Excerpt Of The Day: The Democratic Base Hinders The Party As Much As It Helps

From Mickey Kaus:

“(Bill) Bradley wants the Democrats to emulate Republicans and generate ideas from a stable, pyramid-like institutional base–with “Democratic policy organizations” engaged in the “patient, long term development of new ideas or of new ways to sell old ideas.” Just plug in a candidate at the top of this institutional pyrmaid and … victory!

The problem, of course, is that the Democratic party’s most stable institutional elements are also its most problematic elements: 1) unions; 2) the civil rights and Latino lobbies; 3) the senior lobby (AARP); 4) institutional feminists (NOW); 5) trial lawyers; 6) Iowa-caucus style “progressives;” and 7) Hollywood emoters. If a national problem could be solved without trampling on the interests of this institutional base, Democrats would have solved it in the decades when they were in power. What’s left are the problems that can’t be solved–even solved in accordance with liberal principles–without trampling on these liberal interest groups: competitiveness, for example, or public education, or entitlement reform. If the Dems’ permanent institutional base is what gets to “develop” and “hone” the ideas to be adopted by the party’s presidential nominee, then the Democrats will in perpetuity be the party of union work rules, lousy teachers, mediocre schools, protectionism, racial preferences, unafforadable entitlements, amnesty for illegals and offensive rap lyrics! That winning collection gets you, what, 35%?

Currently, the Democrats’ only hope is that once every four years a maverick candidate will come along who tells the party’s permanent institutional base to shove it and actually fashion an appealing platform. party’s post-Vietnam presidential winners–Carter and Clinton–both fit this pattern.”

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