Tuesday, April 11, 2006

[Political Strategies]

Big Tent.

I did in fact have the opportunity to interivew Markos and Jerome yesterday. I was on the payroll of Willamette Week, so I won't divulge the content of the interview until after those pieces appear. However, I will reflect a little on a nice point they made (not just yesterday, but also on their book and at every pit stop along the book tour).

The central diagnosis they make about the ailment of the Democratic Party is this: it's an uneasy collection of inviduals looking out for the pet single-issue cause, not a team. They give the example of NARAL punishing Democrats who aren't sufficiently pro-choice, even if that means letting the theocons control all three branches of government. Significantly, they point out that millions of dollars and volunteer hours go into abortion rights, labor, and the environment, and yet all three have seen massive erosion of earlier gains over the past quarter century. By not working together, the single-issue folk have damaged themselves.

[Analysis: True, and this seems like a major barrier. But whether issue groups will ever cede their little fiefdoms for a larger movement is the real question. Kos and Jerome think they may, and even quote a Texas NARAL supporter who acknowledged, grimly, that there isn't much else less to lose. We'll see.]

Note: while they were in town, Jerome and Markos went to Powell's and signed about 100 books, which are now available. If these guys become the next Carville and Trippi, signed originals of their debut books might be like a rookie card for Joe DiMaggio. Or maybe not.


KevinHayden said...

Congrats on getting the WW gig, Jeff.

I understand that some single-issue groups exist but I suspect most of their memberships don't really vote that way.

I certainly don't see many voting Green or Nader or Republican, so I continue to believe most progressives are alarmed (and were in 2004)and the single-issue threat is overstated.

I do agree with the notion that the national beltway Dems are burdened with a consultant-dependent mentality that limits its capacity to step up and lead. I consider that the far greater problem than too many progressives feeding their pet peeve.

Jeff Alworth said...

It's less how people vote and more with the Dem leadership that selects candidates. The Paul Hackett incident is a sorry case in point. Rather than let a heterodox Dem win, they ran him out for the staid old party guy. The single-issue PACs feed this beast by pumping in huge sums, demanding fealty, and punishing Dems--and the party--when they're less than perfectly compliant. It's a crappy way to run a party.