Stanley Kurtz echos many of the same points that I've made before about the Democratic party: they'll never regain a majority unless they're willing to purge themselves of their far-left fringe element. Mr. Kurtz puts the issue in context by discussing the ousting of Harvard President Larry Summers.
Summers is from the sane side of the Democratic Party (yes, there is one). These moderate Democrats want to bring the academy closer to the center of the country. But when push came to shove, the leftist faculty wouldn't play along.
That left Summers and his moderate Democrat backers on the board to choose between appeasement and a serious public battle. Ultimately, Summers and his allies backed down because they are part of the same national political coalition as the leftist faculty (which contributes heavily to the Democratic Party). Moderate Dems would be happy to reform the academy, but they don't have the stomach to treat leftist professors as open opponents. Only Republicans can do that. So in a way, we are seeing another iteration of the paralyzing split between DLC types and the fire-breathing base. The Democratic left is just too big, too powerful, and too essential to victory to be purged, as Peter Beinart wanted to do.
Which is why Hillary may be a dangerous presidential candidate: she can afford to take centrist positions during the campaign because the far left will never abandon her. So she thinks; she also thinks that non-crazy voters will forget her far-left history. I'm not sure either of those is true, but she's banking on them and it's likely the rest of her party will go along for the ride. My own prediction is another decade of Republican dominance... though I'd much prefer that result if there were a minority party strong enough to reign in some of the Republicans' own shortcomings.
Meanwhile, regarding the far-left academy: former Taliban spokesman Sayed Rahmatullah Hashemi is now a student at Yale University.
Now Yale is giving a first-class education to an erstwhile high official in one of the most evil regimes of the latter half of the 20th century--the government that harbored the terrorists who attacked America on Sept. 11, 2001.
"In some ways," Mr. Rahmatullah told the New York Times. "I'm the luckiest person in the world. I could have ended up in Guantanamo Bay. Instead I ended up at Yale." One of the courses he has taken is called Terrorism-Past, Present and Future.
Many foreign readers of the Times will no doubt snicker at the revelation that naive Yale administrators scrambled to admit Mr. Rahmatullah. The Times reported that Yale "had another foreigner of Rahmatullah's caliber apply for special-student status." Richard Shaw, Yale's dean of undergraduate admissions, told the Times that "we lost him to Harvard," and "I didn't want that to happen again."
The Democrats aren't smart to build their party in the mold of these "elite" "educators".