View From a Height
Commentary from the Mile High City
Thursday, January 08, 2004

The Virtues of Electability

Terry Neal at the Washington Post has an interesting take on the electability argument. He claims that Democrats, particularly Dean supporters, just don't care. They want to "send a message." I've seen elections where one side wants to "send a message," and I have to agree with Sam Goldwyn that the best way to do that is Western Union. The message that usually gets sent to the party establishment is usually quite different from the one that was dictated at the office. Something like "we have no idea about what national politics means."

Neal seems to think electability matters more after 8 years than 4, and he's probably right. This doesn't explain, though, where the Democrats came up with Michael Dukakis in 1988.

Note, though, that the fact that Dean supporters are more enchanted with the ride than the destination doesn't mean that Dean himself is. Dean wants to win. For a volunteer, it's a few-month party during off-hours or in-between classes. For the candidate, it's a brutal, grueling, harrowing years-long ride with personal, political, and character attacks, 16-hour days, and endless balancing of electoral politics, policy questions, and personal life. Nobody puts himself through this to lose.

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