Democrats & Liberals Archives

A Wholistic Approach to the White House

I’m working on a theory here. I was struck a few weeks ago by the repeated media call that the members of the Democratic field needed to find a “united message” as to why George Bush should be fired. I don’t think that campaign messages will be enough. And I don’t think one person will be enough. What we need is a fully defined, dedicated team to replace Bush in the White House. (Of course I thought I was the only one thinking this way until I started checking out a variety of message boards to discover I am definitely not alone.)

As a manager, I've had to fire people - sometimes for cause, sometimes for financial reasons. It's never easy to make the case for firing - regardless of how deserving it might be. Generally, human nature tends to let things go for as long as possible; to not muddy the waters or confront someone about their faults or admit there's not enough money to pay them anymore. And at the rate we're paying for Iraq (registration required), I don't think that's out of the realm of possibility here. But if the Republicans insist on running government like a business, we should hold them all accountable, starting with the CEO.

As Adam Nagourney of the NYT said June 29, if you pulled together different components of each Dem candidate, you'd have a real contender in November 2004. (It's archived so I can't link unfortunately - here's a brief excerpt:)

Yes, most Americans in a recent New York Times/CBS News poll could not name a single Democrat seeking the presidential nomination, evidence that this crew is not making a deep impression on the national psyche. And, yes, conversations with Democrats in Iowa and New Hampshire, where people know something about these things, are more likely to turn up an unhappy accounting of candidates' shortfalls than a celebration of their strengths.

Yet if all of the nine candidates have their weaknesses, most bring a few strengths. As that realization takes hold, it is not uncommon to hear Democrats fantasize about creating the Frankenstein candidate (though some Democrats prefer the term Composite Candidate) -- picking among the strengths, while leaving the weaknesses behind.

Here's what I think the Gang of Nine (at least that's the total as of today) should do:

  • Find a big room somewhere - sort of like the Requirements Room in the latest Harry Potter book. (For the uninitiated, it's a secret room where everything you require for your gathering magically appears.)

  • Agree that there is one common goal - to defeat George W. Bush in November 2004 and pledge to stop any intra-party infighting right now.

  • Assess the skill sets of every candidate in the field - what do they do best - and match candidates to the available positions i.e., Prez, VP, cabinet posts, etc.

  • Before leaving the room, all sign a compact - that the ONLY battle to be fought for the next 18 months is the war against GWB's re-election.

I am in no way advocating that we quash the primary process so don't get your shorts all bunched up yet. The presidential candidate field should narrow themselves down to the two or three candidates with the likeliest chance of winning. Then in the primary/caucus season, let the party faithful help make the decision for Prez and VP posts.

Maybe you're thinking 'boy this is too simple.' But that's the beauty of it. This blog and others have stated that to win Democrats need to start changing the rules. This is one way to do that. By matching candidates with vacant positions, we present a team to the American public that's ready to hit the ground running and get to work.

Because the infighting among Democrats has to stop now. We're already resigned to the money gap (although the entire field of Dems has raised close to the same amount that the GOP has raised) and we're at a tremendous disadvantage given the timing of the national conventions. July 26 was way too early, given that the GOP doesn't meet until the end of August. That's just nine weeks until Election Day.

Despite my idealistic tendencies, there's enough of a cynic here to know that it will all come down to egos - and we know how big they must be to run for any public office - and the ability for all the men and women involved (candidates, staff, supporters and consultants) to put personal agendas and differences aside and repeat after me: We Must Beat GWB, We Must Beat GWB.

Posted by 9thwave at July 10, 2003 5:07 PM