"He instinctively can find the shining greatness of our American culture and does a good job of highlighting it (although he also does have those rare lapses when he writes about hockey, but that is something caused by impurities in the Eastern waters or something)." Erik Keilholtz
Under the patronage of St. Tammany
Mark C. N. Sullivan is an editor at a Massachusetts university. He is married and the father of three children. Email
The Democratic Party hasn't always been what it is today, a party that would give Michael Moore a seat of honor next to Jimmy Carter at its convention. Despite the ownership claims pressed by Howard Dean and Al Franken, the Dems' present incarnation as the permanent rightful home of the (Not So) New Left only dates to post-1968.
The Commonweal piece "Goodbye, Catholics" describes how thoroughly McGovernites guided by party strategist Fred Dutton remade the party at that time:
[Nothing] Dutton did was as influential and far-reaching as his work on a Democratic commission that ran from 1969 to 1972. Better known as the McGovern Commission, for its chairman, Senator George McGovern of South Dakota, the twenty-eight-member panel became the vehicle by which a handful of antiwar liberals revolutionized the Democratic Party.
Of this group, Dutton emerged as the chief designer and builder. His goal was nothing less than to end the New Deal coalition, the electoral alliance that had supported the party since 1932 around a broad working-class agenda. In its place, Dutton sought to build a “loose peace constituency,” a collection of groups opposed to the Vietnam War and more generally the military-industrial complex. To this end, Dutton recognized that Democrats would need to appeal to three new constituencies — young people, college-educated suburbanites, and feminists — while ceasing to woo two old ones — Catholics and working-class whites.
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The McGovern reformers who radically changed the face of the Democratic Party helped create the modern red-blue split in America, writes John Leo:
The changes at the 1972 convention removed the power of the city bosses and party regulars to determine the nominee and, in theory at least, increased the number of Democrats involved in selecting nominees. In reality, though, the reformers, through rule changes and some stealth and manipulation, stacked the convention and radically changed the party. Affluent, well-educated liberals were in – a “new elite,” as the Washington Post termed it. Party regulars, officeholders, and blue-collar Democrats were out.
New York, a union state, had only three union members as delegates, though it had at least nine members of the gay liberation movement. No farmer was a member of the Iowa delegation. Only 30 of the 255 Democratic members of Congress were selected as delegates. A full 39 percent of delegates had attended graduate school. Over a third of the white delegates were classified as secularists, compared with 5 percent of the general population. The reformers installed rough quotas for blacks, women, Hispanics, and people ages 18 to 25. The total of female delegates tripled, to 43 percent, with heavy emphasis on supporters of abortion and the hard-edged feminism represented by Bella Abzug
“A kick in the gut.” Jack Newfield and Joe Flaherty, both pro-McGovern Village Voice reporters from working-class backgrounds, asked, "Where are the quotas for Irish, Italians, and Poles? “The McGovernite movement,” wrote Murray Rothbard, a prominent libertarian, “is, in its very nature, a kick in the gut to Middle America.”
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Reflecting on Tim Kaine's win in the Virginia governor's race, Get Religion asks:
How does the post-Sexual Revolution Democratic Party continue to draw enthusiastic support from the its strongest supporters in abortion-rights groups and university faculty lounges, while also seeking to reach out to the now politically incorrect elements of the old New Deal coalition? Can Democrats please traditional Catholics and Bible Belt populists with words, while pleasing activists on the left with deeds?