Paging Dr. Dean

The invaluable Charles Pierce, in Altercation’s Correspondence Corner, issues the following suggestion:
I think it's time for Bill Clinton, and his wife, and all the people who worked for him to shut up for a while. As time has ground on, I begin to realize that his primary accomplishment over his two terms was keeping the real wingnuts at bay -- which is not an inconsiderable one, given the present state of things. But, let us also admit that, on his best day, Clinton was a DLC Democrat and, even as one of those, he never got 55 percent of the popular vote. He signed an overly punitive welfare bill and he was the worst president on the Bill of Rights in my lifetime. He didn't do jack about building the party. And, for all the noise about how Gore didn't use him in 2000, if Clinton had been able to keep his pants zipped for eight years, Gore wouldn't have had to be so ambivalent about it -- and might not have felt compelled to choose the useless Weepin' Joe Lieberman as a running mate.

This is not a time for triangulation, not a time to cut off our own slice of rotten beef and serve it up as chateaubriand. The next four months are crucial because it's the only chance the D's have to keep the ducks from being put in a row. You may recall Contingency Plan A, briefly summarized as:


Here's what I'd like to see. The entire Democratic caucus of the House of Representatives simply refuses to go to work as long a Tom DeLay is Majority Leader. Deny a quorum. Get your best parliamentarian and tie the place in knots. Sell the hell out of the fact that the House Republicans just used the rules of the institution as a getaway car. Go to Texas and pose with Ronnie Earle. But, under no circumstance, do anything of substance until the Tiny Little Hammer is deposed. And, above all, do not listen to Bill Clinton who, I swear to God, still believes there are reasonable men among the Republicans.

I’ve written before about my frustration with the Democrats for continuing to glorify Bill Clinton, to the detriment of moving the party forward. Pierce has nicely encapsulated some additional reasons to abandon the Clinton-as-Savior model, and they’re particularly relevant as we close in on the deadline for choosing the new head of the DNC. Simon Rosenberg, though a successful 527 organizer and fundraiser, is a Clintonista. I don’t think that should necessarily rule him out, but it should definitely give Dean an edge.

Additionally, what we need is grass-roots activism—something the Clinton people have no real use for, or, perhaps more accurately, no real experience with. And I fear the reliance on 527s was (and is, should they remain legal, which is doubtful) foolishly short-sighted, as 527s cannot coordinate directly with a candidate. Dean’s campaign, on the other hand, had a successful grassroots track record, and we need to harness that ability to organize and combine it with a kickass product like the branding campaign Oliver Willis has proposed.

To beat a dead horse (and hopefully make it a fire-breathing donkey)… There’s nothing wrong with our values; we just need to learn how to effectively communicate the message.

And as Pierce notes, a little help from the Dems in Congress would be greatly appreciated in the meantime.

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