Hillary has sold out in attempt to sway red-state voters

Published 12:00 am Thursday, February 3, 2005

When the British ultra-liberals in the pre- Tony Blair Labor Party published their lengthy election manifesto in the late 1980s, the radical document so explicitly spelled out their defiance of English public opinion that a Tory politician called it &uot;the longest suicide note in history.&uot;

Now, in choosing their new national leader, the Democratic Party is publishing a much more succinct suicide note. It reads "Chairman Howard Dean."

There is a school of thought among Democrats that by embracing policies and programs deeply at variance with what most Americans think will enhance the party’s electoral viability. It was such wisdom that led to the selection of doomed nominees like Walter Mondale, Mike Dukakis and John Kerry.

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It is only when the views of these crazies were repudiated - as with the nominations of JFK, LBJ, Jimmy Carter and Bill Clinton - that the party can win elections.

So why are the Democrats selecting Dean? And why is Harold Ickes, the putative spokesperson for the Clintons, embracing the choice? Because Dean’s momentum is unstoppable and nobody wants to stand in the way of the avalanche of self-destructiveness which is pouring onto the Democrats from their left-wing supporters.

Here’s how it works: When moderates and centrists embrace the GOP and President Bush, they leave the Democrats to the tender mercies of the liberals.

The party is deprived of the ballast offered by swing voters, the party moves further and further to the left, driven by a Jacobin desire for revolutionary purity and revenge against those who urge pragmatism and point to the path to victory.

And the Clintons? Even as Hillary tries to fool us once more into believing in her political moderation, they do not dare stand up against Dean. Even though they know that Dean knows that it was the Clintons who assassinated him en route to the nomination last year, neither Bill nor Hillary utter a peep as their party falls off the deep end.

The Clintons could have gotten Ickes the job, but neither one did any heavy lifting on his behalf. Why not? I’m no longer privy to their secrets, but my guess is that Bill was too sick, sad, physically weakened and unfocused - and that Hillary, an ing\u00E9nue without his guidance and leadership, didn’t dare to try on her own for fear of publicly failing.

For his part, Ickes likely acted out of pique in demeaning Hillary’s chances for victory in 2008 and in withdrawing from the race for chairman entirely a few weeks later

. Left to twist slowly in the wind, this normally loyal operative probably felt abandoned and unappreciated, as he did when he was passed over for chief of staff in Clinton’s second term.

What kind of chairman will Dean make? He will probably be as bad for the party’s prospects as Nancy Pelosi has been as Democratic leader in the House. He will dig a deeper and deeper hole for the party, alienating its moderate donors and holding it hostage to the likes of Michael Moore and the Hollywood left.

How odd it is to see Hillary trying to convince us that she’s a red state kind of girl (offering moderate views on abortion, condemning illegal immigration, emphasizing the importance of prayer in her life and backing the war) even as her party lurches to the left.

As the Clintons did after they lost Congress in 1994, they are moving to the center. And, as the Republicans did after taking control of Congress that same year, the Democrats are rushing to extremes.

Eventually, Hillary and Dean will clash for control of the party. Hillary will win the nomination in 2008, but she will face a party fractured by its ideological divisions and will find it harder and harder to please the left in her own ranks and the centrists in the swing states.

Dick Morris was an adviser to Bill Clinton for 20 years. E-mail Morris at dmredding@aol.com.