Wednesday, August 02, 2006

There's something wrong with the Democratic Party.

When I see an opening paragraph to an article like this one:
As Senator Joseph I. Lieberman battles to retain his seat in Connecticut, some factions within the national Democratic Party are quietly preparing to campaign against the three-term senator if he loses the primary on Tuesday and runs as an independent in the general election in November, numerous Democrats said yesterday.
Some factions? Perhaps I'm not understanding the system here, but I thought that primaries were the US equivalent to the Canadian internal party nomination process: that is, they are the mechanism by which candidates are selected by the parties for particular districts/ridings/what have you. So, what this paragraph is saying is that, if one candidate (who, it must be said, has been a Senator for the Democratic party for many years) loses the primary, some members of the party will campaign against him? I'll put this simply: in a party system, whoever gets the party nomination deserves the support of the party. That's the point of nominating a candidate. If members of the party aren't going to line up behind their candidate, then, really, what's the point of having parties? (Something that I question here.)

Frankly, if this threat comes to fruition...

A small core of Democrats, including Senators Ken Salazar of Colorado, Mark Pryor of Arkansas and Daniel K. Inouye of Hawaii, have pledged to remain with Mr. Lieberman regardless of the primary outcome. But even those people say they expect many other Democrats, including people who feel affection for Mr. Lieberman, to be torn about helping him in the general election.
... then the party should probably think seriously about ejecting these three Senators. In a party system, you are loyal to the party; if you get the benefits of being in a party (lots of money to draw from, a pool of voters who will vote for you because of your membership), you have to bear the burdens (line up behind your candidate, sit down and shut up when votes are whipped). What I see here are a group of Senators who want the benefits, but are unwilling to take on the burdens. Personal loyalty is a good thing, but if they're choosing that over party loyalty, then they need to withdraw from the party -- or be thrown out.

I also note that the article mentions that DNC Chairman, Howard Dean, has been neutral leading up to the primary, but that's really as it should be. He doesn't know who the candidate will be, so he's not saying which one he'll support. (It's not clear from the article if Dean has actually refused to say he'll support the candidate that wins the primary. If that were the case, then he's just as bad as Senators Salazar, Pryor and Inouye.)

While it would be no tragedy for the big American parties to implode and form smaller, more focussed parties, I'm really not sure that this election (and the '08 presidential election) are the time for it.

No comments: