The dismal fifth-place showing by Senator Joseph Lieberman in the New Hampshire primary on Tuesday serves as both reminder and motivator to the other Democratic presidential candidates on what it will take to win in November. The real fight is between those who want only to win back the White House and those who also want to build a new political movement — one that rivals the conservative movement that has given Republicans their dominant position in American politics.
...the Democratic Party has had no analogous movement to animate it. Instead, every four years party loyalists throw themselves behind a presidential candidate who they believe will deliver them from the rising conservative tide. After the election, they go back to whatever they were doing before. Issues rise and fall, depending on which interests are threatened and when. They can even divide Democrats, as each advocacy group scrambles after the same set of liberal donors and competes for the limited attention of the news media.
As a result, Democrats have been undisciplined, intimidated or just plain silent. One hears few liberal Democratic phrases that are repeated with any regularity. In addition, there is no consistent Democratic world view or ideology. Most Congressional Democrats raise their own money, do their own polls and vote every which way. Democrats have little or no clear identity except by reference to what conservatives say about them.
Self-styled Democratic centrists, like those who inhabit the Democratic Leadership Council, attribute the party's difficulties to a failure to respond to an electorate grown more conservative, upscale and suburban. This is nonsense. The biggest losses for Democrats since 1980 have not been among suburban voters but among America's giant middle and working classes — especially white workers without four-year college degrees, once part of the old Democratic base. Not incidentally, these are the same people who have lost the most economic ground over the last quarter-century.
Thursday, January 29
Aim For Your Foot And You Stop Running
My dilemma here was wondering which paragraphs to repro here - it's that good. Robert Reich:
Posted by Howard Hoffman at 9:43 AM