Thursday, February 16, 2006

The Role of the Democratic Party

A few years ago a really nice guy named Bill Minette was chairman of the Pima County Democratic Party. I was in the party office one day when we began to get phone calls from local high school students following up on a school assignment.

Their question: “What is the purpose of the Democratic Party?” Sometimes the question was phrased in terms of “goals” or “program.” Volunteers answering these questions were sorely tempted to discourse at length on the platform, accomplishments, and programs of the party.

Not Bill. He cut to the heart of the matter with a single short sentence: “The purpose of the Democratic Party is to get Democrats elected.”

Underlying that political dictum was the assumption that despite the differences that might separate one Democrat from another those differences were never so great as the differences that separate Democrats from Republicans, and that the nation would be better served by the former than the latter.

It seems to me that in finally coming down for one or another CD 8 candidate that assumption is worth remembering. And when we get exercised by what we perceive as “interference” by the national party (and I agree that the Hackett move was really ill-advised) we might remember Bill Minette’s explanation of the role of the party.


cc burro said...

I'll make the same comment I made on TEDSKI's blog re this--

The goal is to win the Ohio senate seat--If Brown is more liberal than Hackett, then WHY do the party leaders think that Brown would have a better chance then Hackett in winning a very Reddish state like Ohio??? Particularly since Hackett also has the reputation as being a true [unlike McCain] straight-talk-express that voters yearn for?

cc burro said...

One more comment--

At one point this past fall, our party leaders were thinking of bringing in a 3-star female former general [Kennedy]to run in the CD 8 primary against Kolbe. The fact that they were thinking that an out-of-state [carpetbagger]candidate would win the support and 100s of hours of volunteer time from our local activists--needed to mount a campaign against Kolbe--indicates to me the are seriously out to lunch.

Art Jacobson said...


I have to say I agree about lunch. On the other hand smetimes a national party's judgement about winning a particular race is correct. McCaine was a carpetbagger, as was Hillary.

We live in tnteresting times.... Sigh

Jerry said...

Jack Kennedy
Alan Simpson
Richard Lugar
Bill Clinton
Ev Dirksen
Barry Goldwater
Daniel P. Moynihan

How would you feel if you could choose from one of these gentlemen?? What did they have in common?

cc burro said...

True, the natinal party leaders certainly can be right in some instances. However, if they are totally out of touch with the local grassroots, they are more likely to screw up and the locals pissed.

I think that McCain and Clinton are exceptions--and I am ignorant re how much involvement the national party had with their choice of states to run in.

I have this vague memory from this bio show on McCain that when McCain first ran in Arizona, his opponent accused him of being a carpetbagger, and McCain retorted his longest place of residence was Hanoi (Hilton). That retort squashed his opponent's carpetbagger remark.