Wednesday, November 03, 2004
obama and remaking the democratic party
As the Moose has mentioned, Democrats need a major overhaul. They cannot concede the south and expect to lay claim to the White House and Congress any time soon. Organization is fine - ideas and message are far superior. It also wouldn't hurt the donkey to get in touch with rural voters and the exurbs - Virgina Governor Mark Warner can be helpful with that. And the Moose adds as a former big-wig with the Christian Coalition - it wouldn't hurt if some Democratic elites attended Pentecostal camp meetings.a-men. that final bit particularly is becoming important.
america, whatever it is, isn't europe. the fundamentalism to be concerned about in the united states isn't muslim -- it's christian. and the democrats had best learn now that agnosticism, real of perceived, costs them dearly. it is high time for democratic leaders to start attending prayer revivals and getting in good with jesus.
and that's probably not enough. as much as it pains urban socialists to consider, the democrats have to move to the right on social issues. this can be done painlessly from a pragmatic point of view, although the ideological pain will be intolerable for some.
as sorry as i am to say it, a progressive issue like gay marriage may have cost them the election. is indulging a high-profile niche that will vote overwhelming democrat regardless worth that expense? and i don't mean to single out gay marriage -- there has to be a slate of philosophically-desirable yet pragmatically-expensive issues identified and abandoned (or even outright reversed) in order to start re-establishing democratic credibility in the hinterland.
and national candidates have to be chosen with an eye toward the south and west. i don't mean john edwards -- he's a new yorker with a carolina accent. i mean conservative democrats from southern and western states with conservative values. go find them.
and that, fwiw, means that barack obama had best have his star dimmed. there's an endless mantra about how obama is the Next Big Thing. if he is, the democratic party is doomed to futility. urban, liberal, refined -- like it or not, these are characteristics the democrats must avoid in national candidates, at least for now.
obama may be a great orator and a brilliant man. but the timing of his rise couldn't be more unfortunately timed. the party would do well to get him ensconced in the senate and hide him there for some time to come.