One of the lessons that Greens, apathetics, disgruntled Democrats and others were supposed to be learning this season was the inherent value of working within the system. This virtue is so apparent, one was told, that it requires nothing more than logic. No benefits, no inducements, no reform, not even simple empathy was required on the part of those who now control the Democratic Party. It was enough to declare ex cathedra that if one disliked Bush, the only choice was whatever the Democratic Party wanted to offer.
Well, now the results are in. Not Ralph Nader, not Greens, not Jesse Jackson, but a multi-term, capable, moderate Democratic governor decided to work within the system. And what happened? He was ridiculed, dissed, lied about, and subjected to malicious spin by party insiders, the Washington establishment, and the obese media until eventually the voters believed them and swung to the approved safe, lightweight underachiever, John Kerry.
Of course, for inside the system reformers such as Kucinich or Sharpton it was even worse. The NY Times doesn't even think they should be allowed in debates and the rest of the media regularly insulted, excoriated, and scolded them.
No one can look honestly at the experience of those who tried to work within the system this season and argue that the Democratic Party can be reformed in this manner. Along with its fellow-traveling troglodytes of the media there is nothing the party leadership wants less, or is more revolted by, than even talk of reform.
This is not a matter of whether Dean won or lost, but rather the vicious, inhospitable, insulting manner in which one of the most honest, decent, and interesting political figures of recent years was treated because he dared to run without permission of the party's elite. Now, as Craig Crawford put it, "The House of Lords of the Democratic Party are getting what they want."
This is their decision. It is not Howard Dean's fault, it's not Ralph Nader's fault, it's not the fault of apathetic or angry voters. The party has chosen to go into this election with a weak candidate, no platform, no passion other than distaste for the incumbent, no grassroots party building, and no attempt to reach new constituencies.
It may just work because George Bush is so bad, or because his chickens come home to roost in some dismal fashion, but that's just dumb luck and not good politics. - SAM SMITH, 2/3/2003