Sunday, January 09, 2005

More Advice for the Democrats

My trip back from Philadelphia was much easier than the flight there. So easy, in fact, that I had time to read through this article in the Philadelphia Inquirer, "Democrats Seek Chief for Party Cast Adrift." The crux of the matter is nicely summarized in an early paragraph:

The problem is, the 440 members of the Democratic National Committee - who must vote soon for a new chairman - can't seem to decide who they want for the job. Which is no big surprise, because they're not really sure about the best future direction for the party, anyway.

One of these DNC members is Bob Mulholland. Here's one of the instances where he is quoted in the article:

But some Democrats, yearning for a fighter who would draw sharp contrasts with the Republicans, don't want a chairman who would merely echo the GOP's red-state sensibility. Mulholland said, "We don't need a DNC chair who wants to be a Wal-Mart greeter."

First, I'll state unequivocally that I enjoy shopping at Wal-Mart and that I enjoy being greeted when I enter the store. Second, I am going to go another round of giving advice to the Democratic party:

You may not want a Wal-Mart greeter to chair your party, but you won't win a national election if you cannot convince Wal-Mart greeters to vote for you. And one of the surest ways to make sure they don't is to speak pejoratively about them.

Judging by Bob's quote, it is apparently okay for members of the Democratic National Committee to score points at the expense of people who earn money by being unfailingly kind to total strangers. Would it also be okay to poke fun at these people if, instead of taking jobs as greeters, they refused to do so and joined the ranks of the long-term unemployed? I don't know who will become the next DNC chair, but I hope the person understands which of these two groups of people is a more solid foundation for his party's coalition.

Other blogs commenting on this post


HispanicPundit said...

Great post!!! Ditto that!

Anonymous said...

Stupid comment by Mulholland, but this is a content free stupid post. I have some advice for you. Leave the party that is:

1. Bankrupting the US.
2. Destroying its international credibility.
3. Proving our military might is limited.
4. Killing US soldiers.
5. Corrupt at its very core.

You worry about 10 trillion dollar infinite horizon estimates of the S.S. deficit and ignore the sh** that's happening right in front of your face. You supported the ridiculous tax cuts in 2001 and 2003. You were in the administration when the Medicare bill passed. What were the infinite horizon costs of those? What's the infinite horizon deficit associated with the general fund if pace of the tax cuts and giveaways of the first Bush administration are extrapolated out for 4 more years, 8 more years, 12 more years?

Andrew Samwick said...

This post continues an occasional thread on what the Democrats can do to overcome their recent troubles in national elections. I made the first post after having spent some time talking with Howard Dean about the very same issues. I made the second post to suggest that it would be a mistake for the Democrats to deny that Social Security faces a financial shortfall and to refuse to engage in whatever reform process the Republicans put forward.

I think I've been clear about the two fiscal issues raised in this comment. Please see this post in the Wall Street Journal and this recent post as examples.

For the record, on the day I got to CEA in July 2003, I began work on a widely circulated memo on how to help finance the Medicare bill through means-testing. There is some means-testing of the new drug benefit in the bill, but not nearly enough. The day the bill passed was one of the low points of my time in Washington.

Kent said...

I hope the person understands which of these two groups of people is a more solid foundation for his party's coalition.Andrew, I'm sorry to say it, but: If I were a Democratic strategist, I would bank on the long-term unemployed rather than Walmart greeters.

Jake said...

It is very difficult to pick a leader for the Democrat party when the party has no ideas, no principles, and no ethics.

Besides Michael Moore controls the Democrat Party and he is not willing to give up his lock on the party. Anyone they appoint will just be a figurehead.

Anonymous said...

If you have advice for Democrats and want to be paid attention to then become a Democrat. How about offering advice to the Republican leadership. You know, but won't admit it that any social security reform passed by this Congress and this administration will be a mistake as big as the Medicare bill. You want the Democrats to save you from yourself. Sorry, you want to fix your problems then offer your suggestions to the people in power. Oh, I forgot, you tried that and you didn't like the result

Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

The reason I left the Democratic party is because they're rheteric consists of calling anybody that doesn't agree with the party line evil and corrupt. Their ideas consist of taking something that isn't theirs and giving it to their constituency. There's a reason why the only prez they've elected in the last 7 elections was someone who attempted to govern closer to the center.

Anonymous said...

Let's get real, folks. The chances that the writer of this blog or any of the commenters "want to be a WalMart greeter" are nil, so where do any of us get off presuming that the statement in question was pejorative in nature? Sure, the statement can be twisted fairly easily to make it seem so, and as such it was a pretty dumb thing for a political operative to have said, but it defies any common sense to believe that it was consciously or unconsciously intended that way.

Since the people who might become DNC chairman are all lawyers, pundits, and politicians who want to be in serious leadership positions, it is ludicrous to interpret the quote as applying to their vocational aspirations! It is ludicrous to consider it to be demeaning to people who earn money at Walmart, and ludicrous to use the comment to draw a contrast between the DNC's attitudes toward working people and unemployed people. The WalMart greeter in the quotation is purely metaphorical, representing unfailing friendliness, and only that. Mulholland is positing only that the DNC doesn't need that attribute in their chair, and he is right.

He may have said it badly, but if we were keeping score on how often the leaders of each party said something badly, the GOP leadership would come out far worse than the DNC.


Anonymous said...

Im don't think you're being completely fair. Mulholland's quote means (IMO) that the Dems are looking for a fighter, someone willing to take a strong left-wing position and defend it (rather than attempting to ameliorate it with wishy-washy rhetoric). It's not that wal-mart greeters are bad people, just that the party needs someone fired up and willing to disagree rather than to pleasantly get along.
After all, if he said "we need to think proactively, rather than just running around fighting fires", would you assume that he was therefore disparaging firemen? :)

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