Wednesday | November 06, 2002
Some more early (and scattered) thoughts
So what now?
To be clear, I don't think the Democrats need to turn hard left. What they need to do (as many have pointed out in the comments) is to start acting like Democrats. The Democrats ousted yesterday were all running and voting to the right of the DLC! I have nothing against the DLC -- I'm not an ideological purist -- but when you make the DLC look "progressive", you're in trouble. If you run as a Republican, a (D) next to your name won't bring out the base.
Make no mistake about it, the Democrats lost fair and square. Despite voting irregularities in some parts, none were decisive (especially now that Johnson has apparently won his race). The system didn't fail our party -- our party's leadership did.
Bush now has his mandate. Not that he ever needed it. These next two years will be the GOP's to control. All good news will be theirs to claim, all bad news will be laid at their feet. The way in which the GOP handles these next two years will go long in determining the outcome of the 2004 presidential elections. I am confident the GOP will overshoot, but perhaps they have learned from the Gingrich years. We'll see.
McAuliffe has to go. I don't think anyone thinks otherwise. But realize that he has been a prolific fundraiser. Dems already trail the GOP badly in the money race, his ouster will make things worse. How do we overcome the gap? I don't have any answers.
Gephardt has to go also. As minority leader, it's been his responsibility to recapture the House for the Dems. The position requires a shrewd tactician (a la Gingrich) who can drive the agenda, garner media attention, sell it to his or her caucus and constituents, and be free of any conficts of interests (such as presidential aspirations).
I'm not ready to write off Daschle -- sure he's talking about working with the Republicans, but that's boilerplate rhetoric. The real test will come with Bush's judicial nominations, making the tax cut permanent, etc. Will Daschle rise to the moment? Again, we'll see.
Expect a great deal of soul-searching these next few months as the party tries to find itself. Remember, the new Congress won't meet until January so there's time. All's not lost, even though right now, it may feel like the end of the world.Posted November 06, 2002 09:02 AM | Comments (179)