Here’s a nifty piece of trivia: There was a 1974 Democratic National convention.
It took place in Kansas City in December of that year and didn’t nominate anyone for anything. What it did do was adopt a charter for the party, which codified the McGovern reforems of 1971, and helped get the party ready for the ’76 elections slightly less than two years hence There was another one in 1978, and during the ‘80s the party bigwigs decided that the practice wasn’t worth the effort.
Well, I think a third midterm convention early next year might indeed be worth the effort.
I was at the 2004 convention and while there were a number of planning and issue conferences when the “con” wasn’t officially in session, the thing was obviously only a show for television with balloons and motivational speeches from famous politicians and a few people drafting a “platform” which went from the printer to the garbage can faster than you can say “Spungebob Squarepants.”
We have a chance to take back Congress three weeks hence, but what then? Yeah, there’s lots of stuff we can agree on, but we need an articulate program which everyone can rally around by the time primary season starts in January of 2008.
What we need is a 2007 Democratic National Convention. The delegates should be selected in the pre-1972 way. Local and state committees choosing party activists who want to network and plan. This is because we’re not going to select a president, but write a platform that actually MEANS SOMETHING. Find the issues that everyone in the party can actually agree on and work for. “Bush is a prick” is fine as far as it goes, but that’s a negative. It won’t cut the mustard because he’s going to be gone in 2009 whatever happens. If the current polls are close to being accurate, then we’re going to have to have the appearance of trying to do something in the new year, and an outline legislative program for the summer and fall of ’07 would be just what is needed.
The best place to do that would be at a midterm convention sometime in the early spring and a commitment from the new congressional leadership to try to pass some, if not most of these proposals during the summer and fall. This is because by the spring of 2008 the presidential election will be in full swing and everybody’s attention will be on that.
Whatever you think of him Newt Gingrich managed to get his “contract on with America” through the House with efficiency and speed. We should be able to do something like that, if only to have ads saying “We tried to pass A, B C and D, but the evil Bush administration vetoed it.”
If we (God Forbid) LOSE the midterms, a convention would be even more important, and would be a good place to figure out how best to start from scratch for the rest of the century.
So how about it?