Today Condoleeza Rice was voted in to Secretary of State 85 yea to 13 nay. I'm not going to make some cheesey "basking in the glow of the mandate" statement because those numbers tell a different story than that. That's right, the numbers show something a bit deeper than a simple vote her in or out.
We sort of have to break the numbers down a bit to understand where I'm going with this. We know for fact that all of the Republicans voted for Rice. That covers 53 of the 100 total votes (two Republicans did not vote). That leaves 45 democratic or independent votes. Rule of thumb would suggest that all, or mostly all of those votes would go against Rice. That was not the case. There was a 13 to 32 split within non-Republicans. This may not look like much, but it covers 28.8% of all non-Republicans.
So here's my hair-brained theory: There is a serious split in the Democratic party between the Boxerites and the Clintonites. It looks to me like we've got a good old fasioned cat fight in the Democratic party. Could this be foretelling the future female dominance in the Democratic party one way or another? Who knows. Maybe it is and maybe it isn't. Let's look at the two philosophies and see what we can see.
The Boxer camp believes that the only way to truly strengthen the party is to show how different they are from the Republican party. They will go to extremes to be against the Republicans. The standard theory states that the reason Kerry did not win was because he was shown as "middle of the road" when he should have been presented as a true liberal. Grandstanding, fighting all Republican proposals without regard for content and even using their anti-conservative gestures as a method for garnering campaign contributions. In this group all tactics are acceptable. They are fighting for the life of the Democratic party and feel they must set themselves apart from the "middle of the road". A good portion of this group are carryovers from what can be dubbed "Deaniacs". According to the Rice vote, the following congresspersons are believed to be part of this camp:
This group, the majority, believes a strategy of appearing "in the middle" will garner more votes come election time. They work within the system of polite debate and only go against Republicans on obviously partisan issues, Attourney General Gonzales for example. I'm not sure if they really believe many of the ideals they are trying to project and in real belief terms I would suggest that Hillary has a more liberal mindset than Barbara. This is just my opinion, but Hillary does not fool me for a second. I've heard her speak on several issues and she is not being true to her beliefs. She's courting tactics to gain favor with those that aren't familiar with her and hopefully grow support within the Demcratic party. Don't get me wrong. I'm sure some of the members of this group believe in centrism, but Hillary is probably not one of them. The suspected members of this party branch, according to the Rice vote, are:
So there's the theory on the floor. I'm sure some of these names will cross back and forth before lines are drawn. I would suspect that Biden and Feinstein will be two names you see bouncing around both sides. You may want to keep an eye on these list of names as the months roll by and decisions are made. It might prove itself to be true. (Of course, this could be a big mistake as well.)
If, however, this party separation hold itself through to 2008 the Democrats will truly be a party divided. It will be an ugly sight to see. They could become so torn amongst themselves that even Jeb Bush could walk away, hands down, with an election in the bag.
Even if the party splits right down the middle with no end in sight there is still a chance for them though. It would require a presidential nominee from the strong side and a vice presidential from the weak. Maybe we could see a Kerry/Obama ticket, or a Byrd/Lieberman ticket in 2008. How knows? The Democratic party might even put the two cats together and have the first all female nominations of Clinton/Boxer. Only time will tell.
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