January 13, 2005

A Strategy for Howard Dean

Howard Dean has officially thrown his hat into the ring in the race for Chairman Of the Democratic Party. News Link This is an important position, especially now. I admire Dean's passion and gusto. So far he seems like the most interesting choice for DNC chair. Now he needs a strategy. Not only a strategy to win this particular position, but a strategy for the Democratic Party as a whole. The strategy he should use is called "Triangulation". Triangulation is a brilliant, perhaps ethically challenged political strategy designed to appeal to the maximum amount of voters. I believe this strategy was first observed in action/invented by former Clinton Advisor now turned right wing pundit, the brilliant Dick Morris. Clinton used the strategy of triangulation to great effect. In simple terms: Triangulation is simply adopting some if not all of your opponent’s platforms and positions, thereby taking away glaring differences and, in turn appealing to the maximum possible number of voters. It is, essentially, being all things to all voters. But there are problems with this. Democrats and Republicans represent values at either end of the political spectrum. One party feels that their policies would benefit the country and that the other party's ideas would be detrimental and vice versa. Triangulation, I suppose, relies on the "grey area" between strict party lines. This strategy was a big part of the reason Clinton served for eight years.

There is another president that won eight years in the white house due to his team's use of Triangulation. His name is George W. Bush. Karl Rove Brilliantly used triangulation to get Bush re-elected in what seemed to be an impossible situation (for them). As a result of this "being all things to all voters" approach what we have is a supposedly conservative administration that has increased the size of government and spent its way into a deficit. We are prosecuting a war while spending mucho cash on social programs. We are ramping up homeland security efforts while at the same time allowing mass unchecked immigration. Triangulation begets contradictions. But it also begets results. And it's results that Howard Dean needs. As governor of Vermont he was a reasonably conservative democrat. Then, in his presidential bid he became very liberal. If he could possibly tone down some of his liberal/Bush-bashing rhetoric he might be able to slowly morph into a more viable candidate by using Triangulation (or at least a form of it). If, on the other hand, he and his party remain on the far left (ideologically) or continue focusing on demonizing the other party and its candidates as a primary strategy they will continue to lose elections I'm afraid.

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