Sunday, October 17, 2004

One State, Two State, Red State, Blue State

My quasi-review of John Sperling's The Great Divide: Retro vs. Metro America is up at the Los Angeles Times. As someone who's quite fond of the Democratic party (at least in principle), I'm always bothered by Dem strategists who think that the real path to victory is for the party to be like Howard Dean, only more so.

Fortunately for him, John Kerry hasn't taken that path. He isn't campaigning as a New Democrat, exactly, but as a sort of Newer Democrat. Of course, that's to the extent that he's campaigning as anything at all--mostly he's just The Not Bush. (Mind you, that may be enough.)

If Kerry loses, the Sperlings of the world will take it to mean that they were right--that Kerry would have won, had he only run waaaaaay to the left. As a purely strategic matter, this seems like madness.

A Kerry loss should bring this intra-party dispute to a head, as the Clinton wing of the party will finally have to engage the Dean wing. A Kerry win would put the fight off, but sooner or later, mainstream Democrats are going to have to confront the Deaniac fringe and do to them what Republicans did to the Buchananite right in the '90s.

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