Democrats & Liberals Archives

Bridging the Democratic Party Divide

There is a divide in the Democratic Party between the old guard, or as some call it the establishment, and the new blood that is represented by Howard Dean, the chairman of the Democratic National Committee (DNC). Noam Scheiber takes the point of view of the establishment in his article in The New Republic of April 24 titled “Scream II: Howard Dean’s Messiah Complex.” He feels the future Democratic nominee will not be elected because Dean will be in the way.

Nonsense. Dean's reorganization of the DNC will be the biggest force in electing a future Democratic president.

Scheiber presents 2 arguments: Dean is not a good fund raiser and he insists on the 50-state strategy.

Fund Raising

Scheiber quotes with relish Al Gore's statement that Terry McAuliffe, the previous head of the DNC, was:

"the greatest fundraiser in the history of the universe."

In contrast to that, he says this of Dean:

"A big part of the problem is Dean himself. Unlike McAuliffe, Dean had little entree into the world of big-time Democratic donors when he took over as chairman; most of the money he had raised for his presidential campaign had come from small, online contributions."

The BIG reason that Democrats have not fared so well is because we relied on fat-cats for money. As a result, the Democrats have reached a situation where many citizens claim (although I believe we are not there, YET) there is no difference between Democrats and Republicans. Why vote for Republican-Lite when you can vote for the real thing?

Howard Dean is shaking things up. He tells the fat-cats that if they want to donate, fine. There is no need for special fund-raising events for schmoozing. He concentrates on collecting small amounts from citizens all over the country. This is his way of getting the rank and file involved, getting the Democratic platform to be concerned with the little guy and thereby reviving the Democratic Party.

50-State Strategy

Dean feels that it was wrong to focus on a few so-called "swing states" in the past presidential election. This was not right. It was not true democracy. It played into the strategy of the Republicans - who live on division. It's wrong to think of blue states, red states and swing states. What we must do, he says, is build a strong party in each of the 50 states.

However, Scheiber sees it differently. He thinks Dean's approach may take a long time to produce results. He quotes a guy named Korge:

"You can't sacrifice '08 for the benefit of 20 years from now. The country just cannot afford it."

Scheiber assumes Dean's policy will hurt our '08 nominee. He's wrong. Citizens in each state of the union are upset by the way Republicans have corrupted and fractured our society. When you look at a map of how people think of Bush, it looks almost completely Democratic. Of course this is not so. By speaking to people in all 50 states, however, we have a very good chance of making the sale for the Democratic program and for Democratic nominees.

By following Dean's approach of including ALL citizens we have a much greater chance of bridging the divide among the Democratic factions and of winning more elections.

Posted by Paul Siegel at April 19, 2006 3:14 PM
Comments
Comment #141742

I am fed up with Democrats who will not oppose this insane war nor a full inquiry into the President’s mendacity. Heck, they won’t even support a mild measure of censure!

Unless Democrats wake up and lead rather than follow or waste time in “over thinking” the problem they will not regain power. That may not be all bad; maybe we do need a third major party.

Posted by: cml at April 19, 2006 3:31 PM
Comment #141754

your party is splitting before you very eyes.This is a good thing.There is still hope for AMERICA.

Posted by: saying at April 19, 2006 4:08 PM
Comment #141767

where does the partr stand on illegal issue and what agenda are they running on.i am a confused democrate

Posted by: lilley at April 19, 2006 4:52 PM
Comment #141768

Paul-

The only way the Democrats can regain power is by stopping the pandering to all the special interst groups and speaking to Mr. and Mrs. Middle America. The constant deferring to every fringe group and “victim’s” grooup has turned alot of people off to Democrats. Despite your obvious infatuation with Howard dean, he has not been a force for unity within the party. It is my perception, after talking to a lot of Democrats here in eastern Kentucky, that Dean is a liability with a lot of party stalwarts.

What the Democrats need is a unified, coherent, positive message. The “We hate Bush” mantra may play great in the media but it does little to persuade undecided voters or lukewarm Democrats
to vote. Run on a platform of limited government and a fair tax code, and you might pick up even more.

Give us something to think about, something with meat rather than milk, or venom, and we might be able to pull the D lever without holding our noses.

Posted by: John Back at April 19, 2006 4:52 PM
Comment #141781

If you want limited government and a fair tax code, vote Republican. If you’re tired of the “hate-Bush” crowd, vote Republican or stay home.

If the Democrats are to go anywhere, they need to get a unified message on Iraq. And they need to push an economic populism that is anti-corporate and pro middle and lower class—stop the insane tax cuts for people that don’t need it (and haven’t been investing in infrastructure and working people’s wages with their obscene profits), invest in education and energy independence and infrastructure here at home—and end the imperialist bossy foreign policy that gets alot of innocent people killed for corporate profit.

