Sunday, July 24, 2005

Strickland avoids DLC like the plague; Coleman embraces

If anyone attends the DLC conference in Columbus, I'd love to post your observations. Personally, I think Strickland is making a shrewd play. First, in a contested primary, you never want to appear like your second billing to your opponent. If Strickland went to an event that essentially Coleman is hosting, it belittles Strickland's stature while inflating Coleman's. Second, I can't imagine Strickland has anything to gain there. Sounds like most of the participants are out-of-staters dedicated to getting a moderate, Democrat elected governor. And I imagine any centrists Democrat will do.

I would be shocked if Hillary Clinton or anyone else from that group is going to actually ENDORSE Coleman over Strickland during the conference. I imagine Coleman will get the usual praise for being a host of a fine conference, but I would expect most will avoid going much further than that.

Furthermore, I think Coleman will learn to regret aligning himself so closely with the DLC. Strickland doesn't need to align himself with the DLC to branish his moderate creditials. For Coleman, being in the DLC seems to be his sole basis to claim he's a moderate (on fiscal issues, I do believe Coleman is more of conservative. But he's fairly liberal on social issues such as gun control.)

Moderates don't know anything about the DLC, and I don't know of a single moderate voter who considers membership in the DLC as a criteria in supporting a candidate. For conservatives, all you have to say is that it's a group that Hillary Clinton belongs to and you can raise $10 million and paint the candidate as a hippie liberal. And for liberals? Well, the only thing I've seen most liberals hate more than the Bush Administration is the DLC. Therefore, neither candidate has much to gain, but does have much to lose by aligning itself to the DLC. Coleman may rue his membership come primary election day.

It will be interesting to see how the DLC responds to the Ohio Gubernatorial Democratic Primary next year. If it decides to make a power play and endorse its member, Coleman, it runs the risk of appearing irrelevant if Strickland wins handily. However, if it supports Strickland, then it must do so over someone who is a member.

My prediction: The DLC is irrelevant for the primary, but may be a source for support for the eventual nominee. If it's wise, the DLC will let the primary play out for itself. Coleman will actively look to distinguish himself from what the activists don't like about the DLC. But after this event, that will be difficult.

What do you think?

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