Jonathan Schell, author of The Unconquerable World, an excellent book which argues that real change only ever comes through the will of the people, whatever political system may be in place, takes a look at a new 64-page report by a US Democratic Party think-tank.
The report argues the perennial Democrat line that they need to target the political middle-ground (of course, that's not how Bush won the last election, where he targetted his right-wing base, but never mind...). Perhaps a more important problem with the report is this:
There is scarcely a word in it arguing that the specific policies of a centrist strategy would actually be beneficial for the United States of America or the world...Full article at Tomgram: How to lose an election.
For example, they write, "Democrats must emphasize the importance of the American military as a potential force for good in the world, and in so doing they need to engage ‘Michael Moore Democrats,' who instinctively view American power as suspect."
But the basis for that advice is 100% political, and substantive argumentation is 100% lacking. There are thousands of words about such matters as decades of voting trends among married women or among Catholics, but almost none about any concrete instance in which the military should be employed. The advice to be militarily strong is kept studiously general. Consider the war in Iraq -- surely the most urgent issue for the country at the moment. Our authors utter no word for or against it.
In one section the authors declare that the most important consideration for a candidate following their strategy is "the personality test." They explain, "Candidates who say only what they think others want to hear cannot display strength. Candidates who shift position on what should be matters of conviction cannot pass the integrity tests." To which one must add that in that case no politician who heeds their advice can display strength, for what is their entire report but a hugely sophisticated attempt to discern, from poll results going back a quarter-century, what it is that voters want to hear?
According to their own findings, anyone who takes their advice will lose, and will deserve to lose.