To do that, they need to get rid of the rich dumbasses that sell them down the river each time they insist on pushing the party further to the right. Seventy-three House Dems and nineteen Senate Dems voted for that Bankruptcy piece of swill written by the Republicans and credit card lobbyists behind closed doors. That’s whats wrong with the Democratic Party, they’ve forgotten their populist roots, and they won’t go anywhere until they find them again.

Posted by: Tim Crow at April 19, 2006 6:19 PM
Comment #141785

John Back,

Amen…and amen again.

I have been preaching here over and over that the Dems need a unified positive message that all (Dems and Reps that are tired of the Reps and the “fence sitters”)can get behind. The only message that the Democratic leadership can come up with is “Bush sux”.

How many times have I written here that it’s OK to say, “Bush sux”…but you’d better have a message to go along with it. And I’ll write it here again…and please pay close attention…

BUSH CAN’T RUN AGAIN IN 2008.

Now, knowing that, don’t you think that “Bush sux” is getting rather trite and completely useless?

A quick glance at your post, John, and you’ve got the same view that I have. The view that Dems are being more radical than reasonable.

If the Reps are radical…don’t you think the Dems should try to be more reasonable and rational sounding? It would only go to shine a bright spotlight on the radical policies of the Reps. THEY would have the public perception of being “lunatic fringe radicals” and Dems would have the perception of being something “safe” and worth voting for.

I say “safe”, because I think the ultra radicals in the last election “took over” the message of the Dems…got as much press (or more) than Kerry (with the cumulative effect of getting Kerry’s message unheard)…scared the more moderate voters…and they ran to something that seemed “safe”…the Reps.

When the Dems say that they are glad that John Dean is shooting his mouth off and “sticking up” for the Dems…and that don’t want to be “Republican Lite”, they fail to realize one thing.

This country is NOT radical. This country is, part and parcel, moderate. They DO NOT like radicals. Anyone TOO liberal or TOO conservative scares middle America.

Strom Thurmond…..lost big time.
Barry Goldwater….lost big time.
George McGovern….lost big time.
George Wallace…..lost big time.
Walter Mondale…..lost big time.

They may arrogantly call it “Republican Lite”, but I call it a move that places Dems more in the mainstream and less in the fringes.

Posted by: Jim T at April 19, 2006 6:40 PM
Comment #141796

The Dems have been reasonable and rational for five years—and they’ve had their asses handed to them by right-wing Rep lunatics. Think Americans are feeling safer with the Repubs now, with Iran, a mess in Iraq, New Orleans and a run-away national debt and gas heading towards $4 a gallon?

You get what you pay for. Americans in poll after poll after poll are to the left of the party bigwigs. They want healthcare they can count on that doesn’t cost their first-born, they want fair wages for a decent day’s work, they want public financing of federal elections to get the creepy-crawlys out of politics, they want good education, they want energy independence for America, fair taxes (and want corporations to pay their fair share) they want good jobs that they know they’ll still have in ten years.

Moderation is over—the big dumb silent beast that is the American electorate has seen the radicalism of the Right for 25 years. I think it’s time to balance the scales.

I don’t think its time “to bridge the gap” in the Democratic party. I think its time for war- a war for the spiritual heart of the party. If the pro-business, pro-globaliztion, pro-downsizing, ant-middle class types can’t be reasoned with, then its time to see a war. If it knocks out the party for three election cycles so be it. It is a waste of time and money supporting this slop the party is selling for ideas.

We’ve had reasonableness and rationalism and don’t-rock-the-boat mediocrity in American politics and look where it has lead to? A bankrupt nation, finacially, morally, ethically and spiritually. It’s time to fight.

Posted by: Tim Crow at April 19, 2006 7:42 PM
Comment #141824

Just when I worry that Republicans might be in trouble, somebody reminds me what Dems are like. Thanks.

Posted by: Jack at April 19, 2006 9:25 PM
Comment #141830

Your welcome—although I’m not a Dem.

Posted by: Tim Crow at April 19, 2006 9:42 PM
Comment #141832

Oh—and by the way—the Republicans are in trouble.

Posted by: Tim Crow at April 19, 2006 9:46 PM
Comment #141837

I hope Dean doesn’t lose his voice during the campaign, that way he can still yell and scream…great sound bites…

Posted by: Cliff at April 19, 2006 9:50 PM
Comment #141853

“Just when I worry that Republicans might be in trouble, somebody reminds me what Dems are like. Thanks.

Posted by: Jack at April 19, 2006 09:25 PM”

Jack,

Unfortuately I have to agree with you here. For some reason Dean thinks he’s going to “change minds”. We Democrats don’t need to change minds we just need to convince the poor and lower middle classes to vote.

