Saturday, December 23, 2006

DKos diary, 12/23/06: Wes Clark, on his 62nd Birthday (Dec. 23)

Right now, all hinges on Senator Clinton’s apparently overwhelming ambition to be President (and Elvis’s refusal to leave the building). Most likely opposition will be Senator McCain. This would bring the Republicans their fourth unanimous victory in the post-war period (Eisenhower, Nixon, and Reagan). Such a race could well spell the end of the Democratic Party. A McCain Presidency with Romney as VP and Arnold as Secretary of State, would create a “New West” Republican Party which would send the “Old South” Republicans into remission and confirm the new Republicans as the party of American destiny, giving them control for the next 20 years.

If the Democrats cannot come out of the past and pull themselves away from blinding generational influences (which always attempt to lock upcoming generations out of play) I believe they will be finished, and political contention will go forward in the new century between the new Republicans and a new party, perhaps a combination of Independents, Libertarians and “Old South” Republicans, or something new brought forth by Mike Bloomberg, mayor of New York.

But leadership is awakening with the Democrats: November was prelude to new life in the party and on three critical occasions this last year, the first step forward has been taken by General Wesley Clark, a key voice of the new Democrats, so there is indication that the party is finding a new path.

The war in Iraq will have a psychological effect on 2008. In one scenario, things could turn out as they did in the Mexican War about which Ulysses S. Grant said that it was a war simply of the strong against the weak, but nevertheless, anyone who did not take part in it would not take part in the dramatic events just ahead. In this the Republicans have the advantage. However, they conducted this war with complete incompetence and the crisis – linked with the Katrina storm – revealed layer upon layer of incompetence in federal government.

The voting public may turn instead to the Democrats simply to turn the page. People have tired of war. But of this I am certain: they will not turn to an “anti-war” Democrat to lead them even if that Democrat voted in favor of the war at the beginning. This is a tendency now with some Democratic candidates and also of the press; both are “retro” analyses and approaches which try to understand the future as they understood their own personal and generational history – largely irrelevant to the issues ahead.

I believe at this second that the Democrats have however the near advantage and it could well turn into the long advantage. Since last November there has been emerging what I’ve been calling New Democrats. They are not in opposition to the old necessarily. They have been here all along. They simply have ideas which are now relevant to government and necessary for the rebuilding of our country political identity and character.

This new party is growing generationally. The fourth post-war generation is beginning to awaken and this last year it has begun to reveal its features. Those who follow will form events in the next 25 years.

I’ve been writing these last 10 months about key individuals and features of the New Democrats: Mark Warner, former Governor of Virginia, brings a new face to the Democrats, a face not unlike my mythical countryman up here in the Green and White Mountains, Longfellow Deeds of Frank Capra's classic, Mr. Deeds Goes to Town; a happy and positive everyman whose life-force awakens in the darkest hour. He also brings a new idea to the Democrats; “a Democratic Team with Management Values.” Wesley Clark brings a uniform sense of honor, dignity, intelligence and duty to the country and to the party. At a Warner event recently here in New Hampshire a woman said, “ . . . but I think he (General Clark) is too good for us.” He’s not too good for us. He is us. He is perhaps one of the best among us and if he finds his way to our center, he will bring us to our best and will bring a higher sense of leadership to our country.

The Fighting Dems bring a new theme of duty and character to the New Democrats, featuring Tammy Duckworth of Illinois and Eric Massa of New York. Perhaps they will form the backbone of our new century. All veterans should consider translating the sense of duty which compelled them to serve in the military into service in public office. The new Democrats are doing so. The black POW/MIA flag flying beneath the American flag in my town and in every other in our country is a Shadow; it is a sign of desperation – it is a call to our country from veterans, on whom our life blood depends, who have been ignored, despised and forgotten. Democrats share in this contemptible situation perhaps more than Republicans. They should reverse this trend and the Fighting Dems have begun to do so.