Reidblog [The Reid Report blog]

Think at your own risk.
Sunday, May 07, 2006
The Sunday Kos
Markos Moulitsas, the MSM's favorite blogger, writes a lengthy opus for the WaPo on why Hillary Clinton won't be the choice of the "netroots" in the 2008 election. Okay, let's concede every one of his points: that Mrs. Clinton is too safe, too cautious, too allergic to "big ideas" and too loathe to directly confront the Bushies to make it happen for "the base." Unlike, say, Howard Dean.

Well...

Here's the problem. Howard Dean was a media and Internet phenomenon in 2003-04, to be sure. But he lost the Democratic primary handily, not because he was too liberal (though the media painted him that way), or because the Internet fundraising phenomenon was a fraud -- it wasn't. Dean lost, because in the end, he lacked the broad-based political organization that it takes to win. If all you needed was strength in the netroots, Dean would have won in a landslide. Presidential elections are about turning out the base -- but Kos and friends misunderstand this country if they believe that they -- the very left-wing Internetistas -- are a majority of that base. The Democratic base consists of much, much more than that. And winning a presidential election is about galvanizing the old-fashioned base -- African-Americans, single women, non-voting Hispanics, and blue collar white men, in addition to the Bush-loathing netizens of the Daily Kos or Democratic Underground. Looked at more broadly, the lefties on the Net are a small, vocal faction of a very large, restive, and diverse base, which doesn't readily agree on how best to get us out of the Bushes. Look at the DNC's fundraising now, and you'll see that they aren't even the biggest faction, not by far (the DSCC and DCCC are raising much more money, based on old-fashioned Democratic poltiics, not "crashing the gates."

If the Kos kids want to see a fiery Democratic muckraker who'll pound the table for an immediate withdrawal of U.S. forces from Iraq, federalize gay marriage and open armed forces service and universal healthcare, good luck to them. That person will simply not be marketable enough to win nationwide. And if they lack the broad, national fundraising base of, say, I don't know, Hillary Clinton, they may as well not even try.

Elections are won by three things: message, money and magnetism. Hillary has the second in spades. The first can be crafted for her by the best political organization the Democrats could buy, aided in large part by the person who will supply much of item three: Hillary's husband. The Kos kids may despise her (and other DLCers who fail to toe the line on the war), but Hillary remains the Democrats' best bet to take back the White House in 2008. This fantasy Dean-like muckraker guy is just that. And even if he shows up, he'll never win the White House.

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posted by JReid @ 4:55 PM  
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