Handing The Inmates The Keys To The Asylum

It seems clear that barring some unseen movement, Howard Dean will likely become the next chairman of the Democratic National Committee on Feb. 12. The only candidate that comes close to Dean is Democratic activist Donnie Fowler, who won Kerry’s successful Michigan campaign last year, mainly by helping Kerry court Catholic voters who might have been persuaded to cross over to Bush.

If Dean wins, the Democratic Party will be committing an act of political suicide.

The Republican strategist side of me wants to cheer this on — a Dean victory will ensure that the Democrats have a DNC head who is so completely out of touch with mainstream America that 2006 would be almost guranteed to be another big win for the GOP.

On the other hand, the Republicans need a sane opposition party to keep them on their toes. In most elections parties compete for the middle. A Democratic Party with Howlin’ Howard at the helm would be focused with laser-like precision on their base, meaning that we’d see more of the Deaniac madness that alienated even Democratic primary voters. For all the talk about how great Howard Dean’s campaign was (and even I was suckered into believing the hype), it produced a lot of money but very few real votes. Even before the “I Have a Scream” rant at the Val-Aire Ballroom, Howard Dean’s campaign was coming off the rails. Inasmuch as the Kerry campaign copied Dean’s electoral techniques, they found them entirely lacking. The enthusiasm of the Deaniacs was offputting to anyone who handn’t gulped down buckets of Dean’s Kool-Aid.

In case the Deaniac’s hadn’t noticed, the Red States make up 286 electoral votes – and all a future Republican has to do is match President Bush’s performance. The Democrats lost decisively in 2002 and 2004 because they appeared weak on defense and out of touch with the values of the heartland of America. Howard Dean might as well be the poster-boy for both. Dean doesn’t even remotely understand how to speak to middle America.

If the Democrats were smart, they’d go for someone who speak to moderate voters. Donnie Fowler has proven he can do it. Tim Roemer’s pro-life stand may be unpalatable to NOW, but it would help him reach out to the Blue Dog Democrats who abandoned the Democrats in the 1980s and only crossed over to vote for Clinton. Hell, Bill Clinton may have been tarnished by scandal, but he’s got the charisma and he brings in the big bucks to make the best party head the Democrats could ask for.

But the Deaniacs have spoken, and they’re about to steer the Democrats off a cliff. Hopefully enough sensible Democrats will jump off and the Deaniacs will take the Kennedy/Kerry/Boxer wing of the party with them.

3 thoughts on “Handing The Inmates The Keys To The Asylum

  1. Dean is damaged goods. The Republican smear machine and Dean’s own loose cannon antics have convinced Americans that this centrist former Vermont Governor is to the left of Barbara Boxer. With that in mind, I think the Dems should go in a different direction, although since the DNC chairman’s main function is fundraising (which Dean is very good at), Dean will not necessarily be the public face of the Democrats for the next four years. After all, how many votes do you believe John Kerry lost because voters didn’t like Terry McAuliffe?

    In short, I agree that Howard Dean doesn’t know how to speak Middle American, but his message is consistent with the majority sentiment in public opinion polls on just about every issue. He wouldn’t have been elected because of his campaign style, not because of his conservative stance on issues.

    As for Michigan, Kerry won by 160,000 votes. I have a hard time believing Bush would have won it were it not for Donnie Fowler. The only person responsible for Kerry’s weak margin there was Kerry, who took for granted that he would win the state until the final weekend of the campaign.

    Lastly, why do you even bother proclaiming your interest in a “sane opposition party”? The 2004 Democratic candidate ran on the most conservative platform of any Democrat in decades, yet you claim they are moving leftward. The only “opposition party” you could support is one who agrees with the Republicans (or is to the right of them) on every major issue. If there’s no difference between the parties (and the differences are becoming fewer with each passing day, with or without Dean), we are left with a one-party state. Clearly, that is the only acceptable outcome in your eyes.

  2. “In case the Deaniac’s hadn’t noticed, the Red States make up 286 electoral votes – and all a future Republican has to do is match President Bush’s performance. ”

    Hmm…I seem to recall that Ohio was won by a mere 120,000 votes. On that note, all the next Democratic candidate needs to do is change 60,000 minds in Ohio and the White House goes the other way.

    Mark’s right about the center leaning Democrats of the past two elections. The problem with the party is that it has forgotten its roots. Dean can bring it back to that.

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