The first time I ever heard the expression “yellow dog Democrat” was while I was living in Jacksonville. A friend of mine with a North Florida drawl (yes, in Northern Florida, they do have Southern accents) told me what it meant. “Ah’d rathah vote for a yeller dawg than a Republican.”
Well, I’ve been a yellow dog Democrat since. So, what do I do about a possible Harris Miller victory in the primary?
As some may have mistakenly concluded from my last post, I do not intend to vote for George Allen. That would be going way too far. Yes I’d vote for Harris Miller rather than George Allen. Somehow a proto racist, who thinks the combination of a miniature noose and a confederate flag are cute office decorations, doesn’t inspire me to get out and vote for him. Even I know that’s worse than supporting off shoring.
But not much!
I could, of course, go out and find a big old yellow dog, asks its owner the dog’s name and write that in.
Or I could find a credible third party candidate and cast a protest vote for somebody I know won’t win. But at least that vote will register. If a Green Party candidate gets that vote, would a professional consultant, who later analyzes the election results, conclude that Miller was the wrong candidate? Would Democrats then get the message that they have to appeal to a wider centrist audience while not completely alienating their base?
I want a strong Democratic Party. But I want a Democratic Party that stands up for the interests of working Americans and the middle class. I don’t want a Democratic Party that panders to the greediest demands of big business. Nor do I want a Democratic Party that panders to the narrowest of organized labor’s interests either. I am pro-labor just as I am a pro-choice feminist. And I strongly believe in the separation of church and state. I don’t want to see the 10 commandments posted in every courtroom because I respect Buddhist and Hindu citizens as much as I do Christian, Jewish and Muslim citizens. And I believe the First Amendment should protect their rights too. But I also believe that the Democratic Party must attract independents and moderates to win elections.
So, what would Harris Miller have to do to get my vote and possibly the votes of many other Democrats who are profoundly disturbed by his past history as President of the ITAA?
I think he would have to at least acknowledge that he was wrong to support some of the legislation that he lobbied for. And he’d have to be big enough to admit that a lot of his efforts threw others out of well paying jobs and hurt them economically.
He could point out, in his defense, that in the early nineties, there was a huge IT bubble and well paying jobs were abundant. He might say that at the time he just didn’t realize the harm his efforts could cause since salaries were high and job growth was dazzling. The economy back then was sizzling and there appeared to be a shortage of workers in many fields.
He could also say that as a Senator, he would work hard to undo the damage that he helped cause and that he would strive to improve the situation for workers. He could say that because of his industry ties and his knowledge and understanding of big business, he was in the position to work with his former allies to convince them that it was in their greater self-interest to have a strong, well-paid American workforce that could afford to buy the products that they make. Miller could even promise to point out to his business allies that destroying the middle class also destroys their own markets.
But Miller would have to say all this sooner rather than later. After the primary, it will just appear that he is out for votes, not sincere. In fact, I’m not sure, even now, if he could pull it off or if there’s simply too much bitter water under the bridge. I’m not sure if even I would buy it.
But I’d be willing to listen should he be the actual nominee. Until then, I’m still strongly for Jim Webb. And I hope Webb wins so that I don’t ever have to choose between Harris Miller and a big ole yeller dog.