CDP Quick Wrap Up

When I first decided to do some investigating of the CDP convention it was with the idea I’d find a lot of bizarre, interesting, or humorous things to exploit for the sake of a good story. True, there were the funny incidents, and there were plenty of parties to attend and people to meet. Yet throughout the proceedings, even as people committed themselves for the work ahead, you could feel the sense of uncertainty amongs folks when one asked them how they thought things would go this year.
This year is going to be a very difficult year for the political system in general, and a tough one for Democratic partisans no matter what happens this year. The McCain-Feingold laws, changing economic divisions, and changes in technology make it clear that even if somehow a Clark or a Dean, or whomever manages to win in 2004 up against CNN, FOX News, and a half-billion dollar re-election effort, they’ll still be stuck with a GOP Congress (thanks in part to gerrymandering in Texas and Colorado) and the incredible burden of debt and ongoing administration in Iraq and elsewhere is going to make the next four years very tough for anyone.
It’s also clear that most Congressional Democrats (with some notable exceptions) still seem to concentrate on re-electing themselves, and despite talk and money for “taking back Congress”, folks like Sen. Joe Lieberman and assorted similar insiders are more worried about keeping their niche, doing what it takes to stay in, and really don’t have much incentive to change things. And frankly they’d rather see a non-DC insider lose to Bush than risk a win with Clark, Dean or someone else who isn’t beholden to the DC culture of risk aversion and personal profit.
It just kills me when Rep. Nancy Pelosi, who has the fighting spirit and the organizational and fundraising skill to pull off some wins is demonized by the press and the DLC Democrats as “too liberal” and paint her as some kook from San Francisco. This charge is usually made by people who write “paint-by-the-numbers” hit pieces and news articles – if they’d ever met Rep. Pelosi in person they’d realize she’s probably one of the few politicians in DC who has this habit of telling the truth and keeping her word. That’s a rare trait that deserves to be praised, not attacked by hack politicians from the Old Confederacy.
Certainly the changes in the party and the electorate needed to really change Congress would mean that the DLC status quo would need to be moved aside, or at least have to power-share with others. And to pro-corporate interests, that’s just unthinkable. Work with people they may not agree with 100%? Bah! Better to demonize them and kick them out of the “Party” (whatever that means) and then whine when they vote elsewhere. Such is the “logic” of the DLC/DC insider crowd.
I suppose the real story coming out of the CDP convention isn’t that the “Democratic Party” is in a state of flux but rather the whole political system is in a state of flux, and whether there is a Democratic (or even a Republican) party in 10 years is highly debatable. Moreover what does survive will have to bear little resemblance, organizationally, to the parties of the past.
It may be that the Dean, Clark and Kucinch folks may be able to find a way out of the wilderness just yet with the new people, tactics and ideas they’re bringing in to the system. There is certainly more hope there than with than the corporate, pseudo-middle politics of a bunch of DLC insiders who do not know, and could care less about what regular people really need and do not need in their day to day lives.
I’ve lived in one-party systems before and they’re not good for the majority apparatchniks nor for the people who have to live under such a system. It also is incredibly boring to write about! Besides, we’re in too much trouble as is to devolve into Brezhnev-like stagnation brought on by right and left wing ideologues with no clue as to what to do to actually run things in this country today.
Monday’s column will be posted late as I will be spending all day in meetings up north – but we’ll post something a bit more lighthearted for y’all to check out!

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