Thursday, October 21, 2004

Leave My Groupuscules Alone

"The Republican Party seems to be organised like a blue-chip corporation: directed from the top and tightly disciplined. The Democratic Party is much more of an "adhocracy": a collection of groupuscules that have come together for the single purpose of winning this election.
. . .
The [Republican Party] boasts an elaborate hierarchy of activists - state chairmen, county chairmen, precinct captains, local volunteers - who all have a pre-assigned role in a plan laid down in the Bush-Cheney headquarters... By contrast, the Democrats - ironically, given their opposition to outsourcing - have handed over most of the grunt work of registering and mobilising voters to independent groups such as and America Coming Together.
. . .
The Democrats have been much busier exploiting loopholes in the McCain-Feingold legislation to form a nominally independent organisations, kown as 527s . . .
Mr. Bush is one of the most enthusiastic party-builders to have occupied the White House.
. . .
Meanwhile, the Democrats' party organisation is fraying." - The Economist

This article goes on to discuss the problems facing a Kerry Presidency, including the "civil war between the party's rabid Michael Moore faction and its more sensible Tony Blair wing."

I agree that the Democratic Party tends toward one-issue groups and finds it hard to come together. That is one reason why this election has become so important. If Kerry wins, the Democrats and those "ad-hoc" liberal groups that support them will have pulled off a decent feat of organization and collaboration. The Democrats will face the issue of keeping an energized base (always harder for a party that deals in nuanced ideas). My hope is that groups such as and ACT will benefit from the notoriety gained in the heat of this election and will continue to have power, building voter awareness and improving the voting infrastructure. (This is the optimism part of this blog).

I disagree with the assessment that there is a "civil war." I think that is truer of the Republican Party these days.
I often find Michael Moore annoying but he and his base are hardly "rabid." He is just the liberal version of people like Rush Limbaugh, et al. (I mean this as a reference to his tone, and only slightly in reference to his use of "facts"). This is a vocal part of the Democratic Party, but hardly a dominating or dividing force.

President Bush is not really the party-builder. The GOP has, for the past forty years or so, built up their new people-friendly look and become better at getting people to vote against their own interests. Bush is only a small part of the party-building efforts of this organisation.

In the end, I would much rather have a party that did not control it's base through myopic platitudes. I would much rather have a party that relied on the support of public organizations such as and ACT. The Republican Party's stranglehold on their constituents means that they are never held accountable for what they do.

I think this article, on the whole, misses the point. The Democrats are trying to come together after about forty years of struggling against a Republican Party that has found ways to cloak their true platform. 527s and other groups do not divide the party, they provide ways for the people to be or feel effective. Hopefully this will all prove successful.