It is said that Ronald Reagan's first commandment of political campaigning was: "Thou shalt not criticize another Republican." This commandment served him well in pushing his conservative agenda.
Labor Day marks the official start of the campaign series. At least from Labor Day through Election Day, Democrats should adopt their own version: "Thou shalt not criticize another Democrat."
Control of Congress is at stake in November. If the Democrats can gain a majority in one or both houses of Congress, they can carry out thorough investigations of the Bush administration's misdeeds and can largely control what bills come to the floor for a vote. The division between Republicans and Democrats in Congress is extremely close. One or two races could end up determining control. Every Congressional and Senatorial Democrat--whether progressive or centrist--is needed for the Democratic Party to assume the majority.
So, "Thou shalt not criticize another Democrat" should apply to all Democrats: elected officials and their staffers (whether on or off the record), political consultants, commentators, and bloggers. (I've written my share of blogs criticizing the Democrats in Congress, but now is not the time.) It should be adhered to both by the progressive wing and the DLC wing of the party. Progressive Democrat should be supporting red state conservative democrats like Ben Nelson. "Centrist" democrats should be supporting Ned Lamont. Control of Congress is in the balance.
Long-term, there is an ongoing struggle for the soul of the Democratic Party between grassroots activists and corporate supported DLC candidates. After the election, there will certainly be jockeying between these wings of the Democratic Party. But this struggle can be better served with a Democratic majority in Congress which can get its legislative agenda to the floor of Congress.
So, altogether now, "Thou shalt not criticize another Democrat", at least from Labor
day until after Election Day.