The above linked article describes a split in the Democratic Party between the “liberal” Dean faction and the “centrist” Democratic Leadership Council. I think this framing, and the article generally, contains some inaccuracies. First, I’m not sure the DLC is centrist so much as it is watered-down and unprincipled. Many times the DLC is credited with Bill Clinton’s success. I think the truth is the other way around. I think Clinton’s gifts were such that he could succeed with almost any set of stated principals. The DLC of Joe Lieberman and Tom Daschle is just plain ineffective.
Characterizing Howard Dean as “liberal” sort of misses the mark as well. He is certainly populist and was out front in his opposition to the invasion of Iraq. However, isolationist foreign policy has traditionally been the hallmark of conservatives. His tenure in Vermont showed him to be fiscally conservative as well. He almost makes a fetish of balancing the budget — which appeals to me, but doesn’t necessarily appeal to the big budget wing of the Democratic Party (and certainly cannot be a concern of any Bush supporter.) His focus on grass root issues and middle class wages can probably be considered liberal, but his ideas on budgets and foreign policy are conservative, if anything.
Whether he is the best hope for the Democratic Party, I don’t know. I don’t suppose I could be considered representative of a typical Democrat. My politics are socially permissive and fiscally conservative. “Do what you want, but don’t ask me to pay for it.” and “People who work hard and play by the rules should be able to succeed; those who don’t, shouldn’t.” So, I’m probably more in line with Libertarians and Paleoconservatives. Nationally, I have turned away from the Republican Party because of the shocking indifference to proper use of the Constitution exhibited during the impeachment abomination engineered by Gingrich & Co. This was followed by the Bush’s Budget-Busting Red-Ink Republicanism and opting to invade Iraq rather than focusing on al-Qaeda and Islamic fundamentalism. I’m also not real keen on the rise of the Religious Right and the control of the Old Confederacy on the GOP. Get me an Eisenhower or a Rockefeller, and I’ll probably vote Republican.
But I digress.