Friday, November 17, 2006


I've been reading way too much about how Dems are somehow not marching in rigid lockstep with each other like the GOPers do, and how this is somehow a problem.

Actually, it's a different governing style. It's called "Democracy".

Hence, "Democrats".

Here's a long overdue article from an MSM source ( about how the Republicans who came in with the 1994 House takeover were actually a "a group of weirdos". To wit:
The iconic figures of this era were Newt Gingrich, Richard Armey and Tom Delay. They were zealous advocates of free markets, low taxes and the pursuit of wealth; they were hawks and often bellicose; they were brutal critics of big government.

Yet none of these guys had success in capitalism. None made any real money before coming to Congress. None of them spent a day in uniform. And they all spent the bulk of their adult careers getting paychecks from the big government they claimed to despise. Two resigned in disgrace.

Having these guys in charge of a radical conservative agenda was like, well, putting Mark Foley in charge of the Missing and Exploited Children Caucus. Indeed, Foley was elected in the Class of '94 and is not an inappropriate symbol of their regime.

There's more hypocrisy to be gleefully mined in the article, and it's a pleasure to finally read.

On the other side, one locus of the MSM fixation on internal Democratic power-jockeying (pretty natural after such a big win) is D.C. political consultant James Carville's deranged criticism of Party Chairman Howard Dean right after Dean helped orchestrate the biggest Dem win in decades.

The hallmark of Dean's tenure has been his obviously successful "50 State Strategy." The simple premise is that the D.C. Dems had written off too much of the country in order to focus money on just a smaller number of key areas where they seemed to have the best chance to win. The problem was that the old approach ceded huge swatches of the country to an unopposed GOP, while losing in those target areas since the GOP had all this freed up dough to spend on them.

Dean's savviest move was to go state-to-state between the 2004 election and our recent one, restarting state operations where they had fallen fallow and helping the struggling Dem organizations in states that still had some sort of life left in them.

The result was Dem wins in places no one expected (Kentucky, Kansas, Arizona) as Karl Rove was forced to fight on so many more fronts, spreading his money ever thinner. And on Saturday, the Association of State Democratic Chairs returned the favor with a strongly worded resolution:
The resolution said the state chairmen "honor and thank Governor Dean for his tireless commitment to state Democratic Parties and the '50-state strategy' ... and for never retreating from what was right for every Democrat in every state."

Not only did Democrats reclaim the House and Senate, they increased their control of governorships and legislatures. In January, Democrats will have 28 statehouses to 22 for Republicans. The breakdown of state legislatures are 24 with Democrats in full control, 16 Republican, nine split and one nonpartisan.

The state-level wins have a particular side benefit that rarely gets written about: it restocks the Party's bench. Emergent state legislature leaders and governors become Senate and Presidential candidates in the years to come.

Carville, once lauded for running (with George Stephanopoulos) Bill Clinton's successful Presidential bid, is not incidentally married to Mary Matalin, top-level D.C. GOP consultant. Maybe he should go over to the other side -- he's not making fans with Dems out in the states:
"I don't think Mr. Carville knows what he's talking about," said Richard Stallings, the Idaho party chairman. "Democrats haven't been winning on the kind of stuff Carville is talking about. The 50-state strategy is the future."

But here's why I love Dr. Dean's approach so much. The good doctor knows that if you don't attempt to get elected by all of America, you don't deserve to govern all of America. To paraphrase Mr. Carville back in the day, "It's the democracy, stupid!" Or as Dean puts it:
"You can't be the powerful party in this country who controls the government unless you are willing to let the people control you. And the only way you can do that is ask everybody for their vote, understand everybody is our boss even if they vote for you or not."

Sounds like the right Rx for the U.S. of A. to me.

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