Thursday, June 22, 2006

What came first, the chicken or the egg?

Ann Althouse (via Instapundit) makes an interesting point:
You know, what the Democrats need is a presidential candidate who was critical of the war early on, but who now firmly supports the successful completion of the mission. Gore?
Well, I don't know about that (I mean the Gore part)... Simon (of I Respectfully Dissent) posts an interesting analysis in one of the comments there:
I know I'm usually the one leading the charge against comparative law, and this comparison isn't entirely a good fit, but the Dems seem to have gotten themselves into the same funk as did the Labour Party in Britain. Having been thoroughly discredited as a party of government, Labour got absolutely slaughtered in 1979 by a resurgent conservative party under the firm control of an unusually ideologically-driven leader, Margaret Thatcher. In 1983, they got an even sterner drubbing. Bits of the party began to detatch, thinking third party runs were the way to go (sound familiar?), others thought that all they had to do was sit back and do nothing, and when the Conservatives self-destructed, Labour would be returned to power without having to fundamentally change at all (sound familiar?) while some groups - particularly one called Militant Tendancy - essentially claimed that Labour had to move even further to the left (that should definitely sound familiar). Eventually, the realization set in that if they ever wanted to get back into power, they had to change, they had to get the ultra left out of the party, and they had to make a beeline back for a position that people could vote for. It took them until 1997 - nearly twenty years in the wilderness. It's easy to make the argument that Daily Kos is Militant Tendancy to Newt Gingrich's Margaret Thatcher, Al Gore's Jim Callaghan, and John Kerry's Paul Foot, and I suppose that there's an argument that Joe Biden is Neil Kinnock (no -- wait -- that's just Biden's speeches, sorry), but it's much harder, to see which Democrat is going to step up to the plate and say to the party, "shit, you guys, we're going to be out of power until kingdom come if we don't do something." In other words, the Democrats need their very own Tony Blair - the question is who.
Do read the whole thing. The cruel Biden joke was particularly appreciated...
At any rate, the odd thing about this analysis is that not too long ago people were saying that Bill Clinton did just that to get the Democrats out of the Reagan/Bush-induced funk (although that's not entirely true, as Clinton would never, ever have won in '92 without Ross Perot), and that Tony Blair was imitating Clinton to beat the Tories. However it is certainly true that as long as the Democratic leadership is populated by such cringe-inducing personages as John Kerry, Nancy Pelosi etc., and the party doesn't come up with a positive and unified vision of what it wants the US to mean for its citizens and for the world, it will be hard (thankfully) to convince the American people to entrust the keys of power to them.

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