Saturday, August 20, 2005

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Signing Off

I want to close with a question that has been percolating between my ears for a while now. People who followed politics in 30 and 40 years ago could have given identified such a thing as a "Humphrey Democrat," a "Jackson Democrat," even a "McGovern Democrat." None of these men ever got elected President -- only Humphrey came close -- but all of them had substantial accomplishments in their political careers, accomplishments that could not have been theirs if positioning themselves for a run at the White House had absorbed their whole attention.

What is a Kerry Democrat? For that matter, what is a Gore Democrat, or an Edwards Democrat? Immediate family members of the gentlemen in question surely count, as must a number of their paid staff and -- technically -- Democrats who by coincidence share the last name of Kerry, Gore or Edwards. But that's about it.

There may not be any political implications flowing from this. It may just be that Presidential politics has changed; the people who get nominated for President now are those who establish a foothold through their relation to someone else, their election to a safe seat in the Senate, or their campaigning skills, and then wait around for their moment to strike. It just occurs to me when reading thought pieces about what position Democrats should take on Iraq, or health care, or taxes that parties don't adopt positions on important issues until people do. Whether ideas go anywhere depends on whether their advocates are smart and capable, not on whether their party's strategic direction is right where it should be. There is no shortage of chiefs in the Democratic Party, or Indians either. I just don't see any leaders.

That's all for me. Dan has returned from his vacation: rested, refreshed and ready to resume his rightful place as a titan of the blogosphere. My thanks to him for loaning me this fine platform, and to his readers for their attention and many thoughtful comments.

posted by Joseph Britt on 08.20.05 at 11:18 AM


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