Dem Politics: Post-mortem is the new rehab

Former Governor Howard Dean was on Meet The Press today. With the exception of the very last sentence in this clip, I am in full agreement with everything he said.

Tuesday’s defeat was bound to be the catalyst for the kinds of events that happen after, well, all defeats. The victor gloats. Usually, the defeated retreat for a bit to reflect on their loss and how to move on.

I write “usually,” because the previous defeat, the GOP’s in 2012, prompted Reince Priebus to commission his now famous “post-mortem.” We all know what was in it and what of it was actually applied. We also know how much fodder it gave the left press for snickering.

Now, we read that the Democrats are about to embark on some form of inquiry into Tuesday’s loss… The HuffPo published an AP piece on Saturday, November 8:

Big Review Set By Democrats After Election Losses

WASHINGTON (AP) — Democrats are planning an extensive review of what went wrong in the 2014 and 2010 elections, hoping to find ways to translate success in presidential campaigns into future midterm contests.

A party committee will conduct a “top-to-bottom assessment” of the Democrats’ performance in recent midterm elections and try to determine why they have struggled to turn out its core voters in nonpresidential elections.

“It’s apparent that there are increasingly two separate electorates: a midterm electorate and a presidential electorate. We win one and we don’t seem to be able to win the other,” said Florida Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, who leads the Democratic National Committee, in an interview Saturday. “That is a fundamental dynamic that we have to change.”

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A day later, President Obama gave an interview on Face The Nation. From TPM’s summary:

Obama: I’ve Got To Work On My ‘Failure Of Politics’

President Obama said he needs to improve his ability to work with congressional leaders to pass legislation.

Obama said he needs to work on his ability to “sell” his ideas and push his agenda forward.

“And I think there are times, there’s no doubt about it, where, you know I think we have not been successful in going out there and letting people know what it is that we’re trying to do and why this is the right direction. So there is a failure of politics there that we’ve got to improve on,” he said.

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On President Obama’s need to be liked… Really, Mr. President, you still think that talking policy over a beer or some fancy dinner will endear you to them any more than it did before? It’s not your personality they dislike, sir. It really isn’t. It isn’t your fault they don’t like you. It isn’t your fault they won’t work with you. It isn’t your fault they will do all they can to thwart you and, when they can’t, diminish the things you do manage to accomplish. I really hope you said these things to be polite, and not because you really think them. In two years, when you leave office, the love and loyalty of your voters and future Democratic voters will be what your legacy is about.

Beyond the things you’ve already accomplished, Mr. President, the single most important thing you could do for the nation is that, by the time you leave, the Democratic party reflects the will of the people. Right now, it is far from being that.

I don’t know how I’d react to being the recipient of so much targeted disrespect and hate. What I do know, Mr. President, is that in our heart of hearts, we all want to be loved and respected. What must it feel like when there is nothing you can do to get the next person to give, just a little, every so often? I’ll bet it feels lonely and sad. Please know, Mr. President, you are not alone.

On commissioning a post-mortem… I hope the Democrats learn from the RNC’s blunders with their post-mortem. Doing a post-mortem and then not applying its recommendations, or worse, getting one that says what you wish it’d say, is exactly the trap Democrats need not fall into.

It was clear to me from Nancy Pelosi’s email to Democrats, copied in my post entitled, Beyond Salvation, that Pelosi won’t care what such a post-mortem will call for. She’s not only sticking around, but she’s running, again, for leadership of House Dems:

 “I’m not going anywhere. But I can’t do it alone. I need you standing with me and the President.”

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One can only assume that the DNC and DCCC leadership also plans on staying put.
It’s a pity and a bad sign for what’s to come. The leadership should have resigned first, then allowed their successors to manage doing a post-mortem and implementing it. Anything else will seem as ridiculously disingenuous as the RNC’s did. For now, the Democrats’ mascot looks like a donkey in the headlights while it is pitch-dark… Wake up, and perk up!
Democratic Donkey – Caricature by DonkeyHotey. Licensed under CreativeCommons – Attribution Only.

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