It was with that backdrop that I read with interest a recent article in The New Republic titled, Why the Democrats Can't Govern. It highlited areas of concern for President Obama - not from the opposing Republican Party, but from his own supposed party faithful in Congress. In that article, Jonathan Chait argues,
The last Democrat who held the White House, Bill Clinton, saw the core of his domestic agenda come to ruin, his political support collapse, and his failure spawn a massive Republican resurgence that made progressive reform impossible for a decade to come. The Democrat who last held the White House before that, Jimmy Carter, saw the exact same thing happen to him.It's a well written critique, but one that comes on the heals of a supposedly watershed election for the Democratic Party. An election that was all about change, about the public ditching the Republican Party and the political pendulum swinging inevitably in favor of the Democrats.
At this early date, nobody can know whether or not Barack Obama will escape this fate. But the contours of failure are now clearly visible. In Obama's case, as with his predecessors, the prospective culprit is the same: Democrats in Congress
But apparently there are significant roadblocks to Democratic domination.
It was in the midst of reading and pondering that article on national Democratic Party internal politics that another internal struggle erupted. This time within the local party.
After apparently simmering for some time, the criticisms boiled over into a blog post by Bob Aagard, who expressed his frustration at state party leadership. It attracted a lot of attention in the form of comments and follow up posts, and seems to have inspired others who share the same frustrations to blog about them as well.
Basically, there is frustration at how the party is being led locally. Utah Dems see party gains in other Western states and lament the failure to capitalize here in Utah. This failure is being blamed on party leadership generally and State head Wayne Holland specifically. Rob Miller of the Utah Amicus blog, and the state vice chair, commented and gave a reasoned defense of the Party's activities. Rob's was one of the first blogs I found when I started this almost 3 years ago, and frankly was one of the reasons for my flirtation with his party. But he hasn't fared so well in these series of posts.
I'm left to wonder at the coincidental timing of these two controversies - one local, one national. The major difference is that the national story is about the struggle with success while the local version is dissatisfaction with failure, or at least less success than was desired. But the link in both stories is criticism of one's own party and party leadership. Does it reveal a hefty chink in the Democratic Party's new found armor, or does it show a party faithful not content to allow the failures of the past? I suppose only time will tell.