If you could pick one historical figure to lead the Democratic Party, whom would it be?

Well, whom? Seeing as how America is totally divided, both sides think the other is totally, unequivocally incorrect, let’s fantasize about who would be perfect to lead the Democratic Party.

I think Che Guevara would bring great strength to the Dems. He wouldn’t tolerate this right-wing bullshit taking over America.

Or perhaps John Locke? Voltaire?

(And please don’t turn this into a thread where everyone’s discussing if there really can be a party ‘leader’. It’s meant to be humorous.)

61 thoughts on “If you could pick one historical figure to lead the Democratic Party, whom would it be?

  1. Easy – Lyndon Johnson.  The turnaround he made on racial issues clearly marks him as a man who could learn from his mistakes and burn political capital on important issues.  And he made plenty of mistakes.  raspberry

  2. Easy, an America-raised Mao, preferably growing-up in a rural area.

    Although it’s difficult to imagine what an American Mao might be like, i think, like his Chinese counter-part, he would be heavy on internal security while thinking long-term about how to best project influence regionally and globally.  He also wouldn’t be afraid to foster new, radical ideas within the platform.

    And, he’d make damn sure everyone stuck to the Party Line.

    That all said, i like Dean.

    rob@egoz.org

  3. Richard Branson (head of the Virgin Empire):  he’s a libertarian, a successful entrepreneur, had planned to visit Saddam Hussein and talk him into leaving Iraq (“It was perhaps the worst foreign policy decision since Suez. You shouldn’t have to maim or kill 200,000 people to get rid of one individual.”), has championed gay rights since day 1, believes the little guy at the bottom of the ladder deserves as much respect as the guy at the top (if not more), and promotes comprehensive sex ed.

  4. How do you manage to hold up both Che Guevara and John Locke? John Locke believed that property rights and Guevara is a marxist. Those are two diametrically opposed philosophies: income redistribution vs. keep your property.

    Liberals may enjoy pretending that they are the intellectual heirs to John Locke, but the only connection is in their desire to legalize drugs.

  5. The label doesn’t matter. The point is that John Locke’s philosophy cannot be reconciled with either Che Guevera or the Democratic party. You can’t respect property rights and support income redistribution at the same time.

    What’s so bad about legalising drugs?

    That is easy, I don’t want my kids to turn into a stoner. I knew too many of them when I spent my winters as a snowboard bum in Lake Tahoe. But that is not my decision to make. As a conservative I support limited government and natural rights even when I disagree with how people use them.

  6. I took the question to mean not so much the literal person, but their personality.  Otherwise, in reality, we’d have very limited options.

  7. Justin—

    When it comes down to it, if your kid wants to be a stoner, he/she will do it whether it’s legal or not.

    At least if it’s legal, there’s not as much of an allure to it.

  8. That is easy, I don’t want my kids to turn into a stoner. I knew too many of them when I spent my winters as a snowboard bum in Lake Tahoe. But that is not my decision to make. As a conservative I support limited government and natural rights even when I disagree with how people use them.

    Yes, we don’t need more stoners, like, um… I don’t know, ah… Carl Sagan? Not all people who smoke weed are stoners, just like not all people who drink are alcoholics. Should we ban drinking because we wouldn’t want our sons to be become alcoholics? I’ve never used any illegal drugs and rarely ever drink, but I find it amusing that most of the people who are against legalizing pot have no problems drinking a beer or smoking a cigar, doesn’t that make these people hypocrites, after all alcohol and weed are both drugs. I guess my Libertarian beliefs are showing… What was the topic again? Oh yeah, I would loved to have seen Isaac Asimov, Frank Zappa or Carl Sagan do something political. It would be nice to have a leader that has some intelligence, something which both parties seriously lack- hence forth my being a Libertarian.

  9. Houdini! Brilliant! Never would have though of him in a million years!

    Can’t you just picture the things he’d do as Dem Leader:

    If I’m elected, I will make this budget deficit disappear [snaps fingers] like that!

    Man, I’d vote for him like that [snaps fingers].

