12.01.2003

DEMOCRAT DEATH SENTENCE

This is music to my ears, or rather eyes, as it may be. From today's WSJ Opinion Journal Political Diary comes news of Southern Democrats bitch-slapping Terry McAuliffe to spend money down South. Ya, like that's going to help much. Mississippi, Alabama, and South Carolina are going to swing Dem...not a chance!

But Terry McAuliffe has been a polarizing figure in Dem politics. Many see him as the reason the Party keeps losing. He's so unpopular, in fact, that he's had some of his lieutenants sign fundraising letters in lieu of his own John Hancock. To save his arse, he might just capitulate, furthering Bush's chances of reelection. Lets hope!

McAuliffe Sings a Second Chorus of 'Dixie'

Terry McAuliffe has been traveling the party circuit and giving himself plaudits for his leadership, despite last month's losses in the Mississippi and Kentucky gubernatorial races. "The Democratic party's plans for taking back the White House remain on target," he says.

No sale, say southern black Congressional leaders. They recently summoned the DNC chief for an earful of complaint about the party's abandonment of the south -- and to demand, in writing, a commitment to spend money next year helping elect and re-elect local Democratic officials. "It's the same old, same old every year. The South gets left out. That is why we need it in writing," Mississippi Rep. Bennie Thompson told the congressional newspaper "The Hill" last week.

Mr. McAuliffe may have a hard time complying, with so much of the party's freight paid these days by unaffiliated interest groups and millionaires. For one thing, these groups frequently have little interest in local races, especially in regions where winning might mean relaxing the standard Hollywood-Manhattan liberal litmus tests. Their central goal is knocking off George Bush, then implementing their policy preferences through the appointment of liberal judges.

Rep. Thompson would be better off talking to Howard Dean. The Vermont ex-governor wants to be competitive in the south (the real point of his confederate flag contretemps), and is already taking time off from New Hampshire and Iowa to campaign in other states -- 14 last month -- including some unlikely to play a role in the Democratic nomination and even some that lean heavily Republican. He's not writing off anybody. Most of all, Dr. Dean has his own funding base separate from the liberal interest groups.
--Holman W. Jenkins Jr

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