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A very good point, Decembrist, which underscores the continuing need for the DNC to create more shock-troopers to work the states—-not solely for a presidential race, but also to chip away at Republican congressional domination. The idea of a Kerry presidency makes me smile like a ten-year-old at the fair, but if we don’t shore him up with some good folks in Congress, it’s not going to mean as much as it could.

In terms of our “weakest” branch, a recent West Wing episode (almost) highlighted the real-life tensions between a Democrat president & a Republican Senate. There is a huge chance of two appointees in the next four years; I’m happy with moderates but wouldn’t mind a little liberal Court-packin.’ If we ain’t got the votes, we won’t get the jurisprudence our country deserves, even if our junior senator from Massachusetts is in the Oval.


I think if Kerry wins, the split might be more extensive than you imply. If Bush loses with his base intact, there is a realignment. The Republican party of today has no soul other than the accumulation of power, and a Kerry win which shows the evangelicals to be a shrinking minority, would end their reason for being Republicans (obviously, policy is not their reason for existing). The demographic trends are even worse -- and social issues such as gay marriage look even worse than that in the long term. Wtih the coming demographics, there has to be a tipping point, and a Kerry victory over a war time President could be it.
Of course, I was hoping for big wins in the 2002 elections...

Martin Kenner

Given the same assumption -- A Kerry Presidency and a Republican Congress -- can lead to the opposite policy: not a Republican V.P. but a V.P. who is good at campaigning against Republicans. Remember Harry Truman running against the 80th Congress? The Democrats can only succeeded by offering a choice and not an echo (as the Taft Republicans used to say). So what they need is a fighting Vice President -- let Kerry be ponderous and Presidential -- and let the VP carry the campaign onto the next by-election.


The Goldwater Republicans also hewed to the principle of "a choice, not an echo", and look at what happened to them: yes, they have a lot of power now, but it took them twenty years, a humiliating defeat, two terms' worth of swallowing Nixon-induced bile, and a kamikaze primary challenge to a sitting President before they got it. Kerry is, in any case, not stylistically or philosophically equipped to start that kind of a movement.

Mark, I find your schematic to have intriguing parallels to Bush's first nine months in office, which also sounds a cautionary note about allowing the Republicans, even the decent, moderate Republicans, too much negotiating power while riding too hard on the Democrats.

Frank Wilhoit

Time was, it was considered impossible to split the atom. Today the methods of doing this are well understood, but it is still a Hell of a stunt, requiring exceptional energy and resources, extremely messy, and a good way to get hurt.

Today, it looks as impossible to split the Republican Party as it did in 1920 to split the atom. Perhaps, someday, we will look back and see clearly how it was done; but it will still be a Hell of a stunt, requiring exceptional energy and resources, extremely messy, and a good way to get hurt.



I absolutely concur that a Bush loss will harden the widening split in the Republican party, but I wish I saw some sign that the DNC was doing something to prepare for it and rebuild the liberal majority.

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