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This Dog Won’t Hunt — Why Now?
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This Dog Won’t Hunt

First off you have to understand that the Democratic Party not only won control of the House and the Senate, but there is now a Democratic majority among governors, and nice gains in state legislatures.

Rahm Emanuel of the Congressional Committee only worked on House campaigns. Chuck Schumer only worked on Senate campaigns. Howard Dean worked on all campaigns.

As Ellroon reports in this Kommuniqué from Kommander Kos, Before the Democrats get all full of themselves and forget, everyone helped and everyone deserves credit.

With those realities in mind, this move by the “DC Democrats” to seize control of the Democratic National Committee from Howard Dean is not acceptable. James Carville and the DLC are losers without Bill Clinton as a candidate. Bill Clinton won, not the DLC. The “spoils” and jobs belong to the people who win elections, not those who lose them.

Shakespeare’s Sister discusses this effort in her post, Today In Great Ideas; NTodd calls his, Democratic Pharisees; Digby calls it turning Winning Into Losing; and MJS gives us a song, I Drove My Car to Carville.

John Emerson has a trilogy: Mr. Matalin wants to fire Howard Dean, Let’s sort it out, and The DC Democrats.

If the “Democratic elite” would like to see the netroots become part of the Green Party and have the Democratic Party enjoy permanent minority status, just mess with Chairman Dean. The ‘Net was the only way the Democratic Party has been able to get its message out to people. Without e-mails from angry people Democrats would get even less exposure in the media than the meager scraps they are now offered.

Another minor point that I learned from my market research clients: if you offer people a clone of a product at the same price, they won’t switch brands. You have to offer something extra. If you are trying to unseat a conservative Republican incumbent, you have zero chance if your candidate has the same positions on the issues. Voters have no reason to change.

The 1994 election was driven by corruption, and so was the 2006 election. If the Republicans had kept their hands in their pockets, they would still control the Congress. People were angry about a lot of things, but corruption is about the only thing that unseats incumbents.


1 Steve Bates { 11.11.06 at 11:31 am }

If you are trying to unseat a conservative Republican incumbent, you have zero chance if your candidate has the same positions on the issues. Voters have no reason to change.

Paraphrasing Molly, who was paraphrasing Harry Truman, given a choice between a real Republican and a faux Republican, voters will choose the real Republican every time.

I understand that everybody wants to take credit for the great victory, and I understand the power struggle for control of the party. What I don’t quite understand, to quote a sage, is “why now?” In some ways, the credit really should go to George W. Bush and his handlers, who made it all possible by being the worst president in my lifetime, by driving America to the brink of collapse and Americans over the edge of frustration.

Our first task as Democrats is to govern effectively, to remind everyone that a) it can be done, and b) we are the ones who can do it. It’s been so long since we’ve had an effective government that some people may have forgotten what it felt like.

As you know, Bryan, I was a Howard Dean supporter when he ran for president. At this point I don’t know what kind of president he would have been, but in the role in which he eventually landed (and Emmanuel must face it: Dean won the post fair and square), Dean has proved himself a superb political strategist. If Carville and the rest succeed in ditching Dr. Dean, they can expect to lose the next couple of elections… at least. That they do not understand this fact is no credit to them. That they choose to do it now, in what one could argue is Dean’s hour of triumph, seems incredibly foolish to me.

2 Bryan { 11.11.06 at 12:07 pm }

What I really don’t understand is why people listen to losers like Carville and Donna Brazil, when there are winners in the Party. Independents outnumber Democrats in my area because there is no real party structure to attract new registrations. Howard is changing that situation.

We may not be able to win local races any time soon, but getting people to the polls for the national and statewide races is important. If all of the registered Democrats in my county had voted in 2004 we would have two Democratic Senators in Florida. That is something the leadership needs to think about, the pockets of Democratic voters matter in statewide races.