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View Diary: Pissed at the Democrats? Run for Office and Replace Them (271 comments)

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  •  Hard for me to make a decision on raw (0+ / 0-)

    principle. If the intent of the challenger is honest -- to actually take office, to actually govern -- then it's probably a good thing. If the intent is merely to undermine, then no.

    In the end it comes down to technique: if the point of the only point of the candidacy is to push the incumbent further to the left, then one chooses rhetoric that challenges while it does not undermine.

    If, on the other hand, the concept of a primary challenge is merely to "teach the incumbent a lesson" then we're not doing much more than sucking oxygen out of our room and pumping into the other guy's.

    Oliver Wendel Homes said "General propositions do not decide concrete cases."

    I'm a concert pianist with a double doctorate... AND YOU CAN BE TOO!

    by kenlac on Sun Aug 28, 2011 at 11:13:29 AM PDT

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    •  What do you mean (0+ / 0-)

      by "merely to undermine?" The ultimate way to "undermine an elected official is to defeat them.

      Suppose the attempt is to win but also to "send a message" about objecting to a pol's policy posiitons.  Think Joe Lieberman and Jane Harman. Do you oppose such a primary?

      Who is the "other guy?" Must you have a guarantee of winning to approve of a primary challenge?

      To boil it down, it seems to me your answer is No, based on concerns about "pumping up" the "other guy."

      The quote of Oliver Wendell Holmes is misued by you here. Holmes did not say that general propositions do not INFORM concrete cases.

      But I think you have stated your general proposition on the issue - which is generally against (perhaps in an egregious case,  you will make the exception that proves the rule.)

      As I read your point of view, it seems to me that you don't see primaries as a tool for chaning policy views inside the PArty.

      Assuming that I am right, what vehicle do you see for someone who would like to change the policy views of the PArty?

      •  I didn't get my point across: (0+ / 0-)

        I don't disagree with primary challenges on principle. I don't even disagree with them on pragmatics. I just think they're too often a pipe dream on a national level. Obviously very different as you move towards the local level. (Perhaps I was thinking too much of the case of DKos calls for presidential primary).

        The case of Lieberman is an interesting one: certainly I supported Lamont's challenge. But on the other hand, look how it all turned out.

        As for Holmes, you are correct, and I did not mean to imply they didn't inform.

        Your final question is the most important one, and I'll admit answering it with any authority is far beyond my pay grade. The obvious answer I can think of is what the diarist suggests: run for office and work one's way to a position of influence within the party. (Yes, easier said than done.) Perhaps short of that, being actively involved in the party itself. Certainly one cannot change the party from outside the party.

        I'm a concert pianist with a double doctorate... AND YOU CAN BE TOO!

        by kenlac on Sun Aug 28, 2011 at 11:31:51 AM PDT

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        •  What do you mean by "pipe dream?" (0+ / 0-)

          Is the only productive primary challenge one in which the challenger wins?

          •  Or has a realistic chance (0+ / 0-)

            But you know, I haven't thought this through as deeply as you're probing here. (And I do appreciate the probing.)

            [sorts though thoughts quickly]

            Is there a distinction between a "genuine" primary challenge and a "protest" primary challenge? (Honest question, not Socratic.)

            Not to beat a dead horse, but when Jane H. drew up her infamous list of candidates for a primary challenge, did it really consist of anything more than the political version of fantasy football?

            Might I be conflating emotion based calls for a primary challenge with the idea of an actual candidate showing up? Myself, I would not spend any time claiming such a challenge to be illegitimate or (most certainly not) making demands that candidate step aside. However, I might comment on the practicality and ramifications of such.

            Perhaps I can't answer because there isn't much of a history to draw upon.

            I'm a concert pianist with a double doctorate... AND YOU CAN BE TOO!

            by kenlac on Sun Aug 28, 2011 at 11:48:12 AM PDT

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