DEMOCRATS NEED MESSAGE, GETTING ON SAME PAGE
Ronnie Agnew, Executive Editor of Mississippi's Jackson Clarion-Ledger, attended the recent convention of the National Association of Black Journalists and heard addresses from former President Bill Clinton and new Democratic Party national chairman Howard Dean.
Clinton didn't bite when asked about the possiblity (some would say probability) of his wife's running for president in 2008. He told the group that there is one rule they have "strenuously observed at my house, and that is to never look past the next election." Hillary has to run to retain her Senate seat in New York next year before she can focus attention on a possible race for the Oval Office.
Former Vermont governor and 2004 presidential candidate Dean said in his appearance that the party has to get on the same page before facing off against the GOP in three years.
And on the question of Democrats traditionally taking the black vote for granted, Dean said:
"People say the Democratic Party has taken the African-American vote for granted. I think there's some truth to that...If the Democratic Party is going to compete, we have to talk about things people are interested in. We have to talk about core issues for everybody in America."
Agnew notes that:
Dean has a long haul in crafting a message that sticks with people. I find it ironic that he acknowledges that the Democrats have allowed Republicans to control the national debate, painting Dean's party as pro-abortion, anti-Christian and pro-gay-marriage.
"The biggest thing we have to do is to stop letting Republicans tell people who we are," Dean said.
Dean said Democrats hope to complete its new strategy by October. He said many in national political circles "don't believe we're gonna fight.
"We'll have to see if those expected to follow join in.