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Wednesday, December 8

Dean on the DNC  

This is a power struggle. The consultants and insiders that control the DNC currently fear, above all, sharing or losing power over the DNC. They fear it far more than losing any number of national or local elections. That fear is currently manifested in the person of Howard Dean. Dean accomplished something that the insiders and consultants had long ago forsaken. His candidacy was built on regular people engaging in the political debate. Regular people are, in the opinion of both parties' elite, to be instructed for whom they should vote and about which issues they should care. They have a tremendous amount of disdain for the general populace because they think the populace is stupid. They'll take our money and our votes, but never our opinions or ideas. Dean as DNC chair would work to change that. There is a lot to mine in this short speech, but I think a couple of snippets hit on the theme I'm talking about here.
We cannot be a Party that seeks the presidency by running an 18-state campaign. We cannot be a party that cedes a single state, a single District, a single precinct, nor should we cede a single voter. ~~~ There are no red states or blue states, just American states. And if we can compete at all levels and in the most conservative parts of the country, we can win ... at any level and anywhere. People will vote for Democratic candidates in Texas, and Alabama, and Utah if we knock on their door, introduce ourselves, and tell them what we believe. ~~~ The pundits have said that this election was decided on the issue of moral values. I don't believe that. It is a moral value to provide health care. It is a moral value to educate our young people. The sense of community that comes from full participation in our Democracy is a moral value. Honesty is a moral value. ~~~ The second thing she said was, "The other reason we're with you is because evangelical Christians are people of deep conviction, and you're a person of deep conviction. I may not agree with you on everything, but what we want more than anything else from our government is that when something happens to our family or something happens to our country -- it's that the people in office have deep conviction."
There is great fear among the elites that Dean will win the chairmanship and actually open the party up to its faithful. And until January they will unleash all the dogs on Dean to stop his candidacy. There will be many platitudes about 'reason' and 'moderation' and 'partisanship' and 'centrist.' It doesn't matter that this has now lost two straight presidentials and every mid-term election since 1998. It's their playbook and they're sticking to it come hell, high water or ruin. The difficult trick here is that many of the people whose power is on the line vote for the chairman. As far as I can tell this subset is not the majority, or even a plurality, but they are the noisiest and members who consider themselves serious take these fools seriously. It's the cost of never seeking knowledge that's outside the bubble. A postscript. It's possible (perhaps likely) that no candidate will be found who can stand up to Dean. What is essential for the elites, then, is to ensure that the field is so crowded that no candidate can reach a majority. This is an old time convention tactic that anti-front runner factions would use stop a popular candidate. Said front-runner polls well on a first ballot but not well enough to win. Thus begins the chorus of 'he can't win' and a loud movement begins to find a compromise candidate from the rest of the field. It was a standard strategy for presidential conventions in the days before a popular primary.


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