Saturday, May 06, 2006

Ballet Dancers and Bulldozers

Markos has an op-ed in the Washington Post that describes some of the problems Hillary may have in winning the nomination in 2008. There is a diary discussing it on DailyKOS already. I recommend both.

Here are my thoughts.

For the last 30 years the Republicans have engaged in a very successful operation of placing landmines all over the political landscape, all designed specifically to blow up Democrats. Democrats know this and try to compensate for it by learning how to avoid those landmines. They cross the field by hops, skips and jumps. They perform a kind of ballet that looks comical to the observer who isn't aware of those landmines.

It is that comical ballet that hurts the Democrats most because the voters don't elect people based on their dancing ability. They just laugh.

We don't need another ballet dancer in 2008. We need a bulldozer! Something big and strong that will roll over the landmines and clear a path for other Democrats to cross the field with ease.

Howard Dean did this with partial success in 2004. He cleared a path through part of the minefield before blowing a track. Others have managed to build on his work, proving that his efforts were not worthless.

Bill Clinton was not a bulldozer. He was just the best dancer the Democrats ever had. He made it look easy and people marvelled at that, even if they still sniggered.

Reagan and Bush Jr. are bulldozers of the biggest sorts. And that is the greatest reason for their success. Bush's problem is that he is a bulldozer that runs over his friends as well as the mines he is supposed to be clearing.

Gore and Kerry both ran as dancers ... and fell on their faces.

Unfortunately, Hillary shows all the signs of being yet another ballet dancer (though nowhere near as good as her husband). She needs to prove to Democrats that she won't be just a dancer. She needs to demonstrate her bulldozing abilities. If she can't, she shouldn't get the nomination.


Blogger Jonathan Versen said...

each party has a basic structural problem, and the GOP successfully sweeps over it while the democrats are constantly wrestling with their structural problem: each party has its marquee membership, who are both pro-business, and leery of the supposed extremists who constitute their base(s).

The democrats' base are generally unreconstructed, pro-union New Dealers, while of course the republican base are the social conservatives.

But every time the democrats seem to be doing well in national polls, the marquee democrats panic and decide they have to trot out their most namby-pamby and conciliatory rhetoric, as if favorable poll numbers were like your growth fund spiking in a bull market, and all you have to do to hold on to your numbers is trade them in for rhetorical municipal bonds, to "lock in" your advantage.

10:25 PM  

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