Wednesday :: Nov 3, 2004

The Next Step

by CA Pol Junkie

Last night, I got about 4 hours of sleep as I simultaneously went through the anger, denial, bargaining, and acceptance stages of grief. Since John Kerry is conceding, however, it's time to turn the page. Those of us who sought to take back our country in two short years were rudely awakened with the realization that it will take a generation instead.

We need to work on marketing the Democratic Party label without giving up our principles. In a tribal country, polarized by party identification, we need to have a party in which anyone would be pround to belong. As a good first step, I concur with Kos that Terry McAuliffe should be replaced as head of the DNC by Howard Dean. Dean has demonstrated an exceptional talent at marketing and fundraising, which are the classic needs in a DNC Chair. We need more than that, though, as McAuliffe was in his position largely to raise money and that didn't get us anywhere. While Dean has only limited potential to tame the existing red/blue divide in America, he has a unique ability to bring young people coming of age into our party. Having them identify with our party is key to the generational approach of rebuilding.

There will soon be two schools when it comes to the direction our party must take. We can bend to the perception of public opinion, or we can try to shape public opinion. The former approach, tried in 2002, is to market ourselves as a new and improved Republican Party. The latter approach is to blaze our own trail, bringing new issues and ideas for the American people to judge for themselves. It is a long-term strategy for long-term success. The first step is being outspoken, unafraid, and unashamed. If there's anything more pathetic than a party completely out of power, it's a meek party completely out of power.

If this dilemma sounds familiar, it is because our party faced it during the primaries. We had the dynamic approach of Howard Dean, the Republican-lite approach of Joe Lieberman, and the Al Gore strategy of John Kerry. We tried being logical, figuring that someone who served in Vietnam and with extensive government and foreign policy experience would be a good choice against the failing presidency of George W. Bush. Logically speaking, a president who lied to start a war, took us deep into debt, and presided over a weak economy should be easily defeated. Of course, logically, Al Gore should have kicked Bush's butt in 2000. The best product isn't necessarily what the market embraces. It's time we listened to Janis Joplin: freedom is just another word for nothing left to lose. We are in the political wilderness, so we are free to think big and then transform America. Let's hear your ideas to create a new party.

CA Pol Junkie :: 9:33 AM :: Comments (36) :: Digg It!