Friday, November 05, 2004

It sounds like the Democrats have passed their first post-Bush-re-election test. They've named Nevada Senator Harry Reid as the new minority leader.

I think this is a good move. The exit polls and the way things broke in most of the battleground states outside the Northeast (FL, OH, MO, IA, NM) as well as how the Dems continue to get skunked in the South (even in states that they should be competitive in such as TN, LA and AR) showed that the "moral values" issue is killing the Democrats.

A lot of liberal pundits -- such as Paul Krugman, Joan Walsh, and Robert Reich -- are demanding the party take the position that gay marriage and abortion on demand are its sine qua non. That's the road to eternal banishment, and if liberal pundits want to go down with the liberal cultural ship, then more power to them -- but they cannot be allowed to take the Democratic Party with them.

Reid is not a cultural liberal. He voted for the Defense of Marriage Act (as did 31 other Democrats) and he voted for the Partial-birth Abortion Ban (as did 15 other Democrats). At the same time, Reid is an economic liberal, or at least more liberal than anybody else in the running for the Minority Leader position. He voted against fast-track and against free trade with China, whereas the Kerrys, Clintons, Durbins and Dodds of the world are all pro-free trade. Yes he voted for welfare reform and for the Iraq war, but so did Kerry, Clinton and Dodd.

Reid has a working-class background which will be important for the Dems to shrug off their latt´┐Ż-sipping upper middle-class image, an image reinforced by the Kerry nomination.

And the clincher? The vast majority of the commentors at Kevin Drum's website hate the idea.

I'm not saying Harry Reid should be the party's nominee for president in 2008. Nothing of the sort. I am saying that the Dems had better get it together and fast because a lot of scary stuff is coming down the pike -- flat tax, national sales tax, partial privatization of Social Security, more war. Standing resolute in defense of liberal cultural positions is going to allow the right-wing economic project to crush its opposition as the Dems continue to alienate the white working class.

If your response is "fuck the white working class, fuck the red states" -- well, I hear Canada has a pretty friendly immigration policy.


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