January 28, 2008

Party trumps policy

Last night, Leo Casey hypothesized on Edwize that Kennedy's endorsement of Obama was related to NCLB. Like Scott Elliott (a reporter with the Dayton Daily News), I'm skeptical. While George Miller and Ted Kennedy have both endorsed Obama and are major figures in NCLB politics, they are also stalwarts in the Democratic caucuses in each side of Capitol Hill, and a significant obligation of such folks is to defend the Congressional majority. The defense of that majority will depend on how well Democratic candidates perform in historically Republican states. As Matthew Yglesias has pointed out, within the Democratic party, Obama is convincing officeholders in Republican-dominated states that he can not only win the White House but help Democratic candidates for lower offices.

That potential contrasts with one of the signal legacies of the (Bill) Clinton administration, a cannibalization of the party by the top of the ticket. While Bill Clinton's fortunes thrived, the Democratic party's did not. I don't think Hillary Clinton is nearly as egotistical as her husband, but downticket potential is probably more important to endorsements than the few inches that separate Clinton and Obama on No Child Left Behind.

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Posted in Accountability Frankenstein on January 28, 2008 8:05 AM |