15 November 2004


There’s a lot of talk around now about what the democratic party needs to do to start winning again. As if two very close losses indicates that the party is on an irreversible slide.

Not being a partisan myself this topic interests me solely as an observer. I don’t like either of the parties and think we’d be a lot better off without them. But we’ve tried nonpartisan government in this country, twice, and it never lasted more than five or six years, so dreams of purely nonpartisan governance are silly.

The democrats are divided, it’s true. But the divisions in the party have been there for years, and the GOP is similarly divided, so claiming that the Democratic party has to expel the moderates or whatever is also ridiculous. Nonetheless, I would like to see it happen—or something similar.

I figure, it’s up to the party, the oldest one in American politics, to decide whether a split is feasible and, if a split occurs, how it would best profit the party. For my part, I’d like to see the following extraordinarily unlikely scenario unfold.

1. Democratic party fails to find a strong voice in the next two years. Harry Reid, in the Senate, maintains a moderate, peacemaking low profile; Nancy Pelosi in the House remains combative and distasteful to middle America; and the DNC elects a firebrand like Dean as it’s chair. Meanwhile the Green Party sputters into virtual nonexistence.

2. Thus set up, the 2006 elections proceed without the party having developed a unified voice. A few Senate seats change hands, with either a small net loss for the Dems or a net wash between the parties. Reid takes the blame for this. Small net changes in the House fly under the radar, but at least one big Democratic pickup occurs in a blue state, with Pelosi strongly supporting the candidate.

3. Ben Nelson switches to the GOP, saying he feels the moderate wing of the Democratic party is under attack from the left and he feels the GOP is more accommodating to moderates.

4. The party lurches left, but loses again in 2008. Following the 2008 election, with Democratic power at a low ebb, the left deserts the party, taking money, power, and sitting incumbents with them to a newly reformulated Green Party, run by the old Democratic left. Big names like Feingold, Boxer, and Murray jump to the Greens.

5. Thus freed of the worries of the left, remaining moderates in the Democratic party take the DLC into the leadership, excising the remaining leftists and reformulating the party as the voice of the neglected center of American politics. GOP moderates like Lincoln Chaffee (if he’s still around) join the new centrist party.

6. The centrist Democratic party is now free to recapture middle America on the basis of shared morals, beyond the basic God Guns and Gays rhetoric of the right. Over time, this new Democratic party of the center becomes the dominant—though not universal—party, with the Republicans on the right and the Greens on the left. For once, all Americans have a voice.

Nice dream. Not going to happen, but as a centrist myself it’s pleasant to dream that some day we might actually find our voice and take back this country from the extremists on both sides.

08 November 2004


I have to go to work. Because of this impending need I'll not be writing much at all on this, the first post of this blog. Introduction seems the best course since I can keep it short.

This blog is called Smitty's World. It's not going to be about the whole world, because I don't know much about the whole world, although I do spend most of my time there. It's going to be about my piece of the world, the things I see and the things that occur to me during a day. This is mostly an outlet for me to contribute something to the internet besides old MP3s and bad jokes passing through the email forward network.

Obviously I will post things about my job, which I cannot stand and wish I could escape from. Clearly, too, I will post things about my city, Tampa, and my state, Florida, as they occur to me, usually in traffic to and from said hated job. And then there are the other topics that interest me and that I think about when I ought to be doing more productive things: politics, science, art, literature, music... these topics and others occupy my quiet time.

Contrary to this first post, readers may find me a bit long-winded, which is natural for a long-piece writer, but hopefully also mildly intelligent and also mildly humorous. Complaints can be directed to no one in particular since I don't really care. We'll just have to see where this goes. For now I am off to the job.