More and more, the Democrats look like a party mired in yesterday's debates. The Dems may be drifting toward the nomination of a fringe, ideologue candidate for president, a la the disastrous George McGovern in 1972. Add to this judicial tampering the howling about the so-far lack of weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, and it's suddenly not hard to visualize the dramatic emergence of someone like Howard Dean as the party's nominee next summer.
How ironic it would be for tired, old Democratic Washington party hacks to fall back on dated political ideas, just as Howard Dean uses the Internet to out-fundraise his Democratic opposition with cutting-edge methods of collecting campaign money from a new and broad base of contributors. That has to be a scary thought for the Democratic establishment, who may be out of touch, but definitely not out of their collective mind.
Dean, with an anti-war appeal to young Democrats that is reminiscent of Eugene McCarthy in early 1968 and McGovern in 1972, has just enough workable style to capture the heart of a lost political party, only to destroy its chances at the ballot box against President Bush.
One would think that names like McCarthy and labels like pro-choice or pro-life would be irrelevant to politics in the 21st century. But with the Democrats reduced to blocking judicial nominations because of abortion, it may well be they are hell-bent on dragging their party "back to the future."