  10. I think Dean is the right man for the job right now.

    But if this is a fantasy version, then definitely Thomas Paine.

  11. Yes, we don’t need more stoners, like, um… I don’t know, ah… Carl Sagan? Not all people who smoke weed are stoners, just like not all people who drink are alcoholics. Should we ban drinking because we wouldn’t want our sons to be become alcoholics?

    Did you even read my post? In particular the part where I said: “But that is not my decision to make. As a conservative I support limited government and natural rights even when I disagree with how people use them.”

    You may be interested in doing some research on the effects of long term marijuana use. Here and here are two results from a quick PubMed search. Is dabbling in a little marijuana use a problem? Probably not. But as a soon-to-be parent I’d rather that my children dabble in books, sports and music than drugs.

  12. A quick anecdotal followup: I’ve known a lot more Jeff Spicolis than Carl Sagans.

  13. Not all democrats see Dean through rose-colored glasses: Stop Howard Dean.

    I feel Dean would help end the too-close-to-call elections we’ve been having.  Unfortunately he’d do it by triggering a Republican landslide.

    Incidentally, Fox news loves Dean.  They call him “God’s gift to conservatives.”

  14. George W. Bush.

    Heh, just kidding, I bet you all thought I went crazy for a moment.

    Seriously, I think that the best president would be a complete “nobody” just your average guy off the street.  I would choose the homeless guy that lived around the corner by the subway station by my grandparent’s house. 

    However, if I have to stick to well known historical figures I would go with Richard Pryor.  Yeah, the president needs to be an ex-crackhead whom immortalized the word “motherfucker”.

  15. *decrepitoldfool parrots gop talking points from a year and a half ago*

    Most people who support Governor Dean don’t use “rose-colored glasses.”  The ones wearing them seem to be the ones that the best way to beat the republicans and their nasty little toadies is to be more like them.  Because it’s worked so well in the past.

    But, some people just don’t like him and there’s nothing you can do about it.  But since becoming the DNC chairman, he’s done some pretty damned effective leadering.  Including:

    Setting a fundraising pace that threatens Terry McAuliff’s six-month, off year record in 2001.  Mostly through small donations.  Sure, some of the beltway consultants are peeved that their corporate clients don’t get as much face time partly because they aren’t the focus of the DNC under Dean.  But also because of:

    Traveling the country, talking to state parties, setting up organizations in red states, including Mississippi, the reddest of all.  Meeting with all the state party chairs (people who have had a hard time getting “face-time” with more corporate-minded national chairs.)

    You may not like him, but he’s doing a hell of a job.  He may be a little blunt for the milquetoast beltway dems and failure junkies, but he’s doing more than just taking republican abuse with a smile and an “aww shucks.”

    If you don’t like it, all I can say is that it sucks to be you, then.

  16. Sorry my Dean references weren’t recent enough for you, Lobo.  And I neither like or dislike Dean personally; I have an opinion about how big a target he would be which is a different thing.

    Watch Fox news for a few nights.  Republicans update their talking points everytime Dean speaks and believe me, they love him.  They want him in charge of the Democratic party come next election.  That doesn’t strike you as just a tiny bit of a warning signal?

    My son has a theory that our system practically guarantees close elections when divisions run deep.  Scary if you consider that it’s the undecided ones who then determine the outcome.  You know, the non-reading, entertainment junkies…

  17. I should mention I’d be very happy to be wrong about Dean, since the Dems are obviously betting on him.

    I’m already getting depressed about the next election.  Plan ahead, I always say…

  18. Scary if you consider that it’s the undecided ones who then determine the outcome.  You know, the non-reading, entertainment junkies…

      C’mon, DOF!!!  I’m one of those anyone-but-Bush types who voted straight party last election.  Those neo-cons are scary folks.  Anyway, while I may be an “entertainment junkie”, I do read… some…  lol If the GOP fielded Ron Paul for president, I would be sorely tempted to vote for him.
      Bo$$, I would agree with you on Che, but probably for different reasons.  He is a little too socialist for me, but we certainly could use a revolutionary right about now. wink

  19. My hope is that the real conservatives in the GOP (not the Bushie wingnuts now in power) will wrench the Republican party back towards its roots of fiscal responsibility, and nominate John McCain.

