14 February, 2005

Dean for Americuh

So Howard Dean got Terry McAuliffe's old job. This is good, in some ways, since Dean can't possibly be as big a boob as McAuliffe was (although apparently it is gauche to say this). Even though I wasn't paying attention that much during the primaries, I was a bit lukewarm about Dean, preferring the much more dyed-in-the-wool leftism of Dennis Kucinich (motto: "I'll do anything I can to draw an analogy to space."). What I'm hoping the Democrats will do is drink some of the medicine Thomas Frank has been recommending, viz., economic populism. In other words, repudiate the centrist economics of the DLC, give up "free trade" rhetoric and go galloping back to good ole progressive principles. You know, protecting the working class, shifting the tax burden back where it belongs (onto the capitalist ruling class, don't you know), resurrecting labor standards, all that good stuff.

I don't think Dean has any particular commitment to these principles, unfortunately. At least it's not evident in anything he's said out loud. But Dean has made powerful rhetorical commitments to the idea of a grass-roots party, to defining the party's principles and platform from the bottom up (you can read about it at the DNC website). Which is encouraging; rank-and-file Democrats have always been way to the left of the party leadership on economic issues. Duh - obviously a bunch of really wealthy white men will not be faithful representatives of working class interests. If Dean does make such a commitment, if he does adopt a bottom-up organizing principle for the party, it can only be good.

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