In a perfect world Dean would be replaced by Tom Daschle. But it’ll be a cold day in hell that I go Republican.

KansasDem

Posted by: KansasDem at April 19, 2006 11:23 PM
Comment #141854

So Jack, what exactly are the Dems like? I think we’ve seen what the Reps are like for the past 5 years. Lets see, here is just one little example.

Tom Delay leads the charge to impeach Clinton over the alleged sex scandle, which I personally didn’t give a rats ass about when it happened, and now he claims he is the victim of a left wing partisan attack conspiracy. Poor, Poor Tom. I think he represents the values of the Reps quite nicely.

That my friend is a very nice reminder of why I will never vote Republican again. The hippocracy of the Republican party is astounding at the least.

Tell me again what great things the Reps have accomplished. I know, its the economy stupid. Yawn. Mortgaging the future for a temporary gain today is not fiscal responsibility.

Just to be on topic, I believe Howard Dean is a bit too radical for the Dem leadership but I do know that the Barrac Obama’s of the world are the new face of the party and they will change the world.

Posted by: reed at April 19, 2006 11:24 PM
Comment #141866

“We Democrats don’t need to change minds we just need to convince the poor and lower middle classes to vote.”

Why do you think I suggested economic populism? They have to have a reason to vote—and the DC consultants and party bigwigs haven’t given them one. The lower classes have bailed on the Democratic Party. If the middle class continues to decline, they’ll bail on the Dems too.

Posted by: Tim Crow at April 20, 2006 12:20 AM
Comment #141872

This is exactly the problem which rises with a two-party system (okay, other parties are allowed but you get my point).

At the moment the party with the biggest saldo on their bankaccount mostly wins the elections. Is this fair? No. Has this to with ideas? Not anymore. It’s going about ‘who has the most support of the elite’ and not about ‘who has the best ideas regarding leading this country’. This is a shame for democracy.

I live in the Netherlands. Currently there are about 11 parties in the parliament (having 150 seats). There is a relatively big amount of small parties which only have about 6 á 8-9 seats. There are some big parties but a coalition is formed most times with 3 or 4 parties, including small parties. In the Netherlands it’s almost solely a matter ideas, not of ‘who has the fattest bank account’. It would be a good thing having another major party in the United States politics. Hopefully it’s going about ideas then, rather then about support of the elite.

Posted by: Ouwe at April 20, 2006 2:03 AM
Comment #141915

The Democrats need to learn how to play the “talking points” game better. Karl Rove is a masterful strategist and he used this technique almost to perfection in the last two presidential campaigns. Although Bush was as much of a flip-flopper in his stances as Kerry, who wore the tag? The Republicans stayed on message, even when refuted, and it stuck.

When most people think of Howard Dean, unfortunately they think of the “screech speech”. Now, we know he was screaming to be heard over the crowd noise, which was muffled out on the tape originally aired and repeated over and over, but the image still sticks in the minds of most Americans.

The Republicans have made “liberal” a dirty word. There no longer seems to be a distinction between liberal and leftist, and there is a huge difference in the two. Maybe the Democratic party needs to redefine themselves as the “progressive party” and stay on point, repeating this theme over and over until it sticks in the minds of middle America.

One message I see being repeated over and over again by the Republicans is that the Democrats have no ideas. They just want Bush out. ABB. The seed has been planted and it’s starting to take hold. The Democrats better get their act together and get on point before they allow themselves to be defined and dismissed by the American electorate.

Posted by: Tim in NY at April 20, 2006 11:47 AM
Comment #141920

This has been an exceptionally good posting and I’ve enjoyed reading the comments. I have voted for our Democrat Congressman Ralph Hall many times. Ralph was replaced by Louie Gohmert, a Republican, when the district was redrawn. Both Hall and Gohmert represent the best of American politics. They represent the people with conservative values. The great Democrat Party of the past attracted majority voters in many local, state and national elections because conservatives and liberals worked together. I am a conservative liberal and that is not an oxymoronic statement. A true liberal is not in any way similar to some of the left-wing blow-hards that are leading and ruining the Democrat Party. And, a conservative can not be compared to the right-wing nuts in the Republican party. I don’t have any trouble sorting out the true liberals and conservatives and hopefully, neither will the voting public in future elections. All those on the fringes with the shrill voices will not even be a footnote in the history books. A party whose main thrust to get elected is to attempt to vilify a sitting President who can’t run again will fail. Ideas…that’s what people vote for. Ronald Reagan was a man of ideas and wildly popular. He picked up votes from every sector. He didn’t run his campaign on hate, but rather, ideas. Jim

Posted by: Jim Martin at April 20, 2006 12:15 PM
Comment #141927

The three reasons why the dems. will never win a major election.No.1 abortion the dems.say kill all the babies you can then kill more.NO.2 National security The dems. have no I repeat no back bone.NO.3 AL SHARPTON, REP. mckinney,John kerry and the like oh dont forget teddy kennedy.

