January 23, 2005


Choosing a chairman (George Will, January 23, 2005, Townhall)

Having had their fill of post-election introspection, the 447 Democratic Party luminaries who on Feb. 12 will elect their new chairman surely now yearn for stronger wine and madder music. Many yearn for Howard Dean, the highly carbonated tribune of ``the Democratic wing of the Democratic Party.'' Dean is fun -- a scream, you might say.

But losing is not. So the 447 should wonder whether, after John Kerry's defeat, another liberal Northeasterner is the proper poultice for the party's wounds. Hotline's poll -- 42 percent of the 447 responding -- shows that a refugee from a red state is second behind Dean.

Martin Frost is a political lifer eager to prolong his engagement in party affairs that began in 1968 when, as a Georgetown University law student, he volunteered at the headquarters of Hubert Humphrey's presidential campaign. Frost's 13-term congressional career ended last November when he was one of four Texas Democrats who were victims of the mid-decade redistricting engineered by Rep. Tom DeLay. Democrats like victims as much as they dislike DeLay, so Frost has a double claim on Democrats' pity, which is their sincerest compliment.

Frost says that while losing his Dallas seat he nevertheless demonstrated the skills of a political mechanic, skills needed by any Democratic chairman competing with the Republicans' chairman, Ken Mehlman.

His slogan is: I'll do for the national party what I did for Democrats in Texas!

Posted by Orrin Judd at January 23, 2005 9:27 AM

Liberal Democrats in general still have a deep distaste for Texas, since they know everyone over the age of 42 was in on the plot to kill JFK. But they will madly embrace any Texan (Bill Moyers, Molly Ivins), who is willing to totally reject the state's general political philosophy.

Unfortunately for Frost, the only way to win re-election in his Dallas-area district for all those years was to not appear to be at odds with the bulk of his constituents' beliefs. That makes him suspect in the eyes of the hard-core DNC people, and it's a little too late in the game to morph into Jim Hightower, let alone a southern Howard Dean.

Posted by: John at January 23, 2005 11:19 AM

So in other words, the Democrats have now decided to abandon even a semblance of a fight for the South and much of the Midwest, Rockies and Plains, and hope that their regional strength can pull them through.

As I recall this strategy of focusing on the Northeast and abandoning the rest of the country didn't work too well for the Federalists, and the Northeast was a larger percentage of the nation then than it is today.

Posted by: Bart at January 23, 2005 12:23 PM