Wednesday, January 07, 2004

Power Dynamics

Via Andrew Sullivan, I read this quote of Howard Dean from the New Yorker:

"I think the problem with the Democratic Party in general is that they've been so afraid to lose they're willing to say whatever it takes it to win. And once you're willing to say whatever it takes to win, you lose — because the American people are much smarter than folks in Washington think they are. Do I still believe it? I think you have to be ready to move forward and not just try to hold on to what you've got. I truly believe that if you're not moving forward you're moving backwards in life. There's no such thing as neutral."

I won't get into my thoughts that Dean is just another politician shaping his opinions as a matter of strategy quite yet. What I would like to look at is how his quote applies to any group that is in power, regardless of party.

The Republicans hold both the Presidency and the Congress. So why is it that spending is way up, we are getting prescription drug coverage for medicare, and the president signs in protectionist steel tariffs? Right out of the gate, President Bush proposed using federal money to fund the charitable operations of faith-based groups. In my opinion, that is the joining of the most obnoxious qualities of both sides: the throw-money-at-the-problem Democratic method with the government-dictated-by-moral-busy-bodies Republican method.

Dean likes to say that the Clinton years were Republican in disguise. So far, aside from the war on terror, the Bush years look Democratic in disguise. The process is called Triangulation. You use your power to steal the issues from the other guy, hopefully stealing his votes in the process. The problem with that is by the time you finish taking all of his votes, you are the other guy.

It almost invites the idea that if we elect Dean, then he will cut so hard to the Right once in office that he will be even more effective in getting the Republican agenda enacted than Bush.

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