Well, they have done it again. The Democratic National Committee has succeeded in confusing America, and not just those of us on the right, but also members of the Democratic Party as well.
A week and a half ago Howard Dean was named chairman of the Democratic Party amid a crowd of cheering fans, thus completing yet another change of direction for the DNC.
How does Dean's nomination constitute a change of direction? Well, let me explain. Mere months ago the Democrats were in full force behind their so-called "moderate" candidate, Sen. John Kerry, on the soul basis of the fact that he was a war hero. And by soul basis I mean that having served in Vietnam is Kerry's only admirable characteristic.
The party, as well as Kerry, adamantly announced this to the American people at least 1,324,567 times and even made it the focus of the entire Democratic National Convention last fall. Other Vietnam veterans sat prominently displayed at every Kerry appearance for nearly a year, and his three purple hearts were included in Kerry's answer to every interview question for nearly as long.
As a matter of fact, being a half-supporter of using military operations to protect America is one of the only stances Kerry has maintained since his loss in November. Just last week, only four days after Dean's nomination, Kerry proposed increasing the military budget by $5 billion a year to increase troop levels.
Now, as many of us know, Dean has never half-supported anything – especially not military action, which he deems unnecessary no matter what the situation. Personally, I think this is foolish thinking in today's world, but I'll give it to the guy, he sticks to what he believes in.
He is consistent in his views, but Dean is still a proponent of much more liberal policies than Kerry. This was even a point of conflict between Dean and Kerry in last year's primary elections that finally climaxed in Dean's "I Have a Scream!" speech and Kerry's winning the nomination by being the best candidate at pretending to be moderate.
With Dean now the party's leader, one has to wonder how the Democrats expect to ever win another election when they have a new image nearly every election year. The one bright spot in this whole thing, however, is that his duties as party chairman will probably not allow Dean to subject us to more hippyish rants in 2008.
All jokes aside, I would like to offer the DNC a few pointers, not as a Republican but rather just as a concerned citizen. First off, come up with a mission statement and stick to it. If you want Dean to be your chairman, fine, he might just be a good place to start, but make sure he says what the party's majority actually wants him to say.
Second, tell the American people what it is that you support/don't support and try, for once, to tell them that same thing every time. For example, don't claim to be "personally opposed" to abortion during an election campaign and then vote against bans on partial-birth abortion as soon as you get into office. That kind of thing confuses us common folks.
Lastly I would suggest giving up the whole "fight the Republicans to the death" mantra. It is a little harsh and stand-offish, which no one really wants to be. Not to mention that talking it out and having free elections are probably much better ways of balancing power between parties. However, a President George W. Bush v. Sen. John Kerry celebrity boxing match would have been mighty entertaining.
Overall, I would say that the total collapse of the Democratic Party is not in our near future, but things are in shambles over there. And I personally think that a one-party system would be a pretty lousy form of democracy. So, come 2008, all of us can only hope that the Democrats have gotten their act together.
Ryan Chapman is a junior business major. His column runs every Wednesday in the Collegian.