The SanityPrompt

This blog represents some small and occasional efforts to add a note of sanity to discussions of politics and policy. This blog best viewed with Internet Explorer @ 1024x768

Tuesday, January 11, 2005

Stuff that Has to End

Today's ABC News web site has a story about the Chairman of the Massachusetts Democratic Party Opposing the DNC Chairman candidacy of former House Rep Timothy Roemer. Why? Because the guy is pro-life/ antichoice/ anti abortion whatever.

Wanna know why the Democratic Party keeps losing national election after national election? Wanna know why most Americans don't trust the Democratic Party to keep them safe? To look out for their interests? To have a vision about the future of America? Because the Party has become, in the words of James Carville, a litany rather than a vision. Democrats have got to stop presenting themselves to the American people as a collection of issues by which we pander to different interest groups. That's why everyone thinks we pander. Because we do. What kind of control over abortion policy would the DNC chairman have? Where would he have any role in setting or framing policy? One reason I think Dean's announcement that he will seek the job is such a mistake is because the job isn't worth anything and isn't all that important. It's a fundraising job and an organizing job. The person does not speak for all Democrats nor would a person who has that job be allowed or be likely to confuse his position on an issue with the National Party's position. Setting the national party message is a collaborative affair and not something the DNC chair can do by heading out on his or her own. And in a presidential election cycle, there is no national party message until we have a national presidential candidate.

I think having a Pro-life DNC chair would be a great idea. I don't care one way or the other if Roemer is the Chair, or Weisberg or whomever.* But Roemer as chair would show people that Democrats don't hew to one narrow doctrine, don't all read off the same scripture and are a large inclusive party. National policy as stated in who knows how many platforms remains pro-choice. Isn't that enough? Why do we have to have some kind of narrow doctrinaire thresh hold for all people of any substance in the Party? Know what that is called? It's called a litmus test. At least that what it is called these days. But historical precedents give far uglier terms. The idea that all people in the Democratic Party have to think the same way on every issue smacks of the worst kind of totalitarian thinking. I can think of only a few principles and issues where we would expect conformity to some kind of doctrine and this generally would be the kind of ideas that cut across Party lines.

* My original position vis as vis Dean's candidacy still stands. I would have preferred to see him run for President in 2008 and don't think he can do that from the Chairman's spot and I don't think he will do anything but weaken his capital in this role. But he must have some other ideas going on. That said, I still love the guy.

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