Thursday, November 18, 2004

The Democratic Party needs Howard Dean

First among the priorities for the party is the selection of a new leader. There are three places in the Democratic Party that provide institutional leadership positions. As of now there is the leader of the DNC who heads the party, the house minority leader and the Senate minority leader.

When we take a look at the house we have Nancy Pelosi who is not an effective leader at all. The mainstream press gives her a pass most times on the issues, mostly because she is not charismatic. The other reason is that since the Democrats have very little power to actually derail the Republican agenda the media has very little use for her.

A glance at the Senate and we have Harry Reid. Here is somebody who can foil the Republicans but we have to take into account that he is a deal-maker. He is not a charismatic leader by any stretch and is highly regarded as being an insider who can help move legislation. His track record as somebody that can speak to ordinary people on the issues that count is uncertain at best.

That leaves us with the the DNC. Terry M, who was a Clinton insider, has been effective at raising money but not at shaping a message. Thats where Howard Dean comes in. Say what you want about him and his implosion leading up to New Hampshire but he has a strong message, and has strong leadership qualities. He is exactly what the Democratic party needs at this moment in time. The pary lacks a vision and a message and Dean could help provide that going forward.

Could John Kerry provide leadership? He has an institutional position in the Senate to do so. Not having a leadership position means he is free to speak his mind but we will have to wait and see what happens. The Democratic party has tended to not treat the losing candidates so well. I am certain he will not fade away for a few years like Al Gore did but only time will tell if Kerry can be an effective leader.

Wednesday, November 03, 2004

Where To Go From Here?

For anyone who has been working to elect John Kerry today is a really bad day, but as much as its the end of something its also the beginning of something new.

As a Phoenix rises from its own ashes to fly again, so must the Democratic party do. Thats why I created this Blog and I would like it to become a small part of the debate thats to come, and mark my words, its coming......

The shock about this election is that the most important issue for the overwhelming amount of people leaving the polls was "moral values". No not the war on Terror, not the disaster that is Iraq, not even the economy. Even in Ohio, a state that has lost more jobs then any other, the most important issue for voters was "moral values".

Of the people who chose moral values as their issue of greatest importance they went to Bush by a margin of 8 to 1. Yes thats 8 to 1.

Now this is not a problem that will be going away anytime soon. Wars end, Terrorism wanes and the economy will improve but the cultural wars are perpetual. Some of these issues have been with us since this country was founded.

The problem going forward for the Democratic party is acute. Howard Dean said he wanted to get the votes of the guys who "fly confederate flags on their pickups" and that the Republicans only want to talk about "God, Gays and Guns". By now it should be painfully clear that these folks will clearly vote against their economic interests.

So how does the Democratic party expand the base to reach some of these folks without alienating their own base? Another question to be asked is what is "moral values"??? Why would so many people think that Kerry did not have strong values? A bigger question to ask is why do these people think that Democrats are not moral people?

It becomes difficult because with some of these social issues there is no room for compromise. For most people abortion is either wrong and immoral or its a right of privacy for women. People either attend Church or they do not attend Church. People either think Gays are immoral or that anything negative about them as a group is discrimination. People either think that more religion is good and should be encouraged by Government or that the two should be always kept apart. People either think that popular culture has too much sex and violence and profanity or they think that its not a problem.

One thing for sure is that for the next election Hollywood should stay home. By being out in front and side by side with the candidate they actually hurt the cause. Most people believe that Hollywood is so far out of the mainstream so when our candidates stand side by side with them we are going to lose votes in many places in this country. If "moral values" are so important then candidates are going to have to distance themselves from these people. I watched Puff Daddy or whatever he calls himself these days on TV in many interviews. I use him only as one high profile example. His job was to help bring out the MTV vote, but did they come out? No they did not. There was no large youth vote in this election. Most places define the youth vote as people ages 18-29 or 30. The youth vote has always been the most unreliable group to have as a part of any political base because they do not come out in large numbers at all to vote.

One of the things I have been rolling around in my head is that in almost every poll taken over the past year by any organization showed that a majority of people think that we are going in the wrong direction as a country. Most people, including myself, thought that meant people did not like GW Bush and where he was taking us. But is it possible that its just the opposite? In a country thats getting more "Red" could that mean that a majority of people think that we are headed toward a more secular country? Is it possible that the "wrong direction" to many people is a country with liberal ideas like gay marriage and so on? Could it be possible that in reading the tealeaves, the talking heads got what it meant all wrong?

Well this has been a depressing day but one to reflect on what has to be done. I spent many hours trying to help elect Kerry and we lost. Now its time to rebuild and there is alot of work to be done.