    While I disagree with lots of his positions, he is the Dean of the Republicans- honest and not afraid to speak his mind.  That would be most refreshing.

  20. Warbi, I was “anybody but Bush” too and voted straight Democrat just because the wingnuts scare me too.  And I didn’t think you are an entertainment junkie.  They don’t come here anyway – they’re reading blogs about Survivor and Fear Factor. (shudder!)

    I would vote for John McCain in a heartbeat.  Well, probably four or five heartbeats – I like to fill in the little circles neatly.  I like him much better than Dean. 

    Any candidate whose every position I agreed with would be far too radical to have any realistic chance of running.

  21. 2006, Democrats retake Congress, despite their own predictions of self-defeat and general lack of energetic passion.  Formation of a “Democratic Shadow Cabinet” as a newsmaker foil to the Republican Administration, issueing statements and newsconfrences on various unpublicized Bush policy-gaffes and disasters.

    Joe Biden will give Hillary Clinton a run for her money for in 2008.

    The Big Issues of 2008:
    [] domestic security (again)
    [] foreign defense policy (finally)
    [] healthcare costs (discussed with depth)
    [] long-term economy (sans ideology)

    Buck the fad of a dying culture; Dare to dream with hope. The future is a lot brighter than some people might have us believe.

    rob@egoz.org

  22. My hope is that the real conservatives in the GOP (not the Bushie wingnuts now in power) will wrench the Republican party back towards its roots of fiscal responsibility, and nominate John McCain.

    We both agree that the GOP needs to return to its roots, but John McCain is not the man to do it. He reminds me too much of the other George Bush. You know, the man who ran for office promising to cut federal spending and instead raised taxes. My definition of the GOP’s roots would be to fight to eliminate federal spending on programs that are not enumerated in Article 1, Section 8 of the Constitution. If we did that we could cut our taxes in half, halve them again, and still run a balanced budget.

    Here is a good article by my favorite conservative columnist, Thomas Sowell, describing the platform of a true conservative: get rid of it!

  23. I’ve thought about this a lot and realized I can’t think of whom I’d like to see as President. The truth is I usually just wait to see who’s on offer and then try to pick the best man for the job. Not being registered as either a Republican or Democrat I can’t vote in primaries so I spend my time watching to see who ends up on the final ballot.

  24. My hope is that the real conservatives in the GOP (not the Bushie wingnuts now in power) will wrench the Republican party back towards its roots of fiscal responsibility, and nominate John McCain.

  25. Yeah, the Democrats would love that – a liberal Republican president… not thanks. McCain should have switched parties a long time ago.

  26. Chewbacca for head of the Dems!

    What?  He`s a fictional character? Really?
    Huh.

    I dunno then… John Stewart?

  27. A revolutionist like Che would be perfect, imho. It’s what they need to stop the “Bush Reich” (as my über-liberal father calls it).

    As to what Swine said, can’t you imagine the “Vote Pryor/Wilder in 2008” bumper stickers already?

    No one’s mentioned Nixon yet. How suprising…

  28. If a crack head should be president, why not go with
    Barry ?, a drug user with political experience.
    Heck, after being busted, he was even elected again.
    Decriminalizing drugs sounds like a good argument.
    Legalization removes profits from dealers and would help unclogg some of the legal system; but,the job of government is to ensure the well being and safety of ALL its citizens and when it allows a segment of the population to engage in self destructive behavior,(not counting booze and tabbaco)it’s a failing government.

  29. but,the job of government is to ensure the well being and safety of ALL its citizens and when it allows a segment of the population to engage in self destructive behavior,(not counting booze and tabbaco)it’s a failing government.

