of “Reform” by Republicans who have had an 80 year old hatred of the concept of Social Security.

    All it take is a set of votes in Congress and the stroke of a President’s pen to alter these bedrock elements of American life.

    Our task is far simpler than we concieve it to be.
    REMIND AMERICANS OF WHAT THEY HAVE AND IT WAS DEMOCRATS WHO BROUGHT IT TO THEM as we have failed in this essential marketing mission.

    IThis is a perpetual task, it will consume time and energy but, the fact remains there are so many elements of American life that Democrats have constructed and preserved over the past century.

    Our BRAND must reposition itself as the dominant brand by informing American Voters of the risks they have taken by electing Republicans in the numbers necessary to change so many aspects of American life we simply do not question their fragility as most Americans cannot conceive of life without them.

    Here’s a tiny list;

    Public Education
    Free (well most of them still) access to well maintained public roads and bridges
    The 40 Hour Workweek
    Overtime Pay
    Guaranteed Retirement for workers that is free from the whiplashes of the Business Markets
    High Quality Medical Insurance with Prescription Drug pargrams for the Elderly
    Obamacare and Medicaid
    Women’s Reproductive rights
    Civil Rights in an ever expanding defitition
    Voting Rights
    Environmental Protection
    Flood Insurance, Crop Insurance
    SNAP Program
    Unemployment Programs

    the list goes on and on

    We have to market the DEMOCRATIC BRAND and ensure Americans fully understand the risk they take when they elect Republicans.

    Our last Presidential Campaign didn’t market our BRAND’S ACCOMPLISHMENTS

    We are a VICTIM OF OUR OWN SUCCESS much like the KLEENEX BRAND which became synonomous with facial tissue.

    When a brand is so successful that people take it for granted it loses it’s Copyright to the free market.

    Democrats have taken our program’s success for granted by not owning and promoting DEMOCRATIC BRANDED Concepts and systems at every opportunity we stand to become something less than we are.

    Political Branding must be continous and we cannot be cowed into being quiet about our accomplishments.
    Everytime Paul Ryan says Democrats practice MEDI-SCARE he is acknowlegding Republicans have no defense against that truth.
    Paul Ryan and the Republicans fear the day DEMOCRATS everywhere begin to count our accomplishments and remind the American public they stand to lose what they hold dear and expect for every American to have forever.

    ” It’s all about our future” and that future is built upon Democratic achievements of the past.
    Let’s never forget to tell our story.

    And, let’s understand there’s 67 Counties in Florida each with it’s own political turnout potential to maximize.
    Some need to find the Dems who vote Republican and reeducate them because their parents knew what the New DEal meant to them and they strayed away as the BS spewed by the Republican Southern Strategy was pumped into their political veins.

    It’s our job to create the conditions where we all understand our Challenge and we never forget to tell anyone who will listen they depend upon the nation Democrats built.

    When we stand on the shoulders of our past accomplishments we find a taller and more diverse and capable Party of the present and as we tell everyone “it’s all about our future” Americans will respond positively.

  6. Pat Lavins · · Reply

    Stephen Bittel has a better chance of ensuring the election of more Democrats than existed when Alison Tant was ithe leader of the Florida Democrats. She ignored the voter fraud of Corry Westbrook in both the 2014 and 2016 elections.

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