Sunday, March 12, 2006

Deck Chairs, Titanic? Howard Dean, late of the Democratic wing of the Democratic Party, is rushing to fill the leadership vacuum in his party by . . . well, by trying to drag the racial spoils system into the presidential primaries.
Minorities have been pushing for more of a voice in the early voting, noting that Iowa and New Hampshire are overwhelmingly white. The new early states could come from the South and West to provide regional diversity as well.
If black people want to vote earlier, let them move to Iowa and New Hampshire, I say. At any rate, this will do nothing to help the Democrats' chances. (All they can hope for is that the GOP nominates a corpse or a criminal in '08 -- though with the Republicans, either one is better than an outside shot.) At best, it will merely be a furniture shift, perhaps intended to hold onto the loyalty of minority groups. (At worst, it could be a signal that the Dems fear minorities defecting to a charismatic Republican candidate.) As I've argued before, the Dems are so in thrall to their splintered pressure groups -- minority groups as much as any -- that a Democrat nominee ends up straitjacketed before the general election even begins. Pushing for minorities to have "more of a voice" in the process is like pushing for labor unions to have more of a voice. It just drags them further off center.

I may be wrong, but it seems to me that 2004 was the Dems' perfect storm. The base was fired up, the incumbent was on the ropes in the media, and every Democrat but Hillary wanted to run. Then they let a knucklehead like Dean drag them down the back alley of intraparty conflict, and they ended up sacrificing the old DLC platform (and Joe Lieberman, the best of their candidates) on the altar of the fair-trade-and-nose-ring crowd, who rewarded them by staying home in droves on election day. Afterward, the party punishes Dean by making him their leader. This is crazy thinking.

Best of luck to you, Howard, in your efforts to push the party further left. And give my best to Rove when he stops by with your next check.

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