      No, actually, the government’s job is to protect your “negative” rights from infringement by others.  It is no one’s job to protect you from yourself.  Hell, I would support legalization of voluntary euthanasia.  If you want to be a junkie, fine.  Just don’t rob people to support your habit and don’t expect my tax dollars to support you and any medical bills you incur.

  30. the job of government is to ensure the well being and safety of ALL its citizens and when it allows a segment of the population to engage in self destructive behavior,(not counting booze and tabbaco)it’s a failing government.

    No, actually, the government’s job is to protect your “negative

  31. I think it’s way past time for the Democrats to stand up for themselves and quit living in fear that the Republicans are going to say something mean about them.  Guess what, they are going to throw a shit fit regardless of whether the Dems say something about them or not.  That’s how they get and keep power, by manufacturing hatred and demonizing the opposition.

    So Dean said some off-color (but true) things.  BFD.  What he said is not a quarter as hateful or malignant as the frothings of Pat Robertson or Bill Frist or even George Bush.  And yet, their personal fortunes and political lives have not been harmed.  If you’d rather vote for a goddamned republican, have the balls to vote for a goddamned republican.  Quit whining about how the Democrats aren’t chasing the middle around (a losing strategy if there ever was one.) like puppy dogs.

  32. I think it’s way past time for the Democrats to stand up for themselves…
    So Dean said some off-color (but true) things.  BFD.  …
    Quit whining about how the Democrats aren’t chasing the middle around (a losing strategy if there ever was one.) like puppy dogs.

    SO TRUE.
    At the last local DNC meeting i attended there was a whole faction against Dean rising to Chairmen merely because of “how he might be seen by left-of-center Republicans.”  Of those complaining (qty 8), five of them drove home in SUV’s that night.

    If anything, we have more to fear from within our own ranks.  I’d love to see a good ol’ purge of the DNC’s middle-tier after 2006.  A clear DNC victory, under Dean’s leadership, may make this very possible.  (Finally, then maybe we’ll rid ourselves of the ConsumeristLeft and their cancerous selfish ideaology.)

    rob@egoz.org

  33. I am greatly enjoying Dean’s tenure as head of the DNC because it is hastening the death of the Democratic party. As Dean himself recently said of Bernie Sanders, a socialist is basically the same thing as a liberal Democrat. The sooner mainstream American realizes that they have nothing in common with the Democrats, the faster they will join the Whigs in the dustbin of history.

    That realization is what got me to switch parties.

  34. The sooner mainstream American realizes that they have nothing in common with the Democrats, the faster they will join the Whigs in the dustbin of history.

      Apparently you haven’t seen the latest

    polls.  In addition, with the Independents so low on the political radar, the “death” of the Dems would lead to a de facto one party political system for national elections.  If that is your interest, you could always move to somewhere like Uzbekistan and hang out with Bush’s good buddy Islam Karimov.
      I am like Les- I don’t consider myself affiliated with either party.  I wait and see who is fielded by the major parties and the Independents before I decide who will get my vote.

  35. Bush’s job approval was where it needed to be on November 2. But I am not concerned with the ebb and flow of approval ratings on a short term basis. I am instead more interested in ongoing the retreat from socialist policies that began in the mid 1960s. Back then the Democrats had two-thirds of the senate, house, governships, state legislatures, and registered voters.

    I am like Les- I don’t consider myself affiliated with either party.  I wait and see who is fielded by the major parties and the Independents before I decide who will get my vote.

    If you keep sitting on that fence you’re gonna get hurt!

    I want to see us get back to the Constitution. That means scaling back the federal government (note: Bush is not always very good at this). The federal government should stop spending money on things that are not enumerated in
    [url=http://www.usconstitution.net/xconst_A1Sec8.html]Article phasing out Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, and most of the rest of the federal government.

    Ever since the New Deal, our judges have stopped interpreting the Constitution as written and adopted a “living document” approach. That means that the Constitution is whatever a particular judge would like it to be. I would like to see judges nominated that would get back to basic and enforce the Constitution.

    So if we were to get a Democrat that proposed this basic philosophy, I would vote for him. But in practice the desire to get back to the Constitution makes you a Republican.

