Like I have said, over and over again, Howard Dean is going to be the Democrat candidate in 2004. Now House and Senate Dems are getting worried:
“Democratic strategists have begun to express concern about what they say is the potentially negative effect the former Vermont governor could have on Senate and House races if he becomes the party’s nominee,” ROLL CALL is reporting in Thursday’s edition.
“This line of criticism underscores an approach to the campaign Dean has employed to great effect thus far, pitching himself as a straight-talking outsider who will challenge the political orthodoxy of the inside-the-Beltway Democratic establishment.”
Of most concern: “Dean’s outspoken opposition to the war in Iraq and his call for a complete rollback of President Bush’s tax cuts, positions that some strategists argue makes him unattractive – even potentially alienating – to swing voters needed to win competitive House and Senate seats.”
“If Dean is the nominee it will make 1972 look competitive,” a Democratic strategist not “aligned with any of the presidential campaigns” told the newspaper. “Members and candidates in marginal seats will be running for the hills.”
Looks like the campaign to sabotage Dean will begin in earnest. If this happens, expect a green/moderate Democrat split that will create a seismic shift in the political landscape. The hard left will have a stroke if the DLC types are seen to destroy Dean (even though Dean is pretty much a moderate himself). This is good for the Republican party.
Gotta agree, John. Living in upstate NY, I’ve seen & read enough about Dean to know he really is a centrist, and probably qualifies as a fiscal conservative. The only “liberal” positions he’s taken are in working for universal health insurance, and signing the civil union law. BTW, the latter was due to a court ruling, not a personal initiative on Dean’s part.
In light of all that, I’ve always wondered where the “Far Left” meme came from.
Speaking as a Democrat, if Dean is the nominee and we as a party fail to rally behind him, we deserve to lose in 2004.
Didn’t we lose most of those marginal seats playing it safe in 2002?
Perhaps it’s just a question of style: the DC Democrats remained shellshocked in the face of ultra-conservatives who now call them traitors, out to destroy America. (see Coulter, Hannity, Savage-Weiner’s book jackets for details). Dean looks more like a man who’ll die on his feet than live on his knees.
Actually, I’d argue that in terms of sheer survival it would be in the best long-term interests of the Democrats to nominate Dean – but not because he may be a centrist. A centrist Democratic candidate in 2004 would be a disaster for that party, which is the central problem: it’d be the metaphorical equivalent of fixing a crack in the wall by hammering a railroad spike into it.
I’d personally recommend nominating Dean and letting the wilder members of the Left have their heads in the campaign: then, after they lose, take the opportunity to hammer the Greens* and Buchananize the worst of the Left’s crazies. That should put them in position to capitalize on the 2006 elections (‘cuz the Republicans are going to have their own issues, starting in ’05) and have a very good shot at the WH in ’08.
Of course, I’m a Rightie, so nobody on the Left will listen to me, so I can even give honestly meant advice and nothing will happen! Tra la la…
*If I was a Democrat, I’d frankly worry more about the Greens than the Democrats. The Republicans are competitors for the same prize (the vast pack of centrist voters) – but the GOP needs some sort of credible opposition party, if only to mobilize their own base, and it might as well be the Dems.
The Greens, OTOH, want to eat the Democrats and take their spot in the political ecosystem. Which, really, is why I’m playing Cassandra: I can live with the Democrats being in power, all things being equal. I’d rather not have to learn to live with the Greens, thankyouverymuch.
If we take a look at the only other time in American history that a party really DISAPPEARED, you’d have to look at the rise of the Republican party and the concomitant collapse of the Whigs.
This occurred in the context of a massive nat’l debate on one key subject (slavery), which also overlapped w/ several regional arguments (tariffs, urban/industrial vs rural, North-South ASIDE from slavery). And, of course, the fundamental question of whether it was worth risking the nation coming apart in order to pursue certain ends. The Republicans were prepared to risk it (or thought it wouldn’t come to that), the Democrats weren’t, and the Whigs couldn’t figure out WHERE they stood, and watched their party dribble into the Republicans.
I’m not sure if the Greens are quite in a position to be the next Republicans (to the Democrats’ Whigs), but from a Dem perspective, there’s a worse fate—the Dem party splitting into two viable pieces, neither of which can absorb the other. In which case, they are doomed to permanent minority status in the American first-past-the-post construct.