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Sunday, June 13, 2010

Where is the Democratic farm team?
Posted by Jill | 6:55 AM
As everyone who follows the Mets knows, you cannot build a winning team out of aging stars, no matter how many of them you sign. Oh, you may squeak through for one year, two if you're lucky. But if you don't have a minor league system to develop young talent, it won't be long before you're left with a bunch of injuries -- and no players to replace them.

Say what you will about the Republicans' descent into insanity, but the reality is that the Republicans have a strong farm team and the Democrats do not. It isn't just a question of age, though age is part of it. But it seems that the Republican Party always has a new face to put up, while the Democrats have little but scions of old Democratic families, retreads, odious Blue Dogs like Heath Shuler, and low profile progressives like John Hall and Donna Edwards, who have to scramble to hang onto their seats amd who are good solid Democrats about whom you never, ever hear. Yes, there's Alan Grayson, but if you believe for one minute that the DSCC is ever going to let Alan Grayson move beyond Orlando, you'll believe that Barack Obama is going to close Gitmo. And there's Anthony Wiener, but his name is "Wiener", for God's sake. And there's Bernie Sanders who's a socialist.

The Republican team may be batshit crazy, but it's full of ambitious, high-profile crazies. Say what you will about Michele Bachmann, Marco Rubio, chicken-lady Sue Lowden (who likely would have won her primary had she kept the chicken-for-chemotherapy barter idea to herself), Scott Brown, Meg "Voting Isn't Important" Whitman, Carly "Demon Sheep" Fiorina, Chris Christie, and the like, but they are out there, they're high-profile, they're largely physically attractive people, and they're ambitious as hell.

The best example of the lack of a Democratic "minor league system" is California, where the Democratic Party is reduced to bringing back 70's icon Jerry Brown. It's entirely possible that Brown will beat Whitman, who clearly doesn't know what she's doing, but I wouldn't necessarily bet my house on it. And you have to wonder, if in California of all places, the best you can come up with is a guy still known as "Governor Moonbeam" long after even Chicago columnist Mike Royko said enough was enough about that, and who was frequently lampooned in the reliable liberal Doonesbury as a flake.

Where is the Democratic farm team? Is it a question of money, in which only candidates like Fiorina, who nearly wrecked a great company and left with a multimillion dollar severance package? Is it just a question of good looks, in which only female candidates who are attractive enough to make men who think with their dicks forget their own interests in their delusion that they're going to get to fuck Sarah Palin or Michele Bachmann? Or one of temperament, in which Democratic officeholders like John Hall and Donna Edwards just don't want to put themselves through the maw of a media that was willing to accept George W. Bush's lies because seeing him in a flightsuit made their legs tingle?

Whatever it is, and no matter what happens in November, the Democrats should be very, very worried about the future of the party, not because of any kind of "center-right country" nonsense that David Broder has declared, but because as the party looks into the future, and continues to embrace the foraging-for-scraps-of-corporate-money-after-the-Republicans-get-most-of-it doctrine, and continues to throw its own foot solders under the bus in a quixotic quest for that corporate money, it will be unable to attract the kind of passionate, idealistic young people to public service.


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Blogger Barry said...
Out of curiosity, if you reject Broder's "center right" label, how would you characterize the country's political bent? I think it's hard to pigeonhole modern America's peculiar brand of populism into the traditional left-right continuum, but when I look at issue poll after issue poll, I can't help but conclude the center of gravity tilts at least somewhat to the right.

Anonymous Ted said...
I have become thoroughly convinced that no one I'd gladly vote for and support actively is stupid enough to run for the job. So perhaps the possible younger Dems are just too intelligent to want the job. Not sure exactly what that bodes!
I've heard that California is toying with!? planning!? to introduce "top two in November" non-party-based primary thingy. Not sure if that will help or hurt..

Anonymous Anonymous said...
It's the money. The GOP has a power base in corporate america. What fire breathing liberal is going to come up through that meat grinder?

It's the same in small towns--who is on the city council? Realtors and local business owners or plumbers, teachers and cab drivers?

When was the last time a powerful public person came up through the ranks of organized labor?

Blogger Bob said...
I think America is center right, & the far right is good at manipulating this by confusing our fondness for nonpartisan tradition with their political agendas. When the wealthy exploit the middle & working classes, that's good old capitalism. But when people ask for a deserving piece of the pie, that's stirring up class conflict. So we get the appalling situation of Tea Partiers, comprised largely of Americans very much at risk from cutbacks & out-sourcing, being exploited by the very powers they ought to be opposing.

Blogger BadTux said...
It's a question of money. The Republicans can afford to split their money amongst dozens of candidates, but the Democrats can't. California had a couple of strong Democratic candidates other than Jerry Brown, but Jerry locked in the Democratic money people first, and in an election race where the potential Republican candidates are billionaires capable of self-fun ding their race, strong candidates like Gavin Newsome bowed out, acknowledging the reality that it was going to be hard enough to win against the Republican money machine with 100% of the money being spent on the final election.

In other words, there are good candidates for Democratic primaries, but not enough money to both run a primary race and win against Republicans in the fall, so once the money people are locked up by one Democrat, the rest drop out for the good of the party. I've seen this happen before, with the roles reversed -- in the South the Republicans got started winning elections in the 1970's (after not winning anything in the South since the 1870's) by holding caucuses of party leaders to decide who would run, then uniting behind that one person, rather than wasting campaign funds on primaries -- but the roles have been reversed now, and it's all about money.

- Badtux the Money Penguin

Anonymous Anonymous said...
A lot of the farm team depth is the recent electoral success of the Democrats and losses by the Republicans. Most of the Democrats former "prospects" won in 2006 and 2008, so they're now incumbents and the current prospects have to wait. The Republican incumbents got defeated in 2006 & 2008, so the Republican prospects are getting their chances.