Of all the many strategic weaknesses that currently disadvantage the Democratic Party, perhaps the greatest is the fact that it is so… democratic. I don’t know that party leaders actually value dissent from within, but they certainly seem incapable of squashing it.
Republicans on the other hand, have no such problem. And as the NY Times reveals, the current GOP leadership is taking party unity to a new extreme through rule changes in both the House and the Senate. First Tom DeLay maneuvered to make his position as majority leader ethics-proof, and now his counterpart in the Senate, Bill Frist, has passed rule changes designed to gag the few remaining Republican moderates. [Senator Frist Tightens the Screws]
The rule undercuts members’ independence by giving Dr. Frist the power to fill the first two vacancies on all committees. This hobbles seniority, which has been the traditional path to power. The leader now has a cudgel for shaping the “world’s greatest deliberative body” into a chorus line. Senator Olympia Snowe of Maine, chronic Republican maverick, got to the heart of the matter in skewering her leader’s accomplishment: “There is only one reason for that change, and it is to punish people.”
Washington State GOPolitburo chair Chris Vance has clearly displayed the same ham-handed penchant towards rigid party unity as his national counterparts (if not the same aptitude). So all you self-proclaimed “Dinocrats” get ready for some disappointment should Rossi win the re-recount. Even if Rossi were really as moderate as his soft-spoken ads made him out to be (he’s not), the GOP and its right-wing backers don’t tolerate marching to the beat of a different drummer. I expect a Rossi administration to cheerfully goose-step along.