The fact that the state and county parties can't read the stories from southern Ohio, pick one candidate, and take this race national, is an indication of the party's lack of power or leadership abilities.
With three Republicans in the race, one Democrat with a decent message could at least threaten to win the primary. The Republicans will be forced to fight with each other which could set up a general election against a damaged opponent.
This is a no-brainer, just like the Democratic Party.
There are always plenty of people with great 'resumes' for the presidency. None of them ever get elected. If 'resume' had any value, Bush wouldn't be president, he wouldn't even have been a factor in the primaries.
What the party needs is a messenger in chief, a symbol, a heuristic, a creature of television, a spokes-creature, a cipher with an acceptable appearance and, if the War On Terror is still the issue, a male who is can deliver simple-minded catch-phrases and childish, playground threats in a manner that makes the corporate press/media all gooey inside, as if they'd just witnessed history rather than farce.
The Democrats are not going anywhere as long as they believe that the 'right candidate' can change the course of events. We have had the better candidate in every election since 1928.
The Democratic Party has to work on its local level organization and the connection between that and state and the national party. The Republicans' organization works well together, follows orders and delivers votes. The Democrats' organization can't even be called by that name.
The Democrats also have to take on and destroy the Big Republican Noise and Smear Machine. That and that alone has propped up the Republicans, despite their incompetence, corruption and criminal conduct, ever since the Reagan years.
Most Democrats and Democratic pundits are clueless about this. They seem to think that if they conduct themselves in a particular way, or speak in a particular way, that the Big Machine will not attack them and destroy them. They are blind or stupid. The only reason the Big Machine exists is to destroy them.
So let's forget the 'Democrats' Next Top Model' show. Until the system changes, it doesn't matter who it is, what that person has done in their life, or how smart, popular or well-funded they are. Come election time, they are going to be pro-terrorist, pro-gay marriage, pro-abortion, lacking in moral values, weak on national security, eager to raises taxes, too allied with 'special interests' and the whole menu.
I was a Deaniac because I believed that the Democratic Party needed a brave, bold and transforming candidate.
The majority of my fellow Democrats, believing that getting rid of Bush required more caution and temporizing, believed that John Kerry was the best candidate. If one accepts those premises, it is hard to argue with the conclusion. I was against it, but got on board right away, without regret or reservation.
Although I always thought Kerry had weaknesses as a national candidate, I think he is an above-average senator and would have made an above-average president. He is a center-left progressive, relatively free of personal flaws, who has a great head and a decent heart.
It is early and no one has really campaigned much, but I got one early look at Angelides and Westly at the California Democratic Party Convention on Friday night when both spoke to the women's caucus. It was the largest of the caucus rooms and had the most candidates for various offices speaking.
When Angelides spoke the crowd was very responsive and about two thirds of them gave him a standing O. When Westly spoke, it was difficult to hear him because most of the room was ignoring him and engaging in conversation. [This is a disease that permeates Democratic Party gatherings, one that contrasts with Republicans who are almost always more orderly and respectful of speakers.]
Neither one had a particularly interesting or great speech, a few shots at Arnold and many references to women's issues.
I didn't say there was no difference, though I can see that I implied that without meaning to do so. Let me be more clear.
I wasn't speaking of the actual policy positions and pledges of the two candidates, but rather the perception of them that will determine who wins the race. When I said that there were no issues, I mean there were no Big Issues, like Hahn is for X, Villaraigoa is against X, that are dividing voters in their support. When I talk to non-activists, the remarks are always about style and the perception that Hahn has been major for four years and the only thing people seem to recall about his term is that he fired Parks.
My impressions are anecdotal and largely confined to the Westside and downtown. I really don't know how this race is being perceived in the Valley.
So I can't vote for Villaraigosa, but if I could I would.
It is partly because I like him and partly because I don't like Hahn.
There isn't an issue or group of issues that divide the two. It is more a matter of leadership skills and styles. With Hahn, I have the sense that there is no there there. With Villaraigosa, I get the sense that he is more likely to make things happen.
Check out the LA Weekly interview with Villaraigosa for a sense of the guy.
Jerome, please. One would think memories of the Howard Dean Experience would have given you pause before you declared that we will have a new mayor in Los Angeles. While it is looking good, we have a way to go and a lot can happen. And Jim Hahn & Friends aren't going to give up without a very dirty fight.
Let's meet here next week (no I don't know how to do that). We can evaluate just how far the "backlash" story goes.
