Saturday, June 16, 2007

Revising History

Over at Daily Kos, the big man himself is once again taking on Democrats, their consultants and their lack of "leadership." He was inspired by how the public seems to be moving at a faster pace over gay marriage than the leaders of the Democratic Party.

Gay rights is an obvious example. There have been a few politicians that have taken a lead, like SF fallen mayor Gavin Newsom, but the party in general, especially at the federal level, has been scared shitless of the issue. The war in Iraq is another. Remember -- it took Lamont's primary in victory to finally send the message to national Democrats that the Iraq War could make or break the election.

Many Democrats, especially its pathetic consultant class, still believe that the way Democrats show "strength" is by huffing and puffing and threatening to bomb the "f" out of Iraq, Iran, Venezuela, or whatever the latest boogeyman of the moment might be.

In reality, Democrats are seen as weak because they are afraid to stand for those things they believe in. And if they won't fight for what they believe in, how can voters trust them to fight for anything that truly matters, whether it's national security or anything else?

Dean was truly going to sink the Democratic Party because of the "civil unions" issue. Instead, his leadership and lack of fear over the issue appears brilliantly prescient given that it is now the default position. And can anyone doubt how right he was on Iraq, even while the know-nothing pundits hyperventilated over his "gaffes"? (Saddam's capture didn't make us any safer.) But Dean was a lonely voice, now muffled by the party lest he "gaffe" the truth some more.

Kos has some very good points here. Too often, Democratic consultants try to force their candidates to be something they are not (Al Gore anyone). We need our people to be comfortable in their own skin.

But his diatribe is also way off base. First of all, commending Gavin Newsom for being out front on the gay rights issue simply doesn't make sense. If Newsom opposed gay marriage, it would be committing political suicide. He was constantly challenged from the left, so supporting gay marriage was the easy political move.

Second, stop revising history regarding Dean's 2004 campaign. It's not like the Democratic establishment killed his campaign. Dean raised money, ran a campaign, and got crushed. People heard his message and voted against him. Kos can romanticize his campaign, but part of being a "leader' is getting people to follow you. Dean couldn't, end of story.

Finally, maybe it was best that the issue of gay marriage advanced through the courts, not through the political process. People overwhelmingly opposed the idea of gay marriage (how many ballot proposal banning gay marriage passed again?). But the courts allowed the issue to go forward and people got used to the idea, and saw through the GOP talking points on this subject. It stopped being a political football because of judicial rulings. Does anyone believe that would be the case if Democrats rammed the issue down the throats of a reluctant public (and yes, they were reluctant)?


At 9:25 AM, Blogger Paddy said...

Kos ain't g-d.

At 10:29 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

You don't think Dean was taken down by the Establishment? Surely you jest. I remember the coverage leading up to Iowa. It was atrocious -- the press was on full scale "gaffe alert". The presumption was that everything Dean said was a gaffe unless proven otherwise. I recall watching Paula Zahn (who was considered a left-winger at that time) interview Trippi once about some comment Dean had made about caucuses being a haven for the Machine (or something like that, my memory is not that good) -- she never let Trippi say anything! She had made up her mind, and practicaly laughed him off the set. You go find that clip, watch it, and then tell us that Dean didn't lose to the Establishment.

At 1:13 PM, Blogger BC said...

Dean didn't lose to the establishment. Watch the coverage of Clinton in 1992. Or the coverage of Bush's gaffe when he couldn't name the leaders of foreign nations. Enough excuses, he lost.

At 3:20 PM, Blogger Corinne said...

No, I'd have to agree with the previous comment. Your summary of Dean's loss is way oversimplified.


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