May 24, 2006


Democrats in disarray (Donald Lambro, 5/23/06, Insight)

The Democrats' election-year agenda is still a work in progress as party leaders attempt the impossible: to draft a document that appeals to all of its disparate ideological factions.

But the word coming out of the Democrats' inner sanctums is there's deep disagreement over its contents and core message and a brewing argument over the timing of its release.

Parts of the agenda have been floated piecemeal over the past several months, but they were either boilerplate proposals, like raising the minimum wage, or an attempt to sound tough on national security, but without any specifics on how to end the insurgency in Iraq or set timetables for troop withdrawals, as their large antiwar wing demands.

The rest of the agenda being drafted in Democratic backrooms will deal with domestic issues that, once revealed, could alter the dynamics of this election in the GOP's favor.

The political reality that Bill Clinton understood is that to advocate for any one of the primary concerns of each Democratic constituency is an electoral loser. In 1992, after twelve years of Reaganism, the Party was desperate enough to let him run on tax and government bureaucracy cuts, free trade, entitlement reform, Judeo-Christian values, law-and-order, and American exceptionalism. At that point, they were lucky enough to be running against a Bush who had gotten himself on the wrong side of nearly every one of those issues. However, here in 2006, they find themselves reacting to a Bush who's on the right side of every one, making it extraordinarily hard for them to offer a legislative agenda that doesn't consist of mere "mega-dittoes," which would sound especially discordant coupled with their seething hatred of the President they're agreeing with.

Posted by Orrin Judd at May 24, 2006 9:58 AM

Without Perot in the race, Bill Clinton would never have been elected.

Posted by: AllenS at May 24, 2006 12:59 PM

Without tax hikes Clinton never would have been elected. The GOP can't leave room to its Right.

Posted by: oj at May 24, 2006 1:06 PM

The battle's between the Bill-Hillary-Rahm Emanuel wing of the party, that knows the Democrats' core ideas will turn off voters and either don't want to run on that platform, or at least want to lie about it, while at the same time focusing only on the areas of the country they have a legitimate shot at winning in, and the Howard Dean-Russ Feingold-John Conyers wing, which really believes the Tide of History is with them, and want to run on what they really believe, in all parts of the country.

Stuck in the middle are folks like Harry Reid, who knows the Clinton side is right but has to pay lip service to the Deaniacs, and Nancy Pelosi, who really, really wants to go all-out for Howard's causes, but knows running on a platform of launching an impeachment effort against Bush on Jan. 2, 2007 isn't the best way to win in November.

Posted by: John at May 24, 2006 2:30 PM