I have to admit a certain amount of schadenfreud when reading about the current state of the Democratic Party. Indeed, the Democrats are in deep trouble, as the radicalized left and the Clinton/McAuliffe wings of the party appear to be trying to drive the Democrats in two different directions.
The other Democrats have determined, and quite rightly so, that barring a major upset, Dean will be the nominee. The attacks against Dean in reaction to this seeming inevitability has caused Dean to start crying foul to DNC chairman Terry McAuliffe. Of course, considering that Dean has already badmouthed McAuliffe, it’s probably a cry to no avail.
This puts the Democrats in a bind. No outspoken liberal has won in election in America since FDR. In fact, the field of political battle is strewn with the remains of liberal candidates from McGovern to Mondale to Dukakis. Dean represents a very particular brand of statist liberalism, and it’s a view that has never carried much weight in American politics. Dean supporters are trying to paint him as a moderate, but his social positions, his call to repeal even middle class tax cuts, and his hard-core anti-war stance all clearly state otherwise. Even The New Republic‘s Jonathan Chait argues that Dean’s false attempts to appeal to the religious ring false. Dean’s values are the values of the East Coast liberal elite, despite his attempts at populism. At the end of the day, his appeal isn’t going to play well with swing voters including conservative Democrats.
As Dean himself notes, this is a battle for the soul of the Democratic Party. Unfortunately, the ones who are most likely to lead the Democrats into the political wilderness are the ones who are losing. Despite all the rhetoric of Dean supporters, this country isn’t compatible with Dean’s brand of big-government liberalism.