Friday, October 07, 2005

Muddled Republicans, Muddled Democrats

OpinionJournal reported With all of President Bush's political troubles, it's Democrats on Capitol Hill who are complaining that they still can't get a unified message out. House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi refused to appoint members to a bipartisan committee investigating the failures of Katrina aid relief, but she is being second-guessed by more moderate members who say her actions make the party look obstructionist.

They are precisely correct.
Liberal Washington Post columnist E.J. Dionne last week acknowledged the Democrats' incoherence and said "the party's problems are structural" and rooted in the fact that 21% of Americans call themselves liberal while 34% identify themselves as conservatives and 45% said they were moderate. That means "liberal-leaning Democrats are far more dependent than conservatively inclined Republicans on alliances with the political center. Democrats second-guess themselves because they have to."
The pendulum is still swinging, and people are becoming more and more conservative.
That indecision explains why Democrats can't seem to resolve the tension between their more moderate members and the Howard Dean/ crowd that is always calling for a political jihad on the Bush administration.
I know how they can resolve it. The moderate members can become Republicans.
The party's differing wings were on full display two weekends ago in Wyoming when Democratic National Committee vice chairman Mike Honda, who is also a liberal California congressman, addressed state party leaders. He got an earful. The state's Democratic governor, Dave Freudenthal, bluntly told his fellow Democrats that they should distance themselves from liberal party leaders at the national level. "This is a [state] party that's not afraid of firearms," he said. "I don't care about Howard Dean," he added, referring to the chairman of the Democratic National Committee.

Mr. Honda gamely acknowledged that national party organizations had some work to do to understand local concerns. "We lost touch at the federal level," he admitted. "Our job is to correct this with you." He urged his audience to put Mr. Dean and his role in the party "in context."
In other words ignore him.
Despite those soothing words, it's clear that Democrats are no closer to solving the internal contradictions within their party than Republicans are. Right now, both parties seem to be doing a pretty good job of presenting a picture of disarray and confusion to the American people.
The Republican disarray is primarilly about Harriet Miers, and once the hearings start that should be resolved, one way or the other.

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