From where I was sitting at a recent dinner honoring Warren Beatty, hosted by Americans for Demo cratic Action in southern California, I couldn't see Courtney Love, who was certainly among the youngest of the several dozen celebrities who turned out for the first pronouncement of Beatty's not-quite-yet-if-ever-it-will-be presidential campaign. But around Beatty's fourth reference to Walter Reuther, I couldn't help wondering if Hole's lead chanteuse had any idea what the hell he was talking about. For a generation that routinely turns out for benefits to save the rain forest or the Dali Lama, Beatty's fin de siècle social democracy must have seemed the cutting edge in exotica.
Thinking about how Democrats should treat the new Bush administration, let's consider what Bob Dole would do if he were in our shoes.
A scant eight years ago, after all, Bob Dole was in our shoes. As the Senate minority leader, he headed the opposition to a newly elected president. Bill Clinton chugged into Washington having dispatched a sitting president by a 7 percent margin--with hefty Democratic majorities in both houses of Congress--and claimed a mandate for universal health insurance and welfare reform.
To those of you who've been feeling socially inadequate because your mind goes blank whenever the subject of Who Should Be Al Gore's Running Mate comes up at barbecues or on white-water rafting trips: relax. The American Prospect's poll of the experts conducted in late June has uncovered a similar dearth of suggestions among the Democrats' keenest thinkers, not to mention an objective dearth of suitable vice presidential material.
Consider this sample of responses from the party's ablest strategists:
Nothing divides the labor movement like a good city
election. To watch the calculus of narrow self-interest play out in the scrambled
union endorsements of candidates in this month's New York mayoral primary is to
be grateful that all politics isn't literally local--that at least rudimentary
concerns of ideology tend to loom larger in state and national contests.