Believe me, I would love it if the nation reacted to Republican over-reaching in this case. But then, I thought the nation would react against Bush's argument that we should not count the votes in 2000. If we ever get ANY reaction out of the American people that goes against the Republicans, it will be the first in a decade.
You are right. If it's a blunder, and I am not sure it is, it is a cost-free blunder.
Eric Boehlert has a great review comparing how corporate press/media covers the Schiavo case with the results of their own polls. As with the impeachment, the Republicans do not care about what Americans think. Because the same corporate ruling class that owns the Republican Party also owns the corporate press/media, they will never pay a price for their outrages.
It's a little early to say whether this worked or not. And it isn't certain that all or most of the Republicans' goals are stated in that memo.
If their goal was to have the Schiavo story dominate a news cycle, it worked. The story totally dominated cable news this weekend. This morning as I walked into court, I saw six newspaper boxes in a row, all of which had the Schiavo story headlined, above the fold. The LA Times had a dramatic photo of Schiavo's father and a headline about Bush signing the statute.
In all the coverage, I have seen nothing that reflects what might be called opposition, but would more properly be called a different point of view.
A review of the coverage shows that the Schiavo story is advancing Republican goals:
As noted, it dominated the news cycle;
It is being portrayed as a victory by the Republicans over a disorganized, compliant and/or weak Democratic Party;
Only one side, the 'save our daughter' is getting any air time;
It is being portrayed as a left/blue vs. right/red issue that left/blue even though actual opinions do not divide along these lines;
The coverage makes the Republicans look like they are doing whatever they can to help the parents, and the Democrats look like they have no position on a mother's love.
The Schiavo story is like the Elian Gonzalez story. There the Radical Right came out in favor of kidnapping a child from his only living parent in order to use him as a tool in a propaganda war. Yet there was no downside, no penalty for their cruelty, their hypocrisy or their callous disregard of family and child welfare. There, too, the corporate press/media became an advocate for the Radical Right.
This story reveals the hypocrisy of Radical Right on at least two of its most important rally points: marriage and federalism.
Last November, the Republicans were widely reported to have won the election by standing up for the sanctity of marriage. In the Schiavo case, they are totally trashing the marriage.
The Schiavo statute also violates States' Rights that Republicans claim to hold sacred. The proof is found in the words of the High Priest of States' Rights and this is one time, perhaps the only time, that I agree 100% with Justice Scalia.
In Cruzan v. Missouri Dept. Health, (1990) 497 U.S. 261, 292, Justice Scalia, in a concurring opinion, stated that:
. . . I would have preferred that we announce, clearly and promptly, that the federal courts have no business in this field; that American law has always accorded the State the power to prevent, by force if necessary, suicide - including suicide by refusing to take appropriate measures necessary to preserve one's life; that the point at which life becomes "worthless," and the point at which the means necessary to preserve it become "extraordinary" or "inappropriate," are neither set forth in the Constitution nor known to the nine Justices of this Court any better than they are known to nine people picked at random from the Kansas City telephone directory; and hence, that even when it is demonstrated by clear and convincing evidence that a patient no longer wishes certain measures to be taken to preserve her life, it is up to the citizens of Missouri to decide, through their elected representatives, whether that wish will be honored. It is quite impossible (because the Constitution says nothing about the matter) that those citizens will decide upon a line less lawful than the one we would choose; and it is unlikely (because we know no more about "life-and-death" than they do) that they will decide upon a line less reasonable.
These words should have been thrown in the face of the congressional Republicans by righteously outraged Democrats. But, in a pattern that is by now well-established, they rolled over.
Polls like that are worthless, irrespective of where they come from. And it isn't just because it is not a random sample.
The Republicans do not care whether the American people support what they do, the only care about holding power and doing what they want.
Don't you remember the polls before and during the impeachment of Clinton? Americans were against starting the process and against impeaching and trying the president. But that did not slow down the Republicans or affect them in any way. Recall that Larry Flynt was the only "journalist" with the guts to call them out for their hypocrisy.
The Democrats? Some of them are trying, especially Reid, but they haven't got a thing yet. If it weren't for Republican misgivings, social security would have already been gutted by a partisan vote.
The Democrats are still a disorganized mob of losers. The party still has too many prominent members who are as unprincipled and as tied to the corporate ruling class as the Republicans, who have no interst other than self-promotion, and who are oblivious to what life is like for almost all Americans.
We really do need a revolution of sorts, one in which we are going to lose before we win.