Drudge links to a nice article on The Hill (which gets a permalink) that discusses the lessons that the Democrats are taking away from their recent gubernatorial losses. In my opininion, DNC chief Terry McAuliffe deserves far more blame than he's getting, and few of the Democrats quoted really seem to have a handle on the issues that are costing them elections.
"Terry McAuliffe is out there on his own agenda, which does not involve the South," said Rep. Bennie Thompson (D-Miss.), the only black member of his state’s congressional delegation.That's for sure. The main problem is that McAuliffe is most likely in bed with the Clintons [eek, an apt and disgusting metaphor -- ed.] and doing his best to prevent any Democrat other than Hillary from winning the Presidency. Either that, or he's totally incompetant. It's hard to tell based on what I've seen of him, since he's pure rhetoric and spin whenever he's on TV.
"It does not involve African Americans to the extent that they need to be. There are some real organizational problems at the Democratic National Committee that need to be corrected if in fact this party is to ever regain a majority status in Washington."
McAuliffe goes on to say that there was nothing anyone could have done to protect the states they lost, and his supporters blame state and local organizations for failing to raise money and get out the votes.
As for California?
California’s Oct. 7 recall had been a "perfect storm," they said, combining voters' widespread antipathy for Democratic Gov. Gray Davis, Arnold Schwarzenegger's (R) fame and fortune, and many conservatives' support for a centrist over a right-winger to make it impossible for Democrats to hold onto the governorship.Lots more blame gets thrown around in every direction, but I think Senator Zell Miller (who I really like) might be onto something:
Last week, Sen. Zell Miller (D-Ga.) endorsed President Bush and lambasted his party for turning its back on the South. Miller maintained that national party leaders could not campaign for Southern candidates because it would hurt the candidates' odds.He's certainly right that campaigning in the South by party leaders such as House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Tom Daschle would have hurt the candidates -- and why is that? Could it be because there's a huge disconnect between the party elites and the party members?
This disconnect is starkly evident in the choice of location for next year's party convention: Boston. Massachusets is heavily liberal, and there's little political benefit to be gained by holding the event there.
In contrast, consider that the Republicans are holding their convention in New York, the most liberal city in the country, but one which has elected Republican mayors and which might just be possible to sway to the right in the aftermath of 9/11 (and the Democrat's reaction to it). If the Republicans can even up the votes in New York City, then it may be possible for them to win the whole state (update New York is somewhat conservative), and virtually guarantee a Bush victory in 2004. If Grey Davis had been recalled and Arnold elected before the convention was set, I bet they would have held the convention in Los Angeles -- taking a risk to put a huge piece into play.