Friday, December 10, 2004 Fires One Across the Bow, the group that claims to have started the fire in the grassroots for the Democratic Party last year in backing Howard Dean, is now claiming ownership of the party itself.

A scathing e-mail from the head of MoveOn’s political action committee to the group’s supporters on Thursday targets outgoing Democratic National Committee chairman Terry McAuliffe as a tool of corporate donors who alienated both traditional and progressive Democrats.

“For years, the party has been led by elite Washington insiders who are closer to corporate lobbyists than they are to the Democratic base,” said the e-mail from MoveOn PAC’s Eli Pariser. “But we can’t afford four more years of leadership by a consulting class of professional election losers.”

Under McAuliffe’s leadership, the message said, the party coddled the same corporate donors that fund Republicans to bring in money at the expense of vision and integrity.

“In the last year, grass-roots contributors like us gave more than $300 million to the Kerry campaign and the DNC, and proved that the party doesn’t need corporate cash to be competitive,” the message continued. “Now it’s our party: we bought it, we own it, and we’re going to take it back.” []

These kinds of turf wars always happen after a party loses an election. Some people get nervous when it happens, saying it’s bad for party unity, but history has shown that even when a party suffers a devastating loss, they can come back with a vengence. Just look at the Republicans after Goldwater in 1964 and then 1968, the Democrats in 1988 followed by 1992, and the Republicans again in the 1996 midterms and 2000. Meanwhile, the hubris of the Republicans and their allies of the Religious Reich have already begun to lay the groundwork for payback in spades in the next cycle.