Posted by: factman at April 20, 2006 1:10 PM
Comment #141951

factman:

The majority of the American people are pro-choice in poll after poll after poll. Republicans are second-to-none in their care of fetuses right up to the moment of birth—after that, you’re on your own. Their ‘morals’ are the nineteenth century kind—keeping women pregnant, barefoot and in the kitchen. Sorry, women won’t put up with it anymore. If you don’t believe in abortion, don’t have one. Keep your duplicitous, angry morals to yourself.

National security, huh? Take a look at New Orleans. Seen what’s happening in Iraq lately? Feeling a little more secure now that Daddy is considering nuking Iran? Wanna sell our ports to a government that’s supported terrorists? Ninety-eight percent of all shipping containers going into this country are not inspected. Security? Taken a look at the National ledger lately? Have you heard about who’s enabling our spend-thrift ways? China. Security my ass!!!

Tom Delay, Dick Cheney, Frist, Duke Cunningham, Bob Ney, Ralph Reed, —not to mention O’Reilly, Limbaugh, Robertson and Falwell. I’ll match our people with your idiots any day. At least they’re not thieves, liars and perverts ,drug addicts and religious hypocrites who steal anything that’s not nailed down.

Posted by: Tim Crow at April 20, 2006 3:07 PM
Comment #141954

Tom crow We allow the liberal dems.to support terrorism openly you do it every day.Not to mention the rapest,murderers,child molesters and the lying liberal media.

Posted by: saying at April 20, 2006 3:22 PM
Comment #141958

Thanks, saying, for allowing us. Now go back into the forest and protect your moonshine still.

Posted by: Tim in NY at April 20, 2006 3:33 PM
Comment #141970

Thank you tim now i know how to spell forest.Learn something new every day.

Posted by: saying at April 20, 2006 4:03 PM
Comment #142131

Tim,

Which morals can we talk about? Anything but abortion? Your arguments border on hysterics. Slow down a bit and maybe someone will listen. In fact, I would venture to say that both major political parties are divided and they are divided down moral and socio-economic lines. The Dems don’t have a market on disorganization. That being said, I find liberal argumentation hard to follow. There’s plenty of feel-good talk, senitment and some disturbing lack of realism. Dean is just an example of this. Not much of a leader. There’s a reason he’s not President.

Posted by: ILIndCon at April 21, 2006 1:28 PM
Comment #142152
I don’t think its time “to bridge the gap” in the Democratic party. I think its time for war - a war for the spiritual heart of the party. If the pro-business, pro-globaliztion, pro-downsizing, ant-middle class types can’t be reasoned with, then its time to see a war. … We’ve had reasonableness and rationalism and don’t-rock-the-boat mediocrity in American politics and look where it has lead to? A bankrupt nation, finacially, morally, ethically and spiritually. It’s time to fight.

AAAAAAaaaaaaa-men!

If F.D.R. could see what’s happened to his party he would rise up on crutches from his grave and clear the lot of them from the seats of power!

Bullshit to “triangulation.” Either we have Principles or we don’t! And by God I still do.


Learn something new every day.
Posted by: saying at April 20, 2006 04:03 PM

I doubt that very much.

Posted by: Betty Burke at April 21, 2006 2:57 PM
Comment #142343

You Dipdo’s Back Clinton all the way. It was Clinton who allowed Sadaam, Osama Bin Laden and Zarqwahi, North Korea and Iran to become what they are today. You are all in denial and Stupid. You deserve World War 3. All you think about is labels such as Conserative, Anti War. Republican, Democrat, Pro War. Anti abortion, Pro Abortion, Illegal Imigrants, Enviornmentalists And on and on. Your so freakin stupid. I got a Label for you!! INFIDEL!! Trumps all the others and you all wear it and I don’t care what you think or believe!! Print that on your freakin Blog. Do you think the terrorists on 911 ran up and down the aisles of those planes and asked who was Reublican or Democrat? I don’t think so. They were all INFIDELS and guess what? They still are you dipdoooooo’s


Posted by: Don at April 22, 2006 11:56 AM
Comment #142686

Is this another bridge to no where?

Posted by: saying at April 24, 2006 1:35 PM
Comment #142688

Don spoken like a true smart ass.Good job!!

Posted by: saying at April 24, 2006 1:37 PM
Comment #197615

Vote for a party that believes in on-demand abortion but fights like hell to end hunting mourning doves because it is immoral will never get my vote? NEVER!

Posted by: prousa1776 at December 4, 2006 8:21 AM
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