Joe Trippi -- Howard Dean's erstwhile campaign manager -- says the Democrats lost the recent election because they weren't left-wing enough:
Since the Democratic Leadership Council, with its mantra of "moderate, moderate, moderate," took hold in D.C., the party has been in decline at just about every level of government. Forget the Kerry loss. Today the number of Democrats in the House is the lowest it's been since 1948. Democrats are on the brink of becoming a permanent minority party. Can the oldest democratic institution on earth wake from its stupor? Here are some steps to pull out of the nose-dive:On one hand, I'm glad to read this since if the Dems take his advice they're certain to continue to decline in influence. On the other hand, it would be nice -- in theory -- to have two viable political parties instead of just one.
Democrats can't keep ignoring their base. Running to the middle and then asking our base to make sure to vote isn't a plan. And to those who say talking to your base doesn't work--Read the Rove 2004 playbook!
At the end of the piece, he argues that the Democratic Party doesn't have a clear vision or hasn't articulated it to the American people:
Finally, what is the purpose the party strives for today? What are our goals for the nation? You couldn't tell from the election. Very few good ideas come from the middle, and they tend to be mediocre. Consultants have become adept at keeping candidates in that safe zone. But the time has come to develop bold ideas and challenge people to sacrifice for the common good. Experts will tell you that you can't ask the American people to sacrifice individually for the common good. Those experts are wrong--it's just been so long since anyone has asked them.Few good ideas come from the middle? That sort of logic defies the foundational principle of our two-party system that encourages people on both sides to find common, mutually agreeable solutions. Would Mr. Trippi eliminate the various checks and balances built into our government so that whomever is in the majority can wield unobstructed power? I don't think that's a wise idea, despite my party's present control.
And go ahead, ask people to "sacrifice individually for the common good" -- as if the government is the only organization that works for the common good -- that worked great for Hillary. The fact of the matter is that millions of (mostly red-state) Americans give tons of money to benefit the public good via churches and charities... Democrats are just upset because the money doesn't filter through the government before being spent.
Mr. Trippi has a glowing reputation because of his aptitude for fundraising, but his political instincts seem to be lacking. I think he's mistaken in thinking that the Democrats need to be more extreme, but then that goes with the Howard-Dean-territory I suppose. Most Americans know what the Democrats are about: higher taxes, abortion on demand, girlie-man foreign policy, and government control of every aspect of life other than sex. We know your vision, and we don't like it, and we don't want it.