  36. But in practice the desire to get back to the Constitution makes you a Republican.

    I’m sure that’d be news to a lot of Republicans based on how they’re acting.

  37. The government has two and only two purposes. Protecting us from outside attackers and maintaining a stable infrastructure. Anything and everything else it does is an infringement of our rights in one way or another.

    I thought its purpose was to ‘govern’ hence the name.

  38. I’m sure that’d be news to a lot of Republicans based on how they’re acting.

    That’s true. The Pew Research Center has done some interesting research and have identified major subsets of the Democrats and Republicans. They have also found some large divisions (scroll down) among Republicans on these issues. So you are correct that the Republicans are far from unified in their desire for smaller government. But the same research (and common sense!) also demonstrate that there is no significant subset of the Democrats that want smaller government.

  39. That means scaling back the federal government (note: Bush is not always very good at this).

      Like almost never…  Bush is not a conservative, he is a radical.  Under his tenure, the federal government has become more and more bloated and invasive..  His fiscal policy is crap.
      BTW, you were the one who mentioned what “mainstream” Americans have in common with whichever party:

    The sooner mainstream American realizes that they have nothing in common with the Democrats…

  40. Like almost never… Bush is not a conservative, he is a radical.  Under his tenure, the federal government has become more and more bloated and invasive..  His fiscal policy is crap.

    The President has little control over the business cycle, which is primarily determined by the monetary policy set by the Federal Reserve. A better comparison of liberal vs. conservative economics would be by comparing Europe to the United States. Europe is mired in 9% unemployment (which is about 5.2% in the US) and facing slugish growth in GDP and productivity. Unlike the US, who’s economy has been growing nicely for a couple years now.

    Of course, Europe’s real troubles are still in the future. A society can reap a financial windfall in the short term by lowering its birth rate. Children are expensive and do not work to contribute to the economy. But as the population ages the low birth rates put a demographic squeeze. Europe is facing a crisis that makes our Social Security problem look like a walk in the park.

  41. No, Justin, I didn’t mean the patterns of Wall Street- the link was for the federal deficit.  To be honest, regrading fiscal policy, I consider myself more conservative than liberal.

  42. That is the business cycle. If you assume that all federal spending is pegged to inflation, you will run budget surpluses during boom times and deficits during recessions. Tax receipts are a lot higher when unemployment is low and businesses and people are making money.

    The Federal Reserve lowers interest rates during down times. Cheap credit makes people start more businesses and do more investing. Eventually that investing starts to pay off and the worry is that the economy will start to overheat and inflation will set in. So then interest rates are lowered.

    Since a central body (The Fed) and not the free market are setting those interest rates they never get them quite right. Credit is too cheap or too tight. When credit is too cheap people create marginal businesses that cannot survive. Eventually they go under. When credit is too expensive they never create businesses in the first place.

    The result of balancing economic growth vs. inflation, and of only crudely being able to determine what interest rates should be in order to accomplish this, is a boom and bust business cycle.

  43. Oh I forgot to mention. I am glad to hear that you are a fiscal conservative.

    I think many of the problems between Christians and Secularists would become non-issues if we could just shrink the federal government. Then our battles over what form the nation would take would be through the charities we support. We would be in an “arms race” to support Christian vs. Secular charities. I think we can both agree that that would mean that everybody wins, most particularly those that need help!

    Instead we are left fighting each other over how our tax dollars are (unconstitutionally) spent and creating bad feelings on both sides.

  44. image004.jpg
    deficit.jpg

      Errr… sorry that I couldn’t find tables that matched a little better, but it has enough data to show that the stock cycles have only a casual linkage to the federal deficit at best.  The best example is made by comparing the fairly large dip of the ‘94 market compared to the decreasing of the federal deficit that started in ‘93 and continued to 2000.
      As for your last observation, Justin, I agree.

  45. Warbi, I have to stop doing your economics research for you. From economics.about.com: the stock market is a leading
    indicator of the overall economy. It isn’t just the stark market by itself that produces tax receipts, but the economy as a whole.

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