June 8, 2005
-- by Gary Boatwright
As usual, Bilmon has a sensible analysis for the Democratic Party on the whole Howard Dean brouhaha.
Or, as the baseball legend reportedly said while managing the New York Mets through their disastrous first season: "Can't anybody here play this game?" If the Democratic Party were a baseball team, I've no doubt Stengel would be swearing at them from the dugout steps right now. To my mind, the latest flap over Howard Dean's, um, creative mouth highlights everything that's tactically wrong with the party. (I'd say strategically wrong, too, but that would be criticizing something that doesn't exist.)
Criticizing the Democratic strategy is like criticizing zero for not adding up. The Democratic leadership is meekly dodging the Downing Street Memo, dodging demanding an exit strategy from Iraq and dodging any overall strategy for 2006 or 2008.
What really bothers the fossils in the Democratic party is that Howard Dean is taking a stand for Democratic values and making them look pale by comparison. Since they can't compete with him on the issues, they are trying to tear him down to their low level of issue avoidance.
The Democratic Dinos should be criticizing and attacking the RNC Chair instead of the DNC Chair:
But, as witless as Dean's crack was, his immediate repudiation by the mushy moderates -- in this case, John "Opie" Edwards and Joe "Badger" -- was in some ways worse.
Edwards and Biden may have thought they were immunizing themselves by pushing the media knife a little deeper into Dean's back, but all they did was ensure another couple of days of coverage for the "story" and give the GOP spinmeisters some fresh ammo to fire back at Dean -- who, whether they like it or not, is the chairman of the entire Democratic Party, not just the Democratic wing of the Democratic Party.
The DLC and the Corporate Democrats did everything they could to stop the grassroots movement to stop Howard Dean. They lost. The grassroots won. Howard Dean is not going to shut up, and I applaud him for that. His critics are splitting the party, not his criticism of the Republican party.
But Dean, or at least his political style, represents the future of the Democratic Party (assuming, of course, that it has a future.) Edwards and Biden, on the other hand, are products of an era in which accommodation to the conservative tide was the smartest survival strategy for most ambitious Democratic pols.
I don't necessarily hold that against them -- there's a lot to be said for survival -- but for the party as a whole their strategy is an evolutionary dead end. The task for the Democratic wing of the Democratic party, it seems to me, is to attack the GOP machine at its weak points whenever and wherever possible, in the most aggressive way possible, while at the same time putting forward a economic and social agenda that is solidly progressive (as liberals understand the term) but also has common-sense, populist appeal.
Absolutely nothing Howard Dean is doing or saying is preventing any of the Democratic Presidential wannabees from putting forward an economic and social agenda. The only thing standing in their way is their own timidity and failure to take a stand on the issues.
Democrats need to get over their minority mentality. Howard Dean is demonstrating exactly how to break out of the battered wife syndome that Kerry and the DLC are locked in to. You fight back against the aggressor.
But I do know that parties with a minority mentality (i.e. that try to blur differences instead of sharpening them) tend to stay in the minority. And one of the classic symptoms of the minority mentality is cowardice -- being ready at the drop of a hat to turn on your own leaders because they've made a gaffe or heated up the debate beyond your own personal comfort zone.
So exactly what is the issue that Richardson or any other Democrat disagrees with? Do they want to conceed that the Republican party is the party of inclusion and racial tolerance?
If Edwards and Biden had disagreed with Dean over a matter of policy I'd probably feel differently about their public criticism: Marching in partisan lockstep obviously can be as unhealthy and destructive as forming the firing squads in a circle. But this was purely an exercise in duck and cover -- even though Dean was dead right on the actual issue at hand and they knew it.
Howard Dean is exactly right again. The Republican party is the party of racism and Christian white guys. The only way to pull their cover is . . . (drumroll) . . . to pull their cover. The Democratic party cannot allow the Republican party to pretend to be the party of racial inclusiveness when they are not.
I am looking forward to Rep. John Connyers reaction to Howard Dean. I am looking forward to the reaction of Jesse Jackson, Barak Obama and yeah, you heard me right, Rev. Al Sharpton.
It's time for the second stringers to get sent down to the farm team and for the real hardball players to take the field. Howard Dean is a real hardball player.
Which, to switch back to my original baseball metaphor, only shows how far the Dems have to go even to get up to the level of play of the '62 Mets -- much less the "Miracle Mets" of 1969. But then, the Mets didn't make it to the World Series with the same players (or manager) they fielded in that dismal first season. It took a whole new team. And I suspect the same will be true of the Democrats.
Biden and Kerry are both has beens and milquetoast wannabees. Edwards and Richardson have been shown a whole new kind of Democrat that they can't compete with. A fiery, no holds barred Democrat who knows how to oppose political tyranny.
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Yes sir! Love Howard.
Posted by: Nancy at June 8, 2005 4:00 PM
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